rocket tracking


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Better or Worse? Or what to do...

You've seen these little tootsies before. I did this piece in a 12" x 12" format for the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) show in February. I painted the feet, fused them on and quilted all the little blades of grass. There wasn't any quilting in the legs, except for around the toes.

The MEEC show closed and the pieces went to the Baptist church in Dayton where they were on display until June 20.

Meanwhile, The Aullwood Audubon Center in Englewood put out a call for entries for their exhibit entitled "It's a Green World."

Obviously, there's a lot of green here...but the title of the work is "Standing on Sacred Ground." My point is that if we treated the earth with respect and didn't do anything to the ground we weren't willing to walk barefoot in, it would be a better world.

This little piece gave me a lot of joy in the making and in looking at it. . . . even if my daughter did give me grief because I made her toenails be a different color than the polish she had on when I photographed her feet for a model.

The problem was, if it was accepted for the Aullwood show, then I had to have the quilt delivered to Aullwood by June 18th, and it was still hanging in the other show. In addition, I didn't want to have this piece in such a small format be at the Aullwood venue. So, I did a second one which was 24" x 24".

Since the original feet had limited quilting and I felt like the sort of "bagged out", even though they were fused, I did the second set a little differently.
First, instead of fusing them, I hand appliqued the legs and feet. Secondly, I did machine trapunto, and quilted the feet and legs along the muscles and tendons.

I don't like how it turned out. They are, quite frankly, scary looking to me. I am contemplating that I should tear out the quilting when it comes back and try to close up the needle holes. That is, if I can close up the needle holes.

What do you think? I really want to know.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thoughts on Crafting our Art

The other night I got together with a couple of my art quilty friends. We discussed how it seemed that a workshop group we had had sort of gotten away from the original concept of studying design in order to better our work and went into the area of being a technique class.

We also started talking about how if you are studying design concepts and elements that you might just not create a finished quilt. In working with Jane D'avila and Elin Waterston's Art Quilt Workbook some of our members seemed to think that a finished piece should be the outcome of following the exercises.

Interestingly enough, Kathy Walker who is hosting this months' Fast Friday Fabric Challenge gave us a link to an overview of the elements of design with an accompanying worksheet drawn from Exploring Visual Design: The Elements and Principles, Joseph Gatto, Albert Porter, Jack Selleck. Davis Publications. 2000. You can take a look at it here .

This got me thinking a little bit. OK, a lot. It has been a while since I have been creating art on a regular basis. I know that I, and probably a lot of people, tend to create intuitively, not really thinking about each element of design. This is fine, but it can mean that sometimes we create things and don't know why they work, or why they don't work.

Kathy, and for that matter, Jane and Elin, always remind you when you're working on something to "keep in mind the elements of design." Hmm....I felt like a "bear of very little brain." Telling myself that I have to keep in mind all the elements at the same time that I was trying to do composition/art was just a little more than my brain could bear...I could just hear the gray matter exploding. It occurred to me that sometimes when people do this, it can be contrived....
How does one avoid this?

I suddenly remembered taking piano classes as a child (from age 4 to age 12). I remembered balking at doing the Czerny and Schirmer exercises....running scales, triads and making sure that the fingering was correct. At the time, I hated it as I didn't really see the point. In high school, long after I had stopped the lessons, I continued to play for fun. I went through a period of playing ragtime and Clementi's sonatinas.....then the light bulb came on. All those scales and fingering exercizes were to train our brains that if you were playing in a particular key that your fingers should be in these particular positions...these positions, which seemed so arbitrary and useless when done alone, were actually a great boon--only if you were in the positions could you make the leap to the next chord or run ....having your fingers in an incorrect position would slow you down and you wouldn't be able to be where you needed to be and make the music flow seamlessly. All those exercises had taken and been stored in my little brain and I didn't have to fingers were just where they needed to be.

