November 30, 2012

a precious pretty given to me

A very special friend gave me a quilt top she made so that I might complete it and use it. I am so very honored to be the recipient of her many hours of handiwork.

And how lovely this quilt shall be! The colors match my home so well. See the red and teal squares? My living room! See the purple and yellow? My sunroom!

The quilt is made up of satin squares. Should the bottom also be satin? I am imagining it sliding off laps? Would it be odd to just use a cotton on the bottom? Any suggestions from other quilters out there? I am thinking very minimalist for the actual quilting. Perhaps outlining the individual squares with a coordinating thread color? I am very open to suggestions so please let me know what you think!

November 28, 2012

favorite fabrics from ArtPrize

So I am going to keep the fabric theme going this week. I know ArtPrize was over and done with in October but the inspiration lives on people!

I loved, adored, gaped at this magnificent piece "Imperious Decorum" by artist Liz Miller. Have you ever seen felt look so wonderfully regal? It was truly amazing to see the lacy pieces suspended from the ceiling and pooled across the floor. This piece had some presence. It truly dominated the space.

I am showing a second image with my 4-year-old daughter to give you a better sense of scale.

"Plexus No. 18" by Gabriel Dawe is made up of overlapping thread. I think you had to have been there to have experienced how very beautiful it really is.

I am putting this one – "The Land Up North" by Jared Charzewski – out here on the blog in honor of my dear mother-in-law who did not appreciate it the way that I did. Over the course of a single weekend of family visits and meals we not once, not twice, but three times found ourselves talking about a piece of art that I thought was unique and she thought much less of! Fortunately, we get along great so we both laughed it off!

So – I just like the looks of this piece. I like the texture of the mounds of fabric. I like the way it is sorted by color. I like that it is made of thrift shop finds – there is some commentary here on the amazing amount of stuff we produce, consume, and discard in our country. And I especially like that it reminds me of a painted landscape, of rolling hills and patchworked fields.

These, dear readers, are hands-down the most amazing quilted art pieces I have ever seen. "Seasons" by Anne Loveless gets it realistic, beautiful, painted look from meticulously placed shreds of fabric. A mesh is sewn on top and then it is quilted. So amazing! The photo above does not do the piece justice. Please visit Anne Loveless' website to see more of her work.

November 26, 2012

my future fame as a fabric designer!

Hey, it is possible! :-)

Reading this book: Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and Design just renewed my excitement and passion for patterns and all the pretty places you can put them. Like on fabric and stationery and your walls and pillows and purses and other such lovelies! If you sew or quilt it is probably not a stretch of your imagination to design some fabric in your head. Websites like Spoonflower make it possible to print your very own. I have been tempted to do so but have not. Yet.

Kudos to the author for presenting such a thorough examination of the subject. After reading this you really could get started creating your own designs. The basics of pattern design – hello repeats – are covered along with in-depth Adobe Illustrator tutorials. Additonal chapters each detail various methods of printing fabric. There are loads of interviews with fabric designers, including their back stories. I personally find artists' stories to be hugely inspirational (a reason why I love the CraftSanity blog, podcast, and magazine by local writer and craft queen Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood).

A sampling of the fabric designers/illustrators/artists I have recently added to my blog reader:
A Stitch in Dye – Malka Dubrowsky
Heather Ross
Ink & Spindle – Lara Cameron and Tegan Rose
Jezze Prints –  Jesse Breytenbach
Skinny laMinx – Heather Moore (totally got distracted by her fabric catalog just now)

And another I have long enjoyed following:
Anna Maria Horner

Bonus kudos to the graphic designers and photograhers who so thoughtfully put together a beautiful book. The exterior feels like fabric. I love the subtle reference to ink behind the title. And that image on the cover is just beautiful.

November 21, 2012

happy new home!

My lovely sis-in-law recently moved into her first home – an amazing condo in an old furniture factory along the river. A lovely and simple cut paper card was in order. She really does live one floor beneath the top on the left side of the building too!

November 19, 2012

spray paint is my friend!

All you crafty home decorator blogging ladies already know this. I've read about it a zillion times. But now I have tried it and – wow! Spraypaint is not only amazingly transformative but super fun too! I have some super secret projects in the works for Christmas but while I was painting those I got busy with some other items dug out of the basement. And, as the very funny and entertaining Katy Wolk-Stanley, author of the blog The Non-Consumer Advocate will appreciate, I spray painted some unused frames black to match other frames already up on the wall!

