Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Peacock Colors, Celestial Shapes

No beads today. 

A few months ago I attended a quilt show with childhood friend EmmyK. Seeing all of the beautiful fabrics and artistic patterns made me switch gears from beading needles to sewing machine needles--for a while, anyway.

Currently I have a bedspread sized quilt top, a lap quilt sized top and four pillow fronts waiting to be layered, quilted and finished. 

I have completed two lap quilts. One of them was sort of a throat-clearing exercise and nothing terribly creative or special. The one shown below was just finished yesterday--I hand-stitched the binding while watching the last season of Face Off. The rest of the work on this quilt was done on my trusty Bernina.

The fabrics are the Lumina line by Peggy Toole for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. There are multiple colorways for this line. I chose the Peacock colorway, although the Dawn colorway is also calling to me. 

I mean, just LOOK at these fabrics! How could you not love looking at these gorgeous images and colors every day?

My machine quilting skills are rusty, to put it kindly. I practiced on a small quilt sandwich before I tackled the real thing. I need more practice, no doubt. Even with all of the right tools (special presser foot for the machine and Machingers gloves), this simple curved freehand quilting stitch got away from me frequently. 

By the way, a quilt sandwich is not lunch, it is the three layers of quilt top, batting (the fluffy stuff inside) and backing fabric that have been pinned or basted together prior to putting in the quilting stitches.

I used one of the Lumina fabrics, a scalloped design, for the quilt back. This photo shows the back turned over against the front of the quilt.

This same fabric, cut into strips, also appears in the quilt front along the upper edge.

It is always fun to see how a fabric changes its personality when it is cut into smaller pieces and combined with other patterns.

Since mixed media is very hot right now, and since it satisfies a deep-seated need to create mash-ups, I want to start making wall hangings that combine quilting, painting and beadwork techniques. The Gruffalo and I are planning a move within the next month or so. We are downsizing, and I am in the process of packing up my studio. I can't wait to get everything unpacked and arranged in the new space so that I can start on my mixed-media visions.

In the meantime I can enjoy the colors and swirls in this quilt. It has a prominent place at the end of the bed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Working Mother

This past Mother's Day weekend, I sold my jewelry at the Sunset Beach Arts Festival near the shore in Huntington Beach, California.

Besides being my first outdoor show, this was the first time that I had to do more than submit a vendor fee. To be able to participate, I had to submit photos of my work, apply for a special seller's permit and affirm that my work was of my own design and creation.

With all of these hoops to jump through, I was thrilled to be accepted as a vendor. Major thanks to Gayle of Las Damas (the event sponsor) who gave me lots of telephone support during the application process. She also placed us in a very good spot, especially so considering that I was a newbie.

The event was a lot of fun. When things were slow, the Gruffalo and I visited with our neighboring vendors, including a fellow fan of Breaking Bad who has the same name as a character on the show. Note: Major SPOILER ALERT for this link.

Some of my most recent work received the most attention, like this cuff and necklace, both embroidered on silk shibori ribbon and backed with Ultrasuede:

The ribbon is pleated and then dyed, giving it a watercolor look. I use the pleats as part of the design. The cuff has a turquoise cab and the necklace is completed with a spiral peyote rope made of coordinating seed beads. The two piece toggle clasp is also stitched from seed beads using variations of peyote stitch. The necklace was one of the items that I sold at the Sunset Beach event. The buyer was so thrilled with her purchase that she emailed me to gush about it.

Another recent piece that was sold at this event was a St Petersburg stitch necklace with jade dagger drops:

The woman who purchased this piece on Saturday liked it so much that she sent her friends to visit my booth on Sunday.

This next necklace did not sell, but several people tried it on and asked about having one custom made in a different color. I am waiting for email confirmation that these people actually want to place an order before I go ahead with additional work. Here is the necklace in two different colorways. This is a netting stitch with long magatama drops:

Because I was working on Mother's Day, I did not get to attend the family get-together. However, all of the fam dropped by my booth at one time or another to visit and, in the case of Smallest of All, to help out. Smallest and her boyfriend arrived just in time to help us take down the canopy, thereby robbing our fellow festival attendees of the inevitable slapstick spectacle had the Gruffalo and I taken it down by ourselves.

Thanks to my family for all the love and support, this past weekend and always. Special shout-out to the Gruffalo, whose admiration for my work makes him an excellent salesman. Dear Gruffalo also skipped his afternoon nap two days running, a huge sacrifice.

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all!