Tuesday, July 31, 2007

SAQA auction and still working

Well, first things first. Tomorrow, August 1 (since I am writing this at night on July 31) the SAQA on-line auction finally gets to pages 5 and 6. My piece is on page 6.
The bidding starts at 2pm EST at $750 and then drops down $100 each day until it is sold at a last chance of $50. So now we will see how much it brings in.

Spent today down at the studio and got to this place in California Dreaming 3 and decided to stop for a while. Well, that didn't last very long.
I finally stopped when I reached this point:
Oh, this piece is about 7 feet across and 5 feet down.
The difference is the white silk screening of birds on power lines, letters, postcards, etc. Following are three close ups so you can see more detail.
This shows the red power poles that march across California (only they aren't red) that I screened on. The round circles and grids on the blue are discharged fabric.
Weeds abound all along the bottom and right side which are made with silk screens that I did using weeds that I went hunting for out some back road.

And here you can see more of the every present palm trees along with the brush circles in pale gold that go across the entire piece.

Then I took out pages of two wallpaper sample books which have mostly country stuff but I am "antiquing" a blue and white page to use as a background in a collage. There are also some pages with "sponge" painting techniques so I can use those as backgrounds. But lots of border prints with chickens, roosters, baskets with flowers, etc...now that will be a challenge to use! I am already coming up with some ideas for weird collages using them...we shall see.

Left the studio and stopped by the edge of the bay and hunted for beach glass. Found a small container's worth...I am collecting for assemblages and collages...I am really going overboard on this collecting.

It has been interesting to reflect on what is happening with the Quilt Art List. There was quite a discussion some time about about how people shouldn't post about getting into shows, winning awards, etc because there were a lot of people who weren't getting in. No more happy dances, no more sharing. What I liked about that was that people usually gave a link to see their accepted work which was fun to look at. Now, we don't see very much of that, nor do we share what is happening in our show life. A few people, now and then, are posting but most of those seem to be newer people. Then we have talked copy right to death. But lately, the talk has been about knitting, mobile home versus trailer versus manufactured modular homes, the new Harry Potter book,cats, cleaning out stashes, cleaning studios, etc. Give me a break. I hardly look at many of the things sent in any more. It is really sad because I felt like it was a community. I mentioned that I had completed 30 pieces of a new series and I got only one response. Oh well. And, while I am complaining, the list is full of people who all have the answers, whether they know the question or not. Instead of stating that "in my opinion" or, "I have found" statements get made that this is the way it is and then someone else is quick to respond that that is not so. Oh my....and the attitudes that rant on and on about something...get a life!

Oh well, I am off to our SAQA regional meeting tomorrow in Petaluma...now that will be fun! And, I will see some great art!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Working on

California Dreams 2 is now finished...quilted but still no sleeve...oh well, it will join a huge bunch more that still need sleeves.

And here is a detail...lots of silk screening.

So now up on the wall is the next one..just blocked up and now I will take down pieces, square them up and the silk screen them with various things and some red will probably show up.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Design for the Original Abstract Quilt

Well, today I had eight students in my studio for my workshop on design for the abstract quilt. I worked everybody pretty hard and they all agreed they got their money's worth from me! That's what I like: satisfied customers! But we also had fun and learned a lot!

Sitting at this table are Kristina, Christina and Jean, all having a good time cutting and pasting

And here we have PaTi and Sally

Followed with Debbie, Graer and Michelle.

Well, after a number of different types of exercises and explanations about the design elements and the principles of design...you know, putting all those elements together every body did four small little compositions (4 x6") of four different things that I told them to do...such power I wield!

So above in the first three columns, are examples of symmetrical balance. The next three columns are asymmetrical balance. The third set of three columns if about contrast of various kinds, and then the last grouping on the right is about rhythm. I took a bunch of small groupings of them but you can just see them all together...it is so impressive.
And here you have the final eight compositions which were worked from thumbnail tracings from much larger images that they found. The idea was to look for interesting compositions in parts of the whole and to make lots of different little thumbnails. Then they worked the design some more and then translated it into pasted fabric on index cards. No time for sewing or neat edges or many choices of fabric...everything was very time oriented. They had to work very quickly so they didn't over think the process.

