Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vernon's Quilt

My last quilt, was created totally out of love for my brother Vernon Harris who is battling lung cancer. This quilt was designed, and stitches sewn and ripped open and redesigned during the many stages to the finished quilt. It has 200 plus fabrics, Western, animal, hunting, cowboy and embroidered horses which were done mostly by my buddy Vye on a Babylock Ellisimo. The fabrics came from the internet mostly, since western fabrics are hard to come by in VA. I now have three (24 qt) totes filled with western, horse, bandanna,and animal fabrics. Perhaps someday I will come to someone's western need or will sell on E BAY. Have to say, E BAY is a wonderful place to find themed fabrics. Some of the fabrics came from Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado too.
Everyone knows that traditional quilts are not my favorite type of quilting since I favor Art Quilts but this was a pure pleasure. I quilted it with a barbed wire looking stitch. Lots of friends (Jackie, Melissa, Vye, Eva) were involved in this quilt's creation, most important was the encouragement I received as I struggled with getting it just right. The final quilt structure was built on blocks and sets of 4 blocks with three sets in each row. Each block had at least 5 fabrics some 8. The back was created using a panel with Geranomo and 2 Navajo prints. Knowing I needed 10 yards for the backing I found 2 Navajo prints, one brown, and the other turquoise on E bay five yards each...great until I realized the turquoise print was the best fabric to use for the sashing for the top...quite a problem until Vye came in with three yards of the identical turquoise Navajo print....That was a YEAH day! The best reason for having stash is so you can help out your buddies. The next issue was that the quilt had enough white in the quilt to associate the quilt to lung cancer. White being the color for lung cancer, I wanted to balance the design with it. After a lot of crazy what ifs, I  decided to make white stars as the corner stones which I think was genius. The next problem was how to create the stars, Vye to the rescue again, she played around with it and wallah...STARS! Afterward we did find out that the way we did them was not the traditional way but everything happens for a reason, our stars have longer irregular points and look great! Many thanks go out to my buddies for all their assistance and babysitting me as I struggled with this quilt. I wanted it to be perfect for my brother. And even if it is not perfect, my brother believes it is, which makes it all wonderful!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thumb CMC Arthroplasty & Carpel Tunnel - Oh yeah finally!

Crazy me, on the 8th, I finally had a long over-do surgery on my right thumb and hand...before the surgery I went online and found a u-tube video on my type of surgery which I was only able to watch part of it before I felt faint and nauseous. Never pre-view an upcoming surgery. I canceled the surgery twice before it was done. I am not a lightweight to orthopedic procedures or surgeries. Starting in 1984, after a near fatal car accident and leading up to date, I am now at 19 surgeries, some simple,some more complex. This surgery caused more anxiety than any. My only reasoning is that perhaps to me, my hands and their output defines me? Now to a rational person, this may sound a bit ridiculous, but to me it is fact.

The stitches come out next week, 4 sets of stitches, each about 2 inches long. I makes me dizzy to even think about it. Three days after surgery I had to go to the emergency room because I was experiencing the most excruciating nerve pain on the opposite area of my hand. The swelling was so much that it was crushing a nerve, once the bandage came off, "oh what a relief it was". A visit to the ER is a mission only ventured by the fool or desperate. I was desperate. Can't wait to fill out that survey.

The overall post-op pain has been manageable, my biggest issue is not being able to use my right hand. How do you fasten up your jeans? You don't! Lots of you don'ts.

Prior to the surgery my rt. thumb was swollen and hurt with any use. If and when I did use it, there was always a throbbing goose egg swelling where the thumb attaches to the hand. Watch the surgery u-tube, this is the area that is scooped out the joint and replaced with balled up tendon. Totally gross. Why I waited is totally nuts. Along with the thumb job, I had carpel tunnel surgery done too. A friend who was in graduate school with me over 20 years ago, mentioned I had carpel tunnel even then....Did I say I was Stupid?

