Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(Wo)Men Of A Certain Age

"Just A Doodle: #13"  ©2010 Diane Evans
There was an Internet blurb sent around recently that made me smile:
“Be the kind of woman so that, when you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the floor, the devil says, ‘Oh, crap – she’s up.’”
I want very much to be that woman – I really do.  I am finding, however, that I have become the woman for whom a good night’s sleep is now a distant memory.  I face my bed each evening with a fair amount of dread; it has become my enemy, since I lay awake for long stretches during the night.  I blame it on hormones.  Come to think of it, I blame MOST of my troubles on hormones these days.  I know they’re responsible for my fuzzy thinking, because my doctor told me that the estrogen isn’t running all the way to my brain anymore.
"Just A Doodle: #14"  ©2010 Diane Evans
Therefore, I’ve decided to surrender to the sleeplessness by drawing; my reasoning is that, even if I can’t face the morning with renewed energy, I can at least have something artistic to show for the last eight hours.
So I ask all of you out there who are old enough to have received your AARP cards in the mail to let me know if you’re experiencing any of these same sleep issues and if you’ve found a remedy. Especially if the cure involves something artistic – I’ll be excited to hear about it.  I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts at 2:00 in the morning.
Diane

Monday, December 6, 2010

Arts At The "X"

"Ornamentals: Yuletide"  ©2010 Diane Evans  5" x 7"
If you live near Westchester, NY, you can jumpstart your holiday shopping (and if you’re like me, you haven’t yet begun) at the Arts Exchange next week.  Located in White Plains, ArtsWestchester’s Arts Exchange is sponsoring a Handmade Holiday Exhibition that will feature artwork of local artists and craftspeople.  Small works from all mediums will be offered for sale, including ceramics, mosaics, jewelry, fiber arts, painting, watercolor, and more.  I am honored to have been invited to participate in this wonderful event, which will run from December 13 through 18; the address is 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, and the exhibit’s hours are 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM each day.   Stay out of the crowded malls – come to the show and have a Handcrafted Holiday!
Diane


Friday, November 19, 2010

Tree of Life: Summer

Tree of Life: Summer  ©2010  Diane Evans  6" x 4"
I’ve decided that I probably didn’t spend enough time in kindergarten, because I’m enjoying my explorations with paints and inks so much lately.  I have NEVER believed that I had much artistic ability; this notion was firmly reinforced by my third grade teacher, Miss K., who, I am certain, was at least 7 feet tall (although I never measured her) and never smiled.  She told us one day to paint a picture of what we had observed on a recent field trip; since I had seen a field of cattails for the first time, I was excited to begin my drawing. 
 I painted three, really large cattails that covered most of my piece of paper and proudly showed them to her when she came by my desk. She looked at them and said, with a frown on her face,  “Oh, no, dear – that’s not what I wanted – you should have done something more like THIS,” and she pointed to Ronnie’s little masterpiece on the desk next to mine.  It was forty years before I touched a paintbrush again – seriously.
So now, thanks to the inspiration of so many of you, I’ve been encouraged to try again, and I’m having the time of my life. Here’s one of my latest experiments -- this design was printed from my photocopier onto pre-treated fabric; following a suggestion from quilt artist Jill Buckley, I coated it with Aloe Vera gel to make the surface smoother.  I then colored it in with Tsukineko ink pens and quilted it with Sulky rayon thread, adding French knots for a little texture.
What fun!  I even stayed inside the lines.  If only Miss K. could see how far I’ve come . . .
Diane

Monday, November 8, 2010

Textile and Fiber Artists United!

"Ornamentals: #6"  ©2009  Diane Evans  5" x 7"
(for sale in my Etsy shop)
I’ve recently joined a terrific on-line organization of talented men and women; it’s titled the Textile And Fiber Art list and is the brainchild of artist and computer wizard Rachel Biel of Paducah, KY.  TAFA went live on February 1, 2010, and members include artists, gallery owners, suppliers, and other fiber/textile people.  As Rachel states, “Our common connection weaves us together: a love for textiles and fiber art, new and old, traditional and contemporary.  Some of us sell them, some of us make them, others collect or design with them.  All have an established web presence.”
Our group has recently launched an Etsy team comprised of TAFA members who have Etsy shops.  The goals of the TAFA Team include: helping our Etsy sellers reach a larger market and increase sales; encouraging each other to grow and improve our shops, marketing abilities, and product development; and growing and building on TAFA’s inner community to create real relationships within our group.
One of the promotional tools that Rachel is trying out is a blog written by members of the TAFA team.  Each of us is invited to submit a post from time to time, and Rachel rotates us into the blog.  You can click here to see an article I wrote recently.
Rachel added the video clip – if you have a few minutes (and you don’t mind Barry Manilow), take a look at this lovely video.  It made me fall in love all over again –  bear in mind, however, that I’m a huge Manilow Maven.
Want to see more or learn how to join TAFA?  Just click here.  You’ll find the energy is contagious and the members are incredibly talented and supportive.  Come join us!
Diane

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Blogger's Quilt Festival Is On!

