Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Rust

I love the way abandoned things deteriorate.  While I might not be as fond of this if it were on blocks in my next-door neighbor's front yard, I love how this old car looks.  Found on the recently acquired land of a friend, this old 30s-era Chevy is simply wonderful to look at.  I may have gotten a bit carried away with my photographs, but I was fascinated with the combination of rust and what appears to be lichen.  And, check it out, there is a cactus growing on the fender!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Sketchbook Challenge Comes to Houston!

If you are coming to the International Quilt Festival in Houston next week, I hope you will consider signing up for the Sketchbook Challenge Workshop that will be taught on the floor in the Make-It-University area.
Here's the plan:  Sue Bleiweiss, Jamie Fingal, Jane LaFazio, and Judi Hurwitt and I will be teaching on Saturday, November 5th, from 1:15 to 2:15.  We will teach several techniques, round-robin style.  The participants will be divided into groups and move from table to table to learn some great techniques.
You won't believe all the goodies in these beautiful, custom-printed tote bags!  Don't miss this great opportunity to join in the fun.  You must submit your name in advance in order to be eligible to participate, and you must be present when your name is drawn.  The cost to participate is a bargain at $15.  The contents of your workshop tote are worth more than that!!
Check out this awesome tote:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Power Suit Challenge

Power Suits:Art Quilt Challenge
104 Quilt Artists Interpret the Theme “Power Suits”

Alexandria, Virginia, September 28, 2011 - On October 22, 2011, over 100 art quilts based on the theme “Power Suits” will debut at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA.

When a local tailor contacted Cyndi Souder to offer her his outdated fabric swatches, a quilt challenge was born. Teaming with friend and associate Judy Gula (owner, Artistic Artifacts), Souder developed a theme, packaged swatches, and offered them for free to interested quilters. Distributing challenge packets at quilt shows, lectures, and online through their blogs and websites, Souder and Gula invited quilters to express their take on Power Suits through their artwork. The resulting quilts address such diverse topics as politics, family, worklife, playing cards, and super heroes.

Says Souder, “These are not your grandmother’s quilts. These 18” square quilts address a wide array of topics and work on a variety of levels. The theme seemed to have universal appeal and our quilters had a lot to say. We were wowed each time we opened another package.”

Take a look at the website!

When I received the invitation to participate, all I could think of was the movie, "Working GIrl", starring Melanie Griffith.  So, with that in mind I created a quilt entitled, 

"The 80's Power Suit:  She Works Hard For The Money"


To create this quilt I visited a Goodwill store to find an "80's-era power jacket":  large shoulder pads in a bright color.  I used a shirt and tie from my old office-wear.  Wow, did I struggle with how to manipulate this under the machine!  I could have used an industrial-strength sewing machine for this project due to the thickness of layers and the materials involved.  Maybe I'm just a masochist, but I had a great time figuring it out and I am very happy with the results:  the quilt says what I wanted it to say.  Please take a few minutes and stop by the website.  

Lisa Quintana was kind enough to permit me to repost one of her photos that was taken at the opening reception.  Please stop by her blog to see even more great shots of the reception and some close-ups of other quilts.  She agreed to let me post this photo, which shows my quilt hanging on the lower row:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A New Label Trick (for me, at least)

I have a bit of  back-of-the-work vanity.  I admit it.  I'm not the quilt/mixed media police.  It simply pleases me to have a finished piece that looks nice and neat on the back.  When possible, I try to put a nice-looking label on my work.  I discovered something that I want to share with you because I think it is fantastic!

I had several framed or mounted pieces that needed labels.  I decided to use some of my mini-MOO business cards.  I also used clear, self-adhesive mailing labels (the same size as Avery 8660tm) which fit the mini-MOO cards perfectly and showed my artwork through the label!  I am so excited about this little discovery.  To fasten to the back of the art I used double-sided tape, which is archival, to adhere the moo card with label to the surface of the work.
Take a peek:
this label....

is on the back of this!

More images in and around St. Petersburg

The Art Cloth Network meetings continued today, and the evening was topped off with a lovely pot-luck supper hosted by Linda Dawson's local surface design group.  It was a really fun evening!
Here are a few shots from the day:

 The Chihuly Museum entrance

St. Petersburg loves their dogs!

