Monday, May 27, 2013

Call For Entry

It's been a while since I've posted but that's because I have been crazy busy in the studio. I was looking through a colleague's blog last Tuesday when I came upon a call for entry. It was posted in March, but I just saw it last week, three days before the entry date was due. Most intelligent people would run in the opposite direction, or at least just pass it over without a thought. Not me. I actually let the idea in and I thought it was a good one. There was no entry fee, so all I had to loose was some time. I'd end up with a piece after all my work and I need to build my portfolio anyway. That's how I talked myself into it.

Well I did finish it on time but I still don't know if the piece got into the show. I hesitate to get into much detail until I know. I have included a few shots of how I went about creating it. It was a food related show so I started with my grandmother's tablecloth and did some tracing of all those little holes between her tatting.

I fused some Wonder Under to a piece of PFD white cotton, flipped it over so the cotton was face down on my cutting board and flipped my tracing paper over so it was backwards. With an exacto knife I cut out all the little holes leaving the lacework of the tablecloth. As there were items on the tablecloth, I left those areas uncut. I was thankful that my drawing included many items on the table because this process took a very long time and produced a blister on my finger. When I peeled the paper off the cotton I was able to fuse it to the colored 'tablecloth' underneath.

My next move was to start stitching. My process always includes satin stitch lines to 'quilt' my fused pieces to the backing. So I spent a whole day stitching it all down with white thread. Can you say, "LABOR INTENSIVE?"

The actual food in this food related artwork was Grandma's homemade pasta. I drew out a plate full of it complete with meatballs because Angelina's meatballs were like a bite of heaven. Unusual for me, I took out some paint markers to flesh out the scene, brown to outline the strands and red for the sauce. This was a very long process in itself. I started it at around 9pm and finished drawing in time to go to bed at 4am.

The next day and a half were non-stop at the sewing machine as I stitched everything down. Stitching the pasta took a good 5 hours. By the time I finished the piece on Friday, I had pulled an all-nighter. This is something I have not done since I was in college and to be truthful, at 57 is not anything I wish to do again. I will post the finished piece in a later posting. I will know if it was chosen for the show by the 7th of June. But I already feel like I have won the prize, because this was the first piece I have ever entered in a show. I proved to myself that I can do this and that I should be doing this often. After all what is the point of being an artist if no one ever sees your work. In or out of the show, I have a new completed piece for my portfolio.

So on to the next ridiculous request of time. There is a regional SAQA show coming up that's just perfect for me. Called 'Three Cohesive Pieces' it is a show hanging at IMAGES at the Lowell quilt festival this summer. Three unified pieces will be chosen as a group and must be united by some combination of subject, color, style, voice or technique. All pieces must be current being made from 2010 to the present and must not have been shown at an IMAGES show before.

OK, so I have nothing finished from these recent years due to my crazy job which kept me out of the studio for any reasonable length of time. I had a few started but they were not pieces that could be shown as cohesive together. So I picked one, my Santa Fe adobe with the prickly pear cactus. I worked all last week on finishing the piecing, and getting all the quilting done.

Above is the piece as I have it done today. I have quite a bit of embellishment to add by hand: beads, embroidery and buttons. But for all intents and purposes this one is done. I have called it 'Enchanted' and it is 29 1/4" x 25 1/4".

To the right is my second entry which is a rendering of another prickly pear. There are many types of prickly pear which produce flowers in the color range from yellow through hot pink and whose paddles range from sage green to violet green. This one will have bright pink flowers. 
In trying to keep these pieces cohesive, I have chosen a silk background like the first in a warm earth color. There will be a border like the first and I already have chosen the fabric for this. It is a green silk taffeta with pink embroidered dots in the same pattern as Mother Nature has created for the spines of a cactus. While having it's own identity, color-wise, there are enough similarities to link it to 'Enchanted.'

The third piece of this puzzle will come from photos that I took in New Mexico of the ruins at Chaco Canyon. All three pieces will speak highly of my love of the high desert and are drawing from my photographs of my few trips there, my latest being this April for the SAQA Convention. I just love the shadow play in the smaller picture and it is this one which I have begun drawing.
I blew up a black and white of the photo to the finished size so I could work on my stitching lines with some tracing paper. This one will be very similar in colors to the first, warm bricks and blue, blue sky of silk. 
My deadline for these three pieces, all of which need to be not only sewn but embellished, is June 15. I may not be posting much until I am sure I have enough time to finish them.

SAQA MA/RI had a regional meeting on Saturday at the Button Box in Wellesley, MA. After discussing our old and new business we all headed upstairs to do some shopping. Above are some of the fabrics I took home. The warms are possibles for the ruins and the hot pink will show up in the prickly pear. I just loved the two to the far right as they are full of tiny dots of color which will make for colorful blacks and dark values.

