Monday, December 31, 2007

On Personal Quilting Style

You all have heard me say many times before how much I shake my fist at the "quilt police". I'm not a perfect piecer. I sure as hell don't sew as straight as I "should" sometimes, and someone please shoot me if you ever hear me utter the words "stitches to an inch." That's just me though...

Today I was thinking about personal quilting style. How we all have one and it becomes obvious from quilt to quilt what it is. My husband looked at my latest piece and was like "I'd recognize your work." Me, knowing my own style, asked him "How?" and he hit it on the nose: I have kind of a freeform-anything goes-thing when I'm doing my backgrounds. Whether it's a portrait, a Starbirth piece, or any of them, that's what I do. If you were to see me quilting them, it's a rather full-bodied experience. Arms working, body moving. I'm sure you all have been there, so it's not just me.

It's like we're dancers...can you hear the music the quilt's making?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Woo-HOO! ANOTHER Exhibit!

Almost a year later, the "Grandma" quilt is done! It was also accepted into the upcoming "Sisters in Cloth" exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Colorado!! I got the letter yesterday and ran back and forth going "YAAAAY!!!!" She said "YAAAAY!!" too when I told her...I finally figured out what to do with the background and went with stylized mimosa tree leaves--like the ones I remember from our family's country home in Virginia. My fave part is her hair. I love what I did with the hair! And ooo King Tut variegated thread ROCKS! The quilting in her dress was inspired by this curvy Chinese jade dragon ornament I saw once. The piece's official name is "Grandma Hopes She is Never As Old As I Am" and here's a closeup shot...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A very happy holiday to you all!

Yes, Sonji was the recent Textural Rhythms opening reception at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, I was apologizing to folks for not posting more often. To catch you all up quickly:

1. I was quite ill from June-September. Who knows what the heck was wrong? The doctor sure didn't. :-( I couldn't stop coughing. My eating was impaired because of said coughing. I lost quite a bit of weight. I was miserable. Then I...

2. Went to Europe and it cleared right up and I was fine! The hubby, two friends and I went to England for our friend's handfasting, spent some days in gorgeous Rome, and popped back to London for more fun before returning home where my very first day back to work from vacation was...

3. My last day back at work after my first weeklong vacation in a year. Others took off just about anytime. I rarely took off when my mom was ill with cancer, when I fell and busted my knee and rib myself, or for the holidays. What a bogus reason they gave me and everyone knows it. I imagine that someone flipped out when they had to do everything by themselves and didn't understand how I did my job. Whatever, really. Perhaps it was the ultimate sign that I should be doing what I was meant to do in life...

4. But in the meanwhile I felt horrible about it all and I am just snapping out of it. I'm trying to put fingers to the keyboard and write again. Or fingers to guitar strings and strum once more. Or fingers to the Janome and freemotion with ease. I have been closed up in my mind for too long. It is time to channel things productively...

All I know is that my pieces are now in two exhibits and I'm waiting to hear about a third. I feel good about that--if not anything else...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fallow Period

I was talking to my grandmom recently, saying that I hadn't been productive...hadn't been writing, hadn't been quilting. She said, "That's alright, you're usually like this in the summer. You usually pick up everything again in the Fall." I found that an interesting observation on her part. As artists, I supposed that while we are compelled to create, perhaps we do have fallow periods where it lies dormant for awhile, until it becomes a better time to use it? I know I work like a prolific whirlwind during the Fall and Winter months.

Seasonal there's an interesting notion...

On a good note, Dr. Mazloomi inquired about "Just Me Being Negative" today and if it is available for exhibition (it is). I don't know what's going on, but it has to be good, right?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hi there!

I can't believe I've been away this long...

What have I been up to? Hearing some of the best choruses in the country while at the beautiful historic Biltmore Hotel in L.A....Thinking that this most recent Harry Potter was the best EVER...Ticked because my name was listed incorrectedly throughout the latest book that I'm in...Very sick with a bad cold...Still without my straight foot, which has meant I haven't been sewing...Having fun with friends and family...

As for an update on my mom? She is wrapping up radiation treatment and doing well. Even her hair is growing back. At first, she was concerned, thinking it was going to grow back in gray. I told her not to worry about it, that it would be fine. To me, it looks darker than before!

Sorry I've been away for so long!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Good News!

Hi everyone...I know that it has been forever since I last posted...Things have been busy and crazy.

My mom's doing well and I'd like to thank everyone who has sent me their well-wishes.

I'll admit that I haven't sewn since I misplaced my machine foot. Horrible. Just horrible of me, huh?

