Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cooperative Randomness

On the beach in Monterey, there is a ruin. I don't know if it is terribly old or not (by California standards that is!), or reallyeven a ruin, but it is one of the most interesting things on this particular beach. There are all kinds of tempting and tantilizing textures on the salt/water damaged wall. Unfortunately I was there at the wrong time of day to get photos of those textures (without getting wet that is.).

I happened to notice how different each photo I took, looked, depending on what the ocean was doing. A big part of how different this picture looks has to do with what position the waves are in at the moment the shutter snapped.
If I shortened my focus, then it was much more up to me how the picture would look.
But if I widened my view from the closeup.
Each and every picture looks different. Hey! A ship on the horizon.
I began to think about this idea of not having control over what I'm focusing on. I can't tell this subject to smile, or look this way, or to "stay". It isn't up to me, except to be in the moment and let the photo happen that will happen. This is much easier to stomach with digital photo taking of course!

I love the idea that the end result is not something I can control. It is out of my hands how very important elements of this composition look, so there is a beautiful randomness in the result. Let's call it: Cooperative Randomness.

And if you hang around long enough, of course the sunlight changes too. Which I also have nothing to do with. Which I am absolutely ok with. I have enough to be in charge of!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Forward Motion

Six word memoir #5 -
Forward Motion isn't always a requirement.
Cotton, velvet, satin, lace, plastic discs, glass beads.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just Jellyfish

An all-jellyfish edition for you today. From last Sunday's excursion to the dependably fabulous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Note: Please excuse any missing "t's" as my t-key is not always working.

These have what looks like teeny neon lights running up and down the long sections. They move really quickly so they are harder to get a clear photo.

This doesn't look like a particularly organized animal does it? Reminds me of egg drop soup. I do however love the composition of this photo with the long curved strands off to the side. This could easily be extrapolated into a good art quilt that doesn't necessarily scream "JELLYFISH". There are just soooo many jellyfish quilts, it seems like the subject has been done almost to the point of overdone. Does the world need one more jellyfish quilt? Probably not. But that isn't how I make decisions on what to work on. And anyways, I don't think I've seen one done of this particular type. And since it doesn't look like a prototypical jellyfish (like the first photo in the post), I could see myself doing one.

So unreal and delicate and beautiful.

This series of four photos show the same group of jellies as they pulse open and closed, in and out, to move through the water.




I really like the way the lighting at the aquarium shows off these jellies. This composition is also effective to my eye, all the different curves, the way the space is divided up, the different angles made by the trailing tails.

I took this picture because it looked like they were really tangled up (more than usual) for good.

But no, they were fine after all.
Then my family had to drag me away from the jellyfish display area to the rest of the aquarium. I could just skip the rest of the fish really and just hang out with the jellyfish.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lutradur and Shibori

Here are two recent book purchases that I thought you might be interested in hearing about.

First is Lesley Riley's great book: Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur(r): For Quilting, Papercrafts, Mixed Media Art 27 Techniques & 14 Projects Revolutionize Your Craft Experience!

I love Lesley's work and recently purchased some TAP, Transfer Artist Paper
from her website, to try out some new-to-me image transfer techniques. Some of the techniques include using Lutradur, so I decided to spring for the book too. I didn't realize that Lutradur is a whole 'nother thing though, it is a kind of hybrid, a cross between fabric and paper, made out of polyester non-woven web. Translucent and perfect for adding a lot of layers to art pieces.

This book is great, it starts out with a clear description of what Lutradur is, what its properties are, an illustrated list of "27 Things To Do With Lutradur" and then there are 14 projects that follow which demonstrate how to combine all these techniques into making specific things. Books, quilts, 3-D stuffed shapes, collages. There is a whole lot of information crammed into a small book. I recommend it if you are looking for something new to add to your art, art quilt or collage repertoire.
And second is a book I've wanted for a long time, but it was always just a little too pricey for me to justify buying. Luckily for me, one of my CQFA friends, Maureen, had received two copies as gifts and wanted to sell one of them for a cheap enough price to tempt me. Thanks Maureen! This is the go-to book for all things Shibori, Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing . There are beautiful and inspiring pictures of historical and current shibori pieces along with really clear directions for using stitching, clamping and other techniques as resists for making patterns as you dye. I was really impressed by the appendices which include a fascinating essay about the history of fabric production and dyeing.

Guess I'll have to study up and try to combine Shibori and Lutradur somehow...innovate, innovate, innovate right?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adding To The Chaos

Adding to the chaos that rules my sewing room, are several new goodies, some quilt related, some upholstery related too. I have 4 chairs to recover, and only have the fabric for one of them.
First is a selection of upholstery trim scraps that I purchased in a little plastic bag for $1.99 from Harts Fabrics. I swear this is just like crack for me, I find that I really can't resist the siren call because:
  • the small amount
  • the cheap price
  • the color coordination
  • the array of textures
  • can very easily see using this on a wall quilt (I do have a history with fringe after all...)

I have a feeling I'm not the only one that will buy one of these little goodie bags. Upholstery fabric and trim, also from Hart's, that I'm using to recover an old ottoman. It is almost done, it is taking a while to hammer all the upholstery nails in. I can only hold the hammer for a little amount of time. I'm also going to recover the seat cushion and arms from the leather chair that this ottoman goes with. It is really worn out and ripped in a couple of places. I love how the worn-in leather feels, but I don't like how it looks now.

