Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Calypso: Working In Series

Calypso is Part II of Emerald Treasures Series and measures 19 1/2" X 23." Completed today, on November 24, her shell is made of both commercial and hand dyed/painted fabrics. The shell is needlefelted with hand dyed cheesecloth and wool roving and heavily beaded to similate the jewels of the sea. This piece is painted with both Lumiere and Setacolor paints. The sea coral consists of cheesecloth that is sculpted to resemble the coral found on reefs. Her appendages are allowed to float giving her a more three dimensional appearance. The tortoise shell is also composed of several layers of batting which helps to give the illusion of her dome shaped back. I love making these pieces. They are so playful and fun and they provide a great project at night when I am watching the football games! I currently have about five series (Emerald Treasures, Egyptian Queens, Gray Scale, Abstract and Nature) with which I am engaged and am having a great time adding new artwork to each. Everyday is a new experience!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beloved Companion

Beloved Companion is Part II of the Egyptian Series. The first piece in this series was Queen of The Nile, a tribute to Cleopatra. This piece celebrates Nefertiri. History tells us that Nefertiri was the Royal Wife of Ramses II. She was married to him when she was only 13 years old and he a mere 15 years of age. At the time, Ramses had not even taken the throne. They were said to have had quite a love life and Ramses even refers to her as the "One for whom the sun shines." After they ascended to the throne, he seems to have taken her on as Co Regent of Egypt. Later, he had a temple built at Abu Simbel and dedicated it to Nefertiri. In fact, many of the ancient artwork depicted during this time shows him to be at eye level with her whereas traditionally, the Queen was always portrayed smaller than the Pharaoh to distinguish His superiority. It is not known when she died but she is said to have had one of the most elaborate tombs in The Valley of The Queens. She is known by many titles including Beautiful Companion and Queen of Upper and Lower Egypt. This piece was completed November 16, 2009 and measures 17 X 25 and is mounted on a 24 X 30 canvas. The background is composed of upholstery fabric that is reminiscent of papyrus. Their skin is made of hand dyed fabric and his clothes consist of silk dupioni and commercial fabrics. Nefertiri's clothes are hand painted with Stewart Gill paints. Their necklaces are gold foiled and painted with setacolor ultramarine blue paint mixed with clear gel medium to impart a jewel like lapis tone. Her headdress is painted with sparkling mica and pigment watercolor paints along with gold foiling. Here, Ramses is pictured offering Nefertiri a Lotus plant which is symbolic of rebirth and renewal. The Egyptian cartouches stamped above are their names, Ramses and Nefertiri. This piece was so much fun to make as I was allowed to just play with new and exciting mediums.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SAQA Portfolio 16

Portfolio 16 is hot off the press and made its debut at The International Quilt Festival in Houston this month. It is an absolutely phenomenal book featuring the works of many artists who are professional members of Studio Art Quilts Association. The organization is international and sponsors fiber exhibits throughout the world. This year, I have a piece titled "Life's A Beach" in Portfolio 16. The book is published once a year with new works from its members. It is used as a marketing tool for approaching galleries and museums with samples of our work. The board has decided that next year we will be going digital and using a CD rather than a book format consequently this year marks the last of the Portfolio books. They are such a treasure. I will miss seeing them. I suppose for me, there's something about the look and feel of a book as opposed to spending more time in front of screens viewing art. Some things are just not the same on screen as they are in "hands" under more leisurely conditions. What do you think? Do you prefer looking at a book or looking at images on screens?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Houston IQF 2009

This year's IQF for me will always be one to remember! I took part in a few Make It University classes, one by Jane Davila making mini collages. She was a wonderful teacher! Another taught by Leslie Riley featuring TAP, a way to transfer vibrant images to fiber. That was so cool!!! Yet another class taught by Lois Jarvis showed how to rust fabric. Am looking forward to seeing the results. And finally, a workshop taught by my dear friends, Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal involving making your own stamps. Here the possibilities are endless and so much fun. I also had the privilege of participating in the Quilting Arts Surviving the Runway. When Pokey showed us the prizes, I just knew I had to win that portable design wall! I've been wanting one for years and it all breaks down into a cute little duffle bag. The fashion designers on the floor included Leslie Tucker Jenison, Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez and Melanie Testa all of whom helped me to accessorize with earrings, a headband and even more things that we will not go into here!!! After having made my bra, we took to the floor to show off our creations and be judged. I was floored when I took first place! How cool is that?!!! All in all, I had a great time and they were wonderful!!! In addition to my design wall, I won a wonderful set of threads from Aurifil, a beautiful set of fabrics from Moda, fantastic textile paints and a gift certificate from ProChem, lovely lutradur, timtex, fast 2 fuse, paints, inks and an apron from Liquitex and so much more. Good thing, Kharon was there to help me carry it back to the hotel!!! Thanks Pokey!!! I am absolutely loving it all! For sure this year will always be one to remember! To see more pictures from the runway floor, please visit http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/2009/10/surviving-runway-tim-gunn-wannabes-l-r.html

