Archive for the ‘art quilting’ Category

Syncronicity and a new exhibit

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Today it is my turn on the Dinner@8 blog which is profiling the artists in this year’s juried invitational exhibit, Reflections.  Please do click on the link to read their interview with me!  Fittingly, it is also Eli’s first Cross Country practice (to his dismay at 7:30 am!) of the season.  Why?  Because my quilt this year is of Eli’s 2013 Cross Country season:

This year's Dinner@8 quilt:  Eli, Cross-Country 2013, (c) Sarah Ann Smith

This year’s Dinner@8 quilt: Eli, Cross-Country 2013, (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Four years ago, I created a portrait of Joshua for the Beneath the Surface exhibit also created by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison, the artists behind Dinner@8.

Joshua when he was 16, from four years ago.  (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Joshua when he was 16, from four years ago. (c) Sarah Ann Smith

This year it was Eli’s turn to have a portrait done at the same age. The theme this year was Reflections, and for once I didn’t want to do something literal.  I’ve always loved looking at children and seeing features from their parents in them, as well as getting to know them and seeing bits of personality that come from their families.  With Eli, he has brains (from both of us but I’ll take credit), athletic prowess (totally from his dad!), determination (stubbornness?  we’re both guilty on that one), the broad shoulders of my dad and brothers.  So Eli is running headlong into his future, a Reflection of his past and a hint of his future.

At long last, I’m happy to share with you some in progress photos, too. First I had to take reference photos (since I can’t remember all the angles!).  There were decisions to make:  head on?  from behind (since he’s usually at the front of the pack)?  sideways?  On the Camden Hills course or not?  Scale and composition….

Many decisions:  Close up of Eli (top left)?  Heading out of the frame (top right)?  Burning it up hill (middle left)?

Many decisions: Close up of Eli (top left)? Heading out of the frame (top right)? Burning it up hill (middle left)? Powering around the corner (middle right)?  at Festival of Champions, in a fast-moving pack (bottom left)?  Running away in a small crowd (bottom right)?  Right click to view larger.

I knew I wanted to have him running on the home course, which is why I took these photos:

The avenue into the woods, behind the softball field, at Camden Hills.  I knew I wanted this overall composition, but when I realized how small Eli's figure would be on the 24 x 60 h. required size, I knew I would have to adjust.  It just wouldn't have the right impact if his figure was maybe 12 inches tall out of 60!

The avenue into the woods, behind the softball field, at Camden Hills. I knew I wanted this overall composition, but when I realized how small Eli’s figure would be on the 24 x 60 h. required size, I knew I would have to adjust. It just wouldn’t have the right impact if his figure was maybe 12 inches tall out of 60!  Right click to view larger.

I decided to use a photo of Eli running from Festival of Champions, coming around a corner at about the same angle they run into the forest in the photos above.   So I first worked on creating Eli, then I designed a background similar to the photos above.  The path and trees were easy, but getting a middle-ground in the right scale for the ferns and whatnot at the edge of the path proved tricky without an actual photograph (by this time it was mid-winter and covered with snow, so couldn’t go take another look).

Then it was time to dye the fabric to match the photo of him in his Camden Hills uniform.  Thank heavens I’ve taken those Carol Soderlund classes–I got the right color the first time:

Dyeing the fabric and the results.  These fabrics I knew I would use for both my Eli quilt and the Amaryllis entry for Living Colour Textiles.

Dyeing the fabric and the results. These fabrics I knew I would use for both my Eli quilt and the Amaryllis entry for Living Colour Textiles.

The remainder of the fabric got used in this quilt:

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014.  See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014. See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

So now it is time to go dye fabric for another quilt!  Do surf over to the Dinner@8 blog to read their interview with me and the other artists in this year’s Reflections exhibit.

 

tea and ink, creativity and watercolor

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Of late I have been busy with many things, one of which is Sketchbook Skool, an online cast of a gazillion students and, each term, six different teachers.   This past week’s lesson was with Brenda Swenson, and the use of single colors of watercolor on paper, letting them mix and play has been a revelation.  Since my last post, about the new Series 1400 of Quilting Arts TV, featuring little ol’ me in three episodes talking about making a quick bag as a gift, machine quilting, and correct needles/thread, was the last post, I thought I’d continue with the Series 1400 theme, creativity and inspiration.  (To see the information on the series and the ongoing bloghop, please click here to read about the series and visit all the creative, inspiring bloggers who just happen to be guests on this season!).

