Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Backsides (of quilts!)

I finally started quilting the purple collage that has been featured here periodically.  It was good to sit down at my little Elna "Grasshopper" again, but the long hiatus in sewing has resulted in a regression of my already meager free-motion quilting skills.  I'm not concerned about my skills on this one, as so far I am only outlining the major pieces of fabric.  The quilting isn't readily apparent, something that I like.  There are quilters out there who make some amazing designs with thread, but for my style of art quilting,that doesn't work.  I want my quilting to be structural, and not a feature of the overall design.

I'm not a fan of scrutinizing the backside of art quilts.  I understand the importance of having even stitches with balanced top and bottom thread tension, and the concept of good craftsmanship throughout a piece, but in art quilting, the maker often has different qualities that she wants to emphasize.  All the interest in my art quilts is on the front, the back is my place to anchor everything.  There is nothing great to see back there.

I suppose my feelings about the backsides of quilts comes from my very early days in acrylic painting.  Paintings of any type are usually framed, and the back of the piece is often covered in the framing process.  No one wants to see the backside of a painting.  This is a portion of the flip side of one of my high school efforts:

Nothing at all of interest to a viewer!  There is a reason why one side perpetually faces the wall, and so it goes with art quilts in my world.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Making Buttons

At about 2:30 this morning, I realized that I cannot remember the last time I either sat at a sewing machine or had needle and thread in my hands.  It is not that I have been sitting around, I have been reading through a sizable stack of library books, doing various planning for classes and other business ideas, and trying to pull, trim and dig my garden into shape.

I had a quick orientation on the new 3-D printer at work today, and as part of the training, I had to make something with it.  I decided to make some buttons, here they are:

Bright, aren't they?  They are not of great quality, considering that they are built up from a string of melted plastic, but they would still be serviceable on a garment.  The lines are somewhat visible, the process is very similar to an embroidery machine building up an image with stitches.  These button will end up on some artist trading cards.  The down side is it took 26 minutes to make five buttons, not something feasible for any sort of quantity production.  On the plus side, it is possible to scan a button that needs a match, and print out a similar one.

My goal for the weekend is to do some sort of stitching, and hopefully I will have something beautiful to share on Tuesday,

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trick or Treat!

I know it is not Halloween time, but I found a surprise "treat" recently.  I'm working on a chicken themed quilt, and I was going to cut into one of my vintage livestock feed bags for it.  This is the bag I selected:

I noticed some traces of faded post-manufacture writing on the bag, and by chance I looked inside the bag...

Some ambitious youth had made the feedsack into a trick-or-treat bag!  I am so amused by this, that I am thinking of making this a whole cloth quilt, and not using it for the chicken project.  I might just split the bag, and turn the "fill'er up" side out, pairing it with the remaining "right" side for a quilt top.  I would stitch the letters to make them show up better, and perhaps add color to the faded printing.  I'm not sure what else yet, but I will come up with something more to do with it.

What I would love to know (and sadly never will), is where the kid who used this as a trick-or-treat bag lived.  It is a large bag, it once held 100 pounds of feed.  I'm assuming he (this must be the work of a teenage boy) lived in a rural area to have access to chicken feed bags, but in a rural area, population is sparse, houses are far apart...  slim chance of filling a bag this size with candy.  Perhaps he was traveling to a city with visions of lots of candy.  I give him credit for dreaming big!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Missed Opportunities

I spent the past week working on the paper aspect of my business name, making paper collage cards for the May edition of Zanesville First Friday.  I thought that the cards would be a nice low-cost impulse buy for shoppers, as Mother's Day is quickly approaching.  A very reasonable plan, however, I simply forgot to put them out on my table.  I found them fifteen minutes before the event ended while I was looking for something else in my project bag.  That's OK, I wanted to add a little more drawing detail to some of them, and they are not specifically Mother's Day cards.  Maybe I'll remember to put them out next month!

Sales were improved for me last night, as compared to the past two months.  I think that being out in the hallway, instead of a vacant office helped a bit.  I noticed that many of the people roaming the halls were not looking at anything, they just seemed to be walking the halls.  I wasn't the only vendor who noted that phenomenon.  If you attend a visual arts event, please look around, the artists are there to share what they make.  Even if you don't or can't buy anything (and believe me, I am in the camp that is often not able to buy), at least talk to some of the artists and give some positive comments on their work.  A few good words go a long way.