Monday, May 2, 2011

Creeping Along

This weekend I was able to steal away for an hour or so to see all the beautiful quilts on display at the Northern Star Quilters Guild's annual World of Quilts show. My Fiber Arts Northeast group was invited to display the pieces we showed at the Mahopac Library last June, so I did have something in the show, but I'm not a member of the guild and didn't submit anything else this year. (I also forgot to bring my camera but hope to get some photos from a friend who was also there, in which case I'll share them with you later this week). As you can probably guess, there were many inspiring quilts there and just walking around gazing at them all left me feeling very in awe of the skill of so many people! There were many fine examples of Art Quilts, including the one selected as "Best of Show." There were also many quilts with traditional patchwork patterns, but what stood out for me was the individualism of each quilt. I've gone to the show for several years and never feel like I'm seeing the same things again and again. Each quilter puts their own spin on a quilt and makes it unique by the fabric choices and stitching patterns. There were some antique quilts also on display, which brought home the sense of how long women have been using fabric to express themselves, even in useful ways like covering a bed. It was really a beautiful show.

I did kind of leave there wishing I could be more productive myself, especially as one third of the year is already behind me and I haven't made any new peices beyond my weekly "quickie" art. But as I headed to the grocery store to buy a week's worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, I had to admit that I still don't see how I can possibly fit more into each day. The times I'm not doing something are the times I really need some down time. Otherwise I really keep pretty busy. I do sometimes find myself procrastinating in a productive way, by reading, cleaning, or doing laundry, so this afternoon after work, I made an effort to dig into my second attempt at painting the background fabric for this Work in Progress. I pressed the fabric first, then decided to sponge on some resist to prevent the watery blue paint mixture from coming too far down and covering what will be the sand. After that dried, I went ahead and splashed on the paint. Here it is drying outside on the patio table. I hope I'm happy with the results...!
While the resist was drying, I went back to one of my "weekly" pieces that was supposed to be a goal of mine for the year. I had started this a few weeks ago, but got to a certain point and knew it needed something, but i wasn't sure what. I'm considering using it for our next FANE challenge, which is to make a piece using an object found in an unusual place. The main piece of "fabric," that mottled greenish-pink piece, is not really fabric at all. When I was at the Country Quilter's fall retreat in 2009 at the Interlaken Inn, I happened to notice the exceptional quality of the paper towels in the ladies room! I actually swiped a few of them and have held onto them as possible quilt material. I read a tip recently in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine that suggested you sop up extra paint and ink with cloth or paper towels (rather than dumping it down the drain) and then use the colorful results in your art. So that's where that came from!

As you can see, I'm back in the copper-patina-aqua color scheme. In addition to the paint-splashed paper towel, I have a small square of silk, a strip of metallic lacy fabric I found at Joann's Fabrics, and a piece of copper mesh painted with alcohol inks and stitched on. I had gotten this far, when I stopped to figure out what else it needed. I considered adding more hand stitching, but I just wasn't sure. Then last night, my husband took the last onion out of the bag in the fridge and I swiped it and left it on my art table. I decided maybe I could put the plastic mesh to use...I was also at A.C. Moore last week getting more ink and paint, and these unusual paperclips in the scrapbooking section caught my eye. Aren't they cool? Right away, my oldest daughter hooked a bunch of them together and made a bracelet, but I put the rest away with my other copper and metal things, until this afternoon......when I combined it all with a few beads and things, now it looks like this:

Much better, right? I still want to do a bunch of hand stitching on it, but I'm liking it a lot better than before! (It kind of reminds me of this one I did back in 2008 - maybe they'll be a pair). With all the "found objects" in this piece, I may as well use it for the next challenge! Now I'll go see if the painted fabric is dry and if it looks the way I hoped...

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