26 December 2008

Illustration Friday - clandestine

cotton fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread, found object paper and acrylic ink on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

Clandestine is such a fun word! This is my sub rosa raven, sneaking furtively along on his surreptitious business.

21 December 2008

Illustration Friday - voices

cotton fabric, bamboo batting, cotton thread, found object papers, mulberry paper and acrylic ink on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

Not actually sure if a bird song counts as a voice (and I *know* they don't follow sheet music), but that was the first thing that came to mind.

18 December 2008

Holiday meme

This holiday meme is going around and it's really kind of fun! Play along if you'd like.

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate. With whipped cream.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Definitely wrapped. I love, love, love to wrap presents (see photo above). I collect odd bits and bobs all year to incorporate into gift wrapping, so there's quite a bit of recycling and repurposing involved. I have a gift wrapping supply closet - that's how serious I am about the topic.

Colored lights on tree or white?
White all the way. I love the way white lights look in trees outside too, but our trees are way too tall.

When do you put your decorations up?
Sometime around the middle of December and then they come down the first Wednesday after New Year's. We lost most of our decorations in a flood in our basement after Hurricane Wilma a few years ago and I haven't had time to replace them. That needs to be on next year's list of things to do - stockings, tree skirt, tree-topper...

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Homemade mashed potatoes. We almost never eat potatoes but have rice at nearly every meal, so mashed potatoes are a treat.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Wait, there's no Santa??? Honestly, I don't remember. I do know that as eldest child and the oldest-of-thirteen grandchildren I was in on the conspiracy early and worked hard to preserve the faith of the younger kids.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With an artist's eye, of course! Colors and forms need to be balanced, etc etc. The majority of our ornaments are handmade and many are folkart from other countries and yet they all still play well together. The ones our daughter made are my favorites. No tinsel.

Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Hate it! When's spring?

Can you ice skate?
Totally. I took figure skating lessons for years. I can still do backwards crossovers, mohawks and swizzles, but it's been a while since I've attempted a choctaw, a sit spin or a jump of any kind! I also used to love the pick-up ice hockey games in the neighborhood.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
There's no one gift that stands out. Mostly, I cherish the handmade gifts and anything that shows that someone really "gets" me.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Spending time with family. Slowing down and enjoying a few days without deadlines. Getting to be a little lazy.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Chocolate cream pie. With whipped cream.

(there's a theme here, it's really all about the whipped cream...)

What is your favorite tradition?
We open gifts one at a time so everyone gets to see and appreciate the time and energy the gift-giver put into their choice. This is especially nice when the gifts are handmade.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?
Giving, without a doubt. And if I'm making something, I love spending time thinking about the recipient as I'm working. It imbues the gift with a lot of positive energy.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Yeah, I'm not really into Christmas music, much to my parents' chagrin. I usually try to put the Brian Setzer Orchestra on while decorating the tree, but that's about it.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yum. It's the only time I eat anything peppermint flavored. Usually I don't like the taste - I don't even like peppermint toothpaste. Of course, I also eat candy corn at Halloween and marshmallow peeps for Easter, so maybe it's because it's a holiday thing.

Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Once or twice.

08 December 2008

Illustration Friday - similar

cotton fabric, bamboo batting, cotton thread, found object paper, mulberry paper, acrylic ink and acrylic paint on 6" x 6" stretched canvas

Hands can be similar in that we usually have two each, usually with five fingers each.

You can tell a lot about a person by their hands...

06 December 2008

Art Quilts at Play

Here's the big, exciting news! I've been living this project for the last 18 months and I can finally share. Elin Waterston and I have written a new book, Art Quilts at Play, for C&T Publishing, to be released in January 2009.

This new book is a perfect complement to our first book, Art Quilt Workbook, and covers a plethora of surface design techniques and special effects on fabric. The book is full of illustrated how-tos, many, many samples from the different processes and oodles of finished art. Once we've shown you how to create and alter some beautiful fabric, we give you scads of ideas of what to do with it, from challenges and trades to collaborations and more. Our first book was based on an in-depth, comprehensive class that we'd been teaching. This new one also draws on workshops plus the techniques we each use in our own art.

Over a year ago we asked a small number of very talented women in the art quilt and mixed-media world to contribute some pieces to our book and they very generously agreed. Their work enriches the material and shows you how different artists with different voices and different techniques approach the same themes or materials with exciting, original and unique results. We're so grateful to each of them for their contributions.

Natalya Aikens
Woodie Anderson
Liz Berg
Gail Ellspermann
Janet Ghio
Rayna Gillman
Terry Grant
Kathryn Hunter
Andrea Jenkins
Jane LaFazio
Mati McDonough
Tricia McKellar
Kim Rae Nugent
Karen Stiehl Osborn
Virginia Spiegel
Beryl Taylor

A few of our students were also asked and graciously agreed to share their work with us. We are so thankful to them for their generosity (and in a couple of cases, their bravery as well!)

There will be a big release party, book signing and art quilt exhibition at the Country Quilter in Somers NY on Saturday, February 21st and we hope you can join us!

You can pre-order an autographed copy of the book now by contacting me. We're so pleased with the response to our first book and hope that you'll like this one just as much.