Becoming Unstuck

I’m happy to say I haven’t been artistically “stuck” in a while, in fact I wish there were more hours in the day or fewer ideas in my head! The other day I was thinking about ways to get unstuck and decided to see how fast I could produce fabric backgrounds just using areas around our garden. So my son handled the camera and videoed me for fifteen minutes as I traveled from one place to the next. I came up with five rubbings that I look forward to using in future pieces.

The pastel painted only with water.
The wax pastel painted with only water.

It was a hot day and I was using Neo-Color 2 wax pastels so I had to be quick (they melt). I did have a plan before I went outside but I didn’t anticipate the breeze and heat.The fact that my son had to go to work had me moving faster too! I went from flagstone to patio to the shed siding and then to the fence boards and a mosaic…

leaves on flagstone
leaves flagstone rub
patio pre rub
patio rub
patio rub fin
patio to shed
patio to shed fin
fence board
fence board fin
mosaic
mosaic-fin

These first layers can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing again. Have you ever been “stuck” artistically? What have you done to get unstuck?

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Flowers

In my world white roses mean love and passion. Do you know that the white rose symbolized “true love” before the red rose did? Have roses inspired your art?

There is just something about flowers in general and roses in particular that speaks to me as a fiber artist. I can’t have flowers in many of the rooms in my house because I have an indoor cat who likes to chew things she shouldn’t. That may be one reason I make fabric flowers!

to hold
Gifts from Her Garden
Rose
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When Photo meets Fiber

I love to see how some artists combine photography and fiber. Today I’m posting the fabulous work of two artists who approach and combine those two mediums very differently.

Gunnel Svensson takes wonderful photographs and has them printed on fabric. She then stitches them and adds fabric and fiber embellishments. I’m fascinated by her tiny mark making hand stitches.

gunnel svensson photo
Gunnel Svensson’s image used with permission.

Photographer and artist Melissa Zexter actually stitches directly on her photographs. This method not only adds a textural element to her works, but causes the viewer to stop and examine the layers more closely.

melissa zexter image used with permission
Melissa Zexter’s image used with permission.

I’ll end with a couple of my own pieces from my Photograph on Fiber series. I thank both Gunnel Svensson and Melissa Zexter for so graciously allowing me to share just a bit of their wonderful artwork. I hope you will visit each of their websites; there is much more inspiration to be found there!

Fescue Traveler
Fescue Traveler by Ann
Bodywork
Bodywork by Ann
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What’s Up Wednesday

Yesterday I delivered and installed (with the help of my handy assistant) my most recent commissioned art quilt. The best part – the client was very pleased!

finished garden view art quilt

I’m working on new Curious.com online lessons but I thought it would be fun to take a detour in today’s post and share some cutting up and putting back together that doesn’t involve fabric. Except for the bleeding part I love cutting glass to make mosaic!

mosaic flora mirror

And I love designing and cutting up tile!

porch mosaic 1
porch mosaic 2
front porch mosaic 2

Do you think most quilters like puzzles? Do you?

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Wabi Sabi and pulling weeds

I like to think of it as experiencing Wabi Sabi instead of weed pulling work. The ground littered with wonderful decaying plants. The textures, colors, the shadows and light, it is ever changing. I’m happy to recreate it in art…

A little weeding and a lot of wabi sabi
A little weeding and a lot of wabi sabi

My garden has often been a source of inspiration for me – from the old fence boards to the insect nibbled leaves and the rusty found objects.

painted fence boards on fabric by Ann
detail Shadow of Oneself by Ann

rusty

When I think about decaying leaves I think of the spectacular fiber art by Barbara Schneider and her Leave Series. Barbara’s work seems to always be evolving. It is so inspiring to me. Thanks to Barbara for allowing me to share her artwork. I hope you will stop by her website and enjoy her wabi sabi fiber art and so much more.

Leaf Fragments, var 1 by Barbara Schneider
Leaf Fragments, var 1 by Barbara Schneider
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Warm-up Wednesday

Well, I thought about doing this post yesterday with the title Tension Tuesday but Warm-up Wednesday seems to have a better ring to it!

I test tension and warm up for free-motion thread play at the same time. After testing my tension and ending up with this flower, I decided I needed to do my machine’s tension test on a solid piece of fabric (maybe a painted sky scrap?) so that I could add to it every time I tension test, creating a picture (which I may paint in the future). I know the best way to test the tension is sewing loops and straight lines but I can’t seem to help myself!

warm up flower
stitching tiny produce

I recently learned on LuAnn Kessi’s blog about a tension gauge, but decided to hold off on buying one since I seem to be doing okay on my own. Have you used a gauge for checking sewing machine tension?

I mentioned it before – Because I change thread often while working on art quilts I have gotten pretty fast at adjusting the bobbin tension on my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen. I had a student in one of my workshops say that she uses only one kind of thread so her machine never gives her tension trouble. I think in some cases that is a good idea, but I like to change up the thread to get different textures. It also helps me remember to clean the lint out.

Adjusting tiny screw
Adjusting tiny screw

I wonder if some day sewing machines will just “feel” the thread, automatically make all the adjustments so all sewing goes smoothly!

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