Archive for the ‘art quilting’ Category

Dyeing (with an E) Fabric

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

A couple posts ago I shared Insalata, my work in progress with ginormous tomatoes.  It needed something for a background that wasn’t in my stash.  So I decided to MAKE some!

Here are some fabrics in the deep values:  greens with berry and a deep burgundy.

Here are some fabrics in the deep values: greens with berry and a deep burgundy.

 

And more:  the ochres and greens.

And more: the ochres and greens.

A friend suggested really out of the box and try a blue, so I did.  I like the color combination, but it looked too much like sky (for which the fabric was originally dyed).  Not working for me.

A friend suggested really out of the box and try a blue, so I did. I like the color combination, but it looked too much like sky (for which the fabric was originally dyed). Not working for me.

I finally chose the ochre that is down three from the top in the second photo.  Once I get home, I hope to do a little surface design (maybe), then quilt this baby.  It will be  a couple months until I can share, but stay tuned!

Insalata, in progress, or where I’ve been

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

So I’ve been seriously AWOL (Absent With Out Leave), busy with summer, son, spouse, other son, life, garden, art classes, and (drum roll) art quilting!   I want to have a quilt to enter in an upcoming SAQA exhibit and have had this idea of an oversized tomatoes quilt as the final one (I hope) in my tomatoes series.  (Who ME?  A series?)  The top is about 48 inches square, each tomato the size of a beachball.  As usual, I created the imagery then decide on what background will suit it best.  I had planned to include a big ball of mozzarella, but it looked so blah and blank that I omitted it.   Then I needed to audition backgrounds:

I had this gorgeous hand-dyed fabric from years ago, done by Judy Robertson (whose fabric inspired me to learn to dye fabric!).  THought it would look good:  lush and dark and inviting.  Hmm.  Not so much.  The ochre is good, but the rest of it, nyah.

I had this gorgeous hand-dyed fabric from years ago, done by Judy Robertson (whose fabric inspired me to learn to dye fabric!) in the middle–see the next photo for the entire piece. Thought it would look good: lush and dark and inviting. Hmm. Not so much. The ochre is good, but the rest of it, nyah.

And with Judy's fabric only.  Love the fabric, but not the blues with this piece.  The darks pop the tomatoes, but I want the overall feel of the piece to be lighter, more summery.  And by the way, it is tomatoes, avocadoes, shallots, and generic green on the bottom.

And with Judy’s fabric only. Love the fabric, but not the blues with this piece. The darks pop the tomatoes, but I want the overall feel of the piece to be lighter, more summery. And by the way, it is tomatoes, avocadoes, shallots, and generic green on the bottom.

So I pulled out my ochre batiks and hand-dyes.

In progress:  Ochre option 1.  Closer but not quite.

In progress: Ochre option 1. Closer but not quite. The color on the left is best, but don’t have enough to do the entire background.  The other two, nope.

Insalata, in progress.  Have enough of this one, but the sunflower repeat in this batik is too regular.  Nope.

Insalata, in progress. Have enough of this one, but the sunflower repeat in this batik is too regular. Nope.

One of my hand-dyes.  If it had EITHER the light spots or the dark spots, this could work, but not this piece.

One of my hand-dyes. If it had EITHER the light spots or the dark spots, this could work, but not this piece.

So what about other color options:

This green batik is nice and summery, but the blue-lilac portions aren't quite cutting it for me.

This green batik is nice and summery, but the blue-lilac portions aren’t quite cutting it for me.

So then I tried greens.  Maybe.

So then I tried greens. Maybe.

And finally one more of Judy's fabrics, rust and green.  Looks OK, but not enough contrast with the edges of the tomatoes and not summery enough.

And finally one more of Judy’s fabrics, rust and green. Looks OK, but not enough contrast with the edges of the tomatoes and not summery enough.

Stay tuned:  I decided to dye fabric!

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?