Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Wrap-up

September brought a class with the lovely Terry Jarrard-Dimond; we worked on Shape...just abstract shapes.  It wasn't easy, but it was interesting to see what came out of the group's invention.  First, we worked with paper (black, white, neutral).  Here's what I came up with:

(Ignore blue tape holding the top).  Then we had to enlarge significantly, and sew the design in black, white, and a neutral fabric:

Then, we were encouraged to make it again, using one more color.  A next assignment was to design  shapes with string (n.b., not my hands) :

And finally to make a composition of shapes that arose from string exercises.  Here's my paper piece, which reminds me vaguely of Hebrew letters and African kuba designs:

Toward the end of September, we played host to grandson Ami (2 y.o.) while his parents went to Europe to give academic talks.  Here's Ami:

We borrowed toys from several friends who are grandparents, bought an outdoor plastic basketball set in a huge box, got lots of his favorite foods stocked in, borrowed kid movies from another grandson, and made up a few activities: e.g. I found an old canvas frame in the basement and covered it with batting. Then I made a dishpan full of color (all kinds of odd shapes and a few letters), so we had "art" most days. We also had "hammering": got a bag of extra long golf tees in pretty colors and cut big squares of foam to 4" thick, and he had fun just hammering away.  But I'll bet you already know what his favorite toy was.  Yep.  The big box.
    "Where are you, Ami?"
    "I'm the box."
It also made a great speedway for our (recently acquired) collection of matchbox cars.

Another thing I did was to make Ami a new Minky snuggly; I'd been told his old one was looking rather ratty.  Just in case you haven't made one, I'll show you how.  First you go to the dime store and buy a half yard each of pretty decorative ribbons (avoid the wired ones, or remove the wires).  Then, get a yard or less of Minky.  (I've always made these of white Minky, but it's getting hard to find these days.)  Cut out two squares (or rectangles) of Minky, the same size.  Put one face up and pin ribbon loops around the edges as shown here:

Play with the design till you're happy; I've found that the more the variety in ribbons, the better.  Then place the other square right side down on top of the first.  Pin carefully around, and then sew, leaving about a 5-6" opening on one side.  Remove pins, turn inside out, and close the opening by machine or hand stitching.  Minky hides all irregularities!

Here's a picture of Ami's snuggly pillow, and two little ones for brand-new babies on our block:

October was a month I devoted to finishing off UFO's.  Here's a few:

EcoGirl: based on a photo I took in London, where a group of ecologically mindful people were putting on demonstrations.  This lady was sewing without hand turning the machine's wheel, the other moving the fabric through.  This is a small quilt, about 12 x 14.

Graphic I: You might remember an earlier post of this piece.  I took off all the little silk squares with beads in the black center, and broke up the long green vertical with rows of double beads, a small on top of a large.  I think these changes helped make the graphic more clear and bold (nod to my wonderful SIG-SAC critique group).  This is a larger quilt, about 20 x 35.

November began with another on-line course with Pamela Allen.  This one was about working in a series.  Each student picked a subject matter (e.g., castles, weddings, etc); I chose still-life.  For the first assignment we were to select a piece of art which had a color palette we liked and make a quick fabric "sketch" of it.  As you can see, I loved the Matisse painting of the red room, and here's my quick sketch in fabric:

The real part of this assignment, was to make a new quilt using that same color palette. I made a sketch of a still-life that would use many of the same colors:

But look how the final piece came out, with Pamela's guidance:

The second assignment was to do a cubist design.  Now, I'd decided that I wanted to put some of my collections of silly animals into my still-lifes, so this piece began with my Big Fish found in a folk art store in Warsaw, Poland:

Here's how he looked in the fabric piece...still not finished:

The third assignment was, I believe, to do an abstract design.  Searching for inspiration, I gathered some of my silly animals into the kitchen and started making pictures......e.g.,

but no matter how I played with arrangements, it just looked like a bunch of "stuff."  So I'm sitting there, playing with my rubber chicken, twiddling his legs to make him dance, and it suddenly hit me.  Fageddaboutit... no still life....a dancing chickens piece!  I'm gradually working at this and I think it'll be really cute when it's done, but here's a glimpse of the first iteration:

I ended up being so hopelessly behind in this course, that I never did do a 4th piece, although Pamela was exceedingly gracious in allowing us to submit later, even much later.  I really love this teacher, and highly recommend her courses!

December: what a busy month for everybody.  I did manage to finish off a piece I've been noodling on for much of 2011.  I'd collected a batch of scraps of yellows and related light colors, and I made up a bunch of varied blocks...just improvisationally...whenever I felt like just "making something."  At some point I began to put some of them together into larger units, and eventually it was large enough to form a background -- 30-some inches on all sides.  So, OK, now I have an interesting and subtle background....what am I going to put ON it???  Lots of drawings later, I finally came up with a spring themed idea; in fact, I'm calling it Dreaming of Spring:

Here's a detail shot:

Mid-December, Dave and I went off to San Francisco for a holiday.  We saw lots of art, lots of friends, lots of wonderful sights, and on our last day, we had the best coffee we'd ever had:

So if you get to Filmore St. in 2012, stop in at Jane and ask the barrista to make you a cappacino.
Happy New Year!