We also critiqued all of the pieces that were done and learned about what worked, what didn't and how to improve them.

What a great group of women! Lots of fun and energy until I wore them out by the end of the day!

A commercial note: You too can participate in one of my classes...the next one will be a color class on August 11, costs $60 and is all day in Oakland CA. About half of these women traveled from two to three hours to get to the class...that is a lot of driving

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

Do you remember, years and years ago, before you knew about skin cancer, before you really believed that too much sun would wrinkle your skin, you know, back when you would oil yourself up and lay out to get a sun tan as soon as the weather warmed up?

So you remember, also, that you usually got burned that first day. But we all suffer for our beauty. But, do you remember the best thing about sun burned skin? Once it started healing, you could pick at the skin and see how big of a piece you could get off in one piece!

Well, the next best thing, and painless and does not cause cancer, is working with paper and making collages. Because I use acrylic medium to adhere the pieces of paper together and to protect the surface. And of course it gets on your hands and especially your finger tips. And then the fun begins if you don't go washing it all off. As it dries, it becomes a second skin and you can pick at it for hours and see if you can pull off a complete finger print or what ever...just too much fun but a little dangerous when one is driving home after spending the day at the studio.

So what have I been doing? These are assorted collages in various stages of getting done or done. Some need a palm tree screened on, some need some stamping, some need some more color or more paper. And some are done. But they are all so fun to do. Each is 8x10". Collage 1 is not an even 8 x 10"

Collage 2 still needs a little more work, I think.

Collage 3 is finished I think.

Collage 4 is waiting for a palm tree, I think.

Collage 5 is finished.

Collage 6 is finished.

Collage 7 is finished and is oh so neat!

Collage 8 is finished, I think although I may tone down the white music paper.

I have been collecting and making papers for years. I collect old postcards, old stuff and more old stuff, old books that are falling apart, old rubber stamps, pages with a lot of color in magazines of high quality, found papers, savings stamps and all the kind of STUFF.

And then, finally, I have a chance to play with it. I am working on one table at my studio and my big work table is piled high with quilt stuff and so is another table. But I have two more days I can do collages before I have to clean up for my design class on Saturday. So I will spend two more days playing paste-up, tearing paper, etc. And then, Friday afternoon, I will play clean up and get the studio set for a class.

Life doesn't get any better!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On Creativity at Different Stages of Life

When I was a teenager, I had few responsibilities besides my school work. I could paint and do all the art things I wanted to do. Then I went off to collage and did lots of art stuff for two years and had a blast being an "artist." The I switched colleges, took one art class and didn't enjoy the environment, switched majors, but continued to do my art, sell at outdoor art festivals with my mother, show my work and have a good time and do my stuff.

I got married and continued to do my art painting. Then I started doing some other crafty things which led to making a quilt and then on I went.

Once I started having children, my time became much more full of everything but my art. I learned to be creative in different ways. I stopped painted because I didn't have the room for a studio with two children. But I was going on the quilting. As I was learning, I learned that by making blocks of traditional quilts, I could find a little bit of time to piece all of one piece to the next one and feel like I had accomplished something.

But something else was happening. I was very busy working with teenagers raising money for the Children's Hospital by doing catering. Weekends got full as other hospital branches would hire us to do all their food for parties.

Then my job required a lot of creativity. I had to learn how to reach people, gain their confidence and get the information that I needed. I got very good at it. Later I came up with some rather inventive ways for teenagers to face the consequences of their illegal actions (non-violent petty stuff). I found that working on my art was hard to do as I had moved in to art quilts. It couldn't be done in little bits of time but needed chunks of time to work through the design. But somehow, as the children got older, I carved out a little time for myself. With many years of soccer between the two children, I managed to always go to my guild meetings each month. That day was my one day a month that was all mine...no transporting, no cleats, no shine guards, no nothing but other quilters.

Once the children were grown, I was able to spend more time doing my art. However, the job was requiring a lot of attention and frequently I found myself worn out and not feeling very creative. Then, when I had time, I couldn't decide what to do because I had so many ideas. I became resentful of my job as it was taking all of my energy away from my art.

