Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Or a week, more accurately.

Here’s a round up of some of what I’ve done this week, after our final art fair of the year last weekend.

I responded to Studio Art Quilt Associates call for Juried Artist members to submit a piece to Art Quilt Quarterly on the subject matter of grief.  I submitted “Dreamers Quilt.” A woman and girl walk through a dreamy landscape.  The girl goes on alone. “No Deportations” is stamped on the surface.

Dreamers Quilt

I made nine new Hot Spots for the Store at GoggleWorks Art Center.  They let me know that they were almost out.  I really appreciate their help with keeping up with my inventory.  The black ones seem to be going well, so I made all nine in black. Four feature the Michael Miller fabric “the dysfunctional family,” which is always popular.

9 Hot Spots

I was pleasantly surprised to open the Weekend section of the Reading Eagle today and see Steel Mills at Night from the Layers in Common show  at Awesome Dawgs on the Exhibits page. The show consists of art quilts by me and photographs by Jay Ressler.

Reading Eagle Weekend

Hm, what else? I took a number of items to Arts Barn in Schuylkill Haven, as they are beefing up their inventory for holiday shopping and special events. Here are a few of them.

What’s Your Sign? 18 x 27 framed. I limited myself to the signs on our dead end street that ends at the foot of the mountain, and made a fantasy landscape from them. Interestingly enough, Jay Ressler has presented a wintertime photo of that same school bus, currently decomposing in someone’s back yard. He calls it No School Today. (haha)

Whats Your Sign 16.5 x 25.25 smaller

Dogwood and Old Lace, 7 x 9 framed. A delicate piece with hand embroidery on a sun print of found objects and a dogwood blossom.

Dogwood and old lace

A Glance at the Past II, 18 x 17 framed. A beautiful building across the street from my studio in Pittsburgh caught my attention. I eliminated the surrounding buildings in the row, so we can see the hills beyond. There are echoes of the past with the blast furnace in the distance, some row houses, and a sweet face from another century peaks through the window. (Note: I’ve toned down those lavender hills since this picture was taken.  Much better!)

A Glance at the Past II small

I took my entry to the Berks Art Alliance member show to the Highlands. It is Summer’s End, 27 x 21 framed. This art quilt was inspired by a Jay Ressler photographic composition, The Sunflower King. A goldfinch has lost his bright summer hue. He sits atop a dried up sunflower, which bends to the inevitable approach of autumn.

summers end small

And last but not least I finished up another class at the Salvation Army store in Hamburg. “Collage Quilting.” It was an experiment, and not completely successful. There was too great a learning curve for people who hadn’t made art quilts before.  No one quite completed their piece. Next time maybe a simpler, art quilts for beginners.  I still like the wrinkle of being able to use their cast off donations.

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I decided to put my current show on line.  It is at Awesome Dawgs, what happens when a dog trainer marries an art gallery owner.  An art gallery with a dog training problem, or a dog training facility with an art problem.

Either way, the venue is friendly to art-loving humans and their four legged friends.

Silent Stacks, Fiery Sky, Art Quilt, 25 x 25″ framed. A quiet night in Bethlehem, PA. The preserved steel stacks are dark, but the sunset is brilliant. It struck me that this was the opposite of the past, when the stacks spewed smoke and fire, and the sky was obstructed.

Silent Stacks-fiery sky 23 x 23 small

Steel Mills at Night, Art Quilt, 17 x 22″ framed. An interpretation of Raymond Simboli’s watercolor from 1952, “Steel Mill.” $580

steel mills at night smaller

‘Round the Bend, Art Quilt, 16 x 20″ framed. An interpretation of Everett Longley Warner, Monongahela River, c. 1941. $375

round the bend 16 x 20 after Everett Longley Warner, Monongahela River c 1941

Walking Sketches, Art Quilt, 22 x 22″ framed. As I walked through the streets of the old industrial neighborhood where we lived in Pittsburgh, I got a feeling for the colors, shapes and textures around me. This piece reflects that. It includes some of my “best” found objects, and most interesting altered fabrics. $450

walking sketches 20 x 20

At the River’s Edge, Art Quilt, 21 x 28″ framed. A visit to the old dye works in Shoemakersville, PA, inspired this view of the old factory and the Schuylkill River. The construction method is raw edge applique, with free motion machine quilting. $500

