Thursday, July 28, 2016

Adventures in the Bluegrass

My annual trip back to Lexington, Kentucky always leaves me completely spent, but as always, a good time was had.  The main purpose for the trip is BreyerFest, the convention for collectors of model horses.  Since I lived in Lexington for five years, there are places that I got to know that I must revisit.   

This year, I planned to spend half a day in the beautiful Lexington Cemetery.  I have been playing with making rubbings of interesting gravestone carvings with crayon on fabric.  On previous visits to the Lexington Cemetery, I discovered several graves that had long, profound poems carved into them.  Way back, I made some rubbings on paper of them that I now cannot find.  I want now to make some art quilts incorporating those poems.  Of course, I never wrote down the sections where those graves were located.
Even at 9 AM, it was awfully hot and humid.  I wandered through a couple a sections, and made a few uninspired rubbings.  One was a nice Celtic knot pattern:

I drove to another part of the cemetery, wandered a bit more, still not finding what I wanted.  By accident, I found the resting place of the notorious General John Hunt Morgan.  I have a tenuous connection to the Confederate general – I’m fairly certain that Morgan passed by the property I now live on during his brazen Ohio raid.  At this point, I realized that I would have to come back in cooler weather for the sole purpose of finding the graves I wanted.  I had thought that I would have a nice start to a new art quilt featuring gravestone rubbings, but not yet.   

Then it was on to another favorite Lexington spot, The Stitch Niche.  This is a nice yarn and cross stitch shop, but I do not knit, crochet, or cross stitch.  As I’ve indicated in other posts, I use all sorts of funky yarns as embellishments, and there are a variety of fancy threads marketed for cross stitch that are also great for hand sewn embroidery (think crazy quilts, Carol Ann Waugh’s Stupendous Stitches, etc.).  I have really gotten to love the varied lines put out by Rainbow Gallery, and the Stitch Niche has a small selection.  I think I bought at least one of each of the different lines that they had:


It is raining now, much needed.  Since I cannot attend to the garden, I will be trying out my new fancy threads.  I need to start a crazy quilt sample for the upcoming shows.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Break

I'm taking a bit of a break from the textile art this week for an event that has to do with a nearly lifelong hobby of mine.  So, if you are waiting for something creative from me, you will have to wait until next week, sorry!  However, I will be starting a new project this weekend... in a cemetery.  Yes, it is a textile art project.  Please check back next week for the details.  I'm also negotiating a new vending date for late September, more to follow in the next couple of weeks.

If you are joining this blog after meeting me at the Zanesville quilt show, welcome, and thank you for your purchase.  Please explore my older posts until I get back to my normal posing schedule next week.
Check out that hand dyed fabric underneath the Breyer model horses!  It is one of my dyed vintage damask tablecloths.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Collecting - Creativity Conundrum

I am a collector of many things.  I've often wondered about a possible connection between the collecting mentality and creativity in people.  Is collecting linked to being more creative?  How many producing artists are collectors of... anything?  One could get a headache pondering this, but I'd love to investigate it someday. 

Off the top of my head, there are some art history heavyweights that were collectors: Joseph Cornell, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Rauschenberg had to have some quantity of cast off stuff for materials for their artwork.  In the case of Oldenburg, the objects were not used in his artwork, but were the inspiration for his large scale sculptures of everyday objects.  In Claes Oldenburg, An Anthology (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1995), there are a couple photos of shelves in his studio, piled with all sorts of odd items.  I sometimes wonder how these artists acquired their collections.  Did they go to junk auctions like the ones I frequent?  Were they dumpster divers?  Did they claim whatever things people that they knew were discarding? 

What do you collect, either consciously or unconsciously?  Some collections grow without the collector realizing he or she is collecting.  One of the easiest and cheapest (make that free) collections would be the gathering of quotations.  I have a small sketchbook just for the purpose of recording quotes that I like.  Since I have much to do before the quilt show this weekend,  I will leave you with this until next time:

"Art is not to be awaited; it is to be chased down, cornered, and beaten into submission with a stick."
--Michael Perry, Population 485

Now, go make something!  Or start or add to a collection...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Art on the Hill Wrap-up

I survived my first outdoor art fair as a vendor!  It was a beautiful summer day, not overly hot, and no rain despite some ominous dark clouds that passed overhead from time to time.  Here is my first attempt at setting up an art fair booth:

Thank goodness I have very supportive parents who not only helped me tote the stuff there and back, but also did much with the layout and set-up of everything.

Mantua, Ohio is a quaint old town, and by old I mean that most of the town is 100+ year old buildings - something I like to see. 

The art fair was a fundraiser for the ongoing revitalization of the town, so I was happy to help support the effort.  I do wish that the fair attendees had been a bit more supportive of the artists.  I had higher hopes, but I made a few sales, and talked to some really neat people throughout the day.  Thank you to those of you who bought my work.  However, it definitely was a community event that did not attract many people from out of the immediate area with money to spend.  I'm still glad I got out, gained some experience with outdoor art fairs, and visited somewhere I had never been before.

I have never seen square slates like this on the side of a building!  (This is at the back of the grain building in the above picture.)  It reminds me of a huge quilt... yet another idea is brewing in my brain!

I have a quilt show this weekend too:
July 16-17 (9-5 Saturday, 11-4 Sunday) Pieceable Quilters Guild, Zanesville, OH; Muskingum County Fairgrounds Veterans Complex, Brighton Blvd & Pershing Rd.  Admission $5

Please come out if you are nearby and buy my fabric!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Product and Process: What it Takes to Create

I have my first outdoor art fair this Saturday, so I though that this would be a good time to discuss my fabric boxes a bit more.  I tend to work on the boxes in an assembly-line fashion, so I have had very little notion of the time it takes to make one box, start to finish.  A couple of weeks ago, I set aside a day to find out this mystery of time.

Earlier in the spring, I managed to find myself the new owner of these worn out vintage garments:

This pile of rags became the starting point for my time trial box.  I cut and pieced a 6" crazy quilt square from the clothes, using Creative Grids templates.  Next, I fused a lightweight stabilizer to the back, and embellished the crazy quilt square.  This square became the top of the box lid.

Next, I cut the garments into chunks of sew-able fabric, and pieced them using Pat Pauly's improvisational piecing method. 

Once I had a large enough section from all of the bits, I could then cut the sides of the box.  I use Timtex or Fast to Fuse as the foundation for my box pieces, and I fuse fabric to both sides. 

Once all the box pieces were measured many times and (hopefully) cut once, it was time to start zigzag stitching them together.  Then, I zigzagged around all the edges.  Finally, the last step was pulling up the sides and joining them by hand, whip stitching with sturdy perle cotton thread.
All images copyright RPS, please do not post elsewhere

From start to finish, this box took five and a half hours to make. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Abstract Expressionist Fabric Dyeing

The murky mess of just-dyed fabric that I mentioned in my post from June 29 turned into this:

Images copyright RPS, please do not post elsewhere 

Two vintage damask tablecloths that I dyed in a technique that is influenced by the Abstract Expressionist paintings of Morris Louis.  (More information on Louis here.) I came up with this technique as a way to use up all of the dye at left over at the end of a session. 
I take two or three prepped tablecloths and spread them out in the driveway, stacking them to absorb all the dye.  Then I pull up an edge of the layered tablecloths, and pour one color down the ridge of the fold.  I move over a few inches, pull up another fold, pour another color, and repeat until all the colors are poured out.   

I don’t use my dyed tablecloths as table covers.  I cut them up for art quilts, and they are great for making garments as well.  I occasionally cut one into fat quarters to sell, but mostly I sell them as whole pieces for others to use creatively.