Sunday, April 28, 2013

Remembering Frances Bailey

This week's post is dedicated to Frances Bailey, who was an incredibly innovative quilter and mentor to me and many others who live in California's central coast area. Over the years she taught many classes in a variety of techniques.  She also took many classes and workshops from others so she could continually add to her repertoire.  She passed away this week at the age of 95.  I'm posting pictures of a few of her many quilts.

 For the past sixteen years, I have had the pleasure and good fortune of going over to Frances' house to meet with  her and four other great women who form our circle.  We shared, not just our quilting techniques and projects, but our lives, with their ups and  downs.  We all laughed together and shared tears together.  We have attended weddings, funerals, and rejoiced at births of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

We will miss you and your inspiration Frances, but will remember you every time we add a little bit of yellow to our quilts, as you often reminded us to do.

Frances made this quilt inspired by one of Jean Well's books on innovative piecing techniques. Frances had such a wonderful sense of using space, shape and form to create great compositions.  She would often say that she was not an artist.  You can see how wrong she was about that! 

She made this piece following a workshop she took from Carol Taylor at 
Pacific International Quilt Festival.

This beautiful quilt was started in a Ruth McDowell workshop at Asilomar.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Upcoming New Solo Show

I will be having a solo show of my art quilts in the Paso Robles City Hall for the last week of April and all of May.  Here are a few quilts that will be in the show.

Orange and Blue Landscape
24” x 21”
The left side symbolizes nature with its organic leaf shapes in contrast to the more industrial, polluting, skyscrapers of the cities. A small river of bright blue Dupioni silk runs through the top symbolizing our decreasing precious water supply.

Into the Redwoods
21 ¼” x 18"

This quilt was inspired by a photo I took going into the Redwoods in Santa Cruz.  It was started in a great class I took from Susan Brandeiss, who creates beautiful fiber art,  I digitally printed it onto silk, after enhancing it in photoshop.  There is a leaf digitally printed on the green organza.  I then added embroidery and beads.  I like using the  combination of the digital  photography, which is high tech with the low tech of hand stitching, which has been around forever.

What’s Black and White and Red All Over?
19” x 31”

This quilt was inspired by photos and views of the many fields and vineyards in the central coast area of California

Hand dyed fabric using potato dextrin resist, commercial fabrics, ribbon, buttons, beads, and foil.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Dyeing and Broken School Kiln

I am a full time middle school art teacher.  I'm sure I mentioned that before. Well, I found out on Monday from the school district electrician that my kiln  would cost $700 to fix and due to it's age and condition, it was not worth it.  A new one, of the size and quality needed for the amount of projects that are fired yearly, would cost about $2800 to buy and install. Over the last fifteen years, 2700 children have learned how to think and create in a three dimensional way, making 4500 unique clay projects through the Flamson visual arts program.  The students love to work in clay.  It is such a responsive, forgiving media in which to create a variety of things, as you can see below.

This is a ceramic personality box made by an 8th grader showing aspects of her personality.

These ethnic ceramic masks were made by 7th graders.

Four classes were finished making their pinch and coiled pots and two others were in the middle of making their gothic gargoyles and mythic creatures. They were in the drying cage awaiting their first firing, known as the bisque firing.  When they are in this state, they are extremely fragile.
Fortunately, my wonderful colleagues at the high school and other middle school, have pitched in to help me with getting them fired.  Unfortunately, I had to box up 120 fragile projects and cart them around to the schools.  Today, I have to unload and reload the kiln at Lewis.  Tomorrow, I;m hoping to get the projects black that were fired at the high school, and then on Tuesday, go back to get the balance of them at Lewis.

Then students will glaze these, and I'll need to ask my great colleagues to re-fire all of them and pack them up and drive them around town.  I'm hoping not to break any projects in the process.

Our district is broke, our state has not been funding education as it should be for many years and there isn't any money for a new kiln, so I'm now trying to figure out some fundraising.  So it's been a very busy week, without much time for my own art.

I did manage to have fun dyeing the piece below by scrunching it up and wrapping it in some netting, like the type found around bags of onions.  Then I applied the dye, using a syringe.  I like how some of the white remains in this piece, giving it some great contrast and sparkle.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

More Parfait Style Ice Dyeing

I admit it!  I'm addicted to ice dyeing.  It's easy, fun and you get such amazing, serendipitous results.  Here are some that I did during my spring break. The parfait dyeing is great because stacking one fabric on top of another, scrunching them up, the fabric gets some dye from the piece below and of course the dyes that are sprinkled directly on top of it, plus some that will sift down from ones that will be stacked on top.  I don't always remember where each fabric was stacked, even though I am trying to take better notes while dyeing.

The one below received some Peacock Blue, Pomegranate and Robin's Egg.  These names refer to procion dyes obtainable from Dharma Trading Company,, where I get most of my fabrics and dyes.

The fabric below was a new one for me.  It is called Radiance and one side of the fabric is silk and the other cotton.  It really took the dye well, as you can see.  Below is the silk side, which as beautiful shimmer to it. Couldn't resist checking it out.

Below is the cotton side in which the colors are more intense.

If you like these fabrics and want to get together a group of people and have an ice dyeing party at your house and you live in the Paso Robles area, contact me and we can set something up.  It takes about three hours, including set up and clean up to create a couple gallon jugs of fabrics.  I use fat quarters and sometimes half yards.  I've also done t-shirts and scarves.