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.
This exhibit at the West Point library cannot be seen in person. I am impressed with the video/audio tour that has been produced about this exhibit. I hope you will take some time to enjoy it. My quilt about Alice Paul is the second one in the tour.
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. **
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.
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.
I have a no resolution, resolution this year. It is simply to be a participant and not a bystander.
Before the new year turned, I cleaned and sorted a closet in my home. It needed done and a thrift shop was richer for it . I unearthed a couple of unfinished textiles and some 100 year old family photos I had forgotten about. The best thing was finding my maternal grandparents marriage license. My youngest son researches the family genealogy and had not been able to find record of it. It is an important piece of a family puzzle. Imagine, I had it all the time tucked away in a box I acquired after my mother died that had never been opened. But I know that I use tasks like that to procrastinate instead of getting down to the business of creating in my studio.
Good things are coming in the new year of 2020. I became a juried member of the Arkansas Craft Guild. There is a wonderful gallery in Mountain View, Arkansas . It is an area rich in artists and history. I am honored to be a part of it.
A few months ago I sent off 5 pieces to Art Quilting Studio Magazine. The artwork and an article will be published in the Spring 2020 magazine. They are a wonderful magazine to work with. I previously had the cover and an article in the Winter 2015 magazine. I couldn’t believe it had been that long since I was a participant and not a bystander!
So here is to a new year and new work and hopefully new successes. This is the silk shawl I uncovered in the closet clean out. It has been moved to my active stitching nest beside my chair.
When I get out of practice and have no need to keep on task I tend to vegetate. It doesn’t help that I am getting older and slower. It doesn’t help that the turmoil in our country keeps me in a near constant state of stress.
My self-cure for this is to find a reason to get back into the main stream of creating. I always enjoy in person art show sales venues. I think that feedback from clients at this type of show is valuable feedback. Finding that kind of show is not always easy now that I live in a rural state that has more crafty craft shows instead of fine craft shows.
I was accepted to show and sell at the Arkansas Craft Guild’s Christmas Showcase at the fairgrounds in Little Rock. Let me tell you, I am stressing about it. It is not an inexpensive show and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will at least make costs.
I can’t believe it has been over a year since I wrote a post here. Bless you everyone who has checked in during that time. It was a year of very little creativity.
So where was I and what was going on? My 94 year old father had been checked into a nursing home in Illinois. I had always promised him that I would not allow that. So Ron and I moved rooms and furniture around to make room for Daddy. We became his care givers until he was called home to be with my mother a year ago November 1. He made it to his 95th birthday. I had a card shower for his birthday and the joy he had opening the cards as they came in the mail! Thank you to all who participated.
I was the executor of his estate. If you are ever called upon to do this, let me tell you it is a thankless job. Well, not all the time, one brother thanked me for being strong and standing ground to carry out Daddy’s wishes. It took a year to get his Social Security finished and I am finally free to be creative.
I do have work in a new book. OURstory is available for order on Amazon. This is the label from my piece in the book.
It has been a crazy year with lots of things demanding my focus away from fiber arts. Finally today I had a chance to check on my neglected indigo vat. As I suspected, deep, dark, murky blue. Geesh, Why do I do this to myself? I know when it isn’t attended that this will happen. The indigo was totally out of reduction.
Balancing a neglected vat is like starting over. Here are the things I need to coax this back into a healthy vat. Yes, I do a bastard vat, or in other words, what ever works. The most important part of the formula are test strips. The pH has to be right for the vat to be happy and if that vat ain’t happy, mama ain’t happy!
Because my vat is in an opaque container, it is hard to see the color. So the first thing I did was scoop out a gallon of liquid into a jar. I added some magic but nothing was happening. Even though the pH was right, there was no reduction of indigo so no color was going onto the fabric. I heated the gallon of liquid, then added more Rit color remover. Finally, a bit of color change from dark indigo blue to green. There is a little coppery scum on top but no flower yet. It may take a little more tweaking. I know there is plenty of indigo left in the vat so no need to add any more indigo powder.
The big vat is staring to get some copper, no flower, but it is dyeing a healthy green on the first dip. More tweaking but it is starting to sprinkle and Arkansas needs the rain. I will check on my flowers later today to see if there is any change.