Tuesday, January 29, 2008

hate it, Hate It, HATE IT, can't live without it

Ask me five years ago what my favorite color was and I probably would have said black. My least favorite color would have been orange. Ask me three years ago and I would have said black, brown, and blue. Ask me somewhat more recently, and I would have also tossed on the color red. Ask me now & orange may be at the top of the list. If I see orange, brown, gold and black together, I may just be overcome and pass out.

It did not take me long to gather these orange objects. Less than a minute. MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm. I think I will go and eat that tangerine and clean up with one of those stunning paper napkins.

It would add so much to my orange joy to see a lovely orange sunset. Not going to happen though. In central Pennsylvania, we have clouds all winter. 90% of the time. Not the kind of billowy clouds that add so much to a sunset. The solid, gray snowy or drizzly clouds. I'll have to gaze at my orange indoors. Instead of meditation, I should go and be quiet and search for my inner orange.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Now on Etsy

I have finally added new pieces to Etsy. There are four itty bitty pieces. So, my goal of refreshing Etsy has been almost met. I still need to do some blah, blah, blah, for individual pieces. Often, after I make a piece, I'm so ready to do the next, I do not do enough to promote the piece I have just finished.
This piece is entitled Bright Spot. Could I possible be the startled looking orange fish, the bright spot? Or am I one of the group of undistinguished white fish? I don't know. The piece was fun to make. That's the point of this one. Fun.
Today I clean the studio (some more). I wait for the plumber to do heaven knows what to my bathroom, then I go to the dentist. I do not like going to medical offices. I hate spending time there that could be better spent somewhere else. I could read a magazine of my own choosing at home.
Tomorrow I tackle the latest commission.
Then I feel the need to dream up something bigger, better, more profound. Something show-worthy. I'm thinking of a dark brown piece called rejection and a bright orange and red piece called acceptance. We'll see what happens with that.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Itty Bitty

Here is another little piece (10x10") that I hope to get onto Etsy soon. Perhaps this weekend. This is my fourth itty bitty. None have been named yet. These itty bitties are part of my limited challenge to do a quilt in a day. NOTICE, I did not say a quilt a day. That will not be happening.

Having recently mailed off a large commission, and having another just waiting to get started, I wanted to take a bit of time & do only what I wanted. Quickly. It was fun, but even though there are several more ideas laid out on my worktable, I think this challenge may be over. Onto the next commission.

The new commission is for an "acryliquilt". These are "quilts" glued to canvas or illustration board. I did these several years ago and then quit -- for reasons that are now coming back to me. I thought sewing was slow and monotonous. So I began gluing fabric instead of sewing. Sounds quick and easy doesn't it. NOT. First, I cut fabric a little larger than what is required for the "quilt". Then I starch the fabric. Over and over until it is stiff enough to glue. This is a long and mind-numbing process. Then I prepare the illustration board by coating it with gesso. Once this has dried completely, I draw out the plan lightly with pencil. I must measure exactly. Then I cut the fabric. I must measure exactly. I glue the pieces down onto the board. Each piece must meet the next piece exactly, or else, when the piece dries, there will be a white gap between the pieces. I must make sure that no cat hair, dog hair, my hair, dust bits, glue bits or ANYTHING gets stuck to the fabric. After this dries, I spread on a mixture of matte and gloss acrylic medium. I must make sure that none of the above bits get stuck onto the piece. I glaze again and again. Then the piece must be framed. I remember why I went back to quilting.

Anyway, when a friend and neighbor saw a large "acryliquilt" hanging over my mantle, I was asked whether I would make one for her. I said yes. WHY? I am now in the midst of starching and starching. There may be another commission coming from the same person. I hope it is for a quilted piece.

After updating Etsy, I need to do a bit of research for juried shows that are right for my work. No, I'm not quite up for Quilt National, but if anybody has any suggestions for good shows, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sell By Date

This piece is Natural History - 27x8". It is extremely old, having been completed in 2005.

I have entered fewer juried shows in the last few years than in the past when I made collage pieces rather than fiber art. I guess I got caught up in creating the work rather than getting it out into the world. Now that I’m ready to attempt to enter more shows, I find that the vast majority of my artwork is just too old.

For the past three years, I have done several series of smaller pieces (which I feel are not appropriate for "important" shows) and most of the larger pieces I have done have been commissions. There are a handful of medium-sized pieces that I have entered into juried shows. As I only attempt 2-3 shows each year, these pieces only have a couple of opportunities to make it into a show before they expire.

Each prospectus I read states that artwork must have been completed within the last 2 years (some will give you up to 4 years). This means that the vast majority of my artwork has already expired.

Is there a reason for this rule?

What am I going to do with all of my old art?

Does artwork get stale?