Friday, October 14, 2011

St. Petersburg FL and the Dali Museum

I am visiting the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the annual Art Cloth Network gathering.  The reason we are meeting here this year is that it is home to fellow-member Linda Dawson.
We start our meeting tomorrow, but today we had the pleasure of wandering around a bit.  We walked the lovely shoreline near the yacht club and ended up at the Dali museum.  I must admit:  Dali was never a favorite artist.  Surrealism interests me, but I have never understood it.  I can't say for sure that I understand all of it, but I will say that seeing this amazing collection has really cemented a new respect for Dali and his work.  There is nothing like seeing the progression of an individual's art to better understand them.  The museum does that in a similar manner to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
The museum is structurally beautiful with a style that befits the work inside.
Here are a few shots of the area:

I love the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made shapes 
living wall near the entryway

inside the museum

Is it me, or does this look like a dragon face without skull or hair?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review of Collage on Color (new e-mag from Cloth Paper Scissors)

I love the idea of e-mags.  I'm a magazine junkie with a very eclectic taste:  I subscribe to architectural and design mags, cooking, art, garden, and even a couple of pop culture rags.  I love them.  Up until recently I loaded half my suitcase (and remember, I only carry ONE BAG when I travel!) with books and magazines to entertain me during the flight, late nights in a hotel room, etc.  I love them.
I love my ipad because I can compress an armload of print media into one little tiny cute device.  So, I was a bit frustrated when the e-mags began to emerge from Interweave because they weren't compatible with the ipad, at first, through no fault of theirs:  there was a long history of discord between Apple and the creators of Flash, the technology needed to drive a lot of media imagery.
I'm not sure which magic want the folks at Interweave finally waved over their products, but I rejoiced when I discovered the new issue of Collage in Color and Colorways were ipad-friendly.  Yay!

If you are an ipad owner, or even if you aren't, I encourage you to consider this new phenomenon because it is a magazine and oh-so-much more!  There are loads of interactive features in this issue, and I will assume this will be standard in all future issues, as it is with the Quilting Arts version, "In Stitches".

I took some photos so you could get a sense of how simple this thing is to use.  If you are an ipad user you are already familiar with how to load an "app" onto your device.  That is a necessary step when purchasing for the ipad that is not relevant to regular mac/pc users.  No biggie.

Here is my ipad screensaver (one of my quilts) with a few of my apps.
Collage in Color (3rd row, 2nd from right) and Colorways (3rd row, right)
icons appear as CC & C

To open, simply touch the app icon with a finger tip

Here is the welcome screen

Here is a sample of the first page of one of the articles

Another page that links the user to a variety of options

I love the look of this page!  When you click to the page, the 
combination "dials" for you!

...and when you enter, this is what you see.
To get to each video, simply touch the desired video with a fingertip

Another colorful article.
See my finger on the lower left portion of the screen?
To move back and forth between articles, touch the lower portion of the screen and scroll buttons appear
on each edge, taking you back and forth.

At the beginning of the e-mag, Jen Mason gives a very concise, easy-to-understand video tutorial on how to navigate the e-mag.  Trust me, this is a good investment of 10 bucks.  There is a lot of information, it is visually stunning, and it is something great to have along for travel, sitting in your car waiting for your kid's piano lesson to be finished, or wherever else you find yourself with a bit of time on your hands.  I plan to be a regular subscriber!

I purchased "Colorways" but haven't opened it, yet.  I'm saving it for my upcoming trip to Florida.  As soon as I have a chance to play with it and read the articles I plan to review it.  

Let me know if you have tried this e-mag, or any other.  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Revisit Your Work

Recently, I pulled out 4 pieces in a series called "Urban Activity".  All of these pieces were created for a specific show which required the work to be mounted on 8-inch squared canvas frames.  I created these mixed media quilted pieces, but two of them weren't really "finished" and I couldn't see what they needed.

I decided that the reason these two pieces were not pleasing to me was that there was no obvious focal point.  I added to each of them.  I am now very satisfied with them and believe that the general look of them, as well as their uniform size, unifies them if they are to be hung together, yet each can stand alone.
Here are the four pieces.  The last two were the ones I worked on.  Unfortunately, I cannot find a "before" image of the third piece before I added to it, but I will show the before and after of the last piece.

