Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Art Quilt: A Journey.

So here's the deal: In a Pamela Allen workshop, I had this major creative breakthrough. For a year, I'd been cranking out heart doodles whenever I was on the phone, at a meeting, etc... But only on paper. Lots and lots of heart doodles.

One of my favorite heart doodle came out during a two hour long meeting involving lots of Roberts Rules and beaurocratic bwah, bwah bwah.

So, then I get to this workshop with Pamela, the free spirit wonder teacher, and she has us make a background. No problem. Then she asks us to imagine what that background wants on it. Well, duh!!!! It wants a heart! One that leaps and jumps and sings! One that's free of red tape meetings! One that can be made with noone yodelling 'mo-oooooo-oooom!' Out came this:

After the workshop, through very little control on my part, the quilt ended up on an album cover for local musician, Dee Dee Tibbits. It wasn't even stitched down. Yikes! I added a little stitching, they photographed it, then I hung it on my bedroom wall. It hangs where I can see it with a fresh eye each morning. Slowly, the design flaws began to worm their way into my brain. It clearly wasn't done, but I didn't know what to fix.

Then I took it to Crit Group (if you don't have one, GET one) and they pointed out the odd triangle of greyed lavender background. Oh yeah! Now I see. God Bless the Crit Group! I found some more of the turquois background and decided to add more collage, breaking up that nasty triangle. At the PAQA retreat a few weeks ago, I finally had time to work it out when the genius Wendy Butler Burns stopped at my table and suggested adding a close, but not matching fabric to the turqouis. Shazam! I immediately whipped out a pile of mixed prints and collaged this:

See the difference? It's much better now, I think. Then yesterday, I got jiggy with perle cotton bobbin drawing and now the quilt is just a little past done. I washed it to promote raggediness, squared that sucker up and there you have it. One Art Quilt. Ready for binding and a rod pocket.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I can't stand it another minute. Yesterday, I cleared off my sewing tables in the "Pit of Despair" so I could whip up a skirt. Of course, I still have to scale a mountain of---ahem---important belongings to get to the tables. But now I'm just *itching* to sew something.

First, the evil checklist:
--kids are schooled (check)
--all parties, kids, dog, cat, are fed (check)
--teeth brushed (check)
--bra on (check) *not necessary, but conveys an air of alertness, preparedness,
out-of-bededness, etc...
--dishes done (ennnngh--think Family Feud buzzer)

Ya, ya, dishes, schmishes. They can take a number. I'sa got visions to spin.

Whoa, Pardner!!

And he yodelled, too! Only an Elvis impersonation could've heightened my ecstasy.

Dig the silver sequined appliques.

Now seriously, this couple, Ron & Ruth Meiske, were the entertainment for my church's Spring Tea. I was skeptical until they started their gig. They were humorous and musical and had us all tapping feet and singing along! After a break, Ron came back in the green rhinestone get-up, knowing he was stylin'. We whooped and cheered like menopausal Tom Jones groupies. Heck, half of us were menopausal (I'm actually 'pre-M', but that's more than you wanted to know, right?).

The Moral?
Never judge the entertainment before the show.
Anyone dressed wierder than me gets their picture taken. Automatically.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Who ordered this?!?

....and when are you exchanging it for a full refund?

Friday, April 22, 2005

Critique Group

I chose not to attend the AQS show in Paducah this week and was suddenly free to attend my Critique Group. Less driving, just as much fun. Hooray!

My crit group doesn't have a name yet. I don't really care as long as the interaction is worthwhile and the company is fun. It was started by Deb Harowitz, owner of Scarlet Zebra. Last month, I took a piece with design flaws and the feedback offered by the group was so amazingly helpful. I can't tell you how fulfilling it is to meet with a group of artists that 'get it'---that know how to handle fiber and what it feels like to be in the creative process.

Let's all understand right here and now that I'm not picking up any side work as a photographer. Okee Dokee? Here we go:

This is my friend Barb Dinneweth (in the purple shirt). She has art degrees. We don't hold it against her. The piece she's showing is meant to be displayed draped over objects arranged on a table. The tactile quality and range of colors are so lush! Please don't tell her it's chenille. She will jujitsu your head off or singe your facial hairs with laser fire shooting out her eyeballs. The piece is made up of billions of 1 inch squares, carefully arranged, stacked and sewn down so the hand dyed colors flow over the piece. The background is hand dyed corduroy---I'm guessing 18 wale. It drapes fabulously.

