Monday, April 13, 2009

In New York with no sewing machine

Cooling Tower II

Yesterday I inspected Lake Ontario and found it acceptable.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Almost there...

In Pennsylvania for the night, after driving up from visiting Grandpa in SW Ohio. I-80 through western/central PA is probably very beautiful when it's not fogged over, and when there are leaves.

I can't take pictures of myself, so I brought a stand-in:

Bratwurst mit Schild

That's Bratwurst, one of the Famous Klement's Racing Sausages. I was unable to hear the Opening Day game since I was on the road...fairly crankified. It appears to have been awesome.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Syracuse--sewing machine?

I'm going to work in central New York for six months while the cat stays here with Bryan and my furniture. Which sounds depressing...let's try "I'm going to test a new airport safety product for six months in a beautiful part of the country, where every weekend I can go take pictures somewhere I've never been before and drink beers I cannot drink in Wisconsin!" That's better.

The plan is to drive myself out with a Buick full of essentials, buy an air mattress, get a recliner and a table at the Salvation Army, and give it back to them in October (I have a friend there with a Jeep). Once I have an address, I can receive boxes of fabric in the mail. I will have my laptop and Photoshop. JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and AC Moore are all within 15-20 minutes of work; I already visited a traditional quilt shop in the area when I was there for the interview *grin*; I'm sure there are needlework and art supply stores somewhere between Buffalo (I have a friend there...) and Albany. So I should pack and ship odd stuff--hand-dyed fabrics, maybe my beer label collection--and not worry too much about forgetting a certain tool or color of thread. Although I don't see myself buying too much stuff, since it will all have to be donated or shipped back to Milwaukee.

I am dithering about whether or not to take the sewing machine...and/or the big plastic tubs of beads and sequins...and/or fabric paint. I haven't been using the machine or the embellishments lately, but that's different than not having them. I only plan to be "home" on rainy weekend days, and maybe not even then. And it would be fiscally responsible to pack the Buick with some dishes, towels, pans, etc, instead of art supplies. Handwork might be the best bet.

Whatever I pack, I will wish I had packed the other thing.

It has occurred to me that late April/early May is prime season for "dumpster diving around college campuses", which is how I obtained most of my dyeing/batiking equipment 10 years ago, including ironing boards (my iron is going with me for work clothing purposes).

The first week is obvious: I have been sporadically (on airplanes, mostly) working up a red, black, and gold paper-pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt with 3200-ish hexagons. Three years, maybe 15% completed. No pictures--perhaps I'll have time tomorrow. Will be excellent mindless stitching for sitting in a hotel room thinking about a new job.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Take Me To Your Feeder

The aliens have mutated.

Take Me To Your Feeder 1

Look! Paintstiks! *heh*

Take Me To Your Feeder 2

Take Me To Your Feeder 4

And for thrills, I stacked 'em all up:
Side View

I may have been affected by the new episodes of Red Dwarf, even though no one has bothered to mention when or how they will be available in the U.S.

I'm still calling them "in-progress"--whiskers are definitely needed, and I'm still thinking about potential embellishments. But the stab-stitching is very soothing right now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Harrington Beach

I've been spending my weekdays sitting around waiting for phone calls, which is simultaneously tedious and stressful.

Bryan took me to Harrington Beach on Sunday afternoon and we walked around for a couple of hours indulging my obsession with sand formations.


More here.

Flickr has installed a new feature where you can see your stats "So far today", so I have a new feeder-pellet bar to click on every thirty seconds or so. *snicker*

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Milwaukee Photo Walk

Lots of people out downtown today, so I went south of downtown.


More photos here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aliens on backgrounds...

I've given up on making any sort of FFAC collage. Just not my thing--even in picking an image to work around, my good photographs are a whole composition and don't really lend themselves to being one element, photocopies of antique postcards look too flat, and most everything else that intrigues me has a copyright.

So then I was looking at my stack of aliens, and I noticed my stack of backgrounds, and I flipped them around for awhile.

Pink Option 1
The tacky metal word is too tacky. The background probably needs more stitching. Could also rotate the orientation 90 degrees. I wish there was more "stars" swirling above the alien...I could take the background apart try again, if I have more of the glitter fabric. I know I don't have any more dyed batting...

Pink Option 2
Same background, different alien. Same thoughts. Obviously, there can be only one here...

Blue Option 2
I'm not really sure about teal with navy blue, but I love the contrast between the orange the blue.

Blue Option 1
Same reservations about the teal, and about having horizontal stitch lines on both parts.

Obviously, a collage would need more than one element and a background. Stars, or stripes of color...