Then it was time to reframe my thought processes. Work was not taking me away from being creative, but I had made a choice to do my job in such a way that it required me to be very creative on the job. Once I understood that I had a choice in the matter, I relaxed and was able to do my art work on weekends and time off.

And then retirement! At first, the time was spent with my mother as she was dying. I had patches and cut out hearts of various fabrics and hand appliqued them onto the neutral patches. I still have the pile of these. I could do something with them but somehow I just don't want to.

After my mother died, I went to Asilomar for an Empty Spools class with Caryl Bryer Fallert. I had had a short workshop with her several years before but this was the first time I had ever gone to a week-long learning experience. Caryl graciously took time with me to help me define what kind of artist I wanted to be. I am still very grateful to her for helping me through that. I became a full time studio artist who sometimes teaches.

Now, I "can" be creative whenever I want to be. This is good and sometimes not so good. I can easily get into the "zone" of creativity where I am truly one with the work I am doing. I really find this to be true when I am doing liturgical work as I purposefully work at inviting the Holy Spirit to partner with me during the process.

The not-so-good part of this creativity and not having too many limits on my time, is that I can become rather flaky. I can't find words to finish sentences, my friends have to put up with some sort of charades game with me as I try to describe the word I want, I don't sleep well because my brain is on overdrive, etc. Being by myself means that I don't usually have someone to bounce all this off of. My poor dh is at a loss when it comes to understanding this part of me although he can go work on his lathe for days making a small little stainless steel knob. Which really is art, also but he just doesn't get my art, even though I would busy doing it when we met.

Now that I am sixty, I can become as philosophical as I would like and pontificate on my blog. Since everyone can chose to read or not, I am not boring anyone.

An interesting thing happened Saturday night. My daughter's father-in-law had taken 16 of us out for dinner for my son-in-law's birthday and also because he was here from PA and this was a good chance to see a lot of his friends. We gathered at my daughter's house after we had eaten out and had dessert. Now, these are friends I have knows for a number of years. I am not very good at socializing as my professional life had me discussing people's sexual fantasies...not something one brings up with friends at a social gathering. Nor were they interested in hearing about sexual predators. So, I am socially behind. This night, however, one guy started talking to me about my art for a while, and then another started talking to me about the job of a probation officer. Someone was interested in me! I run out of energy pretty quickly when I am socializing...it just tires me out.

So yesterday, after three days of spending lots of time with lots of people, I had a day off on my birthday. What did I do? Caught up on paperwork, and spent a lot of time on the computer. Then at 11pm I started working on genealogical research which didn't stop until 3am.

today? I was back in the studio (once I work up) and feeling much better!

So here are two pieces of lutradur that I had painted and then screened today. I just love making these weird thermofax screens!

Also finished up the layering of my new piece which is now ready to quilt.
And then the fun began. I love doing paper collages...it justifies all the stuff I collect and hoard. Life music in foreign languages, dictionaries in foreign languages, old atlases, old school books, old junk. So I set up the table and starting playing with first layers. I've got four pieces going and will work on them again tomorrow. But I think I will do some stamping on them at home tonight...if I can stay up long enough.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today I am 60 years old. I think this is pretty exciting. The past decade has been one filled with many changes...retirement, becoming a full time studio artist, becoming a grandmother, caring for my mother as she died, caring for my father, writing articles for magazines, selling my work, and having fun.

I can hardly wait to see what this next decade brings! I already know another grandson is on his way so that will be a wonderful first year of my 6th decade of life!

I am still on pins and needles about my commission. The couple were not able to get down to Scottsdale as planned on Friday to see the piece so now I have to wait until this coming Friday to hear. The gallery, however, opened my box of new work that I sent and really likes the discharged pieces that are very nicely framed. They like that presentation which I think I will do more of...at least for the galleries. They don't work for quilt shows but would work for art shows.

So, I want to do some playing with photocopier transfers and collages. I've been printing out lots of letters and other ephemera to do and now I just have to work on the substrates to get them ready. Just play time!

Oh yeah, I need to get back to the studio to finish up this new piece. I also have my design class there on Saturday so I will have to get the studio organized for that later this week.

