Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring Cleaning, Spring Projects

It is vegetable garden season again, so for the next few weeks, I am going to go with one post a week here.  One thing is for certain, I am never bored!  In the midst of planting, I started some new sizes for my mini boxes, and I am once again working in color.  Here is a view of a whole pile of sides to be embellished:

I have also been doing some spring cleaning, and I came across two zip bags full of 2" puffballs that I made a few years ago, with little idea of the final result.

The pastel ones are decorated with my early efforts in hand stitching.  About two years ago, I took some of the pastel puffballs lined them up in a shallow, open fabric box.  They looked like a surreal box of chocolate candies, a tribute to my days as a candy maker.  I'd like to create some other oddball fabric sculptures with these crazy puffballs.  To start, I think I will try putting a few in my mini boxes.  I need to decide if I should stitch them in the boxes, or just set them in there, to be removed and replaced.  I have no functional use in mind for the puffball stuffed boxes, just something fun to have around.  Well, they do have a purpose, to make their owner smile.  We all need things in our lives who sole purpose is to make us smile.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Learning New Things

For some reason, I've decided that I don't have enough to do (not the case in reality), so I am taking a six week long calligraphy class.  I had the first session last week, and here is what I did in class:

Learning any new skill starts with the basics, and there is no getting around it.  It takes time to master anything.  As I have discussed here before, I have encountered many people who apparently want to master a skill instantly, so they don't bother trying anything new.  It just doesn't work that way.  The best things in life aren't downloaded.  Which reminds me, I have some lovely stitching going on a collage, I am off to continue these fly stitch vines and keep working on my stitching skills.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


It is finished:

Images and design copyright RPS

One of my many goals for this year is to finish more art work for competition, selling and project samples.  So, now that I have finished this box. I'm on to the next one!  I also want to finish a couple of 2-D collages that I started earlier this year, not to mention all the unfinished projects and series from the past few years... I'd better get busy!  Next week I will profile one of these older projects.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Entry Deadline Looming...

I have made good progress with embellishing the sides of the box I posted about last week:

Images and design copyright RPS

These pictures are from Sunday, I have added more embellishing.  To
morrow I must zigzag stitch the sides together.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Waiting until the Last Minute

A very short post, as I am attempting to make something to submit to a statewide all-media art exhibit.

I have to have all of these pieces embellished by Tuesday, so check back then to see how far I get.  This is in addition to vending at the Fredericktown Quilter's Market on Saturday!  I'd better get stitching....

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Give Up or Keep Going?

I had a set of four small (8 x 10") art quilts resurface in my mass of unfinished projects.  I started them over a year ago in an attempt to have some small impulse-buy type pieces to sell at art fairs.  They were cast aside as I wasn't happy with the way that I had assembled them. 
Image and designs copyright RPS

I had pillowcase bound these two after doing some, but not all of the intended embellishing.  I keep running into problems with embellishing before quilting through all three layers.  I don't always like putting a heavy quilting design on my work, as I want the fabric itself to be the focus.  I will quilt some pieces of fabric in these collages, and I'll add hand stitching in others, but I want some pieces of fabric left unadorned.  I'll sew along the seams to quilt, but here I've put thick trims in many places where I didn't want to quilt inside the fabric pieces.  It won't be a good idea to sew over the trims again in the quilting process.

Image and designs copyright RPS

The piece on the left in the above image has some hand stitching on it, and then I pillowcase bound it.  I should have added some trims along the seams before binding, so that the trims along the outer edged would have been neatly tucked in the binding seams.  The one on the right is just a pieced top with no quilting or embellishing yet.  I still have a chance to get it right on that one.

I am stuck on these small pieces, should I pitch the ones that I have embellished but could have assembled better?  How much time should I give to fixing them before giving up?  Finally, I 'm still uncertain as to how to combine all the different techniques that I want to use in a sequence that results in good craftsmanship.  I am going to think about this for another week, then I must decide to fix them or move on.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dye Garden Dreams

I'm in a garden planning mode this week, after my hollyhock dye adventures from the weekend.  I usually plan and plant more than I can reasonably handle, not just in gardening, but in other aspects of my life.  So many dreams, so little time!  The weeds start getting ahead of me halfway through the season, and end up hiding ripe vegetables from my sight.
With these grandiose gardens in my head, here's five things I want to plant and use for dyeing:
1. Dyer's Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) (pictured above)
2. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
3. Dahlia (Dahlia sp.)
4. Woad (Isatis tinctoria)
5. Japanese Indigo (Persicaria tinctoria/Polygonum tinctorium)

I have had Coreopsis and Woad in my garden, and I let them go to seed to have more plants in the next year for dyeing.  Sadly, I got wrapped up in other things and forgot to watch for the seeds.  I hope they sprout on their own this year, and that I don't pull the seedlings, thinking they are weeds.