Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Small spaces and bad lighting make for nasty photos!

As a fiber artist who makes large quilts as well as small quilts in a little house with low ceilings I am always and forever trying to figure out how to take decent photos. Just in case those of you who follow my blog haven't noticed I am not a photographer. I have spent much time mulling over how to fix this and I think I have a solution. Today I went shopping for new pillow cases to match the quilts I want pics of, a gallon of Antique White paint, new lamp shades - white of course and tons of day light light bulbs. I had the back ground color on my web site changed to a soft gray today as well. So we will see how this all progresses.

I think a whole lot of artists live in smaller then they need houses as do many other people. I do not have a single room in this house where I can get a 'perfect' quilt on a bed shot. I happen to have a very dark wood book case in my room, so for today I covered it with a sheet, not so great in my opinion. Tomorrow the shelf gets moved and I am so wishing I had a magic wand to move it, well more the books then the shelf.

The room with the blue walls which I rarely ever go in is the lightest room in the house. So one blue wall is going to now be antique white, I will use it to take pictures of my small work. Maybe I can get pics of a red basket that shows the red, or whatever other color my work happens to be. We will see.

Ultimately it does not matter if you live in a great big huge house or a tiny one, we all like to be comfortable where we live and I want my work to be seen for the color it is, cause it can live anywhere.

Happy Holidays

A bluish wall will become antique white.

Daylight bulb on the left, soft white on the right. I love soft white but it makes for yellow  toned pictures. 

This is a combination of light and it is close to the actual color. 

This is in the same light but much closer to the reality of the color of the quilt. and this is what I am going for  in my pictures.
The ugly brown dresser got painted antique white.

The wall behind the dresser was also painted and a piece of whitish carpet added.
Much better for taking pictures now for a better camera.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Something witty or not?

Of course when I started this blog I thought for sure I would have something witty to share every day, instead what I have found is maybe I am good for 5 or 6 witty sentences a year. Often even though I am working on something new or interesting in terms of fiber art I am so engrossed in the project I forget to share, this coming from some one who also forgets to eat. (speaking of I mean to pay more attention to eating when engrossed in a project so I pop something easy in the oven, only remembering it is there as that slightly burned smell wafts through the air) Or perhaps I can't think about the process I just have to do it. The city scapes quilts are a perfect example. Right now I am working on updating my web site, not my favorite thing, though I find I feel like a real grown up when I do,whatever that means. My book, patterns and angelina fibers are always available from my web site. I gave up etsy, while a great net working tool, I have a mini shopping cart on my web site.

After all the Farmer's Markets this summer I made an executive decision to turn my living room into a gallery. Keep in mind in a normal persons house what I call the living room would be a bedroom and the studio would be a living room, but alas this is not a normal person house. The Parker Snowe Gallery is now open by appointment only.

Right now while the studio happens to be ultra cleaned up I am working on finishing all those projects I never quite get around to because I have to clean up first. Not sure how long this will last but 2 down and several hundred to go. The birds is just one of many.
One finished project for the Montana Audubon Society to raffle.
The birds are from a google search for free appliqué bird patterns. 

Studio, quilting machine space. 

The studio all too organized.

A cleaned off cutting table in the studio.
Perfect place to hang skinny quilts for the evening

Studio space used for an event.

Studio used as gallery space for one event. I've left two of the quilts hanging just so I am not distracted by all that fabric hiding behind them. 

Gallery space

Christmas socks of all sorts.

Gallery space.

New gallery space 

Gallery space in a pinch I can still use it as a living room.

Gallery space.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Raffle Quilt winner

The drawing for the raffle quilt was yesterday September 12h at the East Helena City Building and Adam Pople of Big Sky Montana was the lucky winner.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Artist Raffle Quilt and the winner was?

Over the last month I have donated my work to a variety of causes, and in the process thought about how artists well-known or unknown are always donating to one cause or another. Our work is raffled, auctioned, given away for door prizes, etc.  The raffling or auctioning of artwork is not unusual at all.  As part of my consideration of this topic, I learned that in Montana, an individual can raffle almost anything, as long as the value is under $5,000. There is no limitation on the purpose for such a raffle.  So, I have decided to raffle one of my own works in order to raise money so that I can continue to be an artist. I have made a beautiful quilt just for this purpose.  The raffle has already begun, and the feedback has been interesting, ranging from "wow that is really cool, I want 5 tickets"  to "who would want to buy a raffle ticket from you?"  I'll bet that if this same quilt had been donated to a non-profit (where I could only deduct the cost of materials and nothing for my time and expertise) and the non-profit raffled it, no one would likely wonder "who would want to buy a raffle ticket" for it. They would do it for the fun of it and the possibility of winning and to support the cause. Yet I wonder how many folks bidding on art or buying raffle tickets for art for a 'Cause" ever stop to wonder if the artist is benefiting in any way?

How often are you bidding on a doctor's services, the car mechanic, the groceries, gas or any other thing not art, a car a bike or some tangible item that some one had to buy from the store or car dealer?   Maybe some items were donated but not all by any means. 