I seem to have forgotten to mention on my blog that my Life Series discharged pieces are up on my website. Once on the home page, go to galleries and then hit the Life Series thumbnail and you will get a lot of thumbnail images. Be sure to click on each to view separately.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy News, Fun Pictures and New Work Coming

Well, I guess I will start off with the good news.

Yesterday my daughter invited me and her father (my husband) to go with them for her sonogram. I had never seen one live, only the little pictures that I could hardly tell what was what. We didn't do sonograms when I was pregnant!

We saw the baby which is due Dec 1 with his little penis sticking out for all to see. A boy! So this will be my second grandson!

But back to Tuesday. I had three good friends over to my studio for a play day. That was a lot of fun. And of course, I have a picture of the chocolate cake for dessert...needed to keep our energy up!

Carol Suto playing in my studio on Tuesday
Marion Coleman playing in my studio on Tuesday.
Marjorie DeQuincy playing in my studio on Tuesday.
And the chocolate cake to keep us fortified!

I stayed away from the studio yesterday after going out with my daughter, etc. I found that I was having some strange feelings about my friends having been there working. Or maybe, it was just that I don't do well going there in the middle of the afternoon. I like to be there in the morning and work until 4 or 5 pm.

Well, what I was feeling was a little bit that my space had been invaded. But that feeling didn't last long. When I got there today, I just did some picking up and then sat down in my comfy chair and appreciated my space. Then I started fusing some fabrics, started cutting, put on the last two cassettes of the book I have been listening to, and had a good time. All is restored in my little bit of Eden.

Before I took this off the wall, it had a lot of other pieces in it but I wanted to do some silk screening so I took off the smaller pieces and just worked with the bigger pieces. You are getting a step-by-step look.

This image is of the right side of the new piece. I have screened the palm trees and red lines.

this is the left side with more palm trees and more red lines

In this image you cannot see the blue lines and the ochre lines but they are there.

And now the white writing is showing up.

And back on the wall to take a first look at the red elements in place, still more things to happen but I needed to stop and let the image work first.

Liz Rants

I don't do this very often but this morning at some silly hour I awoke, and, after getting up and going to the bathroom I found that I had reached some clarity of thought in many things that had been bothering me. So, before I forget my important thoughts, I am going to share them and write them down for posterity. I don't pontificate very often, so just skip by this. There are no images, no funny things in this so be aware. i promise that I will post something more appropriate later in the day.

On the Quilt Art list, which is evidently a private list as you need to subscribe, there has been much discussion about what can be discussed and what should not be discussed.

What has our world come to? Someone brought up the fact that she had made an art piece that dealt with the reality of the cruelty of Darfur. There are many places in this world were there is wholesale violence against another group of people but I don't think anything has reached the savagery of Darfur. But, we don't pay much attention to it.

America has become a very opinionated, self-centered country with many people who have no idea of what is going on in their own country and many more who have no clue as to what is happening in the world. Everything is viewed from how it affects them. This is sad. Because we close ourselves off to learning about the world, our country, our state, our region, and stick only with what is comfortable and self-serving, we are ignorant, biased, bigoted, self-serving and not a very nice group of people. And we wonder why there are so many people in other countries who don't like us. We don't address our country's issues with honesty but with political self-serving. Politicians are more likely to go with the opinion polls rather than to stand up for what they really feel is right and to fight for it, even if it is not the most popular stand. We must be very careful in what we say as it might offend someone and yet our school children are able to tell others that they don't like someone else just because, and seriously hurt another child's feelings. As long as the talker does not mention race, sexual orientation, religion or any of the other taboos in our culture.

So, in order to be politically correct, we don't have discussions...not arguments...but discussions. An argument is a situation when one person is trying to convince another that they are wrong and the first person is right. If not taken seriously, this develops in to a name-calling, hurtful event. A discussion is a discourse between two people and they may have very differing opinions but they listen to each other, acknowledge where that person is coming from and then respond. One makes "I" statements rather that "you" statements It does not mean that one responds by putting the other down, telling them they don't know what they are talking about, or that they have no clue, etc.

