Thursday, October 29, 2015

Studio Story: Remodeling, Part 5

Since I've been traveling almost constantly since.....wait.....mid-July?  I haven't been great about blogging.  Time for an update about the studio remodel!
The ongoing discovery of poor workmanship on the original build continued with the windows.  The collection of windows on the house, both upstairs and down, were installed improperly which was allowing water to run inside the walls.  Do I need to elaborate on the consequences of this over a 30-year span?  Probably not!
So, the stucco was cut out from around the windows (and other places where wood rot was discovered), the structure repaired, waterproofed, and new windows were installed.

I can't imagine what our neighbors must think we are doing!

The good news:  I have an amazing team on the job and despite all the unexpected set-backs they remain on-schedule with the remodel.  Here are my "morgue drawers", as I call them.  They are heavy-duty!  Each long drawer can hold up to 500 pounds.  I anticipate storing extra sewing machines and other heavy items in these.

A new set of cabinets and a small countertop, and to the left of the ladder is another closet.

The concrete floor in the wet-room has been ground down and sealed.  Now it is covered with protective paper.

The hallway doesn't look like much yet.  We added an area of recessed shelving to house my books and miscellaneous keepsakes

In the main studio design area it appears I am hosting a door convention!  See that big guy close to the window?  That is my sliding "barn door" which will mostly cover up my quilt storage area but can slide to close the wet room if needed.
We have gone from this......

to this.....

Best thing yet?  My orange ceiling beam!  
If you know how much I adore orange you know how I am happy about this!
My cabinets in the wet room will also sport this color on the outside.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Affinity For Improv and Love of the Line

I am exploring some new territory in my recent work.  This is one of those intervals that may appear to be coming out of nowhere, but in reality, this has been on my "list" for some time.

It started last spring when I went to study at the Crow Timberframe Barn with Carol Soderlund.  I got to do two things at once that I had been dreaming of and it was a great experience.  It started me on a path I have been thinking about since the late 80s:  studying with Nancy Crow.

The reaction I get is usually something like this:  "I don't understand. Why are you doing this?  This doesn't seem like a place your work is going...." and on.  Yes, I get that people don't see it as a natural progression of the work I was doing two years ago.  I'm quite fine with that.  This exercise has multiple goals:
To study with an artist whose work I admire a great deal.  
I want her to challenge my point of view.
I expect it to be difficult.
I expect to struggle, and probably to fail multiple times.
My goal is not to make work that resembles Nancy's, rather, it is to see what is possible by adding the information she gives me to my own aesthetic.

I can't wait to see what shakes out of all this!

One revelation:  free-cutting fabric selvedge to selvedge with a rotary cutter to expose the gestural line in cloth.  This really excites me!  I feel so close to drawing when I do this:  I'm pulling the rotary tool toward me versus the traditional method ofpushing it away.  No ruler!  It allows more control and  is deeply satisfying.

I created this quilt which is my curator's piece for the soon-to-be "Affinity" exhibition (for Dinner At Eight Artists in Houston at the International Quilt Festival) using this free-form method of construction and I'm pretty happy with the results.  All the quilts in the exhibition will be 40 inches square.
With the exception of some of the black and gray, the rest of this fabric was hand-dyed by me.

I enjoyed the process of free-motion quilting this piece on my Bernina 750QE.

I hope many of you will be at the International Quilt Market & Festival this fall in Houston, TX.  Please look me up!  I'll be there!  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Late August/September happenings.

Despite the crazy travel schedule I have had this year I really have been able to produce some work.  Here are a few images of life as I have seen it through garden discoveries, beautiful vistas in places I love, and quilts.
Beautiful cicada (I think) wing found in the garden at home.

A wonderful retreat with my SA Mod Quilt Guild friends in Kerrville TX.

Making my curator's piece for the upcoming installation of "What's For Dinner?"
which will be shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
Here is the beautiful cross-stitch embroidery of my Bernina 750QE.  This is the edge of my 
dinner "plate".

A view of my place-setting for "What's For Dinner?".

Quilting my piece, "Bright Light On the Edge of the Horizon" for Oasis,
a regional SAQA exhibition to debut in Palm Springs, CA.

Putting the facing on the quilt....

A trip to Kansas to help a friend who is having surgery.  We drove out into the Flint Hills the day before.  I have a deep connection to this part of the country.

A field of ripe sunflowers.  Gorgeous day in Kansas!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Come To Craft Napa!

 January 7–9, 2016

Registration for CRAFT NAPA 2016 is now LIVE! Join other artists and 

crafters for an art retreat in wine country featuring stitching, 

art quilting, improvisational piecing, mixed media, collage, 

journaling, paper arts, and more. Plus, don't miss out on the 

"Blend Your Own Vintage" competition where you have a 

chance to take home a custom-blended bottle of wine 

and be in the running to win a brand new BERNINA sewing 

machine! Swag bags, good food, wine, and the opportunity

for community crafting and relaxing among friends abound. 

Click the "here"  to learn more!

Join me along with these 8 other amazing instructors 
for a jumpstart to your creative year.  
We are going to have so much fun!

Set in the lush locale of Napa Valley, California, 
Craft Napa is a great opportunity to hang out with
 like-minded people, make art, and have fun!  
Will I see you there?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Studio Story: Part Four

I meant to post a copy of my blueprint so you could see the layout of the studio in the last post but I forgot to do it.  This will be a very short post!