It is time for me to do the work, and start to enter shows. I have been pushing myself lots, getting less sleep and doing less housework or garden tending, but I am feeling happy and fulfilled. What more can anyone ask?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SAQA Conference in Santa Fe, Part II

If you have just popped into my blog, you will find that this post is a continuation of my previous post. This year's SAQA Convention was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is a recollection of my week-long stay in NM with my daughter Andrea for the convention and some sight-seeing. The previous post took in our first few days, Tuesday through Friday. Here you will read about our last days in NM, Saturday through Monday.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, I found myself with a lot of time for checking out Santa Fe. I had not signed up for the workshops running on Saturday. I ended up waiting for my lovely daughter to get herself ready so I used the time to start to translate a quick drawing I had done earlier in the week from a photo taken from my room window. I travel with goodies to create mini quilts including pre-fused fabric pieces.

Really all you need is an iron and board and you are in business. I always pack a tube of 'iron off' in case I make a little mess but I haven't yet. So Saturday morning before we went cruising, I cut and ironed the first layer of a mini of Santa Fe. I will sew all these pieces when I get home, adding more layers and some details.

This is how the piece ended up by the time Andrea was ready to go for the day. It is now waiting for time on the sewing machine to get finished off. As I am working two pieces I want to enter into a juried show by June 1, this mini will have to wait a bit.

We drove right downtown and parked in a garage for the day. Heading to the square, which was hopping with people and some live music, we went straight to the Palace of the Governors to look through the wares on display. I had to add a bit to my turquoise jewelry collection. According to the sign this was the site of the first chapel in Santa Fe.

There are galleries everywhere in Santa Fe. We passed through a few of them. Andrea loved the antelope guy that we saw in many places.
And then there are the rows and rows of shops. We needed to buy gifts for those back home and found a great leather shop which fit the bill for most of it. It was a lovely, sunny, warm day and we did a lot of walking.

What would Santa Fe be without the Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi! I have seen the Cathedral from the outside before but never had gone inside. We decided to go in and it was just beautiful.

There were bands of hand painted designs running up the walls and all over the ceiling. The picture to the right is part of it as it ran down the wall. It was about a foot wide and the lovely golden color is gold leaf.

In the '70's in the northeast, Catholic churches went through a purging of their interiors, getting rid of all the statues and paintings of the saints which had been there for years. Many beautiful pieces of art were re-organized and we never saw them again. I am very glad that they did not do any purging in this Cathedral, as the artwork was just breathtaking. We saw three other churches on Saturday, lighting candles in each for friends and family. We even saw the oldest church in the country, San Miguel.

Not only did we see the oldest church, but the oldest house as well. Unable to go inside, we could see the primitive ways in which it was built just from the doors and windows.

I got exhausted early in the afternoon. Yes, the altitude was wearing on me even though I drank water like a fish all week. On the way back to the garage we walked down the Santa Fe Trail and saw this plaque in a wall along the way.

Saturday evening was the banquet and this year it was a buffet filled with delicious southwestern fare. After eating we were treated to a talk by Geoffrey Gorman, an artist creating unusual sculptures of animals out of found objects. He was a natural speaker filling the room with humor. Some of what I took from his experience was a need to find the right market for unusual art, to believe in your work and to be your own best supporter of it. He has made some videos about his process which are wonderful. It's well worth checking out on youtube, just search his name and you will have many videos to choose from. You can also find his work in the Jane Sauer Gallery

Sunday morning was the ending of the convention. To send us off in style, they planned a panel discussion with five SAQA members hailing from New Mexico, Betty Busby, Ed Larson, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Kay Khan and Terrie Hancock Mangat. Each of the five showed us slides of how their work evolved through time as they spoke about their styles and their journeys. Each brought a piece which was hung behind the panel. The first photo is a piece by Betty Busby and the second, which is being photographed after the discussion was over, is by Terrie Hancock Mangat. 

The room was packed and it was a great way to end the weekends festivities. Great job by all in SAQA and by the girls in New Mexico especially for hosting such a great convention.

Left with a whole afternoon, Andrea and I took off to the Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks. We did two walking trails, one high in which Andie drove our Ford Focus up a dirt winding road to the top of a mountain. And the other was at the base of the rocks which is what the picture shows. They were so impressive!  

We spent the balance of the day walking in and out of galleries on Canyon Rd.

Monday, our last day in Santa Fe was a full one. We got up early to trek up to Taos. We took the scenic route up which went through some very quaint towns like Chimayo, Truchas and Trampas and Carson National Forest. We got a bit lost in Truchas as our GPS system went out. But it was fun. In Taos we first went to the Pueblo, which you can see to the right with Andrea dwarfed by not only the pueblo, but the mountains and big sky. Walking through the square in Taos, we found a quilt shop and got lost in the bolts of fabric for a while. We stopped for burgers in Sonic just outside of town and discovered a huge family of prairie dogs living next to the fast food. Got some fun pics of the little buggers. 

