Pandemic Anyone?

Some of my artist friends are like me, at loose ends with art projects never quite getting off the ground. Others are continuing to work, making good use of their time while sheltering in place. We are all doing our best to stay physically and mentally healthy.  

I am the kind of personality ( type A++++) who works best on deadlines. There are no shows or exhibitions to enter in the near future that I am interested in. The Arkansas Guild gallery and gift shop is now open limited days. I have plenty of completed work to send there but future plans with the gallery and closures due to the virus are open ended. I could photograph current work and populate my Etsy shop and I even have a great photo area set up in the office.  But nothing is particularly exciting me, especially if it demands too much effort.  I started this time thinking I would destash and organize the studio….please, stop laughing!! 

Every morning presents itself as a new day with new possibilities. I have files full of inspiration. A computer with endless inspiration just clicks away. The thing is, after awhile it becomes just so much visual clutter. And too much clutter is like being in a tornado with thousands of things swirling around you and nothing to hold onto that is your own. There really can be too much of a good thing.  **Note, flash back to the studio disaster***

The outcome of this isolation period has been the gift of time to reflect and evaluate. I have stepped away from too much online surfing time to reduce the mental clutter. I have pulled books and magazines off my shelves and revisited why I kept them. Was there a  technique I thought I could incorporate into my own work? I have revisited photos of my older work that is now  living someplace else, trying to analyze what spoke to the person who now owns it. What was it about pieces that were juried for exhibits and publications that caused it to fit? 

 So what is the answer for me creatively? I think it is to regularly take time out and reflect. Take time  to do things that give you joy. That cluttered studio will still be there whenever I get around to it. In the meantime, I will enjoy my gardens and reflect. Enjoy some of my favorite garden photos.

Art Quilting Studio Spring 2020 Magazine

I was thrilled to have an article in this issue. I had taken a break from art quilting and exhibits for over a year while I cared for my 95 year old dad and then settled his estate. I thought it was time to get back into the arena so I submitted my work to AQS. I had a cover a few years ago and they are always professional to deal with.

My article is starts on page 102 and is titled Fabric Kintsugi. It is a technique I developed about 3 years ago and many of the kintsugi pieces have traveled to exhibitions. The magazine had a huge problem with their printer and over half the magazine I received is very dark. Unfortunately for me, all the pages with my work do not show it well. They are like looking at them through very dark sunglasses. I even thought about not even mentioning the publication but after a bit of “poor me” I decided to let my readers know anyway. It is possible that not all the runs of the magazine are this bad. I hope not. I will show you the magazine page and then my own photography of the pieces next to them. It is so funny because I opted to send them my quilts to be professionally photographed and my own photos are better. I don’t know if the problem was their photographer or the printer, I have communicated with them about the problem. Of course the magazine has been put to bed and shipped to suppliers so it is way too late for any changes. **Note, I was sent proof for changes and this was a problem that occurred after I proofed the article. **

Button Button Who Has The Button?

I do! On a visit to the Salvation Army thrift store I always check out the fabric and craft area. Sometimes there are treasures to be found. This was a treasure day.

To the left is a photo of 2 one gallon food saver bags so you can imagine my excitement to see that they were filled with mother of pearl buttons. These were a definite must have purchase for use in my fiber art. Besides, let’s face it, what girl of any age can resist a bag or box of buttons.

Do you have your mom’s, grandmother’s or aunt’s button box? No self respecting woman of the household would ever think of not cutting the buttons off of clothing that was no longer wearable. Were these someone’s button collection?

As soon as I got the buttons home they went into a colander for a good cleaning. It was easy to see that these were not buttons from clothing and someone’s button collection but instead from a button factory. To be more precise, these are waste from the button factory floor. You can read about one USA button factory HERE. Pretty fascinating reading.

Below are some photos of a few of the buttons drying. You can see some of the variety with no holes, one hole, missed strikes, MOP and cylinders of nacre. Stay tuned for more blog posts about how I am becoming hole blind separating this mother of pearl.

50% Less!

There is so much clothing thrown away around the world the practice just has to stop. Fast fashion and trendy styles are killing the environment. One way each of us can help this world problem is to be creative and find uses for what is thrown away. I purchased this gorgeous sweater the other day at a thrift shop. My intent was to reclaim the fabric in it to give it a second chance. One less sweater in the landfill.

After first disassembling the sweater into parts, it was time to put it through a first fulling. That simply means that using water, soap and agitation the sweater weave will close up and shrink in size. The fiber label on this sweater said it was 88% wool. I took a gamble that the woven stripe areas were the other 12%. It was a gamble that paid off. It shrank about 50% and resulted in a thick wool fabric.

I can’t wait to use this gorgeous wool in a project and not waste even one tiny piece of it.