By doing exercises, and practicing art everyday, even if it is just a doodle or an series of lines or sketches without making a full blown piece is how we ingrain these elements into our work so that it too comes seamlessly. We don't have to think about it. If we have a problem and something doesn't seem to work, then we can look at it, keeping the elements of design in our heads and create good, solid pieces.

Then too, I also believe that key to being a good cook is knowing the concepts and the rules, THEN you can break them or leap from them. Making art quilts, or making art in general fits this idea.

I actually thought of this while deadheading my flowers. Deadheading (taking the spent blooms off) can be very boring...particularly when I am dead heading gaillardia which has to be cut individually. If I don't deadhead, then I won't have as many flowers for as long as a period of time. So, while it isn't my favorite task, it is an important one. Just as doing exercises without making salable pieces of art is, and that's OK.

I had to I looked at my blog dashboard, I found Elizabeth Barton's post to be somewhat along the same not to look to make things look effortless. If you haven't read this post, or if you are unfamiliar with Elizabeth's blog, please take a look....I always learn something and just appreciate how well she says things. Take a peek here

So, what's up with the photograph you might ask...well, that's what happens when you ask your husband to take a shot for you because your hands are full....since he doesn't know my camera, he ended up taking this gem of a shot of himself. Obviously, he needs more practice!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friend's work at NQA

It's always fun to see someone's work you know at a big show. Two of my fellow quilters from the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network had pieces in the NQA show. Kate Burch did this thread painted and machine embroidered piece called "Colonial Algae (Various Species of Hydrodictyaceae). Kate thread painted over an inkjet printed image of the algae. Her comment is "Pond scum, like people, often reveal their inner beauty upon closer inspection."

Kate has been doing a lot of work with digitizing and doing machine embroidery.

Joan Sterr did this piece called "Tree-ology" as part of the NQA batik challenge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NQA Show part II More MIniatures

Carolyn Susac of Reno, NV made this wonderful little applique entitled "Roses from the Florist." Carolyn has written a book entitled "The Hearts and Flowers Quilt Book." She does a lot of dimensional work and primarily does applique. She prefers needleturn, even in these little tiny pieces.

Mary Kay Mouton of Milledgeville, GA did this piece called "Flip-flop Paper Piecing." She completed this piece to illustrate the precision of her method which is described in her new book Flip-Flop Paper Piecing . Her quilting isn't bad either!

She won third place in the miniature division.

Pat Harrison made this piece basing her work on Sally Collin's book. She called her piece "French Confection." The center piece is fussy cut from a stripe. Pat lives in Exter, RI.

This is an amazing job of machine applique on a miniature. Barbara Lies of Madison, Wisconson made this one and called it "Saffron Offspring." It is an exact scale miniature of a large quilt using the same pattern.

This little piece is by Janice E. Petre of Stinking Springs, PA. She calls it "Log Cabin in the Log Cabins."

Himalayan Garden by Pat Holly of Ann Arbor, MI. "An old embroidery from India inspired me to design this completely machine appliqued and quilted miniature to honor amazing textiles from around the world.

Fittingly, an amazing piece to honor these amazing textiles.

Monday, June 21, 2010

National Quilting Association 2010 Show I

Columbus, Ohio is home to the National Quilting Association. Each year, they host an exhibition of member's works and invitational pieces covering all aspects of the quilting world...and it is wonderful. For more information on the NQA, look here

The show is held in the Convention center downtown, and while smaller than the American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY, it is really quite wonderful. Each year it seems to get better and better.

The first section I visited was the Special exhibition of tree quilts. The tree quilts covered all bases, but this miniature was really great.

At left is "Tree of Life," by Lorraine Olsen of Springfield, Missouri. Lorraine entered this in the special exhibition, but she also had a winner in the miniatures section. You can learn more about Lorraine from her website and you might be familiar with her work from her book, Little Lone Star Quilts.