"Wallflowers: #5"  ©2010  Diane Evans  (Private Collection)
It’s that time of year when Amy of Amy’s Creative Side begins her Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  This event is always so much fun – we all have the chance to view each other's favorite pieces and to share the stories behind our creations.
My entry is an art quilt that I made last year entitled “Wallflowers: #5.”  I’m especially proud of this little quilt, since it was juried into the 2009 National Small Art Quilt Works Exhibition at The Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY, and was subsequently sold by the gallery.  It was made with fabrics that were hand-dyed by Judy Robertson, and the piece is machine appliquéd and machine quilted with Sulky rayon threads.  I’m always happy when I’m putting flowers in my creations – if they won’t grow in my garden (and they don’t), at least I can put them up on the wall.  They don’t need watering, either.
Do visit Amy’s site and take a look at all the fiber artistry on display there – you’ll find it’s a real “treat” (pun intended).


Diane

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Looking For Space"


"Looking For Space" ©2010 Diane Evans  24" x 40"
Twelve years ago, I made my first set of Flying Geese in a curve; I learned the technique in my very first class at Quilting By The Lake with Caryl Bryer Fallert.  I was so proud of those geese -- I held onto them for years, waiting for the right project to come along so I could incorporate the little fellas into an art quilt.
Fast-forward to 2009: my fiber arts group, ARTAA, was invited to present an exhibition at the annual Adirondack Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival, and we chose the theme, “Flight.”  My inspiration had arrived -- I couldn’t wait to get started.
The idea of creating a kite-shaped quilt had been percolating in my mind for quite a while, so I worked out a design that would use the Flying Geese pieces and also fit the parameters we had set, which required the finished piece to be 24” wide, with no restriction on length.
I decided to use Caryl’s method of piecing:
1)  templates are cut from freezer paper and ironed to the back of the fabric
2)  each piece is cut out, leaving a ¼-inch seam allowance
3)  the seam allowance is folded over the template and ironed in place with the assistance of spray starch
4)  the pieces are joined with a fine zigzag stitch using invisible thread
The tricky part is deciding which pieces will be stitched over their neighbors; you fold the seam allowance to the back on an OVER piece, and you leave the seam allowance sticking outward on an UNDER piece.  This method definitely engages both halves of the brain – I found myself trying to think like an engineer.
In a future post, I plan to share the binding technique I came up with for creating a mitered corner that is smaller than 90° -- a REAL test of my construction abilities.
And I’m curious to know: did I win a prize for taking 12 years to complete a wall quilt?? What’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever worked on a piece???  Do share!
Diane

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More Happenin' things

©2009 Diane Evans  Our House  14” x 20”
If you live or plan to vacation near Los Alamos, New Mexico, stop by the Fuller Lodge Art Center between October 1 and November 13 to view their “Fall Fiber and Fashion Show”.  This exhibit is the art center’s salute to the fall season and features works in all media.  Contributing artists were invited to “play with form and function in fiber, or to design, create, and display their own fashions.”  The show will feature wall art and sculpture, as well as jewelry, scarves, handbags, and hats.
I feel most fortunate to have had four of my wall quilts juried into this wonderful show; you can see these pieces, along with the works of the other exhibitors, on the art center’s web site here.  This promises to be an exhibition of exciting and diverse art – I hope you can visit. I'm unable to see the show myself, so if you go, please be sure to tell me all about it  -- my quilts travel to more places than I do . . .
Diane

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's Happenin'?

