Saturday, January 30, 2010

Show Opening reception on Friday in Round Top TX!

Please join us at the Copper Shade Tree Gallery in gorgeous Round Top, Texas, for the opening reception of "The Art In Fiber", a juried exhibition of Texas fiber artists (juror Liz Axford).  Opening reception is Friday, February 5th, from 5-9 pm.  

Laura Beehler's work graces the postcards, as well as the cover of a lovely book created by gallery owners Debbie & Gerald Tobola for this show.  Copies are available for purchase on the gallery website:

Monday, January 25, 2010

More snow play

The weather gets worse and worse.  I'm relieved that we have late-afternoon flights tomorrow out of Des Moines, but I hear the weather is even worse there, so.......
Might as well play!

Grandpa supervises the layering of winter clothes
(this is my oldest in the coveralls)

Daughter #2 rocks her winter snowsuit!

I borrow Grandpa's hat and join them briefly outdoors
(I gave up early when the snow began to get inside my low-rise Uggs)

Snow Angel and deep-prints

You are never too old to play in the snow!

But my!  The wind is getting more and more intense and the snow is blowing around.  I'm concerned about my brother & sister-in-law who are on the highway to Minneapolis right now.  This was not the forecasted weather for the day.....uh oh.

Iowa winter

The view from the front door of my in-laws' home in Iowa
Serious winter storm today...

This morning, my brother-in-law made Swedish pancakes and sausage for breakfast.  The family sat around the table and visited while watching the ever-increasing amount of snow/wind outside.
I keep thinking how much I enjoy watching a winter storm as long as I'm inside and not dealing with scraping windshields or shoveling snow from the sidewalk!  Frankly, I don't miss those activities at all.
Still, there is something magical about a winter storm.  I love how muted the sound is outside.

The balloons are still hanging in there from yesterday's birthday celebration!

Still tied to the front porch rail, these are hardy balloons!

My daughter spends a quiet moment with her grandmother.
The family-time together is very precious to us all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Very Special Day

Today is a very special day in our family:  my amazing father-in-law is celebrating his 90th birthday!
He and my mother-in-law are such vital, active people.  They still live in their own home, and enjoy life in a way that sets such a perfect example for everyone else in our family.  I am truly honored to be a part of his day today.  
We traveled to Belmond, Iowa, from San Antonio yesterday, meeting one of our daughters in Memphis and flying into Des Moines together and then driving up from there.  
Our youngest daughter just began her spring semester in NY and is unable to join us, but we know she is thinking about her grandpa today.

here is the birthday guy!

looking through a glass insert in their dining room window
out to the chilly Iowa snow

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Master Class/Independent Study, Final Day

Today was our last working day together.  What a wonderful group of artists!  Everyone was focused, worked hard, and achieved some very exciting results.  I think it was one of the best master class sessions we have had in all the years I've been participating.

I am putting the final touches on several sample pieces that I have prepared to send along with an article I have been writing for Quilting Arts magazine.  I cannot show images yet.

Instead, I'll include a couple of photos taken of my work table and my messy silk screen.  Thanks to Laura Beehler for taking these for me!

see the Spoonflower cloth hanging slightly behind me to the right?  That is soon to be a new quilt!

This is one messy, crusty screen.
I love it.

I just printed boarding passes and will be flying into Des Moines tomorrow, then driving north (along with my husband and 2 out of 3 daughters) to northern Iowa to celebrate my father-in-law's 90th birthday on Sunday.  How amazing is that?

I'm tired.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Master Class/Independent Study, Day 4

I worked hard to pare down an article I am writing.   I worked on it late last night, & it needed more tweaking today.  I'm satisfied with what I have.  I think....

In between bouts of writing I was taping thermofax screens and working on 2 lamination samples.
These samples were done using synthetic organza and images printed on Kinkos color copier paper.
The type of paper makes quite a difference.  I have done lamination before, but these were done with heavy gel medium rather than matte medium.
These shots are taken with the sheer laying over both a black background and a yellow background:

can you guess what this image is?

This is rotated 90 degrees from the other image, which makes it
harder to see what it is.

The first images are created from a piece of construction fence.  The second image is a thermofax screen made from one of my life drawings of a male model posing partially seated and facing away from me.  The paper used in the second piece are color copies of a circuit board schematic my husband created for a product his company manufactures.  I used to solder all the components onto those circuit boards looking through a microscope and using surgical tools (the boards were considerably smaller than these schematics.  I think they look interesting as laminated imagery.  The first piece of cloth is more visually pleasing to me, but that may be because I love round and ovoid shapes.  The second piece is visually confusing, which I think is just fine.  I was interested to see if this level of detail would translate well using this method.  My clumsy technique needs much improvement, but these look better than previous attempts.

The color copy paper behaved beautifully.

Studio Day 3: More buckets of fun

I love looking in buckets when I am shocking the just-dyed cloth with cold water
I can't wait to see how everything turns out!