I spent a week consulting with "the Gambling Guy" at our local state gambling control division office. He was very informative, answered all my questions and has even taken the time to review my Facebook posting to be sure I covered all the right information. The gambling laws involved in a raffle are interesting. A raffle by an individual in Montana has to be intrastate.  In other words, while I have tons of artist friends who live all over, many of whom would probably buy a couple of tickets, and vice versa if they conducted a raffle of one of their works, I cannot conduct my raffle other than in Montana.  Montana residents and people who are visiting Montana can purchase tickets but out-of-staters cannot.  I cannot sell raffle tickets over the internet, via credits cards or pay pal and mail orders must be from folks with a Montana mailing address. 

As a result of this raffle I may make enough money to live on for a year and continue to create beautiful fiber art,  or perhaps I will only make enough to cover the cost of materials.  That is part of the fun of this.  And, I love, love, love doing something that gets an "Oh, my, that is really outside of the box" reaction, or "why don't artists raise money for themselves?"  or "I might have to try that after I watch to see how it works for you." 

Facebook Posting 

"This is the offical raffle quilt.  It is roughly queen-sized, and has a burgundy minky-fur back.  Designer fabric was used for the flowers and the border, vintage muslin-ish fabric for the flower backgrounds, and wool batting inside. The drawing will be conducted on September 12, 2013. The winning ticket will be drawn by the East Helena Police Chief. (The time of day is to be announced, since crime investigations comes first, raffle drawings later.) Tickets are $10.00 each.The sale of raffle tickets is limited to the geographical confines of the state of Montana. Tickets may be purchased in person or through the mail if accompanied by cash or check (made out to Montana Quilts) and you have a MT address. No tickets can be sold over the Internet. The item being raffled must be worth less then 5,000. The applicable statute is Montana Code Annotated section 23-5-413."
The blocks made from designer fabric 
Liking it with the dark green and yellow.
The Lulu dog giving her 2 cents on how it looks. This was my first choice with a yellow green batik to set the blocks together. It sat around for weeks waiting to be finished.

Wondering why I do not quite want to finish it?
Replaced the batik with a soft green which is also used on the border and now it is ready to be finished.
This is one of the very few quilts I have ever ripped out.



Minky fur backing. The binding is on and it is now officially ready to raffle. 

The raffle quilt was won by Adam Pople of Big Sky Montana.

The winning ticket was drawn on Sept 12th 2013 by the local Police Chief Dale J Aschim.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Amethyst Quilt and Grandmothers

Today as I was working on finishing up some of my Grandmother's quilt blocks I realized I was sewing my whole life. Not just my life after I got here but my life that led up to me being. There are pieces of material from when my mother was a kid, the clothes I remember my Grandmother wearing, my favorite p.j's as a little girl, the dresses made for me. My Grandmother was a remarkable and ordinary woman. She survived the great depression on a farm in the wind blown high prairie of north Montana, 30 miles north of Gildford just below the Canadian border. She raised chicken, grew her own food, canned it, pickled it, preserved it, stored it for the winter. She also quilted with scraps, not this stuff we do now, but real scraps, card board templates and all pieces cut with scissors. I still keep some of the cardboard templates made from cereal boxes. The fabric in the container still smells like my Grandmother, the templates have her hand writing on them.

Last week I pulled out some of my Grandmothers scraps to do blocks in conjunction with a block of the month quilt I am working on. Of course there are a multitude of unfinished works in this container. Dresden plates, traditional blocks of all sorts and this damn Amethyst block. Florence Vande Sandt was born Feb 4th 1905, in Arthur N. Dakota, her parent moved to Montana in 1906 to the middle of no where, which is where my Grandmother stayed until 1957 when she moved to town(I bet the population was a booming 200 back then), Gildford MT. There have to be at least enough Amethyst blocks to finish two quilts maybe more. She had a quilt just like it on her bed, I loved that quilt and I do POSSESS it now. I use it when I feel really sad, or really happy. I use it when I want to feel my Grandmother close to me, I love that quilt, it reminds me of everything I loved the most about my Grandmother, and there are a multitude of things. Home made soup, gardens, sewing, long hours conversation and card games, love always plenty of love and time, she always had time, chocolate cup cakes with homemade chocolate frosting. Some days I am sure everything I know that matter I learned from my Grandmother.

Back to the Amethyst blocks, I spent hours looking for the block on google - no one seemed to have a picture of an actual finished quilt. There are picture of blocks started which look of the same time period as my Grandmothers. For some reason I do not think anyone knows how to put it together any better then I do. For the blocks I have a 4" diamond cut in half length wise will work, the blocks are pretty wonky but it doesn't matter I will  sew them any way, this is not a quilt about perfect or precise unless one is only thinking of warm wonderful memories and love is always perfect. The quilt my Grandmother made used whole diamonds to put it together, how she did it but she did.

Pile of Amethyst quilt blocks

My attempt to use whole diamond to sew them together. 

I find it works much better to use half diamonds.

Amethyst blocks.

The Amethyst Quilt made by Florence Vande Sandt. 

Amethyst Quilt made my Grandmother Florence Vande Sandt.  Some of the blocks in this are feed sack fabric. The age range of fabrics seems to be from the 30's through the 50's. I love the yellow.