Color My World   55" x 55" © 2008 Diane Evans
I’m very fortunate to be participating in some wonderful fiber art exhibits during the next few months – hope you can drop in and visit.
First up is an exhibit at the Adirondack Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival, which is an annual event at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.  A number of artists will be showing their skills in such areas as spinning, weaving, knitting, and quilting, and members of ARTAA will be there to discuss a number of techniques in the creation of wall art.
A special themed exhibit by ARTAA members entitled “Flight” will be one of the features of the show, along with other works created by the women of this group, including the piece pictured above.  For a sneak peek of some of the pieces on display, check the ARTAA blog here.  (I’ll be posting pictures of my entry . . . just as soon as I finish it . . . which will be soon . . . honestly . . .)
Join in this “celebration of traditional and contemporary fiber arts” at the museum on Saturday, September 25, from 10 AM until 5 PM.  For more information on the demonstrations and displays during the day, click here.
Diane

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds   11" x 14"   Diane Evans  2010
I realized recently, as I was stitching swirls and feathers into a small wall quilt, that my machine quilting reminds me a little of my own hair, the difference being that I have more control over the machine quilting.  So when I saw a sketch by artist Traci Bautista in the book, “Creative Time and Space,” by Ricë Freeman-Zachery, I was inspired to create (with Traci’s permission) a small portrait where machine quilting motifs became the subject’s tresses.
Parts of both Lucy’s eye and mouth were drawn with Tsukineko ink pens; the rest of the design was stitched with 40-weight rayon thread.  I felt she needed a little bling, so I added French knots, using silver metallic thread.  The title came easily, since the silver threads sparkled like diamonds in her hair.
The piece was mounted on fiber core inside a mat board; I couched blue Perle Cotton around the perimeter of the design so that it would show just inside the opening of the mat.
Lucy was a joy to create from start to finish.  If only my hair could look like hers . . .

Diane

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Art Is In The Cards

One of the talented members of ARTAA, Francelise Dawkins, recently demonstrated to the group her method for creating art cards to sell at gallery shows.  The results were so dynamic that I decided to try my hand at making them using Francelise’s techniques.
I began with note cards purchased at Target; I chose brightly colored cards with coordinating envelopes, since I thought they would complement the colors in my wall quilts.  I printed photos of the quilts onto matte photo paper and sized each one so that approximately one-quarter inch of the card stock would frame the picture.  The photos were adhered with rubber cement; each card was then hand-signed, and a label was attached to the back.
The cards have a much nicer look and feel to them than the ones which I had previously printed directly onto card stock; the quilting stitches are much more visible, and the variations in the hand-dyed fabrics show up nicely as well.
These art cards are available for sale at my Etsy shop; please drop by for a visit.  And do check out Francelise’s beautiful fiber art here and at her brand new shop, Feenex, located in Saratoga Springs.
And, as always, my thanks for taking this fiber art journey with me.
Diane

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm a Shop Owner!


Citrus Grove, 12" x 12", ©Diane Evans
I’ve heard so many people talking about the terrific web site, Etsy, and the wonderful handcrafted items that are available there.  So, after some enjoyable exploration and a purchase or two, I decided to open a shop of my own.
My plan is to offer many of my small creations (such as the one pictured above) for sale on the site, and I’m discovering that it’s a fairly easy process to post the items.  An added benefit is that I’m learning to use my camera more effectively, since photos of the pieces are such an important element in the presentation.  My Sony CyberShot and I are getting along pretty well, and I’ve found that a tri-pod is an invaluable assistant.
Please stop by my shop for a visit; the link is here.  And, if you find something you'd like to purchase, I know I'll be sending it to a good home.
Diane

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hearts for Linda


One of the members of our fiber art group, our dear friend Linda Shea, is leaving New York and moving to sunny California.  The group decided that each of us would make a fabric square for her, using “heart” as the theme and creating it in our own individual style.  Hopefully, after she settles in to her new home, she will assemble the squares into a quilt of memories of her friends at ARTAA.
I have a special passion for feather-stitching, and feather motifs lend themselves so easily to the shape of a heart, so this is the design that became my contribution to Linda’s quilt.  To give stability to the fabric square, I fused it to Pellon Shirtailor® interfacing; the design, which had been drawn onto tracing paper, was then transferred to the fabric with the aid of my trusty light box.  The piece was then free-motion stitched using Sulky 40-weight rayon threads.  I had an embroidery hoop waiting in the wings, in case the fabric showed signs of puckering, but I needn’t have worried – the interfacing did its job beautifully.
Linda, I hope you know that our hearts will be with you always – you are a treasure.
Diane

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Christmas in July

I think that the last time I was this excited after opening up a box was Christmas Day – just look at what I found inside the box that arrived from England this week . . .