Can I file a complaint based on age discrimination?

My artwork looks fresh and new to me. Last time I looked it wasn’t droopy or wrinkled.

Will my pieces turn into pumpkins after so many years? It hasn’t happened yet.

This whole age thing has forced me to look at my art in a different light. Instead of gazing upon what I used to think of as a beautiful piece, I now look at the same piece and think "darned old thing". That’s just not right. Good thing museums don’t kick the art to the curb after a couple of years.

I thought old meant wise. We are taught (hopefully) to have respect for the elderly. Why does this not apply to artwork?

What’s that Science Fiction movie? Logan’s Run? Isn’t that were people are poofed when they get to be 30? Should I do the same with my old artwork? Poof it?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Little Bitty Things

I am still working on that goal to keep fresh on Ebay and Etsy. This past week I have been working on three small pieces that will, hopefully, appear on Etsy in the next few days.
The other two are also in oranges, browns and black. My favorite combination of the month. Apparently, it takes months to get Halloween out of my system.
They all still need names. Sometimes, the name comes first. Not this time. It is all about color.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Favorite Things, Part I

This is one of my favorite pieces. I really should hang the thing. I fear that if I do, I won't like it anymore. I would mentally pick it apart and try my best to find all of the flaws in it.

I'm always afraid to hang my pieces in my house. Would I like them less and less if I did? If every wall were covered in my art, would I be so overwhelmed that I would never make another piece? Am I being irrational?

Anyway, this piece is entitled Origins I. It is 24 x 30". Gosh, should I have made those red figures a bit larger? See! I did it again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Kinetic - Of, relating to, or produced by motion.

The commission is done! It is on its way today!

There is a great deal of motion on this quilt, much of which is in the quilting. Not sure if that is visible in the photo.

The title of the piece is "Kinetic" (13x38", 23x38", 17x38").

The term kinetic no longer applies to me. There is no motion now (aside from typing this post). I do not know where to begin the next piece. As this point, I am always concerned there will be no next piece. I am actually afraid to go into the studio. What if I go there and can't find anything to do. Do other artists feel this way?

What do you do for inspiration? How do you begin the next piece?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Clean (or not no clean) Slate

The commission is complete. The check has been received and I have danced my jig. I will post a photo of the complete wallhanging when the family photographer gets a chance to take a photo.

This means I am now free to do whatever I want. I am in the middle of nothing (except cleaning up the studio). Where to begin? It is just a bit overwhelming. Kind of like going through the front gate turnstile at Disney World. I really to need to finish cleaning to get that clean slate feeling. However, there is so much cleaning to be done. It will just get dirty again. I think I will put away a couple of things, vacuum and then consolidate piles.

I felt the best place to begin was to do some blog surfing. A few days ago, I came across Elin Waterston's Blog. Elin is one of the authors of the Art Quilt Workbook. I must have been really affected by this book, as I have mentioned it twice this week. Elin has been doing a hand-carved stamp a day. Say, that is what I do sometimes when I am stuck. Well, not one a day, but I'll take a couple of hours, research some ideas and carve 2-3 simple stamps. That usually gets me in the mood to carve even more stamps, and before you know it, I've got ideas for several pieces or series stacked up in my head. One of my new stamps is shown above.

I have always loved colors and designs that are associated with Africa. Six weeks ago, when my family and I were in New York, my daughter and husband went to see The Lion King on Broadway. I did not go. I am an idiot. I will go the next time I am in New York. Anyway, for my husband and daughter, it was a positive life-changing experience. I love those kinds of experiences. My daughter asked for the book about the Broadway show for Christmas. The book goes into great detail about the entire production, including sketches for the costumes. So now, it is a life changing experience for me. I can't imagine what seeing the show in person will do to me.

Anyway, my next step is to carve more stamps. See where that takes me. I see a great deal of orange and red in my future. And to think that I used to hate orange. Don't say hate and never say never. Since the commission, I have purchased at least 18 new orange fabrics. I think a couple more have been ordered and are on their way.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Know No

Do you quilters out there, or any other readers, know the word no? Know it and use it? I sure wish I had a better relationship with the word no.

I'm scared of it. I'm scared of hearing it, and I'm really scared to use it.

Today, I was put on hold while trying to make an appointment for my daughter's annual checkup. I, of course, was put on hold. The recording said I would be on hold for 5-10 minutes. The recording told me 12-15 times that all operators were busy and my call was important to them. After 15 minutes of holding, a real live person came on the line. She asked me if I could hold. My polite little (useless) instincts told me to say "yes". I said yes. Then I was put on hold. A couple minutes later I asked myself "why didn't I just say No." What would they have done to me? Come to my house and shoot me. Blast an air horn into the phone. I doubt it. They probably would have made an appointment for me. I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.