Friday, October 9, 2009

Naturescape Gray Scale Series: Part 1 and 2

Naturescape Gray Scale Series is an ongoing study in learning to see value and work in gray tones. The idea of working this way was first put forth to me by Pamela Allen. I remember her wanting us to do a black and white still life. Dark Shadow is more of what I envisioned. Dark Shadow completed in January 2009 is Part 1 of Naturescape Gray Scale Series and measures 25 X 29. It is made of both natural and synthethic fabrics and fibers, machine appliqued and quilted. My goal was to capture light and shadows in a forest scene. The trees that are situated in the background appear lighter whereas the two in the midground are midtones. The tree closest to us in the foreground is very dark and it is where this piece gets it's name, Dark Shadow. I can still remember feeling that it would be the first and last black and white quilt I would ever do!!! I absolutely love color and this was a difficult piece for me to make. Still, nine months later, it is calling me back again.

White Lightning is Part 2 of Naturescape Gray Scale Series and measures 20 1/2 X 25 1/2. It was completed on October 5, 2009 and mounted to 24 X 30 black canvas. This piece was inspired from a photo that I converted to black and white. Once the pattern was made, it was transferred onto muslin. I began sorting out fabrics into seven piles ranging from white to black, a method I learned from Katie Pasquini Mausopust. Working from the actual photo, I matched colors of fabric to complete the picture. Once the design was complete, I fused everything down and layered it up for quilting. Initially I had intended to stay true to gray scale tones, but I soon realized that just the slightest hint of color really made a big difference. The whitest snow was quilted with the palest tint of pink to impart a glow to the snow, hence the name, White Lightning. Had I quilted it in white, it would have disappeared into the background. Indeed the snow that shows depth as it meets the river was quilted in white though at first glance it does not appear so. The snow underneathe the bushes to the left was quilted with a dull medium purple to convey shadows. The river is quilted in white, black and gray. This has been a very interesting study on value and a very valuable learning experience. And I love the play on words for both of these pieces, Dark Shadow and White Lightning. I have already chosen the next piece in this series and can't wait till I get back from Houston so I can begin working on it!!! Perhaps by then, I will have come up with a name for it. LOL

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Queen of The Nile

Queen of The Nile was inspired by a love for Egyptian Hieroglyphic paintings on papyrus. I wanted to see if I could transfer an original design onto fiber and impart the feel of the paper and the graphics of the Egyptian culture. This piece measures 17" X 19 3/4." A sketch was first drawn of the Queen sitting upon her throne. Palm fronds tend to be a reocurring theme and consequently she is portrayed here holding a couple of fronds in her hands. Her throne is painted with fiber paints, gold foiled and stitched with decorative threads. The Egypyian heiroglyphics seen in the four cartouches were stamped with gold paint and outline stitched to give more definition. The large cartouch pictured in lapis behind her spells out the greatest Queen of all, Cleopatra. The remaining three cartouches above her are meant to be seen as writings on the wall. This piece is machine appliqued and quilted, painted, gold foiled and stamped. The quilting was done in an effort to impart patterns and textures that you see in Egyptian artwork. The piece was finished with a facing such that it is allowed to float rather than be contained by borders. Queen of The Nile was mounted onto a red painted canvas and measures 24X30. All in all, I am pleased with the results and am ecstatic that I was finally able to use those stamps I purchased a few years ago while on a visit to Estes Park. I have never used stamps in my work before but these particular ones seemed to suit the design. Perhaps next time, I will do a piece entitled The Betrothed where the Pharoah offers his Queen palm fronds. Truly this piece came together so quickly and was a joy to make.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Austin Bergstrom International Airport Austin Fiber Artists 2009 Exhibit

