(Above: Detail from The Girl With the Upturned Shell, an art quilt. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
A couple of weeks ago I vowed that I would blog more than once a week. I'd fallen into a bad habit of blogging on Thursday or Friday ... just to link up with Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for weekly fiber art sharing. As a result, my "once a week" blog posts got impossibly long. It is far better for me to write more often ... quicker, shorter, individual entries. Happily, this is my third blog post since last week.
(Above: Me in the back yard ... by our slush covered pond. I hope the goldfish are alright!)
Yet, we've had several inches of sleet here in Columbia. The entire city is a ghost town. Everything has been closed for the last two, highly productive days. With no framing to do, I've kept very busy. So, despite my best intentions, this is going to be a long post!
First up is a new art quilt. This should have started months and months ago but I didn't have the hair-brained idea until earlier this month. I'm in SAQA's (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Georgia/South Carolina region. Our region had the unique opportunity to enter work for a show called "Southern Exposures" being presented by the Mancuso Quilt Festivals in Savannah, March 27 - 30. I didn't pay much attention to this until ... PRESTO ... an image came to mind. It was no ordinary image but one of my own photographs!
(Above: The Girl With the Upturned Shell. 40" x 28". Image transfer on the reverse of an antique, hand pieced and stitched quilt section with beaded trim and a few artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters. Self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery and hand beading and stitching.)
I love Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery. It isn't the oldest in the area but it is undoubtedly the most hauntingly beautiful. The vast expanse is filled with Spanish moss covered ancient oaks, blooming azalea, and an aura of pure Southern Gothic. The place is best known for its "Bird Girl", a sculptural grave marker that graced the cover of John Berendt's best-seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That statue has since been removed to the Telfair Art Museum ... but it wasn't my favorite anyway. The Baldwin family's plot has "The Girl With the Upturned Shell". There are always fresh flowers in her vessel. She is simply gorgeous and I had plenty of nice photos.
(Above: The Girl With the Upturned Shell, detail.)
The deadline for "Southern Exposures" is tomorrow. The piece has been entered and is in its mailing tube with two Grave Rubbing Art Quilts. I made it ... just under the deadline. The image transfer only arrived from Spoonflower (a company that prints uploaded digital images on a wide variety of fabric) in Monday afternoon's mail. I stitched the front on Tuesday, adding a few artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters. Yesterday, during my "snow day" in the studio. I finished the reverse, sleeve, and did the photography.
(Above: The Girl With the Upturned Shell, reverse.)
The back of this piece is actually two sections of a hand-pieced and hand quilted antique. (I used part of the top and bottom ... in order to get the scalloped edging on both ends of this much smaller work.) The antique quilt was in poor condition. Yet, the unbleached muslin on the original back seemed the most appropriate background for my poor little "dead girl" and her shell. I even like the staining ... almost like tears. It took longer to hand stitch crocheted doilies and a round cotton coaster to the back than the entire front. It needed these additions to cover some of the more damaged areas. So, in a sense ... my antique scrap is "backwards" ... but also perfect in concept.
(Above: The Girl With the Upturned Shell, reverse, detail.)
I used another piece of the antique quilt to make the hanging sleeve. Before attaching it, I free motion stitched the title, my name, and the location: Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah. I'm really pleased with this piece and hope people attending the quilt show in Savannah enjoy it too.
(Above: Donation of slightly worn vintage linens from Bonnie Ouellette, a quilter and vintage textile dealer in Seneca, South Carolina.)
Before I go on to share the rest of the work I've been making ...
(Above: Donation of thread from BJ Adams, a fabulous art quilter from Washington, DC.)
IT'S TIME TO UPDATE MY THREAD DONATIONS!
Thank you, everyone, who has sent thread to 2123 Park Street, Columbia, SC 29201. I'm still accepting more!
In case you, "gentle reader" (phrase borrowed from some of my favorite Victorian epitaphs), aren't familiar with this project ... I'm collecting old thread for an upcoming site-specific installation called Threads: Gathering My Thoughts. It will be shown during Artista Vista, an annual spring art crawl here in Columbia, at Studio Cellar, 912 Lincoln Street from April 23 - May 1. I'm excited ... even though the living room has been entirely taken over with unraveled thread.
(Above: Donation of thread from Mart Gooch.)
(Above: Donation of thread from Susan V. Day.)
(Above: Donation of thread from Nicholl Ransom in Bishopville, South Carolina)
(Above: Donation of thread from Margaret Blank in Alberta, CANADA ! This makes my donations truly INTERNATIONAL!)
(Above: Lunette XI. Framed: 23" x 29". Click on image to enlarge.)
So ... now ... back to the artwork I've been making this week. I'm on the final stretch toward the ACC (American Craft Council) Baltimore show, February 21 - 23. Next Tuesday Steve and I pick up and pack the rental cargo van. On Wednesday we head north to join 660 other juried fine craft artists all selling their wares under one gigantic convention center roof. We'll stay in the area (broadly speaking ... or at least we consider Philadelphia "in the area") for the Germantown Friends School 30th annual Juried Craft Show the following weekend, Feb. 27 - March 1st.
(Above: Lunette XII. Framed: 23" x 29". Click on image to enlarge.)
I am furiously making a few new pieces, including Lunette XI and Lunette XII.
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... first layer ironed onto recycled, black acrylic felt.)
Unbelievably, I sold one of my large "Stained Glass Windows" just last week. I have to have an even number in order to pack the cargo van most effectively. Thus, I started another one. Above is Stained Glass LIX under construction. Here the basic polyester stretch velvet shapes have been ironed onto the substrata ... recycled, black acrylic felt. The black felt once was the packaging material for a kayak being shipped from a manufacturer to my local outdoor shop.
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... the basic shapes are now under a layer of previously painted Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web.)
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... heat-activated metallic foiling has been added to the layer of previously painted Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web.)
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... here is a detail of the metallic foiling on the piece.)
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... hours later ... dozens and dozens of polyester velvet shapes have been cut and layered into a more complex design ... including a new "favorite" ... a descending dove in the middle of a "rose window".)
(Above: Stained Glass LIX, under construction ... after ironing on another layer of previously painted Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web, strips of chiffon scarves are ironed over the entire surface. This smooth surface allows the sewing machine's free-motion foot to easily glide over it.)
The photo above was taken on Monday. Since then I created The Girl With the Upturned Shell art quilt and totally stitched this piece with 100% cotton thread. Today I went into the garage, donned my ventilator, and melted thousands of holes through the polyester and acrylic layers of Stained Glass LIX. By Tuesday it will be stitched to a piece of over-sized mat board and framed ... ready to head to ACC Baltimore. My fingers and toes are crossed for good weather, safe travels, and awesome transactions with new clients!
(Above: A full 20 yard bolt of Wonder Under/Bond-a-Web ... painted and drying in the long hallway at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios ... just outside my studio door.)
The only glitch this week (other than the weather ... which, for me, meant extra hours for my art!) was the fact that I ran out of "previously painted" Wonder Under. I paint a full bolt at a time. That's twenty yards. I had to do this during my "snow day" as well! LOL!