Friday, August 23, 2013

It's official! Art show is going up soon! This will be the first time I've shown my knittings and crochet work from the past year in public, and hopefully not the last. I'd love to get an opportunity to travel around with this series. Not sure of what cities or locations yet...

Green Bean was my first choice for Greensboro and it's happening. They have a great reputation for showing beautiful art in the past and a killer location. I haven't really had much luck with galleries, they either don't get what I'm doing or have weird commission rates. I don't know! I'm figuring this all out right now. That is, how to actually be an artist outside of making it.

Y'all come and visit for the opening September 6th! Or stop by anytime the month of September, free and open 7 days a weeks.

Added a new quilt to my portfolio! This quilt got delivered to my cousin at our family reunion in July, I'm just getting around to editing the photos. I've learned to not let go of things you make until you have properly documented, because you never know if you'll ever get the chance again. And if you don't document then you run the risk of completely forgetting about it (done that before!)

Obviously, I didn't get around to binding this baby until the car ride to our Tennessee reunion, so photographing had to be done somewhere there. Then I forgot my camera (yes, this is one of those times your iPhone does not count as a real camera) but, being that I have about 500 cousins, Kate hooked me up with a sufficient substitute. So, I showed Elizabeth her quilt the first night but didn't actually hand if off till half a week later ("So I can't have it yet?")

The inspiration for the quilt's color and fabric choices came from this wonderful little fabric swatch, that came out of a booklet I found in an old tobacco barn in Liberty, NC. This gave me great direction for making decisions. Elizabeth is a country girl and loves natural greens and browns. I thought this color story would honor that taste but bring in something new with the turmeric yellows and icy teals.

 The backing fabric has a little sheen to it because it's a polyester blend that was originally an unused top sheet. I have the most trouble trying to find decent extra-wide backing fabric. It's either white or some hideous pattern. Can't we do a nice deep brown, y'all? Brown and white seem to be my most frequently used colors for backing, and sometimes that extra-wide white fabric will be full of all sorts of flaws (DON'T get me started on cheap imported goods). Are there any domestic fabric manufacturers anymore??

Note to self: look into this.

I think the sheet will work alright as a backing except it had some stretch that was a little weird when mounting it on the long-arm machine. And Kelley thinks there might be potential for bearding but only time will tell. Has anyone else found alternatives for backing fabrics?

Half-square triangles and leftover stars from a previous project filled in the space around the t-shirts. I did much more all over quilting on this one because I haven't been happy with how t-shirts will puff up when you quilt all around them and not on them. Much happier with this result.

This is the mirror image of the backing so you can see how I labelled the quilt. Each corner has writing in it. Her first name in one, last name in the next one with her home town, the year, and this.

Fave cuz 4 LIFE!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."

                                              -MARGARET YOUNG

My new 5-year plan!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I am so thrilled with the prints I just got in from FinerWorks! I got two different sizes and filter versions of the Bronzed Chorus promo pics, to see which I liked better; and the "Some shit" print is like this amazing, oversized postcard. The best part is that the price goes down as you purchase multiples. I got 3 sets of 5 each, for now, and reorder will be a cinch if I find they're selling well. I'm really happy to have smaller-priced options at the art show. 

This couldn't have happened without Seth's photography skills and Haley's phone consultations ("Should I get 14x14 or 12x12??")

It takes a village!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

 My entire life, literally since my consciousness kicked in, I have wanted to be an artist. I remember being in kindergarden, and the teacher gave me one of those worksheets where on top there's the prompt, "When I grow up I want to be ________." And then there's room underneath to draw yourself in your field of choice. No lie, I was there in full-color Crayola with my easel, paintbrush and beret. I have been that single-mindedly focused on my future.

What I learned much later was, that to be an artist it means you also have to be a framer, a photographer, a web designer, a whiz with Photoshop, a business man, and don't forget PR, because you do have to interact with the rest of the world if you hope to make any money from this career. And odds are, if you are a talented artist, you probably suck at half of these things! So how do you do it? All by yourself, with only your weird thoughts, your stupid drawings, and the innumerous odd bits of things you collect that others would consider trash?

Good question!! Can you please tell me??

Okay, so here's my attempt at documenting this rather large, rather complicated bit of crochet lace I completed last year....yeah, no good. So how do I give justice to this piece I spent hours and hours making? How can I properly present this on my website? That took about as much thought as the piece itself! Not to mention, how do I display this on a wall, in that potential art show it's gonna be in or, even better, that art collector's home who pays a lot of money for it??

Okay, so here it is the first time I put it up on a wall. What you can't tell is that there are about 3 million steel pins stuck into each scallop just to get it looking this half-ass. Did I mention this is over 7 1/2 feet wide?? Yeah, it's pretty heavy and has a tendency to pull itself down. So what now?

So after thoughts of casting it in resin, I did some testing with various fabric stiffeners. Nothing fancy, just spray bottle stuff that you can find at craft stores. This would allow me to at least use less steel pins when hanging and then give me the potential for photographing it. When I finally got the result I wanted, it had been about a week straight of me pumping 2 bottles worth of stiffener over the crochet, allowing it dry between coats and switching between coating the front and the back. It held the scallops exactly the way I wanted them and still maintained the essence of the fabric that it is.

Now the real secret to success with this project, and probably everything else in the world: friends. Especially if they're super-talented, loaded down with tools and available to help! I can't say I know much of Seth's history with photography, but I do know that he owns about a million seamless rolls of paper in every color and big fancy lights. I work at Skram with him and what I do know is that he takes pictures of the finished furniture, after he finishes building them. He said yes when I asked for help, and got me to where I am now...properly documented and hang-ready!

This is where I stopped after bringing it into Photoshop, removing the fishing line, and playing with the background color. 

SO much more work goes into this stuff than one would ever realize, certainly more than I ever realized. And if you're doing this stuff by yourself, it requires significant work outside of being creative. I am always grateful for the skills I do have and always thankful for the skills that friends are willing to share with me.