Monday, November 12, 2007

Runaway Tooth Fairy

I thought I would throw this one out there forthe quiltart list. This is a second tooth fairy as a memento of the saga of my broken front teeth. It's been a year since the damage was done, and at that time a made a rather "pretty" tooth fairy, similar to a medieval illustration. At least that's where my starting point was. Now that the full enormity of it all has hit, I needed to make another one...bigger, more substantial and downright scary...something like my dental bill. It measures about 50"x60". I sort of started it with the same influences in the back of my mind...medieval hyper decorated and precious. But she would have none of it and became a kind of Frankenstein! So now I am embellishing and have come to a standstill. I can see that baubles and gemstones won't do. I am toying with the idea of using dental instruments ( which my dentist kindly gave me) as embellishment. I dunno....maybe too wacko?

Monday, October 1, 2007


This evening one of my husband's sons was visiting. We began talking about what makes us do it so to speak.....make art, I mean ( both DH and step son are painters). Our son, Luke, had just met a man on a work site who it turns out is an artist he has admired for years and who is now exhibiting in our local museum. This had made Luke feel discouraged as he himself seemed not to be doing as good work, not having sold much and not getting any exhibitions offered. This led to a more general discussion about why we work at all.

Now my husband Ralph ( who is 80 BTW, and has painted now for 62 years!!!!) seems to need to paint as an personal expression. And that's IT! He has not shown his work in over a decade, but continues to go into the studio every day as usual. His drive is purely private and self contained and it sustains him through fertile periods and blocked times as well

I on the other hand am almost manic in my drive to get the work I make OUT THERE and enter every show going where my work might be suitable. My friends call me a show slut!!! It got me I do it to make a living? NOT...even tho' I do bring in some income , it is hardly a living wage. Do I do it to gain acceptance, or better yet, accolades? I had to accept that the answer there is yes. But only partly.There is also an element of "what else would I be doing" if not making art. I wake up most days eager to go to work. I think about the projects I'm working on constantly. I spend quite a lot of time taking care of the business side or mailing off proposals and such. And I keep in touch with like minded people all over the world thanks to the internet. Having a creative career seems to make life richer, more hopeful and full of pleasure because of this. So I guess I am not one who is compelled to make art for it's own sake. I make art for the rewards of being part of something bigger and richer.

I get on a roll sometimes....not frequently as most of the time it's a lot of problem solving and a bit of a struggle. But isn't it a great feeling when you get into a sort of creative groove, and the conversation between you and your work is lively and productive?

Just to keep the post visual as well, I'll show a WIP that's got me atwitter right now. I recently took a fat book out of the library on an artist who was a big favorite when I was a student. Eduard Vuillard (see painting of two figures). Very intimate, domestic scenes done in a very narrow range of tones and colour. It got me enthused again and I started a piece with the same restrictions of tone and pattern. It's a slight departure from my normal "in your face" humor and subject matter. In fact as the work progresses the narrative became very tranquil. Usually at some point my figure starts to tell me what she's getting a haircut, or playing a violin. In this case the only action is taking a coffee break! Haha!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Garden that's MINE MINE MINE

Here is my Grandkid sized garden piece called "BUGS AND OTHER LIVING THINGS" It measures 57"x42"

Monday, May 7, 2007

revising or pulling a fast one?

