Friday, January 26, 2007

Challenge Quilt Progress

In November, Mary Manahan, one of the members of our Eclectic Quilter's group, suggested a group challenge. She made it very simple by offering each of us two smallish rectangles - one was marbled paper, the other was a coordinating organza - and challenging us to create something using the two fibers. Yesterday, our group met and shared the results of the challenge - what fun it was to see the variety of designs, sizes, and types of work!

As for me, I auditioned many coordinating/contrasting fabrics and objects over the course of the two months. You can see some of them here. I didn't begin actually WORKing on the project until Tuesday - can you guess that I work relatively well under deadlines???

Auditioning embellishments...

Flipping/reversing the composition + auditioning embellishments...

Rotating and adding some of my rusty fabric to the design...

Adding more design elements...

Auditioning embellishments again...

Adding MORE embellishments - this time it's way "over-the-top" with the lace!

The sandwich ready to quilt - note the fabric change in the upper left corner. I had done a leaf drawing awhile back on my rusty fabric and decided to use it here. I think the feathers will eventually join as embellishments, but the quilting must come prior to making any firm decisions on that.

So this has been my "process" up to the present moment - the piece is not done, but at least I have a good start!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Follow-up on Framing Tutorial

CHAOS/OPPORTUNITY - framed 11" x 14" (c)Pat Dolan

Thia piece is now properly signed and a label is added to the back of the foam core (inside the frame) and to the back of the frame, as seen below.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback regarding the framing tutorial. It's nice to know people actually read the blog AND that it's helpful to them!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Framing: Step by Step Tutorial

Above is Step 1: the finished artwork and the 1/4" foam core on which it will be mounted for the Dakota Shadowbox Frame. The art is 8 1/2" x 11." The frame is 11" x 14." The foam core has been cut 1/2" shorter than the art, allowing the art to extent about 1/4" all the way around. The foam core lifts the work off the backing and creates a bit of a shadow behind the image to further set it apart from the backing board.

Use a nail to create holes in the foam core - all the better to get the needle and thread through for attaching the art to the foam core.

Step 2: Marking the back of the art through the holes in the foam core so that one can sew the art exactly where it belongs on the foam core.

Step 3: the first knot in the back of the art. Make sure this does not pierce the front of the work and also that the knot is secure so you can pull the threads taut later, as you go around the piece.

Step 4: Sewing down the first corner. Bring the thread from the art up through the back side of the foam core.

Step 5: Securing the first corner by going back down through the foam core for the second stitch - then back up the first hole to begin moving on to the next corner.

Step 6: At corner two; put the needle down through one hole and, noting the marks on the back of the art, run the needle through the back of the art from one mark to the second mark (making sure not to pierce the front of the work). Pull the thread semi taut and move on to corner three.

Step 7: Repeat the same procedure for the third corner.

Step 8: Using the same procedure for the final corner, pull thread taut - checking all corners - and then knot on the back of the work.

Step 9: Some prefer to put a dot of fabric glue in each corner to secure the artwork in place. This step is optional. The black backing board must then be marked so as to insure proper centering of the art. Lightly pencil in just the corner markings as measured by a ruler. For this frame, there is 1 1/2" on each side and 2" on the top and bottom.

Step 10: Assembling the frame. First, was the glass on both sides. Then replace the glass, followed by the wooden spacer - which can easily be seen below - first separated, then adjoined.

Step 11: Replace the backing board and it is ready for hanging.

Here is the completed piece - "done" - almost... but I forgot to sign it! I'll be taking it apart and signing it prior to my show. I prefer to use a fine-line gel pen in gold or silver for signature on a black background. On light backgrounds, I use pencil.

Chaos/Opportunity - framed 11" x 14"(c)Pat Dolan

Framing Fiber Art

South Wind (c)Pat Dolan

We've had several discussions on our QuiltArt mailing list about framing fiberart. Personally, I think some pieces are at their best when framed - particularly smaller pieces that require space around them in order for them to be seen without being lost into the background of many other pieces of art.

Autumn (c)Pat Dolan

Double Squared (c)Pat Dolan

At the present time, our Fiber Revolution group is exhibiting in a small gallery at the Academy of Music in Spotswood, NJ. The curator, Kevan Rupp Lunney, purposefully designed the exhibition to fit the space. She selected several large pieces to be the primary gallery pieces. And she also requested all members to submit to her small 4" x 6" fiber art works. Her idea was to frame each of these small pieces in 8 x 10" black Dakota Shadow Box frames making them a cohesive, compelling complement to the larger pieces. The concept works extremely well! The opening, while not large, was very successful from the perspective of sales. One of the major pieces, by Carol Schepps, was sold that evening, as were 13 small works at $100.00/each. After paying the gallery commission and the cost of the frame, the sale of the small works still averages out to a decent price for the artist. Sometime in the coming week or so, our computer guru Gloria Hansen, will put up photos of this show on our FR website. Meanwhile, here are some of the pieces I framed up today to replace those that were sold last weekend.