The completed sketch by me--contour drawing with fountain pen with non-waterproof ink and watercolor.

The completed sketch by me–contour drawing with fountain pen with non-waterproof ink and watercolor.

To begin at the beginning, we were to do a contour drawing, 3 minutes, of an item.  Then 6 minutes for two items, and 10 minutes for three.   Here’s what I did in my “everyday” sketchbook, which happens to be a Stillman & Birn Epsilon, 7 x 10 inch size.  This sketchbook has a hot press finish, about 100-lb paper; they are available at Binders Art Supply in Atlanta (google up the website) and Dick Blick (ditto), among other places.  I didn’t know where I put my Tombow marker (water soluble), so decided to use my Flex Nib (Noodler’s Creaper pen) fountain pen with R&K Alt Goldgrun ink (LOVE); both pen and ink came from the wonderful Goulet Pens.  (Note:  I’m not advertising, just anticipating questions!)

Timed contour sketches of fiestaware pitcher, tea-for-one teapot/but from my friend Marie many years ago, and a bottle of deAtramentis Roses scentted ink (heavenly color AND scent, also from Goulet Pens).  I used R&K Alt Goldgrun in my fountain pen.

Timed contour sketches of fiestaware pitcher, tea-for-one teapot/but from my friend Marie many years ago, and a bottle of deAtramentis Roses scentted ink (heavenly color AND scent, also from Goulet Pens). I used R&K Alt Goldgrun in my fountain pen.

Today, I rushed a bit and the pitcher is seriously tipsy, but I’m pleased, especially with the way the reds and black merged on the label on the bottle.   And the more I practice / make art, the more I am embracing  the idea that I do not need to be absolutely freakin’ perfect, that the wobbles and imperfections are what give something individuality, just as our handwriting varies from those cursive letters above  the blackboard back in second grade.

Here's the in progress, with the items behind the sketchbook on a dining table that I should have tidied before the photo but of course did not.  Truth in blogging.....

Here’s the in progress, with the items behind the sketchbook on a dining table that I should have tidied before the photo but of course did not. Truth in blogging…..

Notice the difference between this page and the one at the top–what a difference a little “framing” makes!  And I LOVE that green ink!

And for more inspiration, I just had to add this.  Last night thunderstorms rolled in, so of course we lost satellite signal and everything started to pixillate.  Immediately I tried taking a photo with my iPad (on which I was trolling FB or playing solitaire), but the camera just c ouldn’t capture the incredible colors.  So I dashed madly for the camera in the next room and got this photo at the last second before the picture returned to normal.  THIS is inspiration…aren’t these colors glorious?  I’m not much of one to enjoy abstract art, but this is enough to make you want to grab tubes of paint, several palette knives  and go to town.

Our pixillated TV screen.  Isn't this incredible?  The COLOR!

Our pixillated TV screen. Isn’t this incredible? The COLOR!

So that’s my life the past 48 hours (plus helping to hang the quilts for Maine Quilts, the annual quilt show here).  Art and inspiration!  And check out my previous post (link above) if you’d like to scope out the bloghop for the new Series 1400 of Quilting Arts TV, featuring yours truly in three episodes!

As for sketching and watercolors and contour drawings, I have a lot to learn, but it is so much fun, and it inspires me to make more art, including of the textile kind!

 

My episodes on Quilting Arts TV Series 1400!

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Creativity, Inspiration, and Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Clockwise from top left: Dog Walkies with Pigwidgeon (winter), Kiwi blossoms (garden), Eli home from camp (family), Poppy (garden), Notebook cover, On the set with Susan Brubaker Knapp, taping my Easy-peasy Inside-Out Bag

Creativity, Inspiration, and Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Clockwise from top left: Dog Walkies with Pigwidgeon (winter), Kiwi blossoms (garden), Eli home from camp (family), Poppy (garden), Notebook cover, On the set with Susan Brubaker Knapp, taping my Easy-peasy Inside-Out Bag.  Click to view larger.

Series 1400 on Quilting Arts TV, now hosted by my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp, is about creativity and inspiration.  For me, inspiration can come from everywhere:  a glorious plant or view on my dog walkies with Pigwidgeon, ‘Widgeon himself, my family, an idea or a book, or something as utterly mundane as “I need a notebook cover”, or even a bag for all my watercolor stuff. I am so excited to get my copy of this series.  SOB–it’s not on PBS here in Maine on satellite (MPBN are you listening?), so I need to order.  You can too!  It is available either on DVD or as a download (episodes or the entire series) here.  Even better, if you link to the Interweave store from the button on the left sidebar, although the new series isn’t on discount, you can get a discount on some other items on the site. !    And last but certainly not least, visit editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre’s QA Blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a FREE  copy of the series!

