Spark of Science, Allure of Art

The_Dress_(viral_phenomenon) 26 February 2015.  That Day, That Dress. A spark that ignited communication beyond the virtual work, into our day to day existence. The irony of duality—the prose I planned to be an essay, spilled out like silk cocoon, as my fingers danced on the keyboard.  For most of my life, I’ve stood in awe of those whose have lived through eras of drastic technological change.  My dad’s mom worked as a seamstress, her childhood had no Saturday morning cartoons on TV—there was no TV.  I wondered what our fast paced world must seem like, when digital communication took the place of paper and pen.  A distant past in which, we knew those friends on our block, our news arrived on folded paper, and the lights at night were the stars and planets. We humans landed on the moon, before I was old enough to appreciate our small step.  I take a leap myself, combining and creating my life as a soup or stew as I stir my words, science, art and thought.  By day I tug on the seams of science in operational engineering.  By night I look up at the same moon, attracted to her pull.  Art and science together are a power of gravity and grace. I am just engineer, with a needle of steel and a heart of art, a human being that is all.  

That Day, That Dress

Ode to 26 February 2015

  Spark of Science, Allure of Art Frayed edges, snags and lies. Day Five-Seven of Two-Oh-One-Five Opposing views, left and right Blue-n-Black or Gold and White Like insects swarming in the night Converse and Curse across the Waves   Piercing my fibers, I form a knot Our viral Web spun, will it stop? Attired in questions, we cannot! Trust we must, that which we see Or set our sights on mystery? Science isn’t Black or White In packets, waves, shines both the light   Tugging a thread, I soon regret Are Science and Art, such worlds apart? Building blocks, unraveling thoughts Beauty, Knowledge coexist Woven fibers; Warp-n-Weft Pulling Biases we must resist Ripping our borders, edges, seams Concealed a veil, a wish, a dream   Tricked by truth, fooled by thought All turn and look, What is, Is not Spark of Science, Allure of Art With great disdain, I must confess Unraveled us all,

That Day,

That Dress.

  For beautiful art that is also beautiful science, see the New Moon Rises exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The Dress BBC article on The Dress
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Hanging on with Thread

  A friend asked about my thread racks, and a photo seemed like a good answer.  I have the large 120 spool thread racks, and I added hooks to hang on the wall. Then I cut straws to lengthen posts and topped it all off with #ikea #pictureledge for large #spools #studio #sewing #quilting #manageyourmess #makeityourown thread rack hack. Then a surprise message from Joen Wolfrom, reminded me of my Permission Slip project, so I adjusted the photo collage.  Stay tuned for more news on Permission!
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Making fun from A to Z, seriously!

Gathered with my tribe, my comrades in art, my fabric friends, my followers (loved meeting y'all in person!) and fellow humorous humans during the International Quilt Festival, has been.... FAB-U-LOUS! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sky Blue comic book hair! More on this later... How often can you call 3-d art a quilt... well my pineapple is 3 layers stitched together with a handsewn label... OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Fruitful Art, Art for Fruit was part of the "what's for dinner?" display, here I am just after my video with Quilt Alliance.  Can't wait to share the fun with ya... soon as I get the link I will post it here. The theme song of the day is Coldplay's Viva La Vida, perfect on a cool windy day...  "It was the wicked and wild wind, Blew down the doors to let me in" Thanks for having fun with me! ATOZ
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Series-ous Fun, process, lessons and confessions!

Saturday at Deborah Boschert's class
Small Art Quilts: Designing a Series 
my goals for the day included:

SIMPLIFY -  spending more time sewing and less time agonizing... so when the supply list called for 6,  I brought only 9 - not 39!

SEW MORE - selected the "4 sided angular shape"as my design element (maxing my design time and maxing my time to sew, by cutting out the extra cutting time!)

HAVE FUN - fun to work at something that you enjoy - I love the handwork!

Color Scheme
I picked colors based on my inspiration fabric - FUN hand painted and hand stamped fabric I made in Lyric Kinard's Playing with Paint class through Quilt University this summer.

Background is a commercial mottled fabric that I had gelatin printed with bubble wrap. Orange is commercial print, one yellows is from my Lonni Rossi scraps by the pound grab bag, other yellow is from my first handdying, pale green is hand painted fabric, dark green is handdyed and stamped (from 12x12x12).  So I actually used 6 fat quarters - hmmm, lesson? listen to the supply list!

