The purpose of this blog is share with others the processes involved in my favorite form of creativity- silk art quilts. The creative process itself is a fascinating thing. I am constantly amazed by it- both its simplicity and its complexity.

I feel strongly that I am a better person since I truly started following my dream. Because of collectors--those who actually buy original art-- I am able to live my dream. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You can see more of my work at my website http://www.rebelquilter.com/.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a brush with fame!!!

No that isn't ME! It is my friend and soon to be famous singer songwriter Emily Higgins, at her recent video taping for broadcast. She sent the photo to me because she is wearing one of my silk scarves.

I recently went through the jury process at Wholesalecrafts.com so that I can present my scarves to more than 16,000 retailers across the country. Hopefully this will provide the income foundation that allows me to stay home and create my art quilts. By spring you might see some of my scarves in fine craft galleries as you cross the country. If you don't see them.. ask for them by name! "It's a Floozie!". ( The name of my wholesale scarf division is "Floozie Productions")

Progress report on the giant quilt: I am about 50% of the way through the 3rd panel. I might even get through the 4th one before leaving town for the holidays. I am having oodles of fun and have just listened to the final Harry Potter book-- all 21 hours of it. Today I picked up my next book on CD to listen to while quilting. This one is David Baldacci's latest. Sure to add a different flavor to my quilting. Thankfully the librarian at our library has been listening to me beg for more listening material. Over the course of the last few years of traveling plus quilting I had listened to every book on CD they had. Some of you have wondered about the many hours I spend in my studio-- the books on CD are the answer. Like a secret lover they lure me to my studio even if I'm not really in the mood. Next thing I know-- the hours have passed and lots of work got done. And you thought I just had intense enthusiasm or strong work ethic... well I do, but the books on CD sure help!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Visions of Plenty-> progress

At last! I have finished piecing the four sections.

I LOVE the way the color moves across the piece. The redder section becomes the light sourcepoint and all the "imagery" will radiate out from there.
This is the back of the reddish section (section A). I am using freezer paper to act as a stencil for painting on the swirling vortex that surrounds the slip stream. The circles vary in size and are created using several silkscreens and are applied using acrylic paints.
Here are the a & b sections. They are reversed so they correspond to the fronts of similar color. That means the reddish one is on the right.
These are the c & d sections. The freezer paper is still adhered. I figured I'd surprise you with the full effect after I get them quilted. I am currently awaiting paint drying on section A back before I layer and baste before quilting. I'll be initially quilitng from the backside- so have to pin with the back up. First I'll be outlining all those circles in invisible thread and then the swirling vortexes. After that is done I'll flip it over and re-pin and quilt from the front. That way the circles will act as landmarks and I can quilt the design that is on the back from the front. Clear as mud? Feel free to ask questions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I've been tagged!

This is a blogger version of a chain letter but with no downside.. and no threats. I'm supposed to list 7 things that are odd about myself and pass that along to 7 others. I am picking Mary, Suzi, Pat, Dee, Emmie, and 2 others still to be named ( I don't know that many who have blogs!)

Ok. So 7 odd things about myself.
1) If you have ever heard me speak you'll know I sound much more like Texas than anywhere else. Alas, though I claim to be Texan, I was born in Ontario... as in Canada. My family moved to Texas when I was 3 so I learned to speak from other Texans. That works, eh?
2) My grandmother started doing water color drypoint botanical illustrations when she was over 60 yrs. old. As I understand it, she taught herself while ministering to my grandfather who was sick for a long period. ( I have no idea what was ailing him) As an avid amateur botanist and birder she had a lifelong affection for nature. On our birding outings I got great joy by creating strange bird sounds with the bird whistle. She'd get so excited thinking that she'd heard a new bird for her "life list". Then I'd get the "scowl".
3) at 53 I have been married for more than 2/3 of my life. Jon and I married when I was 17 and he was 18. The first 5 years we stayed together mostly to prove everyone else wrong. After that we learned to communicate.
4) I have delusions of grandeur- I keep thinking that someday my art will be my ticket to the world and I'll be able to glide through.
5) I am a fabulous cook and love to entertain. Someday one of my parties will be featured in Southern Living or some such magazine. If I could just afford the groceries. But I do love the salvege grocery for finding odd ingredients. I'm still trying to figure out how to use coconut vinegar.
6) Until I was an adult, the only "art class" I ever took was after school in 6th grade. I took pastel and oil painting from Mrs. Lipscomb in her garage studio. She usually finished the "hard parts" of my artwork.
7) Though I am left handed and proud of it, my physical strength is in my right hand. I use the left for anything requiring detail and finesse. I use right handed scissiors- the usual way, iron right handed, bat right handed ( or at least I did in school).
There! Now I just have to figure out the blog addresses for those I have tagged myself!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Visions of plenty: slipstream adventure

Here three out of four of the panels have the rows pieced. I wish I knew how to move these photos around. The left side of the second photo is the right side of the first photo.