I spent last week "revising" an old quiltto enter in a show. In order to ease my conscience about it , I DID contact the( Lowell ) New England Quilt Museum to ask if a revised quilt would be considered "recent" It all started when I heard they were hosting a show whose theme was games and game boards. I had a biggish quilt from my early days ( 2002 ) that was an OKAY idea that never came fully to fruition. Not to mention the crappy sewing on it as I was still learning and sewing on a $30.00 church basement special. So having gotten the okay from the Museum, I took stuff off, added some much needed interest in the background and gave the figures some sort of structure to exist in. It's much better. But not one I think is really good. Nevertheless, having done it, I duly sent off my entry to NEQM. I was swearing off entering every show in the world this year. My friwends were calling me a "show slut". I don't know what happens to me when I see a call for entry that one of my quilts might suit. But I began asking myself why. Some of the reasons are know the "seeking approval" thing we learn as kids...especially a kid whose parent didn't like her all that much! But there is also a phenomenon I realized of being part of a big thing. When I worked worked worked every day as a painter/assemblage artist, it was more or less in a vacuum. Only one other artist friend and maybe one show a year with the gallery. But NOW because my milieu is so much bigger, and there are so many more people doing what I am doing, I feel more a part of life. A case in point is...I LOVE getting up each day and reading email. Then I have the pleasure of waiting for the snail mail because often I am expecting news of a show entry, or a quilt coming back, or a package from some nice quilty person ( like Thelma, who once sent me a BUNCH of fabric and I hardly even knew her then!) So even tho' seeking praise is part of it...maybe not the good part, the camraderie is also imposrtant. So I am forgiving myself for being a show slut. And anyway, I make so many art pieces what the heck else would I do with them?

Oh here is the before and after to my revision "Checkmates"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

rotten teeth and quilt

Ack! I don't want to be dumped from this interesting group so I shall post something completly incoherent as I have just had my jaw all jackhammered today for implants in the future. I hurts like hell! I CAN relate it to quilty news though as I made a quilt called A VERY STINGY TOOTH FAIRY just after my teeth broke off and I had received that bad news that implants would be $10,000.00!! It even won best in show at the Paducah Lower town quilt walk:
I am so out if it at the moment that all I can think of is to bitch once again about that old saw why quilt shows that offer ART categories can't judge them by ART standards. But my Codeine is kicking in and I have to leave the room.
Love you guys,

Monday, April 9, 2007


Some of you may know that I am an avid dollar store shopper. Over the last year, I have been buying up shadow boxes and frames...about 9"x7"....I mean who can resist at $2.00 each? I knew ONE DAY I would find a use for them. Well that day arrived last week, when I got the first commission I ever agreed to do from a cyberfriend/novelist. Her new book features a main character who is an artquilter!!!! Apparently based on me and another Artists Deb Richardson...we are all members of a cyber "guild" called Quiltmavericks ( mess with us and we'll quilt you to the floor)...but I digress.

She had an idea for publicizing her work. She would have me make 11 postcards . She would announce to 100 publishing/editor people that they would be eligible to win one. The postcards depict subjects I normally do....not related to the book, but within each composition, is the title of her book THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. I made use of my cheapy dollar store frames, tarted them up with caulking and doodads and they came out really well!

I'm off to get more frames for the future...our dollar stores BTW are WAY better for such things than those in the US. I get bags of little kitchen utensils, teeny Harley motorcycles, keys, locks, brass fish,teeny tools an amazing array of miniature things for a pittance.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Atlantic Center for the Arts

The quilts of Gees Bend

These were the most influential artworks that I saw while away. I do believe the work of these ARTISTS is already filtering through my work in that I am being even MORE "sloppy" so to speak, with execution. Not a deliberate coursening but rather I feel I have been given permission to become more painterly by virtue of rougher edges, less precise compositions, and less selfconsciousness intellectualizing my ideas. I have been reading the catalogue for this particular exhibition ( The Architecture of the Quilt) and noticing more and more the amazing...almost miraculous...designing that appeared to just come naturally to many mant of the quilters. They had a passion to make every quilt personal and different while all along using very familiar patterns such as "rooftop" or"log cabin". Only their roofs and logs came from direct observation of their own surroundings and were exquisitely sensitive to the material they used....old dungarees, dress bottoms and scrap corduroy! Here's one I started yesterday....not gees bendy in style but I'm happy with the larger stitching and more impromptu fabric collaging.

The entire week was an amazing experience. Just working all the time, then playing over wine, then more hand work in the evenings with Rosemary Claus Gray and Claire Fenton. So many ideas bandied about! I confess I had great plans to work on NEW printing fabrics and an abstract sort of thing I started at home and posted earlier to the blog. I DID work on the abstract a bit, but no printing, no stamping, not dyeing. I was just not interested in doing that! So I started on a new quilt that reflected the friends and get togethers we were having at the time. All in red as I had brought only a small amount of red fabrics...all mixed specialty type material. Velours, Embossed velvet etc.

