21 July 2007

And now for some artwork...

I had to put on hold working on this quilt for a little bit but got going on it again today. Its for the Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational and the theme this year is The Art of Music. I knew right away that I wanted to do a quilt about Ani Difranco as she is one my favorite musicians. This is a photo of the quilt just with the fusing done. The side pieces of fabric are actually a rich purple color. (I shot this photo on my design wall so there's no proper lighting or anything.)

I had bought all these fabrics when we went to IQF this past april so they've been waiting around just for this occasion. I decided to do some surface design work on it so here is another photo after I got done doodling.

One of the reasons this quilt has been on hold is because my thermofax machine decided to do an impersonation of a paperweight. So its out for repair and all will be well with that but I had really wanted to screen print some text on her face. So I begged a friend to help out and she got a screen to me pronto (thanks!!!) so I got the surface design done today. Here is a closer look at some of what I did.

I still have to quilt it and I want to do a little of beading on it. But I want to let everything set up overnight and then I will iron it to make sure its all permanent. There is paint and ink and shiva paintsticks on there.

I'm really enjoying this a lot. This quilt has actually got my wheels spinning on starting a series of quilts constructed the same way and with text overlays.

I have a couple other quilts with tight deadlines coming up so I think I will do them in a similar way. Its good to be working again! :)

18 July 2007

General frustration...

Surely this will come across as a somewhat whiney post but so be it...

I'm feeling generally overwhelmed lately and its showing in my artwork. Things are left undone, it takes a huge kick in the butt to get moving and its making me frustrated.

I have to start preparing myself for a move next year. A forced move at that. This is the one that is really making me feel unsettled. My job is relocating and that means I'll need to relocate to another city. Not super far away but someplace I probably wouldn't have moved to had this not happened. I've been wanting nothing more then some continuity in my life and just some plain old boring existence for a while. This is yet another major upheaval that I can't control. And its making me frustrated.

My job is running rampant with political back stabbing overtones right now. I'm watching people go into self-preservation mode and, to be honest, its sad to see them do so. They change and make me wonder just how far they will go to make sure that they survive. Who will they be willing to take out in the process? And that makes me frustrated.

My To-do list has turned rabid and I'm not sure how to make it stop growing. Seems like still so much of everything is left to me to take care of. Which leaves little down time, I'm exhausted all the time. And that makes me frustrated too.

I know this is life. I know things move quick but I realized with a shock the other day that I will be 32 soon and I've been at my job for nine years. I don't think I'm old, I'm just blown away that that number has arrived so quickly. The last few years are a blur, so much has happened and I feel like I lost a lot of time. I'm not sure how to make it slow down. All I know is something has to give. I'd like to say that hopefully it won't be my sanity but I think that disappeared long ago... ;-)

15 July 2007

More Simpson characters...

Mary came over tonight and I showed her my Simpson character. So we did characters of her and her fiance Mark. But we got silly and did them as kids. We saved them as "Flashback Mary" and "Flashback Mark." They actually look like them, just as little bitty versions.

Mary has a real goofy sense of humor. Evidenced by this photo from her photobucket account. She took this at IQF a couple years ago. Its a drunk gnome.

And the gnome with yoda, both concerned with proper seat belt safety...

Okay, I promise...no more Simpson characters. Although I was trying to make one of Leann. I think she has purple hair now....I might have to go give it another shot.

14 July 2007

My Simpson character

I've seen these on a few other blogs and decided to go check it out and see if I could make a character of myself. If you go to the Simpson's movie site, there is a link there called Create Your Simpsons Avatar. Its sooo much fun to do!

The scary thing is that this actually looks a lot like me. The hair color, glasses, face (you can even pick you own nose), and the clothes are all me. I was even thrilled to see that they had a skull for the t-shirt. :)

Go make your own character, its very cool!

08 July 2007

Graffiti Art

Me, Mary, Debi and Laura decided that since today was going to be a 98 degree day with a heat index in the 100s, it would be a perfect day to go walk around downtown Ann Arbor. Brilliant, aren't we?

We hit Hollanders and Found and then decided lunch was a good idea. The walk took us past this alley and I felt like I hit the jackpot!

One of the art groups I belong to, The ATC Exchange, is doing its second chunky book swap in August and the theme is graffiti. I decided to bring my camera on our little excursion today in case we came across anything interesting and boy, am I ever glad I did.

