Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pixies and Fairies

When I go to a show, I like to have an item or two that is inexpensive and for kids. When I displayed at the Quilting in the Country show last August, I brought a basket of pixies which sold out. These pixies are knitted of wool and stuffed with wool so all of their 6" are very cuddly and cozy. One poor young mother had to drag her child away screaming and then she came back later and bought several. But it just wasn't the little kids that liked them and a few went home with teenagers and Grandmas, too.

So I am making some more pixies and added a crocheted flower hat to make a fairy friend. When I took a few finished ones when we visited the kids in Utah, Jess had some fun photographing them in her yard.

When I got home, I finished a few more and had to take their photos to finish off the roll. I walk every day and so took them to where the mountains could be a back drop and probably sealed my reputation as a real weirdo as I walked through town with a basket of pixies and fairies.

This is such a fun way to use up those really pretty scraps and spinning experiments and also a good time to try out different color combinations. When I have enough pixies and fairies...Will I ever have enough!?...Then I am going to work on small bears and cats.

I work on these in the evening when I am too tired to do anything else. I always sit on the couch with Punky on one side and Thyme on the other. If I am busy later than usual, then they sit there and leave a space for me. This is also a big cuddle cat time for them, I guess.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Designing a New Tapestry

Since I am just in the beginning stages of planning a new tapestry, I thought I would try to journal and describe the process that I use in designing and weaving a tapestry over the course of the next couple of months. I have been weaving tapestries that were about 6" square for the last few months and I use these on the fronts of my bags. I enjoy weaving these small, quicker tapestries and have learned a lot doing them but I would like to work on something a little larger although at this point I'm not sure of the size. Probably something around 12"x18".

When we were in Utah visiting the kids last week, I took several photos when we were hiking in the mountains at Brighton and there are a few of them that I want to draw and use for inspiration. I love drawing either directly outside from nature or from my photos. When I draw from my photos, I might incorporate parts of different ones. Often at home, I will draw the sky or a sunset directly but sometimes when traveling, it is nice to take photos to use later.

To get started,I will do some pencil drawings of these and also some drawings using water soluble oil pastels. At this point, I am just playing around with the images. I don't do any design work on the computer, simply because I'm most comfortable doing it this way. When I have several drawings, I will choose one that I like the best and work with it some more to get it just how I want it. I like to end up with a color drawing but it doesn't have to be full size.

Hopefully, by the end of the week, I'll have a drawing I like which I will work from and then I make a rough outline to use as a cartoon for the weaving. I like to have a minimal cartoon that keeps me on track but also allows for spontaneity while weaving. If everything is planned down to the last thread, it is boring to weave and that shows in the finished piece, too.

This week I am also starting to work on an appliqued curtain for an interior glass paned door in my daughter's house. The side I'm starting on is pieced squares in various blues with yellow aspen leaves appliqued on. I am hoping to have the background squares sewn together this week.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indian Summer

We have been enjoying a beautiful Indian summer the last couple of weeks and especially over the weekend. We drove down to visit the kids in Utah and also to meet up with Gabe on his way to a convention in California, so it was a wonderful family reunion, too short but still very nice. Now all the good memories have to last for the winter because I'm sure that is upon us soon and then no one will want to be driving those canyon roads and mountain passes.

Last year was our first autumn in Montana and I didn't appreciate the fall colors here because they weren't nearly as many colors as in the Midwest. This year, however, I have come to really enjoy the coloring of a more austere region and love the brilliant golds of the aspen and cottonwoods against the evergreens. It is different but still very beautiful in its own way and I really love it. I should have some photos of our trip up to Brighton where we all went hiking by early next week.

I'm anxious to get started on working on a larger tapestry and I also have some fun Christmas gift projects lined up but didn't get much done this week. It always takes me a few days after a trip to get back into the working mode again. Hopefully I will have more progress to report by next week.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Woodland Travels Instead

I know that I said last month that the Blue Moon tapestry was the one that would go on tour this year with the Art Mobile of Montana. Sara came to pick it up today and we looked through all the tapestries and decided that Woodland would be better. It is more representational and maybe the kids will relate to it more. So, I'm pretty sure that next week it will be traveling already. The more I learn about the program, the happier I am to be involved in it and have a piece in the traveling exhibit to the rural schools of the state. I know how important my early art exposure was to how I progressed so I can really see the need for these extra programs. I went to school in Chicago and the art education was wonderful back when I was growing up and that changed my life.

The poncho is done for over a week already. I ended up with the first Lion Brand pattern and added extra rows to make it longer. It draped the best.

I also finished the last of 3 small tapestries that I had on the loom and started to make some matching bands for a purse to go with one of the new tapestries. These small tapestries were a great experience because it was very much like sketching and being able to experiment because the time involved was not long. Now I'm thinking of working on a larger piece for the winter and incorporating some of the new ideas that I've worked out in these last few small ones. It'll take me a little while to design but that will be my next major project and on the side, I'll make up a couple more purses.

The weather is definitely turning to fall. We even had some snow this week and the mountains are beautiful with the snow on them. I'm looking forward to some hiking this weekend!