Sunday, June 28, 2009

Revolve: Ceramic Interpretations

I missed the opening of this show earlier this month but fortunately made it to the closing. What a great show! All ceramics and for the fabric lover there were four wonderful conceptual clay quilts by Nazare Feliciano. Dog lover or not you'd have to love Karla Walter's dog sculptures. I so wanted to touch the wonderful organic sculptures by Helen Otterson, Bethany Krull and Elizabeth Coleman. And functional pots were not forgotten, including luscious wood fired and sgrafitto work by Justin Lambert and Daniel Ricardo Teran. I forgot my camera but for some photos of the show and info on each of the artists visit

Photo Credit to Justin Lambert

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Storm

Earlier this week when the cool air came south and met our record breaking heat, the resulting storm downed part of a large tree by our yard. Above photo was taken from the window during the storm. Below is our crumpled fence.

My husband asked if I could make use of any of this in my art. I have collected a few pieces of bark and tree that may fit into a pot or quilt. And some bark photos could print nicely onto fabric.

Cleo and Nicolas enjoyed the post storm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guilty Play & Clay on the Way

Last summer after returning home from visiting a quilt show I was so inspired to paint on fabric but I had no plain fabric and I couldn't wait to go to the store. So I found an old pillow case in the cupboard, some old fabric paints, a sponge and a spray bottle. I felt a little guilty as the pillow case was from my mother many, many years ago. There was some crochet and embroidery on it but looking closely I was sure it had been machine done, so it couldn't have been made done my grandmother. So the sentimental guilt was eased but I was still haunted by the 'green' guilt - 'if I'm not using this pillow case give it away to someone who will use it'. My creative need ignored the guilt and my paint loaded sponge hit the waiting white fabric! I sponged away, spritzing a little here and there, and squirted some dimensional swirls before releasing an 'ahhh, that felt good'! I didn't waste any of that pillow case; I cut the back away and quickly painted another piece. That piece I quilted for my first whole cloth wall quilt.

My sponged piece has been stashed away for a year now and in going through my piles I found it yesterday. Although I should have been working I decided to play; I needed to try out my Timtex. (that's right I'd never used it until yesterday!) I backed three 4x6" pieces with Timtex. My painted fabric is no work of art so it needed something more.
I found some dried flowers and decided to make a little series with those. I've finished one so far; I topped everything with some purple tulle and free hand quilted over it all. This one I finished with some yarn. I may repeat that or add some variegated satin stitching on the others.
Oh, the clay - I feel I have abandoned my clay but we are having doors replaced and I cannot get my kiln back in place until the garage door is inspected and painted. But I do have some pieces waiting to be fired. These will each have some fiber added - either stitches or I want to experiment with a crocheted liner for the bowl here. Maybe I can work in the crocheted piece from the pillow case!

Friday, June 12, 2009

art UNLEASHED 2009

If you are near Jacksonville, Florida on July 10th enjoy the art, fabulous food and cocktails at the annual 'art UNLEASHED'. Proceeds help end animal homelessness and fund spay/neuter programs by First Coast No More Homeless Pets. Last year I sent one of my first art quilts, "Paws and Pearls" for the silent auction. This year I made " Escape the Bars" inspired by Ricky Tims 'Convergence Quilts'.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clay Purse Under Construction

Here's a shot of a clay purse I started last week. Right now it stands about 14" tall. I rolled out the clay; drew the purse pattern shapes on paper and cut out the parts. It is just like sewing except that I join the seams with scoring and slip (very wet clay) and lots of pinching and smoothing. I reach inside and push out the clay until I am happy with the shape; then some stamping of the surface and reach inside to push it out some more; a bit of smoothing, re-stamping, pushing, until all feels and looks right. I cut some straps, add some texture and let them sit and stiffen up a bit before attaching, otherwise they'll just slump over. I cut some heart shapes (not in the photo but you can look down the page to see a finished purse), textured and added the holes so they can be stitched on after the final firing. I used the clay button holes to place holes on the straps so everything will match up when I'm ready to add the buttons. Oh, I also added four feet before piercing holes in the front where I will stitch on a fabric pocket.

I covered it all with a plastic dry cleaning bag for a few days to help the moisture in the clay to move evenly between joined parts which helps it dry without warping or cracking. I remove the plastic a few times each day and then finally take it off and allow the piece to dry completely before firing. This is my favorite stage when it is still dark; just slightly moist yet very firm. Must be why I like the oxide, naked clay finish ... gives it that similar look. In a couple weeks I'll be working on the fabric pocket!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Creating Organic Fiber Studies

I'm often asked at shows how I create the organic fiber studies found in and on much of my pottery. Here's how they are done....

I start with a foundation fabric (or sometimes a thin piece of metal) and add seeds, dried flower petals, leaves, yarns, threads, candy wrappers, etc. I use anything that fits with the piece I am creating. Sometimes it is my mood and the message I am working on, that dictates what I include. Other times it is all about the color. I do like to include small bits of recyclables to remind us the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. (Now that is a whole other post!)

Once the petals and other materials are placed as I like them I place a piece of netting over it all. I carefully carry it all to the sewing machine and start quilting. Now sometimes I am working too big to carry it all without disturbing it. So sometimes I use a little glue or other means of holding it all down. Most times I'm happy with a little serendipity; or just let it all move about and land as it may. I can always add another layer on top and continue with layers until I am happy.

I usually lower the feed dogs and stitch about freely, sometimes outlining the larger pieces, especially if they may break the needle if I hit them, or if I've used glue. (I try not to gum up my needle.) You can also use glues formulated with the sewing machine in mind. Sometimes I have some handy, sometimes not.

For thread, I usually use invisible thread but sometimes I'll stitch some yarn in place as I quilt. In that case I'll zig-zag over the yarn as I go. If my fiber study will be mounted on the outside of my clay, I will finish the edges by add some yarn around the edges. I like the fun fuzzy finish! It is such a contrast to my earthy finished clay.

Another option is adding some scrunch to the fiber study. If I want a puffy scrunchy texture I will quilt everything to a backing of Solvron. Once the stitching is completed I heat some water in the microwave until it is 165 degrees F. I pour it over my fiber study and almost instantly the fabric gathers up creating the most wonderful texture. If I heat the water too much all the backing will disappear and no texture is left. So it is important to only partially dissolve the backing Solvron.

Finally I cut the fiber study to fit the clay piece it is being created for and I stitch it in place. Pictured is an organic fiber study being made; before and after being 'puckered' and finally mounted onto a stoneware plate. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fiber Cyber Places

You may have noticed the welcome comments as I started into blogging. If you love fiber art you'll love checking out the blogs and sites of Sue and Terri. They have lots of inspirational pieces, fun techniques, book reviews, finished work and their own books and e-courses! Check out their links as they have lots to offer!

I bought a new book a couple weeks ago and Melanie, the author is hosting a series of video prompt challenges using the techniques from her book. Her book "Inspired to Quilt" has me inspired!

And the magazine that got me back into fiber art is "Quilting Arts". I picked up a copy a few years ago while back at university working on my BFA. I had an assignment in Graphic Design and my instructor was encouraging me to use my clay work in my assignments. As I was reading through the Quilting Arts I had an ahaa moment and I went on to add some fiber studies to my clay slabs. Since then I've continued in my pursuit of incorporating fiber with my clay.

A few weeks ago I joined Quilting Arts online forum and quickly met some fellow fiber artists. And one of those artists lives very close to me so we met in person last week. I met Jackie and Belinda at FAU and we visited the quilted books display, part of the Jaffe Collection at the FAU library. It was a great day!

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful inspired week!