On a good note, I got a call from Dr. Mazloomi Saturday telling me that my "Cousin Jo" quilt's image is going to run in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine coming out in October as part of a feature about the Textural Rhythms exhibit. YAY!!!!! How exciting is that?! She told me that my work was "slammin'" and that I was very talented. That's always very nice to hear...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

O Where O Where Has My Little Foot Gone?

I have now managed to not only misplace my instruction manual, but my straight stitch foot as well--that has the little click-y shank on it that all of the others (except for the freemotion) attach to!


Janome, rescue me from myself!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Workshop Postcards Done!

Whew! I ran out of time during the workshop to finish the postcards, so I had everyone to put them in a baggie w/thread color choices and I stitched them up. They're really cute and turned out well.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Stardeath: In Progress

I enjoyed explaining the "Starbirth" series to the kids. They totally got what I was going for and when they felt the quilting thatI've started for "Stardeath: Supernovae/Red Giant" one said "It looks like flames!" Which is exactly the effect that I was going for.

When explaining my quilts, I told them that I had three styles in front of them: One style where the pieces were painted and reassembled collage-style, another style (wholecloth) where the entire piece is painted and the quiting dictated the design, and the third ("Stardeath") where the fabric was created through bleach discharge and the quilting will complement the fabric.

I know you all were wondering, but here's the beginning of "Stardeath."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kids Quilt Workshop Photos, Pt. 1

Even the teachers got in on the postcard making!
I love that the kids were really into it!

Here are photos from the workshop I did at CentroNia!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Cousin Jo Before & After

You know, I was going through old posts and found my original sketch for the "Cousin Jo" quilt. I thought I'd compare it to the final product for you!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kids Thought My Art Quilts Were Cool!

My youngest sister T. works at an arts program called CentroNia in the lively, multiculti D.C. neighborhood of Adams-Morgan. It serves as both a learning center (with a charter school), as well as a community hub with programs for adults as well. T. asked me to come in and talk to her students. Actually the conversation went more like this:

T: "Come in and talk to my students about your quilting, jerk!"
L: "Yeah, um, OKAY, fine then, jerk!"

I was pretty nervous because I knew that her class had older kids--about 11-13--and mainly boys. Would they be interested in art quilts? Well...I found out that answer to be a solid YES.

I set up my sewing machine and brought in lots of examples to show them. Works-in-progress and finished pieces, as well as the templates and photos I used for reference. Mid-way through 2 teachers brought their classes of younger students (average age: 8-9) to sit in on it. They were all attentive and really into it! I wasn't afraid to let them touch my pieces. I think the tactile nature of it really helped a lot as they were able to really see it up close and feel the stitches or beads or couching.

They asked great questions too about my techniques, supplies, and creating art itself--even the younger ones. Their excitement was infectious. The younger kids left and my original group of 7 (only one girl!) were given packets I created and they assembled their own fabric postcards. They had a great time wearing my thimbles (God knows I have enough of them!) Even the teachers got involved. As I ran out of time, I collected them, labeled them with their names and thread color choices and will finish them myself this weekend to give to my sister.

I am so glad that I did this! A lot of the kids hugged me afterwards and told me how much fun they had. I had a great time myself! This was a rare weekday off for me, but one that was very well-spent!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Baltimore Textural Rhythms Billboard

I was in Baltimore last night for a gala (I know, I was all dressed up and for once, had somewhere to go, LOL) and drove by the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History located on the Baltimore Harbor last night.

I started bouncing around in my seat and couldn't stop exclaiming when I saw that outside of the museum they had a HUGE billboard display announcing "Textural Rhythms" with Valerie White's "Ohio River Blues Man" as the main image! It looks fantastic! It will be there starting in November 2007.

If any of you are in the area go take a look! I'm going back up again soon just to take a picture of it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Stardeath: Supernovae/Red Giant" Started

Still working on "Stardeath" know how I am.

It'll be done soon! I promise!

Pics to come!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Above is beautiful Loughcrew in Co. Westmeath, Ireland. Below is me after climbing up there...
Also, Happy birthday Robert! You know I luv ya baby!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Textural Rhythms Book Arrived

Opened my mailbox today and a copy of the "Textural Rhythms" catalog was in it!!! I squealed and practically hopped back into the house.

Of course, I went straight for my own "Fab Jo" quilt. It is so fantastic to see it in print as well as so many of the other pieces. If you do not own this book, buy it!!! The pieces in it are wonderful and the descriptions that accompany them are just as interesting. Because it is in alphabetical order, Sonji's pieces are immediately after mine. Looking through the book there are so many of my colleagues that I know either personally or through our communications via email.

Trust me, you WILL love this catalog. It's beautiful...

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Today is my Grandmom's 84th birthday! This is her in high school...

My grandmom's my best friend and I like that she is feisty and stylish and funny and independent. God knows she's always been supportive of me.

