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.
When reverse sewing the quilt top, I photographed some of the less than perfect seams. There just isn’t any way the blocks will stitch together and make an even quilt.Being off 1/4 inch on one seam doesn’t seem like much, but multiply that by the number of pieces and blocks and that 1/4 inch is more like 3-4 inches off.
As my readers know, I frequent thrift shops for textile treasures. I spied this colorful batik Boston Commons quilt top across the aisle. A quick look at it didn’t show any rips, stains or bad odors so I decided it was purchase worthy.
Well, hello! After getting it home I noticed the corners. Yi-yi-yi-yi! The quilter/piecer tried a shortcut to stitch the sides to the common. Obviously it didn’t work and it didn’t fit. There will be a lot of reverse sewing going on. I am thankful that the quilter who made this did not cut off the ends at the corners. I think I may have some of the cream tone-on-tone in my stash if I need to add another border and I am sure I can find a good batik for a solid border.
There will be a lot of hours involved to get this ready to quilt. I am on a self imposed hiatus from art quilting and this project is just right for relaxing on the the deck, pick a little, sip a little tea, pick a little, sip a little tea.
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.
I thought it would be fun for you to see a closeup of my very first full sized pieced and hand quilted quilt. I knew NOTHING! But that little tidbit has never stopped me once my mind is made up.
I had decided I wanted a bed quilt. I went to the new fabric store in town and was blown away with all the colors and patterns of fabric. I stacked bolts up in what I thought were pleasing colors. I bought my first rotary cutter set. I went home ready to just Do It!
I had no pattern so I just cut strips and started sewing. I had no idea how this was going to make blocks or what it would look like. I call this my Tootsie roll quilt.
I did not know the rules of quilting either. Can’t you tell by the stitches right up to the seam lines? I had no frame or hoop so this was entirely stitched on my lap without a hoop. It actually turned out that a few years later I taught classes on quilting without a hoop.
Knowing all the rules now I am sure I would have done things differently. And if I knew all the rules, this quilt would have never been created.
Sometimes in your creative life you need to STOP and take a breath. Regroup. Take the time to explore and read some of those wonderful art books you have collected. You might discover why you were drawn to purchase the book.
That is the journey I am on in this place in time. I have a need to rediscover why I am an artist. Is it for myself and my need to create or is it just to please others and sell?
In Seth Apter’s book, The Mixed Media Artist, on page 94 he asks if synchronicity plays a role in your art. I confess I needed to search meanings to answer the question. This is what I found online: “Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related.”
So my answer would be; ABSOLUTELY! What would your answer be?
This is P. Allen Smith’s art studio, behind the main house and on the edge of the wonderful gardens. I could have stayed there all day. I don’t think he would have let me play with his supplies, though.
The entire collection of HERstory quilts is being shown at Road to California. Kerry Faraone was kind enough to share pictures in the HERstory artists group. I just love pictures of my work in the wild!
Hillary’s quilt is front and center with my quilt honoring Betty Frieden directly under it. Don’t they make a great pair?
Then there is my quilt honoring Alice Paul right above Jackie Kennedy. This one also appeared in Quilting Arts Magazine October/November issue. They both are in the hardcover book. Since I couldn’t see these hanging in person I am grateful to Kerry for posting them.