Small things matter 

I have a lot of ideas and most lead to fiber work that take weeks and hours to complete. I clocked the time spent for a total of 135 hours for a finished piece 11X 14. Wow more than even I had thought but sometimes I get tired of concentrating on just one thing. This is the bane of creativity, always coming up with a new idea even while working in something else. 
You could consider this a bit disjointed but over the years I have found this to be very helpful. I put down one piece just as I feel stumped or frustrated. That is when I pick up an entirely different piece of work like walking away then when you come back you find the missing puzzle piece.

I have used this process to do little works, mostly around 6X6 to test out a new technique, color combo or to practice a new stitch. I am sharing something like this but it has a practical use. 

I am going to a quilt retreat next month and we all were given a name tag that was already pieced, thanks Pam. At this retreat we are going to show off and encourage crazy quilting so of course I had to go to town. I really enjoyed the colors and the peacock theme of this tag. 

With this being 5X5 it was a challenge to whittle down all the stuff I wanted to include. I have always wanted to use one color of silk ribbon on top of another and do believe it works well for the feathers on the peacock. I had to do the spider web rose, my signature stitch on my crazy quilts but also really like the sequin flowers on the bottom left corner. 

So little things do matter and as you can see I still managed to do a lot of work on this little piece.


What to say

I always seem to have something to say which at times has gotten me in a bit of trouble. Nothing too bad just would have been better to keep things to myself at times. In fact my friends can attest that if I am quite for sometime they wonder if I am sick or mad about something. 

Now that I am at home most days, no more 9 to 5, I have fewer people I have daily contact with. My hubby is my daytime mainstay now and he has always been the quite one. Is that good or bad? Art usually is a solitary world until the artist shares the art with the world. I work out ideas, sketch, research, do color swatches, check new techniques and gather materials before I even begin a new artwork. 

However as that artist I want to share my art. So the rest of the world can see my vision, see the beauty in nature in the same way I see nature. So I guess I am still talking or as my art school profs would say, communicating an idea with the rest of the world. The success of the art usually reflects that idea or communication. If it is right there is no need for words. 

New habits

I have been retired from the 9 to 5 grind for six months now and have decided that daily life is a series of habits. I knew that before but it was confined by the goals set by someone else. Now that is all me I have to concentrate on what I want to accomplish each day or before I know it the day has flown by and it is 2 in the afternoon with nothing done. 

In order to get all the creative ideas I have swimming in my head I have to set down those goals, break it into workable pieces and get to that work. The best way for me to accomplish these goals is to do things by a schedule or habit. Doing even the mundane as a habit makes it easier for me. 

A new habit is some form of exercise especially if I can get outdoors. With temps in the 70’s yesterday I just had to take a walk. I changed my venue and headed to a different park, Kansas City is blessed with many options. Walking around the track of Mill creek I headed to the natural spring. 

As I approach I see slashes of bright red in the water. Is it trash, leaves from fall foliage, no it is koi fish. I am fascinated by the bright contrast of the tan grass, green weeds under the water and these bright red fish. Snapped as many pictures with my phone because this too is a habit for further art.  

I would eliminate the white square of trash but the koi are so colorful in contrast to the rest of this scene. It gets me excited thinking about what I could do with this. So a new habit led me to a new idea for art. Guess I need to keep this habit going. Off to another walk today. 

Sweets in food and art. 

Amazing mini cupcakes for Valentine’s Day yesterday. The chocolate were named chocolate addiction, the white are almond. Amazing what can come from the supermarket now a days.  

After my tasty treat I worked on a crazy quilt block. This was the final block from my group round robin. We get together once a month, exchange a pieced “naked” block in the theme of our own choosing. There were 9 in this exchange or round robin so I worked on 8 other blocks for others in the group. This means I have a total of 9 blocks of my own with 8 others wonderful stitching on my crazy quilt blocks. 