The area at the bottom of the image is my newly-poured concrete slab directly out from the new door.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Studio Story Part 3: Overcoming the Unexpected

Even when you anticipate that there will be things that you don't know about......let's just say that we have had more of this than we anticipated!  Ha!
I am trying to remain philosophical.  Tis better to know the reality and deal with it, right?!
Yes, that is what it looks like:  an enormous (!) old honeycomb was removed from behind the old shower plumbing.
See that line running UNDER the foundation?
That is irrigation pipe, and it was not capped off.  The studio is part of a major addition 
that was added to the house by the original owners.  Who did it?!

The corner just left of the left window in this image was in such bad repair the entire thing was reconstructed and waterproofed.  

These two people, my architect and the project foreman, are working together to get it done properly.
Many problems have been solved.

Here is the newly-widened doorway leading into the new wet-area.  
This will have a  pocket door.

A new shelving area was added to the old hallway...

And this was taken standing in a newly-created doorway looking from the hall into the wet-area.
The plywood on the far side of the room will eventually be the new door leading out to the side yard 
and a newly-poured concrete slab where I can do stinky messy stuff.

Looking from the main room down the hallway...

Some other fun stuff....
I'm looking at materials for the space.  I chose this birch flooring/stain (on the right)
for the main design area of the studio (the wet-area will have simple concrete floors with rubber mats).  The hexi tile will be installed on the floor of the old shower area in the wet room.  The gray composite material in front of the hexi sample is laboratory countertop material, which is what I intend to use on the counter of my wet studio (just one place, everything else will be stainless surface).  

Here we are looking at a variety of subway type tiles for the shower walls.  I want a combo of rectangular pieces (naturally!) so we are discussing how to do this.

Maybe some combo of these?

I was able to sneak out and carve our initials into my newly-poured slab.
I've always wanted to do this!  Yay!

The status is that we are still chasing an occult water leak which seems to be coming from failed caulking around the old window frames.  This has caused a lot of damage and we are dealing with that.  The sheetrock work really can't begin until this has been solved but the crew is finding many things that can be done while the search is on for the leaks.  The electrical upgrades have been put in place.  I added another circuit to handle the potential load from multiple heat sources.  The design wall board has arrived.  I am using the same material as Nancy Crow has in her Timberframe barn in Ohio, a product from Canada which is not frequently used here in the States but is AWESOME for pinning!  We have figured out how to put it up and finish around it.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Bit Of Whimsy Awaits You: Try An Adult Coloring Book Created For You By Jamie Fingal!

Who doesn't love to color?  You know what?  We are never too old to do it!  And the time is right to indulge your childhood joy once again as adult coloring books are making a big comeback.  I have had a really good time in the past several days with Jamie FIngal's new self-published "Whimsical Inspirations" book.  And, what fun for me:  I was enroute to Jamie's house to spend some time with her and did some coloring on the airplane and some while sitting across her at the dining room table.   

Jamie chose 110 weight Vellum Bristol Cover Stock and tried all sorts of media on it:  watercolors, copic markers, etc., and had no "bleed thru" (although she does suggest you might want to put a paper behind any dense oil-based marker to be safe).  Her amount of pressure didn't cause any bleed-thru but she knows everyone's drawing pressure on the page varies.
I love the fact that, despite using Caran D'Ache crayons with water brush and watercolors loaded onto a Pentel Waterbrush.

Jamie's coloring book is completely hand drawn with a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point black pen, and some drawings took over 5 hours to create. 12 coloring pages printed on heavier paper, so you can use paints and markers.  Just put a separate piece of paper behind the page you are coloring, so if there is anything that goes through the paper, the next page will be protected.  Chip board back and coil binding. A variety of drawings await you with sewing and quilt inspired blocks, imaginary flowers, trailers, houses, dresses, and cups and saucers.  You can even color in the opening page for an added bonus.

Here I am, sitting at the gate in the San Antonio airport about to get on the first of two flights
heading to Orange County CA.  I have my little Koi watercolor pocket field sketch box and my first-ever Pentel Waterbrush.  I didn't use the one that came in the box, for some reason.  I loaded it
but I never had to switch to this brush because the Pentel brush worked SO WELL and the water seemed to last forever.  I am sold on these brushes:  perfect for mess-free painting on the plane and everywhere else.  

I chose this page because Jamie and I have a long-standing email strand we refer to as 
"The Coffee Break".  This page was perfect for me to work on.

The first drops of water go onto the pans to moisten the watercolors.

This work is so relaxing and meditative.

As I progressed to the background I sort of wish I had been paying attention to the pink on the cup and used another contrasting color in this area.  Oh well....

I had so much fun making this page.  One thing I particularly love is that the page
did not buckle from the water media.  

I hope you will join in on all the fun and pick up one for yourself and why not get a few extras?  You might as well because all your friends are going to want one when they see yours!  Stop by Jamie's blog and look for the link in the right column to purchase.  It is easy!

I hope you will stop by all the other blogs on this hop and see what they did with "their" page.  Leave a comment here (and on the other posts) to become eligible for a coloring book giveaway!

Sunday, August 2 - It's National Coloring Book Day and I will kick it off.  I am having a book signing and sale in my studio from 12-3 

Monday, August 3 - Lyric / Markers - Quilt Circles
Tuesday, August 4 - Leslie / Watercolors or Markers - Coffee Cups

Wednesday, August 5 - Desiree / Ink Tense Pencils - Trailers
Thursday, August 6 - Deborah / watercolors - Houses
Friday, August 7 - Susan / watercolors - Flowers on Page 3
Saturday, August 8 - Sue / colored pencils - Dresses