This is a shiny (I'm guessing acetate) about 8"x10", and it is a really cool cut-out fabric. Another FabMo find. It made me think of one of those fancy neckroll pillows, couldn't you see it on top of a red or yellow silk. It is too small to wrap all the way around one of those pillow since it is a sample. But I like the pattern a lot and am thinking I'll use it somehow in surface design. And lastly, four new fabrics from the CQFA retreat weekend, the two on the right were in the freebie pile. I'm finding I'm really into checks and checkerboards these days.
But hey, when this picture loaded I noticed the colors don't look right, especially the fabric on the lower left is this intensely weird chartreuse color, which was why I bought it! You just don't find that color very often, certainly not with such a lovely pattern. The same fabrics with a flash, there that's a little better but still kind of brown. Oh well, I'm giving up on getting the right flash or lighting. At least for now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

All You Need Is Thread Thread Thread

The "All You Need Is, Love, Love, Love" quilt is now pin-basted. It turned out to be pretty big at 46x56".

The use of my right hand is definitely coming back and I was able to work with the safety pins without much problem. Smoothing out the backing, batting and quilt top was a bit harder. Guess I used to use the pinkie side of my right hand for that function. Well after today's basting session, I'm now able to use my left hand for that action, but not quite as successfully as the right. I'm just not meant to be ambidextrous I suppose! It is mostly smooth and flat and I don't think there will be much of a problem quilting it.

This is a picture of the threads I'll likely be using to quilt it this week and the pink/chocolate polka dot fabric will be the binding fabric..

I spent a lot of time making the backing, piecing together all the scraps from making the heart blocks and the rest of my saved-up Valentine/Heart/Love theme fabrics, it is pretty wild. Haven't taken a picture of it yet though.

I gave this quilt in progress to my husband for his Valentine's Day present, since I was thinking of him while I made it. He liked it unquilted and very lightweight, but I think he'll like it more when it is snuggling weight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One World, One Heart, One Winner

150 Wins!

Using the magic of the random number generator, the number of 150 was chosen as the winner of my offer to make someone a six word memoir quiltlet, which was:
Bonnie who asked: "Could I do 7 words, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", a bad week at work, but yet I Thank God I have a job!"
I'll be emailing Bonnie to work out what she wants on her quiltlet, and yes, I'll probably say ok, why not? to the matter of having 7 vs. 6 words.

Image Made with Mosaic Maker from Big Huge Labs 1. one is the loneliest number, 2. Number 5, 3. zero One World, One Heart sure seems like it was a resounding success. There were so many participants (1,088 blogs from 40 countries!). I only managed to get around to a very small percentage of all the participants. I'm really glad that I participated because I saw a lot of really interesting and inspiring blogs that I probably never would have found on my own. I'm also glad that so many of you came by and commented and hope that you'll be back at some point. Wonder if Lisa (Whimsical Bohemian) will do it again next year? Sure seems like a huge amount of work!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gifts of Bits & Bobs

At the recent CQFA retreat, my friend Bronwen gave me a very mysterious Valentine box that rattled rather temptingly.
Oooh look at the goodies inside! I took a few closeup pictures so you can see some of the details. Bronwen knows that I love using old buttons and things in my artwork so she always is coming up with little bits and bobs for me which is really thoughtful and quite helpful!

A really lovely little rhinestone star button. Love this design so much 13 circles around an 8-pointed star. I could see making a hairbow clip with this sewn onto the center.

A filigree metalwork clasp. She thought I could use it on the cover of an altered book. What a fabulous idea!
A mother of pearl buckle. Love the squiggly gold accents. I wonder if I can make a sash belt that would look good with this, I really like the colors.
And a little metal bird pin with a red shiny eye. Look at that intricate detail on the feathers.
Thanks Bron!

Monday, February 08, 2010

One World, One Heart

Well I kept putting it off, but I kept coming back to the idea of participating in the yearly blog-visiting-giveaway-socializing-extravaganza that is One World, One Heart. After already visiting many of the blogs listed, I decided I wanted to jump in and play too!

Last year I heard about it a bit too late to join in, but here I am on the very last day jumping onto the Magic Carpet.

My offer is to make the winner their very own Six Word Memoir Quiltlet. If you win, you'll give me the six words you want, tell me what about your week made you choose them, and I'll make you a little quilt (8"x8" maximum size). It will look something like the ones shown in this post, but of course, not exactly.
To enter just leave me a comment with your city, country and favorite word.
I'll announce who has won this fabulous prize on February 15th.
And be sure and go and check out at least some of the more that 1000 blogs that are participating and all giving away various gifts, art, prizes and generally putting good vibes out there into the arty/crafty blog-o-sphere.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Shoelaces Break, Things Then Fall Apart

Here is the fourth in a year-long series of weekly Six Word Memoir journal quilts.Shoelaces Break, Things Then Fall Apart

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sometimes Everything Looks Like A Giraffe

Third in a series for the Six Word Memoir journal quilt project that I am participating in all year long.
This was all made with scraps near the top of my current pile. Note that none of them were cut to these shapes for this quilt. Used "as is" tends to be the way I work with scraps for collage-y stuff like this. Once that black piece got put down on the background, the six words immediately popped into my head:
"Sometimes Everything Looks Like A Giraffe"
A truism if I've ever thought of one!The words were stamped with blue fabric dye ink with one of my smaller alphabet stamp sets.I am not the best at stamping words, getting the spacing right, even "close enough" is hard for me to achieve. So my "close enough" is prety darned flexible as you can see here. c'mon S catch up with Look!
I wonder if anyone (not naming names to see if she does!) will recognize her scraps that I used here? I love it that people give me such wonderful goodies to work with!