Here's the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

Here’s the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

For today’s bloghop post, I thought I would share a lot of photos but not so much blather.  At the end of this post as well as here (the kick off day) you can find links to all the creative talented women who appear on the series, with many thanks to the creative talented women and men who are BEHIND the camera that make all this possible!

Thanks to Vivika DeNegre's post (she's Quilting Arts Editor), my dog walkies photos are now in the big time LOL!   Inspired by Gloria Hansen's butterfly photos, one day I took my good camera along with my phone and was able to get this shot of a butterfly on the clover alongside our driveway.  Inspiration is everywhere, including the most mundane of times and places--waiting for the dog to do you know what! Whoever came up with the idea of tethering yourself to animal waiting for it to do you know what???

Thanks to Vivika DeNegre’s post (she’s Quilting Arts Editor), my dog walkies photos are now in the big time LOL! Inspired by Gloria Hansen’s butterfly photos, one day I took my good camera along with my phone and was able to get this shot of a butterfly on the clover alongside our driveway. Inspiration is everywhere, including the most mundane of times and places–waiting for the dog to do you know what! Whoever came up with the idea of tethering yourself to animal waiting for it to do you know what???

And I'm always inspired by the landscape of Maine, the state that has become my soul's home.  From early summer mornings like this shot to the sunrises of winter and the sunsets of summer, the colors and lines and peace inspire me.  Makes me want to go play with cloth and dye!

And I’m always inspired by the landscape of Maine, the state that has become my soul’s home. From early summer mornings like this shot to the sunrises of winter and the sunsets of summer, the colors and lines and peace inspire me. Makes me want to go play with cloth and dye!

After nearly a decade using the same headshot, I decided it was time to be honest about the gray and the new glasses.   Here I'm with Widgeon--photos with him always relax me and make me laugh--so much better than posed.  And you can see my quilt, The Circle Dance, which is part of the exhibit and book Dare to Dance, An Artist's Interpretation of Joy (blogpost here).  Widgeon is joyful when he is fed!

After nearly a decade using the same headshot, I decided it was time to be honest about the gray and the new glasses. Here I’m with Widgeon–photos with him always relax me and make me laugh–so much better than posed. And you can see my quilt, The Circle Dance, which is part of the exhibit and book Dare to Dance, An Artist’s Interpretation of Joy (blogpost here). Widgeon is joyful when he is fed!

We all know trips can be inspiring, too.  Earlier this year I travelled to NY/CT to lecture, and got to spend a day with my friend Deirdre Abbotts.  We went in to the city and I spied this incredibly building.  Can't you see that as an applique quilt?  Reminds me of Jane Sassaman's work--and she's on this season too!

We all know trips can be inspiring, too. Earlier this year I travelled to NY/CT to lecture, and got to spend a day with my friend Deirdre Abbotts. We went in to the city and I spied this incredible building. Can’t you see that as an applique quilt? Reminds me of Jane Sassaman’s work–and she’s on this season too!

It's always fun to see behind the scenes, too.  Here are my three segments laid out in step-out sequence on trays, waiting for my turn to tape.  At the filming studios in Ohio.  I blogged about the taping here.

It’s always fun to see behind the scenes, too. Here are my three segments laid out in step-out sequence on trays, waiting for my turn to tape. At the filming studios in Ohio. I blogged about the taping here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Sometimes you just have to laugh!   We were trying to figure out where to hide the microphone for this episode, when I suggested pinning it to my bra strap.  The sound guy was only momentarily nonplussed, then started pinning as I stretched the strap.  Then, as Asst. Editor Kristine Lundblad was snapping photos, I blurted out, How am I going to explain to my husband that I just asked a total stranger to mess with my bra?   We all laughed!

Sometimes you just have to laugh! We were trying to figure out where to hide the microphone for this episode, when I suggested pinning it to my bra strap. The sound guy was only momentarily nonplussed, then started pinning as I stretched the strap. Then, as Asst. Editor Kristine Lundblad was snapping photos, I blurted out, How am I going to explain to my husband that I just asked a total stranger to mess with my bra? We all laughed!

