Saturday, December 19, 2009

Life Totem

Here is my latest art quilt, Life Totem (23" X 71"). It all began in a fit exasperation, tired of the endless practical duties which had taken over my life. I needed to make a quilt! So I began by making flower and bug "parts" and rummaging through my file of orphaned shapes from old projects.

The totem idea has been brewing since the Garden of Shadows quilt, so it was a natural way to organize the composition. The colors came automatically and the fabrics shapes are all hand dyed cotton. The background is white brocade, which creates a white on white pattern as a contrast to the solid colored applique.

As I moved the shapes the characters began to take form. I enjoy imposing extreme discipline on unruly objects, as you may have noticed. I think this is also one of the reasons I like to design fabric, which is my first challenge for the new year.

Enjoy your blessings and take it easy this week, my friends. Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa's Workshop

I have just returned from an inspiring week in the Greenville Arms and the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshop in Greenville, New York. They had a snow storm the day before I arrived, so it was a beautiful scene that greeted me. On top of that, I arrived just in time for one of Chef Mark LaPolla's delightful dinners. The next five days were spent in their studio, with a grand group of adventurous students. Good food, great company and comfortable, cozy surroundings made this week a real treat!

So I came home filled with inspiration, but now I have to rekindle the Christmas spirit and get in gear for the weeks to come. We have snow at home, too, so that helps to get in the holiday mood. I am determined to keep things simple this year and stick with the handmade pledge, so to the studio I go.

Santa's helpers, "Weaving the Web", have been here producing pillowcases to vend on their new Etsy site. They have come up with an impressive variety of new color combinations using fabrics from the Sassaman archives. Their taste is fun and modern and I enjoy seeing their vision take shape. So thanks to these busy elves, you can still give unique handmade gifts, even if you don't have time to make them yourself.

The kids resourcefulness has encouraged me to get into the act, too. Above you see pillowcases made in two colorways of the new Sunshine and Shadow fabric for FreeSpirit. The designs and colors this season are very romantic and a bit decadent and lend themselves to many home decorating projects.

The Periwinkle color group, above, is the most mysterious. It makes me think of a Victorian sitting room where Sherlock Holmes would be lounging in a velvet smoking jacket and cap.

There is nothing so subtle about this graphic set of cases! But I love them for their electricity and energy. You could change the middle accent stripe to almost any, pink, green and the results would be just as dramatic.

The final pair is made from last season's Prairie Gothic. The checks make these combinations especially refreshing. The bugs would be perfect when the grandsons sleep-over and the coneflowers would be nice for anyone, in fact, I have a set of these on my own bed this week.

The time is whizzing by and there is still lots to do. But it is a joy to be home in our winter wonderland and fondling fabric in the studio again!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More Merry "Making"!

I am hoping that you all survived Thanksgiving and are in the mood for some more holiday merry making. So here is another little idea to add to your crafty gift list. Pot holders are a great excuse to bust into your fabric stash and satisfy your fabric fondling needs on a cold winter's day.

My kitchen is tomato red and flows into an orange and yellow living room, so the fabric was chosen to match the color scheme. I began by making little 8" quilts by sandwiching the top fabric with batting and an ugly back fabric. Then I quilted through the layers with topstitching thread.

Next I covered the ugly back with an 8" square of red terry cloth cut from a cheap fluffy towel.
The binding is machine stitched, remembering that these are meant for use and will get dirty.
So no agonizing over perfection! This would be a perfect use for novelty fabrics, too.

I also want to share our new "Spider" chairs with you. This is one of a pair of walnut
mid-century modern chairs that we had refinished and reupholstered in the Teasel and Lace fabric from last seasons Prairie Gothic line for FreeSpirit. It is really a treat to have such
elegant pieces of furniture wearing my own fabric!

This chair has found a home in front of our red book case. Love the contrast! The extra pillow is for cat protection. As you can see, Pumpkin has already claimed this seat as her own.
Smart cat!!