Overall I am very pleased with the color movement. I should have the fourth panel's rows pieced by tomorrow. Then I'll start the backs- dyeing of same.

For the quilting--I am picturing not only tons of bubbles but for them to be arranged to appear to be flowing out of a slipstream. That means they'll have movement to them and not appear static.

As you can see, the panels shrink as they get pieced. So they are aleady 6 inches shorter and 4.5 inches narrower. They'll get another 6 inches shorter as I piece the rows together.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Magic time! Visions of Plenty

I finally got "Visions of Plenty" on the design wall. It'll be 12 blocks tall and 22 blocks wide. That translates to more or less 7 ft tall and 12+ ft wide. (somehow I wound up with fewer blocks than I estimated I had) It'll be divided into 4 sections of width- which will allow me to maintain good control while quilting this huge sucker. I got the 1st 6 rows of the left most section pieced today. It took about 5 hours just to lay out the blocks on the wall. (That black thing is my rolled up black paper photo backdrop)

I'm excited about this piece. The immense size - done on spec- is insane. I haven't yet decided on how I'll quilt it. But one thing I do know-- I'll be concentrating on lots of variety in the quilting itself. I'm considering doing something somewhat similar to how I handled the quilting on Yikes Stripes-- lots of varying sized, overlapping circles. Like bubbles gone mad! Each bubble would have a unique thread color and quilting pattern. I want the quilting to visually flow from one section to the next.

It is a statement about my frame of mind that I am doing a piece this large with this name. I've had an extraordinary level of losses this year. My father died, our 200 year old post oak died, my dearest friend is moving to Prague next week, and earlier this week I ran over my 17 yr old cat. ugh! So I am conjuring up lots to replace these losses. I'm creating bigger, bolder and happier.

As I get more of it pieced I'll shoot more photos. While still piecing I'll begin dyeing and printing the backs as well. Yes there will be pictures. Please keep your eyes out for an opportunity for me to sell this piece. It would be great going up a big stairwell--because of it being in several sections-- or perhaps a large wall in a conference room or bank lobby, perhaps that airport concourse I've been hoping for. Maybe even a hospital lobby or great room. The final price will be in the $19,000 range.

I love working this large. It gives me a feeling of expanse and grandeur. Since I am not doing the art festivals anymore--yep, decision reached-- I will be focusing on creating work that is either for commission, purely to delight me or for specific exhibitions.

I spent so much time trying to second guess the public while doing art shows that I kinda lost the joy of just creating a piece because it moved me. Hopefully these newer works will reflect that new found joy. I'd love your feedback!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New gallery

Since I last wrote I have been 4800 miles by car to Canada and Maine. With my mother in the car we had to stop every 60 miles for "washroom" breaks. But since I got home I started back dyeing my silk scarves. Here's an early batch hanging for audition. If they had too much white space or were too "tie-dye" looking the chances are they have already been overdyed. Yeah.. that mess is my studio. The table is where I lay out my circles for assembly.
The other major activity this summer has been to turn my otherwise unused front two rooms of my studio into a micro gallery. I've wanted someplace I could sit down with a prosepctive client and show my work in an elegant manner. So these three photos show the inside of my "gallery space".

On the left side you can see some of my scarves.

You can now order scarves directly from me. I'm still trying to figure out how to create an order form. My plan is to focus on wholesale for the scarves plus what I can sell out of my gallery plus online. By the way the size of the scarves is 12" x 60". Most are crepe de chine. Some are habotai. All are over-dyed with black accents. BTW- They have beads on each corner extending about 2.5-3 inches. The added weight of the beads make them very desirable for simply draping around your neck over a sweater, jacket or shirt. The price is $42.

