Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm into my last 24 hours before flying up to Canada. As I was packing I couldn't find a 'just right' purse. So I headed to the sewing room and made the right size with a zip closing to safely hold passport, tickets, etc. I unloaded a glaze load from the kiln and decided three of the buttons worked great to finish on my purse. The photo above shows the buttons as I was 'oxiding' them before firing- no they're not chocolate! (I wish they were!)Then I realized I needed something to protect the ipod my husband bought for me. Now to repack, take a few things out, so hopefully I don't have too much for the float plane. The weight limit in 25 lbs. but with a minimal extra baggage charge I can take up to 40 lbs. I need a lighter suitcase! I had hoped to take a couple of the fiber art books I've bought recently but no room, so I have my one paperback for the plane and I'll head to the library next week.
Before I leave I'd like to pass on the Karma award that Jackie surprised me with ....
I am fairly new to blog world but have sure been enjoying the unexpected bonuses such as meeting and getting to know some wonderful people. One of those people, Jackie, became a 'live' (as opposed to 'cyber')friend when we discovered we live very close to each other. As my focus for the past couple of months has been so much on fiber I'd like to pass this award on to these wonderful fiber art bloggers ....
And another cyber friend through EtsyVeg so very worthy of this award is

The following wording came with this award and for those who choose to pass it on can send these words on to some of their favorite bloggers .... The Karma Award: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kinds of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to some bloggers who may choose more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

While giving awards I'd like to mention the wonderful clay blogs by many of the Etsy Mudteam members. If you enjoy ceramics you'll enjoy their blogs and they are a friendly group! Here is a list of their blogs Etsy Mudteam Blogs

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 Joey Fund Auction - October 25, 2009

The Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England will hold their annual auction on October 25th. If you live in the area why not put it on your calendar. You could bid on this vase!Both our two dogs were rescued by a local cocker spaniel rescue group. Neither is a cocker spaniel but they were going to be put down by the shelter; Cleo because of her broken hip and other injuries and Nicolas because he had been so neglected that he had lost his fur and had sores on his body. Mona who ran the rescue, had an incredible intuition when it came to judging the character of dogs and would take on any challenge to save a dog she felt could become a loving companion. When we first met Mona she told us about Cleo and how she was her "million dollar dog". She had already been through two surgeries to correct her broken hip and had spend most of her puppy-hood confined in a cage so that her bones could heal. She was still wearing a boot when we adopted her as there was hope her broken foot would eventually heal. It didn't but Cleo doesn't seem to notice. She runs on three legs as quickly as Nicolas does on four! We often wonder what their lives were like before they were picked up and put into the shelter. Before we adopted Cleo she had been adopted out twice and returned each time. Her separation anxiety was more than what the first people could deal with. We were warned about this but had no idea what it actually entailed. After coming home to a house full of poop and pee and a very frantic dog we set up a video and saw the frenzy that Cleo worked herself into within minutes of us leaving the house. We tried leaving her five minutes, then ten, then fifteen, etc. but that didn't work. We tried confining her to a small space; that did not help. So we decided we would adopt our second dog a little earlier than planned. We contacted Mona and she knew who could do the job. Nicolas entered our lives and he saved Cleo. We immediately noticed a difference in her and although she was still upset when we left she didn't go into her frenzy; and eventually she didn't even run and hide when she saw us heading for the door. Dogs really are pack animals and all she needed was another pack member to stay with her. I can't thank Mona enough for all the work she did while she lived in South Florida saving so many dogs. With these two creatures she enriched our lives so much. I can't imagine these two loving dogs having to be put down; it isn't right. The world can be so cruel but there is such love and caring as well and so I will continue to support these wonderful people and organizations who do so much to save a life. Now I need to go hug my dogs! I'm thinking of printing this photoshopped image of Cleo onto fabric and working it somehow into a quilt. Or maybe print it onto clay?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bisque Load

A couple months our garage went into disarray (more than usual) as we moved the shelves from in front of the side door and unhooked the vent to the kiln, so that a new door could be installed. We are replacing all the exterior doors in the house and are still waiting for the front door to arrive. Unfortunately the doors are all on one permit and we cannot finish or paint anything until inspections are made. Rather than continue waiting I've finally decided to go ahead, move the shelves back against the new unfinished door, put everything else back in place and run my kiln. As much as I've loved the time in the sewing room I need to be in clay as much as fabric. So I loaded up the kiln and it will run this weekend as long the weather looks good. We seem to live in a lightening attractive area, with neighbors' home having been hit and our home's air conditioning knocked out. So I always fear the kiln will get the big zap if I run it during a bad storm. So here's hoping for a quiet weekend!

That crack on the lower shelf still has me concerned. These shelves cracked during their first firing. I called the company to ask about it and they said they had been having that problem but they assured me they would not crack all the way across and that they are safe to use. With shelves being very expensive I continue to use them, but each time I hope they were right!

