Thursday, December 24, 2015

When Is It Time To Switch From Sketching To Fabric?

     When you use a sketchbook to plan your art quilts, how do you know you are ready to to get out the fabric? I've been working on a series of sketches to prepare for a quilt about wildflowers using my niece as one of the focal points. In it, she represents a force in the Universe. In the series, she is always manipulating an ammonite fossil. This time she is spreading seeds with the fossil. In previous posts, I've shown some sketches. Here is how I've painted them in succession trying to see how I could interpret the image in my head into fabrics.
The Seed Bearer 1
In this one and the others, I was influenced by my trip to Croatia and used the image of a ruined window and aging walls and walkways. I like aspects of this one, but it definitely has a way to go.

Seed Bearer 2
In this one, I used shapes that I would cut out of various fabrics. I like it better, but it is out of balance. It made me notice that the first one didn't have enough of value contrast.

Seed Bearer 3
     In this version, I taped extra paper to the bottom of my sketch page. That's why there is a line there. I like this one the best, but there are changes that are still needed. I took this photo and put it into the Art Studio App and played with the hue of the blue green shape and made it more of an olive green. That seems to work better. Also I made the rust shape longer at the bottom. And I made the yellow orange shapes thinner. 
     Getting back to the original question, I think I need to paint up some fabrics and get to it. The textures and patterns on the fabrics will determine what is needed at this point. The requirement for the exhibit is that it is exactly 20 inches wide and at least 30 inches long. So after Christmas, I'll get out my Gelli plate and paints and see what I come up with. But the sketch has given me a good starting point. 
     Speaking of Christmas, I showed you the Christmas art quilt I planned to have printed into cards here. I'm very pleased with how they came out. I used a card template that came with my Mac. I put the image of my quilt on the first page. I put separate text boxes for each word and bordered them with dashes (so that it looks like stitches) on the third page and I put "Art by" on the fourth page. I put that on a flash drive and gave it to my local printing company. Here is the result:
Front Page
(the watermark is not on the card... I only put it on this photo for the blog)

Third page
Fourth Page
I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas. Thank you so much for reading my blog. It means so much to me. When I look at my statistics and see followers from so many different countries, it makes me so very happy that I can reach you.  Peace, Everyone.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

To Boro Or Not To Boro?

     When is it appropriate to add the hand stitches that are characteristic of the Japanese patchwork known as Boro? I love the look of it. I'm no expert on Boro, but I've done some reading on it and I've browsed images of it on Google and on Pinterest. I've even created a Boro board on my Pinterest page of images that inspire me. If you aren't familiar with it, basically what I've learned is boro used to be from rags that were worn by Japanese peasants and were patched and repaired with stitching.  Often, they used fabric that was dyed using indigo, so usually you will see blue fabrics when you look up boro. Now, when you see boro fashions, you will see patched fashions with large stitch work. Some of it looks ragged and some of it looks very refined. If you want to see it on Pinterest, be very careful when you type "boro", because Pinterest keeps changing your word to "boho". You have to keep changing it back to "boro".  If you visit my Pinterest page you can see my board on boro.  Or you can Google "boro stitches" and go to images to see what it looks like.
     Anyway, I decided to experiment with boro and create some clothing for myself in this style, but in a little of the more refined way. My husband got to be the guinea pig for my first venture. He asked me to repair two holes in his khaki shorts. I used one of the tutorials I found on Pinterest as a guide.
1.) I trimmed the edges around the hole.
2.) I cut a patch of patterned cotton fabric a little larger than the hole.
3.) I placed the patch inside the hole and hand sewed a running stitch around the hole using a darker thread.
4.) I cut a patch of thicker cotton fabric larger than the patch and pinned it inside on top of the other patch.
5.) I hand stitched up and down a pattern of stitches all up and down the patch to reinforce and to decorate.
first patch from the outside
from the inside
second patch from the outside
If I had just done the patching normally, I would have used a khaki-colored thread that blended with the fabric and not done that pattern of stitching. And I would have used a khaki-colored patch. But this is boro. I made sure to tell him how special it was. :) 
     Then, I had the idea to make myself a boro Christmas scarf using leftover Christmas fabric scraps I have. I decided to model it after some of the images of scarfs from my Pinterest board. So I cut rectangles from my scraps and pieced them together until I had two large enough pieces and then put right sides together and sewed them, leaving an opening large enough to push the right sides back out.  Here's my scarf.
Christmas scarf
     The intention was to add large boro hand stitching to each section in contrasting thread to make it look more informal and worn. But now, I think I like it just as it is. So that's why the title "To boro or not to boro?" I think, in this case, I should not add stitching. Maybe, I'll piece a bunch of denim rectangles together and then hand stitch with green, red, and gold floss to boro another scarf for next year. Can boro even be used as a verb? I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, December 4, 2015

How To Soothe An Aching Heart?

