Friday, September 28, 2012

Clementine's quilt

This summer was the summer of so many babies born to close friends. Another one of my pals, Alissa, recently gave birth to baby Clementine! (who not only has the cutest name ever, she's kind of amazingly adorable....)
Ok. It's done. Made over a very long summer with no sewing machine access. Hand-pieced and hand quilted, for a special baby girl.
Well, baby Clementine, OF COURSE, needed a baby quilt... and my sewing machine was packed up all summer (as you know). So along with Amy's baby quilt - and Crockett's quilt - both quilted by hand... I had to make C's quilt. Only I started it after I had packed everything up, and thus had to hand piece the strips for her quilt. Yolanda had given me some really great precut strips a few months ago - remember the bag that I made for her when I was in Hawaii? (which she has with her every time I visit her in the hospital!)... well, those were the cool colored strips - these were the warm ones she gave me.

This entire quilt is hand stitched - except that I used a machine to attach the binding to the quilt. I was so excited to bring it over to Alissa - who is not only a guild member friend, and fellow mommy, but also a neighbor.

And as a bonus, I got to hold baby Clementine. She sent this cute pic of baby and quilt to me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

collage class - the first few weeks

Collage class started up again at Art Center. It was an interesting decision for me to try and figure out if I could go take the class without Franklyn as my teacher this time around. His passing left a major hole. It was especially noticable the first class. But Mary, who is also an amazing (and much less moody) Art Center professor - has been good for me.
She has each of us working on numerous small projects - one each week - which will end up quilt-like by the end of class. The funny thing for me is that I have years' (I'm not exaggerating when I say at least a decade's) worth of collected and half prepared materials for collages. Before I ever took collage out here in Los Angeles, I had a couple of amazing years of classes in Chicago as a student at the Art Institute continuing education program. I was even in a collage guild there.  I was in a certificate program, with an advisor and everything, and then had a baby and fell off the educational wagon for a few years- though my art never disappeared. Nor my love for collage.

Anyhow - all that comes together with my personality and makes my putting work together a really speedy process. In a way, it seems speedy - because I often leave class with 2-3 wet, finished pieces each night. I was feeling guilty about that for a while, but then I had a few thoughts... 1- my quilts, especially the hand quilted ones - take MONTHS to finish. Many of them take over 40 hours of work. So it's not that I am afraid of working hard or involved hours. And I'm an impulsive person - this is the good side of that! and 2 - the materials I have been using lately have been years in the making - I have about 100lbs of supplies that I bring to each class - many of them are treated materials, that I work on, put a layer of paint into - sew something onto - and then shove it back into the "file" to be used at a later date. Which means that it's not actually only 20 minutes to put together the piece - it's hours of work, paint drying, etc - just spread out over months.
So I'm feeling less guilty about that. Franklyn never liked how quickly I could work - but Mary doesn't frown on it. I've been told by many of my art teachers that I am PROLIFIC. I think sometimes that is meant well and sometimes it's looked down on as an artist. And I know that to be true for me from my very first foray into art. I never make one of something - I always make at least 5. I need that for my brain to settle.

I've recently come to understand that I am most definitely ADD. And not in the "can't focus" way - but in the "hyper-focus" way. And that's just the way I am. It explains why I can't ever sit still, why I am easily distracted, why i have to have something to do with my hands even when I am watching tv and why I do a billion things at once. I'm okay with that.

All that to say, here are some pics of the works I have recently done in the first few weeks of class. By now you know that I am in love with the red and brown color families - words, signs and quotes, silhouettes, books, my kids' artwork, my husband, travel, iphone photography, my children, scraps of old textiles and wallpaper, poetry, and trees. So there are some basic themes that continue to surface. I like to think, though, that each one of these is different enough. Some of them are explorations into my grief of the past year. Some of them are me being thankful for what I have - a healthy family, a new beautiful home in an amazing neighborhood, a marriage that is epically wonderful. I hope you can see that all coming through as well.


