Tuesday, October 10, 2017

a taste of winter

it snowed here yesterday

which means that soon this beautiful maple tree that I've been enjoying from my office window will  be dropping all it's leaves

most of the snow is gone already, even though it is cold this morning (our first real freeze followed the snow)

fortunately, we knew the cold was coming, and I went out and pulled every tomato that looked like it might possibly ripen -- a pretty good haul for the last picking

we'll be putting up some as whole tomatoes and some as sauce

I've been working in the studio on making pieces better

this piece, the second in the Parched Earth series had a narrow binding, but it wasn't quite straight, and in places the tree limbs just blended into the sky

I took the binding and the sleeve off, did some additional quilting in the sky, outlined the tree with a dark thread and put a facing on instead of the binding

much better!

some new pieces are finished too

this one is titled Parched Earth:  The Mail Boxes

it was actually the first piece that used the sunrise/sunset sky idea, and I like the way this one looks (I've already entered it in a gallery show that I hope it will get in to)

this piece is done too

part of my on going Portraits of Objects series, this one is based on a photo shared with me by a friend -- love the look of the weathered wood on the Ice Cream Maker

this piece is the next one being quilted -- a challenge to work with the machine between and around all those little openings in the wheels!

and while this doesn't look like much, it is the last big piece of the garden piece I've been working on for a while now

I'm hoping to start putting all the layers together by the end of the week

this photograph will be the basis for the next Portraits of Objects piece -- this coffee grinder was my grandmother's and I remember turning the crank when I was a little girl and the smell of freshly ground coffee

I recently decided to enter this piece in a gallery show in Portland, Oregon. 

the show is titled "Chasing Ghosts", and I though Tsalagi (Cherokee) Trail of Tears fit that category

so did they!  I'll be shipping this piece off to them the end of this week

in keeping with a long standing tradition, I'm working on my grandson's Halloween costume

over Labor Day weekend we took a trip to the fabric store and got the materials to make Mr. Cute into The Hulk

this has been a fun costume to make, and despite not having a picture showing the progress, I'm nearly done with it

Mr Benson of course has plenty to say about everything that goes on here in the studio

and he had a grand time playing in the snow yesterday -- the deck looked like I had a whole pack of dogs that had been out there tromping around making footprints

Monday, September 18, 2017

vanished like a puff of smoke?

nope -- I'm still here

survived the nearly week long "smoke out" when the prevailing winds carried smoke from hundreds of wild fires into our area

this photo is full sun over the mountains from our house one of those afternoons

those kind of days we just stay inside with the air conditioning which does a pretty good job of filtering the air

we've had other excitement in the skies here recently too

like the day a strange noise had Mr Benson running from back door to front door alerting us to strange doings over head

the balloon came down in the little park right up the street from us --- pretty exciting

there has been indoor excitement as well

for a couple of days Mr Cute's before school caregiver was not available, so gramma got to fill those shoes --- we did some arts and crafts (these are international signal flags) and created something to hang on his wall at home before I took him to school

work in the studio continues

when I started this piece I thought I would be cutting it down to a 12" x 12" square to donate to next year's SAQA auction

when I got it finished, I wasn't willing to cut 2 inches off it in each direction, so it is 14" x 14", and I have mounted it on a canvas for hanging, and I have already submitted it for a local show in an art gallery -- hope it gets in!

this piece is now finished as well

I created it specifically for a show that has an entry deadline in mid-November, that I have no promise (as with all shows) that it will get in to

so I decided to go ahead and enter it in a local gallery call for entries --- if it doesn't get in to that local gallery I will know before the deadline on that first show

we'll see how that goes

I had finished all but the stitching on this piece before I started stitching the river scene, so now I'm back to working on this

so far I have stitched the ground and the shadows, so I still have to do the mailboxes and the sky

coming along!

the ice cream maker is ready now for me to create the back ground

I've decided on a pieced design that looks like subway tile at the top and an old table cloth at the bottom which makes a pretty good setting for this

the pieces of the garden are slowly coming together

I have to say about now I'm really tired of looking at various shades of green!

and this morning, I was notified that this piece will be included in a show titled Metamorphosis sponsored by the Women's Caucus for Art, Colorado Chapter

I'm delighted!!  it was one of 41 pieces selected from 400 entries


starting next Monday, the 12" x 12" study of the city that is shown here will be part of the SAQA benefit auction

this is one of the ways I support an organization that has helped me develop my art in the past few years

there has been some utilitarian sewing here in the studio in the last week or so

my daughter got the t-shirt, which she loves, but it was too snug for comfort at the bottom edge even though the shoulders and the top fit great (who designs these things?!)

mom to the rescue --- I used the still good piece of another shirt to put orange "V" shaped panels in each side to make it work for her

and right now I'm working on the beginning of the annual Halloween costume for Mr Cute -- he's going to be the Hulk this year, so I'm making him a green muscle suit

we've reached the point in the gardening season that I need to pick nearly every day

while the zucchini's have been a big disappointment, I've already put a number of bags of green beans in the freezer plus all we've been able to eat, and tomatoes in some form are a daily menu item in addition to the ones that have been made into pasta sauce

