Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trees done, I think

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I got in a couple hours of painting time today and finished up the trees. As the painting progresses there is always the possibility that they will need further tweaking, but they are done enough to move on to something else.

Now I had to drive the boy child to a party up in Evanston, then drive the girl child to a party in the south loop, hopefully I can get in a little more painting time tonight before I have to pick each of them up from opposite parts of Chicago at 11:00.

Friday, October 30, 2009

7 hours didn't get me very far

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I painted 4 hours in the afternoon and 3 hours in the evening and have still not finished the leaves.

The leaves are now being painted with opaque paints with a fair amount of white mixed in.  I am using opaque paints because I need that opacity to paint on the dark green backgrounds.

After I painted the green background on the trees, I had to put my fabric and printed cartoon on a light table and retrace the lines for the leaves. I used a mechanical pencil that Bohin makes with white lead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Work in Progress

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I am starting another whole cloth painted quilt for an exhibit and am panicking a little because I don’t have a lot of time left to make it and I have to use a specific fabric which I only have enough to do this once. Normally I never show any work in progress, I always feel kind of afraid I won't be able to pull it off, but I figured I would share my anxiety I mean progress with you this time.


I have a book I bought years ago on medieval hunting scenes. I love the colors and flat 2 dimensional style of the paintings, very reminiscent of tapestries done in that period.


I also love the depiction of deer in those woodland scenes with flowers carpeting the flat green ground like wall paper and skies that have a patterned all over stylized design.


I really wanted to paint something similar, but I didn’t want to just recreate a pretty painting, I wanted the imagery to tell a different story, something quirky and different, unexpected.

Looking at these paintings got me thinking about so many different things; like the way this painting style uniquely captures a period in history and the stylized graphic quality of the painting is not quite realistic. Then I thought about the various ways deer have been depicted over time and how different styles become popular and then unfashionable.


What would happen when images from two different time periods were brought face to face in a vintage scene? The juxtaposition of traditional and contemporary styles seemed intriguing.

I began imagining a majestic deer in a medieval painted scene walking across a flowered hillside and coming upon a kitschy little deer figurine, like the ones that were so popular in the 1960’s, and imagined its shock, seeing such a distorted little figure with giant blue eyes cheerfully looking up at it.

Of course I am starting bigger than I really should given my time frame, it is 57" x 43" right now, but it will shrink down more with quilting, but I want it to have a decent impact and if it is too small, I don't think it will look as good.

I am painting a piece of Ivory Kona solid fabric, I think the ivory color will help give the painting a warm muted color palette reminiscent of the medieval paintings and I plan on leaving the ivory fabric exposed in areas of the sky with some scroll like filigree painted in beige or gold or maybe both.


I painted the ground and base of the treetops using a lot of textile medium mixed in with the paint so that it would have more of a transparent gradation of color. All the medium in the paint makes it more likely to show brushstrokes and unevenness in the color but hopefully a lot of that will be camouflaged by the plants and leaves painted on top. Today I start painting the leaves on the trees and hopefully tackle one of the deer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Woman in Orange

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Who is this amazing looking woman in orange making such a striking figure at festival? Well it is none other than Ricë Freeman-Zachery the author of Creative Time and Space a wonderful new book that I am thrilled to have been included in.

We finally ran into each other Saturday night at the end of Surviving the Runway.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Surviving the Runway Houston 09

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One week ago, the place to be at 5:30 Saturday night was the Make It University class area at International Quilt Festival, Houston. If you are a fan of Project Runway, this can be your way to have a little taste of the excitement, creativity and sheer chaos, that happens when competing for some excellent textile booty by creating a wearable object out of craft foam, duct tape, rick rack, glue and whatever else gets passed out. The first place winner gets a huge case of Aurifil thread along with many other textile goodies.

Melly Testa, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Jamie Fingal, Me (who all act as advising Tim Gunn's) and Pokey (who makes a pretty good Heidi Klum don't ya think?)


The designers at work


Pokey, Barb and Jamie

I can name two of the winners, because I happen to know them: Barb Forrister, of Austin TX, on the left was the winner of the challenge with her Madonna inspired bra and thong. Coming in second was Betty Coburn, who now lives in Oregon, but we knew each other when we both lived in Austin several years ago. I am sure Betty scored extra points for removing her shirt and bra to wear her backless halter top constructed of fun foam.