Look at what I found in my orphan blocks box... I think it's a sign that the 3 sided Angular Shape wants attention and I should continue to play with this color scheme!

Here it is early in the design process - the  top set was nice and clean/simple but the bottom had a complicated flavor -AND for the series to be cohesive, I needed to go one way or another - AND I wanted to be able to go wild with stitching both hand and machine, so I went the simple route! 

I think the complicated bottom ones would be good to do on a much larger scale... ideas!

there was something very compelling in the weaving of strips and frames... I had to keep some of that in...

Can you see that this was done on my nephew's 11th birthday? and that I am one of 3 sisters?

Denying my nonconformist nature, used some embroidery stitches from the class handout... But soon my nature emerged as I stitched the bars on my twin towers piece (bottom right), and stagger longer and shorter bars up the left tower.  I felt like some of my machine stitching was weedy looking so added some loopy weed heads... 

The top left started to looked like a building, so I added the top level in stitching (both machine and hand).  Later I would realize it looked more like a mission church than a home or factory...  And a dark night sky over the mission that needed a star or a few...

Added some weaving, squares, stars, bars, y's and french knots (last count was over 70 french knots before adding the  alien flowers),

Something about the bottom left one looked wrong, so I turned it upside down... hmmm  - a flag pole with 2 flags and a detail at the top?  hmm, what would Rorschach say?

I wanted to do a blanket stitch in navy blue, but didn't have it and didn't want to wait to get some, and had black dmc floss.  I like the black edge on the navy background!  Lucky I didn't have navy blue! 

reordered the quilts so that the weeds are growing up from all of the bottom 3.

Lessons and Confessions
Lesson 1 - free cutting is fun, takes a creative leap of faith, but it's freeing and loose.  That overall looseness is a design element in this series... 
Confession 1 - NO ROTARY CUTTER OR RULER USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS SERIES...  in fact even did free motion sewing - the feeddogs were down for all the machine stitching except the arc across the sky in the Mission Church

Lesson 2 - navy background was a comercial print and comercially printed fabric has the color laying on top, so the back is lighter and the cut edge is also
Confession 2 - I inked the edge after the blanket stitch with my favorite tools - the humble sharpie - but the fancy "clicky" one in black...

Lesson 3- hand painted fabric has a slight stiffness makes for fantastic raw edge applique if you don't want any pokeys like in the other fabrics - the light green has a very crisp edge.
Confession 3 - I don't have another confession, yet am compelled to have a balance of confessions to lessons (I guess that's my confession!)

Lesson 4 - DON'T FEAR THE REAPER, you need to prune!  Sometimes it's what you remove... I saw many times in the designing that removing a part allowed the rest of the piece to breathe.
Confession - Took photos or saved parts removed - those can feed another project.  This color scheme, loose style, simplicity is very appealing to me and it might just become a large singular piece... That's my next mission, should I chose to accept it!
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Contrast and Commonality

In Quilt University's Playing with Paint online class with Lyric Kinard  I've been having a lot of fun and learning some good painting techniques. The painting on silk reminded me of a book, that I saw once.

I use my phone camera as a memory tool, so I looked in my photo album to remember...

On Reveal Day 12 I wrote "But is there some contrast and commonality I ask?".Reading Kees van Aalst's blog for July 1st, I see the terms cohesion and variation while discussing color and the need to have some balance.

Some of the fun I had painting thru the Playing with Paint included, learning that the back of what I'm working might be more interesting than the front.  Here I loaded the brush with multiple colors ala Donna Dewberry's One Stroke painting.


Plus if you don't like something... add more paint.
I like step 2's sponge painting addition to the mix.

step 1
step 2

Somethings you need to take with a little grain of Sodium Chloride. 

wet color wash

wet color wash with salt

It's fun to play with your food!

thanks for having fun with me today!

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Dragon – Reveal Day 8

 Based on a sketch from spring 2011


  • Fused background fabric to Freezer paper for stability
  • Wavy S shape drawn with Sewline Air Erasable pen
  • Circles drawn along the line using the Staedtler Professional Combo Circle template
  • Colored in the spheres with Tsukineko Inks blending rainbow colors and adding some spherical shapes
  • Accidentally used steam when setting the inks, and got a nice smeary effect on the red to oranges and teals (interesting effect - may need to try on purpose) !!!   

