Friday, August 14, 2015

Walking on Sunshine

8x10 Acrylic on Canvas
$35.00 unframed,  $50.00 framed + shipping
(Frame styles vary by availability)
Late summer blooms and butterflies enjoying the reflection of sunshine.  Keep summer in those corners during the cooler months with this piece.
A replica of this painting is being donated to the Jacksonville Senior Citizen's Center as a door prize for their monthly dance.

Interested in purchasing?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quilt in a Day...Well...

Quilting has always fascinated me.  Taking tiny cuts of cloth and stitching them together to make functional art has been a staple of American society.  From  the intricate quilts of the Native Americans, to First Lady Martha Washington to the freedom quilts of Gee's Bend, quilts have warmed bodies and souls, told stories, and become family heirlooms.  I have longed to make fabric art of this magnitude. 

My first foray into sewing was in 7th grade when I took Home Economics (which, sadly, isn't taught in many schools now--but that's a rant for another day).  Between high pitched insults and rants about how much she hated kids, the teacher (name withheld to protect the guilty) at least taught us how to thread the machine and to always backtack at the ends of a stitch.  After a semester of sewing C-grade items, I was glad to move on to something 8th grade! 

On of my best diaper bags
After not touching a sewing machine again until I was an adult (flashbacks, you know), I picked up where I left off.  I made a few C-grade clothing items for myself and some truly butt-ugly baby quilts for donation--one of the few times I was truly ashamed of my work.  Over the years, I got pretty good at making diaper bags, but still the beauty of a quilt eluded me.

An area church's quilting club offered free beginner classes.  Unfortunately, it was full of a bunch of seasoned quilters and me.  The leader (I can't call her a teacher) conducted the "classes" as if everyone already knew what they were doing, which isn't beginner level at all.  After several sessions of less sewing and more cussing under my breath, I left the class in utter disgust.  But I still wanted to make a quilt.  I read books, got advice from people at fabric shops and craft stores, watched videos, went through I don't know how much fabric, and wore out two old sewing machines (or was it 3?).  But no matter how hard I tried, I never succeeded in sewing a decent quilt.

9-patch sampler
A friend taught me to crochet granny squares in 1992.  I made several granny square blankets, but I'd never thought of making quilt-type afghans, or quilt-ghans, out of them.  The idea finally came years later when I saw this pattern for a 9-patch sampler quilt-ghan made of 3-round granny squares.  I made the pattern and loved it.  The only trick to it was learning to make the two-color squares.  Once I got the hang of it, the rest was pretty easy--tedious, but easy.

School bus cuddle quilt
I made several other quilt-ghans over the years, but I still watched quilting shows on TV and later the internet in hopes that something would click and I could finally make a "real" quilt.  I longingly viewed images of Nancy Zieman, Georgia Bonesteel, and Eleanor Burns, among others, blissfully making smooth strips, squares, and appliques with their rotary cutters or other tools, whipping the fabrics together on sewing machines with more buttons than the helm of the U. S. S. Enterprise, and alluding to this thing called binding that I have YET to figure out.  How DO they do that?  Sigh.

So what was Auntie to do?
Patchwork fans

Right after Christmas, my desire to quilt started gnawing in my craw again, but I didn't feel like wasting more fabric and still not getting what I want.  Then the thought hit me to work with what I had instead of mope.  I didn't want to simply repeat past patterns, but to try to design my own, or at least gain some inspiration from "real" quilts and the stories behind them.

My first quilt project for the year was called "Peony."  It was inspired by a project featured on Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day:  Egg Money Quilts show.  The basic pattern was already established, but certain crochet elements, like the lattice work between the squares, I had to figure out for myself.  The finished product took about two months and was donated as a door prize for the Senior Citizen's dance.

My interpretation
The inspiration
My second and most elaborate project to date is another Eleanor Burns inspired quilt-ghan.  The birdhouse quilt was different in that I had to make the pattern completely from scratch.  I couldn't just look at the screen capture and make squares that make an exact copy the pattern.  I also had to add, remove, and reposition various elements to get the results I wanted.  I also had to comb through books, printouts, and computer files for patterns for the different flower and insect appliques, many of which I liked, but had to modify to get what I wanted.  This project took four months and I auctioned it off online.  It actually sold, and I am extremely proud.  Maybe my quilt-ghans are "real" after all.

So what's next?