This post is for others out there, do not prolong your suffering as I did. As a result, I have done very little art in the past few years. What idiot does this? I had to wait until it got so bad that I could not hold a brush or needle for 3 seconds without stabbing pain. Stupid.

I have dropped so many things because my grip was not dependable. In the last 4 years I have broken 6 butter dishes, other things on a daily basis and unfortunately dropped wine, tea and other beverages all over places. I now have to use a Sippy cup at my cousins because she doesn't trust me. She almost croaked when I dropped red wine on her white carpet. I'm not too fond of white carpet anyway.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blessings for all in the New Year...
Time seems to be flying by and who can really believe it is 2014...Can you believe all the computer craziness on the eve of 2000 was so long ago? So what's new for 2014 for the Droogs...hopefully nothing painful.
The end of 2013 saw the passing of our little Beagle, more formally known as Margaret Nadiney the dog with no winney or Maggie May, if you knew her as the greeter and keeper of the studio. She came to us from the pound supposed to be age 6 or so and she delighted us everyday for 8 years. She is greatly missed but most importantly no longer in pain. We do have a feral cat named Rascal who did let me pet him on the head for a very short moment and a grey fox who is watches us mostly from a distance. Between the two, the mice are living in someone elses' hay fields, not ours thankfully. Of course the squirrels are constantly on alert, birds only perch up high and we never see the chipmunks anymore.
I am finally going to have my right thumb reconstructed and right hand fixed. No more procrastination, no more whining, no more injections, no more pain! Wednesday is the day. Wonders never cease, doc tells me he is going to place a tiny button like devise to thread the thumb to another finger bone so re-coup time will be less. I am no stranger to buttons so it has to work....Looking forward to being able to create whenever I want without gripping....Yeah! Please continue to pray for my little brother and his battle with the Big C and others who struggle with disease, pain and peril.
God Bless!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wow a weekend of fame

The Janome site is up and running the article on me. They actually did a great job and now I am glad I did it. Was not too certain at first, seemed like hanging your undies on a Main Street clothesline. I know it is weird I should feel this way but I do. You might think I am afraid of rejection, this would be a realistic reason for my feeling this way but I don't think it is the threat of rejection because I am never swayed by negative input. I do it my way. I have always done it my way with the grace of God.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fame for 15 minutes.

Recently interviewed for a local newspaper article on my art and now Janome's web site. Not too sure how I like the exposure. Sort of retired and moving towards teaching, but you never know what is around the next corner. I have been thinking about creating some whole-cloth pieces, painting with paint and then thread painting so I guess I need to come out of my imagined retirement and get busy. Not sure when the newspaper article will be published but Janome will have me on their website homepage for the weekend of July 12-14, 2013.

Nature has an amazing ability to stop you in your tracks.

Never Say Never!!!!

Went to QSDS in June. I know I swore I would never go again but I did and had a lovely time in a class taught by Roselie Dace. She is from South Africa teaches primarily abstract concepts. I try and I try but abstraction is not in my blood, because I always want to straighten and make each piece real. The class was based on using Crosses and Xs as design elements My friend from Baltimore went with me and we are the perfect roomies, having done this trip three times together.

Deb's wall.

Denise's wall
These works are not our norm as we both are realists. The purpose of the class was to work in abstract, but from a up front, in your face, what you see is what you get, kinda girl; abstract is not my style.

Yes, I am alive!

I need to get in the habit of posting to this blog on a regular basis. Lots happening here at the studio. Quilts turned out and no record of what was created. I am going to try to catch up here. Good health is the ticket, the better we feel the less we have to whine about, so the paper work so to speak goes undone. Blogging to me is like paper work. I have never been good at tooting my own horn. I hate shows and I an very uncomfortable accepting oohs and ahhs. What does one say when approached by someone who says I just love your work...and then they "want to purchase something cheap, what do you have"? What is the comeback when someone comments that their great aunt is an artist too and she paints landscapes, perhaps you should do the same?

Now an image:

This is "Marty" a cat whose portrait was commissioned. Apparently Marty has quite a personality and  his owners adore him. His portrait was done in acrylics on canvas.

