Friday, July 31, 2020

SCOUTING A DRIVE

'The husband' and I scouted an upcoming drive & social distancing picnic for our local car club.  This one will be strictly for SUV's.  All our drives are scouted (often more than once) for fun driving roads, map making, mileage points between areas we may stop, bathroom facilities, parking for 15 cars, and restaurant (now picnic) accommodations.  We are restricted to 15 car groups for each outing following the regulations of the national PCA Association guide.  Covid too has challenged the planning but hasn't dampened the interest.  Sign ups for drives are usually filled in hours, not days.

We first learned about Wayah Bald from our UPS delivery man whose Grandfather was one of the Rangers, who with his wife, lived and work there for many years. It's an out of the way popular destination that is not unknown to out of town visitors. 

 The access road is gravel with lots of ruts and often very narrow, a challenge when meeting a car coming from the opposite direction!  Plan to drive no more than about 10 mph for 15-20 minutes just to reach the parking area at the top.  SUV recommended.
Someone left a walking stick leaning against the sign for another visitor to use.

 Hopefully if you click on these two photos you will be able to read the information.  Here's a link to read more about Wayah Bald.

 The tower has undergone restoration over the years, allowing a safe passage to view at the top.
 My photos simply do not do justice to the uninterrupted long range view, but you get the idea.
The vistas are breathtaking.  The elevation is over 5,300 feet so fog can be an issue, luckily it was beautiful the morning we visited.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

SUMMER RAINS

The weather pattern this summer is nearly identical to the very first one we experienced after moving here in the spring of 2006.  It rains every afternoon for about an hour!  Due to the welcome moisture & thanks to the constant work by 'the husband', our planting areas on our 2+ acres are beautiful.
View from our upper driveway
Small display on our back deck

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

SMOKY MOUNTAINS

As mentioned in the past, we live in a beautiful small mountain valley located in Western North Carolina.  There's a reason this area is referred to as the Smoky Mountains.

The first two photos are taken from our front deck.  The third from our back deck.  The final photos were taken while driving home on the road that winds through our valley.









Tuesday, July 28, 2020

GOTTA ASK AGAIN...IS THIS ART??

Honestly, I'm not being snide when I ask.....is this art?  I'm confounded by this exhibit at the Dia Beacon Museum. 

Dia Beacon is the museum for the Dia Art Foundation's collection of art from the 1960s to the present and is one of the 11 locations and sites they manage. The museum, which opened in 2003, is situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York. 
 Barry Le Va, 4 Layers: Placed, Dropped, Thrown, 1968–71/2019. Detail view, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York © Barry Le Va. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York, courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York.
Mel Bochner, Measurement Room: No Vantage Point, 1969/2019. Installation view, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York. © Mel Bochner. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York, courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York.

Monday, July 27, 2020

BACK TO TRADITION

Creating affordable art for sale generally requires a different construction approach.  That doesn't mean a reduction of quality, rather that stitching is mostly by machine instead of the much more time consuming hand work I've enjoyed since I began quilt making back in the early 80's.

My stealth project features hand applique....a labor of love.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

FUN ALONG THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

We belong to a very active car club.  Our Drive and Dine events are always very popular....even if that now means drive and picnic with social distancing.
 This is the 3rd grouping of 15 cars each that did the drive to Mt. Mitchell, picnic and finished up zooming along the Devil's Whip (which ends near Marion, NC)
 Typical vista views often seen earlier in the day before the sun burns off all the moisture.  
The speed limit on the Parkway is 45 mph, but often drops to 35 or 25 depending upon the terrain.  Lower speeds certainly help to enjoy the scenery.

REAL LIFE

As promised....here's a snapshot of life in the mountains.....

 We often have weird mold spores pop up that grow almost overnight and disappear nearly as quickly.  Sometimes plants here seem to grow just as quickly, which was my first reaction after seeing this. But I know these spores die out within 24-48 hrs. and surely the decorative grass didn't grow that much overnight?  The mass was on the ground in a ditch right by our mailbox the day before, so I suspect the torrential rain we had later that day pushed it up the grass stems.  Weird, right?!?     

I spotted this a couple of days ago in nearly the same place that our black lab Sooty (to our total shock) pounced on another smaller black snake a few days before.  She had it in her jaw for just a second.....I think she was shocked too that she caught it (she's an awesome mole hunter).  This snake was HUGE...we thought it was dead since it didn't move when we walk up close to peer intently.  However, upon our return home from our afternoon forced march, it was gone....creepy.

Friday, July 24, 2020

NEW PROJECT UNDER WRAPS

I'm going to be working on a new project that will be kept under-wraps for the time being, therefore my fiber posts may be infrequent.  This is the last you'll probably see of the piece, but I'll be documenting the process and share when I can.
 I'll be focusing on other positive details, which will definitely not be politically related.  I'm totally fed up with all that's going on.  So, please check back won't you?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PURCHASE DIRECT FROM GALLERY

In person sales are understandably a bit slow right now.  If you had your eye on a piece from a previous blog shown that's now on display here at Woolworth Walk Gallery, you may purchase it by phone and have it shipped directly to you.

Review here for individual photos, sizes, prices, or contact Woolworth's for further details to purchase a piece.  Thank you in advance for your support!



Tuesday, July 21, 2020

3 TREES

The alternate title for this piece should be 3 weeks.....since it took nearly that long to create it.  Either it fought me every step of the way or I fought it!

However, I'm now pleased with it and hope someone else will be too.  
3 TREES - 13" x 22.5"
Hand dye-painted and gradation dyed cottons,
machine appliqued & hand embroidered
DETAIL

Sunday, July 19, 2020

WHEN WILL THIS LITTLE QUILT EVER BE FINISHED???