What we've done to highlight these small pieces is to mount them on 1/4" foam core and then mount the art/foam core to a piece of sturdy archival watercolor paper, which serves as the mat below the art. Then the wooden spacer is inserted, and finally the backing affixed. These pieces are behind glass, so the cleaned glass is the first thing put back into the frame (after dismantling it).

The Dakota Frame:

Please note that the light maple frame in the lower right corner is a different brand of shadow box frame. I purchased it at A.C. Moore this week to try it out since the others were coming mail order from Get Smart Products/Archival USA. This frame is not designed nearly as well - the spacers in it are cardboard whereas the Dakota frames have solid wood spacers. For that reason, I ended up using a mat board placed just beneath the surface (the way it is sold) so that the cardboard spacer does not show.

Flights of Fancy (c)Pat Dolan

Here is a different style of frame, a metal one purchased from A.C. Moore - these are purchased in sets of 2 lengths and 2 widths which then must be assembled.

Homesteads - framed 11"w x 17"h (c)Pat Dolan

For this piece, I used black archival foam core for my backing, then archival photo mount spray glue to adhere the printed fabric background/mat, to which was sewn the quilted work.

All this and more is in preparation for my upcoming one woman show at the Monmouth County Library, Manalapan, NJ in March.

Friday, January 12, 2007

My Studio at the Present Moment...

For the past three days it seems as though I'm getting little or nothing done in the studio despite the fact that I've spent the majority of my time there. It's a royal mess - I rarely feel comfortable working in such disarray, but that's the way it is at the moment. Some folks don't mind the mess - in fact all the "stuff" actually inspires them. I'm not one of those artists. I like a clean space when I begin new projects - I want everything put away from previous projects so that I can bring out anything that might possibly "work" with the next project.

That's not to say that I only work on one piece at a time - I guess I keep the projects slightly separated - using the dining room as over-flow from the studio. After all, it's just across the open entry hall anyway! My studio is the living room of our town-house. Fortunately, there is a small family room at the back of the house so we don't really need a formal living room, too. Especially since we never entertain!

And two computers - I can't wait until I have everything working on my new Mac Book Pro. I've used a PC for the past 5+ years, purchased to go along with the Bernina Artista - which I traded in for a Bernina Virtuoso 153 two years ago after never really using (or wanting) the embroidery module, etc. The sales person really overwhelmed me back then - my mistake! Anyway, I've got MS software on my Mac, so that's not the problem. For some reason or other, my Epson CX4800 simply will not print regular copies from the Mac. The images are like faded shadows of what they should be - but the printer still works fine with the PC. Arghhhhhhh.... I've an email in to Mac to see if we can rectify the problem - if not, I'll be purchasing a new Epson!

Now you've seen my messy studio - with several projects piled up on the design table, and more on the ironing board (behind the computers), more projects spilling over onto the dining room table, and boxes with the frames I ordered for my smaller quilts sitting in the middle of the floor.

Meanwhile, life goes on outside my window. I've notice a pair of Downy Woodpeckers vying for "top-dog" position on my new suet feeder. The feeder looks like a birdhouse, but it has no openings, other than on the bottom, where the square suet packages fit inside. The roof lifts up the hanging chain so that one can easily add more suet (without too much of a mess) and the sparrows seem to have a hard time hanging upside down in order to get at the suet - which is one reason why I bought it. Of course, the design doesn't hamper either the daytime squirrels or the night time raccoons, but that's also life!

By the way, the female Downy has won the battle over who has top priority on the feeder...

Supremacy despite the warped foot! Looks like she's growing a new 'toe' after having had some sort of accident. But she doesn't get any sympathy from the male - they literally fight for who gets the feeder - and then she guards it for herself when she's done snacking for awhile!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quilting Books for Sale

I'm cleaning the studio, as many of us are after the holidays are over and things have calmed down. Here is a list of quilt books that are up for sale. Postage is extra - generally $3.95 via Priority Post. International shipping extra.

Shriber, Nancy: Sashiko Handbags: 14 on 14 [$15] SOLD
McKillip, Rebecca: Celtic Designs: The International Design Library [$5]
Kemshall, Linda: Color Moves: Transfer Paints on Fabric SOLD
Smith + Milligan: Pineapple Passion [$10]
Hargrave, Harriet: Heirloom Machine Quilting (autographed) c 1987 [$8]
Hussain, Donna: Interlacing Borders [$8]
Kimura, Stephanie: Bags with Style (comes with CD) [$10] SOLD
SchwarzSmith, Lura: Faces in Fabric (with 2 CDs) SOLD

Four Corners Jacket Pattern - reversibe/5 styles; sizes S to XL [$5]

All but one are in excellent/unused condition - the exception being Harriet Hargraves book. I took her class in 1987 and made notes in my book!