I did see a good movie last night titled "Silvia" It was about Silvia Plath's marriage and suicide. Seems I read some poems of hers when I was in High School, now that was a long time ago for sure. I have time now to explore the reasons I was forced to read her years ago. How can a kid in HS relate to the state of mind and words of someone like Plath? I ordered a few books of and about her from Amazon so more later on Plath.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stitch Here

A stitch here and a plop of paint there and with lots of sheer impulse an art piece is born. After realizing I have a done all I can do damage or wonderment, I ask myself what now? What is the impact of this small creation? To me the process is all important and the end result is up to someone else's interpretation.

I have been working on 16 small portraits to support the theme of our upcoming show. Although I have been sewing and using fabric since I was a small child, I am new to the world of Fiber Art.
The small portraits came out of my photographs of people who have come into my lives or those who show up here in the studio to work or chill, since working in fiber. I have even included my dog Maggie who is always attendant to whomever is visiting. She knows who will give here treats and those who know she is the sweetest watchdog ever. Beagles don't carry much of a treat unless you don't want loving. Three others are my grandchildren, who enjoy the constant supply of art supplies and adventurous play they can do here. the remaining portraits are of the women who have become important to me in individual ways. Each little quilt is simple and colorful. As individuals they hardly carry the strength that is seen when all placed together. As an artist, I am more of an artist and a person because of friends and family. I draw from their strength and the love. As with the small portraits, we shouldn't stand alone.

Winter almost over?

Can't believe it has been such a long winter. Our new house is being built slowly and although it is looking great I want it done. My patience is gone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Show delivered

Today I delivered all the pieces to the show, twenty nine pieces and a some variety. Abstractions and real subjects compose the art quilts. A lot of play on words and focus on friends.Sixteen pieces are familiar subjects to me, friends and family that work and play in the studio.

Had a wonderful time pulling these images together. Started out with photographs and then altered in Photoshop and then painted with acrylics. Matched with different fabrics and then quilted.

This piece was done of my granddaughters for my daughter-in-law so I guess it is not for sale. Couldn't deal with the grief that would cause.

  Zebra Trees on the long arm and my assistant Melissa measuring finished piece.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Show soon

Bit the bit and threw in my OK to do a two woman show to go up April 1, 2012. Kinda funny that it opens on April Fools Day. Maybe some underlying message here. Theme is Fiber Meets Friends. As a painter and a lover of fabric and construction, I suppose it was only natural that at sometime I would start to combine the two. Having lots of fun using my photographs of friends who have come into my life recently since I joined the art quilters in their quest to be creative and actually make art. The opinion tat using fabric is akin only to the crafts is not only not true but ludicrous. I seem to have fallen in love with using thread as paint. Combining different colors to reach tones and the hues I want is a blast. Hours and Hours of pushing an image back and forth on my sewing machine only stopping for tea and back aches. What is wrong with this picture? A lot when you consider a painting of the same size can be done in a fraction of the time. One apparent difference between the art quilt and a painting is the texture  obtained with thread is fabulous.
I did some abstracts, which actuallly started out as images but quickly fell ill to the eye and were slashed and reconstructed. Love cutting my work up, probably is more of a dare than anything else. Never know if you are going ot end up with strings. Either I like it or not, if any lingering doubt, I slash. I use to slach huge ceramic pots that I had thrown just for effect and horror of the viewer but now I have a passion for it once again but different media and no audience.

This quilt was created in protest to sitting through long boring talks. The kind of talks were you are trapped in time and cannot move form where you are without creating a disturbance. Sit through my last event...after creting this piece I realized there is no way I will subject myself to entrapment again in my lifetime. Tme is too precious, and the way I figure it, if I pay for it I should be able to leave without any hard feelings. If you order a coke and it is flat, you don't drink do you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Where have I been?