     Have you ever needed to send a home made gift to someone quickly? My sister's dog of 17 years died yesterday and the whole family is hurting. Her kids, my two nieces and my nephew, are grown now. They are in their twenties, but they are very upset at losing their longtime friend. I wanted to send them something more than just a card and I wanted to send it quick while they need it.
     So I went through my stash of fabric and pulled out a multi-colored purple/pink cotton and cut out a heart shape for each of them. Then I chose a purple fabric for a background selecting a checkered one for my nephew thinking that was a little more masculine.  Here are the steps:

1.) Iron on fusible to the heart fabric.
2.) Cut out the heart.
3.) Iron on fusible to the background fabric. Cut out two of them for each heart.
4.) Cut out a piece of interfacing the same size as the background piece. I used one that has fusible on one side.
5.) Iron on one of the background pieces to the interfacing.
6.) Iron on the heart to the piece above.
7.) Embroider a narrow zig zag around the heart.
8.) Iron on the other background piece to the back of the piece with the heart. That way the back shows no stitching and is nice and neat.
9.) Embroider an edge stitch around the edge. I used a buttonhole stitch.
3 hearts with ruler
close up of heart for my nephew

     These were quick to sew up and I put them in separate cards and wrote "Keep this heart for whenever you feel the need for a hug."  And then I sent them off in the mail.
Afterwards, I thought I should have printed that message on the back of the heart squares.  Next time.  So I know I can't heal their aching hearts, but I can show I care and that holding a heart may help a little. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday  where you can find other art quilt blogs and Sew and Sow FarmPlease make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Up To The Challenge?

     How can I incorporate the images I've been using in my latest series in a challenge about wildflowers? My art group, ArtsEtc., has an exhibit coming up in our City Hall about wildflowers and I want to use the image I've been playing around with of my niece in it.
     To try it out, I did a sketch using her image scattering seeds with simple shapes around her similar to the quilt I made of The Puppeteer seen here. I added some flowers to the bottom right. Not too bad.
practice sketch 1

     When I was in Croatia, I did several sketches that I really liked with that image. To me, the image represents a force in the Universe of some sort. I decided to try the Croatian influence on this theme. So I started a sketch with her in the top left sitting in a ruined window. Then I drew some flowers in the bottom right and developed the sketch from there using photos I took in Croatia as references.
practice sketch 2

     I think this has promise. I could see monoprinting the background fabric for the wall and ground and free motion quilting around the shapes.  The next step will be to choose a color palette and start playing with fabric. My guess is the final product will end up different than the sketch, because fabric will call upon me to make other choices. I took out some embroidery floss in colors I might choose.
possible color palette
     This week, when I meet with my sketching group, I think I'll paint a couple of versions of the sketch in those colors and later in the week maybe start getting fabrics ready. A possible title is The Seed Bearer. As I'm working with this series, I'm finding that I can adapt her image to a variety of themes which is bringing a lot of creativity out of me that I didn't know I had. It really is true that there is great value to working with a series.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Do You Stay Creative When You Travel?