I did say NO to a friend who wanted me to donate a quilt for an art auction for his organization. I thought about this for a long time. I had lots of reasons to say no. So I said no. Then I felt terrible. SHOULD I HAVE SAID YES?

I have the chance to hang my quilts in a local restaurant. I would probably have to redo the way I hang my quilts, as they use cables from the ceiling and my quilts would bend over from the top using this method. I would also need to attach weights to the bottoms of the quilts. My quilts normally hang from a screw or nail in the wall and hang perfectly flat when attached this way. I fear that my quilts would gather odors from hanging in a restaurant. I also fear stains since many would hang right next to the tables. My every instinct wants me to say no. I don't want to spend the huge amount of time it would take to revamp my artwork when I feel it would not sell (I'm sure that I would get some exposure, though), because people are there to eat not buy art. I want to focus instead on web marketing and other methods of selling. I also want to spend that time creating new works. These works have already been displayed in the area.

I always feel torn between creating and getting exposure. I feel if I'm going to go to all of that work to display my art, then I would prefer to be in a show where the people going to visit the art are at least out to see art. My belief is that people go to art shows to see art (if not buy it) and diners go to restaurants to eat and drink.

Perhaps it is one of those womanly ovarian things. I think many women find it hard to say no. Could this be my problem? Many people think of quilters as those nice little old ladies who sit around in circles quilting, trading recipes and childrens photos and always saying yes.

I want to wear a t-shirt that says NO. I want to get to know the word NO. I want to be able to use it without fear and guilt.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I was in a dandy mood. I was going to blog about how wonderfully the year had begun. Then the computer ticked me off. I just wanted to put up a quick post and run off to the studio. My husband got my daughter off to the bus stop and I had that extra time this morning to get started. One hour later, I get started. Computers are really ticking me off. A half hour listening to my computer make busy grinding sounds. Another half hour trying to get it to shut down and then restart.

Any way, back to those goals. More experimentation. This photo is of a piece I began last November. I set it aside when the commission took most of my time. This "experiment" is a result of my purchase of the Art Quilt Workbook, by Jane Davila & Elin Waterston. I decided to paint directly on fabric after it had been sewn. Scary. I also purchased some chunky lucite beads from ebay. These beads demanded a more playful piece. I have yet to quilt this piece or sew the beads on.

Another goal was achieved. Buy supplies. I should include a photo of some pocket change. That is all I have left after purchasing supplies. The final payment for the commission should arrive any day. That will cover my expenses. Sigh. Hopefully these supplies will last for at least four months.

As you can see, my goal for better blogging has not been achieved yet. How do some people do it everyday? Is my life so dull I have nothing to say?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January Again

January - it is a recurring nightmare. I'm sure there are some that love this month. They probably look forward to it. Some love that clean slate feel to January. Good for them. For me, the word "January" is pretty close to profanity.

The year always starts off slowly for me. It goes at a rapid pace once spring hits. Usually I'm in a frenzy in Summer. Fall is wonderful & I really enjoy the Christmas season. Then January rolls around again & I feel as if I've been kicked. Down and can't get up. Ugggh.

I should be thankful that it is not last January. Before Christmas last year, I went numb. Then the numbness went into pain. I spent Christmas wondering if I were dying of something. The doctor couldn't figure it out & set up an appointment with a specialist for me in early January. A hideous test where I was stuck with needles (turned out I wasn't so numb after all), and then shocked repeatedly lead to the conclusion I had Guillain Barre Syndrome. I came to the conclusion I would always spill the beans during torture. Being shocked is never pleasant. I slowly recovered over the next few months. Turns out I had a pretty mild case. However, this time last year, I was not sure I would be able to continue doing what I had been doing. I could barely hold a needle. The syndrome probably was a result of a flu shot I had 5 weeks earlier. This year, no flu shot. Perhaps I will get the flu this year. In January.

The commission is plugging along. The quilting is done and now I will figure out the beading. Then, I will spend as long as it takes to clean the studio (photo above). I did not post the photo of the closeup of the pile of fabric on the floor -- too scary. It is all hand-dyed and has yet to be heat-set by iron. That will take up a huge chunk of January.

I really do admire those who post their goals and stick to them. That is not for me. Goals to me are like opposing magnets. I just can't seem to connect with a goal. Best to get some work and do some work. Then get some more work and do the work. Once I set a goal, I generally no longer like the goal. If I don't like the goal, I won't try to achieve the goal.

Yet, I will list a few bitty goals. Here they go:

1. Clean studio

2. Blog consistently

3. Order supplies

4. Read more books

5. Be less afraid to experiment.

6. Find new goals

I'm tired now. Bye Bye