Continuing the saga of the little quilt that won't quit. Even after the addition of the hand embroidered background, the piece just needed 'more'.
 Several options tried and rejected and finally I decided to add colorful circles to the background. I intended to just fuse them and not finish the edges.

You can probably guess by the time they were all fused, I knew I just had to spend even more time on this darn piece and outline hand embroider each one. Details count!!

Friday, July 17, 2020

HAND STITCHING SMOOTH CURVES

Hand embroidery TIP: I taught hand quilting for years, here's how to create smooth hand stitched curves.
Always remember, the change of direction is always made from the bottom to the top. Go down in line with your last stitch and come up where you want the line to go. The smaller the stitch (that means space between the stitch too) the easier it is to do.
Photos are from my current project with 1 strand of DMC Embroidery thread.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

ONE STEP FORWARD TWO BACK.....

It's totally common for me to change directions during the process of creating a 
one-of-a-kind quilt.  This one has had more indecision that most.

 I planned to hand embroider branches, but after only a few I realized they were too puny.
Instead, a new approach was undertaken.....tiny machine zig-zag stitching around the circles (remember I don't free-motion so this was a tad challenging).  Tying off 2 sets of threads for each dot was tedious.
Next I changed my mind (again) about the background details.  I had planned to machine quilt it but decided to hand embroider instead to provide more details to the piece.  The lighter swirl using 1 strand of embroidery thread is barely visible from a distance....two didn't make much more of an impact.  So I switched to a brighter blue....which isn't much better.  Need to try two strands and see if that helps.  

This is all in the name of 'creating original art'.......and it's actually been very enjoyable despite the starts and stops.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

MOVING RIGHT ALONG......

After my false start with a programed machine stitch that didn't work out....I switched to hand embroidery to create the texture I was seeking for this lower section of the in-progress wall art quilt I'm working on.

Now onto the top section.....there too I've changed my mind regarding the previously envisioned details.....stay tuned....


Monday, July 13, 2020

CHANGING DIRECTIONS

Though I often say mistakes are merely design opportunities....the same can be said for preconceived ideas.  My work is never planned from beginning to end.....sometimes there's a fairly strong mental image of where I'm headed, but most of the time I find 'off ramps' ahead.

For instance, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get this programed stitch not to tunnel the fabric.....finally decided to take the off ramp and head in a new direction.
Instead the texture will be provided by hand embroidery. BUT....of course I didn't have the right color thread..... Store options here in my specific rural mountain area are Walmart, Walmart, Walmart.  Will there even be a wide enough selection to find the right color....I think not.  Perhaps I'll have to take a chance with shopping online.....
 But for now I can work on the top section of this small stylized tree design.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

CONNECTING

Thanks to the dedicated work of several members of our Mountain Art Quilt group we had our 2nd successful Zoom gathering.  Soooooo great catching up with everyone and as always the inspirational show and tell by our talented members.



Thursday, July 9, 2020

WHAT IS ART??

Let me say, really, I'm not being sassy, closed minded, or envious (criticism can often be based in envy)....but I truly don't get this.

Christie’s launched the full offering of From the Studio, a dedicated selection of 17 works, which have been generously donated by leading contemporary artists to benefit amfAR’s newly launched Fund to Fight COVID-19. This special grouping will be included in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day sale, which is taking place on July 10 in New York. 
                                         

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977), Untitled Anxious Red Drawing. Signed 'Rashid Johnson' (on the reverse) oil on cotton rag, 19 ¾ x 15 (50.2 x 38.1 cm.) Painted in 2020. Estimate: USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.   

The photo and text was published in ArtDaily Newsletter.

Perhaps the estimated value of as high as $30,000 is based on the cause to which this piece has been donated?  If not, I may give up quilting and grab white cloth, a red crayon, close my eyes and start creating new work!

What do you think....what am I missing???

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

ANTICIPATION....

Still no in-person fiber group gatherings so I'm using my time to create, create, create.  

 Idea sort of sketched, fabric pulled.....of course this took all day.  No snap decisions here.
The background focus fabric was in my stash, flat dyed painted in 2015.  Unusual colors that took some searching to find companions that played well with it.  Let's see what develops.....

Monday, July 6, 2020

"CATTAILS" - NEW WORK

FINISHED!!!

CATTAILS - 14.5" X 9"
AVAILABLE HERE
Thread painted motifs on cotton batik, hand micro seed stitched background.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

WE LEFT THE DETENTION HALL

After sheltering in place (except for essentials) since March 13th we joined friends for a social distancing/mask wearing outing.  Day one we drove the Cherohola Skyway which winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descends another 23 into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee.  

The 90 min. drive from our home to Robbinsville, NC where we picked up the Skyway has loads of fun sports car driving roads.  At one point our route passed one end of the famous Tail of the Dragon, a bucket list road for many thrill seekers.
We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks along the way and made a side trip to Bald River Falls in the Cherokee National Forest.  Glorious!  
 An overnight stop at Snowbird Mountain Lodge was relaxing with their large verandas, perfect for social distancing and their superb fine dining.

What a surprise to find a Tesla charging station on the property!!
Day two took us to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.  This 3,800 acre publicly owned virgin forest is best known for it's scenic 2 mile hiking trail.  Because a bridge was being repaired the trail snaked a lot further than 2 miles which left us panting by the time we returned to our cars.

Notice our concerted effort to social distance!

 Trunk art....someone put some stones in the end of this tree to create eyes that go along with the smiley face.


Many of the original trees still stand but you can't get an idea of their size until you see it illustrated like this.

Refreshed and in a better frame of mind to face the Covid restrictions.