     When you travel, do find time and energy to create art? I try to create some type of art on each trip. On some trips, I pack small embroideries that I can sew. Usually those work best on family types of vacations where I'll be staying in one place for most of the time. On my most recent trip, I spent three weeks in Croatia visiting various cities. I had envisioned myself sitting by ruins sketching and painting the views. So I packed a sketchbook, a small set of watercolors, a pencil, and a gel pen.  As it worked out, I didn't feel comfortable sitting for a few hours at a scene sketching while my husband was ready to move on to something else. To get my creative itch scratched, each evening I looked at the photos I took with my iPad and chose the one the inspired me the most and began to design a sketch of it. As I began, I decided not to just do a realistic drawing. I decided to carry on with the series I began here.
The Puppeteer
     I cut out the main figure in various sizes from tissue paper and then superimposed them onto sketches and photos as I worked to help me with my designs.
tracing paper "tools"
My husband took this photo of me playing with a cat in the town of Labin in Croatia. 
in Labin, Croatia
As I started a sketch of it, I decided to put the figure of my niece on the bench instead of me to carry on with the series.
The Puppeteer of Labin
Another place we visited had the remains of a Roman arch. It's at a place called Burnum. How this sketch began was a bit unusual. On the right side of the sketchbook, I had made a pressing from watercolors a few months ago from a plant and it looked like just a spray of blue paint. I was sitting in the hotel room in Croatia wondering what to do to it and I saw that it had a vague shape of an ammonite. So I drew the shape around it with the gel pen and painted patterns in to finish it.
     Then, I decided to sketch the arch on the facing page and unify the two sketches with each other so I did the arch in the same style as the ammonite and put the figure of the girl under the arch to carry on with the series.
The Puppeteer of Burnum
I took a photo of clock against the ruins of a wall in Zagreb, the capitol of Croatia and I'm working on a sketch of her sitting near the clock.  The tracing paper pieces of her helps me to decide what scale of her to use and where to place her in each drawing. Plus I can hold the tracing paper pieces right up to the iPad photos to see how she would look before I start sketching. I've found it to be great tool. So even when I don't have time to sit and do sketches right on the scene, I find I can still be creative when I travel.  Just take photos during the daytime, review them in the evening, rethink them into something new, and draw and paint whenever there is time.
     And now for some personal news. Those of you that have followed my blog for some time are familiar with one of my cats, Opus. He is black and white and often in my studio with me. Well, another black and white cat showed up in our yard and would not go away. We tried hard to ignore him and then to find another home for him. But in the end, we had to adopt him. We named him Andy... not after anything or anyone. Just a cute name. Here are some pictures of Andy and Opus making friends for the first time. Andy is on the left and Opus is on the right.

Uh oh

The first touch

So now I have three cats. They all are getting along just fine. Opus and Andy play a lot with each other. They are going to be best buddies. Rosie is just starting to play with Andy. I'm linking this to Off The Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Sum Of Many Parts

     Once again, I was fortunate enough to attend another marvelous fiber exhibit. This one was called The Sum of Many Parts and was exhibited in two separate galleries in Winter Park, Florida about a 10 minute drive from each other. The reception at the second one included a wonderful live jazz band. This show had traveled through China and is now touring through the USA. The quilts that were exhibited were quite varied in styles. For the show in Winter Park, the gallery added some local artists, too. I wanted to take more photos, but due to lighting problems and crowds in the way, here are some of the quilts that were in the show. I've put watermarks on the photos with the artists websites to give some protection to the images. And, of course, I got permission from the artists to post the photos of their quilts here. I'm linking this post to Off The Wall Friday  where you can find other art quilt blogs.

Caring is part of  Ellen Lindner's Body Language series, which I think is so very creative and touching.
Fledgling, Time to Fly Little Girl, is one of Bobbi Baugh's intriguing storytelling quilts.

Blues in the Night
I love how alive this quilt is that  Carole Harris made and it really fit with the music that was playing during the reception.
Like Jamie and the Nature Spirits
Lauren Austin quilts always have such a free spirited nature to them and yet still have a great composition.
     When I read from other bloggers about quilt shows that they go to in New York and New England and California and see the photos I wish I could go, too. Those areas get some big name artists that I really admire and would love to see their works in person. But I must admit that the local shows I've been to recently have had some very, very impressive pieces of art and I'm surprised at some of the artists whose work show up at them, too. I hope and I bet that your local shows do, too. Let's give a big hooray for all the fiber artists out there sharing their work and inspiring us.

Friday, October 30, 2015

How Would You Finish Off A Crazy UFO?

     Do you have any wild UFO's laying around? Most of do. I never know what to do with the really crazy ones. Usually I cut them up into smaller pieces and rework those. Awhile back I threw an art party at home and posted about it here. Each of my friends took home a "finished" piece. Mine is still laying in the UFO pile. One of the participants, Mary McBride, was given one by another so she took home two. She actually added on to them and created finished artworks from them. Go Mary!
Here's the starting piece of one of them.
starting piece 1
She went with the cat theme and went to town.

starting piece 2

after rotating it, Finished!
She made this one for a friend who loves art with Madonnas. Mary is a fantastic collage artist. (This last photo isn't great because I took it in a cafe and the lighting was terrible and I had to take it with my iPad from above it as it sat on the table.) I guess I'll have to take another look at mine and see if I come up with any collage ideas based on what's on the background or a possible recipient. Maybe I'll just have to go really crazy for once.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Are You Going To Festival In Houston?