So, I could make a couple of pieces that finish to 8" x 10", but then I look around at other artists' submission, and the aliens seem...slapdash. Maybe childish.

I could use some honest comments, if you're inclined. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Minor adventure in FIBland.

Had a job interview yesterday on the wrong side of the Cheddar Curtain. Stopped at a state park on the drive home, to decompress. Wasn't really impressed by the park, but had some fun with the camera.


The whole set is here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The beat goes on and I'm so...something

Grey aliens.

These two are another upside-down Jinny Beyer print from 1997-ish:
Grey EBE 1

Grey EBE 2

An icky faux-country calico print, again upside-down:
Grey EBE 3

I may never get to the "embellishment" chapter of the playbook.

I'm kinda impressed at how good the "icky" fabrics I don't like and thought I would never use actually look in a project, even one with only two fabrics.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Alien Apotheosis

I don't think they can get any better than this:

Here's another green E.B.E.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alien invasion continues

This is the same teal fabric as the earlier E.B.E., with unprinted side (I refuse to call it the "wrong" side for this piece) on top:
Teal E.B.E. 2

And while I had the fabric paint out for the eyes, I tried a freezer paper stencil:
Silver E.B.E.

Not sure how he ended up wonky-shaped. I like the color and the hand of the paint, but he looks a little flat compared to the appliqued guys.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More aliens

They need embellishment.

E.B.E. 2, on a background of overdyed calico, about 3" x 4":

A teal E.B.E., same size:
Teal EBE
I want to say he's a Jinny Beyer print from at 10-12 years ago, a print pattern I do not like but somehow acquired in three different colors. I didn't know if black eyes would show up, so I painted them silver via a freezer-paper stencil.

Have also begun machine-stitching around the aliens en masse.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Milwaukee Art Museum

Today's fruitless attempt to avoid going insane with purposelessness: MAM. I just went over the holidays to study the folk/outsider/Haitian art, so I skipped all that and made a beeline to the temporary exhibit of 19th century hand-tinted prints. They thoughtfully provide magnifying glasses for better admiration of the fine details on the engravings. I must go back sometime next month to study them again, as I struggle with "where to put the quilting lines."

The museum was fairly empty once the teenagers on field trips left (kids--check the corners of Matrix XV for old ladies in dark clothing before you decide it's a cool place to make out, please!), and I finally got to go into Stanley Landsman's Walk-In Infinity Chamber, which was incredible.

Now I'm trying to understand why I was drawn to Hans Hofmann's "Meadow Splendor" in December, but today it was just sort of there:
Hans Hofmann, Meadow Splendor, 1959

I get in free through June, and I have three punches left on my parking-garage pass, so I'll have to go back. Maybe catch a gallery talk now that I have nowhere to be on weekday afternoons.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

They're heeeeeee-eeeeer.

My working title is "Radish's Cry for Help." *snicker*

Aliens--in progress
...and they're kinda dark:
Low-contrast aliens

But they're already fused in place, and dark fits the mood I was trying to create.

And a close-up:
They're heeeee-eeer

"He who takes leader cloth is leader. He who takes green is green and follows green leader. He who takes purple is purple and follows purple leader."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

E.B.E. 1


This guy was the wrong shade of green for his buddies, but he seems just fine solo. The metallic perle cotton was a pain to work with but I like the look.

I wonder how many of these things I'm going to end up with...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Madness takes its toll

All that fabric I have been dyeing and overdyeing "Avocado" since 1999? Apparently there was a reason.


Why yes, I have been watching the X-Files. In German. I understand about 15% of it...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mas Tequila!!

I have added new photos to the Tequila Project.
22/100 1800

I have my new camera back, although I don't know for how long. I've had to send it for warranty repairs twice since I got it 12/31. It's excellent when it works...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flower Quiltlet 2

Went into the back room last night to heat set and use my black paintstik'd fabric and I couldn't find the drawing I was going to work from, so I put it aside, found a template I created last spring, and made this little 3" bit for my best friend's grandmother, who is having some health issues.

Flower quiltlet 2

Hand-dyed fabrics, fabric crayon, perle cotton, beads. I think I could have selected a more contrasting background fabric. I do like how the beads look like masago, which should send me off in yet another direction.

Here is the earlier version, which I gave to my mother:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Less-delayed gratification

Fabric paint and freezer-paper stencil:

Less-delayed gratification

Yeah, I'm jumping around a lot. After unearthing so many forgotten treasures during my excavations over the holidays, I want to use them all...