One of the other fun things about this line of work is running in to familiar faces and friends in unusual places.  This is Lyric Kinard--does she not have the cutest, most infectious smile of anyone you know?

One of the other fun things about this line of work is running in to familiar faces and friends in unusual places. This is Lyric Kinard–does she not have the cutest, most infectious smile of anyone you know?

These are some of the bags you'll see on my Inside-Out bag segment (and ... hint hint... perhaps in print sometime soon too....more on that when I am allowed!)

These are some of the bags you’ll see on my Inside-Out bag segment for Quilting Arts TV Series 1400, Episode 1402 (and … hint hint… perhaps in print sometime soon too….more on that when I am allowed!)

Remember, you don’t have to wait for the episodes to air (mine are 1402, 1405 and 1408)–you can order the DVD or download the series or individual episodes here.   The way they are recorded, they should play on DVD players or computers around the world–yeah! And if you go to the Interweave store through the button to the left of this blogpost, you can get a discount!

Here’s the bloghop schedule, plus you can also read all about it on Quilting Arts Editor Vivika DeNegre’s blog here. Keep coming back here to click on the appropriate link for each day.

 

And because I can’t resist, one more of our beloved pug:

How can anyone NOT love a face that cute and pitiful?

How can anyone NOT love a face that cute and pitiful?

 

Quilting Arts TV Series 1400 Blog Hop!

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Today is day one of the Quilting Arts TV Series 1400 Blog hop,

Woot!   Still can hardly believe it happened--thank you so much Susan Brubaker Knapp for inviting me to be on the show!

Woot! Still can hardly believe it happened–thank you so much Susan Brubaker Knapp for inviting me to be on the show!

and I’m thrilled to be a part of the bloghop and on the new series!  I can’t wait to see the episodes, and not just mine.  The overall themes for Quilting Arts TV Series 1400 were about finding your inner artist and creativity through inspiration,

Here's the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

Here’s the cover of the upcoming Season 1400 for Quilting Arts TV!

so I know this is going to be a great season. Please join in the bloghop by visiting the blogs below, starting with Vivika (editor of Quilting Arts) today and going on with other guests on the series including (who me???!!!) me!   If you’d like to order, click on the Save 15% Quilting Arts button on the left (or read on); if you’d like to check out the previews, look here.

Here’s a list of who is blogging and when:  keep coming back here to click on the appropriate link for each day.
July 18: Vivika DeNegre at  http://www.quiltingdaily.com/…/qatv-14-sneak-peek-…. and quiltingdaily.com
July 19: Luana Rubin (luanarubin.typepad.com)/Linda Friedman (lindasartquilts.blogspot.com)
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith (sarahannsmith.com/weblog)/Karen Gloeggler (Seminarandsew.com)
July 21: Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com/ Catherine Redford (catherineredford.com)
July 22: Sue Reno (suereno.blogspot.com)/ Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com)
July 23: Lyric Kinard (lyrickinard.com/blog) / Margie Ullery (ribboncandyquilts.blogspot.com)
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda (muppin.com/wordpress/) / Jane Sassaman (janesassaman.com/weblog)
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (bluemoonriver.blogspot.com)

If you’re like me, instead of waiting you can order the series directly from Interweave and (a) not wait and (b) not have to deal with the fact that you don’t get the TV show on your local TV or cable/satellite service!  To order, click here or (even better) use the badge in the sidebar of this blog to get you there–that does good stuff for both Quilting Arts and me! Now go check out Vivika’s blog today, then come back and see the posts every day!

Quilting the Garden Workshop and Giveaway

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The Giveaway is now concluded. Any comments left after 12:13 pm today, July 19, will not be part of the drawing, but comments are still welcome!  The winner is Phyllis Carlyle, comment #36 (picked by an online random number generator)!  Congrats and THANK YOU to all!

Hey I need some advice!  I’m putting together a new workshop and/or class called Quilting the Garden (part of my Quilting the Good Life series). I need your help picking which colors and flower images to use for the class.  In thanks for your help, I’m offering a free copy of my Quilting Arts video workshop, Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork (read all about it here), for someone who answers some of my questions here on my blog (not Facebook).   I’ll choose a winner in a week’s time, on July 19th.  (See last paragraph for The Fine Print.)  Read on!

