Aug 26, 2014

my blogger friends - around the world blog hop

My blogger friend Hilary from Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop invited me to take part in an around the world blog hop.  Hilary's in the UK and I'm in Texas... that's one of the great things about blogging --- the opportunity to connect with so many talented, like-minded individuals all over the globe.

When I first started blogging a year ago, I read posts from many bloggers who said they truly enjoyed the online community they shared. I was a bit skeptical, wondering how you could you really make friends online. I was too quick to judge because I have made some wonderful connections online and love the emails and other interactions we share with each other.

So with this post, I am taking part in an around the world blog hop. At the bottom of this post, I will like back to Hilary's site and share some thoughts about her blog and I will link forward to another fellow blogger and online friend, Shannon from I'm Working on a Project.

So here's the scoop for the blog hop - there are 4 questions I have been asked to answer. But, first of all, you should know... I stop for quilts! Isn't this sign a riot? Just love it.

First question: What am I working on creatively?

I have two paths in my creative life. One is my quilting / sewing / art quilt stuff, and the other is my book - which is very much a work in progress.

The manuscript for my book on the history of Japanese quilts and essays on contemporary art quilters is currently at the publishers. They've begun work and I am so excited to see the progress of getting the book ready for the publishing stage. It is due out from Schiffer Publishing in early Spring 2015.

As for my quilting, I recently finished this one: "Holy Cow" ... and I am working on two other black and white appliqué, animal quilts. These will be a series - all 3 the same size and style.

And I am also working on this one... a large white on white Celtic cross. Still have lots of work to do.

Question two: How does my work differ from others?

Hmmmm.... I ask myself this question all the time. I believe that after 16 years of quilting, I am only now starting to find my so-called "voice" as an art quilter. I am nowhere near there yet. I like trying different things and studying other's work and learning from them and trying new things.

Question three: Why do I create?

I dream about quilts. I lay awake at night and solve quilt problems. I conjure up new ideas. I can't imagine my life without this creative outlet. I create because it keeps me sane.

Plus, I like to work alone and quilting is perfect for that. As is writing a book. These solitary processes appeal to me and I love most the accomplishment of completing the job.

Last question: How does my process work?

The answer, get up before dawn and get going. Keep going until you can't keep your eyes open any longer... or stop when your fingers start bleeding. And this is no joke, as my fellow quilters know well. I have bled on many a quilt, and that is the signal to walk away from the quilt.

The other part of the process is collect fabric, look at it, touch it, think about it and then buy more fabric.  Here's a photo of my "process..."

So, now here's the around the world hop.

First, a link back... thanks to Hilary for including me. Her blog Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop showcases her stunning art quilts. First thing you'll notice is her impeccable free motion quilting stitches - which are a thing of beauty for sure. I first met Hilary online when she'd taken her machine outside to quilt - something those of us who live in the Houston heat can only dream about. Since then I continue to be impressed by her truly stunning quilts... and I aspire to free motion quilt as well as she does!

Second, a link forward... to Shannon at I'm Working on a Project. I love her blog name and love her quilts even more. Shannon is a scientist, and her expertise shows up in her subject matter from time to time. She has been creating for quite a long time and her quilts are super cool. She brings technical details from the plant and animal world into her art, as well as history... her ideas are endless. The common theme is a true vision. Shannon has a voice for sure, and it is one I love seeing.

Hope you enjoy meeting Hilary and Shannon. They make amazing art!

Aug 15, 2014

grave rubbings for art quilts

I was fortunate to go on a vacation to Paris earlier this month and during the week, we took some time to visit the Pere Lachaise cemetery. I came prepared with white Kona cotton and several pieces of lovely vintage silk from disassembled Japanese kimonos... and some crayons so I could capture interesting grave rubbings.

This one above I think was the most successful. I plan to enhance it with thread painting and trapunto. For my non-quilter readers, that means I will add a layer of batting underneath the image, I will sew along the image outlines, and then cut away the excess batting so when I lay it on its foundation, the bird will be raised up off the surface.

In case you are not familiar with Père Lachaise, it is one of Paris' most famous cemeteries. The place is huge and several hundreds years old. There are so many famous writers, artists, musicians and statesman buried here that you'd really need a couple weeks to explore it all. Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Frederic Chopin, Camille Pissaro... and many others. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place and the art is simply breath taking.

Here's my photo essay from my short time inside the cemetery.

Here's another successful rubbing. I like the 'gravelly' look of the outer circles. I am planning to enhance this one too somehow and incorporate it into the center of my Celtic Cross quilt, which is very much still a work in progress.

This is the Celtic Cross that I am still working on. Its quite large... the photo is deceiving. I think it is about 5 feet high, about 3 1/2 feet wide. Its made with hundreds of one-inch squares. The Celtic design on the edges of the cross is hand-applique trapunto. The inner circle is unfinished. It will be covered in some form or fashion... eventually! Once I get these things done, the whole thing will be quilted.

I have to credit the amazingly talented Susan Lenz for the information on the best way to capture grave rubbings! Susan's series of art quilts based on grave rubbings is just stunning, as is the rest of her work, of course.

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays. So many cools blogs to explore there, check it out.

Stay tuned for more on the Celtic Cross and other grave rubbings I am working on. After such a lovely vacation, its just hard to get going again... so I am a bit slow on the blogging routine!

Aug 9, 2014

surviving the heat in Houston

Houston is in the dog days of summer right now. It is so hot the Weather Channel keeps sending me alerts! Stop, we already know its hot.

Somehow, in a tiny spot of land in front of our house, there is something that has survived this heat. So, I decided to document this survival week by week with my trusty camera phone. 

Week one.
 Week two.
 Week three.
 And finally, week four! Bursting with color.

There's an art quilt in here somewhere, don't you think?Especially the last photo.