Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fiber work I enjoy every day

"Choir", by Jane Dunnewold, hanging in our living room

See how happy I am to be standing in front of it?

"Red Alert", by Laura Beehler, greets me when I walk into my studio.
It hangs behind the "thinking couch".

I choose art that speaks to me.  I want things that give me joy.  It is especially wonderful if it was created by someone I know and love.  Here are two especially treasured works that fulfill those things.  I fell in love with both of these pieces while they were being created, as I share studio space with Jane and Laura and we frequently work in the studio at the same time.  While I love most everything that these two women create, these pieces shouted, "You MUST own me and gaze at me every day".  So, I listened.  
While I don't acquire every piece that speaks to me, I can say without hesitation that I have never been disappointed by following my instinct.  Every time I look at the art that is in my home it gives me great joy.  If even one piece that I create can evoke this feeling in someone else I will consider myself richly rewarded as an artist.  Frankly, money has nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is my "taste of summer"? Insalata Caprese

Here is my wonderful plate of delicious-ness!

This is a local purveyor of cheese from a small town near Austin. 
The mozzarella cheese is fabulous!
I was fortunate to be given this container of Fleur de Sel
by one of my husband's French business associates.

Gorgeous basil & thyme that went into the dish

A new tool that works well:  a tomato slicer!

Today I prepared a little taste of summer:   Insalata Caprese.  The fragrance of freshly 
picked basil and ripe tomatoes are the essence of summer.  These aromas remind me of early morning trips to the local farmer's market.  Nothing makes me happier than a huge bunch of basil in a vase next to my kitchen sink.  I got all the ingredients to make a wonderful salad
and it tastes as good as it looks.  Yum!


Small and large raindrops cling to the Pride of Barbados blossom

I nick-named this the "Big Bird" plant because the blossoms resemble the top of BB's head
(now it looks even stranger with the strings of tiny raindrops)
Interesting drop patterns on the unripe Meyer Lemons

Ahhh.....RAIN!  A rarity these days in South Texas, we are tempted to dance around outside when it happens.  We have enjoyed a whole inch in the last 24 hours and this morning I noticed some interesting droplet patterns on the plants.  I'm not sure I captured their beauty as well as I hoped.  I am obsessed with surface tension on a variety of surfaces:  pressure resulting in cracks in asphalt & buildings, piles of river rocks, driftwood on the shoreline.  These patterns emerge in my quilting quite frequently.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Printing on unconventional materials

Silk/cotton cloth that was pinned under the disposable washcloths during printing

Facial cloths with various colors and script dye-printed onto them

A single cloth, printed 3 separate times with thickened dye

While I am busily working in the studio on 3 different projects (deadlines! deadlines!) I am ruminating about how I will construct a piece with the dyed facial cloths and the "dropcloth" I positioned underneath them.  I fell in love with the wonderful patterning created during the printing.  
These were accomplished using a small (8x8 inch screen area) silkscreen.  First, I wrote over the silkscreen using thickened dye extruded from a curved dental syringe.  Second, I pulled the (slightly thicker) dye across the damp "writing" which created a blurred, but still somewhat legible, script.  I am not interested in whether my script can be literally interpreted.
I was definitely telling a story, but I am not motivated by whether the viewer can understand all of it.  I would rather that the viewer is drawn in and finds his or her own meaning.  I love the effect of writing on surfaces, whether it is graffiti or carefully written calligraphy.  
The images you see in this post are unfinished.  Where will they go next?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Friends

Curie, with her furry friends Daisy (left) and Daphne

......."Hey!  Where did she go?"

I spent a couple of days in Austin last week working on 2 separate collaborative projects.  While staying at my friend Frances' house I had fun playing with her Yorkies, Daphne and Daisy.  Yorkies are tiny little dogs that didn't get the memo they are small.  
In addition, I met two of her new neighbors who recently relocated from Korea.  This little girl came to visit with her mother while I was there, and I enjoyed watching her interact with the dogs, who were quite tolerant of being toted around.  The Yorkies were sad to see her go!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Useful Tools and my studio companions

Bizzi keeps a close watch on squirrel activity in the garden

Here are "the girls":  cherished photos, and my glass "girls" sporting their daisy hats

My Rowenta iron:  the tank sits nicely on the opened drawer of my cutting table when I use it to fuse elements to a quilt top.  The long cord allows me to move it between the table and my ironing board

I am in love with my Black and Decker rechargeable scissors.  They are so handy for cutting Misty Fuse from the roll, as well as trimming long pieces of cloth and batting.

While I was working on a quilt top I was thinking about some of the tools that become indispensable in the studio.  I have many, but recently I have been constructing a large piece using fusible.  In addition to the items pictured above, I would include parchment paper and my wonderful gate leg cutting table.  The portability of these items allows so much flexibility in my work environment.  Now that I have two gate leg tables in the studio, one remains dedicated to my mixed media work (usually piled with stuff, but that is another post...) and the other can be kept clean and ready for cutting and basting work.  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Fiesta Time in San Antonio!