At the Rivers Edge smaller

Stone House in the Valley, Art Quilt, 24 x 31″ framed. I always notice this spot when we visit our cousins in Albany Township, PA. I carried it out in monochrome colors except for the tree. Raw edge applique and machine quilting. $600

stone house in the valley 22 x 29

South Carolina Dawn, Art Quilt, 18 x 23″ framed. Visiting Palm Island South Carolina we arose at dawn for a walk or ride on the beach. This is what I saw. $360

south carolina dawn smaller

Hassler’s Run, Art Quilt, 12 x 15″ framed. Winter landscape, Hassler Run, Tilden Twp. $145

hasslers run smaller

Rusty Musty Fusty, Art Quilt, 24 x 18″ framed. Yo! I like ’em rusty and musty/ Old city factories all scruffy/ And in the country so crusty/ They were cars or trains, all them parts so fusty/ Lying around — almost art — a little fuzzy/ The sun makes you just/ Lovely though scruffy/ That’s OK I’m not fussy/ I’ll take you thusly/ Beauty all rusty. $500

Rusty Musty Fusty small

About the House on the Hill, Art Quilt, 17 x 19″ framed. I started with the image of my neighbor’s house up the hill from us, and made a fantasy landscape from that. $320

about the house on the hill 16.5 x 18 smaller

Awesome Dawgs is located at 3052 Pricetown Rd, Temple, PA.  Their phone number is 610.944.7630. The show will be up through the end of the year. They are able to handle purchases if a check is made out to me.  Otherwise, I can take care of credit card purchases.  Just in case anyone is interested!

Cheers.

At some point as my husband and I planned our year, we decided it would be a good idea to participate in 10 art fairs in a row, August, Sept and into October.

I’m not sure what we were thinking!

Maybe I thought some little elves would create more of my inventory in the few days between unpacking the car and packing it again to head off to another art fair.

I’m new really working flat out hard to try to keep up.

But, that being said, there is a lot of good that has come from this intensive experience.

We’ve both made an effort to ask advice from other artists we trust on how to show our art to its best advantage.

My sales have been much better this year than last.  I attribute that primarily to having started to frame my art quilts. It not only shows off each piece to its best advantage, but lends a more unified look to the booth. Plus I’m making a number of small art quilts: 5 x 7, framed to 7 x 9.  They sell well in an art fair setting.

Customers are now clear about how to hang the art quilts. I was always trying to explain about the “hanging sleeve,” the “slat,” etc. and it was going over heads.

My husband, Jay Ressler, is making my frames.  They are hand crafted from either re-purposed barn wood or hardwoods, stained and oil rubbed. I then cover a piece of foam core with black linen fabric, and sew the finished quilt to that.  Then I complete the frame with a backing and wire.  No glass of course!

I’m also beginning to weigh whether I want to continue making my craft items: Friendship Wine Totes and “Hot Spots,” that is, hot pads. Both carry through a constant in my work: using re-purposed fabrics and objects. For now, I plan to keep making them.

Compare the show on the left, this year’s booth shot, with last years’ booth shot of the same event.  They are similar, but the framing, on the left, unifies the work.

 

 

 

I am pleased to announce that I am now part of a small new group of art quilters. I was invited by the organizer, Karol Kasmaul of Florida.  We are from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Norway, Japan and Korea — 11 fiber artists in all. We have committed to challenge ourselves over an extended period of time, using the overall theme of “Unusual Inspirations.” Following the inspiration of a new prompt every two months, we will create a small, medium or large art quilt, and post the results.

Here is our website — you can subscribe to follow our progress. https://www.clothincommon.com/

The first prompt, provided by Karol, is “What did you say?”

She concludes: “Your work could show loud, amplified sound like construction or thunder.  Or soft and faint sound, like a whisper.  How will you represent sound visually?”

