Vitamin String Quartet

"Sawdust and sewing silks", a photo

Day 298: “Sawdust & Sewing Silks”, a photo

I had initially planned to tackle that cityscape for hours on end today, but I quickly realized after waking up that I’m coming down with a cold. So I dragged myself back out of bed after a nap and did a little bit of painting, but it became clear that I would not finish my painting today. Feeling the need to crawl back into bed (does the fetal position help you feel better faster?), I figured I better fix up some daily art and get my blog post knocked out before things get worse.

I started looking through a box of exciting odds and ends my friend Nicole donated to me recently when she moved. Hoping for mixed media materials for a mini painting, I found photographic inspiration instead. I took a few images of this antique cache of colorful spools of thread I found in the box of goodies next to a pile of sawdust in my studio- which I will soon be mixing with some wood glue and using. Nothing in there is purposeless, even if it does look rather like a garbage-y mess. I’m off to make some tea in hopes I will feel better for my hubby’s 40th birthday tomorrow. Germs can probably transfer digitally these days, so now that you’ve read this post, don’t forget to take your vitamin C!

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Day 72: ‘Spring’ Mini Art Quilt

I finally buckled and bought the art quilting magazine. And after thumbing through it and getting amped up on sewing techniques (wow, that is probably the most Amish-sounding sentence I have ever uttered), I decided to go for it and attempt my first art quilt.

Things you should know before making an art quilt:

  1. Quilts take a LONG TIME TO MAKE.
  2. It’s probably a good idea to have a plan of attack before beginning. Just a suggestion.

I started off trying to do image transfers like the fancy-pants art quilters of $15 magazines, but that didn’t go quite right. I think it’s the toner in my printer. Or the fabric. Actually, I don’t really know why following the instructions didn’t quite work out, but I’m going to keep trying. So after about an hour and a half of failure, I went to plan B. Plan B involved no real direction and cutting shapes out of fabric, which gave me a kink in my neck as I started to doze off from how boring my project was. So then I went on to Plan C, which included a red ink image of a linocut carving of lovebirds I did, some actual acrylic painting, dye splotches, buttons, the word “Spring” from the Spanish/English dictionary, a stamp from a beet slice, batting and lots of stitching. LOTS of stitching.

This is about 10” square and is not finished on the ends yet. Partially because I’m not really sure what the best way to do that is, partially because I finished all the other stuff at 9 pm, and partially because I may want to put it into a larger piece. HENCE, please enjoy (or not) as is for now. I’m pretty happy with it. 🙂

Day 64: The Flying Suitcase in Paris

Let it hereby be a matter of public record- I am a francophone. I lived in Marseille for 3 months while attending a semester abroad, I speak French, I have a login for a French property site where I search for my someday home in France, I dream in French. Literally. I have dreams in French.

If you’re thinking of tiny plates of food and cowards, I must inform you that you are WRONG. They eat HUGE plates of food over there, real food, real vegetables and meats and cheese and bread, all way fresher than you’d ever expect. They eat all night, and they have dessert and wine too. They’ve been our allies many times over, and on top of that, they are passionate about enjoying life above all else. They protest and go crazy when the government tries to limit or reduce any of their extravagant benefits, including a minimum of 5 weeks vacation for any occupation, unlimited sick days (after all, how can you know how often you’ll be sick? they say), FREE medical care, FREE nannies, FREE awesomeness…. So whenever I’m contemplating “joie de vivre” (the joy of living), my mind tends to wander across the Atlantic to mes amis en France.

The other day, I saw a magazine of Art Quilts that was insanely inspiring. I know what you’re thinking- “Seriously, art quilts? Quick, someone catch my head as I pass out from boredom reading the rest of this post.” And that’s what I’d always thought too- I appreciate folk art, but never thought it was quite “my bag”, if you know what I mean- and yet as I thumbed through this collection of modern, painting-infused, fabulous, textured, imaginative work, I knew my need to explore this medium had been officially kindled.

So today I decided to do some fiber art/textile work by creating a fanciful art panel on fabric. I’m no stranger to sewing- I love my Singer and I have a full wall of fabric waiting to be transformed. I’ve even done several picturesque items in fabric that are for sale at UpandUpcycled.com.

“The flying suitcase in Paris” includes some stylized clouds, a button tree, the word “joy” in French, and a linoleum stamp of the Eiffel Tower. It was my first linocut and it works well on fabric. I am considering doing some more of these and stitching them all together into a quilt of travel dreams. Or continuing with one giant France love-fest. Either way.