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20 March 2010

Reception TONIGHT at the Funky Monkey Cafe

Fiber Art by Kate Themel at

The Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery

Artist Reception

Saturday, March 20th

7 to 9 pm

FMwall2_blogFMwall_blog

“Fiber Art by Kate Themel” will run March 1 - 29, 2010

The Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery

130 Elm Street

The Watch Factory Shoppes

Cheshire, CT 06410

Check for gallery hours: www.thefunkymonkeycafe.com

05 March 2010

4 Hour Art Quilt

ProjectPears_blogThis 12x12 art quilt took less than 4 hours to make – start to finish, including the binding.  I actually set a time limit for myself when I made it. Why would someone do that, you ask?  One reason: Just to see if I could do it.

More important reason: Today I led the first day of a two-day workshop and I wanted to see if my patterns and instructions were going to work – so I followed them myself.  My goal is for the students to take home a completed art quilt. No UFOs (Unfinished Fabric Objects) from my class!

We will have a total  of 6 hours for the workshop so I estimated if I can do a complete quilt, not rushing, in 4 hours then the class can get it done in 6 (allowing for instructions, questions, discussion etc).  Even though the composition is pretty simple – two pears on a whole cloth background – there is a lot of room for creativity.

ProjectPears_detail2_blog

The students came up with color combinations that were entirely different from one another.  Each one reflected the student’s personality and taste.  The quilting will distinguish each one even further.  As i told my class, a fiber artist’s quilting line is like handwriting – unique to each person, revealing a little bit about the quilter.  

The background on “Still Life, Pears” is a solid light-purple fabric.  So when I first put the top together, it looked a little cold and boring.  I added the flowers and tile shapes using free motion stitching and a variegated purple thread.  The brown binding edge gave it a little more warmth as well.

I love to “quilt the heck out of” my compositions.  I fill them with dense stitching, close lines and swirls, until the quilt itself is practically flat.  What does this reveal about my personality, I wonder?  Maybe that I’m an obsessive control freak….  maybe it’s saying I’m “dense”...?  I guess it’s for others to interpret.  In any case, I find the process itself so enjoyable that I end up losing myself in it…  Until I get to the point where there’s no room left for any more thread.  ProjectPears_detail_blog

(Detail images of stitching, right)

Putting together the top took about 90 minutes and the rest of the time I spent on quilting.  It was so fun to see this piece come together in just a few hours!

I’m thinking I might try to challenge myself to do more of these quick-timed quilts more often.  As I looked at my students’ work today, I marveled at the possible color combinations & use of stitching.  Using the same exact cutting pattern, I wonder what kinds of designs I could come up with.  A photo-negative?  Psychedelic?  Black & white or monochromatic?  Maybe something in a Matisse fauve style…  

Why not?  

 

03 March 2010

Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery, Artist Reception March 20

Fiber Art by Kate Themel at

The Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery

Artist Reception

Saturday, March 20th

7 to 9 pm

FMwall2_blogFMwall_blog

“Fiber Art by Kate Themel” will run March 1 - 29, 2010

The Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery

130 Elm Street

The Watch Factory Shoppes

Cheshire, CT 06410

Check for gallery hours: www.thefunkymonkeycafe.com

Frogs find a home at the Monkey

So now The Funky Monkey Cafe & Gallery show is hung up and I think the frog portraits look good as a group. I received a lot of positive feedback from viewers as I was putting them together.   I love being back at the Funky Monkey!  The gallery space is so pretty and nicely lit; it makes anything you hang there look great.  

I made a few changes to the frog portraits right before hanging them.  I sewed each one to fabric and wrapped it over 14" stretcher bars, using a grey and black batik with a subtle leaf pattern on it.FrogWall_blog
Keeping the stretched fabric consistent added a bit of cohesion to the group. Also, as a way of adding interest to the three "weaker" frogs, I hung them on a diagonal. Those guys are growing on me now.
I wasn't ready to ditch any of them and glad I gave them a chance.

Also, the green striped frog was bothering me before, so I added an extra toe on his front foot. Don't ask me why, it just made me feel better.
Anyway, here's how they look on the wall together. (image right) 
I'll continue to do a few more of these because I haven't exhausted my stash of possible frog personalities yet.  

But just as a change of pace, I’m now working on a still life of 2 pears.  It’s a very simple 12x12 composition & I’m timing myself to have it finished within 4 hours.  So far I finished the top and had it ready to quilt in about 90 minutes.  Why have it done in under 4 hours?  I’ll be using it as the demonstration project for the ArtsPlace workshop.  We have 6 hours for the workshop so I’m estimating if it takes me 3-4 hrs, the class will be able to get it done in 6, then they can go home with a finished quilt.