There is a very long alley that looks like it had been painted with friendly children storybook type art. Well, let's just say its been added to. And while, yes, its sad that it got defaced, its pretty fascinating at how its grown and taken over one alley, extended back beyond that one to a second and then shot off onto a side alley as well.

There were three glass block windows toward the back that are now sporting their very own unique one-of-a-kind window treatments. Here is one of them.

Here is the alley that goes off to one side. Its really cool and I think I could have spent a couple hours there shooting pictures if I didn't feel like I was about to get heat stroke.

But by far the most interesting portion was this: the gum graffiti wall!

Have you ever wondered what to do with your gum when you get tired of chewing it? No problem, stick it on this wall and it turns into art. It was gross and cool all at the same time. If you click on the gum wall photo, it'll show you the full size and you can appreciate all its gooey grossness in full detail.

I took a couple more pictures and put them up on my Flickr page. I'd like to go back on a cooler day and spend some more time there. So much to see and its really cool to see what people can do with a can of spray paint.

07 July 2007

Top Ten Helpful Dyeing Hints

I spent the day today turning this white fabric into this.....

I dye fabric about once a year. Its extremely messy, and I don't have a lot of space to do it in so that's why I don't do it real often. I ended up with 14 yards total and there are only three that I think are ugly so I think I did pretty good.

This time I decided to try the "recepies" from Ann Johnston's Color by Accident book. I don't normally work from a book but there were some things in there that I haven't tried before so I thought, what the heck? Some things I liked, some things will need some help with additional surface design to avoid becoming the backing for a quilt. All in all, it was pretty successful.

And since I spent nine hours today with my hands in water and dye, I bring you my Top Ten Helpful Dyeing Hints:

1. Even if you wear rubber gloves, you WILL get dye on your hands. Get over it, but some Reduran and move on.

2. If you are new to dyeing and love red fabric, choose a new color for your favorite. Or be prepared to spend hours rinsing the same yard of fabric.

3. Black dye can fix everything.

4. Black dye isn't really black. Its blue black or green black or some color you can't identify...

5. Dyeing fabric is not for control freaks. It doesn't matter what it looks like in the book - your's will always look different.

6. A stainless steel sink is essential.

7. Dye and pets with white fur don't mix.

8. A 90 degree day + blacktop driveway + fair skin without sunscreen = stupidity.

9. Dyeing fabric is not a fashion show. Choose clothing you aren't particularly attached to. Aprons don't work.

10. I know there is a #10 in there somewhere but I'm too tired to think of it now...oh be quiet and go dye something.

03 July 2007

be worried, hell may have frozen over...

See that there quilt above? I did it. Yup, me. Its pink, its a flower, and its (dare I say?) cute. (And no, I didn't forget to sew it together. Read on...)

Tomme Fent issued a challenge on the Quilt Art list called the Fractured Quilt Challenge. There are 40 of us participating. We all worked from the same photograph, made four blocks from it, send them back to Tomme, and get four back from different artists.

I was very intrigued by this idea so I signed up and then when I saw the photo I thought..."uh-oh, I'm in trouble." For those of you who know me, you understand the title of this post. I don't do pink (I think I'm actually allergic to it), I've never made a flower quilt (ever), and my work tends to lean toward the darker side of life (remember that black is a color too). Still, I liked the idea and thought to myself "Time to try something different."

So I did it. And you know what? The sky didn't fall and I didn't break out in a rash (so I guess I'm not allergic to pink after all). I can kind of appreciate the color now. I don't think I'll use it in a lot of my work but I might be willing to give it a go once in a while.

The shadow was annoying, couldn't figure out what to do for it. Actually ruined one block trying to add it on and had to make a second one. There was much mumbling about that - and not all nice words. I ended up using a dryer sheet. Those things have some awesome transparency to it and the unscented ones are pretty fragrance free. My iron complained about it but hey, it'll live. I think I might use some more of them, I've been wanting to experiment with translucency. These didn't go through the dryer though because I wanted the stiffness.

Since I'm a junky for 3-D stuff on my quilts and the blocks are supposed to reflect our personal style, I did some dimensional work. The center of the flower was fun, its basically purple strips of fabric that have tied and knotted to each other. And I like the row of beads on each petal.

I would have liked to have added more dimension but my style of embellishing really needs to have all three layers(top, batting and back) in place. It can get kind of heavy so these blocks are not suited for that. However, when I get the four pieces back we are free to finish them how we want to. That should be fun!

I really did enjoy this. It took me out of my comfort zone and I learned a couple things while doing it. Can't get better then that!