I ordered a messenger bag from Tracey Pereira through her blog, and it’s here!  I absolutely love it!!  The bag is beautifully constructed and is every bit as wonderful as the photo depicted it to be; I plan to use it as a carrier for my laptop. 

And the special little surprise tucked into the package was this sheet of hand-dyed pre-cut feathers – these were just too special for words.  Tracey said that she remembered how much I love this motif and decided to include these little treasures with my order.  My mind is going through a dozen possibilities for giving these gorgeous pieces center stage in a new quilt – this is going to be so much fun.
Do visit Tracey’s blog and check out the other messenger bag designs there.  And my heartfelt thanks to you, Tracey – you made my week!
Diane

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Ding, dong, the quilts are done . . .

Which new quilts?
Commission quilts!
Ding, dong, commission quilts are done!”
“Simple Gifts” ©2010 36” x 36”



 Yes, they truly are finished.  I’ve received my final payment from Gary, and I will be delivering the pieces to him tout de suite.  I've gone back to working on my NUTs (Nagging Unfinished Tasks) and my QuIPs (Quilts In Progress).  It feels good to be playing with bright colors again -- I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms from not spending enough time with my friends Fuchsia and Chartreuse.
 

The machine quilting on “Simple Gifts” was kept, well, simple, to reflect the Shaker style, and I used a neutral thread to enhance the colors of the quilt, rather than contrast with them.  And, yes, there are three more quilts just like this one at home.

Creating these wall quilts provided me with great experience and increased wisdom.  My thanks go out to all of you who have followed me on this journey and who offered sage advice when I needed it – I do so appreciate your support.

Diane

Monday, May 31, 2010

"How Does Your Garden Grow?"

"April Love"(4"x6")

I hope the saying “better late than never” applies to this piece, because it was supposed to be my entry for the April postcard challenge theme, “How Does Your Garden Grow?”  It’s now almost June, and the garden should be in full bloom; however, my little art piece, much like my 
backyard garden, grew v-e-r-r-r-y slowly.
I used a method that Jill Buckley has written about on her blog – I scanned a black-and-white sketch onto pre-treated commercial fabric and then colored in the design with Tsukineko ink pens.  I added some machine quilting and French knots, and the edge is satin-stitched with 40-weight rayon thread.
This method brought me back to kindergarten days – I love coloring, and now that I’m a big girl, I can even stay inside the lines (most of the time).  I can’t wait to try this again.
Diane

Monday, May 24, 2010

Of Fiber Art and The Bare Necessities

"Just A Doodle: #12"
Not long ago, I emailed my dear friend and fellow blogger, Jill Buckley, to whine a little.  I was lamenting the fact that the routines of life were interfering with my ability to make art quilts as often as I’d like to; I can’t seem to figure out how to get everything else done, like laundry and dishes and cleaning and exercising and grocery shopping and buying underwear (a hateful task), not to mention spending quality time with hubby, who does so many of the mundane tasks around here and who is feeling a bit neglected lately.  
“What am I doing wrong?” I asked Jill.
I received a beautiful and thoughtful email in return; Jill wrote:
“I guess you have to ask yourself what YOU want to be doing.  Are you happy with the amount of artwork you are currently producing?  Why do you create?”
Jill told me that she spent many years working incredibly long hours being excessively productive, and that now she is content “just letting it happen.  Did I accomplish much today?  No, not really, but I did play a little, and some new ideas are bouncing around in my noggin.  One day they will leap out and become something for real.”
So I DID ask myself what I want to be doing, and the answer came back that, although I’d love to be producing more fiber art, this is my life right now, and I need to embrace it.  Being a woman of a certain age and having found my passion only recently, I think I’m afraid something will take it all away.
Therefore, starting today, I am adopting The Buckley Mantra: Play each day, one at a time, and celebrate that which emerges.  Do something related to fiber art, even if it’s only fondling the fabric.  My best stuff will probably happen when I’m relaxed and playful (Jill’s words).  Every day that I can stitch or draw or paint is a good day, and I am a lucky girl.
And I have clean underwear.
Diane

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm Finally Playing With A Full Deck!