     Are you one of the lucky ones going to The International Quilt Festival in Houston this year? I hope you get to go. I got to go for the first time in 2012 and went with an elementary school friend. We spent the first two days in the vendor area and I was amazed how large it was and the variety of things sold there. I was expecting only the usual quilting fabrics and notions. When I left, I had purchased sari silk yarns, gorgeous glass beads from the Czech Republic, hand-dyed silk fragments,  I watched many demos, and I traded about 30 ATC's with other artists. Then the next two days we spent in the gallery area viewing the quilts. I even had a quilt on display that year in the SAQA exhibit Sense of Scale.
     I haven't been since, and I don't get to go this year. But I do have a quilt in the SAQA exhibit Balancing Act.
Inner Balance 2
I wrote a post of how I created her here. This was one of those creations that just flowed. The exhibit will also travel to the festival in Chicago in April. I may get to see it there.
So if you are going to Festival this year in Houston, enjoy all the many things to see and do and try to visit the SAQA exhibit, too. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Do You Make Your Own Christmas or Holiday Cards?

     Should I make my Christmas cards this year or should I just buy a set and send them out? That's the question I pose each year. If I make them, I like to do it in the summer when I'm less busy and then they are ready to go. But I forgot to do it this summer. And I'm not one of those artists that can just slap a collage together. I take a long time to make design decisions. I'm getting quicker about it than I used to be. This week, I decided that I would give myself two days to put together a design and finish a small art quilt for a card cover. If I didn't accomplish that, then I would purchase cards.
     I began by choosing a previously monoprinted fabric for a background. I thought I wanted it to be zen-like. So I chose another previously monoprinted fabric in a complimentary color and cut out a sun shape and hand embroidered it onto the background which I had placed onto batting.
in progress

     Then I got the idea to put a bird and a saying on it. For inspiration, I browsed through my book Inspired to Quilt by Melanie Testa, which has helped me often. And I reviewed my notes from a class called Spirit Cloth 101 which I took from Jude Hill. That class not only showed me many marvelous techniques in hand stitching, but it also passed on the art of story telling in cloth. And the great news is that the class is now open to all for free. Here is a link to it.
     So I finished it up by thread stitching a bird with my sewing machine onto commercial fabric, cutting it out close to the stitching, and hand sewing it onto the background. Then I embroidered branches using two colors of embroidery floss (3 strands) in a wrapped back stitch. I printed out text onto white cotton muslin, cut them out and hand stitched them on. Next, I cut out a piece of commercial fabric an hand sewed it on with embroidery floss. To finish it up, I added a piece of fabric on the back, and then I used two colors of embroidery floss and whip stitched around the edges (6 strands of the dark teal and 3 strands of the rust).
Joy and Peace
     I plan to scan the image in the computer and add a frame. I'll use that for the cover of the card. I'll put some text for inside the card and take it to a printing company and have them print the cards for me. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how it looks as a printed card. Of course, the watermark won't be on it.  If it doesn't look good, then this year will be about store-bought cards. At least I tried and I ended up with a small art quilt. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do You Like To Work With The Seasons?

          This week not only did I tie up another loose end, but I tied it in with the autumn season as well. Way back in a blog post here,  I wrote about how I had some artwork that was going nowhere and I decided to rework it. I started it off and it was going well, but then I lost my verve for it and it sat waiting after I had added the top section and bottom section. Part of the reason was because I didn't have the right green fabric for the sides and I hate shopping. I went to the closest quilt shop and they didn't have the right hue. Finally I drove to the next nearest quilt shop and found exactly what I needed and I was off sewing on it again. I'm sure there was an easier way, but to finish it these are the steps I followed:
1.) Hand sew batting onto the sides.
2.) It wasn't nearly straight so I had to add extra fabric to the sides in places.
3.) Sew magenta fabric strips onto the sides.
4.) Sew green fabric onto the magenta fabric.
5.) Quilt onto the green fabric with a rayon rust colored thread (no backing fabric).
6.) Sew tabs with green fabric.
7.) Pin tabs to backing fabric and make a pillowcase backing.
8.) Quilt in the ditch down two sides lengthwise.
After all the handling the leaves were starting to show some wear so I dabbed them with matt medium to keep them together. (After all, they are from 2007.)
     It was nice to know that I was able to rework the art to a form that I like much better.
I bought the hanger at Ten Thousand Villages a fair trade store. It was amazingly inexpensive and they come in many sizes. We have one about 40 minutes away, but you can get them on-line, too.
Autumn Leaf Scroll

Scroll Detail 1

Scroll Detail 2
     So now the problem is what to do with it. I can't find anywhere in the house to hang it (Unless I take another one of my husband's things down and put it in its place instead.) No, I think I've done that enough times already. Working on this now did help me get in the mood for autumn even if it is still pretty hot here in Florida. Our first real cold front may come through next week. Maybe I'll get to wear a sweater soon. Exciting!
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Doesn't It Feel Good To Wind Up Loose Ends?

