Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mission San Miguel at Christmas

My husband and I visited Mission San Miguel yesterday. It really is a very beautiful spiritual place. Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas or Happy Hanukkah. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On the Design Wall Now

Been very busy finishing up Christmas 'stuff', like making cookies, cookie dough for sugar cookies, wrapping presents, blah, blah, blah.  Yesterday I spent a couple of hours cleaning and sorting in my studio.  It was a huge mess! Found all sorts of buried treasure.  Rediscovered and remembered at least three or four UFOs that I want to continue working on and put away some that I have lost interest in.  Picked out some fabrics to jumpstart my next two quilts, one being in reds, greens, blacks and yellow and the other the same except interchanging the red for the orange.

On the far left is an arashi shibori.  There are three that are marbled fabrics, in yellow, orange and blacks with circular motifs, and the remaining ones are itajime fabrics.

I like having projects in multiple stages, incubation, physically putting pieces together and finishing up, i.e., quilting or embroidering, in this case.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Beautiful Skies and the Best Almond Brittle

We've been having such gorgeous skies in the early morning streaked with yellow, oranges and pinks.

With quarter grades due at the end of the week and Christmas around the corner, didn't get to any quilting this weekend.  Today I made my 6th or 7th batch of Almond brittle to give to relatives, friends and co-workers.  It's a great recipe I got form our former wood-shop teacher at the middle school at which I teach. We haven't had the woodshop program for twenty some years, unfortunately, but I always think of him when I make his recipe.

 In his classroom, he had the following sign on all four walls:  Measure twice, Cut once.  I try to remember that when I'm cutting fabric for projects.  It's a very good rule.  And his recipe is a very good one too.  I have it below exactly as Brian wrote it out for me.

Don't try doubling the recipe.  It sure didn't work for me.

Almond Brittle

1 cube (4oz) butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup raw almonds (I use Trader Joe's)

Dump (yes, that's the word  he used) all ingredients into a heavy fry pan (not cast iron).  Cook stirring constantly with a wooden or heavy metal spoon (Ask me how I know that) Keep stirring until all butter gets stirred back into the candy syrup.  Be careful not to burn.

Below are pictures of some of the stages it goes through:

Butter melts,

then the butter sugar mixture gets thicker and lighter in color. the first time I made it, I didn't think it would ever turn out.

When the mixture starts looking more golden brown and you hear some snapping of the nuts, you are about done.

Pour and spread out the brittle onto a metal pan to cool. In the picture it's looking a little green, but it's really a lovely golden brown.  The lighting in my kitchen made the color look off.

Hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Off Kilter Show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

Yesterday was the opening for my Cutting Edge Fiber Art Group's show of 19 art quilts at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.  I  gave a talk about Women as Artists and Quilts as Art followed by a descriptive walk through of  all the qults in the gallery.

To my left is "Spring" by Joan Bruce and to my right is my quilt, "Helianthus".  We had a wonderfully receptive crowd.  Thank you to all you who were able to attend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Revealing of New Ice Dyed Articles

Well, here's how Sunday's Ice Dyeing turned out. All the dyes are from Dharma with the exception of using a black from Pro-chem along with a Dharma black hoping to get a true  black.  I did get some true black on the orange shirt below but not the white one.  It's always a surprise with ice dyeing!

I used Cerulean, blue Violet and Raspberry for this one.

I used Pomegranite, Cerulean and Deep Orange.

This was a white shirt dyed with emerald, plum blossom and blue violet. I really like this one. 
 I made it intending to give it to a friend, but not so sure now.

This was an orange shirt dyed with green and black.

Believe it or not, this one was ice-dyed using only black and orange. Was quite the surprise.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ice dyeing Again

Last day of a lovely week off. Have been somewhat under the weather with a cold and sore throat, but it's still been very relaxing.

Had some time today to do a little ice dyeing.  Here's my containers out in the sun. I did some folding and banding together of the shirts in the first two pictures, then applied ice and dye.  I left them outside in the sun for about an hour then drained off the excess melted dye and water. Next, I flipped them over like cloth pancakes and covered them with more ice and dye powder. Then I put them outside again. The bottom photo is of a container which has a fat quarter and a silk scarf being dyed ala parfait style.

Stay tuned for the big unveiling Monday or Tuesday.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cutting Edge "Off Kilter" Exhibit

Above, is Helianthus, my entry for our Cutting Edge Exhibit, "Off Kilter"  in San Luis Obispo opening on December 4th. at the San Luis Obispo Art Museum at 1010 Broad Street.  On December 5th, from 2 to 3 pm I will be giving  a 30 minute presentation about art quilts followed by a walk-through of the 19 quilts in our exhibit, explaining artist intent, materials used, etc. The reception will be from 3 to 5 pm.

I've been putting a lot of thought into the power point and presentation for my 'art talk.'  It's difficult enough for any talented artist to make their living from art sales alone, let alone a female artist, and add to that one who is a 'quilt' artist, whatever that might be.  There has been a distinction made between 'fine art' and craft or decorative art since medieval times, with craft art viewed as being inferior to fine art.  Women also have not received a fair shake in the art world, or for that matter, in any other world.  In the 60's and 70's as part of the second wave of feminism, female artists like ceramics artist, Judy Chicago, and Miriam Schapiro began the Feminist Art Program in Valencia California at the California Institute of Arts. Faith Wilding, one of the students created a room-size crocheted 'womb' environment.  She used crocheting, traditionally a woman's art/hobby to create a non-utilitarian art installation. The show drew a lot of attention to fiber art and women's art.

