Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Adding quilt elements out of order

Tonight is the end of my four-part art quilting class. I haven't managed to finish my sample quilt, mostly because I've decided to do a lot more handwork (embroidery and beadwork) than I had originally planned. That's the usual scenario for my projects!

I did try to finish up the top of the quilt so that I could add the loops for hanging. It felt very weird to be working on that part, since I usually do the hanger last. Still, it was good to go out of order this time, because I got an idea to add some yarns to create more "weeds" and get some more texture in the piece. If you look at the close-up photo, you can see that I added green yarn to the loops and brown yarn as an additional framing element. The brown yarn also covers up my messy seams quite nicely.

I love the discovery process of working on a quilt. I never know what I'll need to do on a piece until I actually start putting it together. I usually have a plan sketched out or in my head, but I have to be flexible, because there is always the element of surprise.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quilt progress and "bowl and pitcher" hike

Lots of stuff to post today, but not much time to do it!

I've been making progress on the latest small quilt. It's approximately 6" x 9". Here is a photo of it from last week, when I had just started to do the applique:

And here it is this morning, with most of the applique done, and some of the embroidery done:

I was originally going to use pink and green, but for a lot of reasons, I ended up using orange instead of pink. (I'll probably use that color scheme for something else.) This quilt is based on a garden I saw this summer at the University of New Mexico. It hadn't been cared for very well, but I saw these little marigolds popping up, self-seeded among the weeds. I like the thought of the flowers' perseverance, despite the obstacles to their growth.

I'm making this quilt as a sample for the students in my art quilting class at the Corbin Art Center. I try to illustrate some of the techniques that I'm talking about, plus they can watch my quilt progress along with their own. I find I am rushing more than I normally would, because class meets once a week! It forces me to work faster, and not deliberate so much, which is a good thing.

Chris, Ross, and I took advantage of the long weekend and the relatively mild weather to go on a short hike in Riverside State Park, which is in Spokane. We went to the popular "bowl and pitcher" area near the Spokane River (the rocks are supposed to look like those shapes, I guess). There's a small wooden suspension bridge over the river (which definitely sways -- not for the faint of heart!).

Once you cross, there are nice trails along the river, among lots of volcanic rock covered in moss, and wonderful trees. There were lots of people taking their dogs for a hike; Spokane is really a "dog town."

Ross really loves the moss and lichen and the trees here, which is so different from Albuquerque. Frankly, I feel more "at home" here, because I grew up with moss and lichen and big pine trees. The desert is a beautiful place, but it just didn't feel like "home." Plus, it's great to be near so much water! I love the river. After watching the poor Rio Grande dry up every year, it's positively invigorating to watch this river run.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Spring is coming

Yesterday, Ross and I visited the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park to get a dose of springtime. It was a wonderful sunny day, which made for a very pleasant walk through the park and great light inside of the greenhouses. The smells were phenomenal -- I wish I could include them here with the photos!

We both love to look at the cacti and succulent collection. It suddenly struck me that the succulents have such great structures, and wouldn't it be cool to try to mimic that? I've been drooling over Janet Edmond's new book, Three-Dimensional Embroidery, and I think her construction techniques may lead me to create some fabric "aloes." Hmmm....

Today is Chris's 44th birthday. He's been teasing me that we've known each other for half his lifetime (we met when we were 22). That's amazing, when you think about it. I am very blessed to have him in my life! We don't have any big plans right now, but I'm sure we'll go do something fun later.

Monday, February 12, 2007

cooking with Ross

We had a laid-back weekend. Watched some movies on our new tv, did a little shopping, did some work.

Ross worked on some of the requirements for his Wolf badge for Cub Scouts. He and I worked on the Cooking and Eating section. He was required to help prepare a family meal. We planned a supper of blueberry muffins, bacon, scrambled eggs, and apple slices (Ross loves eating "breakfast" at dinnertime). We made the muffins together, and he got practice cracking eggs and cooking them, with help from Chris at the stove. Ross was especially proud of the muffins and ate them with gusto!

Ross is starting to take more responsibility for himself and is discovering the rewards of helping out at home. He's been a very cheerful kid, as well. And, he's reading at a phenomenal level -- he's finished The Hobbit and is about three quarters of the way through The Fellowship of the Ring. I find it really inspiring to watch him grow!

Friday, February 9, 2007

art museum visit

Today I visited the Jundt Art Museum on the Gonzaga campus to see an exhibit of Faith Ringgold's work. She's an African American artist who's made story quilts and soft sculpture; she works in other media and writes stories, as well. (Her website is www.faithringgold.com -- one of the quilts in the exhibit is at http://www.faithringgold.com/ringgold/d09.htm .

One of the soft sculptures made me laugh out loud -- I knew who this was before I read the description:

That's right, it's Wilt Chamberlain! (Click on the images for a larger view.)