In order to give you an idea of the size, I held my finger about 1" off the quilt face while I photographed it. I couldn't think of any other way to impart scale, but rest assured, this former museum curator would rather have her hand cut off than to touch someone else's work without gloves....seriously!

I really wish they would include the size of the quilt somewhere on the label, but they don't. Not even in the program booklet!

This is Lorraine's "Rainy Day Star" pieced from 1930s scraps. It's hand quilted. Believe it or not, but it only got a second place!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Eye Candy and Pocket Emptiers

It has been a really busy and rough week. Friday: finishing quilt and taking them over to a show; Friday night staying up until 1:45 am on Sat. to cut the pieces and pack for the class with Carol Taylor. Sat.: getting up at 4:45 am to take daughter to church to go on a mission trip. Leaving almost as soon as she left to drive to Columbus to take the class with Carol Taylor...
Almost falling asleep on the way to and from...not good.

So..I'll share some eye candy. One of my favorite vendors was Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods. Oh! What wondrous pieces! Such yummy many ways to lighten your bank account.

I did buy a few buttons, but mostly I drooled.

This place should supply bibs or napkins to wipe your face... enjoy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Small Art Quilt by Jane LaFazio

Things have been so busy around Casa Quintana the last few days, I thought I had better review the instructional video "The Small Art Quilt" by Jane La Fazio before I lose my thoughts. Just the other day, I was fortunate to win a copy of Jane La Fazio's "The Small Art Quilt" from a blog give-away on Lyric Kinard's bog which you can find on her website.

Jane LaFazio leads you in a journey of quick, intuitive quilts using wool felt, paint, torn edge applique, photos, and embellishments. She has really great sections on finishing small quilts and one on color and texture. This video is all about inspiration, but it gives thorough instructions so you aren't just sitting there saying "OK, and how did she get THAT effect." Since they are small quilts, you don't have to devote a lot of time or space in construction. Most of what she does is 8 1/2" x 11" and can be completed in a couple of days, not a couple of years...although I'm sure I could drag it out that long.

Her list of materials is minimalist so you don't have to have a lot of money to get started and you probably have most of the materials at hand already if you do traditional quilts. The directions are clear and easily followed. She goes over how to choose a good photograph for incorporation into quilts which I think would be a real boon for a lot of people.

The spontaneity is quite wonderful...but I keep on wondering how using un-ironed muslin backings work out...I'd think that the creases would show or could give you trouble in the long run. I'm sure that not ironing is just part of her "lets get in and do it" aspect , but I think I'll iron before hand just in case I do create something really wonderful.

I found this to be a fun, inspirational and well done video and well worth the money to purchase it. Running time is 69 minutes. You don't have to be an artist...or a quilter (yet) to dive in and get going...Jane will lead you along the way and make you feel comfortable while doing it.

One of the fun things is that at the end of the video there is a "trunk show" of all the finished pieces of what she was working on in the body of the video.

A couple of times I wish that the videographer would have zoomed in and showed her hands working on the piece...or a close up or overhead shot, particularly on her section on the smooshed ribbon embellishment as well as a closer shot showing the over-all piece. Sometimes the pieces remain flat on the table when a direct shot would have been better. One other time there was a voice off camera giving Jane a direction....not loud, but present none-the-less. these criticisms, however, are extremely picayune. None of the things make the video a "no-go", but they are areas which could be improved upon.

I highly recommend this video...for more experienced art quilters and art quilt-maker wannabees, I' m sure you can find things to help you explore or improve your pieces in this DVD.

Thanks Lyric for hosting the give-away, and thanks Jane for a really good lesson in small art quilt making.

Oh yeah...don't forget, small art quilts are also easier to store, so make one today!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Quilts of Love: South Lebanon, OH Quilt Show

Today I played hooky and went to a small quilt show in South Lebanon, OH. It bill's itself as "Southern Ohio's Friendliest Quilt Show." I have to say that this little show is one with a lot of heart. The proceeds from the show go to fund the town' essentials--their fire and life squad.