The best sellers are the ones in autumn tones, jewel tones, bright red, & bright blue (Not in the same piece) If you have colors you especially like I can choose one for you based on your tastes. I'll happily guarantee your pleasure or return or exchange for another. Just call me at 417-274-1561. I'll take most credit cards or your check. Wholesale orders--contact me directly as well.

The address of the gallery is 219 Chestnut in Thayer, MO.

Now to round three of my 300 block "Visions of Plenty". Hopefully next week I'll do "magic time" and you'll begin to see where this quilt is going. So far I am planning for 6 panels each 8 feet tall and totalling 18ft wide. Now where can I exhibit this piece?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Visions of plenty

This is the preliminary sketch of my newest quilt. It moves from Turkey red in the top left through eggplant in the mid range to tobacco brown in the lower right. There are flashes of golden yellow throughout. It is going to be QUITE large. The vertical height will be about 8 ft and the width somewhere between 15-18 ft. It'll be broken down into5-6 panels.

This is the stack of cut blocks and circles for applique. Rather daunting, huh? It is over 300 blocks so you are looking at 600+ layers of fabric stacked up-- from bridal silk satin to cotton flannel-- all except a few metallics are hand dyed. That yellow piece is one of the metallic fabrics of the "flash". The first round of stitching took over 5 hours--that's at 1 minute per block-- which is about right. Next step is to cut a smaller circle out of the square from the underside. That in itself will take another 5-6 hours. Then onto round 2.

But before I stack the pieces up for round 2 I will take about 10% of the next group of circles and stamp them with metallic x's. This will add a limited amount of additional texture and interest to an otherwise image free area.

Why am I doing this huge piece? To make sure I have evidence that I can truly work "large."
I hope that I'll be able to find ways to exhibit it as well as eventually sell it. Do you know a venue that needs a really large piece? 8ft x 18ft? Hey! It is still early in the process-- it could be 12 x 12 or 6 ft x 24ft. . We're looking at 144sq ft. Want it bigger? Get hold of me NOW!

My plan is to very tightly quilt the surface with color blends and flashes--many, many different patterns. Oh for a long arm! My plan has been to buy a longarm when I get a commission to do a very large piece. But in the meantime, I'll break it down into about 5-6 panels like I did with my previous triptychs ( Ridgeline: Afterglow & Burning Leaves)

See? Finally, Pictures!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

a deep breath

The last month has been one of hope, anticpation and wait. I haughtily anticipated receiving the acceptence letter from Fiber Focus and having the pleasure of a face to face conversation with the Juror. It was not to be.

I had recently jumped off in a new direction of work, walking that tight rope of self-doubt and exhiliaration, stepping into pathways not yet followed by me. That in itself is a scary place to be. To make matters even tougher, I had made a point of getting the work done in muliples so that I had a "body of work" AND was presenting it to the juror I most wanted to see my work. YIKES!

I KNOW better than to invest so much energy into hope. I've been there! I've done that! It doesn't pay, it doesn't help and it certainly doesn't feel good when the anticipation meets disappointment. You'd think after 5 years of doing art festivals where the operating basis had become- lower your expectations- I'd and back off and not tangle up so much emotional energy.

But in my arrogance I had actually thought my work had reached a point where I felt secure in presenting it and having it be well received. Just so you know-- so far the public reception of my new work has been great. But back to my issue--disappoinment. I personally think there is real value in having a severe reality check every once in a while. Not often- but occasionally.

In case you haven't figured it out-- I didn't get into the exhibition. But rejection has its purposes. I've really gotten stronger along the way. And I think that people who know me well, appreciate the fact my head isn't on a contiunual unabated expansion. I KNOW I have a large ego. To my dismay I find there is a competitive edge to me as well. (To my defense in that realm- I have several relatives who have competed internationally in the olympic games. Is there a competitive gene?)

When I step back from my immediate disappointment and look back at my big picture, I remember that I am first creating work that pleases me. The only time I am disappointed in my work is if I have allowed myself to be lead astray for a commission that doesn't at least echo the style I've developed. But if I am scratching my own itch first-- then allow it to be presented for critiquing and judgement, I am at least starting from a point of satisfaction.

