Monday, August 21, 2017

Union Grove Road Quilt

"Union Grove Road"

This is the 5th quilt in my slowly evolving "Lancaster County" series, 
where all the quilts are named after local roads. 
Made from assorted shot cottons. 
Machine pieced and machine quilted in a baptist fan design. 
19" x 25"

To see the other quilts from this series, please go here.

And may I just congratulate myself on actually posting 2 times this month?
(Must be the effects of the approaching solar eclipse... today's the day!)
I am sincerely trying to give this dear old blog of mine a bit more loving and attention. 
Instagram, where I post regularly, (you can find me here) has truly changed the way that I interact,
but it makes me sad when I see how little I have been sharing here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sunflower Power!!

A few days ago I saw the most amazing photos of sunflowers, captured by a local photographer that I follow on Instagram. I asked her where this magical field was and it turned out it was just 30 minutes from home. So I grabbed my phone, and also grabbed one of my vintage cameras, an Argus 75, and off I went. Below is a tiny sample of some of the pics I got...

This is one of the pics shot through the lens of the vintage Argus. For those unfamiliar, it's a simple technique of using a digital camera, (in this case my phone) to shoot through the lens of a vintage camera, thus resulting in a vintage looking photo. All those little "hairs" are part of the "dirt" caught inside the Argus' camera's lens and it's part of the appeal of this type of photography.

Here's another one shot through the vintage camera lens.

And another. 

These last two photos shown, along with the one at the very top were just done on my Samsung phone, without the vintage camera. I love how the sunflowers seem to go on for as far as the eye can see. Being in the field felt rather magical. And though you can't tell from the photos, there were people everywhere, all taking photos and marveling in the beauty. It had a sort of "Field of Dreams" vibe to it, and it was hard to leave.

And the bees! Bumblebees were everywhere! 
And seeing as we need more bees, I think we should have fields of sunflowers everywhere. 
Good for the Earth, good for the soul, and good for pretty picture taking!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer Days

Throughout the summer I have been continuing my explorations in painting. (Yes, I am still quilting... have one in the machine right now!) I've moved away from the little illustrations shown in my last post to explore abstract painting, and I am finding it to be most enjoyable. I think in part because my mind isn't as critical when working abstractly, (which is probably why I like  improve quilting so much.) I'm working small, as that seems to be what I find most comfortable, but eventually I may go a bit bigger, time will tell. Here's a few more...

"Untitled" Acrylic on Hardboard

PS. When I get a free day to play around, I'm thinking about maybe uploading some pics of these paintings to Spoonflower to see how they might look as fabric!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tiny Works in Paint and Stitch

Working tiny is so satisfying. 
Below are a few Spring inspired tiny projects I've been working on in both paint and stitch...

Little bird and bunny studies I did around Easter.

Some pretty little embroidered beads with cornflower blue flowers.

A little mouse house complete with a mushroom chimney.

Another trio of pretty little beads, this time with pink blooms against an aqua background.

Four little imaginary birds, each perched inside their own 2" x 2" square.
(I think they each reflected the mood I was in when I painted them.)

More spring time blossoming beads. 
Obviously, this style with the flowering vines are fast becoming my favorites to make!

                                 And if Mrs Mouse gets a house, then so does Ms. Ladybug!

And speaking of tiny...

When my youngest daughter came home for Easter she asked me to accompany her in getting her first tattoo. She had been thinking for sometime about getting these words, "You inspire me." placed on her arm. They come from a letter written to her, about her, by my father when she was 8 years old and shortly before he passed away from cancer. She has carried that letter with her ever since, holding on to the lovely things he spoke to her in his written words. The tattoo artist captured my father's handwriting precisely, right down to the tiny hook on the "u" and that tiny curl on the "s". I was beyond honored to be asked to witness this. I know that when my dad wrote those words to her, he hoped with all his heart that they would whisper his love for her, for all the passing years she would grow up without him around. Now they truly are a part of her, and I think he too, would be honored.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fabric Beads 1, 2, 3, and 4

Real job and real life seem to keep encroaching on real studio time, and often by night time when all the must do's are done, I just want to sit on the couch with a heating pad behind me and a blanket over me. Happily though I am able to stay creative while relaxing by stitching up some of my fabric beads. 

I've been focusing on four styles...

Style #1 are these assorted Hand Quilted Fabric Beads made from various Japanese Chirimen fabrics, shown above and below.

One of the keys to a successful fabric bead, (at least in regards to the type that I make) is to take one's time to carefully build up the edges with layer upon layer of stitching. Doing so creates a solidly sculpted shape. 

Here you can see the stitched edges of the beads as well as a peek at their inner fabric core lining. 

Style #2 are these Frayed Fabric Beads...

Unlike Styles 1, 3, and 4, which basically follows the construction method outlined in my 
Quilted Fabric Beads PDF Tutorial Pattern, this style of bead uses a different method that I am just starting to play around with.

However they still utilize the same sculpting method of building up the edges with lots of slow stitched layers.

Style #3 focuses on beads inspired by the rough patching and stitching of Japanese Boro...

Made from bits of shot cotton, the beads feature lots of rough hand stitching while wrapped bands of heavily stitched strips act as my boro inspired patches.

The bands of stitched fabric strips give each bead it's own unique "figure" and shape.

I like to think of each one of these beads as little sculpted works of textile art.

While doing these boro inspired style beads, I started morphing them into my 4th style.

This bead above and the one below show a bit of the morphing where I am beginning to incorporate more "pretty" embroidery stitching into these previously rougher stitched boro inspired ones.

And then finally, in Style #4, I have started embellishing the beads with just the "pretty" embroidery stitches as shown below...

I've just begun making beads in this 4th style, and need to play around with different stitches to see what I can come up with, but I really enjoyed doing these simple little flowing vines and always love making french knots.

I generally make the beads in two sizes as reflected below...

And that's the fun of having various styles... one of these styles always seems to fit my mood! If you'd like to see which beads are currently for sale you can go here. Note that some of the beads shown have already sold, and that as time allows I will hopefully be listing more beads. And who knows, maybe more styles and variations will emerge.

Oh, and while I like to just wear 1 or 3 on a ball chain or a cord, here's a more decorative necklace that I made using some of my Japanese Chirimen beads as well as little colored glass beads and vintage buttons...

(I would love to have enough to make a bohemian beaded door curtain, but I don't think that is going to happen any time soon... or ever. That's would take a whole lot of beads!)