Sylvia Thomas, one of the wonderful people at the American Quilter’s Society office in Paducah, sent me an email a while ago, requesting permission for AQS to use images of two of my latest quilts on their promotional items.  I was over the moon, to put it mildly, and last week I received these items in the mail: a deck of playing cards with details of “Pieces of Dreams” on the box and on the backs of the cards, and luggage tags with a detail of “Color My World” on the front.  What a thrill!
The cards and tags were offered for sale at the AQS shows in Lancaster and Paducah, and, although the tags are currently sold out, the decks of cards are still available; please contact AQS directly if you’re interested.  I’m thinking these will make great stocking stuffers at Christmas, if I can wait that long.
Diane

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame


Actually, it’s closer to three, but I’m still tickled about it.
A little over a year ago, I joined “Art-N-Soul,” a local organization created by artist and entrepreneur Janet Tanguay, whose purpose is to support and promote area artists in all media.  Janet has recently developed a project entitled “Art-N-Soul Inc. TV,” where the experts at Cotton Hill Studios in Colonie, NY, produce a video of an artist in his or her studio and publish it on YouTube.  Janet asked me if I felt adventurous enough to be the first artist to be taped, and I was delighted.
It was a great experience from beginning to end; Janet and I prepared questions for the taping; the extremely professional crew from Cotton Hill “scouted” my studio to determine if the location would be suitable; and the taping took about 4 hours.
I’ve included the first 3 minutes of the video above; the complete version can be seen here, if you’ve got a little more time to view it.  Janet and the people from Cotton Hill did such a wonderful job of making me feel comfortable throughout the entire process – I can’t thank them enough.
“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”


Diane

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Art de Cure -- A Great Cause!

If you live in the New York Capital District area, and you like great art, and you love supporting a terrific cause, then you’ll want to come to the Art de Cure Gala on Friday evening, April 16, from 6PM to 10 PM.  This fantastic multi-media event will be held at The Endocrine Group, Suite 300, of the Washington Center Medical Arts Building, located at 1365 Washington Avenue in Albany.  Enjoy an evening of wine tasting, great food, entertainment, and both silent and live art auctions, with proceeds to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The event will also serve to kick off the opening of the Art de Cure Gallery, a permanent space housed at The Endocrine Group, where new art shows will be held three times a year and portions of the proceeds will be donated to the ADA.
Pictured above is “Feather Play II,” shown in one of my earlier posts, which will be part of the silent auction during the gala.  
 If you're interested in purchasing this piece, with a portion of the sale given to the ADA, just contact me at: 
Diane@DEsignedByDianeEvans.com
 If you’d like to attend the gala, please call (518) 482-1795 for more information.  It promises to be an exciting evening – please join us for the fun!

Diane

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Needle


I’ve heard it said by People Who Are Experts In These Matters that, if you want to get better at your art, you should learn from the best.  For me, that means turning to my library of copyright-free books and sketching.
Several weeks ago, I was sidelined by a sinus infection (nasty little bugger), and the only thing I felt like doing was drawing – I couldn’t even bring myself to sit at the sewing machine for five minutes.  So I pulled out two of my favorite design sources: “Floral Patterns,” by Pepin van Roojen, and “4000 Flower & Plant Motifs,” by Graham Leslie McCallum. 



I copied motifs and embellished them with my own details and generally tried to make myself feel as though I was producing some art from the snuggly comfort of my bed.
And, by gosh, between blowing my nose and using the neti pot, I had fun.  My plan is to turn some of these drawings into postcards – after all, the real fun is in adding the COLOR.



Diane

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've Been Tagged!

I was fortunate this past week to have been tagged with a blogging award from Diane Wright, whose blog (click here) is wonderful.  Thank you, Diane!
[Beautiful_Blogger.jpg]
Now, here are the rules for this award:
1)  Thank the person who gave you this award.
2)  Share 7 things about yourself.
3)  Pass the award along to 5 bloggers who you have recently discovered and you think are fantastic!
4)  Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.
I’m tagging the following bloggers to be fellow recipients of this award (click on their names to reach their blog):
So, here are Seven Things About Myself:
1)  I consider red a neutral color.
2)  I love deciphering CryptoQuips (coded phrases) in our daily newspaper.
3)  I always wanted to be a rock star; the closest I’ve come is cantoring at my church on weekends.
4)  I’m so reluctant to cut into my fabrics that many of them are sun-faded from being on the shelf too long.  I am working to overcome this.
5)  I backpacked through Europe when I was 21.
6)  I am a HUGE fan of “House, M.D.” and “The Good Wife.”
7)  I have a T-shirt that says, “Does Anal Retentive Have a Hyphen?” (It was a gift.)
Hope everyone has a terrific week – may the muse be with you.