I have been on a ship bound for the Inner Islands of Nowhere, located somewhere near my imagination. Crazy how I neglect this blog when I really like to write but somehow I feel no one wants to read jabber and then although I am "ART-ING", I don't take any pictures and so who wants to hear about something that has no image to go with it. Here are a few things finished lately. I took some pictures because I entered a competition. The competition is mostly a pipe dream because I don't enter any shows or promote myself in any way. So if the people previewing art quilters are looking for a big name then they won't know me. I do what I want, when I want and mostly give my art away because it makes us happy.

I did this art quilt because my parents always laughed at this picture of me in the second grade because I am not smiling. It was because the photographer told me to say peaches and I thought that was stupid. I did say peaches but it was with a smirk. Note the left pigtail is cut off for dramatization.
Don't Say Peaches
 My cousin Nan saw this picture in a magazine and wanted me to do an art quilt of the silliest donkeys I have ever seen. I have to admit donkeys have never really crossed my artististic eye before, but these two did.
Here Comes Cornbread

This is an art quilt of my two grand daughters, Jose and Carly. The picture that I used was taken by their mother several years ago. I might do more to it or I may not. I am not feeling fuzzy about the left side...so there may be some changes soon.
Just Follow Me

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

QSDS BIG Disappointment

Ohio's QSDS has less than half of the people attending than last year or so it seemed. Only 4 classes were offered the first week. Economy or perhaps many more are choosing Quilting by the Lake this year. Lots of things have changed, Now the program is held at the Columbia College of Art and Design. The studio space is very nice but lodging in the dorms leaves much to be desired. Won't do this again. There are no ammenities other than a hot shower and horrible mattress. Blankets were few and they had hair trapped in the fibers. Totally gross!

After spending a week at QSDS, and $1500.00 wasted, I am about to forget my disappointment and move on. I was so pumped because I was taking a class on Digital Design for Textiles from Michael James. I thought this was going to be a real cool class. Wrong! James spent the majority of time teaching basic Photoshop, Illustrator and on the 4th day, Power Point. Confusion and lack of organization only added to the negative experience. The handouts were written for Mac and all were using PCs is only one example of the lack of control. I did learn more about James than I ever needed to know. He seemed nice enough but someone owes me the waste of time and money. My reviews of James and his class could not be more negative.

On to better things, I am working up a fury trying to get all the things off my to do list:
1. Quilt 3 quilts
2. Finish piece I started in my dorm room after I dropped out of Digital Design Class.
3. Get clothes together for charity
4. Breathe.....
5. Make stuff for grandaughters
6. Tired of this list.
7. who knows

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Google Toolbar Button Gallery

Hate the update to explorer.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Susan Brubaker Knapp workshop

Last week I went to a thread sketching workshop held at Smith Mountain Lake. So much fun thread sketching a Dragon Fly. Actually I missed the point about sketching because I thread painted the thing. Neon Green. Actually he is fairly comical to look at. Susan was an excellent teacher and spent lots of one on one with the attendees. Afterwards she gave a trunk show which was very nice. I think all enjoyed the workshop and the trunk show.

I was especially interested in her painted pieces, I guess because I am a painter. The tricky part is to paint and retain the natural hand of the fabric. Lots of paints out there and techniques employed by different fiber artists. Not sure there is a solid solution. Guess I am going to have to do alot of experimentation becaue painting is what I do and enjoy. Unfortunately I am not a traditional quilter and I do not enjoy piecing hundreds of pieces together to make a quilt. I love transforming the fabric at hand into art.

I prefer using thin fusible fleece as a stabilizer when thread sketching/painting because I have less warp. Others may prefer a heavy stabilizer but I can't control the fabic warping as well with the just stabilizer.
Here is a nearly finished thread painted piece using batik, thread, and colored pencils. I sitll have to quilt and add the stars to the eyes. "They made me say peaches!

Another example of Thread Painting is a closeup of a frog piece I am working on, actually they are mutant frogs. The detail shows the difference thread painting makes. It is lots of fun using doodlling and putting all
kinds of threads here and there


The next image is a finished piece turned into a pillow that I made useing primary colors for an upcoming class I am teaching on color.

Think about thread painting, it is a lot of fun!