September 27, 2010

issues and goals

I have been so busy lately. I'm sure you don't want to hear about it because everyone is busy, right? But I feel like the three week chunk of time I am inhabiting is unbearably busy. Luckily, Simon bought groceries yesterday and made a big fall dinner of roasted pork with rosemary, butternut squash, apples, and cabbage. I can't think about food when I am this stressed out. I'm to the point of stress where I just want to shut it all out, put on my winter pajamas, make some hot tea, and read my Sookie Stackhouse books.

So I'm just going to whine for a minute. Everyone is invited to my pity party. I'm taking this class called Artist Inc where artists learn how to be grown ups about everything from marketing, to paying taxes, to talking and writing about our work, etc. It's good for me. I'm grateful to be in it. The bad thing is that last week we had to make one manageable short term goal and we had to tell the people in our small groups what the short term goal was. Mine was to finish the quilt I've been working on since before school started. There's not much left - just iron the top, make the sandwich, quilt it, trim it, and sew on the binding (I guess that's kind of a lot). So I made a plan where I broke it down into manageable chunks and I really thought I would get it done. It felt so good to have a plan and a goal and people holding me accountable. I haven't touched the quilt all week. Fail.

One of the reasons is that I spent all weekend getting ready for my workshop in Columbia next weekend, preparing two slide shows for class this week, doing my other Artist, Inc homework, AND getting things ready for Apartment Therapy Design Showcase final round. Poor me, right?

So I don't have any pretty picutres to share. I don't have any progress to report. I don't have any inspiration photos. Blerg. You can see a video of me over at AT talking about my skyscape quilts.

September 18, 2010

we grew figs

That's right. Figs. In Kansas. It's very exciting. So far we have harvested 6 figs. Our tree is only one year old. Next year there will be many more figs.

I also decided I should show the fabric from yesterday even though its pretty mediocre. My biggest issue is that most of the dye washed out. I get so frustrated with myself because I know better. I know how to dye things and print with thickened dye. I know how much dye and how much soda ash to add and I know how long the dye will work once everything is added. Yet, I ignore all of those facts far too frequently. I suppose I'm a big fan of shooting myself in the foot. Is there a facebook page for that? Others who like "shooting yourself in the foot" also like "paddling upstream" and "digging your own grave".

fabric one, on the print table (pre wash-out)...

and post wash-out. 

fabric two on the print table...
and post wash-out.

Right. So they both just need a few more layers of printing and then maybe some embroidery. Blerg. The figs are pretty exciting though, right?

mama thinks so, too.

September 17, 2010

not myself today

All of the Apartment Therapy* excitement sort of wore me out. I had a very mediocre studio day today. This going to the studio only once a week business has got to stop. All of my creativity builds up all week and my head is full of ideas and then I get to the studio and panic.

Today I left my dye notebook at home and was too lazy to walk/drive the 4 blocks and get it. So my plans to make another paint chip quilt fell by the wayside. Instead I decided to practice some alternative screen printing processes for the workshop I'm teaching in a couple weeks. It was just...bleh. I didn't make anything mind-blowing. I did print about 5 yards of fabric that need a few more layers before they are something. I also dyed some backing fabric and binding fabric for a new skyscape quilt that is twin sized.

While I was working and feeling not too excited I heard a song that made me feel better. Here are the lyrics:
 Acony Bell by Gillian Welch:

The fairest bloom the mountain knows
Is not an iris or a wild rose
But the little flower of which I'll tell
Known as the brave acony bell

Just a simple flower so small and plain
With a pearly hue and a little known name
But the yellow birds sing when they see it bloom
For they know that spring is coming soon

Well it makes its home mid the rocks and the rills
Where the snows lie deep on the windy hills
And it tells the world Why should I wait
This ice and snow is gonna melt away.

And so I'll sing that yellow bird's song
For the troubled times will soon be gone.

*If you haven't voted for me yet, it's not too late! Go there now and vote. There are some other really great designs, too. I love Snuggles and the Cat Hammock. Support independent designers!

September 16, 2010

I'm on Apartment Therapy!!!

Oh my goodness, I almost choked on my toothpaste this morning when I read the email from AT that my submission for the Design Showcase was going to be posted! Just last night as I was falling asleep I thought: "It's okay if they don't choose me. There are a lot of good designers in the world and I'm just starting out. It made me get a little more organized and put myself out there and no bad will come of it."