Diane

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Little Art Quilter That Could: The Construction

What I've Learned So Far:
1) No matter how hard you try, it is virtually impossible to cut fabric on your cutting mat if the fabric is the EXACT SAME COLOR as the cutting mat.
2) The iron is your best friend.
3) It is entirely possible to pin two pieces of a block together and also pin them to your pants at the same time.
4) Henry Ford knew what he was talking about: It is far more efficient to put things together using an assembly line.


This month has been a time of great learning for me. I decided to make one complete quilt top from my commission before tackling the other three, which are identical to the first. It was one of the great decisions of my life. There were so many bugs to work out and so many mistakes in calculation that, had I cut out all the pieces for all four quilts, I might now be ordering more fabric.
I made a chart (shown below) to determine the amount of fabric I needed by drawing diagrams of the layouts I planned to use for the pieces. This was time-consuming, but immensely valuable. However, I over-ordered the fabric by more than I had hoped, so I now have enough to make two more quilts. If I can just convince the nursing home directors to build two more facilities, I'm all set.

I’m now on track with the remaining three quilts, doing production work. I have even managed to channel Eleanor Burns: I am chain-piecing like a pro, and, when I’m cutting fabric, I throw the excess over my shoulder with carefree abandon.
Shown above is a picture of the completed quilt top; the suggestions that many of you gave to me regarding the best thread to use for piecing were greatly appreciated; I'm finding that the Aurifil 50-weight is moving through the fabric like butter.  So, on to the quilting!


Diane

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"All You Need Is Love"


When Colorful Art Girl posted the theme for March’s Postcard Challenge, “Words To Live By,” this idea jumped into the front of my mind and wouldn’t leave until I had completed the piece.  I rarely work on a white background, so I thought I’d give it a go – and now I remember why I rarely work on a white background: It’s rather unforgiving of stitching mistakes.  However, this is my year of Thinking Outside The Box, so I decided to persevere and ignore the little holes left by ripped-out stitches.
Everything is fused, especially the words, which were printed on fabric and cut out using tweezers to hold them (I was determined).
I was tickled with the result; I’d love to expand the idea to a larger piece and add embellishments to it – beads or hand embroidery, maybe.  I’m finding these postcards to be wonderful springboards to new and different projects.
Visit here if you’d like to join the challenge!  And, as always, thank you for being out there -- it's wonderful to feel connected to such a fabulous group of kindred souls.


Diane

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Things We Love"


This was the theme for February’s Postcard Challenge by Leah Cottam at Colorful Art Girl, and it really was a bit of a challenge for me to choose just one thing that I love.  So I followed the first thought that came into my head and selected free-motion feathers.
The design is adapted from one of Mary Nordeng’s motifs in her book, "Extreme Makeover: Feather Edition" (I just LOVE this book), and I added some of my own touches to it.  I knew I had chosen the right subject when I realized how much fun I was having while quilting it.  What a great prompt for the month of Valentines, Leah!
My husband is in the kitchen this morning, and the aroma of chocolate biscotti and pasta fagioli is filling the house.  Talk about things we love . . . 
Life doesn’t get any better than this.
(Guess who’ll be getting the Valentine card . . .)

Diane

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Another Opening, Another Show"

Has cabin fever set in?  Are you looking for something to do after the Olympics are over?  Could you use something new and colorful to adorn your walls?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then come to a beautiful fiber art show in Saratoga.  Seventeen artists, including many of the members of the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance, will be displaying their works at the Spring Street Gallery  located (where else??) on Spring Street in Saratoga.  Three of my pieces will be for sale at this venue, including “Aspenglow” (pictured above), and the ladies of ARTAA will also be selling beautiful note cards depicting their fiber art.
The show is titled "Under Cover", and the artists’ reception is Thursday, February 25, from 6 PM to 8 PM – won’t you join us for an evening of great refreshments and exciting art?
Diane

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Feather Play II


In an effort to stick to those pesky New Year’s resolutions I made, I decided to try thinking outside the box again.  I didn’t go too far outside this time – just a little experimentation with color.  I had purchased this fabric a while ago; fashion experts would probably call this shade Soft Taupe or Wild Mushroom – I just know that it isn’t represented by one of the letters in ROY G BIV, and that it intrigued me.
I modified one of the designs from Mary Nordeng’s book, “Extreme Makeover: Feather Edition,” and once again filled the feathers with different micro-stippling patterns.  I played with the thread colors, using 40-weight rayons in a gradation of blues and purples.
When I had finished, the piece looked like it needed a frame, so I took it to my local cross-stitch shop, where the owner, Cathy, does an outstanding job of matting and framing all types of needlework.
The piece is now hanging in our hallway, but it’s headed out to a show very soon.  I must admit that I was not as comfortable playing with colors that are not in my usual palette, but I learned from the doing, and that was good for me.  And I do have more of this fabric . . .