Discussions in public always run the risk of "bothering" someone for some reason or other. So that brings me back to the Quilt Art list. There was mention of various people feeling upset, as, without having seen the work in question, they felt that the topic should not be discussed as they had been victims of abuse, etc and did not want to bring up painful memories. Then others jumped on the band wagon and started telling those people that they need to deal with their feelings, and, you get the idea, it just went on and on. Which then led to several people telling the rest of the group that these subjects should not be discussed as it might "bother" someone else. The issue of censorship and an argument ensued over what is censorship. Finally, some people intervened to discuss the fact that artists have a responsibility to hold up society for us to take a look at, the good, the bad, and the really ugly. Whether we chose to look and see is really up to us.

As a part of my career I worked at understanding the thought processes of those who felt justified in taking someone else's life just because they wanted their shoes. Or that adults had the right to "sexually educate" children by forcing them in to sexual acts. Or that adults feel they have the right to belittle,and abuse their children and others. Or that bullies walk our school grounds, or that men rape women to assert their power and to make themselves feel more power. Or that children can be slapped, punched, thrown against a wall, stomped on, etc all because they are making too much noise. Or that we can shoot someone we disagree with. Or, that it is okay to medicate one's self with alcohol and drugs in order to avoid the feelings that have been brought up by all of the things that have happened such as the above.

And many of us who have never gone through any of these things, seriously lack empathy, as we have become a nation who wants immediate gratification and pleasure, and to hell with everyone else.

So, we don't talk seriously about sexual issues with children because it might cause they to "have sex". We don't discuss someone's hurts because we don't want to take the time to feel the hurt with them. We shut things away because it is unpleasant. We pretend we don't see abuse happening because we don't think we should intervene.

Why? because we don't want to offend someone else? No, because we don't know how to have healthy discussions about something. I was once at my sister-in-laws home and a friend of theirs was there and we got into a lively discussion about the death penalty. We had differing views but we had quite a lively discussion. The others started getting uncomfortable, not because we were being unpleasant or rude or offending to each other, but because we had strongly voiced differences opinion and were willing to voice those, but most importantly, listen to the other side of the argument.

When I was in high school many years ago, we studied the fine art of debating and I was on the high school debating team. One had to always be ready to take either side of an issue in a matter, whether one believed in it or not and how well one presented their arguments and countered the other's arguments were how one was rated. Not whether one was right or wrong, but how well one presented the argument.

We listened carefully to what the other person had to say, and carefully considered it before responding. We responded with respect and did not lash out personally at the other side. This allowed for differing views with respect for the other side. In the end, one chose for themselves how they personally felt.

What is right for one of us is not always the right way for another. Some of us can become very active in working towards righting the wrongs of the world, others of us feel we need to start at home in our very own families. But, either way, it is a start.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Gallery Likes It

Well, I spoke with Shirley from Textures Gallery in Scottsdale. They opened my quilt box on Sunday and spread out the quilt and feel that it is absolutely wonderful. They called the buyers to let them know that it was in but they are up in Payson, AZ and won't be down until this Friday. So I am on pins and needles until then.

Meanwhile I waxed stuff again, ironed more fabric and tidied up since I am having a play day at my studio with three other good friends.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Still Ironing but Including Play Time

I have still be ironing and ironing yards of dyed fabric.

However, I have wanted to try Rayna Gillman's soy wax batik. I had talked with her before and thought I knew what I needed to know but last night I decided I still had a couple of questions about her process. So I emailed her a long list of questions. Then she emailed back and asked for my phone number and called. We talked for a long time...she was still up late at night. So we discussed the topics on the Quilt Art list, what we were doing, what we were each writing, etc and also all about soy wax batik. Now, another friend, Gerrie Congdon, had taken Rayna's class this spring at Art Quilt Claremont and has been posting what she has been doing. I was taking Joan Schulze's class.

Well, Rayna and I got everything all ironed out (oh, that was bad) and this morning I went off to my studio with small pieces of silk and cotton that I had done monoprinting on in Joan's class. Heated up my soy wax in an old crock pot sort of thing and covered my surface with newspaper and had a grand ole time dunking various things in to the hot wax and then stamping my fabrics. At this time I was just playing with fabrics that I had monoprinted with paints rather than dyes.