While I do allow myself to simply follow a path of exploration, I generally do so with at least an eye for my bigger goals and targets. I don't want to wander so far afield that I look back 6 months from now and wonder how I got so far off path. Even while exploring the new printing techniques, or even doing marbling--I do so within the 7" square format so that it could be incorporated into my existing 7" bulls eye block. I have recently been playing with some new silk screens. Guess what size I am printing most of it on? Yep! 7". I have also been playing with thickened dyes. Oh my! They are so luscious to use! ( I know--where are the pictures? I'll get there. But not today.)

But what new project lures me like an illicit romance? My latest quilt started with the arrival of new dyes--Turkey Red and Eggplant. I did a morph of those colors using 7 gradations. For each coloration I used fat quarters of silk broadcloth, cotton broadcloth, bridal weight silk satin, silk noil and cotton flannel. I was delighted with ithe results. BTW- the silk just doesn't take the blue in the eggplant as deeply as does the cotton. I know I should have taken a photo of the fabrics before I started cutting them up. Next time...

Then I got out my colored pencils and sketched out a gradation from the turkey red through to the eggplant and onto a deep brown. Flashes of a bright golden yellow would pop up occasionallly. Wow! I liked that!

So then I did a morph of eggplant to tobacco brown. Again yum! Plus, again, the blue in the dyes isn't as well absorbed in the silks--so the color variations from silk to cotton are remarkable.

Where is all this going? B_I_G!!!!!I have cut out over 300 blocks and circles and begun my largest piece yet. Finished this piece could be 8 ft tall by 18 ft wide. Don't worry-- I wouldn't consider doing it all in one piece ( unless it was a comission and I had a longarm machine to do it on).

Now why is it like an illicit romance? Because I am still struggling with an unfinished commission-- I am actually nearly done with it. But I am only allowing myself a short while each day to work on it until I finish the commission. It is the reward I am teasing myself with for catching up with parts of my life that have fallen WAY off the normal time track of life.

Since I started caring for my ageing parents and went on the road 5 years ago doing art festivals my life has been in overwhelm. So this month I am addressing those issues. Well at least most of them. Everything from sales tax reports, to income tax, to transferring my father's assets, to finishing the kitchen I started remodeling 4 years ago-- all need attention.

But there is NO way I'd completely walk away from work in my studio. If I did I'd find I had forgotten who I was for a while. I've done it before and no doubt I'll have to do it again sometime. But at this point it would take a major event to prevent me from making time in my studio a fairly high priority for me.

The other thing I've been working on is getting the front part of my studio in shape to be a small gallery. I'm delighted with how it is beginning to look... photos soon!

Let's go back and get 'em!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Artistic voice

The piece above is entitled "What if?" It came about because I wondered what would happen if I painted across my blocks before they were assembled. This is a typical situation I often find myself in.

Kim Ritter asked about artistic voices and suggested we share about our own. hmmm. Since I am in the midst of a stylistic transition this might be a good time to address the subject. First of all, for me, the inital tickle I usually feel for a new work is almost always based on a supposed color grouping. I just love to see what happens when certain colors are combined. Occasionally I am surprised because the colors I imagined being combined I "saw" with vastly different proportions than I executed. Those proportions can make a huge difference.

Currently, I am exploring more drawing skills. My paternal grandmother was an exquisite watercolor painter of botanicals. She didn't even start painting until she was at least 65. Her work looks like illustrations from a field guide of wildflowers. But she drew from collected specimens. While I find I have little desire to create artwork that simply replicates nature- I do find that I am drawn to botanicals as a subject matter for increasing my drawing skills. I don't want to get terrbly detailed. I find I am more interested in capturing the essence or gesture rather than the exactness.

I just bought a sumi painting book and materials and hope to play with that as a means for exploring gesture. I would love to find a local life drawing group-- although here in my small town the chances are rather remote. My interest in drawing figures is in defining long curves and sweeps.

What keeps me going from one piece to the next is the tickle-- the itch. I'll wonder... what would happen if? and off I go!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bass Ackwards: Poppy

Here is the version I did in Black and White. You'll see the poppy image later as I add images that include the painting on the back.

On Bass Ackwards: Sunflower ( the one in greens)I painted the back with stamps I created to make a large sunflower arrangement.. But I painted it entirely in Black- because the colors of the backing fabric hid all the other colors I tried to paint them. So it is a silhouette. Such a tease. I'll try to shoot photos tomorrow so you can see what I am talking about.