Art Fair enthusiasts wander through the courtyard of the
Southwest School for Art and Craft

The back patio of SSAC is the setting for additional artists' booths 
as well as numerous food kiosks
(the red plumes in the foreground belong to one of the Fiesta "Royalty")

artist tents and looking toward the "children's activities" area in the distance

One of my favorite events during the 11 days of Fiesta is the Art Fair, which kicks off the first weekend of Fiesta events.  For the uninitiated, this juried event is rated one of the top 10 art fairs in the US.  Local artists are joined by artists from all over the country, and every sort of medium is here.  I have a few favorites that I'm always happy to see, but who doesn't?
As the years roll by in my citizenship of our fair city I am more selective about which events I choose to participate in, but I love the idea of our city having a big party every year!  The color is everywhere, from the carnival and colorful flags in the downtown-area to all the fabulous door wreaths and cascarones seen throughout the city.  Don't know what a cascarone is?  Check out this link:

Monday, April 13, 2009

CJ's 19th birthday

My daughter on her 18th birthday, 4/13/08

 Halloween 1990 (age 6 months)

Time passes so quickly:  Today my youngest baby turned 19 years old!  This is the first birthday I haven't been able to celebrate with her at home, which is bittersweet for mom and dad.  Still, it was fun to chat on the phone today, and she was happy and excited about all the birthday wishes from family and friends.  A bit of good news for the parents:  she made the Dean's list!  She's a cute little stinker, isn't she?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Few Photos from the Warehouse 414 show

Collection of framed mixed media collages

In Vitro #2 hangs out in the open!

Silk chiffon art cloth hangs near a dining room setting

Thanks to my friend, Billie, I have some nice photos of several of the pieces in the Warehouse 414 show in KS.  I'm very pleased to see how nicely the long quilt and 2 pieces of art cloth look hanging out "in the open".  The long pieces look great in this setting!  I want those gorgeous pink velveteen dining room chairs!

Friday, April 10, 2009

How my garden grows

Bluebonnet bonanza!

My "Red Hobbit" columbine are finally blooming!

Antique narcisscus blooming under my Japanese Maple

The garden is truly my muse:  I find all sorts of inspiration here.  I start most mornings at home walking around to see what is new from the day before.  There is always something to inspire me.  This morning it was the columbine and narcisscus, planted last year, which are finally blooming.  I sat on the patio with Tim and watched all the birds swooping in to grab seeds from the many feeders.  It was exciting to see how many finches are regaining their bright yellow color (they fade to a pale yellow during the winter here) and the many hummingbirds doing aerial combat over rights to the feeders.  When I sit with my binoculars, I realize that, at least in this area, I have turned into my mother..........

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cloth samples from Kerr Grabowski workshop

silk/soy cloth with multiple processes of thickened dye

disposable facial washcloth, printed from 3 directions

cotton broadcloth that was pinned beneath the facial cloths during printing

silk broad cloth

These are lengths of cloth that were started during the 3-day Kerr workshop.  The cloth in the top image was later printed with both a soy-wax resist silkscreen and a thermofax screen.  Still unfinished, these pieces of cloth have a lot of potential.  What will happen next?  Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kerr Grabowski presents a 3-day workshop

Pausing for a demo on steaming in a canning pot

Kerr prepares to demo the "extruder"

The possibilities with deconstructed screen-printing are endless!

Caution:  Deconstructed screen-printing is addictive!  Just ask those of us who had the good fortune to take Kerr Grabowskis 3-day workshop, sponsored by Fiber Artists of San Antonio,
at the Southwest School of Art and Craft.  Kerr is a wonderful, giving instructor who is so willing to share all her knowledge about an unconventional approach to printing with thickened or dried procion mx dye.  Participants worked hard for 3 days and were rewarded with lovely cloth.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Garden Wedding

Joe & Whitney get married in the garden of The Argyle, San Antonio

Tim and I, happy to be standing in the shade

Tim and our youngest

Our youngest daughter flew in to attend the wedding of her best friend's father, Joe.  The setting was at a private supper club, The Argyle, an old mansion in San Antonio.  All but family stood during garden ceremony.  Those of us standing had the best part of the bargain:  it was a warm, sultry day and the family seated in the sun were "well done" by the end of the ceremony.  The bride, bridesmaids (Lauren and her sister Caroline are on the left), and flowers were exquisite.
The best part was being with our baby, even though the visit was brief.  She returned to school in New York the following day. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Women In Art" reception at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce

In Vitro #4 hangs in the foyer of the Chamber 
Guadelupe Goes Shopping on inside wall

The conference room/reception area
Food provided courtesy of La Madeline

These two talented young women (high school students!)
provided the muscial entertainment

It was an honor to be part of the first-ever "Women in Art" show at the Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio.  The Chamber is working to promote local artists, featuring new work every 6 weeks.  Our show, a collection of 8 women, looked fantastic in the Chamber setting.  Yay for us!