Diane

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Postcard Challenge

"On The First Day Of Christmas"
4" x 6"
ColorfulArtGirl from California has begun a monthly postcard challenge through her blog; she wrote to tell me about it when she read about my own personal postcard journey.  I love the idea of having a prompt to jumpstart the creativity, so here goes:
The Inspiration Words for January were “bird” and “yellow” – and my mind immediately went to A Partridge in a Pear Tree (it was still close to Christmas, you see . . .).  Long ago, I had purchased a fabulous book titled “Appliqué Art,” by Stewart Merrett; in it, this incredibly talented artist demonstrates how he has transformed silks and velvets into quilted masterpieces.  I immediately began collecting all sorts of specialty fabrics, including velvets, satins, and upholstery silks, and I planned to try every project in his book.
I adapted one of his designs for a pear and added my own tiny partridge to the composition.  She seemed to need some ornamentation when I was finished, so I added a feathered crown (I’m fairly certain that partridges don’t really look like this, so I ask your indulgence).  The materials are velvets and suedes, and the picture doesn’t really do them justice – the piece glistens as you view it from different angles.  The satin stitching (yes, I abandoned my usual flat zigzag stitch) is done with 40-weight rayon thread to add to the sheen.
 This was a lot of fun –  I can’t wait to try it again.  Be sure to visit here if you'd like to join in the challenge.
Diane

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remembering the Days Before Snow . . .


"Autumn in New York"
I love finding geometry in nature.  There’s a tree in our neighborhood that produces spherical pods each fall; it always reminds me of an illustration from a Dr. Seuss story.  I have seen paintings where the artist used round daubs of paint to represent leaves, and I wanted to achieve that same effect in fabric.

So I began cutting out circles from scraps of fusible-backed hand-dyed fabrics -- it’s a very meditative process, I discovered.  I fused them onto a beautiful piece of fabric from Caryl Fallert’s Gradations line for Benartex, and I quilted the whole piece with Madeira and Sulky 40-weight rayon thread.
The entire effect is reminiscent of our view of the Helderberg Mountains as we drive to the apple orchards each October for cider doughnuts (gosh, this is making me hungry!).
This piece will be on display, along with other works from the members of ARTAA (my fiber art group) at an upcoming show titled “Under Cover” at the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Please stay tuned for more information about the show in future posts.
Have a most creative week!
Diane




Saturday, January 16, 2010

A January "Anything But White" Sale!


Quilt artist Frieda Anderson is offering a terrific special during the month of January: With every order of $20 or more, she’s including 48 (yup – 48!) 5” pre-cut hand-dyed fabric squares.


 And just look at the colors!  The fabric shown at the top of the photo is the one-yard piece of Lime/Purple that I ordered, and these are just half of the squares she sent along as my gift!  And she tied it all together with a gorgeous strip of more fabric, shown at left.  I’m in Hand-Dyed Heaven!  Visit her web site and take advantage of this fantastic, colorful offer.


And a very Happy Birthday to my “twin sister” Marilyn Rock – be sure to take a peek at her blog for more visual delights.  Have a wonderful day, Marilyn!


Diane

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"It Was a Very Good Year"



I seem to be quoting Old Blue Eyes a lot lately . . .
My thanks to all of you who took the time to leave some great advice on my pre-Christmas blog post.  You reminded me of the important things to remember during the holiday season: letting go a bit, focusing on family and friends, remembering to breathe in and out.  Sometimes we just need to hear someone else tell us what we know to be true.
It really has been a very good year, and it was made even better by some recent exciting news: one of my quilts, "Dizzy," was accepted by Lark Books to be included in their upcoming publication, "500 Art Quilts," due out in the spring of 2010.  What a thrill!  I am so honored to have this little art quilt selected by juror Karey Bresenhan for inclusion in this collection.
Thanks you all for sharing in my joyful news -- and here's to a most creative 2010.


Diane


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