My questions for you, dear readers are these:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options, such as Multi 1 below?
Purple, Multi and Green images

Purple, Multi and Green images:  four purple or purple and white Iris, a zinnia and hosta leaves.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

Some background information

Most students can either put together a top in a day class OR do some quilting in a day class, but not both.  And most guilds and shows won’t book multi-day workshops because students tend not to sign up for them.   I would dearly LOVE to teach 3-5 day workshops, but in the meantime I’m working on a one-day exercise which can be a standalone class also.

My solution to the “can’t do it all in a day” issue is this:  I will provide a kit for a modest fee including a photograph printed on cloth (from Spoonflower, my photos, about 8×10 or 12×10 printed size, or a tad larger) plus an 8 1/2 x 11 color photo, page protector, and possibly several color photos–one of each of the three options offered in the class.  The photos will come from the ones on this blogpost (or perhaps a different red, keep reading).  And what size is good?  is 8 x 10 too small, perhaps 10 x 12 or a bit bigger?  Or as large as 17 x 21 (which of course costs more to print)?

Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily

Pink Kousa Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

For the class I want a relatively uncomplicated image that will allow students to learn to use thread colors to shade and paint and color their artwork.  By working on top of a photo, the imagery is provided.  They can then use my collage process, taught in my DVD (info here), to create their own imagery in cloth rather than using a photograph.  But they will, having taken this class, have learned the skill to interpret the photo into color and thread.  A multi-color flower may be best, but not many fit that bill.  The simplicity of a lily is perfect–only six petals!  Too many petals make it more complicated.  Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?

Reds, alas I don't know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist).  Should I find a different truly RED flower?

Reds, alas I don’t know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist). Should I find a different truly RED flower, as these are burgundy and ladies who love red want REALLY red?  Right Click on image to see it larger.

In the red collage, photos 3 and 4 are intriguing, but probably not the best for this exercise, but I couldn’t resist including them.

Are whites too hard for thread selection?  Right click on collage to view larger.

Are whites too hard for thread selection? Right click on collage to view larger.

I’m also thinking that white flowers are not the best choice, but would like feedback.

Lots of yellows that I love.  The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above.  The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers--I'm working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

Lots of yellows that I love. The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above. The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers–I’m working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one. The coneflower photo may be too complicated for a classroom, especially the cone.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

And:

A selection of  popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn't sell, people don't like orange.  What do you think?  I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the exercise, but....

A selection of popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn’t sell, people don’t like orange. What do you think? I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the purposes of the exercise, but….Right click on collage to view larger.

And there is the question of thread:

I use and teach using 40-wt poly thread, which shows up beautifully.  But some people prefer cotton, only cotton.  If students do not pre-order the photo, they won’t know what color they will get in class.  That means they would need to bring a LOT of thread:  for the orange lily above, for example, if at home I would use at least 3-4 shades of orange (pale to rust), yellow, yellow-green, and the background greens.  Is it better to kit the thread with the photo? Or allow students to bring their own, but perhaps be frustrated because they don’t have the right colors?   Me taking a thousand spools of various colors without requiring a purchase is, alas, not an option because I can’t afford to have so much money tied up in inventory.  So, what would you prefer from a class/teacher?

So tell me what you think:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • What is a comfortable size for you?  Is 8×10 too small? 
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?
  • Should I include a thread as part of the kit?  Each one would probably need at least four shades of thread at $6-8 per spool of Superior 40-wt polyester plus a pre-wound bobbin of  blending fine thread, so that would be an additional $25-33 on top of a kit fee for the fabric and color photocopies of about $10-12.

If this class is a go, I will offer at most three flower options.  IF students register for the class 2 months in advance, they may write to me directly with their choice of flower and I will make sure they get their first choice for the workshop.  It takes that much time for me to order the fabric, have it printed, and shipped back to me and be ready in time for the class.  The remaining students would have to pick a color from what is available at the class.  That means they’d need to bring thread for multiple colors (at least four shades of each colors) if thread is not part of the kit.

THANKS!

The Fine  Print: 

  • Remember to comment by 8 a.m. Saturday, July 19th (US East Coast Time) for a chance at winning my DVD in thanks for your taking the time to read, think, and comment here on my blog!
  • If you are outside of the US, you may comment but I’d appreciate a little help with the postage–I’ll pay up to $5 in postage.
  • Comments must be here on my blog, not a feed reader or facebook!
  • Comments like “gee I’d love to win the DVD” won’t work–I’m really looking for feedback on the images and questions I asked.