"to be choked with tears"

"I'm remembering"
"it was all there"
"i wanted to be alone with you"

Monday, September 17, 2012

Art party in the neighborhood

Today I hosted a painting party for 40 little artists. They all live in our new neighborhood and their ages ranged from 1-14.
They were asked to paint images of things that inspire them from our neighborhood and the canvases they made are going to be part of the block party silent auction in a few weeks.
It was hot, but so much fun to do this for them. I absolutely love reminding kids that they truly are artists.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sew a square a day

Ramona asked if I'd play a game with her which is basically making one small quilt square a day. I've hash tagged it on Instagram as #sewasquareaday to keep track of it.
Ramona's squares are one of three different sizes. Mine are all going to be 4.5" -since I have a cute 4.5" square ruler that hasn't gotten much use yet.
Here are my first three. None of them are particularly "my style" - but that's because I'm making them with scraps of things that are on the cutting table at the moment.
Overall goal for my layout will likely be a checkerboard. (for ease, Ramoma has another plan) I'll keep you posted. Does anyone want to join us???

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artist - Ryan Graeff

With all the furniture shopping we had going on these past few months, Jay and I spent some good times together at Helms Bakery (an old industrial bakery, turned into a collection of great furniture stores). One of the stores we visited had these great paintings that haunted me for months. They were layered, silk screened, urban views of landmark (and non-landmark) parts of LA. They artist's sense of color was great and every painting was better than the last. There's a collaged feel to the works and they're very modern.
When it was finally time to start talking about what art to put up, I realized I didn't only want my art in the house... I wanted one of Ryan Graeff's paintings.
So I hunted him down online! And it just so happened that the weekend we wanted to buy something was the weekend that he was collecting all his pieces back and preparing for an art show. So everything was at his studio. Jay and I went and really enjoyed meeting Ryan in person. We thought a lot about which painting to get, but in the end settled on one of the 110 freeway... Very urban, very LA, very red. :) (it's the bottom pic here)
We were so excited to bring it home. And when we did, we realized the painting is too small to go over our fireplace. now it's in the family room... And we've warned Ryan we are coming back again some other day...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crockett's quilt

It's hard to post all the projects I am working on when most of them these days are gifts. Which makes it so that I can rarely post about them, since I think for the most part, the people I am making them for read my blog.

I had to keep the work-in-progress pics of this to a minimum for exactly that reason, but now the quilt is gifted - and I can post.
Baby Crockett's quilt Finished!
I made this quilt for a very special baby nicknamed "Crockett" - he's the adorable 3rd kiddo of a great friend of mine and I began work on this - made the top - at the old house last spring while she was pregnant and I was just beginning the move and remodel. Then all summer, when my studio was still in boxes, I'd pull out this (along with a few other TBA projects and hand quilted the whole thing). Ramona and her family came over to my house a few days ago and I was so happy to give her this quilt, after months of stitching it together. The sweetest part to me was that she actually preceeded my giving it to her with the question if I'd be Crockett's god-mother. YES! and HERE'S WHAT I MADE FOR HIM!
Hand quilting a baby quilt

It was just one of those "meant to be" things. I love Ramona. I love her family. I've haven't really been a godmother before, but I can't wait to be one. And all the love and hope I put into this quilt as I sewed it feels even more purposeful now.
Hand quilting shot - Baby Crockett's quilt

Monday, September 3, 2012

I have a new studio mate

We've brought a new friend in. This is Pepper and we collected her this am from a family that was "fostering" her. She's an outdoor cat, but needs a few weeks to set her kitty GPS, so she's sharing my studio with me until she's ready. She's not full grown, but she is super friendly and even in the first few hours, she's already coming out when we call her.
Mimi is in heaven.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just more pics from San Diego and Coronado

Trip to San Diego

Jay whisked me away this weekend to San Diego for a final summer fling before school starts. The kids were with his parents and we got to enjoy an Amtrak ride from LA to SD and stayed at a sheeshee hotel in downtown.
We ate a restaurant the first night that was so good we returned there again the second night.
We also rented bikes and took the ferry to Coronado Island (a second post of those pics coming).
We are kind of sold on train travel after this...



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