Friday, March 9, 2007


They are talking about judging on the artquilt list and once again I am baffled by the whole thing. Having come from 20 years in the so called FINE art market, It amazed me when the first artquilt I exhibited in a show came back with judge's comments. Thelma has gently pointed out on the list, that if you are in the real art world, your work gets shown in a gallery and comes back if not sold. period.

Now I know quilt shows have judges that have criteria that are "marked" for each individual. But in my opinion, if they have an ART category, that sort of thing should be discontinued. It doesn't apply! Now I HAVE been in fine art shows that have prizes. So you get a prize. STILL the participants do not expect ( or even welcome) comments about their non-winning work. I am cranky today and this issue reminds me of some of the irrelevant comments that have been made about my fabric work....even work that has won an award! Every time I lecture, I tell every one that I don't care about the knots in the back of my work any more than I cared if my staples were evenly placed on a stretcher frame for a painting. However the judges of art quilts DO care! Well they shouldn't.

On a lighter note I am packing finally for my artists rendezvous at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. I have not worked properly for two months now and look forward to a lively creative environment to get my batteries charged. I'm taking all my irregular quiltlets to see If I can make something of them:

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Off to Atlantic Center for the Arts

A week from today I start wending my way to Florida for a glorious week at the ACA. This will be the fourth time I've been, but the first when I will not be doing any teaching. About forty fiber artists will be there including several I have met through the quiltart list. And of Course Mary McBride who has become a real friend and who no doubt will be over at my place for wine and laughs .Picture here..... the last time I was there ....she had made about 30 hilarious hats out of paper for an upcoming event and we are modeling them. We are in the "annex" a really nice workroom off campus so to speak from The Atlantic Center. It's associated with Harris House a satellite gallery and studio space. They have a fab etching press there that I want to use . Rosemary Claus-Gray and Claire Fent and I are conspiring to work, play and drink together while we are there too.

Picture of the rooms at the Center itself, which by the way is in a beautiful peaceful setting, in a natural Florida hammock environment. All the studios, common rooms, dining room, library etc are connected by boardwalks to do as little damage as possible to the reserve. The rooms are spartan and efficient ...sort of a Meis Vander Roe feeling: Hmmm the pictures seem to want to go where I DON"T want them...but you get the gist.

As for MOI....I am pulling out ALL the stops and renting an artist's cottage..more pics in and out....absolutely beautiful little self-contained spaces...very private with all the amenities. Am renting a car too. DH thinks I'm extravagant...and he's right. But I'm like the L'Oreal commercial "I'M WORTH IT!" Also picture of studio we used for my workshop. But there are dirty studios for wet work, painting studios, computer labs, theatres...everything! Did I mention the dining room? With an on site chef? and delicious gourmet meals three times a day?

I think there are still a few spots available.......tempted? Here's Mary's email just in case:

Friday, March 2, 2007

Running away

Not really....but looking forward to going to the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida in less than two weeks. I have done so little work so far this year. Spent a lot of time "experimenting"...surface design mostly, only to discover it isn't really what I want to do. I had succumbed to the dreaded comparing-my-work-to-others syndrome and became dissatisfied with what I do. But it's out of my system and I'm ready to move back to MY thing. There is still lots to learn and explore and much improvement needed so I will still feel challenged. I kind of need that in order to get excited about what I'm doing. Anyway here's what I spent all of February doing:
Hmmm I hope that link works...I'm such a dud sometimes with cyberstuff.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Okay...I'm trying's me, fairly recent altho' I may be a little chubbier now. the hair is a bit shorter too as I always compulsively cut it when I'm worried or stressed....and I am right now but this too will pass. I shall wait to see if this appears on the planet by some miracle and then I will not feel so stupid about technology.
Okay here I what do I do?