Wednesday is a big day for me. I am finally bringing my work to my new gallery in Hot Springs. Blue Moon Art Gallery. I'm adding a link from here as well as from my website.

My work has just been returned from the MADI Museum in Dallas. I THINK a review has been wirtten. I am awaiting final word on that. Fingers crossed.

Since I am no longer going to be on the road, I have been redoing the front portion of my studio space to include a small gallery of my work. I just want to be comfortable bringing in a potential collector---instead of experienceing excruciating embarrassment at such a trashed out studio. It is coming along. My part-time assistant and I have painted one room and will do the 2nd one as soon as we've removed ll extraneous furniture. Don't worry-- as soon as it is done I'll shoot photos. I've made use of my track lighting from my booth set-up and am using the same chain/ shower curtain hanging mechanism I used in my booth. It works quite well. I have a REAL challenge in using my space. All the walls up front are paneling glued to glazed ceramic bricks. So I can't hang directly from the walls. Then, I have only the ceiling frm which to mount my pipes/ hanging devices.... I KNOW... images, images images. Patience dear ones.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bass Ackwards: Bee Balm

Whew! big deadline came and went. I've been knee deep in this project for over three weeks now--non stop. I especially wanted to have this work done in time to enter it in an exhibition that has a particular juror who I wanted to see my work.

This first piece you saw as a quilt top - well here it is quilted. I used the bee balm imagery blown WAY up. The colors are primarly reds, oranges and blacks/ grays. The flowers are in various shades of pinks and lavendars.

This piece is Bass Ackwards: Sunflower. the colors are deep greens, citreons and eggplant. What you can't see the sunflower quilting? I'll give a detail on my followup post.

I have also done this in simply black and white. The flower that is quilted into it is a poppy. It'll be in a followup post.

Right now I am zombie. The last 2 days I put in over 13 hours a day and previous to the 4th I was at it for about 8 hours a day for many, many days. I took off on the 4th because we had our annual 4th of July bash-- which is always a lot of fun, but poorly timed this year. I've promised my husband for days that I would be more available for household participation after this deadline. I wonder what he has planned for me?

Next week I'll be working on making the front part of my studio more of a gallery space. Since I am not going on the road any more for art festivals I'll use my lights etc. to make my gallery show off my work. Since I got it cleaned up last week-- I didn't personally do it-- I was workiing on deadline, remember?-- I'll get it painted and then hang the lights. I'll hang a picture rail as well to simplify hanging. oh yeah-- and I'll finally be getting down to my new gallery in Hot Springs to deliver work...then to Dallas to pick up what remains from the MADI Museum show.

Then maybe I'll finally get around to income tax...ugh

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bass Ackwards

Well I am finally back in my studio and able to focus. I've planned a new body of work and have spent a few weeks researching and beginning to play with the new processes and techniques.

A couple of years ago I came across a book called "Art is where the foam is". You can get it at http://www.foamiswheretheartis.com/. I was fascinated by the immediacy of print making using foam meat packing trays. I can draw directly on them with a pen or pencil and then print using acrylic paints or water soluable printing inks.

Here are three of the prints I made using this technique. The first is a drawing of basil plants in my garden. BTW- since I am no longer doing art festivals- Whoa! ... I am once again able to spend time in my garden as well as my studio. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working in my garden. The second drawing is of pepper plants and the third are poppies.
I also did some blocks that are just texture- I didn't photograph them this time.

This is the quilt top assembled. I used discharge as well as paints and inks. I have no idea yet where this is going. But I have to make tracks cuz I have a show deadline on the 7th of July in which I need to have three good pieces of my new series. Yikes!!!!

It is called "Bass Ackwards" because the sashing, which is usually fairly quiet and used to tie together somewhat different blocks is, instead, the jazzy part.

I'll be back in my stdio tomoor for hte next step- whatever it is. Tonight we'll have guests for dinner in the garden and I better get to the store.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

pure gold

This quilt is one of 4 that I did last summer for the Creamery exhibition in Springfield, MO. It now resides on the wall at Barnes Jewish Hospital with its companion pieces- silver, copper and bronze. The center medallion of this piece was done with tyvek. First I painted it; then stitched a filagree pattern; then hit it with a heat gun. ZAP! Later I combined the medallion with blocks made from silk- mostly dupionis. After pieceing I applied foil using a stamp I made and foiling glue. Then I applied foil using heat.