Luv ya Grandma!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Show Me the MAQF Loot!

The title's straight from the keyboard of Karoda, who also said that next to the quilts, it's the loot that you come away with, so finally...
  1. A super-cool adhesive ironing board cover by Bo-Nash. It gets hotter without damaging the fabric. It is very Paris Hilton-style "That's hot!" (say it slow with languid eyes) because fusible peels right off! My friend Cornelia and I were very excited about that. Also, ironing board pads. I like mine a little thicker. I wore my old one down to the holes. So sad.
  2. 5 fake "Born to Quilt" tattoos to rock in the warm weather months
  3. A mug for the hubby that says "She Quilts...I Cook!" (which is true)
  4. An Indonesian batik
  5. Polished rock and hard carved Chinese coral closures/buttons
  6. Japanese panels and sashiko kits and supplies
  7. Re-dyed kimono remnants...ooooo...

I had considered a John Flynn frame for years and finally had a chance to demo it. I think it's great because it's like having a longarm frame to hold everything taut--without the longarm machine. However, I was so disappointed because I found the work area with it to be way too limiting for me and it didn't vibe well with my quilting style. I think the rep felt really insulted when I stopped, hopped up and said, "Sorry. It's not for me!" Great product and I love Mr. Flynn's stuff, I really do--but it's just not for me!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Row Row Row Your Boat!

Things you do not know when you are crazy enough to take on playing the guitar:

  1. Your fingers will be contorted into unnatural positions
  2. Holding down those strings and strumming correctly is not as easy as it looks
  3. Chords, notes, chords
  4. Your fingertips will hurt
  5. Your fingertips will hurt

But I love it. I practice every day for at least a 1/2 hour. It's just something about it that makes me really really happy!

Yesterday, my 7-year old cousin/goddaughter came over and was tickled to squeak through "Row Row Row Your Boat" to my equally inconsistent one-chord guitar playing to accompany her. She thought it was fantastic. I was so tickled because it was technically the first time anyone has ever sung to my guitar playing. It's too bad we didn't take a pic of that!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2007

Below: "Sunday Morning" by Esterita Austin
Below: "Echoes of the Ancestors" by Carol Beck from Durham, NC. We met her and she was so excited and bubbly. Its permanent home will be in the National Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, OH.
Went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival yesterday with my guild. Saw some great quilts and bought lots of stuff I never thought I'd need, but could not do without. Here are some highlights. I didn't get all of the creators' names and quilt titles, so if you recognize them, please let me know!

More from the MAQF! Part 2

More pics for you from the MAQF!!! Photos don't do them justice!I love the use of color in the one below and the one above is fantastic. TINY pixel-like squares were used!below: "David" by my guild colleague Margreta Silverstonebelow: "We're All the Same--Just Different" by Pat Kumicich


Here's my guild buddy Cornelia (in the pink) and me...worn out--yet still giddy--at the end of the day! Ugh, I look so squished in this photo! those seats were really wide to the back. What a fun day!

Friday, February 23, 2007

New Guitar

Two years ago I made a declaration about how it had never occurred to me to pick up an instrument now and try to learn it--and how I would try. I proclaimed to someone else that I would learn classical guitar and play Spanish classics.

I must now eat my words and do it. I have fantastic software and will probably take lessons too. I've found that I love it and look forward to it, even just basic chord playing. It feels so good to play an instrument again.

I went to a guitar shop last Sunday. I bought a basic Yamaha C40 classical acoustic, because I wasn't sure if I'd like it so I wasn't breaking the bank on a first guitar. It has a nice sound to it though. That's it above...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fabric Day for Starbirth

Yup, fabric soaking in anti-chlor. Happy joy in a bucket!

As a lot of you know, I have been working on a "Starbirth" series for over a year. I did some bleach discharge pieces that reminded me a lot of the cosmos, but some of the ones I did on a dark brown West African damask really reminded me of a star's birth complement.

So, what would be the stages of "death" for a star? Supernova. The smaller pieces reminded me of supernova events and the new larger piece of fabric I just bleach discharged and painted, a red giant. I was a little "Ugh" about how the larger piece turned out, I wish it had more dark parts. I let it pool a little long. Darn. That's okay. I think it'll be perfect to represent a red giant.

My friend Elsie will be tickled to know that I painted it in my bathtub. I've become almost legendary for it...Soft Scrub w/bleach is fantastic by the way.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NEW PODCAST! Be an Art Quilt Ambassador

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

As a gift to me, I got lots of snow and ice and the opportunity to try and work from home (Comcast went down in the middle of my work! Curses to them! Curses!) There's my annual pic of my car (above) covered with our first major snow. Yup. I know it's not the monster snow places like Buffalo are getting, but for me--it's more than enough!

