Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good News, Garden, & avoidance tactics

I can come up with some pretty interesting things to do when I am avoiding something I don't want to do.
Take, for instance, my studio cleaning.  The truth of it is that I'm having a storage crisis here and I don't know how to go about reconciling it.  To do it properly I should really take every single thing out of here, figure out some realistic storage solutions for both mixed-media supplies and textile/quilt-related supplies, then bring things back into the designated location.  That is probably not going to happen again until I redo my floor.  Soooo.  I went to WalMart at the recommendation of Laurie Brainerd (the most organized quilt maker I know) and purchased 3 sets of clear plastic storage drawers.  I am now considering what should go into them and where they will reside.  I have to get a handle on the mixed media supplies, in particular.  I am finding that my lack of organization is leading to lack of accessibility, and that is NOT good.

While ruminating over that, I started playing with my most recently-acquired set of metal repose milagros.
I coated the surfaces with clear gesso, and today I decided to begin experimenting with them as the substrate for some mixed-media collage.  I have no idea if this will work, but it is an interesting way to avoid working on studio cleaning!

I used acrylic ink here, and I doubt it is a good idea.
Old paperback pages, as well as a segment from an old boarding pass on the bird's tail
(these are unfinished BTW)

....and later, a bit of progress on two milagros:


This morning I walked out to the cabana for my cuppa.  It got chilly last night (high 30's!  brrrrr) so I wanted a little wind-protection.  I opened the cabana doors, sat down, and thought about how lovely my garden is and how much I wish that dang post was absent from between my doors as it blocks my view!
In the future we hope to open the front of the cabana, extend the roof-area, and create an outdoor kitchen.  My idea is to put Nana doors out here so we can use the cabana more like a covered porch...

Bizzi, our miniature schnauzer, is on "squirrel patrol"

I stood still for a long time in an effort to catch a shot of
the lesser goldfinch at the feeder (no luck this time).
My camera with the good zoom is elsewhere for a while, so I am using my little Canon these days.

And now the really exciting news:
"Wish You Were Here:  Postcards From The Road", a mixed-media quilt created by Frances Holliday Alford and I, has been juried into the 2010 "Form, Not Function" exhibition!  To say that I am thrilled and honored would be a massive understatement.  Here are 2 detail shots of our piece, which is 29 inches wide by 40.5 inches long:

A little background on this collaborative piece:  Frances and I discovered that we both enjoy mailing ourselves postcards while we travel while we were at the Houston Quilt Festival in 2008.  Frances brought some of her cards that had been mailed while she was traveling in Korea as well as some others  she was working on.  I was thrilled to discover yet another common thread (ha!) that we share with one another.  As time passed we began discussing how we could integrate these richly textured cards into a textile construction.  Late last year we began exchanging cards with one another, sending them through the mail and adding additional layers of ephemera with each sending.  The resulting cards have a wonderful, "beat-up" quality that comes with repeated mail-processing and transit.
We met numerous times to decide which cards would be used in the quilt blocks, then constructed blocks and appliqued the cards to them.  Joining the blocks was, er, tricky, to say the very least, because of the stiffness of the postcards.  I have never wished for a longarm machine so fervently as I did when joining these blocks!

One question I am frequently asked is, "Why do you mail cards to yourself?", and my response is that I enjoy finding a postcard in the daily ritual of getting the mail, usually long after I have returned from my trip.  It is a little "freeze-frame" moment of joy for me.  I sometimes do small watercolors if I have time, but I am more likely to collage ephemera from the trip:  museum ticket stubs, boarding passes, train tickets, restaurant receipts...you name it.  It is a way of preserving what my friend Billie refers to as
"exquisite moments" forever.  The beauty of the postcard is the size, which can be subsequently collaged into a journal, framed, or saved in a travel book.  What fun way to look back on a pleasurable journey!

It is quite simple to bring a few supplies for collaging while traveling:  a moleskin notebook & a pad of 4x6 watercolor postcards, double-sided tape and a small container of gel medium or acrylic varnish (if you carry-on only be sure your container is within TSA guidelines...grrrr), small scissors, a permanent marker, and possibly a small travel-size box of watercolors and a brush or two.  I generally put these items into a small plastic zipper bag for easy portability.


  1. I like your avoidance project. I have those tin ornaments calling me too, but I've got to get my current art quilt sewn together, so I can embellish it. Love the picture with your feet in it. The garden is lovely. Congrats again on your joint postcard quilt being accepted into Form Not Function. And about organizing - JUST DO IT! You will feel way better about the state of your studio.

  2. Thanks. I know, I know....just do it. I am actually DOING it. It will get much, MUCH worse before I see any improvement. There is such a domino-effect, isn't there?!

  3. two options for coloring the metal: Adirondack alcohol inks or the latest thing i heard (but have yet to try) is Copic markers. I am definitely interested in the markers, you would have such perfect control of placing the color, exactly where you want it.

  4. Interesting. I'll have to look for a few to try them out. Thanks, Judy!


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