Today I have been in my studio working on 2 commissions that seem to be taking longer than they should. One required just the right dyeing combination to get the foundation correct- it is a larger version of "1st of November". After 4 tries I finally got the color right and have begun the printing process using fresh tree leaves. I actually had to wait a few weeks because we had a really late hard freeze here and the trees had to start over. I understand the oaks probably won't produce acorns this year. There is going to be some very hungry deer come fall.

The other piece was one where I was using a water soluable stabilizer in order to do the stitchery I wanted. While I was out of town there was a small ceiling leak....onto my piece. GRRRRRR!. So I had to soak the whole thing in a tub of water and let it air dry. Hopefully there will be no spot from the earlier wetting. It had all just shrunk up and turned hard. Yucko mucko.

For the first time in 6 years I am able to spend time during the summer in my garden. I'm thoroughly enjoying the poppies and we should have a grand crop of tomaotes all summer. I planted 4 different ones in big tubs. and I finally replanted my basil after losing the first crop. I can't imagine summer without basil.

I'm thrilled to be back in my studio. I am chomping at the bit to try some new stuff but can't quite seem to get started. How frustrating!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Getting back to normal

This is an "in progress" photo of one of the quilts I did as a commission last fall. I have all the layers down but have not cut the blocks into quadrants.

This week has been kinda unreal. Since my last post, my father, who I mentioned had had a stroke on Apr. 22ND has died. His memorial service was on the 7Th. The last while has been a time of re-orienting for myself as well as my mother. Thankfully, he went pretty quickly, considering the damage the stroke did. We are healing and moving forward- bit by bit.

Good news came last week when I got a call from Kim Ritter. Unfortunately for her, her son is having some tough health problems and she opted to step down from her upcoming workshop at the Studio Art Quilt Associates national convention. Her topic was going to be "How to go professional without tripping over your feet." In her stead I have been asked to teach it. Wow! I am SO honored!

So for the last week I've been re-working the workshop I taught in February at the Springfield Visual Arts Alliance. I'm trying to figure out how much I can cover in 50 minutes and still sound knowledgeable. I'll be teaching it 4 times...and getting to go to the Quilt National opening as well. There is much synchonicity going on here. The only reason I was able to help Kim out was because I had cancelled all my shows (due to Dad's health) and the weekend was free.

After the intensity of the last few weeks I am thrilled to have the chance to re-connect with many firends who will be at the conference as well as get a jolt of inspiration always prevalent at Quilt National. Plus it will be a large boost on my resume' for teaching on a national level.
I am realising that there seems to be a niche I might be able to fill in the teaching market.

After I finish the 2 commissions that have been interrupted by my dad's scene, I am really looking forward to playing with collagraphs. I have had an interest in printmaking for a while. My personal fascination has been with printing on fabric. I saw work done recently using plexiglass and cardboard and printed onto watercolor paper. The process is so freeing. I'll think it'll first turn up on my backs and as I develop the techniques you may find them on the fronts-- or as the quilt itself in framed work. Since I don't have any shows scheduled I'll be able to focus on it sooner than I might have previously.

You two who have commissions outstanding- I'm on it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Museum of Geometric and MADI Art- Dallas

What a glorious experience I had in Dallas at my museum opening!
My work hung with 2 glass artists- Jim Bowman and Mary Lynn Devereux.
It was quite a posh affair with valet parking, bartenders, waiters and patrons.
The wall colors were quite a surprise. My Cobalt Kisses/ Tangerine Hugs looked spectacular on that cobalt wall.

I NEVER would have envisioned hanging "Matter of Perspective" on a baby pink wall but it was perfect! That piece sold- by the way! Yippee!
Even that funky green wall and the gray wall were very complimentary to my work.
These flowers were sent via UPS! My parents and husband sent them.
These were sent by Brad and Kitty Smith and added a glorious fragrance to the air!
Here's some friends from years ago that showed up. Even more were there but the photos taken were by others and I don't have the images. We are all getting much older but I think looking so much wiser and happy.

