Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stitching in Newport

Here I am in front of the Perry Mill Building, behind the 'Wave' statue in Newport, doing my thing. My daughter Andrea and I arrived right on time and we got set up fast. I created from 2-6pm on the plaza. By 3pm the wind really started to pick up a bit as we were not far from the docks. What we couldn't pin down, we weighted down.
I brought along a few things for people to look at and touch. The "Masters" book was one of a sampling of books I brought for people to look at. A few people had never seen art quilts before. My photos brought lots of attention from the kids who walked by, as I explained how they were quilts made by kids in school art class. The piece above sparked lots of interest. It's called 'Alfred's Garden' and was made in a workshop with Susan Shie. This is a very personal piece which connects to a love of gardening, passed from my father to myself, and a very wonderful reminder of a once in a lifetime experience with a master quilt artist.
My handy little traveling Sunbeam iron has been through just about everything and it is still working wonders. This is a studio iron only, as often bits of fusible web get onto the plate. Several people asked about the process of using fusible web. Some people find that it makes the quilts stiff and therefore don't use it, but I like the stiffness. It gives stability to the piece especially when finished and hanging. It is a bit of a challenge to embroider through it though as I will be remembering as I sew in all the cactus pickers.
So this is what my set up looked like. I brought along some finished pieces to illustrate in a visual way what finishing a piece looks like. A few people asked about how I would finish the piece I was working on. Well, if you are reading here, you know that here is where you will find out what happens to the one with the adobe and the prickly pear cactus.
We had to get a little creative on finding a way to hang the finished quilts. Next to the quilt is my plaza mate, a young knitter and spinner. This was only the first year for the people at Newport Bay Club to organize their Arts on the Plaza series. The coordinator, Bobby Oliveira, is looking to expand his idea next year to providing metal rigs to hang artwork, and possibly including musicians. All changes to the format have to be approved by the city of Newport zoning department. A special thanks to Bobby for the invite. It was a special day and an adventure. To the many of you who picked up my artist cards today and are reading this blog now, welcome.
Here is my progress for the day. I was able to iron down and sew all the cactus pieces including two of the five cactus flowers. I really have only small details left, the windows on the doors, the posts and their shadows, and three more cactus flowers. Then I can start planning the quilting, embroidery and the borders.
OK, what year is this? As we were packing up for the day my daughter noticed this restored 'Woody' rolling slowly up in traffic. My uncle Charley had one just like it years ago, minus the two surf boards, of course. A rolling antique, how cool is this! A fittingly fun way to end a lovely day in the city of Newport.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New quilt taking form: Prickly Pear and Adobe

Every new quilt has to start with a layout drawing. Above is my final drawing in marker ready for me to trace each shape and cut them out. Each fabric has to be prepared with iron-on adhesive first so it can be ironed in place on the quilt.
You can get a pretty good glimpse of how this one is shaping up with the picture above. I have loved the photo this is taken from for several years. When I first saw this building, in the late afternoon, I just knew that I would want to render it into artwork. The long shadows on the adobe make for a very dramatic look. The adobe pieces are already ironed onto the background of two pieces of dupioni silk, teal and rust. Tomorrow morning, before going into work for 1pm, I will attempt to sew down all the adobe pieces so that on Saturday I will have the freedom to add on all the other pieces over the top of them.
Sorry about the blurriness, but in the above picture you can get an idea of the patterning of each of the fabrics. The cactus fabrics all have a lot of blended color in them, which I just love, and I am pleased with the overall hint of lavender. For the most part the adobe is kind of monotone bland, with the exception of the sunflower print on the largest panel. Had to get my "girasole" (sunflower in Italian) in there somewhere. I still have the yellow flowers to cut and the posts which stick out of the adobe walls. They are, of course, what help to define the adobe, southwestern, style.

This may be the last post until Saturday night or Sunday. This is all tiring me out pretty badly, especially the working 8 hrs. a day part. I will take some pictures in Newport and I'll share them as soon as I can. Again, if you are inclined, and close enough to make a trip of it, I'd love to see you in Newport.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kwik Update

I spent the whole day working in the studio to prepare for Saturday. It was my last full day off before Newport. With two night shifts looming I was not expecting to get much done. I decided that because "Poppy Seeds" is so large, it often drags on the floor when I am sewing, I don't want to have it drag on the ground in Newport and I am leaving it home. I did a drawing drawn from a wonderful picture I took in Santa Fe a few years back of one of the museums in town and added drawings of my cactus. The background is prepared and I will be stitching down the first layer of pieces tonight and preparing all the others with "Wonder-Under" for my demo. I'll take pictures at the end of the night and post them with a review. I must say that I just love working with southwestern inspired colors, they are rich and hot. Just the way I like it!