Today, I just visited the airport. The Austin Fiber Artists have been invited to exhibit at The Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The exhibit is currently on display and will run through November 3 in the Airside West Gallery located on the concourse behind The Book People bookstore across from Gate 10. The exhibit can only be seen in the airport past security checkpoints. It contains artwork from many different artists including Kharon Clark, Martha Tshilas, Jean Dahlgren, Pam Farley, Barb Forrister, Mary Ann Vaca Lambert, Diana Ramirez, Ruthie Powers, Caryl Gaubatz, Dena Crain, Barbara Sandberg, Dee Merrell and many more. The art ranges from beautiful hand dyed fabrics, hand woven pieces, art quilts, knitted work, needle felted hats to folded fabric origami mobiles. It is an absolutely fanta
stic display. If you are travelling to or through Austin, this is a wonderful site to see. In the baggage claim area, they have several very large guitars that have been hand carved and painted to commemorate Austin's music life that is home to Austin City Limits. You can read more about it on the the airport's art exhibits page listed here at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport/nr_fabric_909.htm In addition, to their visual art exhibits, they have live music playing periodically. Such a fantastic treat for both eyes and ears!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Story of Emerald Treasures

Some folks have asked that I post the story of Emerald Treasures so that it might be an inspiration to other artists who have had pieces damaged. I can tell you there is hope even when all seems to be lost. In July, Emerald Treasures was featured in the International Quilt Festival Commemorative Catalogue as one of the Selected Exhibits for West Coast Wonders II. It can also be seen on their website http://www.quilts.com/lbqf09/enVivo/vidcasts.html under Vidcasts and Selected Special Exhibits West Coast Wonders II. This is such exciting news to me as this quilt has a story of it's own. Completed a year ago, this month, Emerald Treasures was accepted into the American Legacy Quilt Show in Tifton, Georgia along with it's counterpart "Life's A Beach." It was the first time out for both of these quilts and I was thrilled to hear that "Life's A Beach" placed second while "Emerald Treasures" placed third in the Art Quilt Category. Upon their return home, however, the box got caught in a conveyor belt and Emerald Treasures was badly damaged. The picture above shows some of the damage. Her head was decapitated and large chunks of her shell were missing. There were several holes clear through the quilt. After taking her to an appraiser, the quilt was deemed irreparable. She sat on my table for weeks until I got the call from IQF that she had been accepted into West Coast Wonders II travelling venue scheduled to debut in Long Beach, California. This glimmer of hope that she could be restored helped spur me along. I painted another head and began repairing her shell. I was so lucky to have some of the beads left over from when she was first made. Still, there were holes that extended clear through all three layers of the quilt and a nasty gash near her neck. The holes were repaired with Misty Fuse and the gash was covered by adding a layer of dyed scrim to simmilate a shadow below. At last, she was able to travel once more and for that, I was extremely grateful. I was happy enough to settle for that peace of mind knowing that she could once again be seen and enjoyed by others. Imagine the thrill when one of my dear friends who was visiting the show emailed me a copy of her featured in the IQF catalogue! It brought tears to my eyes knowing that she was being received well and that the extra effort in resurrecting her had paid off. It is only recently, that I am able to look back on things and tell my story with a happy ending. And so there is hope even when things seem otherwise. Happy Birthday, Emerald Treasures! Live long and prosper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Landscape Series

These are the first two pieces in my smaller set of landscape series. They are 10X10 fiber art mounted on a 12X12 canvas. The first one is a picture from my own imagination. It reminds me of my own private retreat; somewhere I would like to go to just enjoy nature's beauty. It's almost like a hideaway. I have been stuggling for a name for this piece and as of yet have not found one. Any suggestions would be welcome. The second piece was composed from a picture that a friend took while on vacation. It is reminiscent of a peaceful oasis garden and hence I have named it "The Oasis." Funny how some artwork seem to be born with names while others are harder to convey with titles and more easily expressed with thoughts and images. I would like to put forth a few more additions to this series and see where it takes me. At the moment, I am thinking I like the images born of my own imagination better than those set before me. What do they say? The images concocted from your mind are always better than the images you see before you? I wonder if that is really true.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Design Studies