Anyway, before it was a stencil, it was a felt applique:

I haven't fused it down to the painted batting/organza yet, because I haven't decided if hacked-out felt is the best option, and if so, how to stitch around/through it. I like the motif being raised above the surface.

It's slightly too big for a postcard (the stenciled bits could be postcards, I think), which leaves room for a scroll-y border. In six weeks or whenever I pick it back up.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Portland Nature/Scenery Photos


Portland Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and some waterfalls and vistas along the Columbia River. I'll get to the city photos later...

Limitations of paintstiks

Gingko paintstik, originally uploaded by heatherradish.

"Irridescent Charcoal" on black (there is a hideous calico print on the obverse...can I call this reclaimed fabric?). Now I wait 3-5 days for the paint to cure, which irritates me. I want to beat people up right now!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Paintstiks with rubbing plates and stencils

Experiments over the past couple of days:


The boring purple fabric is very crisp--high twist, high thread count--and I vaguely remember it being about $5/yd when I ordered it PFD in 1999. And it turned out boring. Sigh.

Gingko rubbing plate
The Cedar Canyon Textiles "Leaf" rubbing plates are double-sided, in theory. In reality, one side looked better than the other on the gingko, and the fern looked so bad on both sides I didn't even bother to photograph them.
Gingko rubbing plate

I also tried a polymer-clay patterning plate I found in a box. Be very aware of where the edge of the pattern is--this piece has a couple of dark spots where the texture ended but I was scrubbing with the stik anyway:

I then made a couple of stencils using a method from Jane Dunnewold's Complex Cloth: index cards (in lieu of cardstock, which I know I have but I haven't found in my back room yet), X-acto knife, and about four coats of acrylic sealant. These are just doodles from work:
Cheap Stencils

The directions on the box of paintstiks said to "put color on the stencil and push into open areas with a brush", which didn't really work as well as putting a little color into the open areas and then scrubbing it around. Consequently, the squares smaller than the tip of the paintstiks didn't work very well, but the bigger squares aren't bad...
Home-made stencils

I let the rubbings dry for two days. I have not yet heat-set them. The stencils I did tonight.

The box didn't say how to clean the brushes ("citrus based solvent"--seemed to work OK), but I found directions on the website after I finished.

Notes: This stuff gets all over everything.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Originally uploaded by heatherradish
My sewing room window. There could be some good inspiration here later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ZOMG, Paintstiks

I finally broke down and ordered a set of Shiva Paintstiks for my birthday, and they arrived today. Took them for a brief test run--the rubbing plates were backordered. ZOMG. A stencil I cut out of cardstock looked like a bust at first--more paint on the edge of the stencil than in the cut-outs, but I was able to scrub at it with a brush and cover the open area. THEN I started scrubbing some more to move the paint on the edge onto fabric (I hate to feel like I'm wasting my new toy), and ZOMG!

I am now totally upset with myself because I can't think up anything interesting to make into a stencil.

I will not use the orange paintstik on the yellow thingy I painted over the weekend unless I know I have a wicked-awesome stencil. Thinking about paint or dyed fabric.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Needs orange

I spent a week diligently attempting to sketch beach sand from last weekend's outing (had the beach all to myself!) and then the fabric I sat down to paint yesterday looks nothing like it:

Not beach sand

Fabric paint on hand-dyed fabric. Needs orange; haven't decided if the orange should be paint, thread, fabric, beads, sequins. Maybe more green, too. Learning I could use a liner brush with some competency was exciting.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Block Print Redux

Thought I'd try the PCB-inspired block I carved two years ago again (I don't know where the pictures from that post went...)

Acrylic paint:

Ugly hand-dyed fabric*:
*Maybe "ugly" isn't the right word. During my sorting, I separated hand-dyed fabric (some of it I did 9 years ago, good grief) into "interesting"--lots of pattern, more than one color that work together well, really good color--and "boring"--almost solid, unattractive or muddy colors, etc. I pulled both of these from the "boring" bucket.

Block prints on yellow:

Block prints on puke-color:

Acrylic paint on denim:
Acrylic on denim
Commercial foam stamp. Was just trying to use up the extra paint--I like the muted effect of the paint on the denim. This particular scrap isn't very interesting, but it's good to know about the paint for later projects.

Fun with Tulle

I still hate tulle, but I like the look of teeny scraps captured under it. This stuff was all done last week:

Further adventures with tulle
I wish I would have bought more of this blue foil-dot net that I found when I was excavating my stash, because I can see lots of this in my future. This will be a background for something.

Coffee cuffs
Coffee cuffs, from teeny scraps and tulle. The middle one has too much contrast, I think.