  • Free Motion Machine quilted around spheres first
  • Quilted lines moving top to bottom around the spheres!!! and echoing curves on upper right
  • Added a dragon scale (or fern-like) quilting in areas that needed tighter quilting !!!
  • Did a vertical stitching below dragon echoing the tail - I like the checkerboard effect it gives.  I don't know if I like the quilting inside the dragon tail...
  • Bound using chunks of fused fabrics, fused on front and wrapped to the back!!!
    Fun to take an idea from the sketchbook to the quilt.  This was just a shape (not a dragon) til I took one look at it from a different angle, turned it upside down and voila - dragon.  After it was quilted, I really  liked this quilt - but then when I bound it I feel that it came to life in a whole new way- now I love it, it's one of my favorites.

      * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
    !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

    pizza cheese fabric

    and I end this post with the cheese fabric on the back
    why you ask?
    because we all know "the cheese stands alone"!
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    We all have our strengths and our "areas of improvement". Believe it or not, personal style is my blindspot.

    In 1988, I mistook a comment "you look like a Charlie's Angel" to be a compliment, so out of the house I went feeling confident in a bright blue jumpsuit.

    As it turns out she was trying to tell me that I looked like I just walked out of the 70's - not a fashion style that was popular in 1988. Since then I've learned how to play the game smarter.
    fashion school dropout

    My nature is that of an athlete: I look for ways to win; to learn the rules of the game, to use the advantages I have; to keep my opponent from seeing my weaknesses; and to train to build up my weak spots while building my strengths. As an athlete I also learn about my opponent. In this battle - it's been age, gravity and excess weight. That last one has been retreating at a rate of ~ 1 pound a week. Yeah me, another win!

    In training, repetition is the key. So when I saw I had an opportunity to go back to style school, I jumped on that so I could strengthen that area. In 2007, Nancy Nix-Rice spoke at G-Street fabrics and I started to learn some of the rules. From sports I have learned the hard way to invest in my equipment.  Often the cheapest gear doesn't do the job well and then I end up replacing it with the better gear.  An initial investment can saves money in the long run. This is how I saw getting my "colors done".  This wasn't the color me beautiful one of four seasons, but colors specific to just me, based on me.

    My sister, me in a wonder outfit, and Nancy Zieman...
    Since 2007 my color fan is my shopping companion, sometimes I ignore its advice as the thrill of a sale feels like a win and pulls me in. Some of those sale items have been good players on my team, while others are "wonders"...
    • wonder if Mrs Roper knows I have her floral top? (and I actually sewed that one in the photo! and it seemed too revealing so I added a green t-shirt underneath)
    • wonder if my arms will grow longer so this will fit?
    • wonder what is going to match this wild print?
    • wonder what I was thinking?
    I think I'm going to start calling my color fan my "Jiminy Cricket"; my conscience.  Sure makes shopping better when I can ignore all the colors not in my color fan. Far better to invest in a player that will work better with the rest of the team and let me be the star, not drawing all the attention to itself.  So it's time to draft a new team as the previous players are a little too loose and not making me my personal best.
    45 and still spunky

    in college and spunky

    One of the ways I know I'm winning this game is to check in on my feelings. I'm feeling energetic and spunky, a feeling I remember from being young! Feeling good and looking good - which came first?

    Runners are always competing with their personal best. I'm feeling like I'm back to competing with my personal best!
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    on a savenger hunt for circles treats I went to 

    goodies i-found on the sale rack 

    oooooh, what is in the black case???
    could it be an i-toy?


    no, it was empty case for the original i-pad
    Bubble Case on clearance rack for 5bucks - holey shmoley!!!

    but before i-could get the photo,
    my Fabrico fabric markers jumped inside
    and i-drove off to play with my friends

    check out the circles inside
    plus gotta love the name - "Hard Candy"

    i-took this black and white fabric to my quilt bee...  
    Misty, Karen and Anne couldn't resist it

    the 4 of us colored within the lines

    not 1 rule, anything goes

    never more than 2 of us at a time coloring

    chatting and laughing with 3 other bee-mates

     trading seats

    working on other journals, sewing and knitting projects and
    even a hulu hoop project

    laughed some more

    and ta da....

    what's a better name?
    i-play       or         i-color
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