Elliptical Illusion is the first quilt in this abstract series that was derived from a design study using colored paper as a medium. I have always struggled with composition and so I have been trying to focus on improving my skills. The idea was to concentrate on composition with design principles in mind. I began using painted or dyed paper along with palletes of color from magazines. The thought was to make the "mistakes" on paper first before using fabric. Once the design was complete, it could be transferred to fiber. The first picture shows the original design on paper. It is called Elliptical Illusion I and measures 9 X 12. The background paper was dyed and inked and the elliptical shapes were cut from magazines. Would you believe the largest shape is actually part of a jackolantern? I thought it was pretty cool and added texture to the piece. When this design was transferred to fiber, I decided to work with a more red pallette in conjunction with blue. The resulting Eliptical Illusion II measures 23 1/4 X 31 and has a more organic feel to it. It is almost like skipping stones ricocheting across the water while the original piece has more of a planetary feel to it. Both are neat pieces and although they have the same design, the background and color pallettes were changed making them quite different in appearance. With that thought in mind, I moved on to the next set in the series called Industrial Revolution, so named for its industrial feel of corrugated metal and revolving spheres. Since the first set was so different from one another, I tried to stay true to the original design in the second set. Industrial Revolution I measures 6 X 9 and the background was taken from a magazine advertisement. It is the corrugated metal you see on the back end of trucks. Here my goal was to create a bold yet simple design by using three objects that varied both in size and color to show depth. Once I was happy with the composition, I began by transferring it to fiber. Cylindrical shapes were painted on a rayon background to mimic the corrugated metal from the paper design. Narrow strips of fabric ranging from short light to a long dark and muddied blue were fused onto the painted wholecloth background along with three spheres ranging from a small orangish to a dark deep red color. The piece was satin stitched and layered. Each of the raised cylindrical shapes on the background was outline quilted and the spaces between them were stippled in a vermicelli style to make the corrugated metal pop out. Industrial Revolution II measures 15 3/4 X 21. Both fiber and paper pieces are very similar to one another. My only regret is that I should have added more shading to the fiber. Other than that, they are pretty close. This has been an interesting study on design and I have learned that just a few simple changes really can alter the feel of a design. I really enjoyed this exercise and am inspired to make a third set for this series. Perhaps something with a more organic feel or who knows, maybe those magazine pages will once again have a significant impact!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Generation Y: Song of Hope

Generation Y: Song of Hope measures 45.25" X 49.5" and has been in the making for almost a year. The background was inked and painted. The branches are made from various upholstery fabrics and dyed antique lace to impart a rough and rugged barklike texture. The birds were sketched from photos and transferred to fabric. They were then painted with setacolor textile paints, layered with several layers of batting, quilted with a finished backing and tacked onto the branches in such a way that they exhibit a 3Dimensional aspect. The nest was knitted and the young jay is strategically tucked in place to create further depth. The leaves are made from a variety of materials and methods including fused cotton, dyed lutradur, painted light weight fusible interfacing, painted timtex and tyvek, and thread painted free motion embroidery on solvy. Other materials used to create the leaves include fibers, color catcher sheets and textiva. All in all, I think I counted 10 different ways these leaves were made. Someday, I would like to write an article about them. There are approximately 70 leaves in these tree branches. Some of the leaves are completely stitched down to give the illusion of becoming background. Others are tacked down and allowed to float over and on top of the birds giving a canopy effect. I tried to vary both the size and color of the leaves to differentiate the background, midground and foreground. This piece is three dimensional and was a bear to quilt!!!! Edges were pillowcased and some of the leaves float off the edges. This piece was created in response to the current times. The old Burrough Oak tree provides shelter for this family who is preparing to send the next generation into the world. They have seen hardship and are now looking for change, to become stronger as a result of the struggles they have endured. Generation Y pertains to individuals born in the 80s and 90s who are now entering into the work force and it is this generation that is hit the hardest with the current economic struggle. They come often strapped with debt from their education into a world where times are difficult and even the most immediate future seems uncertain. They represent hope for our future and mankind. And so, we sing the song of hope for Generation Y. This post is dedicated to the Festival of the Trees. Please visit http://spiritwhispas.blogspot.com/2011/05/festival-of-trees-59.html .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

American Legacy Quilt Show: Creating Tomorrow's Treasures

Have been awaiting my return shipment from the show when I received a distressing call from Fed Ex saying that the box that it was shipped in got caught in the conveyor belt, ripped the box and damaged my quilt. I am heartbroken as this is the first time my quilts have actually placed in a juried event. The lady from the Fed Ex Damaged Dept was very kind but could not tell me if the quilt could be fixed or not. Still not sure how a conveyor belt can break through a box or how much damage has been done. Will have to wait and assess the damage upon its return. Words cannot describe what I am feeling right now. On the bright side of things, and I always try to see the good in everything, both of my quilts won! "Life's A Beach" received second place and "Emerald Treasures" placed third. Both Caroline Benefield and Jane Rodgers from the quilt show have been extremely apologetic through no fault of their own and very kind and helpful in providing me with information and helping me to process my claim through Fed Ex. Am crossing my fingers that things go well and that I can somehow repair the damage to "Emerald Treasures." Wish me luck!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

American Legacy Quilt Show in Georgia

I just received news that Emerald Treasures placed third in the Art Category Division for the American Legacy Quilt Show in Tifton, Georgia. The Georgia Agrirama Foundation and The Wiregrass Quilters Guild sponsored the event that was held at the University of Georgia Conference Center from April 9-11, 2009. The theme was Creating Tomorrow's Treasures and was judged by Brenda Kalata, an NQA certified judge from St. Augustine, Fla. There were 108 competition quilts, nine presidential quilts, 14 antique quilts, and a Log Cabin raffle quilt. This was Emerald Treasures first time away from home and I am touched that they fared well. You can see pictures and read more about it here http://www.sweethomequiltco.com/weblog/?tag=american-legacy-2009-quilt-show