In screen printing the bamboo batting I was faced with a dilemma:  how do I get the excess dye and print paste out of the batting without destroying it?  Soak, soak, soak!  I opted out of putting either of my samples through an entire cycle in our old studio top-loader washing machine.  Not good.
I plunged the pieces is separate buckets (due to their different colors) and changed the water several times after hand-agitating the pieces.  When the water began to clear I put them in the washing machine and spun the excess water out of them and hung them to dry.

Here are the results:

bamboo batting, excess dye and print paste removed


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More studio fun

Experiment #1:  Deconstructed screen printing on bamboo batting


these are the washed lengths of silk that I printed yesterday.
I'm pleased with how they turned out.

Here is a portion of a quilt top I put together this evening when I got home.

The cloth on the right edge is a rather unappealing length of silk that just happens
to be the exact same color as an element in my piece of Spoonflower cloth.  Believe it or not, this image is a close-up of a limestone rock in my garden.  When I look at it I think of a pelvic bone.  Am I crazy?  I see bones everywhere, I guess.  I love them.

It is a bit uncanny how well the silk matches!  The other surprise is that I have a mark from my poor attempt at binding the folded cloth for a shibori process that resembles a shape seen in the central part of the cloth.  This is barely visible in this image.  I'll get a better photo of it tomorrow in the studio.   My design board is down, as are my lights, and I am too tired to do anything about it tonight!

I printed quite a bit more cloth today, but I'm not showing those images because they may or may not be included in the Quilting Arts article.  Laura Beehler helped me take photos while I was printing today.
Thank you, Laura!!  BTW she finished a jaw-droppingly gorgeous piece this afternoon.  Oh my goodness.

There is a great deal of creative juice flowing at Art Cloth Studios this week.  A lot of great experimentation with unfamiliar techniques, and a lot of "what if" going on.  It is very exciting.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Independent Study/Master Class & a few other odds and ends

I'm sorry I haven't been writing regularly.  A good bout of influenza will do that to you.  I was too sick to care whether I had regular flu or high-octane flu.  I had a positive screen for it, and I'm assuming I had H1N1 because of my high fever.  As far as I'm concerned, Tamiflu is a wonder drug.  It cut the viral replication and I was better so much sooner.  Still, it sucked.

Today was the first day of the 2010 Independent Study/Master Class.  What a great way to kick off the year: I love getting back into the studio-mode.  This week is a wonderfully energizing way to start new work and push ongoing work forward.  Here are a few things I'm kicking around:

Here is a dye bucket (actually a rinsing-off-the-excess-dye bucket)
with a piece of silk and some facial cloths.
I think this is a cool photo looking down into my orange bucket.

deconstructed, resist, and monoprinting with thickened dye onto silk/soy cloth

screen-printing with a stencil resist under the screen,
mono-printing, drawing with thickened dye
onto silk broadcloth

"rubbings" of a rubber floor pad and a placemat
with thickened dye onto silk/soy cloth

......and now for a humorous photo

my husband ordered this and I didn't notice the
printing on the side of the box until I was dragging it to the trash.
It seemed like a photo-op I shouldn't let pass.  Ha ha!

......and a cute photo

Claire cuddling Bizzi

Monday, January 4, 2010

A cute little poem about the post-holiday duldrums

My friend, Ellie, sent this poem to me and it made me laugh.  Enjoy!

   Christmas Treats

       'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house
          Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
            The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd taste
            At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
            When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
            When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
            I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
            The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
            The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
            And the way I'd not said, "No thank you, please."
            As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
            And prepared once again to do battle with dirt---
            I said to myself, as I only can
            "You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"
            So--away with the last of the sour cream dip,
            Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip
            Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
            "Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
            I won't have a cookie--not even a lick.
            I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
            I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
            I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
            I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore---
            But isn't that what January is for?
            Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
            Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Madelyn demonstrates her sparkler-twirling prowess
on New Year's Eve

After a lovely New Year's Eve with close friends I took my time about getting up this morning.  I stayed in bed and finished a fun book that I have been reading off-and-on for a couple of months.  It was the perfect way to usher in the new year.
"The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry", by Kathleen Flinn, is the author's story of losing a job, taking a chance and moving to Paris to pursue a dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Kathleen writes, "As in cooking, living requires that you taste, taste, taste as you go along--you can't wait until the dish of life is done.  In my career, I always looked ahead to the place I wanted to go, the next rung on the ladder.  It reminds me of "The Station" by Robert Hastings, a parable read at our wedding.  The message is that while on a journey, we are sure the answer lies at the destination.  But in reality, there is no station, no "place to arrive at once and for all".  The joy of life is the trip, and the station is a dream that constantly outdistances us."

In addition she writes, "My grandmother had a saying:  'Every woman should get herself two things:  a good partner and a good set of knives.'"  I would add two other things:  a good set of friends and taking time to savor the exquisite moments.

family & friends gather around the fire pit

"No, I do not have a treat for you"

My beautiful girls on New Year's Eve:

my oldest

My second

My youngest, with her 4-legged friend Kali