Monday, June 28, 2010

Drawings Drawings Everywhere

I have been reading The Confident Creative  by Cat Bennett , which is a different kind of drawing book.  Unlike most books, which go through the mechanics of drawing, this book talks about the spirit of drawing, with a few prompts and suggestions at the end.  She talks about embracing drawing as a daily practice, similar to a daily workout or yoga routine, as a way to connect with yourself and your world in a deeper way.  Product isn’t as important as process, though, as with any practice, daily application will show results over time.

With that in mind, I got out the giant clipboard and pad of paper from art school and drew this:


Jumbo red crayon on “Biggie” sketchpad, it is about 18” high by about 16” wide.

drawings detail In this detail you can see the rough quality of the crayon on paper.  Sometimes drawing is as much about the tactile nature of the process for me as it is about the results.  Cat talks about this in her book, suggesting that the artist vary the drawing instrument or the surface on which one draws.

journal drawings three

Birds are also showing up in my journal drawings.  This is pen and ink in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Another prompt talks about drawing objects from your daily life.  I still love exotic beads and have made several necklaces for myself in the recent past.  These offer portable still lifes, and I can sit at Donkey Coffee and create a new world.


journal drawings two You can see my to-do list under the drawing.  This practice isn’t about Art, it’s about seeing and focus.  Later I can develop Art from these beginnings, if I choose.


journal drawings four

I made this necklace for myself for my 40th birthday.  It’s made with cool blues and greens, like so many of my necklaces.  The sticker is from an organic cucumber I purchased at Whole Foods.  I just love the farm’s name.

journal drawings one

This year’s birthday necklace, including a note where I just phoned in the shape of the bead rather than giving it my full attention.

Whether or not these drawings turn into larger pieces isn’t the point.  My intention with them is to spend some focused time doing something I love.  So far I’ve really enjoyed it.  Sometimes the simplest tools give the best results.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Display Your New Art Quilt


One of the most common questions when selling fiber works is  “How do I display this piece?”  As you can see, hanging your new art quilt isn’t much different than hanging a print or a painting.  When I ship an art quilt to its new home, it comes ready to display.


Smaller quilts (30” x 40” and under) come with a wood display rod.  I use either 1/4” pine or poplar, which is drilled and sanded, ready to use.

quilt rod in sleeve

Each quilt comes with a 4” sleeve on the back to facilitate display.  There is an ease in the sleeve so that the piece will sit smoothly on the wall without unsightly bumps. 

closeup of monofilament in rod

The piece can be hung using either 20 lb test fishing line, pulled taut, as seen above, or picture wire, as shown below. 

quilt rod with picture wire

Alternate options include nailing the piece to the wall through the holes in the hanging rod, or making one loop of monofilament through each hole and hanging from two separate nails or clips.

alternate way of quilt rod hanging

Pieces larger than 30” x 40” hang well on 1/2” pipe.  Holes are drilled at each end and the piece is displayed using the two separate loop method.  This is the way “Marilyn” and “Route 33, Summer Morning” were exhibited at the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Competition two years ago, and I have used it for subsequent exhibitions with great success.  Shipping costs for larger pieces will include an extra charge for shipping a longer hanging rod, or you can elect to buy your own hanging device and waive the extra shipping fee.

metal quilt rod

Below, the small piece “Night Watch”,  11.5” x 11.5”, shown displayed using the picture wire and rod method.

night watch hanging

Of course, no art should ever be displayed in direct sunlight.  Should the piece become dusty, I clean the smaller pieces by shaking them out, while larger pieces can be gently vacuumed using a piece of window screen between the vacuum and the piece to prevent anything being sucked into the hose.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Take Me to the River

Last week, we actually had half a day to take a ride out to Marietta and follow the Ohio River back down into Parkersburg.  When I was a kid, we used to come down to Athens to visit my grandparents, and each trip included a ride in the country.  I didn’t get it at the time, and spent most of those rides with my nose buried in a book.  But time (and glasses!) happened, and now I love to go out and see the verdant hillsides when they are in full summer bloom.

izzy at the river

Here’s Izzy, balancing on a piece of driftwood at the banks of the Ohio.

izzy and the geese one

We took some bread for the geese.  Here they are figuring out what’s going on.

izzy and the geese two

The white geese were really persistent.

Marty at the river

Marty was watching the boats on the river.  We also saw several fish leaping out of the river.  I have never seen that before, and found it really cool.

donkey journal one

Sometimes when we are riding out in the country, I imagine what the insides of the old farmhouses are like.  (Pilot Precise pen and Inktense pencil in Moleskine sketchbook).

donkey journal two

And what the wildlife thinks.

donkey journal three

And then I design pieces incorporating the colors, textures and feelings of those trips.

donkey journal four

And finally, I go into the studio and create my own “ride in the country”:

safe harbor

“Safe Harbor”  15.5”  x 15.5”  Reverse applique, fusible bias tape, hand beaded, machine quilted.

midnight snack

“Midnight Snack”  16” x 18” (measurements approximate)  Reverse applique, machine embroidery, machine quilted, fusible bias tape, hand beading.

summer joy

“Summer Joy” 20” x 16”  Reverse applique, fusible bias tape, fusing (in black circles), machine quilting, hand beading.

The progression of inspiration isn’t always this obvious to me, but each piece holds something of a place I have experienced, even if it is just a color that reminds me of the sky over Mound Road by my grandparents’ homes, or an object, such as a colander or water tower, that I remember loving since I was a small child.  It’s always a surprise to have these flashes of memory in the middle of the long production process.

What shows up in your work without you realizing it?