This old, compartmented organizer garage sale treasure has long been waiting for some artistic goodness. I've owned it for years. I will admit it was already black. But an old dingy black. Now it is a shiny new black. I want to collage objects and cut out images and apply words. Around a singular theme. Perhaps birds. Perhaps inspired by the Psalms. Perhaps both. I have ideas but I am going to let it simmer until I have a more clear idea. In the meantime, those near and dear to me can keep me in mind if they come across interesting feathers or bird nests as I have an affinity for both!

This Art Prize wonder by Katherine Van Drie is made of old shoes. But look at how totally transformed it is to see them all spray painted the same color. Then they are reduced to line and shape. Think about multiple objects. Think about an awesome metallic spray paint. You too could create some funky art!

November 16, 2012

pretty purple seed pods

The hyacinth bean vine transitions to autumn. It is an annual but very easy to grow. I would highly recommend it.

November 14, 2012

Christmas card inspiration

My favorites from the Met Museums's catalog:

The colorful, free illustrations by Andy Warhol (he's more than soup cans!), the elegant ornamentation of Aubrey Beardsley's angels, and the adorable partridge by Eyvind Earle.

I won't be buying traditional cards this year because I'll be doing photo cards but if I were to buy some they might look like these. And I am very inspired by those angels. One of these days I am going to get back to doing some linocutting and that style seems to lend itself to that medium.

November 12, 2012

the beauty of Días de los Muertos

The Grand Rapids Public Library, where I work, annually hosts a community exhibit of altars in honor of Días de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday where people build beautiful altars in memory of loved ones who have passed away. Many times the altars contain photos of the person as well as objects they owned or loved. The altars are beautiful and touching and are truly works of art.

This particular altar by Sarah Sciba in honor of Martha Jane Peters was one of my very favorites.

November 9, 2012

pattern in miniature

Once upon an early autumn bike ride I paused to wait for some others to catch up. And there beside me was a plant, already dry. And upon each tiny bloom the tiniest pattern repeats in black. Oh, the beauty of nature!

November 7, 2012

Renegade Craft Fair – I never saw it before!

One more post about the Renegade Craft Fair and then I am done talking about it. Until I go again. Which, given my spending this time around, might not be for quite a while!

I once thought I should buy myself a piece of art every year for my birthday. Well, I bought 5 at Renegade alone. So, yes, I should rein myself in and actually get things up on the wall! Anyone else out there have pieces waiting to be hung?

So people, here are some totally awesome things that I have never seen the likes of before. I always admire artists who come up with something unique.

Stanley the Stegosaurus by The Plaid Penguin

Dinosaur planters by The Plaid Penguin
So after the fact I had a few people tell me they have seen these before. Since this was my first encounter with them, the fine folks of The Plaid Penguin get credit from me. There is something very perfect about pairing spiky succulents with spiky plastic creatures. Fun!

Terrarium Teardrop Necklace by With Roots

Jewelry by With Roots
It's beautiful and it's alive. People, you know this is right up my alley! I love nature and I really do think moss is beautiful. So how lovely to wear a tiny little terrarium? I wonder if you have to store it in a place where it gets sun? I am thinking my dark closet does not qualify! Ok, just checked on that. They do indeed need some moderate sunlight.

The Night Job by Lisa Swerling

Detail of The Night Job by Lisa Swerling

Lisa Swerling's Glass Cathedrals
These lovely sparkly boxes with teeny tiny figurines posed in moments that make us human are simply magical. So lovely and amazing and dear and sometimes a bit funny. I just loved them. Please take some time to browse this artist's site.

November 5, 2012

the table is set for autumn

I found these wooden bowls while thrifting (which I don't actually do all the time; it just seems that way on this blog!). The set of pine needle nesting baskets with lids were actually something my husband had owned for years. I love them for displaying with natural items. All of the round containers ares spread across the table and are filled with natural treasures, some collected in the past and others being added as the season progresses. There is a park near our home that has a huge variety of oak trees and I love to collect all the different types of acorns!

November 2, 2012

purple wood

I took this photograph in August. One of those happy discoveries that makes me feel validated for my risky move of bringing a camera to the beach! It is of a weathered and worn tree along the Lake Michigan shore. I am very much intrigued by the shade of purple. Not what I necessarily expected to see on a day at the beach. The shade is very warm and compliments the tans nicely if anyone is looking for some fashion or decor inspiration!