Seriously, ya'll. Being on Apartment Therapy is exciting all by itself. I read that blog almost every day. But to be chosen to be in the Design Showcase is a huge honor. If you don't know what I'm talking about go check it out right now. And while you're there, vote for me! You have to register, but it's fast and free and then you can give me three stars...or, you know, however many you think I deserve.

And now, a juicy picture treat.
This is wax block printed fabric from the South American / African Grocery at River Market in KCMO. My new friend Lauren from Aunt June told us all about it at quilt guild and then I went out and bought some. Don't you want to lick it? I do. 

September 13, 2010

log cabin (on a lake) love

This summer I got to spend 3 1/2 glorious days at a charming little cabin on a lake in Minnesota. It was so quiet there and calm. At night it was so dark that it seemed like I could reach out and grab the stars. The lake was so clear that I could look down and see the fish looking back up at me. It was just the best.

So. Then I came back and started teaching. Not that I'm not totally thrilled to be teaching - I am. I love my job and my students and can't believe this is my life. But sometimes I close my eyes and try to smell the sunshine on the water and feel the quiet breeze.

When I'm old I want to retire to that cabin and make quilts entirely by hand. Here are three variations on the log cabin block that I just made out of scrap shibori fabric to spread the cabin on a lake love.

September 11, 2010

I did it!

After much encouragement from all of you, I finally submitted my work for the Design Showcase! There seemed to be the most interest in choice #4 from the last post. So I cheated a little and submitted #3 and #4 as one design. I guess that's not really cheating because they are the same idea, just different colors. Right? I'll let you all know if they choose me so you can go vote for my quilts.

I also decided that this would be a good opportunity to set up my new etsy shop. If you look over there to the right, you'll see a little preview of it. You can also see it at Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. I plan on adding more quilts and more custom options, but it will take me a little time.

September 10, 2010

I need some help!

Hey all you blog readers out there! I need some advice. So far I have four quilts in my collection that I am very happy with (4 out of 8 isn't bad...) but could definitely use some feedback. Tell me which quilt or quilts you like best and why. Leave a comment. Don't be shy.

I'm trying to work up the courage to submit my work for Apartment Therapy's Design Showcase. I feel a little strange thinking of myself as a designer and stranger still considering entering something like this but it feels like the right thing to do (even if it is the scariest scary thing ever).The deadline is coming up really soon so please please give me feedback. I need to choose one of these to submit:

1. Paint Chip Quilt in Blue: 25 hand-dyed blocks gradating from bright blue to black, dark to light.  100% cotton, pieced and then quilted in radiating X formations.

2. Paint Chip Quilt in Orange: 25 hand-dyed blocks gradating from light yellow to dark red with all oranges in between. 100% cotton, pieced and then quilted in straight horizontal lines.
 3. Skyscape Quilt in Yellow and Purple. 23 hand-dyed strips gradating from dark purple to light yellow, then dark green to light green. 100% cotton, pieced, then quilted in horizontal straight lines.
4. Skyscape Quilt in Rust and Blue. 21 hand-dyed strips gradating from dark blue to light blue with rose in between and then from light blue to dark rust. 100% cotton, pieced, then quilted in horizontal straight lines.
Ok. Those are the quilts. Please let me know what you think and which one I should choose!!

September 8, 2010

Good News Bears

Yesterday I received some very exciting news. This summer I applied for a grant from the Kansas Art Commission that would fund my studio space and supplies to develop and make a whole line of bed quilts. And they chose me! They cho-cho-chose me! This news is so big and so exciting that I'm sort of in denial. I've only told my mom and Simon so far.  I also scooped up Owen cat and made her dance with me until she put her claws out and yelled (that took about 5 seconds).
That's Owen with Simon. Owen is a girl and she has a fat belly. 
She is also called Owey, O-face, Thriller, Fatty-Bear, Bun Head, and Bobbin.

As most of you know, I've already started developing the line of quilts. The sky/landscape quilts and the color block quilts are part of the series. But with this funding I can go crazy and make as many prototypes as I need and explore as many different colorways as I can think of. Now there really are no excuses...well, other than being busy with teaching.

Yay Yay Yay Yay! And now some pretty pictures of surface design samples:

stamps and low water immersion

direct application and shibori

direct application and crackle