So, here is a piece that I had monoprinted, then stamped with the neato test tube holder thingie and then over painted.

This is a detail which you can make larger. It is really neat the way the monoprint still shows but then takes on another look with the resist and over painting.

This piece is silk which was monoprinted with black which left lots of white areas. I stamped on it with another great thingie and then over painted with a blue. We have a recycle depot near by which has all sorts of wonderful things. Next time I go I will have to take pictures of some of the stuff....all sorts of papers, old calendars, unused cards from businesses, toilet paper roles, egg cartons, anything that can be recycled. There are lots of little bottles one inch high from some science place and test tube holders etc. Just too much fun!

And this is another black monoprinted which has been over painted.

At the studio I couldn't stand it and ironed out a lot of the wax but came home and washed them in hot water. There are about 20 pieces, some of which have come out better than others. But the really fun part of surface design is that I am not finished until I decide I am. These will probably get over painted again, and then stamped several times before I decide I am done. And then I get to figure out what to do with them but to let you in on a secret, I already have some ideas for collaging them.

I also waxed a couple of yards of over dyed cotton and will do some more on Monday and then start dye painting them. This is too much fun!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

So Why Haven't I Been Blogging?

Well, I must say I haven't been blogging because I really didn't want to admit that I have been procrastinating a lot. I had my commission piece to finish and I managed to drag it out forever. Took days to finish stitching the facing, several days to get the sleeves sewn on, and then more days before I took it back to my studio to do the final foiling.

So, in between all of this, I dyed fabric for four days, spent time ironing it (after I got the commission off) and, as you saw before, cut stamps and printed things. Oh year, I have been scanning ephemera and old photos that I got at an estate sale next door...to add to my big collection of paper stuff. I have plans for collaging the stuff but don't want to use the originals so have been scanning it. I got a big bunch of letters in German sent from Germany in the 20's which have official stamps on them with a Nazi insignia on them...I have to check with my son-in-laws aunt to find out more about what these say. I also have envelopes that were sent from occupied Norway with stamps with Nazi insignia. An interesting bit of history.

So, why all the procrastination? It took me a while to figure it out but I was not sure I was ready to send this big quilt off to Arizona. I could have had it finished and shipped two weeks ago but I kept putting it off. Part of it was because I have worked longer on this than most other pieces so I have really lived with it. It has been up on the studio wall in various forms for two months. I have been carting it home and back to the studio for the past two weeks. So, it has a special place in my heart and I wasn't quite ready to give it up.

Now, this is very different for me since I willingly sell more work as soon as it is done. But this one didn't want to leave.

On Monday I got the foiling finished, packaged it and shipped it off to Arizona. It will arrive at the gallery on Friday, due to the holiday. Now I am getting anxious about the buyers being happy with it. I think they will be but I would sure like to know for sure! Shirley from the gallery is going to go up to the new house when it is installed and will get it photographed for me. I tried to hang it on my wall at the studio and I had nothing to hang it with and I could not pin it to the wall as it was way too heavy and large to handle. I tried!

so, no finished pictures of the piece right now.

But, here is a big pile of fabric that I have dyed and ironed. I have been listening to books of tape courtesy of Donna Fenstermaker, my studio landlady. It really makes ironing fabric pleasurable.

This is a pile of dyed cheesecloth that I have ironed.

A smaller pile of dyed cotton that is ironed.

And the pile still waiting to be ironed...I think there must be about 50 yards in this pile. I dyed about 140 yards of fabric and you know what? You don't see much orange in this batch!

I am ready to work in greens and blues and reds and have been thinking about doing more discharging circles. I am not finished with that, yet.

Also, I have been really busy getting all the last pieces of stuff done for an article in a magazine which will come out in the fall. Can't tell you which or when just yet. Had to get all the permission forms out, images on CD's, statements, etc. Now all I need is to get a picture of myself to go with it all.

I also have several commitments for various pieces of work for about 5 shows that I am committed to and I really should be entering a few shows. I did get my entries off for World of Beauty, so like everyone else I am waiting to hear.

So what is keeping me from getting those show proposals done and shipped off to various galleries and museums?