On a sadder note- As I was getting ready to drive home from Dallas my husband called to tell me my Dad wasn't looking so good. An hour later he told me they were taking him to the ER. Then he was airlifted to Springfield where he remains. He had a hemorrhagic stroke. At first it didn't seem terribly severe. Yesterday that changed and we are in the "wait and see" mode without much encouragement for his getting better. We expect to have a better idea of his prognosis after this weekend. Your prayers are welcomed.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Show schedules

Last weekend I did my first art show of the year at Queeny Park in St. Louis. Fortunately it was an indoor show--because the weather got downright NASTY!

I have been extraordinarily fortunate this spring to have developed some new wonderful friendships. They are all artists--which is no surprise to me. By definition, I think most artists are optimists and generally happy people. That's the kind of people I like to hang with.
Sour pusses can hang elsewhere! That is also one of the perks of doing the shows is being surrounded by these happy people.

At Queeny I was awarded third place in the 2-D category. It was accompanied by a nice check. I am really anticipating the joy of spending one of these award checks on something for myself. In the meantime it counts as income and pays my rent. But something about that just isn't right! I am NOT, however, complaining!

The photo above is one of four pieces in my Elements and Monu-metals series. This one is "Gold". The others are "Silver", "Copper" and "Bronze". They are hanging at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. I hear they look great. My agent set this up and I am delighted! The center block is done with Tyvek- painted, then stitched to a foundation, then blasted with a heat gun. There is something almost primal about watching the Tyvek melt away when the heat hits it. I also applied gold foil as the last step--as well as to the other blocks. The crosses are made with a stamp I created using lucite and those plastic tile spacing thingies. I made several stamps in different sizes.

I thought you might want to know where I'll be showing my work in the next couple of months. So here's my schedule:
  • April 20-July25th MADI Museum Dallas- exhibition
  • April 27-29 St. Charles Spring Art Walk-St. Charles, MO
  • May 4-6 Walnut Street Festival- Springfield, MO
  • May 11-13 Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Show-St. Louis, MO
  • May 17-20 Tulsa Mayfest- Tulsa, OK
  • June 2-3 57th St. Art Festival- Chicago, IL
  • July 7-8 Oak Brook Invitational- Oak Brook, IL (Chicago)

I'm still deciding just how many shows I'll do this year. With Mom and Dad now a part of our household I am finding that being away for more than a day or two is tough on my husband- Bless his soul! As much as I love doing the shows- and I do--the time has come to cut down on some "road time."

With that in mind I am actively shopping for galleries. I am looking for a few galleries that can successfully show and sell my larger pieces. Ones that understand fiber and care about the individual artist. I want a long term relationship where there is time to build a following and large works are not a problem to sell. I only want a maximum of six nationally and none in cities where I am likely to do art festivals. I respect the marketing that a gallery does and have no interst in being competition to them. Naturally I want professionalism from them as I expect them to get it from me. No flighty chaos merchants for me, thank you!

So-- Who do you know?

With 16 national awards in the last 2 years I hope I am a good candidate for a well placed gallery. I will still have my smaller works available but not in the bigger galleries.

I figure if the universe knows what I am in search of--the right opportunities will appear.

With that in mind...

Just so you know-- My long term direction is to do large scale pieces that hang in very public spaces--like hospitals, airports, community centers, hotel lobbies, restaurants, corporate lobbies, etc. I have had a vision for many years that I want my art to affect people in a positive way. One vision I keep getting is of someone walking through an airport after returning from a family funeral. They walk past one of my artquilts and suddenly just realize they feel a bit better. They may not even know why. That is why, although I appreciate the individual collector, I am really in search of the more public client. I want to create nice effects on large numbers of people. That is my mission. Do you have a place in that mission? I hope so. Please keep your eyes open for opportunities that go that direction. I'd appreciate it, no end! If you have a referral please email me privately. susan@rebelquilter.com

As glorious as the weather has been this spring--major changes are afoot. Can you believe they are forecasting S-N-O-W? We've been enjoying our red leaf lettuce from the garden as well as dill and fennel. Time to cover up and hunker down!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Spots Dots Speckles & Freckles

I've had pedal to the metal this week trying to get this finished in time for the catalog of the MADI Museum. This is a companion piece to Yikes Stripes!
As I mentioned in my last post- all the color choices were by simply good fortune- or perhaps previous good judgement. Every fabric except the black were already in my stash. I simply made a block with every spotted, dotted, speckled or freckled fabric I had.
Because the fabrics were terribly busy when placed next to each other, I used black sashing. To quilt, I picked a point to have everything eminate from. The illusion is created that all the background is behind the spotted blocks. I used metallics and went from a very dark purple to a royal purple to a lavendar to a metallic clear ( greenish) and then a metallic charcoal. It kinda looks like there is an explosion going on behind the scenes.

