Monday, January 16, 2017

Eye Candy.....

"Eye candy....with no calories whatsoever, so  I can indulge"; that is the most frequently heard comment about our products.  Many just stand there, "petting, fondling and absorbing"...I call it filling their "tanks".  We are such tactile and visual beings aren't we?  I know I am...if I wasn't I know I wouldn't be using fabric and fibers as my medium of choice for art making.

I love the days when everything we dye are drying, and then I try really hard to let myself appreciate the stacks of wonderful "colors" piled waiting to be packaged.  Cause if I think too hard about how much work is ahead to get everything ready to be sold, you would probably hear me crying.
For those of you old enough to remember hiding among the bed sheets line drying on laundry day, that is the feeling I get....only this is sweeter, better....hiding in among all this color is like heaven.
This is just a small glimpse at the hand-dyed Rayon Seam Binding and Sari Silk.  After Quilt Festival in Houston we had barely any left of variety that's for here is a small portion of the hangers full of wonderful variegated colors drying.....boy am I glad we have 70 degree temperatures in January. Makes life here so much simpler.
Here we are beginning the stacks to be packaged....before we start processing I can assure you this pile will be higher and there will be more of them. One time I lost Kristin behind a stack of cheesecloth on a table as she started packaging it up...I could hear her, see her legs but not her smile
 As a child growing up in Minnesota I loved seeing the bright green sprouts poking out of the snow as the winter was meant we would be blessed with all the colors of the rainbow as spring blossomed around us.  I guess I have always loved color.  Hand dyeing fabrics and fibers gives me the same rush of happiness, fullness.
The best part is we get to pet, fondle and take in all this glorious color....there are perks to this job.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Not Enough Time To Play....

Do you ever come to the end of the day and wonder where your time went?  I know, we did get quite a bit accomplished today (I will remember to take a photo of the pretties drying on the line tomorrow), but I did not find enough time to play...actually I didn't "take" any time to play.  First rule is to acknowledge that it is up to me to "make/take" time for play/art/creative work...whatever you want to call it.  I know it is on my shoulders to do this and I actually feel like I let myself down.

This past weekend I did make my planner/art journal a priority and spent many hours in my studio.  First thing was to play with color and collage on all of this month's pages.  After doing the first week of January's spread I thought maybe the color was too strong even through the gesso knocked it back a bit...I had used Golden Fluid Acrylics in my favorite color combo...
So I gathered up as many different watercolor products as I could find in my mess of a studio that I showed you in a previous blog post.  First up for the next weeks spread was Windsor Newton watercolors.
After deciding to mimic the first weeks color palette I set to work, once everything was dry I divided up the space for the seven days using a piece of handmade paper, washi tape, hand painted Lutradur and a piece of a restaurant napkin ring. Got to admit that was fun digging through a bin of what I call my recycled collage papers and so very relaxing.  I doodled a bit but....
my formidable studio assistant thought that she would lend a bit of help, well it's all rather new to her.  Blackie has only been with us two years in May, she was my in-laws beloved companion and after my mother in-law passed she came to live in the Deep South.  Now you have to understand life with two elderly people was quiet and she was a northern Midwestern kitty who traveled via car over 1000 miles to find that my studio was the safest room in a house with two dogs.  So when I start working/playing in "my" studio...really her room (maybe if I asked permission she would allow me my tools) however she is always interested...curious.  You should see what happens when I use the sewing machine....anyway I digress....

I do think the pages are softer, but it didn't make any difference in the ability to read what I wrote down.  Sure would be easier to travel with this planner/art journal and my Windsor Newton compact pan set, I will show you what the other watercolor mediums turned out like in a future post.  For now I think it's time to call it a night.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness; Messiness....Leads To Creativity?....

Remember the saying; "cleanliness is next to godliness"....that was one of those saying used to get us to clean our rooms, school desks, lockers and just about any other place our "stuff" could be found.  Logically, I know that "feeling" I get when my studio becomes a disaster is a hold over from my upbringing; however as these photos will show you it is more than a disaster, I can justify the mess since there are very good reasons for how it got that way.  However, I must admit that taking the time to clean it up just seems overwhelming.