Next up: Pat Smith, Beader Extrodinaire and my riding buddy for Crit Group. Another one of those art degree holders whom we like anyway.

And a detail:

Holy smokes, that's a lot of beading! My children (or the dog) would eat the beads before I could get them sewn down.

Now's where we run into memory deficiancy. I'm confessing only to you that the names of the following artists have escaped my memory. If you're offended please accept my apology. It's a rented brain. My permanant brain is in the shop right now.
**edit alert** April 24th, 2005: The very gracious Kay Schell just e-mailed the names to me. Thank you, Kay!

This jacket was constructed by Linda Johnson out of 'whatever was lying around'. Quilting is not her primary fiber form. Can you imagine how gorgeous her 'primary fiber form' must be? She confessed to being a trim and fabric pack rat, mostly from yard sales, etc...

Next, Margo Liba:

This glowing landscape appeared to be layers of synthetic organzas with embellishments. How wonderful!

And lastly, Kay Schell:

If it's lime and purple and turquoise, my heart sings....even though I don't often work with those colors. The construction was cool, too. Each square was cut, stacked and attatched raw-edged with a line of straight stitching. I believe it's intended for use as a throw, or play quilt for kids. What kid wouldn't love it?

So, there you have it. Crit Group. If you don't have one, GET one!

Monday, April 18, 2005

An Ode

I published this on the PAQA list a few days ago, but it's really for all of you.

Always a Quilter
(tune: 'She's Always a Woman' by Billy Joel)

You can sew with your elbow,
Or paint with your toes.
Use burlap for batting,
'Cuz who will know?
You can write a great book,
Or appear on t.v.
You may fuse it all down,
But you're always a quilter to me.

And Oh!
Sew by hand if you want.
You can use hot pink thread,
Or staples and twine.

And Oh!
You can sing if you like,
Make it be about quilts,
And please try to rhyme.

You can toss all your scraps,
Or tack them down.
You can fly the trapeze,
Or be raised by a clown.
You can be young or old,
Uptight or free.
You may have wierd hair,
But your always a quilter to me.

Hmm-mm-mm, Hmm-mm-mm,
Hmm-mm-mm, Hmm-mm-mm,
Hmm-mm-mm, Hmm-mm-mm

All My Love,
Funky C

Sunday, April 17, 2005

People watching

I consider myself a champion people watcher ---of friends and strangers alike. I love to observe humanity in action. With interesting people all around, who needs reality t.v.?

Having just returned from IQASpring Festival, in Chicago, I will share a few recent favorites:

Little Dude, an art critic:

This guy was hard to miss. I found him in a crowd of people watching models from the Bernina Fashion Show. He was clearly displeased and making his opinion known, loud and clear. I'm just sure he was saying (yelling, actually) something like, "That Garment is atrocious. Look at that awful fit! Who would use such garrish colors? Where's the design integrity? Is this really ART?!?" Naaah...the garments were lovely. I bet what he really said was,"Hey, Ma! This is the most boring thing you've ever made me do! How 'bout I leap out of your arms and destroy the contents of your purse?"

I made it my personal mission to amuse him with peek-a-boo and a variety of stupid expressions. He was silent for a whole 20 minutes!---Probably in shock.

Karey Bresenhan (on the left), Queen of All She Surveys:

If you don't already know, Karey is the brains and the muscle behind IQA and several Quilt Festivals, including Houston. She is a jewel, a peach, a sweetheart. She allowed herself to be photographed with me---kind of a 'beauty and the beast' thing, don't ya' think? And what's going on with the back of my hair? It seemed like a good idea at the time....that's all I can say.

So, if Karey's the Queen, then here's the Diva:

Check her out! This is Maggie Winfield, from Colorado (I did get her permission to post these photos). She announced to an entire room of people that she has a high flamboyancy quotient. No kidding! She was just dripping with fiber---from tiara to toes. You Go, Maggie!