As my gift to you, however, I bring everyone happiness and a new Sew Chick podcast. Yay!

This time, I talk about encouraging newbies and those new to quilting and I FINALLY included my inteview with Carole Lyles Shaw.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Textural Rhythms!

You can go to Sonji's blog for fantastic photos from the opening reception for the Textural Rhythms exhibit!

It looks like there was a really good turnout and it is so exciting to see pictures of everyone's pieces! They are gorgeous! There's Sonji's piece hanging next to mine. What were the odds? I hope she won't mind my "borrowing" the above pic! "My Fab Cousin Jo..." looks great and it's so nice to see it up.

Congrats to all of the other artists included, and I can't wait to read the catalog to know more about the inspirations behind them.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Textural Rhythms Opens Today!

I am so excited! The opening of the Textural Rhythms: Constructing the Jazz Tradition exhibit, curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, is tonight at the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio. I was planning on being there, but my mother's surgery was rescheduled for this past Monday, and I decided that it was best if I stayed here in town. The accompanying book is available for pre-order, and I can assure you that you find some incredible pieces in it, including one of mine (winkwink)!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Look!

Sew Chick's got a new look!

I switched over to New Blogger and updated my blog's design...for the first time in about 2 years (yikes)! How in the world did I live with the old look for so long, LOL?!

It's snowing. My husband told me earlier that it was pretty, huh?

This does not change my opinion on winter though (as in, "It sucks"), trust me.

Oh! My friend Sharlea in England sent me what has to be the funniest real estate website EVER!!! It's by an agent based in Glastonbury. Heck, I know I'd buy something from this guy!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quilting vs. Piecing

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

Quilt: to stitch or sew in layers with padding in between

Piecing: to join into a whole

I've been reading a lot of quilting mags and sites lately and there seems to be a thing about "painted" quilts. As in, quilts where the creator declares with pride that it was "Pieced, not painted." Has anyone else noticed this?

I remember reading on a site or forum where someone said they were tired of people just painting a quilt or using a photo and just quilting it. Hmm. And this is different from doing a wholecloth quilt, how? LOL. I mean, that's how I view quilts like that.

The last time I looked, it's the quilting itself that makes something a quilt, not the process used to create the top itself--whether pieced or painted. Whooooo! LOL. I know I've been playing the antagonist lately, but geesh, I'm sick of the griping. I do think art quilts are definitely more accepted, but man, if it's not one thing it's another. Change is good, people!

Change is GOOD!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quilt Police: A Declaration!

At December's Guild meeting, we had a smiling newbie quilter who proudly showed her first handquilted piece off. I'm a fan of new quilters, because it's such a big deal to have completed a project on your own. After she said she tried to get so many stitches (6?) to an inch, I cringed when a more experienced quilter loudly said it should be 12. I was like, "B.S.!" because that ticked me.

I've ranted about this before, but somebody write me a ticket, because I'm sick of the quilt police! You know who you are: declaring yourself an art quilter yet you stick to "traditional" quilting rules such as the stitch length, type of thread, absolute precision, or the way the back looks. Or questioning the reasoning behind the piece's art. Gimme a break! If all of the above is your thing, go for it. Just don't think everyone else should fit your persnickety ways.

I used to see a lot of pieces I didn't quite "get" at the museum I interned at. I didn't understand it, but I acknowledged it as something different and something that the artist "got"--even if I didn't. As artists we create because we are compelled to--not necessarily with viewership in mind. So if my stitches aren't perfect, so what? If my back is covered, so what? I'm not saying that you shouldn't have an understanding of the fundamentals and history of your craft, just that as an artist, you sometimes have to transcend those boundaries.

In the end, I'm making my art for me...if you like it and want to come along for the ride too, then let's go.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Little Cold...

We had our first snowfall over the weekend. Wasn't much, but it's still cold. I think the look on my face while at lunch says it all...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fresh Start for the New Year

Remember that big fall that I had?

Well, it still hurts and now I have to go to physical therapy for about 6 weeks between my knee and rib (phys. therapist: bruised or fractured; doc: inconclusive from Xray). All I know is that it hurts. I'll live, lol, but it's been a real pain (haha) to deal with.

I think that I'm going to finally work on those bleach discharge pieces from that time with my Art Sewciety. So much for it being like riding a bike. I have to start small and work my way back up to bigger pieces. take my time. I have big plans and I'd like to start the creation of a body of work.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

I've been on a holiday hiatus of sorts. Time to shake loose those lazy do-nothing feelings and get cracking! I feel an itch to do some work!

Thought you all would enjoy the group photo of me and my guild members. I'm in the red shirt sitting on the floor.