Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Love My Stash!

I love my fabric stash! This picture only shows part of it, just the fat quarters & 1/2 yard cuts. There is a small bookcase to the right that holds 2 yard pieces and the green bins at the top hold 1 yard cuts. And that is only what is in this part of my studio...

I once figured out how many pieces I have in fat quarters in this cabinet - there are twelve sections across and seven high and an average of eighteen fabrics per slot for a total guesstimate of around FIFTEEN HUNDRED different fabrics in this cabinet alone (I was again so astonished by that number that I had to do the math several times to be sure it was correct).

And that is certainly not all of it. Holy Mackeral.
Here's more... the one yard cuts in the green bins.

My quilter friends totally understand this - we have been elbow to elbow at quilt shows, rifling through row after row of fabric, starting out "just looking' and leaving with a few more yards that we have no plans for.

My non-quilter friends, however, don't quite get it.

Even with all of this fabric I sometimes find myself stuck for a piece in just the right color or scale. Not just any 'ol green will do, it has to be the perfect shade, the right visual texture. It's the same thing with ribbon - it can be tricky to find the perfect combination of color, pattern and width - and then to have enough of it!

Some days, when I've had a long work day and have no energy left to create when I get home, I will head to my studio just to visit my stash. Sometimes I'll pull out fabric and try different combinations. Other times I'll just re-arrange things so the "rainbow" of my cabinet looks better. Sometimes I just sit in the quiet & look at it - my version of meditation.

I have been collecting fabric for a lot of years and I have many pieces that are especially memorable and I can remember where I bought it or some detail of its purchase. As I write this I realize that it makes me sound a little dotty ... which reminds me of the time I had a very difficult time finding red fabric with 1/2" white dots for the Humpty Dumpty doll I made for my granddaughter (I was trying to replicate her mother's much loved one from her own childhood). I finally found it from a vendor at the Northern Star Quilt Show - she had 1/4 yard cuts rolled up & stuck in a small metal pail. Crazy that I remember that, isn't it?
When I was a kid, I was thrilled to have the "big box" of 64 Crayola crayons - I loved having every color of crayons (my favorite was, and still is, "Midnight Blue") and I love having every color of fabric just as much. Makes me one happy girl, it does!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Coloring My World....

I recently attended the Craft & Hobby Association trade show in Chicago. It is a wholesale show, mainly for manufacturers to showcase their new products and for retail craft businesses to buy for their stores.

While waiting to cross the street, I noticed that fourteen of the twenty people standing with me were wearing either all black or black and white (myself included). I found it kind of interesting because this is a gathering of people whose businesses are all about creativity and who buy pencils, paper, paint, inks, ribbons, etc., in every color they come in. I got to thinking about why I wear mostly black and thought of other creative people, like Donna Karan, Michael Kors, and Karl Lagerfeld, who all dress in almost only black. For myself, I wear black because it is easy. I know I will look neat and professional without a lot of fuss. As I thought of the designers mentioned above, I thought that maybe they dress in black so they can save their creative energies for their work, not wanting to spend a drop of it on their own attire. I once described myself as a visual contradiction - wearing black on the outside while thinking in rainbows underneath.

My trip to Chicago was followed by six days in Las Vegas - I decided to spend part of my stay in search of colorful things to photograph... here's what I found, starting with breakfast...

I love room service breakfast. And I love it even more when there are fresh flowers on the table, even if they are humble chrysthanthemums! My room service breakfast at the Aria in Las Vegas arrived with these sunny flowers. What a lovely way to start my day (by the way, the Aria is fabulous - the bed is like a huge poufy marshmallow - you won't want to leave it!).

Later in the week, I roamed around in search of colorful things to photograph. The windows of the boutique at The Paris held these beautiful dresses. It was an eye catching display of gorgeous dresses in happy colors. Makes me want to have a fancy party just so I have a reason to buy one for myself.
These colored almonds at the Jean Philippe Pastry shop at the Aria - they reminded me of the dresses in the window. The store was also full of colorful cakes and candies (all which would make it difficult to fit into the dresses shown above, lol). They were beautiful to look at though!
I headed over to The Bellagio for a visit to their fabulous garden atrium. I've been there a few times and the floral display is always amazing. Gigantic glass poppies towered over gardens filled with golden dwarf sunflowers, blue salvia, cherry red impatiens and bromeliads with red, yellow, purple & hot pink blooms. What caught my attention there, however, was the subtle colors of the succulent gardens - the gray blue greens with touches of pinkish lavender. Even the rocks behind them are full of color, though they appear just gray at first glance.

Later, I visited the lobby at The Bellagio and its breathtaking ceiling installation of Chilhuly glass flowers - hundreds of them in every imaginable color. It is really impossible to do it justice in a photograph but here's as good an example as I could manage.

These are but a few of the hundreds of photos I took as I searched for color in Las Vegas... I'm sure that some element of these photos will show up in a future quilt or collage project.

I'm back home now, still dressing in black but thinking in rainbows...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two yummy books...

Two new books I've found are SO full of fabulous work and inspiration - truly delicious stuff!Collage artists and Art Quilt artists will both find inspiration in either book - so much about composition crosses between the two media.

1000 Artisan Textiles (Quarry) is a visual feast of color and texture. Selected works include close up photos to show terrific detail so the reader can really study the work. There are no "how to" instructions in this book but page after page will take your imagination on a journey that needs no direction. There is an abundance of felted work that showcases the endless possibilities of working in felt. And, hundreds of art quilts show a wide array of techniques, serving to prove just how much this medium has grown. This is a book that I will visit again and again to appreciate the fabulous work and to seek inspiration for my own. Delicious stuff - really!

Masters Collage (Lark) is another visual feast that will jump start your imagination. The book showcases the collage work of forty artists (including my friend, the wonderfully talented Liz Cohn). Collage artists are great recyclers and I am always interested to see how they "upcycle" common items into art. This is another terrific book that I will visit many times over. Another yummy book for my library!

I started working in collage about fifteen years ago. At that time, I was able to find only TWO books on collage. My how times have changed! There are countless books on collage, journaling, mixed media and related creative methods now. While much of the material crosses over from one book to the next, I always find something new and interesting in each one. New materials lead to new techniques and there is no end to the imagination of creative minds.
Speaking of creative minds.... have you been watching "Work of Art"??? How about "Project Runway"??? I am hooked on both shows (and I'm loving On the Road with Austin & Santino, also). I just love hearing about the challenges, thinking about what I might do, and watching what the artists/designers come up with. I find it fascinating to watch someone else's creative process unfold.
I hear some fabric calling to me..... time to see what I can come up with today!