Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My new Etsy store is launched with one item!
Have you heard of Etsy and wondered what it means.
It means "and if" in Latin spelled ET SI.
Here is a TV news clip about Etsy.

Isn't technology wonderful? I didn't think so last night when for about 4 hours I thought I had lost all my blog posts! I had just put my first item in my new store and was in the process of adding a link and rearranging links. When I did something.

All better now! Isn't technology wonderful!

Monday, May 28, 2007

I am feeling a great sense of loss. Too much for such a thing as this. I am on one hand justifying my strong emotions but on the other hand I am appalled that it means so much to me! I have not cried, amazingly enough as crying is my normal response to frustration, but I have talked out loud to the computer and felt a desire to get up and stomp around! And I feel compelled to use lots of !!!!s. Not bad words, mind you, just dramatic exclamation points!

Two or three hours pass.....

I have now recoverd my posts and comments.

I have my links saved in a word file...

I have overcome the panicy feeling, learned a thing or two and changed my background to white. Let me know if it is easier to read. (I still love art on a black background)

Slowly adding links back.

Must sleep then I will try to add counters, map, atom feed and various "widgits" I think they are called.
What am I doing this beautiful day?

Laundry, dishes, sorting mail...the never ending stuff!

Spending way too much time at the computor

Drinking iced Jasmin Tea

Doors and windows are opened for the coolish breeze

Listening to the birds and Finding Neverland Soundtrack - the best thing about this movie was the music!

I have made several new ACEOs, Art Cards Editions and Originalsthat I am listing for auction on Ebay. I love the format of tiny art quilts.

I find them a challenge and a pleasure. I have had the pleasure of trading cardswith some of my flickr friends but at the moment I need to make some sales.

I still plan to sell some books on Etsy as soon as I iron out the wrinkles in my new store. I also need to research the new postal rates.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Almost done with this one! Photographing it outside changed the colors somewhat; the previous view was scanned this morning before the sun came up. The sketchy black free motion quilting also gave it a different look! Sort of brought it to life! I also added some silk roving for highlights.

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

Claude Monet

I love flowers! And when I paint them I tend toward botanical accuracy, a look I love. But at times I desire to break away more into abstraction or interpretation of the flower. That has taken place at times when I am painting with children using tempera paint, a "throwaway medium."

Then two years ago I painted purple petunias with a decidedly stylized look.
It is one of my favorites, the flower and the painting! Now I am trying to interpret the painting with cloth and fiber using needle felting and sewing. I am using bits of cloth, yarn, and wisps of dyed unspun wool to paint the picture.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Book Binding Tutorial
for Journal with
Quilted And Felted Cover

Recently, I was asked if I have a pattern for my felted books. I decided to do a small simplified version, take pictures, and give some dimensions. I am going to show pictures and give some links to other sites because I don’t have time right now to draw and scan diagrams!

I am not going to use a lot of book binding terms because I don’t want to spend hours defining them! So I will try to keep it very simple.

It is always easier to try a new technique on a small scale and with easily accessible materials.

Make the quilted cover:

For the cover you need:

4 1/2 x 12 inch piece of polyester or wool felt (1 sheet cut in half length-wise)

Or 11.5 x 30.5 centimeters

small scraps of quilter's cotton fabric
yarn wool roving or dyed locks of wool (for use with needle felting tool)

Here are pictures of my example: pieced, felted, and quilted. See previous post for tutorial on how I use needle felting on a quilt.

When I was pleased with the look of my cover I trimmed it down to 4 inches wide, rounded the corners slightly, and finished the edges with zigzag stitch.

(If you don't want to do the needle felting this could be made without felting as a small slender quilt using batting with cotton fabric on top and bottom and lots of machine stitching to hold the layers together.)

Paper for pages:

I used 6 sheets Canson Mi-Teintes colored drawing paper from a 9x12 inch pad.

You could buy one large sheet and cut it or use what you have, even nice copier paper
(8 ½ x 11 inches) parchment or other paper with pleasant weight and color.

Cut paper 3 ½ x 8 inches long or 9 x 21.5 centimeters.

To make your book pages cut the paper to size, fold in half and burnish the fold for each page individually then nest sheets together to form a signature. Use 6 - 12 sheets nested together, depending upon the heaviness of the paper. With the Canson paper I used 6 pieces of paper (folios) per signatures (groups of pages that are nested together).

Make a pattern for the holes in the pages. Cut an extra page of cheap paper the size of your pages. Make a mark in the fold, at ½ inch, 1 ¾ inch, and 3 inches. That will put stitches ½ inch from the top and bottom and in the center. I used an awl to punch the sewing holes in each page. For years I used a sharp nail. The hole should be about the size of the thread and needle.

Sewing the pages into the cover

I used waxed linen thread and a sharp needle with a large eye appropriate for the thread. You could also use six strand cotton or linen embroidery thread or pearl cotton.

The pamphlet stitch is good for sewing each signature into the cover and is very easy and elegant! You can begin the stitch inside the book, like I did here, or outside on the spine for a different look. If you choose to make a really large book someday, you may need to reinforce the spine area and use a different stitch.

I made an effort to sew the signatures in straight. Sewing all the way through the cover, with the spine of the pages at a right angle to the cover’s edges. I put about 1/8 inches between signatures when I sewed them into the cover. If you expect to glue a lot of elements into your book you can leave more space at this time.