I was able to get my hands on some strawberries to put up into jam for the winter too

meantime, out in the garage workshop, the DH is busy making some new figures for our wood nativity set (it won't be long before we're putting this up -- time is flying!!)

he has cut out the second sheep, the donkey and the cow as well as a shepherd boy

so far I have painted the animals (we're refreshing the paint on the older pieces too), and I've started on the shepherd

this has to be done step by step to let each color of paint dry before I start the next one

and of course no post is complete without an update on Mr Benson

he has been the hero of the garden watch the last couple of weeks as he has discovered that grasshoppers are fun to chase -- and with one well place swat, he can squash one with his foot

yeah Mr Benson!!  give that dog a treat --- and ignore the occasional picking of green beans from outside the fence -- seems like a good reward to me

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

thinking about turning points

I've had a lot of time this summer to sit still and think about things

and now that one of the on line artist groups that I have been a member of for a long time is "reinventing" itself and changing a lot of their "rules" to belong to the group -- including asking all of us to "reapply for membership"

this was not necessarily a decision I wanted to make right now, but I have been thinking that it may be time soon to make this choice anyway

and here's why --- this is the last piece of beaded jewelry I finished -- last October -- almost a year ago --

and even though I've been keeping up with reading the challenges, etc., from the bead group since then, I have simply not felt inspired to create anything for them

to a large extent, my tastes and style in this art medium seem to no longer be valid -- certainly the total lack of sales and very low number of views on my Etsy page for this medium indicate that --

part of that may also be that I have not been willing to make a piece like this one and practically give it away in terms of the price I charge for it -- my time is worth something, and I'd rather spend it in working on something that at least makes my soul happy!
like this piece, for example

I made it for my daughter in 2013, and I recently "recalled" it to do some updating

so now it has a lot clearer definition of the individual pumpkins and a lot better shadow

and I enjoyed doing that

there is the fact that all seven of these pieces are currently on display in shows or galleries right now which feels a lot more rewarding!

and there is the human factor

the community of fiber artists that I can actually be an active part of in this area is large and very rewarding

it may well be time to hold a giant sale in my Etsy store to clear things out (and maybe actually make a little money) and then to seriously consider revamping and re branding it --- or creating a freestanding website again --- or both

in the meantime, while I'm thinking about that, I'm still working on the big garden piece

the deck and the planter boxes are done, and I've started on the gate that goes at the far right edge of the decking

and I've started on the fusing of the ice cream freezer -- working on a piece of parchment paper over the line drawing lets me see what the pieces look like, and to move them around or change the colors until I'm happy with how it looks

meantime, I finished this reflection study, and I'm really happy with how it looks

this piece is about 13" x 13", and originally I was going to cut it down to 12"x12" and donate it for next year's SAQA auction

but I don't want to cut it

and I want it to have enough "presence" when hung that it looks like a piece of art, not just a big potholder

my solution to that is that I'm going to mount it on a canvas -- of course you can't get a 13"x13" canvas -- but I was able to get a 14"x14" one, so now I need to think about what color that 1" border all around it will be

my garden is starting to be more productive

I'm picking tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchinis about every other day now, and I should have green beans soon


the big deal here this week was the eclipse

we had heard that animals are impacted by this kind of solar phenomena

apparently Mr Benson didn't hear that

this was his "I'm watching the eclipse" pose --- sound asleep on the couch!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

searching for a new "normal"

I'm stronger, but not totally recovered -- I went to my master class on Friday and came home pretty exhausted -- feeling enough better that I want to do everything that I was doing before, but still not there yet

now that I can manage stairs fairly easily, I've been back in the studio

and the first order of business was getting the three pieces that are going to the NCAR exhibit ready to hang

which meant that this 12"x12" piece had to be mounted on a canvas

and I had to find an appropriately sized box (a trip to a local small market did the trick there -- they were willing to give me a pizza box that I could paste a new label on!)

the other two pieces needed slats and wires and bags, and I've almost finished that part too -- looking good!

I'm working on the pieces for the garden piece

the only other piece I've done this way was the mailbox piece (that isn't quilted yet), and at the end I had a few issues with things fitting together correctly on that one, so I'm hoping for the best on this one -- hopefully I learned something the first time!

the sky/trees/fence part went together great, and the hose pieces (that will hang from the trellis at the front of the piece) are ready

so now I'm working on the decking that runs between the planter boxes

sometimes a piece returns for some "refreshing"

I made this piece for my daughter a few years ago, and it has returned to the studio so I can improve the definition between the individual pumpkins and improve the shadow on the floor

this will be the next thing at the sewing machine, and shouldn't take too long to get done

this photo of an old ice cream maker will be the subject of the next small piece

I think it will be a good companion piece with this milk can piece

so the map has been drawn and it's time to select fabrics!

we are actually starting to get some goodies out of the garden

last week was rainy and cool much of the week, but this week is supposed to be warmer, so I expect I'll be picking a lot more things out there!

ok -- just what is Mr Benson thinking as he sticks his tongue out at me?

only he knows, but it is a cute picture, and it might end up as an art quilt!!