     I've been in the procrastination mode with finishing up art pieces I've started. I decided to get them finished so that I can feel free to begin with new ones that I have brewing in my head and on the sketch pad. One of them that is sort of an art piece, although not really mine, is a marionette that I bought in Burma in 1984.
     The country is now called Myanmar. Back then, I was backpacking there and bought this puppet for me as well as another one for my brother. I was also carrying two large bronze sculptures from Nepal in my backpack waiting for a safe place to ship them home. I was hesitant to add two more large, heavy items to my pack to carry but they were so beautiful I thought it would be good for my soul to add the weight and I was young and full of energy. I finally shipped them all from Bangkok and they all made it safely. Over the years, the moths got at my marionette and destroyed her clothes. I've been hesitant to redo them because I hate repair sewing work.
     I began by prying off a sequined bib that was nailed on over her clothes. Then slowly cutting off the first layer of silk jacket around her strings, followed by a wrapped pant-like thing around her waist and legs made of upholstery fabric. Underneath that was silk pants that were almost totally disintegrated from the moths. After cutting those off I discovered a layer of cotton underwear. All of those items had her puppet strings going through them that I had to cut around. Here's what I did to sew her new clothes:

1.) I tried to recreate patterns from paper from the clothes I had cut off.
 2.)Then I pinned fabrics to the patterns and cut them out.
3.)The easiest thing for me to do was to pin the pieces onto the puppet
4.)Hand sew the pieces on to her.
5.)Find where the strings were attached and cut holes in the sleeves, pant legs, etc. there .
6.) Untie the knots in the strings.
7.) Feed the strings through the holes, and retie the knots.
8.) I started with the cotton underwear and then sewed the layers on up; redoing the strings each layer.
9.) Dab matt medium around each hole in the fabric so that it wouldn't fray. (I did this as I went.)
10.) Nailed on the sequined bib.
All in all, quite a job. I'm glad it's done. And I used mostly fabric I had on hand. I had to buy the fabric for the jacket and the pants. But I used silk for the wrap, her belt, and her hair ties,  that I had picked up in Cambodia a few years ago. And I used cotton for her underwear that I had as remnants.

 By the way, she has human hair. As I worked on her, I wondered about the person or persons who created her all those years ago and whose hair she has. Her country has experienced great turmoil and I hope all the people involved have managed to have decent lives. When I visited, I was treated so wonderfully by everyone I encountered. It is a beautiful country and has several marvelous cultures.

My Burmese Marionette

     I also finished hand quilting the small quilt The Puppeteer. I used a single strand of embroidery floss in various colors for each area of the quilt. I used a running stitch that shows in the background areas. In the foreground areas, I used a very tiny stitch on the front, only grabbing a few threads and a regular sized stitch on the back to keep the "grab" even so that the quilt will lay flat. Jude Hill calls this a Wizard Stitch. I like that name.
The Puppeteer

So I have one more unfinished art project I hope to finish this coming week. Then on to the new ones. It feels good. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Great Value For A Good Cause

     Today begins SAQA's annual auction of art quilts. You can go here to see how the auction works. Most quilts are 12 x 12 and there is huge variety of themes and color choices. This is a wonderful opportunity to obtain a small artwork and support the media of art quilters. The profits go to SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates), which you can read about at that link. That organization has so many benefits and has changed my life with its exhibition opportunities, discussion group, journal,  and meetings with members. Here is the quilt I made and donated for auction. I monoprinted the fabric, hand-stitched, machine-stitched, and machine-quilted it.
New Growth
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sharing Art About Town

