Monday, January 30, 2012

Goals for the New Year

Today I submitted two show entries so now I currently have 5 shows that I have submitted entries to and am waiting to hear about. I start getting very anxious a week before the stated notification date and start watching for mail or e-mail from the shows. I know that most of them wait until that date and sometimes even later, but I still am ever hopeful that a big fat envelope will show up in my mailbox a week early!

Keeping track of what pieces have been submitted to shows for jurying or have been accepted and are thus committed to shows is very complicated. I have to pay attention to the dates they want the pieces to be shipped to them and how long before they will be returned, as well as how long the jurying and notification process will take. Some shows have a quick 2-3 week turnaround (thank you Mancuso's!) and other shows take several agonizing months to let you know your fate. My husband is attempting to create a database for me that might help with some of the confusion of what is going where and when.

I have to say I really enjoy the process and that might be partly because I have a pretty good success rate of getting into shows. I haven't yet made it into any of the prestigious art quilt venues, but I keep trying and am ever hopeful. I have been in two AQS shows and as I mentioned last post will be sending one to AQS Lancaster this year. I've been in quilt and art quilt shows all around the country and one mixed media show. I have had very good luck regionally getting into galleries and selling my work. I guess if I had gotten more rejections I might not find the process so rewarding! I get anxious as the notification date gets close and then it distracts me from getting other things done. I'm waiting for one tomorrow and then one on Friday and it is definitely preoccupying my mind.

One thing I have learned is that you never know who might see your work in these various venues and what opportunities might arise from that. I sold a large piece as a result of having it in a show in Lowell, Massachusetts, and there is a magazine publisher who has noticed my work after having seen it in a machine quilting show and that has provided me with a recent opportunity.

My goal for the last three years has been to get my work out there and get a name for myself in the art/quilt world by entering shows and trying to win some awards. I have won several awards in major shows and have sent my work all over the country. I feel that I have been successful in this goal and this year I need to set a new direction for my efforts. I have not won a top award at a show yet and I have not had a quilt in Houston or Paducah (size matters here---they want larger pieces than I usually make!). I'd like to submit some articles to magazines and see if I can get published. I'd like to make enough money with my art to get myself a nice printer, a nice lighting set-up for photographing my work, and attend one of the shows where my work is being shown.

I have never been one to formally set goals, but after a few of years of having a pretty good clarity about what I wanted to do, now I feel like I need to redirect my efforts. Wish me luck!

Here are some more pictures of recent work:

"Nothing Lasts Forever" - Tan sections are made from layers of glue-fused tissue paper (Kleenex!) that is painted. I stitched the paper pieces to brown felt before layering them onto the quilt.

This next piece was in my September show at The Artist's Shop. It is not my favorite piece as I feel it is rather unsuccessful, but I had people tell me it was their favorite. One woman did not understand why the price on this piece was lower than on another that appeared to have taken much less work. That's because I tend to include the level of success and sale-ability (is that a word?) a piece has when I price it. Definitely a subject part of the pricing process, but I feel it is legitimate. This piece is called "Nature's Window". I just kept doing things to it to try to make it better and as a result it is overdone and not cohesive. Someone will like it (as I said, some do!), and it will be a bargain for them!

I showed the full view of this piece, "A Hoop That Never Ends", in a previous post, but I thought this detail showed the embellishments that make this piece interesting. The hand stitching on this piece took a great deal of time.

Now to get working on those goals!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ornaments and New Works

I spent about a month before the holidays making small quilted and beaded artworks with hangers that I call “ornaments” but most of them are too large to actually hang on a Christmas tree. I layer fabric with heavyweight stablizer like Timtex and use a gluestick to secure them. I quilt them, satin stitch or couch yarn around the edges, then embellish them with beads, yarn, etc. They are rather time-consuming to create and I don't really make much on them for the materials and time put into them, but people do buy them and seem to enjoy hanging them year round. Some of them are still hanging in River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville and in The Artist's Shop in Missoula. The prices on them range from $22 to $30. Here are some more:

Here are a couple of pieces that I made this fall. The first one was a project using pearl cotton and embroidery floss to make buttonhole stitches around circular objects like washers, plastic loops, pony beads, and whatever else you might find. I suspended them from the top of the quilt and called it “A Hoop That Never Ends” which is from a song in the Disney movie, Pocahontas and I believe refers to the circle of life.

The piece below, "Fade to Dark", started with the ombre fabric that fades from light orange/red to almost black. I love the textures and lines of this piece and I feel that the quilting was rather successful. This piece really glows when it is hanging on the wall. It has been in two galleries and the lighting really made it stand out. There is quite a bit of stamping using Lumiere fabric paint and a stamp I made myself. The beads are mostly dyed bone, but there is also a stone donut in the top left corner with a cascade of fiber strands dangling from it. The red strips in the area of criss-cross strips is a faux suede. I used a double flange around the inside of the binding which I think is quite effective for the piece. I have been using a lot of flanges, which are actually just unfilled piping, around the edges of my pieces. They are easy to do and add another shot of color to the "frame".

I found out yesterday that my piece, “Tapestry Strutting”  (see my August 26, 2011 post for a picture) will be shown at the AQS Lancaster quilt show. They chose 202 quilts for the judged show and they have $44,000 in prize money. They are expecting at least 20,000 people so it is good exposure for my work. I was very happy to get that "fat" envelope in the mail. I thought it was somewhat of a risk to choose this piece because it is so different, but I think the color and the quilting are very effective. I have enjoyed living with it on my walls at home. Wish me luck---I'd love to get published in American Quilter magazine with all the winners again! [“Red Sky” won 3rd place at AQS Des Moines a couple of years ago so it was in the magazine]

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...