The final block was started but not finished due to personal and health issues. Life happens but it allowed me to play even more with this gypsy theme. I find that I always have more ideas than space or seams. This makes me nervous that I am over doing it. But I believe I worked that out with this block. It seems unusual that the dark maroon would go so well with the turquoise but it does. If I did anything different it would be to stitch more of the light pink but it is fine. This helps to make it sweet, matching the  photo. 

 I plan to place a burnt red satin that is reverse appliqued in an oval thus the white running stitch around the edge. This will become my sashing making the block 12X12. I may do a feather stitch around the inside oval edge but will need to look at how that looks after I have finished the sashing. 


Artists musings

I delivered the commission piece to the buyer yesterday and it was such a pleasure to see the reaction of the owner of this art. To say she was pleased and amazed would be an understatement. Considering the work came from a picture that her husband provided she was happy to see the details depicted so well. This made me sigh with relief and pleasure, so good when the idea communicates with the finished art.

The new owner asked about the process, how I started, what materials I used and the hand embroidery methods. My explanation to her was similar to what is used in an artist statement that tells the method and materials for my art. Though I have a written artist statement for show entries, it was so wonderful to get the direct feedback. The owner was amazed by this method of collage work, noting that it is not her idea of a quilt. I explained that though I use the tag of “art quilt” my work is more fiber collage with hand embroidery. It made my heart sign to know that she was amazed with the finished work.

I was asked recently by another artist how I was able to get commission work. I told this artist that this recent work was requested by a friend as a present for his wife. I have done two other commissions over the years all done for friends. However I believe it is easy for my style of work to be commissioned. Though I do have my own artistic interpretation in every work I produce the landscape pieces usually start with a photo. However I think that as an artist you should be open to all possibilities. I am not saying one should change their work to match the color of a person’s couch but you should not hole yourself up in your own vision so much that no one is interested in your work either. There should be a happy meeting point and this last work showed me another avenue to pursue in my career path.

I know that I shared this photo before but this is the best piece to show how one can work with the request of a buyer along with my own artistic expression. This is a seascape completely from my own imagination but the buyer requested I use purple and green and a mermaid with red hair within the picture. I had never considered a mermaid in one of my seascapes before but I do believe this came out really well, both for the buyer and myself.



Finished, done, completed all words to show you have accomplished something. I have finished my art quilt landscape commission this evening. I do believe I have conquered the fear of keeping to the original photo but also adding my own artistic twist. I did explore several different techniques on this piece. Most of them I will continue to use in my art quilts.

By using the collage method I can use whatever makes the image in my head come to life on the artwork. I have further explored the use of colored pencil on top of fabric to much success. I combined alcohol fabric markers to change the color of the thread, add shadows, or adjust the tone of printed fabric or the color of silk ribbon to much success. This use of traditional artist materials with fabric and thread and ribbon is exciting and worthwhile.

I truly love the use of embroidery in my art quilts. It gives a tactile feel as I am creating but also it gives the dimension and texture that I was always searching for but could not find in other forms of art. In this way I feel full of pride that I have accomplished more that just finishing another piece of art, but also I have found my voice. So Fini’ but that does not mean I will stop, just that it is now time to start a new. Who knows how beautiful the next piece will be.

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I have many memories of passing views from car trips with my parents and my own family. The hazy way of keeping from being bored on long car trips.  I love travel and I find myself almost hypnotized from the details. I try to concentrate on them and find myself in my own time, my own mind.

I try my best to hold onto those details to be used when I am trying to capture something in my art. But it makes me think I will never capture the trueness that is nature. However I don’t want it to be a picture without my own self put in that interpretation. So as much as I want to capture “what is real” I am still not happy until it is also part of what I imagine.

I was on my way walking to the bus stop one morning and just had to stop while the early spring sunrise came in all its glory.  I pulled out my phone and clicked as many pictures as possible. So many that I was questioned by a home owner as to what I was up to. When I pointed to the sky she too took the time to see the beauty a blazing.

I have tried to capture that beauty, the blaze of color, the starkness of the bare trees in silhouette like skeletons in contrast to the color of the sunrise. This piece is a beginning for a series of work on this subject though I think I could work on this subject for a very long time.

Holmes St Sunrise