     I'm in the process of hand quilting these days and taking apart a marionette that I bought in Burma in 1984 to redo her clothes that have slowly disintegrated over the years. I thought it wouldn't be too interesting to show those photos of the puppet redo in the blog, so I decided to take a few photos of art in my town instead and share those with you instead. Our town, DeLand, Florida, has become quite a mecca for sculpture and murals. Here are two of my favorites which are both located in in Chess Park.
A Conversation Over Chess in 1929
by Jill Cannady
This mural was painted by Jill Cannady from her imagination and I love how she captured the lights and shadows and the movements and expressions of the people. Sitting in front of it is a lovely bronze sculpture.
Peace by Joan Baliker
We have sculptures installed all over town but they only stay a year or two and then are replaced by new ones. There is an artist reception to celebrate the installation of the new ones followed by a sculpture walk around the town to introduce them. Peace, however, was so popular, that a movement germinated to purchase her and it succeeded. So she is now a permanent part of DeLand. 
     And here is how my stitching is progressing on The Puppeteer. I decided to do some echo quilting in the top right section in a thread the same color as the background.
partially quilted
It's difficult to see from the photo, but the quilting is helping the layers to lay flat. Since I used scrim for the background fabric and it has so much texture, the quilting stitches don't add much texture, themselves, like quilting usually does so the quilting won't be much of a feature. It will serve mostly for structure in this piece.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Does Life Ever Settle Down?

     Is it a good thing if life settles down? I'm not sure that it is. Then, it might get too boring. I've neglected my blog lately because I got called back to my home town suddenly for not such a good thing that I won't go into here. Life got interrupted (or maybe I should say plans got interrupted).  But in the process, old relationships got refreshed and renewed and old places got revisited. So, in the end, the trip was a blessing.
     When I got back home, I had a birthday. My husband usually never knows what to get me for gifts so I started a wish list on Amazon to make it easier for him. I started the list a long time ago and forgot about it so when I unwrapped the gifts, I was genuinely surprised. He got my this travel sized water color kit which is perfect for my Tuesdays when I get together with friends in the coffee shop or parks to sketch and paint. It is also perfect for on airplanes. Koi Watercolors and Brush
Watercolor set with Opus playing with brush
The brush unscrews to fill with water so that you don't need to carry water with you. And the plastic palette can be attached to the top, bottom, left, or right side. Pretty Cool!
The box 

And then, for inspiration, he also gave me this wonderful book written by Martha Sielman. Masters: Art Quilts Volume 1 (I already have Volume 2).
Wonderful book
     Once home, I met with my group ArtsEtc and showed them the small quilt I had begun but didn't know how to finish. The group consensus was that the figure of the girl wasn't showing up enough and to fix that I needed to mask the dark blue rectangle a little. Also, I needed to add some more blue to the right and frame it in blue. Here it is, with the changes. I put a white sheer on top of the blue rectangle, sewed on blue edges, and added a small blue rectangle to the right. I also painted the girl to make her darker. Then I added batting and made a pillowcase finish. Now I need to do some hand quilting to finish it off.


The Puppeteer
So the ups and downs of life keep us on our toes. The downs tend to dampen the creative spirit and make us wonder why but by wondering and questioning I think it leads us to new pathways and discoveries and new adventures. It's a good thing to not settle down... at least not for me.
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Where Do I Go When I'm Not Home?

     Once again, I am returning home after another adventure. This time, I spent two weeks in the Amazon area of Peru. The last two of my blog entries I had scheduled to post for while I was away. I was able to have them appear, but I was in an area that did not have an Internet signal on Fridays so I couldn't link up to Nina's Off the Wall Friday like I usually do each week. The women in the river area of Peru do amazing embroideries. The base city for my trip was Iquitos, Peru and here are two of the local women setting up shop.
One sewing and one setting up
Here is a cloth I considered buying. The white "outlines" around the flower represent anacondas.

All hand embroidered
The asking price was about $200. Of course, the tradition is to bargain. I have nowhere in my home to display it, so I didn't bargain. I just admired it for quite awhile and said how beautiful it was and moved on. I did buy a beautifully embroidered blouse from another woman at the end of our trip, however. And several baskets and bracelets from a village on the river to give as gifts.
     One week of the trip was a 7 day cruise on the Amazon (my husband and I were the only passengers with 6 crew and one guide). They didn't cancel because they had to move the boat anyway. And the second week, we stayed at a jungle lodge.  Here are few photos.
Our way, cool boat, The Selva Viva

Hiking with guide

picked up a friend
owl monkeys so curious about us

our tent for a night out

rainbow over the Marañón River just below the source of the Amazon
     It was a marvelous trip and my head is full of images of amazing birds, monkeys, foliage, and sounds. I'm glad to be home in dry clothes again and away from the many bugs. But the discomforts were so worth the enrichment. I'm linking this, successfully, to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.