Leave a message with your email and I will contact you.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Experimentation in the New Year

This is a "before" image of FERNS + FEATHERS, which was posted quite awhile ago (Tuesday, June 14, 2005!) with a request of assistance with the design.
While I recieved some great feed-back, I put the piece away because nothing seemed 'right' for it at the time. This year I've decided to do a lot of experimentation to expand my skills and to move beyond self-imposed limitations. This past week began the first in a series of many experiments - this time I played with Setacolor fabric paints on fabric and Tyvek, metallic powders mixed with Setacolor, and colored pencils over watercolor - not even on fabric, but on watercolor paper!

Here is the latest version of Ferns + Feathers, after an application of green and blue Setacolors to bring more depth to the color aspect of the design. Since this piece has already been quilted and even has binding on two sides, it's definitely an experiment outside my comfort zone. Yet I'm satisfied witht the results thus far. (The color is not quite accurate - the yellows are still quite intense!)

This is another finished quilt to which was added paint. This piece was done years ago and is a 'nice little piece' but it didn't have much punch. I'm not at all sure that adding the silvery metallic pigment paint adds anything artistically to the piece, but it is slightly more interesting...

WHISPERING 16" square (C)2003 Pat Dolan

This piece was a 2006 experiment using Angelina Fibers and other forms sandwiched between two sheer fabrics.

Last week, I added Setacolor paints to deepen the contrast between hidden images and the rest of the piece. I also used metallic pigments with Setacolor to add much needed highlight to the piece. It's now ready for quilting.

This is my watercolor/colored pencil experiment. The watercolor was painted at least 10 years ago as part of an unfinished series featuring carousel horses in many different media.

Tyvek experiments using Setacolor paints and metallic powdered pigments. These eventually will be cut up and become part of other projects. I loved the way the paint worked on/in the Tyvek (mailing envelopes!) and the metallic powders make it even more luminous.

For this one, crumpling the Tyvek seemed like a fun thing to try, so I did, of course!

Below you can see my latest experiment in decorating with my art. We recently gave away an old piano that had taken up a lot of space in our small townhouse. Because the space was short, a large wing-back chair has stood in front of our fireplace since our arrival. Now the chair is where the piano was, leaving a gaping black hole of the fireplace to be address. Below is my solution to the problem.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Reflections on My Life in Art in the Year 2006

Above are 15 of the completed fiberart pieces completed in 2006.
It was a very productive year for me, artistically speaking. The year began with a series of photo quilts inspired by my late grandfather's 1885-1969 photographs. Then a class with Laura Cater-Woods in April at the Greenville Arms in upstate New York provided me with opportunities to explore the world of texture by way of experimentation and playfulness. One of the quilts that evolved from that class is now part of the Ricky Tims traveling exhibition "Expressions: Art Quilt 2006. Then the Kansas Art Quilters put out a call for anyone willing to make a victorian themed art quilt using Fabri Quilt, Inc. supplied fabrics so my Victorian Rose Window quilt materialized. Somewhere along the line Ann Flaherty put out a challenge on the QuiltArt mailing list for Fabled Fibers, involving the use of non-copy-written children's stories in the development of art quilts. And so the Baba Yaga and Vasalisa quilts struggled into being. And towards the fall, I became enamored with more textural effects leaning towards the topographical images.

Three or four other quilts were in-the-works as the year ended, but they are not yet complete. They will be among the 2007 fiberart pieces that come into form this year.

Aside from personal creativity, I learned quite a bit about curating fiber art exhibitions. As a member of Fiber Revolution, I invited our group to participate in an exhibit at Georgian Court University, where I had taught. That experience was eye-opening, to be sure - with some controversy evolving around the "professionalism" (or lack thereof as percelved by some) of the exhibit. On the other hand, personally I was delighted with the exhibit, as were the students and the faculty. Also, as a Fiber Revolutionary, I collected and submitted a proposal for an exhibition by our group at the Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah, KY. What I learned from these two experiences is more than I will share in a blog! Suffice it to say, there is way more involved in curating exhibitions than most artists can possibly imagine!

In the midst of all the above, I also created one Journal Quilt for each month of 2006. These are each the size of a sheet of computer paper and created due to a challenge by Karey Bresenhan of the International Quilt Festival.
Below are 12 Journal Quilts completed in 2006.

Last, but not least, 2006 was a year in which one of my pieces was featured in Karey Bresenhan's 2006 book entitled "Creative Quilting: The Journal Quilt Project" p. 201.

Considering I had shoulder surgery in March of 2006 (with on-going complications), the year was very productive indeed. I am grateful for all that has been in this past year and I look forward to the adventures of 2007.