In 1971 there was a major show of  quilts entitled, "Abstract Design in America Quilts,' curated by Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof, for the Whitney Modern Art Museum in New York City.  It was the first time quilts received international recognition as art.  Although there was some  controversy over the quilts they chose for the exhibit, women's fiber art finally received national exposure.

As of 2012, only 13 of 169 artists on display in New York's Museum of Modern Art are female.  Something to think about.  Remember the Virginia Slims commercials of the sixties and early seventies,  stating, "You've  come a long way baby?"  Have we?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New Shibori Quilt Layered and Ready to be Embroidered

I made this stitched shibori piece back in 2009 or 2010 when I was beginning to explore shibori. It took about an hour to carefully remove all the stitching after dyeing it. Finally, last weekend,  I figured out a border that worked for it.  I did some strip pieceing of commercial fabrics that played well with the central piece.  It's pinned and ready for some embroidery.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Strip Piecing

I started cutting some contrasting fabrics, two comercial, two hand dyed,  into strips of different widths, in a very intuitive way with no rulers, and then sewed them together.  Once again, am figuring out where to go from here in a direction of my own.  There's so many random strip pieced quilts, some of which look great, and others not so great. As usual teaching is keeping me too busy this year, and it's hard to find time to work on it, or maybe I'm avoiding trying to figure it out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Beautiful California

My husband and I often talk about how lucky we are to live in beautiful California and love to explore it as often as we can, which turns out to be not as often as we would like.  We finally found a little time to get away to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We took a short trip to Santa Cruz.  I love the Redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park.  Awesome is a word that is totally overused, but these trees truly fit the definition of awesome.

Here's a photo from Natural Bridges State Park near Santa Cruz.

Now back to lesson planning for the week ahead.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Designing New Quilt

Time to take some of my precious hand dyed fabrics and do something with them instead of keeping them in stacks in my overcrowded studio.  But, it's just so hard for me to cut some of these fabrics up.  However it is clearly what needs to be done.  Here's some pictures from my design wall of fabrics I'm considering for a quilt. Five of the fabrics are hand-dyed, the other six are commercial ones.

The fabric in the top right is a stitched shibori piece I made a couple of years ago. 
 That's the one that will be hardest to cup up.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pacific International Quilt Show - Santa Clara (PIQF)

Had a great time at PIQF yesteray. Saw wonderful quilts and artistry as usual.  There were more 'modern' quilts which I enjoyed. I find their construction techniques very interesting and especially like the ones inspired by artists of the modern period.

Here are some of my favorites.

Gazania by Evelyn Wickman.  Closeup  of center below.

Redwood Cathedral by Lyra Bobo

 Geometric Transparency by Cheryl Isbell

Love in the Digital Age by Kristin Shields


Song of the Sea by Kathy McNeil

Closeup of needlework

Brush Fire by Christine Seeger

Griffonage by Susan Hotchkis


From a special exhibit entitled "Wicked" based on the book, sponsored by Cherrywood Fabrics, this is a quilt by Kathy Durochik featuring deconstructed text.  Very interesting, as were many in this exhibit.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Dye-Na-Flow Shibori

Last week I blogged about how I added a layer of stenciling using thickened dye paste  to my hand painted scarf.  Although it added more interest, it was too subtle for me.  It needed a darker value and some spark.  I decided to try a third layer using Dye-Na -Flow paint.  I wrapped the scarf around a PVC pipe (see below)  and painted it with Emerald Green.  It took only an hour or so to dry enough to unwrap. Put it outside and in ten minutes it was completely dry.  Ironed it up and I love it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Printing on Silk Scarves with Thickened Dye

This year for the Guild Auction, I'm donating two silk scarves.  There are pictures of both in my previous blog post. Yesterday, I printed with thickened dye on the hand-painted one, thinking it needed more 'something' to add interest.

While I had the thickened dye, I found another couple pieces of fabric, one cotton and one other silk scarf and printed on them as well. I had not done any thickened dye printing in a very long time. I forgot how easy it is.  I had to make up a new batch of the sodium alginate, but that goes very quick. Since I wanted to print without pre-soaking the fabrics in soda ash, I just added a mix of soda ash/baking soda to the thickened paste and liquid dye concentrate.  There's a four hour life to the paste once soda ash has been mixed into it, so it's use it or lose it.

Here's the results:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Itajime Shibori and Painting on Silk Scarves with Dyes

Yesterday I dyed two silk scarves.  On one I used Itajime techniques.  Below is the picture of it clamped before applying the dyes.

Here is the other scarf that I painted.

Here they are after washing.

Really like this one!

 I might do another layer on this one.  It has lovely fall colors but might need more.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Arte de Tiza

Yesterday, 21 of my students showed up at the Paso Robles city park to create art
 for the annual Arte de Tiza.  Here's some of the best ones.

 This is Liz's who ended up winning 1st place for the middle school division.

 I'm leaving this one upside-down, because it looks better that way for
 some reason due to the angle of the photo.  It's done by a former student of mine.

 This one was by a group from the Paso Robles Arts Foundation.