Ceci n’est pas un édredon

"Symbols", a mini art quilt in 8x10 frame

Day191: ‘Symbols’ Mini Art Quilt

My husband Rob loaded some great videos on to my iPod recently, and yesterday I started listening to the top of the list- Alan Watts, talking about symbols and meaning, which some brilliant person paired with the “ceci n’est pas une pipe” Magritte painting here on YouTube.

While I usually listen to music while making art (Ratatat is my new favorite band), I wasn’t doing something intensive at the time and decided to give it a try. It was interesting, and apparently it sunk in a bit. Today I made a mini art quilt and the concept of words, ideas, images and symbols became the foundation of the piece even though I didn’t know what I would make when I got started.

Vintage turtle pincushion says, "Wow!" But then again, he is easily impressed. 😉

“An art quilt? In only a day, you say? Pshaw!”

Oh, but it’s true, I tell you! In fact, I’ll bet you could make your very own with stuff from around the house if you put your mind to it.

“Now you sound like the host of Design on a Dime.”

A-ha! So you secretly love cheap crafting. Don’t worry, you don’t need to come out and confess it to me. Just check out this instructable I wrote and learn how to make your own awesome piece like today’s mini art quilt, ‘Symbols’, step-by-easy-step. 🙂

Old frame from around the house - glass + paint = perfect way to finish a mini art quilt!

P.S. For the 99% of my readers who do not speak French, today’s post title reads “this is not a quilt”. 🙂 Correct me if I’m wrong, Sophie!

Day 84: Extra Carefree


While it’s tough to see, this piece includes an old illustration of a girl in a smock dress from this awesome Good Housekeeping bible of sewing knowledge (not the actual name of the book) I picked up at the thrift store, part of a book that says “giggling with merriment”, a snippet from a vintage pattern that says “extra carefree”, vintage fabric and buttons, and a piece from a botanical illustration guide. I painted a frame yellow to go with it and it’s pretty small- about 5×7. I’ve been in nostalgia mode lately, and somehow these things give me that feeling of lemonade and cookies and summer dresses.

Day 83: ‘Lunchables’, a mini art quilt

Earliest post ever! Look what happens when I get up early in the morning. Awesome. Today’s piece is a mini art quilt inspired by our many family trips to Santa Cruz as children. Except for the time that my sister got lost on the beach and by a miracle of God was found- safe- about a mile away, we always had a good time. I remember being tuckered out from long days splashing around in the surf, laying out to warm up in the sun on the big, colorful blanket-towels, and the yummy lunchables and fruit juices mom would pack into the cooler. It seems as an adult now, concerned about how I look in a bathing suit, living farther from the sea, and concerned about shore pollution or sharp things in the sand, the beach isn’t the same. But I’ll always have those fabulous, carefree days as a kid. Thanks, mom. You’re awesome.

This piece is 8”x10” (I plan to put it in a frame) and includes upcycled vintage fabrics, an illustration from a child’s bathing suit sewing pattern from the 60’s, a map of Santa Cruz, a word from the dictionary, the California state seal and a bit of sheet music, buttons, rick rack and an image of a whale. It’s top-stitched with a wavy line pattern in aqua. Remember, kids- watch out for that undertow!

Day 81: God Grant Us

CNN Breaking News: Marianne Bland has decided to make artwork from Art Project 2010 available for sale!

Yes, I know it may not be as exciting as the healthcare reform coverage, but I’m pretty jazzed about it. Initially, I’d decided not to sell any of the pieces from this project until 2011 just in case some crazy gallery wanted to show every single piece together in one show. But on second thought, I’m starting to make a lot of stuff. It’s getting a little crowded in the studio and guest room. Plus I’ve got several people calling “dibs” on various pieces already, and I hate having to wait for things myself, so it isn’t fair to make you guys wait either.

So, if you want to call dibs on an item, please head over to the Facebook fan page and add a comment stating “dibs!” for that day’s posting, or email me: Marianne.Bland@gmail.com, and I’ll note it for you. The majority of the work so far is small format, which makes for really affordable original art. I’m also planning to get limited edition cityscape prints made soon. I’d like to have my blog readers and facebook fans to have the first crack at the artwork, so I will be waiting to post these items to Etsy for a week or so. As the project continues, you’ll see new artwork added to my Etsy shop a few days after it’s made (to give you guys time to let me know if you’re interested in it). 

Today’s piece is an 8×10 inch mini art quilt on this awesome vintage green/blue fabric featuring vintage ephemera including a map snippet, dictionary bit, hymn clipping, buttons, sewing stuff and some words from an EDD pamphlet. With all the uncertainty these days, a prayer or two couldn’t hurt. Quilted with a landscape-referential top-stitch (wow, that sounds fancy! Totally just made that up. Real quilters are cringing worldwide.) in green, I plan to put this in an old frame so it can be a nice, cohesive piece of upcycled art.