Here's a detail showing the explosion point.

This is the back. Guess how I painted it! I flung paint off my brush to create spots, dots, speckles and freckles! The grid you see is the varigated thread where I quilted. There currently is no quilting on the spotted, dotted, speckled or freckled fabrics.

I am off to the Best of Missouri Hands Art Smart Conference in Jefferson City this weekend. On the way home I'll be visiting a gallery near Lake of the Ozarks that called me for a possible solo exhibition.

I really like getting calls like that! Bring them on!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Yeehaw! award and new work

Big deal award! Niche Award!
Niche Award! Yep! It happened! I won the award for the Pieced/ Quilted Category! I told you EVERYONE would know! I'm still not real sure what this award gains me other than another national award on my resume'- I am not complaining!!!!! I just know it is a big deal and I got it! This quilt is A Matter of Perspective and that is the quilt that garnered the award. Now on to my next excitement......

This quilt has grabbed me by the short hairs and won't let go. All the fabrics except the solid blacks are "Spots, Dots, Speckles and Freckles"- it's name! There is such energy and the colors are totally by accident. They were the fabrics in my stash that had spots, dots, speckles or freckles. As it turns out the colors are happy, optimistic and so retro! But with the blocks directly against each other there is just TOOO much energy. So I am taming them down JUST a tinch by adding black sashing between the blocks like this....
Aaah. Isn't this better? So far the blocks are connected into rows but they are just pinned to the design wall. I have fairly elaborate plans for both the back and the quilting. The challenge is that I have SOOO much I need to be doing like selecting the 10 images for the MADI Museum catalog, and sending 2 dozen scarves to the Arkansas History Museum and finishing that gorgeous liturgical stole and being interviewed for a magazine article. But this piece is just haunting me and won't let go. So I may miss out on some sleep here for a few days. I really want this to be in the MADI catalog- as a finished piece.

But I haven't quit dancing the happy dance! Quick! Once around the cutting table -Yeehaw!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Peach Mango Salsa

Okay. This stash won't qualify me for neatest studio.
What you are seeing here is approx 1/3 of my working stash.
These are a collection of mostly silks-- hand-dyed and not, metallics, cotton prints and stripes.
I have an entire 8 x 10 room with my undyed fabrics plus older cottons etc. Those are mostly in stacks and boxes so I'm skipping sharing those with you.
This is the other side of that mess--my golds, yellows, pinks, reds & oranges.
I didn't dye any new fabrics for the front of this piece.

Theses are the fabrics I chose to represent the mangoes, peaches, garlic, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, chile powder & lemon

This is round 1 with the initial blocks and circles before any stitching.
This is round 2. The newest layer of circles came from the underside- the bottom layer.

We're robbing Peter to pay Paul. Gee- sounds like my life!

This is round 3. This layer came from the bottom again but it was the original circles that are used. As you can see, I scramble each time so the same fabrics don't repeat on a single block.

After building the blocks I then cut them into quarters. I call them quadrants.

The challenge here is to replicate randomity. It isn't as random as it looks.

This is the fabric for the back. I have gathered for shibori. The effect came out more subtle than I expected so I'll not give it a big ta-dah!
Okay. now I am excited. I made these stamps from craft foam. It is 2 layers of craft foam adhered to plexiglas. I paint the stamps with a brush and then lay it down onto the fabric and apply pressure.

Here's the overall effect. Keep in mind--this is the back.

Here I have layered the top, cotton batting and the back. You can still see the tracing paper that I used as patterns for the images I stitched into it.

Ta--dah!!!!! Here's the completed quilt.

Peach Mango Salsa

Size is 35" x 35"

I FINALLY remembered to photograph the completed back.

The thread for the back was a varigated peach to cream.

Here's a detail shot of the front showing the variety of stitching. The small boxes are chopped up mangoes, there are peaches, cilantro and lemon in this shot. There are also red onion and garlic. In between the ingredients I did a jagged roughly triangular pattern. Most of the ingredients are stitched in various metallic threads.