The major reason for this mess is that my computer had a total and complete melt down as I was making my grandson's Christmas gift.  I did get a new computer for Christmas and he was very understanding about an IOU, but having to shift everything around to set up the new computer has taken a toll.  Then there are still all the parts needed to complete those unfinished Christmas gifts still "stacked" around.
When this room was photographed for an article in Quilting Arts several years ago it looked really good, but very sterile not necessarily a true representation of a working studio.   Flash forward to today and my continued reading about creativity...there are many studies out these days that lean toward the fact that messy/disorderly environments (oh I like that second description) inspire creativity, may even be a sign of "productive genius".  Hmm...that could very well make my head swell, but it doesn't help with putting order to this chaos or the internal struggle with my upbringing to be neat.

As you can see there are organizational systems in place around the room such as this Ikea hanging pots/shelves, a commercial thread drawer barely visible behind the sewing machine or the stack of drawers on the floor.  There are other shelves, a chest of drawers, walk-in closet, etc; which make putting things in their place fairly easy.  The everyday problem is how to have the current working projects close at hand, especially when you work in various mediums at any one time so that you can easily shift from one to another without just tossing things here and there.  If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.
For right now I will have to pick up as needed to complete a task at hand, because we are in full swing of show prep for the first half of this years shows....dyeing and processing will come before a true deep clean.  I think I can wrap my mind around that feeling of having to be neat, so that I can spend time on my "planner/art journal project" I mentioned last week.  I do have my priorities.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, Jump Start Needed....

 Do you ever wonder where a year has gone?  Does this happen as we get older or is it really true that "time flies when your having fun"?  I don't know which way to point the I am getting older and  I am having fun, most of the time.  Looking back at the lack of posts this past year on this blog I cannot believe how few I wrote, don't really have an excuse as we were not on the road as much, but we sure did seem to be busy.  I always feel that I need to have something creative to share, or beautiful photos of scenery to inspire you with.

Well I must admit that I haven't really felt all that creative over the last couple of years (some would argue with me), seems like I have just been "making" things for the booth, to show how to use our products or dyeing fabrics and fibers. Not that this is bad, but it seems to leave me drained for my own work.  As a creative person this has happened to me before, I do know I just need to go into my studio and create.   Over the years I have worked in many mediums, concentrating the last 20 years on mixed media, my way.  That was when I started combining fabric, beads, found objects and paper to express myself.  However, working just on paper has never felt natural, consciously or unconsciously I have always felt the pull, a desire to do so, but fear of failure...not being good enough stops me every time.   One of my grandmothers painted in watercolor, worked in pen and ink; she would have said she grabbed whatever was nearby in order to express herself creatively.  When someone close to you is so good at what they do it can be quite intimidating...this I need to shake off...time to conquer what scares me the most.

Hold onto that thought, it's a new year and the mail comes, bringing with it the new Cloth Paper Scissor magazine. Now honestly we have gotten this magazine for years....the only thing I can think of is "right time, right place"....Dawn DeVries Sokols' article on a one-of a kind planner just struck a cord.  The planners I've been using the past few years don't give me much space daily and I have always been a "doodler"....perfect.  The more I mulled this project over the more it seemed a perfect way to cure what ails me...procrastination to take time out to be creative just because I want to.  Ta-Da!  So here goes....fear aside I have started....

Not a work of art, but a way to play with paints, inks, gel mediums, gesso and all that ephemera I have been collecting for years.  Now back to reality...
Ironing all this osnaburg....there are actually 2 chairs down at the end of this table, holding all this fabric, at least I hope so...cause it would be really frightening if that "heap" was from the floor to the top shelf of that book case...don't you think??

Happy New Year Everyone....may it be a fabulous year!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Back Into the Swing of Things...

You know you had great vacation when you cannot quit yawning while at a quilt show, but after this breathtaking view for a week..
To now be back in work mode with the following as my view.....very nice but....just not quite the same.   I always enjoy the quilts at the Asheville Quilt Guild show in North Carolina and this year is no exception.  I'm enjoying my view from our booth.

 However this sould tell you how I'm doing.  I'm having such a hard time this morning getting into gear...can you tell.
Next weekend we will be vending at a retreat in Gatlinburg, TN....maybe I will finally be back in work mode! Stranger things have happened!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Preparations for Two Shows....

For the past few weeks we have been dyeing fabric, fibers and I swear anything that didn't move, in preparation of vending at two different locations.  Kristin will be setting up this weekend at QSDS in Columbus, Ohio, she will be there from Monday, May 30th until June 12th.  I will be headed to North Carolina Quilt Symposium in Raleigh, June 2nd through June 5th.  Really didn't think we would ever finish dyeing all the things we had planned for, but somehow we to package it. 