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fiber Art For A Cause Collage Mania Donation to American Cancer Society

2009 marks the final year of Collage Mania Fundraisers for the American Cancer Society. Virginia Spiegel, Founder of Fiber Art For A Cause has raised over $165,000 thus far for this very worthy cause and has for the last three years been amongst the top 1o Nationwide Fund Raisers for ACS. This is my first year participating after only recently having learned of it. Each year, fiber artists are asked to make and donate collage style artwork which is posted for an online reverse auction where all the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. The reverse online auction will take place May 5-7, 2009 and can be accessed here http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/CollageManiaArtists09.html. All pieces begin at $80 on May 5th and are marked down to $40 on the following day if they are still available. This collage is entitled Reach For The Stars With All Your Heart and is dedicated to the memory of Robert M. Forrister, my dear Father In Law who died of bone cancer in October 2008 and to my dear Great Grandmother, Epimenia B. Lucero who died after a long battle with ovarian cancer in December 1984. It is also dedicated to a very special survivor, my cousin, Robert Mc Elheney who at age 11 was diagnosed with leukemia, braved a long and arduous 10 year fight with cancer and remains in remission to this day. He is an inspiration to all that hope springs eternal and that nothing is impossible. Reach for the stars with all your heart. Help support the American Cancer Society.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Copper Shade Tree Gallery in Round Top

The Copper Shade Tree Gallery in Round Top presents "It's Not A Quilt Or Is It?" show that runs from February 6-28, 2009. This is a fantastic display of 100 quilts made by 18 artists from Austin, Houston and San Antonio. The Opening Night Reception was
held on Friday and it was a site to behold. What an absolutely phenomenal turnout! The place was brimming with excitement and the
show was met with much enthusiasm as four pieces had already sold before the show had even had a chance to begin. Here I am with my good friend, Kharon Clark whose piece we happen to be standing in front of. And speaking of artists, I finally got a chance to meet The Beyond The Border Gals from Houston. What a treat! So much talent all under one roof. If you have a chance, please stop by and visit the show. Gerald and Debbie Tobola at The Copper Shade Tree Gallery have done an amazing job at bringing fiber art to the forefront. And if you can't make it in person, you can always visit and shop online at http://www.coppershadetree.com/selector_detail.php?selector=grouping&selector_id=qs&page=1 .
Exhibiting artists include Naomi Adams, Kharon Clark, Nancy Dickey, Connie Fahrion, Pam Farley, Barb Forrister, Dena Hardin, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Susan King, Pam Lowe, Vivian Mahlab, Jen Mc Gahan, Linda Teddlie Minton, Barbara Sandberg, Diane Sandlin, Annie Smith, Jo Sweet and Martha Tsihlas. This is one you will not want to miss. There is something for everyone. The 5th Annual International Guitar Festival will also be held in Round Top on February 14th and The 2008 Journal Quilts will be on display at the Great Expectations Creativity Center in La Grange, TX (only 10 miles away) where visiting artists in residency include Virginia Spiegel and Carol Moore. There are also 15 geometric and botanical quilts from the Texas Memorial Museum collection at the Winedale Historical Complex, just outside Round Top, Texas (about 4 miles away), And so it's a Texas Shindig as Karey so well describes it. Come see what the buzz is all about.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life's A Beach

Life's A Beach was inspired by a photo I took years ago of my youngest daughter with her father. Originally, they were at pool side at our home in Arizona but I decided to change the setting to a beach scene. This is a piece I have been wanting to do for a long time as I just love the looks on both of their faces. I think this was one of those priceless moments that I was fortunate enough to catch on camera. I finally got up the nerve to start this piece this month. Have to say I have always been somewhat intimidated of doing art with people involved, especially when it's your own family and not a fictitious person! LOL!!! Still, I thought I'd give it a try. This piece measures 26x30 and is machine appliqued and quilted. The figures were painted with textile paints and appliqued. The clouds and edges of the water were made from heat distressed plastics. I tried to pay close attention to the highlights and shading, especially trying to capture the shadows coming off the phone and tea pot. All in all, I think this piece came out pretty good and I am slowly overcoming my fear of doing people. Now my oldest daughter would like to know when I am going to do one of her. Oh and Youngest has already called dibs on this one. I suppose that's a good sign.