Finishing up our stay in Taos, we drove over the Rio Grande as it passed through the Taos Gorge. Parking on the far side we started walking over the bridge to take pictures. Andie got only about 20 ft. and froze. Let me tell you that this photo does not do justice to the massiveness of this gorge. It's a long way down from that bridge! I went out about halfway to take pictures. I have never been to the Grand Canyon, but this has to be near as impressive.

And so our trip to the Land of Enchantment came to an end. Tuesday we flew all day long to get back to Little Rhodie. Many thanks to SAQA for another wonderful convention and many thanks to all the SAQA volunteers from New Mexico who made our stay in their state a real pleasure. See you all in DC next year!

My next post will be to catch up with what I am now doing in the studio. As I have mentioned, there is a juried show coming due on June 1st which I am trying desperately to finish two pieces for. Not only do I have to finish them, I also have to have them photographed. May not make it, but I am going to try. 


Sunday, May 5, 2013

SAQA Conference in Santa Fe, Part I

I took full advantage of the hotel's offer, (The Lodge in Santa Fe), to let SAQA members stay a full week at $79 a night. My daughter, Andrea, who just happened to have some time off for good behavior, accompanied me to Santa Fe. We flew in on Tuesday, April 23rd and flew out on Tuesday, April 30th. Dragging two heavy suitcases full of everything from hiking gear to evening wear we set off on a week of adventure.

We flew into Albuquerque, so we had an hour's drive in our rental car up to Santa Fe. Once settled in our room, I gave a call to my neighbors from Connecticut, Rita Hannafin and Catherine Whall Smith. After chatting with friends in the Lounge at the hotel we went out for dinner at Taberna, a lovely and delicious Spanish restaurant in town serving wonderful tapas. These two pics are in the restaurant. Between Andie and I on the far wall was an interesting piece of fiber art of sardines. Santa Fe has so much to offer in just about every corner.

A full day before the convention started, we had planned on going to Taos, but the skies looked a bit cloudy and cool and Taos is even farther north, so we rearranged. We took off south back to the Albuquerque area to Petroglyph National Monument. 

After checking out the visitor center, we suited up for a walk. Sneakers, sun block, hat for me, water and cameras. Ready to go. I stopped short at the sign at the beginning of the trail warning of rattlesnakes on the trail. Turns out the trail was loose sand with a few markers here and there. Was worse than walking on the beach. Basically the path hugged close to the canyon full of volcanic rocks which look like they had tumbled randomly down the hills. We saw tons of petroglyphs but it was like hide and seek finding them. Thankfully we did not see a rattlesnake; a few lizards and hummingbirds and some unknown tracks but no snakes. I now have lots of petroglyph pictures and they may find their way into my artwork.

Thursday the 25th was the opening of Expanding Horizons. Registration began at 1pm. Andie and I decided to check out some shopping in Santa Fe earlier in the day. First stop, Jackalope This has to be the craziest mix of imports I have ever seen, spanning several buildings and spilling out into courtyards between. Their collection of gemstone beads was incredible and I spent a bundle on some great future embellishments.

Above are some printing blocks from Bali or India. They need a bit of touching up but have a lot of life left in them. Going to have some fun in the studio playing with them and some dyed fabric. Boy it took some time to pick these out of hundreds of options. After Jackalope, we went to three bead shops mentioned in an email by Julie Filatoff, SAQA member from the Santa Fe area. Thank you Julie! We both bought beads and I got some beautiful yarn to embellish my mermaids quilt.

Rosary Beads
Andrea Theriault
April 25, 2013

And while I was checking in and going to the 'Speed Dating' event, my daughter was busy making a rosary in the hotel room. Her boyfriends childhood rosary had broken, so she decided to make him a new one. By the time we left on the 30th, she had returned to 'Beadweaver' and 'Beading Heart of Santa Fe' for more supplies and completed several very different and very beautiful rosaries.

I must have been one of the last to register for the convention. Shopping is my second favorite pass-time, especially when it is for my first favorite pass-time, my art. At registration I was informed that the vendors were only selling until 7pm. So naturally, I had to get in there to shop. Some of my purchases are to the right: beautiful hand dyed fabric from Africa, femo buttons, hand dyed and over-dyed fat quarters and not shown are a lovely silk scarf which was done with resist and some gorgeous desert colored dyes and three books from the SAQA table. They also had a trunk show on display from Australia/New Zealand. Beautiful work!