The first thing that came to mind is that although I live peacefully in the countryside, my ears are assaulted day and night by the sound of my mother-in-law’s TV. She is a sweet soul who lives with us, and the TV keeps her company, though she pays scant attention to it. Instead her world consists of crossword puzzles and books. From the morning talk shows and Rachael Ray to The View and The Chew, through the afternoon to the evening news: Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Chris Matthews, and everything in between, along with the prescription medication advertisements, automobile, Progressive Insurance, and “My Pillow” ads — my peace is punctured by TV sound waves. I see them as bright, sharp colors crowding the serenity of my space.

Here are some details from Elizabeth’s World.  it is not quilted yet — still a work in progress. Your comments and suggestions are welcome!

 

 

The smiling figures in this lighthearted moment on our trip to South Africa belie the tragedy embedded in this place. They are seated in front of the High Court Annex in Cape Town, where South Africans had to report annually to be classified as members of one of seven “races.” Our guide, seated on the right, relayed how his own family had been split up by this cruel, subjective process. He is joined on the left by one of our tour group members, a young doctor from Atlanta.

In the past, as persons of color, they would have been violating the South African laws of Apartheid, a system of rigid segregation and oppression of the non-white population. African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and the Apartheid laws were abolished in mid-1991, pending the historical first multiracial election in 1994, when Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Today the “whites only” bench remains as a historical reminder that Apartheid has been tossed into the ashcan of history.

I was involved in the international fight to free Nelson Mandela and end apartheid in the late 1980’s, and sewed my collection of political buttons from that time into the quilt.

Today, though Apartheid has been destroyed, South Africa is one of the most economically unequal country in the world. The fight for equality continues as it does elsewhere, including the United States.

The rest of the piece tells the story of our visit to South Africa. The Bushveld, at the top, is where we enjoyed a safari. Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and the quarry where he and other political prisoners toiled, fabrics I bought there, South African money and Jackass Penguins and other animals we saw are among the other items in the design.

This piece was created for an invitational show of art quilts called “Things That Matter,” which will preview next year.  It is 60″ wide by 37.5″ tall.

The photo of the figures was provided by Jay Ressler.

 

The Studio Art Quilt Associates annual silent auction is an opportunity for collectors to find new artists, and add to their collection of established art quilters.  All the work is in, and we are counting down until the Sept 15 bidding begins.

http://www.saqa.com/auction-quiltviewALL.php

To find my quilt, for example, enter “Ressler” in the search bar. This year, 370 SAQA members donated 12 x 12″ art quilts to the auction. Last year the auction raised nearly 80K to aid SAQA’s exhibition and outreach programs.

The dates are September 15 through October 8, 2017.

Here is my piece: Perilous.

Perilous smaller

 

I have many painter friends, and I am active in the local art world as well as the community of Art Quilters.  So when Plein Air West Reading loosened its rules this year, I decided to take up the challenge.

This is the second year of the event. For 2017 only 80% of your piece has to be completed outdoors.  The rest can be in the studio.

Here’s what I did: limited my palate to blacks, whites and grays, and pre-fused some workable size pieces to take with me. I packed a scissors, tracing paper, parchment paper, drawing paper, muslin and pencil and set up a small table near an outlet so I could plug in my iron.

I started as any Plein Air artist would: made a sketch.  For me, the sketch had to be the same size as the finished piece would be.  And I worked as I always do: traced the shapes in the drawing from the sketch (the buildings, the sky etc) and cut them out in fabric.

Honestly the experience did me more good than I thought it would.  As in all plein air work, the values are higher keyed (brighter — more white) than when translated through a photograph.  Since values are my most difficult artistic component, it was a useful adjustment to work outside. Also, of course, you can walk around and better see what you are trying to depict than when working from a photo.

The most difficult part was trying to keep the pieces from moving in the slightest breeze.  A pin or two helped here. And I don’t know how I could do this without an extension cord and iron fairly handy. I used it by heating it up, unplugging and bringing over to my work — still hot enough to activate the fusing and hold the fabric pieces down. But I couldn’t be too very far from it.

Of course I finished the pieces in my studio: using my sewing machine for the quilting and binding. I also took photos, printed them on cloth, and places them in key spots.  Those I printed in color, so the works were desaturated with bits of color.

These will be shown June 17 at Art of the Avenue in West Reading.  Just look for the Art Quilts in the Plein Air display.  I doubt there will be any others.  But maybe next year!