30 August 2007

Recycle, reuse, repurpose

This is a picture of the table that was in my parents' kitchen for most of my childhood. It's a solid, sturdy table with a maple butcher-block top and it's lived in my studio for the last five years or so. I'm recycling the top into the top of my new storage/work station. Imagine a "kitchen island" on wheels with storage on three sides and you'll have a fair idea of where I'm going. I removed the legs and flipped the top face down on the floor of my studio. I only want to drill holes into the underside, so it's easier to construct the base completely upside down.

This is one side with its dividers in place. There will be shelves but they aren't cut yet.

This is the opposite long side, also waiting for shelves.

And this is one short side with its shelves in place. Once the wheels are attached I'll need to find a football team to help me turn it right side up. This magilla is heavy!! My husband was mumbling something about adding a support beam in the basement under my studio, which might not be a bad idea. I'd hate to find out the hard way that the floor couldn't support the weight of this fully loaded.

21 August 2007

Shut the door!

Who else remembers Señor Wences? His "shut the door" routine was one of my favorites. Anyway... the doors are now on the window seat. The two cabinets in my studio that form the ends of my worktable each have double doors (not shown). I must have sweet-talked my husband into adding them when I built those cabinets, because I haven't done doors before. That was not as easy as it looks (wait, did it look easy??) They appear to be a little crooked in the picture, but they're much straighter in person. The foam for the cushion is sitting on top, awaiting it's cover. And even though you can't see her, the dog was sitting on my lap while I took pictures because she was convinced that I wanted to take a picture of her and wouldn't get out of the way otherwise. Then when I was done and wanted to take her picture, she ran away. Contrary puppy.

Here's a view with the media cart in front of the window seat, acting like an artsy coffee table (but I don't drink coffee, so buckets of art supplies are much better.) I plan to start one more big (really big) piece of furniture tomorrow and then I might be good for a while. Although I sketched a taboret-like creature to hold buttons and little doodads - tall and skinny with lots of shallow drawers with dividers. Hmm...

20 August 2007

Progress! Media Storage

I went to IKEA last week with my favorite sister (okay, she's my only sister, but she's still my favorite!) and picked up six magazine holders and thought they'd be perfect for back issues of Quilting Arts, Cloth Paper Scissors, FiberArts and Surface Design. I started this piece yesterday afternoon and nearly finished today. It's a media cart, kind of coffee table-sized with room on one side for the magazine holders and a shallower space on the other side that is waiting for a piece of custom-cut acrylic. I tried to tell the nice man at the glass store that I'd really, really like it ready for tomorrow, but my urgency was not, alas, his urgency. So you'll have to wait for next week to see the other side (hey, if I have to practice patience, you have to too). I added wheels to the bottom so I can move it around or just out of the way.

And because the "law of flat surfaces" is still in effect in my studio, this is what happened as soon as the finish on the top was dry. I'm okay with this because it keeps these supplies handy, I wasn't going to use the top of this for anything in particular anyway, and why fight nature? I also cut, edged and sealed the doors for the window seat. Tomorrow I'll install the doors and their handles.

I've been on a quest for the "perfect fabric" for the window seat cushion and I may have found it. I ordered this gorgeous Kokka home-dec fabric this morning and hopefully it will arrive by Wednesday. And even more hopefully the colors and scale will be just right. I've already bought the foam for the cushion so now I'll have to see about clearing off space on my cutting mat and around my sewing machine - currently cluttered with a cordless drill, sandpaper in several grits, boxes of nails for the nail gun, the iron for the veneer tape, a bunch of stuff that came back from taping the Quilt Show in CO (and has yet to be put away), among many, many other things. More tomorrow...

18 August 2007

Back to the studio

After a busy month and a half, I'm finally getting back to my studio reno. Starting tomorrow I have four days off from work, a pile of wood and big plans! I'll be finishing my window seat and starting another storage unit. Have you ever noticed that the "law of flat surfaces" has a stronger force in a studio than nearly anywhere else (except maybe the dining table)? That is, if there is a flat surface it will become covered with stuff and rendered unusable in relatively short order, and more flat surfaces doesn't seem to help, the stuff expands to cover those as well. I'm working hard at creating "places for things to live" (appropriately labeled so I can find everything) so that at least one flat surface in my studio can stay free of clutter enough (consistently) to work - without having to de-clutter first. I use one of the large 24" x 36" rotary mats as a cutting surface and invariably I'm reduced to a 10" x 10" square area within the first half hour of working. I guess it's a good thing that I work small - but you'd think in a room almost 16 feet by 16 feet that I'd be able to find a larger (open) flat surface on which to work!

Stay tuned for progress updates. Then it's back to deadlines and commitments.

I don't believe in total freedom for the artist. Left on his own, free to do anything he likes, the artist ends up doing nothing at all. If there's one thing that's dangerous for an artist, it's precisely this question of total freedom, waiting for inspiration and all the rest of it. - Federico Fellini

09 August 2007

Art Cloth Workshop - 4th day/4th & final layer

Today's layer consisted of glitter, glitz and glimmer. The subtle (or not so subtle) addition of metallic hand-painted accents can really "finish" a piece of cloth. We used Pebeo gold and silver glitter finishes and Setacolor shimmers in a variety of metallic colors. There was also the option of adding text using two different methods. One involved inkjet printouts and gel medium, and the other used adhesive foam letters and cardboard to create rubbing plates. Shiva Paintstiks gently dragged across these text plates provided colorful words.

Susan chose evocative words to add to these two pieces of fabric.

Lisa combined text and glitter highlights in some of her work.

Melanie added sparkly accents to both of these pieces and used leaves for Paintstik rubbings.

Alice created two stamps last time and enhanced both freehand with metallic paint this week.

07 August 2007

A new friend made in Colorado

Here's a picture of Tracy Chapman from Sew Thankful and me outside of the Art Quilt Studio & Gallery in LaVeta, Colorado just prior to taping The Quilt Show last week. It was a joy to finally meet Tracy in person.

02 August 2007

The big day

What an interesting day today was! I arrived in LaVeta really late last night due to a delayed plane in Chicago and a terrible thunderstorm driving down from Colorado Springs but I still made sure to get up early to watch the first taping in the morning so I'd know what to expect when it was my turn in the afternoon. While I was waiting for the doors to open I had the good fortune to meet Tracy Chapman of Sew Thankful.

Judith Baker Montano was the guest this morning. She had an interesting presentation and she made it look so easy. The set was much smaller than I expected and everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Boy, it takes a lot of people to produce a show like this! They work so well together and obviously enjoy what they're doing.

After a break for lunch, all of the quilts I brought (a good selection of both mine and Elin's) were hung up and we rehearsed my demo.

Alex and Ricky were terrific to work with and they made the day such a positive, fun experience. Alex was nice enough to pin down the collar on my blouse (it simply wouldn't stay put) and add more color to my cheeks so I wouldn't look too pale on camera. The episode will air sometime after Christmas - stay tuned!

01 August 2007

It's hard to be glamorous!

Today was my first-ever manicure in preparation for the Quilt Show taping. I'm too hard on my hands to bother with polish and besides, I'm not good at sitting still! I didn't want to be distracted by a color (ooh, pretty...) and forget what I'll be saying so I went with a pale neutral. My daughter Sam came along for "moral support" and she picked a bold color.

Of course, one nail was dinged and one was smudged before I even made it to the car. It's so hard to be glamorous! I packed polish remover in case they're truly disreputable by the time I get there - that's hours away yet, anything can happen...