All of my finished pieces are finally prepared to hang, with rods, pockets, name tags and loops for hanging. It's one of those tedious things that, while necessary, is just frustratingly time consuming. I'm just about packed, will finish doing so after I work on the cactus piece tonight. So, tonight, pictures.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Poppy Seeds"

Sitting down at the sewing machine at 11pm is not exactly what I was hoping for yesterday, but, *#@+ happens. Dinner was delicious. Anyway, I did get some work done. The lower left of the piece is looking pretty well stitched. There are two poppies and one iris in this area and I only have the smaller poppy left to stitch.
This is looking down at the lower corner area from the top. It's feeling good to see so much done. Below is a view of almost the whole quilt, from the vantage point of my stool. The ribbon border is a jacquard made by Laura Foster Nichols. Her ribbons are amazing and I have been saving this one for a long time for just the right quilt. This is it. I'd like to say that I will be working on this all weekend, but I don't really have a weekend. I'm working Saturday, Sunday and Monday. My next available time to put in some stitch time is Sunday after work. If I get anything done I will post some new pix.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Poppy Seeds" - Today's Progress

These leaves, while being very eye-catching and fun, are a pain to stitch around. I still have plenty to do but I did get this one done today. I was able to take the straight pins out and iron down the poppy over the leaves when I finished stitching the leaves.
Here I have almost finished the branch of leaves. You can see how the quilt is rolled to fit into the machine, as it is showing it's stuffing. It took me about 45 minutes to stitch one branch.
Don't know what is up with my little digital camera, but I have been getting a lot of blurry pix lately. With this group of leaves finished, I was able to iron down one of the last poppies.
This last poppy to get ironed is the biggest and most interesting. I was able to stitch some of it down as well as stitch part of the iris behind it so that this last branch of leaves which is in front of all the flowers could get ironed down too. I'm not looking forward to doing this branch because it is so large. What happens when I stitch something as intricate as this is that I must turn the whole quilt withing the confines of the machine arm opening in order to get the stitching going in the right direction. I roll, pull and push the quilt hundreds of times to get one branch done. I must have been nuts when I drew this one out!

I'm happy with what got done today, however I wish I was able to do more. Groceries, housework, dinner got in the way. My next full day off is Tuesday. I may get some time to work tomorrow night though, after work and dinner. I don't need to be to work on Saturday until 2pm, so a late night on Friday is possible.

Artist Statement Rack Cards

Well I finally was able to finish my rack cards and they just came in the mail yesterday. Above is a picture of the front and the back side by side. Many thanks to Andrea for her assistance. My computer knowledge only goes so far. I have been working on stitching "Poppy Seeds" as often as I get a chance. A good sign that things are progressing well is that all pieces of fabric are ironed into place with iron-on adhesive. As some of the color blocks cross over others, the ones under must be stitched first before ironing those on top. I have only one of these areas left to stitch the pieces underneath before ironing it all down into place.

I'm thinking that it will be "Poppy Seeds" I will be working on while in Newport. I'm working on preparing another though, so that I have a choice of what to work on while I am there. This one already has a backing stitched and ready. It is a drawing of my cactus and it's beautiful yellow flowers. There is not as much detail in this one so it may be easier to show progression in four hours, that it would be with "Poppy Seeds". Four hours doesn't get me very far due to the intricate leaf patterns I am stitching around. I'm also feeling an itch to get started on a drawing I have of three crows in a tree. The crows around the property have been pretty verbal lately and they always remind me of fall. I would need to prepare the backing for this one though. I'll post my photos of my stitching today later tonight.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Business of Art

I must admit that the business end of being an artist is the least appealing to me. I have spent so much time thinking about how to get myself out there, that I'm sure the time would have been better spent stitching. My daughter, Andie, helped me get this business card done on-line for very little money and only a moderate amount of my time. I really needed something to bring with me to Newport in a couple of weeks, which people could take with them. Perhaps I will get a sale out of it.

The one thing which bothers me is that the studio info is getting published, in the name of promoting business. Handing these cards out as well as posting here, may help business, but it's a risk. One, I guess, that I have been hedging on but am now taking. If no one knows how to find Studio Girasole, then I will continue to be isolated. If you don't ever buy a lottery ticket, how can you ever expect to win the lottery.

I spent a good part of the day working on "Poppy Seeds", the name I have given to one of the quilts I have been working on for a while. I really want it done in two weeks. How that is going to happen? I don't know. But I am making every attempt.
Grabbing every second on the machine, around my crazy schedule!
I will take some pictures later towards the weekend and post them with some progress reports.