Archive for the ‘Business of 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.

Okay, this post isn’t quite about art.  But — I admit it — I get almost as much pleasure out of craft. And, truth be told, as much pleasure watching people having fun making things.

That’s how it was in the Upcycling Denim class I taught recently at our local Salvation Army store.

With the carefully arranged shoe and clothing racks as our backdrop, participants cut up and put together old denim jeans that weren’t up to the store standards for re-sale.

I introduced the class with an appreciation for denim. Each person held a pair of jean in their hands as I briefly explained the origins of jeans as work clothes in the late 19th Century in the US. Denim itself — the warp indigo dyed and the weft white — in its distinctive twill weave, goes back to France.

I worked briefly in a Lees jean plant during my 13 years as a sewing machine operator, and remember that it took 13 separate types of sewing machines to make a pair of jeans. I pointed out the flat fell seams on the jean that have them, that make a decent handle for a tote.  And the rivets which you do not want to include in your seams!  A broken needle will be the consequence.

By the second day of the two-day class, the 5 members had learned each others names, and seemed really happy with their projects. An eleven year old fit in as an equal.  A 70 something gentleman decided to make a second belt pouch to balance out the first pouch which he had completed.  And wine totes abounded.  They were based on my own design, but each bore the distinctive personality of its maker.

This class is scheduled for another session. I hope the magic happens again.

 

 

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 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 would like to take a moment to celebrate the conclusion of my most recent class: Raw Edge Applique at The Arts Barn in Schuylkill Haven, PA. First of all, owner Deb Cooper and Education Director Joanne Cosentino were so gracious and accommodating from beginning to end, even providing snacks for the students during class. I am very grateful to them.

There were 4 students.  Even that small number kept me busy every moment. They were good humored, smart, and cooperative. I loved to see when they “got it!” Some examples of comments, this from an experienced traditional quilter, “This is so much more freeing than making all the little squares!”  “Wow, what a difference it makes when you’ve quilted the piece”

I provided little thumbnail sketches they could use for composition ideas.  Two used them, one made her own composition, and one took hers from my Quilt National 2015 Catalog. She said she kept coming back to “Infinity” by Elena Stokes, and ended up nearly copying that. (on a much smaller scale, with different fabrics.) I hope Elena takes that as a compliment!

The one composition “rule” I impart to beginning students is to avoid the center of a piece. You are trying to keep the eye moving. Use the “rule of thirds,” or at least don’t put an eye catcher in the center!

I brought in two sewing machines, one set up with a walking foot for straight line quilting, and one for free motion.  I didn’t want them to get hung up on fancy quilting techniques for an introductory class.  We only had two 3-hour sessions. Near the end I changed the free motion machine to straight stitch so they could finish the bindings.

They worked in small sizes.  I cut muslin for the substrates approximately 12 x 16″ with batting to match. I had two ironing stations set up, which also worked well. I teach using Mistyfuse, and each student got about 2 yards of it to work with.

I began the class by showing pictures of Art Quilts, and also explaining the relationship between traditional quilts and art quilts, and where raw edge applique fits into the later category. I brought in some of my own pieces, and gave brief demonstrations at various points: how to start, squaring and trimming, quilting, and binding.  I had instructions available for both “facing to the back” and quarter inch binding.  Everyone chose to use the “facing to the back” method.

I also gave color suggestions, using a color wheel.  You can’t go wrong with complimentary colors!

My own take-away is that two 3-hour classes is the very least time needed to start to learn this method. More time would have been better.  But everyone almost finished their work, or is prepared to finish it at home.