Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Collage with Vintage Textiles

I'll be giving a short demo each day of the upcoming Lebanon, Ohio quilt show on creating a unique fabric collage with vintage fabric and fancy pieces.

This is a finished collage, a very simple composition made from a fancy hankie, a hand dyed damask napkin, vintage ties and some pieces of my "scrap-lace" fabric technique.
Image and design copyright RPS

Over the next couple of weeks,  I will be working on a few more collages to showcase the items I sell at the quilt shows.  I'll post the progress here as they come together leading up to the show on the first weekend of March.  Here's the start I have on the two I will concentrating on:
Image and design copyright RPS
Image and design copyright RPS

Check back Thursday to see my next steps on these.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Quilt Show Announcement

I will be a vendor at the Lebanon (Ohio) Quilt and Fabric Arts Show, March 2-3, 10-5 each day.  Admission is $7, the event benefits the Warren County Historical Society.  It will be held at the Warren County Fairgrounds, 665 North Broadway, Lebanon, OH.  I will have my usual assortment of hand dyed fabrics, embellishing fibers, dyed vintage doilies, damask linens, fancy work and lots and lots of fancy hankies.  I will be giving a demonstration each day on how to use vintage pieces in fabric collage:
Image and design copyright RPS

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Slow Progress

I have been making slow progress in keeping up my New Year's resolution to make more stuff.  One of my goals for some time has been to make various sizes of my fabric boxes.  A couple of years ago I made many 2 inch cube boxes and a few large ones in the range of 4X6X4" and 3X5X3."  Finally over the past week, I cut sides for 3 inch cubes and 2X3X2 boxes.  I have a lot of fun embellishing the box sides in a variety of surface design techniques.  When I start a run of new box sizes, I first make a bunch in a blend of neutrals - black, white, grays and tans.  Here are the sides for the new sizes, embellished and sorted, ready to start zigzagging together.

I've discussed in an early post about how my fascination with boxes came in part from John Steinbeck's dedication to his East of Eden.  Another source of inspiration for my boxes comes from abandoned buildings.  Yes, run down, crumbling old buildings.

My boxes are made up of fabric scraps from other projects, capturing the patched together look of some dilapidated houses.  As I stitch the sides of my smaller boxes together, the action of pinching the sides together causes the box to undergo some shifting and warping.  This is a good thing, it gives the box more character and adds to the visual interest of the piece.  Even the house that I live in, built in 1994, has parts that have swayed and shifted.  This is what I want to capture in my little boxes - the natural, slow process of physical aging of an inanimate structure.  Of course, all of us get bumps, sags and wrinkles as we age, so the inevitable wear that these boxes show over time simply reflects us as well.
Image and designs copyright RPS

My little fabric boxes are mostly decorative, but they could of course be used to hold, as Steinbeck put it, "whatever you have."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Mid-winter Evening's Rambling

After getting snowed out two weeks ago, I finally had my local artists and crafters gathering at the library where I work.  The event was a success, and I think that most everyone who participated is open to getting together in the future.  There are a lot of creative individuals in this rural area, and they are makers in a variety of media.  March is National Craft Month, so we will definitely plan something for that. 

In keeping with my obsession with making beautiful and useful things, I am reading the recently published Craeft, by Alexander Langlands (W.W. Norton, 2017).  I'm glad to know that the maker movement is worldwide, the book is from a British author.  In my region of the States, the Foxfire collection documenting Appalachian craft and stories is still sought after.  It appears that it doesn't take too much effort to garner interest in creative pursuits, the tough part is carrying the interest through to actually learning how to do something and keeping at the learning, building the skill level. 
Started last January, cast aside

The persistence needed in learning a skill is not easy.  As I type this, I am surrounded by piles of half-finished art quilts, all started as projects to showcase a new technique.  I had a discussion earlier today about finishing these abandoned projects.  I vaguely remember resolving in January of 2017 to get most of my UFOs (unfinished objects) done by the end of the year.  One year later, I am still contemplating the same UFOs, in the same state of being incomplete.  One solution that came up in the discussion was if another year goes by and the projects still are not finished, it is time to pitch them.  If I keep ignoring them, I'm not interested in them anymore, it is time to move on.
Two small pieces, in the embellishing stage, but I keep setting them aside.
Time to pitch them?  I'm not happy with these two.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Word of the Day

The word of the day is bedight.  According to my trusty Webster's Dictionary, bedight (archaic) is a verb meaning to deck out; array.  Also, bedighted, bedighting.  The discovery of this obscure word came about from an enlightening conversation with my mother about a heavily embellished quilt that she is working on.  Of course, I have been known on occasion to open my dictionary at random and start browsing.  There is always some discovery to be made.  I feel the same way about libraries, museums, and traveling.  What will I discover next?  What have YOU discovered lately?
Image and design copyright RPS

I'm off now to bedight some artist trading cards...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lessons from my Food

I recently purchased a new kitchen board for making my own bread.  The board was something I had custom made by a local wood crafter, duplicating a cheaply made one that came with a cheap kitchen cart years ago.  I liked the design of the original one, so it was worthwhile to me to have one made with better wood and finishing.  I cannot help but wonder why objects that are well designed still get made with subpar materials.  I am a firm believer in "you get what you pay for."

My intent in making my own bread is part of a continuing project to eat better.  Not only does the quality of the flour, yeast, butter, etc. affect the final product, I feel that the tools used make a difference too.  I know that I am more willing to devote the time in the kitchen when I have well designed, quality, beautiful utensils to work with.  The same goes for my textile art.  My sewing machines would get packed with lint from cheap thread, causing damage to parts that are difficult to replace.  The quality of the fabric that I use will not get hidden in the final product.

Whether it is making bread, making a craft or learning the skills for these pursuits, we need to remember to take the time for them.  Our society is tuned too much towards instant gratification.  As frustrating as it may be, most things in our lives just don't work that way.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Snow Day Snow Dye

This time I have a good excuse for missing Tuesday's post here.  Over the past weekend, we had enough snow here to snow dye, and my workplace was closed Monday, so I was busy filling buckets with fabric, snow and dye power.  On Tuesday, I was washing out that fabric:

The colors are brighter in real life.  I had a few pieces that didn't take any dye, I have found that is it not a good idea to put too much into one bucket.  I've snow dyed a variety of fabrics, and the best by far for the techniques is silk and linen.  There is still a lot of winter left, I think I'm going to have to splurge on some silk noil and dupioni, I am low on fabric to dye right now!