Here's a few more views:

That's right. 'Thank Goodness I'm Fabulous'
I hope I get to be her when I grow up!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Hello. Since my extended stay at the Ministry of Traditions, I feel much better. Once they took the rat cage off my head, I realized the importance of perfect miters and 10 stitches to the inch. What did you say, comrad? Fusibles? Stand right there while I make a call.....

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I'm at the show!

Rock On!

Check out the lady behind me (the one looking at me). What's she thinking? Maybe: '!@$#%#@ art quilters. Always showin' off'

Or maybe: 'Wouldja' look at that freak? I bet she's got one a' them body piercings'

Either way, we're likely not from the same clan. I'd talk to her, though. Bet she's got an interesting story of her own. You never know who'll turn up at a quilt show!

I'm having great fun. Wish you were here. There'll be more pics (with stories) tomorrow.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Oh, I've been a baaaaaad little blogger. I've stepped away from the plate and ignored my computer in an attempt to find a reason to clean my sewing room. Alas, the reason has not arrived. The area is still wreckage. I'm ok with that. How 'bout you?

But my taxes are done! Hurray for all girls around the world who got their taxes done!

And so, having struck this compromise---messy room, completed taxes, I am free to hob knob with my Quilting Bretheren in Rosemont, Illinois.

And hob knob I will----in about 7 hours.

Hope you're there, too!

Friday, April 01, 2005

5 Very Good Reasons....

...why I really couldn't get to, just didn't have time to, felt bad but couldn't make room in my busy social calendar to...clean my sewing room. Really. Truly. Haven't had the time. Really.

5 Very Good Reasons Why I was Forced by the Universe to Completely Blow Off Cleaning my Sewing Room and Ignore my Solemn Vow to Finish Taxes. (really...very good reasons....every single one of 'em)

#1: Mother Nature. That's right. After years of living in the Tundra known as Michigan, Spring appeared and blessed me with a day of 60 degree, sunshiny, fresh breezy weather. You didn't think I could possible stay in a dank, musty sewing room allowing my sinuses to gather further reason not to properly function? Did you? Be reasonable.

#2: My Beloved Children. What kind of mother would I be if I said, 'No, Spudman, you must miss that social engagement with Johnny who happens to be a kindred spirit moving to Alabama in 4 weeks so that I can stay home and clean the Evil Black Hole,'? No, no. I'm such a Good Mom that we spent almost all of yesterday hanging out with the kindred spirit whose siblings are also fine playmates for my other two children and whose mother turns out to be fabulous company. What kind of mother would deny such childhood pleasure?

#3: The Herb Garden. Last year, I made another Solemn Vow (holy cow, how many can there be at one time?) to completely overhaul my herb garden. It needed to be raked RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, or perhaps next week, after the sewing room is clean and the taxes are Right Now. And not just relieved of last year's debris, but any gardener worth her salt would double dig it by hand. For those of you that don't know about double's, well, a butt load of work. Thank goodness my stick-to-it-tiveness didn't kick in. The double digging lasted for about 5 feet of garden.

#4: My Church's Web Site. It is terrible need of updating. My whole goal in starting this blog thing anyway was to gain knowledge for embedding a blog in my church's web site. It's high time I stopped messing around blogging about quilting (though there hasn't been much of that lately) and got serious about digging in to the meat of html and directories and bwah, bwah, bwah.... The 'finish the website' Muse is here. NOW. How can I possibly deny her promptings by drudging through the Pit of Despair?

#5: The Trip to Chicago.
I leave in less than a week. Toilets must be cleaned. Laundry must be done. Kids must have arrangements made. Haircuts must be had. The dog needs her shots and a bath. And what am I going to wear? What will my husband eat (spaghetti and cheerios, his classic can switch up the serving times for added variety)? And what traveler in her right mind could leave for such an important trip without communicating with her fellow travelers? One must make phonecalls, send e-mails, write letters (okay, I haven't done that yet) in order to properly prepare.

So, you see, there's just been no time. It would be wonderful if I could find time to get to the sewing room and the taxes, dahling, but there just isn't any! A freshly honed, hot-from-the-autoclave scalpel couldn't carved time out of the bustling existance that is my daily life. I'm just sure of it.