27 June 2009

New Work: Gears

Based on a collection of cogs, wheels and gears, this one is called "Unity of Purpose". The challenge was in representing a precise, sharply defined metal object using soft, slightly fraying fabric and imprecise stitches. What I couldn't do with bits of material I tried to define with free-motion thread drawing. Up close it's a mass of quilting stitches but if you back up and squint your eyes it starts to look like something.

On a side note: I'm trying not to buy new fabric for every project, so this month I've been trying to break out those fabrics & colors that I never used because I thought they were kinda "ugly". My personal subtitle for this one is "How many ugly colors does it take to make something pretty?"

21 June 2009

New Work: Just for the Fun of it

This composition is based on a photo that my brother took back in 2000. He snapped the picture as my son was spinning around in an office chair & laughing. I'll never forget that day because we were all at my mom's house after the sudden death of my father. My sweet 4 year old boy was a welcome distraction. His screams & laughter caught on and pretty soon we were all giggling.

updated lightning

Well, this one is quilted and finished except for the binding. But I'm still not sure if it really works. It's just not "lightningy" enough. HOWEVER, I don't have time to sit and stew about it. So I'm off to do the next one. Time will tell if I like this one better later. As the show date draws closer, it may or may not make the cut.

12 June 2009

Creative Challenge Update: HoneyBee

My mom was generous enough to visit (and babysit) for a couple days this week, leaving me time to work in the studio. I'm so grateful to her for the uninterrupted time, I'm considering naming this bee after her. :-)
Thank you Mom!!
I really like how the bee turned out; I was trying to achieve a fuzzy look with the stitching. The hand-dyed colors work well for the flowers and I like how the stamens are intertwined with the bee's legs. Still... I'm just not sure if these two images work together or compete with each other. I can't shake the feeling of "is this about the bee or the flowers?"
I'm working on different colors of binding to see if a small frame around it would unify the design. Anyway, I'll leave that for now. After a few weeks I'll take another look and see if I get a different impression.

08 June 2009

Side Tracked

Why is it that whenever I have a block of time to "work" I find myself fresh out of ideas? I was suffering from a bout of "Quilter's Block" pardon the pun.
Luckily I am teaching my class tomorrow, the last one in a 5-week series on portraits in fabric.
Just for a fun project we are doing cartoony self-portraits. I asked my students to think about something that is clearly identifiable either in their personality or their physical appearance. The idea is to exaggerate that and come up with a design to poke fun at ourselves.
So here's mine. A few days ago I had my hair "high-lighted". I'm sure many of you ladies know what I mean by this: the process of lightening your hair is more of an art than a science. The strength of the chemicals, the length of time you leave them in, the original color of your hair and its Ph level or whatever.... You never know how it's working until they take those foily things out.
Normally I like surprises but this time YIKES! They're a little bright, you might say. I'm sure they'll tone down over time or at least it will eventually grow out. But for now I have brown hair with electric orange-yellow streaks around my face. Being very pale in complexion, I'm not sure this is really working for me. Anyway, every time I do a double take in the mirror it just makes me laugh.
I entitled my self portrait "It's just HAIR". More of a reminder to myself to stop taking everything so seriously. And it's also a way to stop myself from just grabbing the scissors chopping my hair off as I am tempted to do sometimes. :-)

07 June 2009

Creative Challenge - Update 2

Okay, this one is basically assembled but not yet quilted. I'm thinking of doing a short series entitled "Boys". They are based on my own sons but I plan to vary the skin colors because boys' antics are almost universal. The one on the left depicts my older son flipping & jumping off a concrete pier into the water below. Other possible compositions include climbing trees, balancing on a railing... pretty much anything that is fun and makes your mother cringe.