The 'Speed Dating' event was so much fun, similar to the one I attended in Denver. Met  so many new colleagues and friends and walked away with handfuls of cards to search websites & blogs. I was so wired I did not want to stop and go to bed. Sat and talked to friends Catherine Whall Smith, Rita Hannafin, Carol Larson and Gay Ann Young.

Friday started early with breakfast at 8 am. I am not a morning person, so this was a bit rough. A full day of events unfolded for me with my first workshop. My friend Margaret Blank was also attending this workshop with Carol Ann Waugh. Coming from a marketing background Carol outlined 'How to make a living in 5 years.' I was unaware, having been to Carol's studio in Denver, that she has been making her art for only five years.

Carol touched on so many necessities of a business geared around the arts. In her personal pie chart she admitted to only making 10% of her income from sales of her work. Workshops and sales of publications figured heavily in her income. Websites are essential to getting yourself out where you can be found. She also touched on the need for a database to keep track of your art, a resume that touts your every accomplishment, and simply making time for marketing in your day to day schedule. I consider my chat with her one of the weeks most important personal accomplishments. This woman has it together and is willing to help those who need assistance.

My second workshop of the morning was with Patty Hawkins. At 76 years of age, Patty has been making art for decades and had many 'pearls' of wisdom about being an artist. She stated that an artist needs to applaud those willing to promote your work and be open to listening to suggestions. One of her pearls resonated with me, as she suggested staying in the zone as you are creating and letting your work speak to you. Her work was expansive and gorgeous. Of course I recognized many of her pieces from my Quilt National and Visions books. Her workshop was a pleasure and I'm glad I took it.

Lunch was provided on Friday as we all rolled into the banquet room for iced tea and our selections for food. I chose chicken terriyaki which was yummy. 

We listened to several SAQA members tell why they volunteered for SAQA and what they got out of it. We were encouraged to write what we thought our special talents and resources are. Ultimately we were led to understand how volunteering is a win/win because not only are we helping a great organization, we feel wonderful for doing it and learn much in the process as we get to know many new colleagues.

My third workshop with Melody Randol started after lunch. Melody's workshop was about color theory. Having many art classes behind me as I have come to my quilting through a degree in art, I was familiar with some of what she was saying. However I picked up so much more as she was gearing her theories to fabrics. She talked about using the color wheel to design, limiting color, and the use of black, white and neutrals to 'pop' the colors in your quilting. She used photos of her own work as example and brought many of her pieces for us to look through. As I got home, I have been looking at my own color choices and how I can utilize her theories to punch up my own work. Thank you Melody for your many insights!

Right after my third workshop I lucked into a ride to the Capitol Building to see the SAQA show, New Mexico: Unfolding. I hitched a ride with Julie Filatoff, who had a piece in the show. It was a wonderful show, full of color, inventiveness, and definitely representative of the state. I'm glad I got to see it and I now have the catalog book for this show.

I really loved the pieces made by Judith Roderick. She hand paints silk and then quilts and embellishes with buttons. A girl after my own heart, as you must know by now, I love buttons! This piece is called 'Tree of Life' and is full of the birds that Judith says show up at her feeder in Placitas. Judith had another piece hanging called 'Peaceable Kingdom' which was also splendid.

As day turned into night on Friday, we all went to the Santa Fe Spotlight event. Members had donated 6" x 8" works to be sold by silent auction for the benefit of SAQA. I had donated a piece I called 'Catch A Dragon's Tail.' Here I am with my favorite piece by member Phyllis Cullen from HI called 'Aloha Spirit.' Members walked around four tables set up with artwork on small easels, each with a clipboard in front of it for members to monetarily bid increments of $5 beginning at $25. You can see the table to my right with other pieces on it. As each of the four tables came near their staggered close, there was a frenzy by some to procure the piece they wanted. I hovered a bit over Phyllis's piece knowing that I wanted to buy it. I was indeed successful and I am thrilled to have this piece now in my studio.

Here I am with my new friend, Phyllis Cullen. She is a rep from Hawaii and you can read about her story on the SAQA website Phyllis does beautiful portraits and you can also view her work in Martha Sielman's new book, 'People & Portraits.'

And yes, my own piece sold as well. Here I am with Michele Lea who not only bought my piece here tonight but had bought my first donated piece to the SAQA Auction in 2011. I'm seeing the beginning of a collection here. Michele picked up several beautiful pieces here and told me she has a special spot for all her mini quilts. Check the link out to find out more about Michele.

The night ended with SAQA making $5,200 on the event and many happy people walking away with some incredible art. Some pieces went for way, way over the $100 mark. I hope SAQA decides to do this again. It was a festive night, punctuated by singing and much merriment.

Well I have been very chatty in my remembrances of my week in New Mexico. I need to go to bed. So I am going to pick up with my recollections of Santa Fe in my next post. I'll be posting about Saturday through Monday's activities as well as my general thoughts on the week and all I learned from it.