The show is in two old school buildings. Vendors galore fill the spaces.

The show has some interesting quilts, many of them vintage. The colorful Lone Star quilt shown here is one of many by featured artist Lois Thacker. Her quilts are a wonder, and if you're in the Cincinnati/Dayton area you really have to go to the show just to see her quilts. I'll be covering some of them in the next few days.

I'm not really a yo-yo quilt person, but this one was intriguing. Myra Fields made this one called Boston Commons yo-yo quilt. I've never seen this method of setting them. Myra made 850 yo-yos out of 200 different fabrics and finished it in 2009.

Here you can see that the yo-yos are free standing....some yo-yo tops are sewn to a backing so that you can't see through them. Some are left open, and this is a combination of the two methods.

I went with two fellow quilters from the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild (one of the three I belong to), Chris Landis and Mary Miller.

Chris and I were taken by this "Lone Star" quilt which was made by Mattie Hall, I would guess in the 1930s.

The brights and sherbet colors are just...well...yummy. The quilting was really nice too.

Do visit the quilt show. The town is a cute little town established in the late 1700s. One of their 1795 buildings is open to the public during the show. It is a bit toasty in the schools as not all rooms are air conditioned. Food is on site, and I can recommend Chubby's Pizza two blocks away if you don't want to eat on site.

Admission is $5, and since parking is limited in the town of South Lebanon, you can take the shuttle from the River's Crossing shopping center (near the front of Kohl's. ). Take a'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lost Quilt Come Home

Not too long ago, I finished this quilt except for the binding. I just wasn't sure how I was going to bind it. In addition, I noticed that my Bernina had skipped some stitches, even though I had been using the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator). I took it, and the machine to the Bernina dealership to have them look at it. The last time I remember seeing this quilt was when I put it back in the car after showing the dealer how the quilting was irregular.

I can't remember this quilt after that point, although I looked in most of the usual places. It is quite possible that I put it "someplace I will be sure to remember but will keep the cats off it until I can get back to it." Hopefully, I will remember that place soon. But, if I can't find it in my major sewing room cleansing, then at least I can always show it on Maria Elkin's "Lost Quilt Come Home" website.

Some of you may be familiar with Maria's fantastic work which has won awards at the AQS show in Paducah, or perhaps you've seen her on Quilting Arts, or maybe you have purchased her DVD. If you're really lucky, you've taken a class with her. If you're not familiar with her work, then you need to take a look at her website. You can also take a look at several of her pieces on here on my blog. In addition, she was featured on Dawn's Subversive Stitchers: Women armed with Needles wherein she tells the story of being taped for the session on Quilting Arts TV.

In 1999, a shipping company lost one of Maria's quilts. At that time, there was nothing to help quilters who had lost quilts to get the word out. Maria, not being one to sit around and let others do the work, started the website "Lost Quilts Come Home." Since then, she has re-designed the website.

The website is more than just a place to post lost (and found) quilts, she also gives tips on signing quilts, documenting them and other pertinent information that quilters should know whether or not they have lost or found a quilt. She graciously answered questions for me to share with you here.

LBQ: Since you started, how many quilts have been recovered?

ME: 83 quilts have been recovered. You can see the recovered quilts by clicking on the "Recovered" link under the "Categories" header in the right hand column.
LBQ: What is the most common way quilts become "lost"?

Maria E: The top ways quilts become lost are 1) being left in a car that is broken into or stolen; 2) lost by a shipping company; and 3) lost or stolen from a quilt show or quilt store.
LBQ. What is the single most important aspect of finding a quilt?

Maria E: I would say that letting people know your quilt is missing is the most important thing to do. I think it is also important to label your quilt with your name and contact information, and also having a photograph of your quilt.
LBQ: I notice quite often that people post quilts that they have found at Good Will Stores, Salvation Army etc. and are trying to connect them with the families. What do you think about that? What kind of outcomes are there? (I would think that some of these quilts were simply not wanted by the owners anymore....)
Maria E.: I'm happy to post any quilt. There are many instances where the owner accidentally sent their quilt to a thrift store (for instance, two bags get mixed up or a well-meaning family member was trying to help).
LBQ: I am sure that you incur costs in maintaining this site, do you accept donations or do you have other means of providing for it?