I added the 3 round objects on the right side of this piece.


After.  I added 3 vintage keys, which allows the eye to travel 
around in the piece.

Some things are worth re-working.  I wish I knew when to do this and when to walk away, but it is a good exercise to bring unloved pieces back to the studio and try to look at them objectively.
Do they have a good value scale?
Is there a focal point?

I am getting better at asking myself these questions on a regular basis, but sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.  How about you?  Have you ever revisited a piece that you aren't satisfied with?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fiber Artists of San Antonio 2011 Juried Exhibition Opening

Ilse Aviks was the juror for the 2011 exhibition, which opened this evening at the beautiful Gallery Nord.
The diverse, lovely exhibition will be hanging through the month of October, and I strongly recommend you try to stop by if you are anywhere near the city.
This gallery is really a perfect spot to feature long pieces, which can be hung in the central portion of the gallery.  They add to the experience of wandering through the beautiful work.  This year did not disappoint.  I can't even name all the pieces, and I didn't try to photograph everything.  I want to share just a  few shots from the opening reception.  I would like to go back during the earlier part of the day to see the work in different light.
by Laurel Gibson
(the lengths of color are embroidery floss!)

Lisa Kerpoe
(art cloth mounted on canvas)

I was very amused at how fascinated many people were with the back of my quilt!
It was fun to have this quilt ("What Remains") free-hanging in the gallery.

This was taken from the upper level looking down into the main level
Susie Monday's quilt (left on wall) won first place.  Susie's other quilt is on the right side.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Follow Your Heart

The following is an excerpt from the weekly mailing of one of my closest friends, Karen Rowinsky.
This will resonate with everyone, but particularly with artists.

Follow Your Heart and Intuition  

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. 
Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results 
of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions
 drown out your own inner voice. And most important, 
have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. 
They somehow already know what you truly want to become. 
Everything else is secondary."                                                                                                            
  -Steve Jobs

The world has lost a treasure. Steve Jobs was a creative genius, 

a visionary,Steve Jobs and above all, a wise and compassionate man. He had much to teach us. Of all the quotes posted on the internet, in his many tributes, I like the above.

So many times our own inner voice is drowned out by others; our loved ones', our friends, our leaders, or even people we don't know who shout their views through the media. Faced with the volume and amount of opinions of others, we often lose our confidence in our own values, beliefs, ideals and ideas.

Self care is about trusting, listening to, and honoring your heart and your intuition. The next time you doubt yourself, think of Steve Jobs and his courage to listen to his inner voice. 

Karen is a gifted therapist and one of my closest friends.
She lives in the Kansas City-area.  She is a member
of my "chosen" family.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Drawing With Kids

One of the biggest thrills for me is to draw with little kids.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to hang out with some of the coolest kids around:  the youngsters of people who work with my husband.
Recently, a few of us were at a restaurant together.  If you have a couple of pencils and a notepad, you are in business.  The imagination of a young child is truly inspiring.  I treasure the drawings I receive from them!
My friend Alex drew this cool dinosaur

my friend, Sarah (L) and myself looking at some butterflies.
Sarah always draws my curly hair.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Artistically Speaking Airs Today!

I will be the featured guest on Artistically Speaking Sunday, October 2nd, (That's TODAY!) at 5:30 CDT.  I need your moral support!  Please tune in!

PS-We will be giving away a free copy of the Sketchbook Challenge e-zine during the program for someone in the online chat room, so log on!

The following is an archive of the show.  Click the link to listen!
Artistically Speaking with Leslie Tucker Jenison Smarties 10/02 by AS Rebecca Parsons | Blog Talk Radio

On an entirely different note:  don't forget that Lyric's "Bead It Like You Mean It" dvd is still being talked about and chances 
to win are still happening on these blogs:

Oct 3  Carol Sloan
Oct 5 Sue Bleiweiss
Oct 7  Jill Berry
Oct 10 Jane LaFazio
Oct 12 Tracie Lynn Huskamp

If you have decided you want a copy and don't want to wait, here is the link: