Sunday, June 24, 2007

Catching Up

It has been almost 10 days since I last blogged, and then I didn't show any pictures...just talk, talk, talk. So, now it is time to get caught up and show some pictures.

No matter how hard I try, I just don't seem to get the pictures loaded up in the right order so that I can go from last week to this week, instead of the other way around. And rearranging them gets a little tricky so we will go backwards in my life for the past 10 days.

Yesterday, Saturday, I was down at my studio to paint some more fabric which I had started the day before. Well, I decided it was time to know...PLAY!. So I pulled out two of my rubber-like pads and carved two 4x6" of a house and one of trees and then played with them.

You can see the fun that I had. I have a forest, I have houses around the block, I have assorted colors of houses, and then I have printed suburban, woods, woods, house, house, woods, etc. This is really fun!

The entire time I am doing these and having fun with them, I start to think about what I could do with them. Of course, I can use them as a border. But then I started thinking about the 50's and women as the perfect wives in their suburban homes...heels, hair just so, pretty dress and cute apron putting food in the oven for the father who is coming home after work. I have a bunch of old magazines with perfect images so now I am thinking about transferring some of these onto the suburban houses and making collages. Just more fun!

I've about decided that I want to make some more pieces like California Dreams, my yellow gold and blues piece with the palm trees. So I have been painting fabric.

And more fabric.

But before you knew it, the circles started to appear so I guess I will continue working with circles but in some different ways.

Thursday I took my cute little Saturn in to get a special finish applied and the windows etched as a means to make it a little harder for the thieves to dispose of my car parts. This was an all day affair so the dealership gave me a loaner...I big, bight red Hummer 3. If any car was not me, this is it. I really felt funny running around in this!

See, I told you I couldn't get the order right...a close up of part of a suburban panel.

Earlier this week I had the commission out and did the foiling along the cross piece. Then, it was time to trim it to size. For the first time I was a little apprehensive. Instead of just making a quilt, I was creating something to a specific size. Not only that, but I had no where to lay it completely out flat so I could be sure things were straight. So I worked on my 4 x 8' table with two other tables supporting this thing. Cut one edge and then the next and then before I knew it, with lots of grunts and groans as I moved this thing around, checked the measurements lots of times, and worried about if it would be square, I was done. Whew...

Then, cut bands for the facing, and loaded the piece on to the big table and pulled out the sewing machine and started sewing. About 36 feet of facing.

A close up of the sparkle in the orange from foiling.

Some of the copper foiling with little dots of turquoise foiling in the cross piece.

And getting ready to sew.

Endless facing. I sew the band face to face, then turn it and finger press it, and then top stitch right along the facing, catching the seam allowance of the quilt at the same time. I do the opposite sides and then do the same thing again on the other two sides.

Brought it all home and spent a couple of nights with it sort of falling out of my lap as I stitching the facing down in the back. Took it back to the studio, made sleeves for hanging and for the bottom to be sure it hangs well, pinned the sleeves on and then bundled it up again for me to hand sew the sleeves down. Should be able to get that done today and tonight and then it is finished! I even remembered to sign it!

Now the anxiety is beginning to build about if the buyers will like it...and, how I am going to ship it off. Got to order a long, heavy duty box for this!

Also so this week I send out the announcement postcards about my new body of work, got everything up on the website and worked out a couple of kinks. Things are looking good.

This coming week I will start putting together solo show proposals...I have a stack of places that have requested proposals so now the hard work comes in, to put it all together with the current resume, artist statement, bio, slide list, etc. A whole package ready to go but it will be on CD. Some more learning to do!

So, here I am, enjoying the Sabbath.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Perils of Putting Your Work Out There

Two weeks ago, as I was sitting at my studio during open studios, a friend of my studio mate started talking to me about my work. He had just enough information to ask a couple of questions but then he tried to pretend he knew more. He later told me that he was also an artist and then proceeded to explain that he didn't put his work out on the web for fear that someone would copy it. Then he later told me that he doesn't do the work any more because it isn't good enough....oh well, each to their own!

I have been thinking about this for two weeks. I've heard this argument before...putting your work out there...where ever there may be...opens one up to copying by others and derivative work appearing elsewhere.

I have always put my work out there. On my web, on my blog, in numerous shows, etc. And yes, I have been seeing derivative work showing up. My work frequently goes in series where I explore a design element. I did a lot of postcards with angelina flying geese going across the face of the card, usually with some other designs. I started seeing flying geese showing up in others cards. Derivative? Who knows. Certainly mine were...flying geese have been used by Caryl Bryer Fallert for years. They are also a traditional design pattern in quilting. But I used them a little differently and that was what I started to see...the way I used them.

Does it bother me? No. I am a professional studio artist and if someone else uses a design element that I have been using, who is to say that it is really derivative. Besides, if that is all I have going for my work, I am not much of an artist.

For me, exploration of the use of a design element is fun. Frequent elements that show up in my work have been round circles as "suns", sticks or fences marching across, variable satin stitching, etc. Use one and no problem. But when things start showing up together, I think that someone needs to take another look at their work and recognize that it is derivative.

Why be concerned? If someone makes something similar to mine and keeps it for themselves or uses the process as a way to learn, I have no problem with this. However, when someone starts making things that are pretty similar to mine and they sell their work, I start minding.

Can I do anything about it? Not really. It really isn't a copyright infringement as far as I am concerned as it is not quite close enough to my work. But it sure would be nice if the person would give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Off the Frame

Yesterday I finally finished the quilting on the commission. Thank goodness! It was 100 degrees out in Livermore and I was in Cheryl's garage with two fans going at earlier in the afternoon it was only 84 but then it crept up to 90.5 degrees. That was hot. I was drinking a lot of fluids but not much pee came all came out in sweat! Details you really didn't want to know!

Anyway, here it is coming off the can see some of the quilting.

It was amazing, I just kept the rollers running in reverse and I thought it would never end!

And even in this shot there are still lots more feet rolled up on the frame! Finally got it off, folded up and it is in my trunk waiting to go to the studio for sizing, pressing, foiling and then facing. I am figuring out just what is going to be needed to hang this thing! It will take a metal rod in order to hold it up!

I should have posted this all last night but I was too tired and then when the energy started coming back I was busy sizing images for my website for the Life Circles. The postcards came yesterday and they look wonderful! I still have to work on the mailing list today but should be able to start getting them out. I will finish the images today, upload them with all the details and go live!

I feel like I am birthing two pretty big babies!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Getting there

Well, I haven't posted any pictures in a while so I thought I had better before I lose all my readers from boredom.

Below is a picture of the commission quilt all folded and ready to quilt on George. The sucker must weight 10 pounds! I tried quilting it free motion on George but that didn't work.

So now you can see the blank wall after the commission was taken down. It really was strange not to have it up and seeing the colors daily.

But then, the past two weeks have been open studios. I spent all of one weekend there and this past Saturday but didn't go in on Sunday because we were busy buying a new car for me

...a little red Saturn Aura. But here are a couple of pictures of the open studio...just my stuff, not my studio mates!

and what used to be the blank wall

So while I couldn't quilt I pulled out the watercolor paper and did several things on it. This is a gesture painting that I did...I really like it and may just keep it the way it is.

So, then, back to the commission piece. I packed it up, put it in the trunk and went out to my friend, Cheryl Uribe's house where she helped me put the quilt on to her Millennium and then away I went.

Do I look happy again or what? Glad to have it on the long arm and started.

I worked about four hours yesterday before I was getting to tired. Went to a funeral at church this morning, came home to blog and send in my entries for World of Beauty at AQS, and now am off to Cheryl's to see if I can get the blue done. Then it is going to take more time tomorrow to get the orange done...I'm am not sure if I will be able to do that by tomorrow or if it will take another day...we will see.

Gloria has gotten my new gallery up on the website--now I just have to load up pictures which I will start in another day or two. The postcards should be here in another day or so and then I can finish up with the mailing list and get those out. And then, if I do everything right, maybe I can start something new!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Doing the grunt work

Doing the grunt work, otherwise known as getting quilts to the photographer, picking them up, dropping the slides off for duplicates, uploading the CD of 20 quilts plus all their bracketed images, sorting through them all to find the best of each. Cropping them. Trying to change the background color. Figuring out a postcard and selecting a company but having trouble getting the front and back of the post card on the front and back and not all on the front. Sitting at the studio all day Saturday and half of the day on Sunday for open studios which I had not signed up for but my studio mate, Jamie, has and everyone has to go through my space to get to hers. So cleaning up my space, putting work up, waiting for the hoards of people to come, which never happened...don't even talk about sales! And planning to do this again this coming weekend.

Wanting to start some more Life Circle pieces, getting publicity together for this series, getting my mailing list up to date so I can print out addresses for the post cards, creating invoices for students for my class on July 21 (I only have one open space!) Maybe I should do this every now and then...since I don't have to travel with all of my stuff and can make the same amount of money at my studio that I would get at a guild workshop. That would pay the rent!

Waiting for next Monday when I can go out to Cheryl's house and put the commission on the frame and get it quilted! Then sew the facings on, do the foiling and then getting it photographed and on it's way. Then getting the press out on it.

All I want to do is make art...but the only art I have made was to finish a bunch of postcards while I was sitting down at the studio. I have gotten a bunch done and will post them on the blog and also on the Art2Mail website for sale. I want to dye fabric, I want to discharge fabric using thiox, I want to play, play, play and stop doing all of this work, work, work.

This is the reality of being a professional artist. Not someone who makes some work and shows it now and then, but someone who has some goals to meet (get that solo show) and wants to make sales, not just show the work. I have been able to get my work in about 2/3 of the shows I have entered in, both art and quilt shows. Now I want the bigger stuff! And, that takes a lot of work. My father's health issues slowed me down somewhat last year but the residency has given me the opportunity to gear right back up.