Day 79: ‘Metropolis’, a mini art quilt

After looking at all the chemicals in Febreze and being freaked out, but not wanting my home to smell like ass, I decided to pick up some incense the other day. When I got home and went to unwrap it, I realized it was Ed Hardy incense. (If you’ve never heard of Ed Hardy, click here for the low-down.) I made “eww” face and immediately went into a “Really?! With Seth & Amy” moment in my head…

“Really, Ed Hardy? Strippers, L.A. brats and posers isn’t a big enough demographic for you? Now you need to go after the hippies too? Really?”

…but I’d discovered a cup of chai tea I’d left in the studio a couple of days ago that was becoming unpleasantly fragrant, and after removing it, decided to light my stupid Ed Hardy incense anyway, hoping to heck it wouldn’t smell like douchebag. (What does douchebag smell like, you ask? Way too much cheap cologne, hair product and Jager breath. One of the many gems in life gleaned from bartending. You’re welcome.)

Thankfully, it smelled fine (obviously Ed Hardy didn’t make it, they just repackaged someone else’s stuff anyway), and that plus some music put me into high-gear sewing mode and I got this thing wrapped up. Today’s piece, “Metropolis”, is a mini-quilt I made because I wanted to see if I could bring my beloved cityscape to the fabric medium successfully. I executed this by painting the background onto a piece of light blue cotton, adding fabric buildings in the foreground, sewing on light grey windows, writing on a few quotes about the city on it (because I love quotes, darn it) and stitching it up. One of those quotes is “all great art is born of the metropolis” by Ezra Pound, which inspired the title. It’s about 15 inches square. I’m starting to think I can take on the art quilt world and mix it up a little. You aren’t going to find any fairylands, holiday prints or odes to windmills in my stuff, that’s for sure. That’s it for today, folks. THANK YOU, GOOD NIGHT! <Obligatory microphone drop>

Day 74: ‘Grateful’ Mini Art Quilt

Ah, another 5 o’clock art quilt. I love painting, but sewing is a special experience all its own. Sometimes I wonder why it is that I have this need to make things. It’s not just enough to paint, I have to be able to make other things with my hands. I’ve dabbled in wood, I love metalwork, I make jewelry, I’ve stitched up some pretty great Renaissance Faire costumes (seriously, it’s no easy feat making a corset. Sorry about that sewing machine of yours I ruined as a teenager, Julie). Sometimes I just need to wrangle disparate items and force them to share a living space. Like today’s work, “Grateful”. 

This one includes a dictionary bit, anatomical diagram of the heart, a page from an old literature book with words like “believe”, “curious token”, “glistens” and “friends”, vintage buttons from my great-grandmother, a shoelace, beads, clippings from a thank you note and a pomegranate linocut mingled with various upcycled fabrics.

Rob and I have been working on being more positive lately, and sometimes one of the best ways to get into that mode is to be thankful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives. I thought of how I am grateful for my family, my health, the ability to see and hear and use my hands, and how beautiful turquoise and red are together amongst other things while I was making this. The next time you’re feeling down, try focusing on what you are thankful for. We all have many things to appreciate, and we should be appreciating them daily instead of only one day in November. 

P.S. Sorry for another late post. That damn daylight savings’ time stealing an hour from me is not a boon to art quilting. 😉

Day 73: ‘Sprout’ Mini Art Quilt

I wanted to do another mini art quilt today… but I didn’t get started until 4:45 pm. I know what you’re thinking- “did you read your own blog post, woman? Remember what you said just yesterday about these things taking a long time? Sheesh, the short term memory on this one…” And yes, I do recall that very warning that I typed myself. I’ve noticed, however, that sometimes when it comes to artmaking, there’s just something I really want to do. And I can’t always be deterred by simple things like logic, materials or space. So I just decided to imagine myself as one of the villagers in that magical sewing scene in the movie “Three Amigos”, warping the context of spacetime with my sheer will and determination. All in all, it took about 3.5 hours, so my plan worked. Thanks, fictional characters from a goofy comedy!

So as I started collecting up the things I wanted to put into today’s piece, I came across [yet another] old sketchbook and began thumbing through it. I found a great ink drawing of a Cirque du Soleil-esque figure I’d conjured from my brain (you can imagine a pose like that wouldn’t have been easy to execute for a nude model in figure drawing class, despite their great pay)…

…and an old watercolor that wasn’t great in whole, but was pretty interesting cropped up into certain parts. A small drawing from the 60’s of a girl layered on top of the watercolor bit somehow seemed appropriate.

Add in some analytical text from an old literature book…

…a shipping tag…

…a botanical print with dictionary snippet, plus some buttons, yarn tied in a bow with a bell, fabric circles, and a sweet vintage zipper in bright red, and you’ve got yourself a mini art quilt. Again, unfinished on the edges. But I will totally get around to that. In the meantime, this is also part of the “old & new” series I started awhile ago since I incorporated old art into a new item. Yay! Double whammy.