Odds and Ends

I crocheted a chain with two coordinating yarns for the wrap around tie.

I deckled the fore edge of the pages.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I may amend this as I see the need or leave comments.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Quilt Rebel?

This morning, 4:30, too early to start sewing, too noisy. So I sat and looked at my recent unfinished projects.

But I am very unhappy with my machine quilting. The stitches are big, uneven, almost random. I should get better with practice but I want to do too many things to practice that one thing enough to get good. I want to play in an orchestra on several instruments tonight then tomorrow afternoon play bluegrass...fast! But I can play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on lots of instruments.

I love to use free-motion quilting like drawing or doodling or embroidery. I make art quilts because I don't like the level of precision that traditional quilts and traditional quilters require. I can match points and hand quilt with small even stitches, if not tiny, but the overall composition and quilt as a painting are most exciting to me.

That’s my story; I am trying to doodle on a quilt with stitches. It's a sketch. I meant those stitches to be big! After all I am making ART QUILTS! Is this the height of self delusion, obnoxious snobbery, spin, or rebellion?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"A room without books is like a body without a soul."

G. K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)

I love books to read and find a special joy in making journals for others and art books for my own pleasure!

However, I have been putting off a book binding project for weeks because I knew it would involve searching for tools, patterns, and supplies. And I would have to clear a space to work!

Well, school is out so Tuesday afternoon I began the search and organization. Rather than make only the specially requested book for my customer I began four and have finished three. The forth will have a different kind of cover.

Here are some of the tools I use: davy board and duct tape book cradle for holding signatures while I punch holes and other assorted tools.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Doodling in a Grid

Some ART Quotes I have collected:

"Vita brevis, ars longa" Life is short, art endures.
Hippoctates c. 460-400BC

"Creativity is allowing yourself mistakes.

Art is knowing which ones to keep."

Scott Adams

"Art is not a pleasure, a solace,
or an amusement;
art is great matter."
For an complex but intresting explanation of this quote see:
Tolstoy’s prophesy: “What Is Art?” today

by James Sloan Allen

"That which is static and repetitive is boring.
That which is dynamic and random is confusing.
In between lies art." John Locke (1632-1704)

"An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision."
James McNiel Whistler

"I try to apply colors like words that shape poems,

like notes that shape music." Joan Miro

"I found I could say things with color and shapes
I couldn't say any other way."
Georgia O'Keeffe

By Googling any of these quotes you can find a wealth of websites discussing ART. I find, sadly, that many artists and critics worship art! I prefer the Tolkien view of the artist as "subcreator"
and "Art is a half-effaced recollection of a higher state from which we have fallen since the time of Eden," Saint Hildegarde 1098-1179. I recognize that much in my life that I love and love to do is art not ART! I am content with that... most of the time.

I have had a running discussion with myself and occasionally with others. "Does life interfere with art or art with life?” Or, “Do the routines and trials of life enhance and feed your art or just keep you out of the studio?"

It is not only the tortured soul who can be creative or that only a life of ease is conducive to artistic endeavors. But, don't wait till all the circumstances are just right before being an artist. If I always waited till everything else was done I would never have sewn a quilt or painted or sketched!

There was a time when I was so involved in my glorious new life of motherhood that I felt no need to paint or draw. The loom was gathering stacks of stuff and dust in the spare room. Wife and motherhood was enough with a little hand pieced patchwork, knitting, and gardening as my creative outlet. As I write this I remember sewing curtains, baby quilts, dust-ruffle, and coordinating calico bunnies for the baby room and I had a small winter-spring garden that was quite spectacular. For several years I turned out mittens and hand knitted socks for little hands and feet.

But I wasn’t thinking ART. It was art. I was enhancing the lives of those around me and it was beautiful! In those days I was enjoying the process with an eye to finishing useful items. I think of the potter who would make a useful item. The lines and shape of the pot had an inherent beauty. Yet, even in ancient times of uncertain survival craftsmen often embellished their humble items.

This said, there are times when the burden of “should” make it hard to carve out time to
be creative! But better that than time and no ideas or motivation. I can be paralyzed temporarily by “what next” and “which first.” This is where I am now. I have lots of must do business in my life, unfinished projects, things to accomplish, deep cleaning, curriculum to be work on for next

Friday, May 04, 2007

Oh, for the joy of sewing!
"The stitch is lost unless the thread be knotted" Italian proverb

"A stitch in time saves nine" American proverb

"Me thinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.”
Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

This week I helped a 5th grade class of girls do a craft project that involved sewing. I heard that some had sewn with Mother or Grandmother or Aunt but some had no experience or sewing mentor. I tried to challenge them to take up hand sewing.

Just think, almost every woman for maybe 6000 years has spent significant time sewing! Even queens, princesses, and the wealthiest women spent time with needle and thread. If they had no need to construct garments, tapestries or other fine embroidery was the women’s work.

Of course much time was also spent spinning and weaving or preparing animal hides. I have read that the cost of the fabric in time or trade far outweighed the expense of the time spent hand sewing. Clothing today is relatively inexpensive and that is good, but it is sad to think of the loss of skills. I honestly think there will be, or may already be, a resurgence of the textile crafts among young women. See the number of knitting books available in book stores these days! Just a few years ago I could not buy double pointed needles in my city. Now they are available even in the large craft stores!

All this thought inspired me to find a stack of quilt squares started some years ago and sew them together, with the machine!