Friday, October 29, 2010

Fiber Art Trees and 3D Foliage at Quilting Arts Make It University Open Studios

I have been invited to demonstrate in the Quilting Arts Make It University Open Studios On Saturday, November 6 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I will be demonstrating how to make 3 dimensional fiber art trees and foliage. This tree has been designated as part of The Village Project, a challenge issued by Kathy York. When she first approached me about participating in the project, the whole idea seemed quite intriguing. I knew what I would do for the house but my propensity for nature led me to inquire about trees for the project. The response was, "Go for it!" Never having made a 3 dimensional tree before, I was filled with ideas. About the same time, I was contacted by Lindsey Murray of Quilting Arts Magazine who asked if I might be interested in demonstrating some of my work. This fiber art tree seemed a perfect fit! This has been a challenging but rewarding experience. If you have a chance, please stop by and visit. I would love to see you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eye of the Quilter

Eye of The Quilter is a reflection on words and images. These three photos were selected in a special exhibit to be shown at The International Quilt Festival in November 2010. They reflect inspiration gathered from photos. The top photo, White Ibis was taken at Hilton Head in South Carolina and tells a story. The white ibis as a species is becoming increasingly endangered by humankind. Our desire to take over their habitat continues to displace them. This photo is a reflection of the time and signals that change is imminent. The second photo, Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas is one of the most beautiful places in Central Texas. Spectacular by day, it is even more stunning at night. Amidst the reflection of the water lies a story rich in culture and history. For centuries, people have gathered here and history has been made. The third photo, Glass Menagerie was taken in Round Top, Texas and refers to dreams that are held within the jeweled glass. As we look into the bevelled surface, we can't help getting lost in it's beauty. Our mind reflects on times past and dreams of the future. I am thrilled that these three pieces were chosen to be a part of this special exhibit and look forward to seeing the exhibit in its entirety. I am always amazed at where artists get their inspiration. If you have a chance, please stop by and visit the exhibit at The George Brown Convention Center on November 3-7, 2010.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Artist Village Project

Beginning of Artist Village

I have been working with bringing more dimension to my work and what better way to try it then making a soft sculpture of an adobe style home? Growing up in New Mexico, the predominant architectural style is Southwest Adobe which is a blend of both Native American as well as Spanish cultures and influences. The Anasazi Indians dating back to the time of Christ were well known for their cliff dwellings and later, pueblo style of living. Their homes resembled stacked rectangular units made of mud. When the Spaniards came to New Mexico in the late 1500s, they began adopting the pueblo style of architecture but with a few differences. Mud adobe bricks were assembled with straw and homes were set apart from one another. Still, centuries later, the two styles merged together to reflect the blending of both cultures. This contemporary southwest adobe is reminiscent of the neighborhood in which I grew up. To mimic this in 3D using fiber has been a challenge. I wanted the piece to be durable and consequently,  choices with regards to materials used for structure and foundation were extremely important. The structural forms, I chose resemble styrofoam but are actually ethofoam, a product that when bent does not snap in two as would styrofoam. The walls are composed of layered and quilted fabric with fused windows and doors.  The colors employ the traditional earth tone browns and peaches accented with turquoise trim and red rug weavings and chili ristras. This piece is still a work in progress. It will have 5 interconnecting units with vigas incorporated and the roofs will be finished in the traditional style. Pottery will be displayed to further give that Southwest feel. I am stringing a chili ristra and will paint the woven rugs to impart a darker maroon red rather than orangy red. I had thought about making an "chimenea," a traditional outdoor stove but realized it would come down to the stove or the ladder. One would have to be sacrificed and I really like the way the ladder looks at the moment. Though, it is still in the planning stage and anything can still change at this point, for now, I will finish the two remaining units and the tops on all five, one level at a time and see where it takes me. Normally, I do not post works in progress but perhaps I should more often. The finished piece will be set on a twelve inch square and be approximately twenty inches in height. This piece is intended to be part of a collaboration with fourteen international artists and will collectively be called The Village Project. Should be interesting to see what everyone comes up with!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More 3Dimensional Flowers

I have been working on 3Dimensional flowers lately and this is the second piece I have come up with. It measures 16X12 and is intended to be part of a group collaboration. The purple flowers reminiscent of the the others found in Amethyst Garden are composed in two ways. Two of these flowers are layered with  assorted synthetic fabrics and machine thread painted to simulate the lines found in nature. The other purple flower to the far left is made of color catcher sheets that have absorbed excess dye from one of my dyeing sessions. It too is thread painted but in a more subtle way since it is in a shadowed area. In fact, the purple flower to the far right was inked to appear slightly darker than the middle flower but yet lighter than the far left flower. The tiger lilies are comprised of various natural and manmade fibers layered together and finally overlayed with a sheer orange synthetic fiber. Each petal was assembled individually, thread painted and joined together to create the whole flower. The flower was inked and edges were painted with a mixture of acrylic paint and gel medium. The pistils were composed of fibers wrapped together and joined to machine wrapped cording for stems. The leaves and sepals for both types of flowers are made of dyed batting and attached by hand to the stem and base of each flower. Lacy ferns were cut from dyed silk paper and were an absolute bear to make but I am happy with the way they provide a backdrop for the lilies. Once the composition was complete, I layered the hand dyed, background and completely quilted it before attaching any of the 3 dimensional flowers. When I finished quilting the entire piece and laid the design elements back on it, I decided to change the composition yet again. Instead of having the quilted ferns as backdrops where the intended 3Dimensional ferns were to go, I moved the actual ferns to the other side to create repeat design elements from one side to another. Once I was happy with the final design, I proceeded to hand stitch each element down with matching embroidery floss. Edges were finished with a facing. In the end, these purple flowers are probably the same size as the ones in Amethyst Garden but it is the change in background that allows for the Tiger Lilies to be incorporated in a successful manner whereas with Amethyst Garden, the tiger lilies would have overwhelmed the whole piece. All in all, I am happy with the way both pieces turned outand love the way each one seems to take on it's own personality. My next project is a 3dimensional adobe house. Now that should indeed prove to be challenging!!!