The Surviving the Runway winners.

Here is a video capturing a few highlights of the event with the "designers" runway walk.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Group art making in the wee hours

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On Wednesday Leslie and Jamie ran to Texas Art Supply and picked up some fun after hours art supplies, which included a two yard piece of primed canvas, various sponge and paint brushes and acrylic paints. After dinner we gathered in their room in our jammies and started painting. No theme, just put some color down and go, while we talked and laughed, giddy from long activity filled days, lack of sleep and enjoying seeing each other again after way too many months (or a year for some) apart.

Leslie Tucker Jenison

Jamie Fingal



Rachel Perris and Frances Holiday Alford



Saturday I brought all my leftover paint from my classes, hoping to lighten my load. The canvas has progressed since I took this photo, we still have to decide what to do next. I am sure there will be more to come with this project...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Painting Whole Cloth Fabric

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Saturday I taught whole cloth painted fabric, I was surprised to find I had 30 students instead of 25. Thirty is a really large number of students for this kind of class, I felt like I was at a bit of a disadvantage here, trying to give everybody individual attention and needing to do double technique demos since the class had to be broken up into two groups so everyone would be able to see. I think next time I will need to make sure it is limited to 25, so there can be more time dedicated to demos.





This woman did not manage to paint 2 beautiful paintings in 6 hours, her daughter had to run out early to get back to her university studies. I had two mother daughter teams in class, the other pair are the last two photos in this grouping with the bird paintings.

I missed getting everyone's picture (in both my classes) since some people seem to fly out the door early trying to get to other scheduled events. I did see one of my students down at Make it University lined up for Surviving the Runway by the time I got down there after class. Who could blame her for that!

We are a sophisticated group

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Rachel Perris, Leslie Jenison, Jamie Fingal, Melly Testa and Frances Alford.

I think Jamie is calling on the forces of the great spoon Goddess.

Iris Karp of Mistyfuse struggled to make a spoon stay on her nose, but after repeated attempts she finally had success, which we decided must have been attributed to her use of Mistyfuse.


Susie Monday also achieved spoon success.

Nina's nose is so small she couldn't get a spoon to stick, but she had great success with a fork!

Kathy York and Rachel

Leslie, Melly and me

Rachel and Leslie

Dinner with friends has to be one of the highlights of festival.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Festival: where to begin...

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It has taken me a couple days to catch up with life enough to start writing a blog post about our adventures in Houston. I have been to Festival every year for the last 13 years, this trip was a lot of fun but way more exhausting than any trip I have ever taken. Teaching at International Quilt Festival entailed so much planning, packing, shipping, focus and talking... since I was also teaching a workshop for Make It University and doing two sessions of Open Studios in addition to my two 6 hour classes.


I started Open Studios early on Wednesday night since MIU was short someone to start the night, so I spent 3 1/2 hours demonstrating embossing copper, meeting people and talking about various techniques. Here's a look at my table.


I think I always have too much stuff at Open Studios because I never know what people want to see the most, so I tend to bring a lot of smaller art work, especially things people may have seen in the magazines so they can see the work up close.

The little canvas and copper cover books really seemed to appeal to people, I think I will have to add that to my regular workshop offerings, it will need to be a two day workshop though.

Working across from me was my good friend Leslie Tucker Jenison from San Antonio.

Following Leslie was Alma de Melena Cox who creates beautiful and bright mixed media collages with fabric paint and wood.









Thursday morning I taught Mixed Media Painted Fabric, luckily I had thrown in a few extra kits because I had 3 additional students in class for a total of 28.

This is a class that has concepts very different from a lot of ways we are used working, like painting objects by painting the background to create the imagery. Layering paper images and paints, seeing colors come through from underneath and adding layers of color on top of color. It pushes people outside their comfort zone and hopefully has them thinking and looking at things in a new way.



It was fun seeing a few familiar faces from my old Austin days!


It was great getting to meet Susan Bruebaker Knapp in person after getting to know each other by email last year. She was very ambitious and painted a huge piece of cloth.

It can be so hard getting people to stop working and put their pieces on the wall!



Such a fun class!

More festival pics to come...

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