Photo courtesy of Google
I've admired the quilt pictured here by Nancy Zieman since I saw it featured in her ombre fabrics series.  I tried a couple of different versions of the square, but couldn't figure it out.  I found a fabric pattern that may help me figure it out.  We'll see.  I'll most likely be settling in to making the project in the fall.  So be on the lookout.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tulip Duo

$50.00 + shipping
This 11x14 watercolor painting welcomes spring with a fresh bouquet.
Interested in purchasing?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Artsy-Fartsy [A Sister Blog Share]

I posted on my sister blog last year.  I felt it was appropriate to share here.  Enjoy.

I've been a crafter and artist for 22 years [23 now].  Yes, that's correct; 22 [23]!  I've sold my work off an on over the years and am currently selling, so I have vast amounts of experience with comments--good, bad, and downright stupid.  I'd never made it a habit of storing these comments (bless their hearts), but something brought them to the forefront.  Someone shared a social media post from the California Arts Council about such comments.  The ones they quoted were spot on.  These have been said to me and my other artsy-fartsy friends in one form or another.

This week's Thursday thirteen:  Thirteen things never to say to a crafter or artist with their appropriate (or inappropriate responses).  Please insert tongue in cheek. Some of these are the art counsel's comments, some are my personal ones.
  • "I'll just get my friend to make me one of those." - Then why are you here?  Why are you either at a show/sale, on my website, or worse yet, at my house watching me create?  This comment is from people who genuinely wish to be pimp slapped...repeatedly.
  • "You know what you should make?..." - Hold it!  Before you tell me, are you going to buy one?  No?  NEXT!  Now, granted, I do solicit ideas (that's NOT what I'm talking about) and a friend gave me a wonderful idea, I made it, and she bought the first one.  That's the point.  To me, offering an unsolicited suggestion, but not being willing to buy is, quite frankly, rather tacky.  (Play the Weird Al song here).

  • "Do I get a price break if I buy two?" - Do gas prices all of a sudden drop because you bought two coasters?
  • "I'll have the money by the time you finish mine." - I've been burned too many times with that one...and it's never for a $5.00 item!  (Watch the Tacky video again.)
  • Calling the art form by the wrong name.  No, knitting and crochet are NOT the same thing. 
  • Giving lame excuses for why you won't pay for an item.  No lie, I once had a woman who refused to buy a baby blanket because she said the holes in it (they were part of the design SHE asked for) would pull off the baby's toes.  WTC?! Honey, I've made HUNDREDS of baby blankets, no kid has lost a toe, and no kid is going to either.  Goodnight, how fast and tight are you planning on rolling the kid up in it?!  #SomePeoplesChildren  (Play Tacky video yet again!)
  • "I can make that myself." - See response to number one and repeat here.  
  • "Why does it cost so much?" - Well, if you can make it yourself, you should know!
  • "How do you make this?" - Now, this one requires some clarification.  If someone politely asks in curiosity, I don't mind discussing how I make my art.  However, most times, it's not asked "HOW do you make this?" but "How do YOU make THIS?" as if to say, "I didn't think you were smart enough to be that creative."  You know a backhanded question when you hear one!
  • "Will you donate your artwork to our event?  We can’t pay you, but it will be great exposure.” - What am I, a photograph?  I cannot buy soap and toilet paper with exposure.  Before anyone gets testy, if you've read this blog or my sister blog any amount of time, you know I donate my art to various charities.  It's the way it's asked and when it's asked (usually when I'm flat broke and am rolling pennies for gas).
  • "My nine year old makes this kind of stuff too." - See response to number one and repeat AGAIN.  Besides, the only child I am personally acquainted with who this could remotely be true about is a young girl who knits socks like nobody's business.  However, her mom would never come to my art sale looking for socks in the first place.
  • "Kids, this is what happens when you don't go to college." - Hey genius, ever heard of an art degree?  Just for the record, I have two degrees from Jacksonville State University, known as the "Friendliest Campus in the South," where we know, among other things, how NOT to act like a doofus!  Put a sock in it!  FYI - you might get away with that with artists; I wouldn't try it with musicians, you might will get hurt!  More FYI - I'm a musician also.
  • "I can buy that at Wal-Mart for $3.99."  No, you can't. Seen one of these for $3.99?


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Peonies in February

December 2014 was a busy month at the Workshop.  It was my first go at a multiple vendor craft show.  I didn't sell nearly what I'd hoped, but I did learn a lot and had fun.  I've got new ideas for next year's attempt.

January had an early show of geraniums just in time for that month's senior citizens' dance.  This is my first experience painting this flower and there are many more varieties of this beautiful floral cluster.  So, be on the lookout for more later.

This month's dance door prize was inspired by a quilt created by Eleanor Burns.  She is famous for her Quilt in a Day series of books and videos.  This quilt-ghan is called Peony.  It's a reminder to me that spring is coming.