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?


  1. What great projects, Nancy. I hope you get into the show, and get the three related pieces finished in time! Hope you get some sleep soon too!