I spent some time last week making some buttons and 'curls' as they are easy to fit into a kiln load and they are great to have ready to use in the sewing room. The next step of applying oxides and glazes is the my least favorite step .... but that's next week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


That's the name of this little quilt. I started it as an entry for the 2009 Breaking Traditions Art Quilt Exhibit. I learned about this show from Jackie. It benefits Bernie Berlin's "A Place to Bark", a non-profit organization that finds loving homes for abused and orphaned dogs and cats.

I started by brainstorming what 'home' meant to me. Then I made several sketches of ideas. Finally I pulled out a couple crates of fabrics and settled on these. I consider patchwork a metaphor for life and home so I started there. Since collecting and reading so many books and articles on art quilting I decided to skip the traditional piecing and just cut, press onto an adhesive batting and stitch over the joins. Now to fill those patches of my home .... make my warm and cozy I sprinkled some lavender on one patch, some cinnamon stick pieces on another, palm tree bits from the yard, eucalyptus leaves and pine needles. I normally use these elements in my organic fiber studies that I add to my clay vessels but they are small and I can carry the fabric with its little seeds and petals to my machine, but this is 13" square and I want everything to stay in its own little box. I can't manage it without everything spilling all over, so I remember how the talented mixed media artists use Misty Fuse like glue. So I cut some Misty Fuse to fit under my little organic bits and then steamed with the iron without touching the surface. It worked! The heavier pieces needed a layer on top as well to really hold them. Home needed a few more elements so I added a couple of stamps for the communication and idea that others not physically present also make a home. Of course for me home can be symbolized by tea, representing the sharing of time and friendship. A Tazo bag added the bonus words of 'organic' and 'rich blend' and little piece of bag made a coffee table around which I embroidered hearts. Of course chocolate gladly enters a home so a few wrappers add some gold and once finished I would add a clay heart near the center of home. Seeings how the Misty Fuse was working so well I added another layer over the whole quilt to hold the netting in place while I quilted. Again this was a new step as with my little quilts for my clay work I don't mind getting some extra texture from the netting bunching up but I didn't want that with this piece. The one thing I noticed about using Misty Fuse is that it adds a slight gleam to the work which needs to be considered before choosing this route. Careful pinning is the route I'd take if I don't want that effect. Below it my piece after freehand quilting. The added layer of netting 'dulls' the work but in a way that I like. In fact that is often a reason for adding the netting, even if I didn't need it to hold those little tid-bits in place. Now to finish .... if this is going to 'Breaking Traditions' I had to trim it to an exact 12 by 12 inches. Oh dear, I felt it was at its best at 12.5" and so did my adviser, my husband. I debated but thought that I'm not ready to enter my quilts into shows and I may go trim it and 'chicken out' anyway. So this was a relief that it it's just too big. So I trimmed it to 12.5" square, cut some squares to add triangle hangers at the back and started digging out fabrics for a binding. I settled on a dark and a light and laid it out to see if I still liked it. OK I thought, I can finish this .... added the binding and sewed on the clay heart. And the one who really makes our house a home, he says it's one of his favorites! Hearts and kisses to him!!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hand-dyed Fabrics, Books, Classes, Goodie Bags

Those are some of the things you could win if you head over to Two Creative Studios and sign up for their newsletter. Have a look at all the great classes Sue and Terri offer! They also have some excellent freebie classes to get you started. Their blogs and websites are also a wealth of information and if you'd rather buy it than make it, check out their shops here and here.
PS I bought a journal similar to the one shown here, and I love it!!!!

Don't leave yet as ANOTHER wonderful giveaway is going on over at Judi's blog where the winner will be receiving two yards of her hand-dyed fabric!!! Head over and have a look ..... will you share with me if you win any of these great prizes???!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Open Studio Friday

If you enjoy studio tours check out Jennifer Cameron's blog on Fridays as she features various artist studios in "Open Studio Friday". Today you'll find photos from my two studio spaces, clay and fiber. When Jennifer asked me if she could feature my studio I had a look at the studio space she had just featured and was somewhat hesitant; following Ken Rieves space was intimidating! But I went for it, took some photos and sent them off. I considered cleaning up more but realized she probably wanted the photos this year, so you can see the studio as it really is.

If you're looking for a beautiful glass focal bead Jennifer makes them and more!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Wild Brunch

FedEx just delivered these two pieces to Calabasas, California. They are my donation to the silent auction at The California Wildlife Center's annual fundraiser in Malibu. I wish I could be there with my pots because the food, the wine, the entertainment, the setting, all sounds fabulous! And it is all to help with the wonderful work of the wildlife center. If you are in the area or close enough to make the trip, tickets and information: click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nic at Play

No clay or fabric here, but I couldn't resist catching a series of photos of Nicolas as he jumped onto the clean slip-cover as we were about to cover the sofa.

He dug himself in .....
..... rolled himself up .....

Rolled all about .....

Finally noticed I was snapping photos, so emerged to see what was happening .....

And finally pooped himself out and fell asleep...