Maria E.: Since 1999 I have paid all costs for the site. However, previously I was working a full-time job with a good salary at the time. Now I am a full-time freelance artist, so I have been accepting PayPal donations. There is a link towards the bottom of the right hand column.
LBQ: How many people work on this with you?

Maria E.: No one else. Just me.
LBQ: Are you getting International submissions?

Maria E.: Yes, I get a significant number of international postings. You can see postings by country in the right hand column under the header "By Location." Click on the down arrow and then scroll upwards.
LBQ: What else would you like to communicate with "the world ". :)

Maria E.: While it would be wonderful if each of these quilts could be found, I think this website will have served its purpose if it motivates quilters to protect their own quilts before they become missing. Simple steps can be taken like labeling quilts, photographing, getting appraisals, and shipping safely.

Thank you Maria, both for taking the time to share with us AND in making the "Lost Quilt Come Home" website available to us. Hopefully, you won't see my quilt on your website and that people will be able to find theirs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Snake in the Grass

Lemmie, the handsome stray which arrived at our house already de-clawed and neutered as a young cat can be rather....annoying.

I know nothing of his original owners, although I tried and tried to find them. Evidently, he imprinted on the outside very young and he must have had a remarkable huntress for a mother.

I try to keep him in the house, but he is a gray streak and goes flying out the door. Usually, he is content to stay somewhat near me as I work in the garden. He is, however the consummate hunter. So far this year, he has brought me a not quite fledged Chipping Sparrow (unhurt, but I couldn't find the nest so it is now at a wildlife rehabilitators...I suspect he fell out of the nest and Lem grabbed him), a fledgling robin (returned unharmed to the robin parents), a vole (deceased after playing with it....that one is a good thing) and this adult garter snake.

The snake, thankfully was unharmed as well. Lem dropped him for me and I handed Lemmie over to my husband while I picked up the snake to put it back further into the garden so he wouldn't be exposed. Garter snakes can bite, but their bite is not poisonous. They are always welcome in my garden as they eat insects and rodents. This particular specimen was about 24" long. It was quite well mannered and let me pick him up without much struggle.

It is a pity that people are frightened of snakes. I had a neighbor in Connecticut who would try to kill them as she was afraid. I convinced her to let me come and bring the snakes up the street to my house. I'm sure some of them went back to her house, but I wasn't going to tell her that. Even my husband was aghast as I picked this one up....I knew he had an aversion to frogs, which I associate with an unfortunate experience in Cuba (the frogs were behind a shutter and many fell out when they opened the shutter), but they ARE slimy.... I always get to do the bullfrog removal from the pond....

Not much bothers me in the way of wildlife....except spiders...too many eyes and fangs...but then, I don't kill them either. My daughter makes fun of me as I try to release them outside. I don't have anything against them really, except I don't want them in MY house.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Are you waiting for me?

I often find inspiration in such seemingly simple things. These three chairs sat on the stage during an awards ceremony at my daughter's school. I loved the color and the shape...and took what my daughter terms "one of Mom's random photographs."

Random? Not at all. Looking at things and appreciating line and color and thinking of things which may find their way into a quilt is not random at all. The gift of seeing is one which we all should enjoy and share more often.

I've been among the missing because the break with the arm in the splint made it just a little difficult to type. Now, the splint is gone as the orthopedist said that to keep it in the splint would cause a loss of mobility. I should move it as usual, and if I experience pain while using it, then I shouldn't do that motion. Sounds good. Certainly, it is cooler. The only problem is that I have a much higher tolerance for pain than most people and a greater will to get things done. :)