 We haven't done any specialty pieces in a very long time, too busy dyeing fabric that could be easily replicated.  Upon being invited to be a vendor at QSDS we decided we could do some special pieces of fabric. We dyed a variety of silks and cotton fabrics, these circles below are on silk, they are so yummy.  At one point Kristin came into the dye studio and asked if I was having fun....I said no, all I could think of was how tired I was....then I started rinsing out some pieces and voila....I was having fun.  I actually stood there clapping I was so happy with what I saw.  Hope you all will think so too.
 Love this wonderful stack of fabrics which remind me of the colors of a rainbow. 
Below is one our newest additions to our product line...2 sizes of hand dyed ric rac....they are really pretty.  We had wanted add ric rac for a long time was the perfect time.  Less shows means more time to play in the dye studio.  

The sad part is that we did not have enough time to dye enough to supply both booths with all of these goods in great numbers...we did try really we did, but if you stop by either location you just may find a goodie you just cannot live without.  

Be sure to say Hi and introduce yourself....we love making new friends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Time Passes Just Too Quickly.....

I've decided that I'm just not great at keeping up with things if there is too much going on.  Since the first of the year I have found myself trying to juggle, sometimes not so well online classes, creating "stuff", dyeing, packaging and the distractions of everyday life.  Personally I'm not tech savvy, sooooo Kristin has to keep me in line and trying to teach me is a full time job.  Really I have meant to write a blog every couple of days or so, but by evening I sit down in a chair and then fall into bed.  So I thought I would try to write one that catches you up to this point.... thought I'd spare you the photos of unpacking from our "artist in residence" gig in would not believe the mess.

We headed to Paducah on Sunday, April 17th for our artist in residence gig which includes Quilt Week,  each spring as we drive I absolutely love the color of the fields the closer we get.....hopefully this year I will try to capture it in a piece.
 As soon as we pulled in, we unloaded, well Kristin did most of the unloading while I took a "break" in my red camping chair that travels with me.....we then had to quickly set up, because Quilt Week opened on Wednesday, April 20th and we were driving to St. Louis on Tuesday to pick up Barb Forrister.  I did pull my weight on Monday with setting things up.  This is what the front gallery looked like when we got done.  Some great people dropped in to see what we were up to and shop....they didn't even mind stepping over our piles.
We always hang something along the hallway back to the studio....this year we switched it up with garments made from our hand-dyed Osnaburg and Linen.  First garment on this end is a Tina Givens pattern and the rest are all Indygo Junction.  It was very hard not to grab one to wear as I passed by as they are so comfortable.
This side showcased our collaboration work....stacked landscapes, which we will be teaching in Houston this fall.
The two photos below are pics of a couple new pieces I worked on, I love needle felting to me it is very "painterly" and so very relaxing.  Neither piece is complete as I will be adding hand stitches to both surfaces, but at this point I was just trying to make as many as I could so that I have something to hand stitch as we travel for the remainder of the year.  Some of you know me well enough to know I just may be stitching on them next year too.....I love the soft drape of these "new fabrics"....the top one was created using water soluble stabilizers.
On this one I used a chunk of felted sweater as the base....Kristin bought a couple felted sweaters at Goodwill and had never used game....I actually got 4 needle felted and still have quite a bit of the sweater left to use and we found cute little vintage looking hangers at a country store to hang them by. My fingers are ready to do more....
Every year we tell ourselves we are going to drive out into the countryside around Paducah and spend time photographing things we find for inspiration.  Well.....this year we actually did it.....we found this sweet face in an area known as The Land Between the Lakes where we found a Bison and Elk preserve.  Fantastic....and the babies were absolutely to die for....(my photos are too blurry).  
Then we drove off to Illinois, to an area known as "Garden of the Gods", we thought we'd check it out as we have spent time in Colorado's "Garden of the Gods", the two are very different from one another.  Here is a shot of Camel Rock.  People did climb out onto it.....not me folks I find myself very unsteady yet and I have a profound fear of heights...Proud of myself just for this.
 The textures of the rocks is what I found absolutely just may see this worked into new work in the future.....going to have to work up a "inspiration board" using this photo....which means collecting things that may work for creating a piece.
Thanks for stopping by.....