Happy Anniversary

Last year I was inspired to felt some dryer lint. When my friend Shari saw this she brought me some of her lint.  Initially I thought “Oh no!” I mean really, what if all my friends brought me dryer lint and expected something to be created from it? So I did the only thing I could face at the time — I wrapped it up and put it away.

Along came her anniversary and — violá! — inspiration hit.

Happy 23rd Anniversary Pete and Shari! xoxo

Artist in Residence Wrap Up

My experience at Asilomar Conference Grounds has been exciting for so many reasons. Just being at this jewel-in-the-crown California state park is a wonderful experience. Here are just a few reasons why.

This is the sunset view from my room. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

Walking on the boardwalk. . .

Interesting stumps!

Notice the three new plantings that will replace the decaying tree.

Since my last visit to Asilomar in 2010 the kitchen has been remodeled. Can you see that the sign is hanging by wire whisks?

So, back to the primary reason I was there. Because my work area was the first spot with quilts people saw as they entered Merrill Hall, my brother-in-law Marshall commented that I was like a store greeter. Well, not a bad observation. As Artist in Residence I was the only art quilter who wasn’t taking a class, so I had the opportunity to interact with everyone who entered Merrill Hall and there were plenty. Empty Spools Seminars was just one of many conferences scheduled for the same week. (Their 2013 schedule of classes is available now.) And we had many day-tripping folks wandering in to see the Julia Morgan building we were in as well.  I was working on two different projects during my stay so I could demonstrate a variety of techniques that I use often during my creative process. I did not finish the broken ginkgo piece I took, but I got a very good start.

The fact that I used dryer lint as a background for this project always drew a smile. I needle felted the lint directly to a fast2fuse backing, hand-stitched sea grass cotton thread for the outline of the leaf shape and beaded like crazy.

You can see other projects that used dryer lint for needle felting projects here, here, here, here, and here.

My friend Heather Piazza came by to share lunch and the excitement of my week.

And exciting it was! Many of my fabric postcards have found new homes, my book will inspire new projects for others and Precious Metals went home with Carol to Naperville, Illinois.

My experience as an artist in residence for Empty Spools Seminars has been a dream come true. Owners Gayle Wells and Suzanne Cox went out of their to make me feel welcome and comfortable. The warm reception I felt by everyone — students, teachers and general public alike — was truly heart warming. And the genuine interest in my work was, at times, overwhelming.  I felt acceptance as an artist and energized to jump back into work as soon as I unpack. It doesn’t get any better than that in my book.  Unless it is to say that . . . of course . . . Christy finished the socks for Oliver!

More Broken Colors

I’m going to be the Artist in Residence for Empty Spools Seminars later this month. Empty Spools has been putting teachers and students together to fine-tune quilt-making skills since 1985. The setting is Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California, right on the ocean. It just doesn’t get any better.

Being AIR is quite an honor so I’m thrilled to be invited. The first evening of the conference I will be the first speaker up — a position I’m very pleased with because once I finish my talk I can sit back and enjoy all the speakers who follow. The remainder of my time there will be spent working on my own projects in Merrill Hall. The hall is the central gathering place for evening programs, visits to the pop-up fabric shop that Cotton Patch creates every year and where the owners of Empty Spools Seminars and the Artist in Residence work. I’m looking forward to chatting with as many attendees as I can!

In preparation for this time I’ve completed another small art quilt top using the broken color technique I learned in February from Denise Miller. I’ve used the same pattern I created in February for this quilt.

Using different color combinations has been a good exercise for me and leaves me a small series.  I will take tread to quilt and finish this one as well as a top I completed earlier. Each will finish 12″ x 12″.

I’ve also decided to take my felting machine to work on a few postcard-size projects. This will be a fun opportunity for those who haven’t seen a felting machine in action — and those who haven’t seen dryer lint used this way!

G is for Gray

Not so long ago I was distracted by dryer lint and started running amok. That first sidetracked adventure turned into a successful (by my standards) landscape postcard — affectionately known as the Lint Landscape. Well,  the adventure continued and here I feel I should explain. My fabric postcard trading group Postmark’d Art is in the second round of a trade series based on the alphabet — each round for trading we’ll be using 6-7 letters of the alphabet, members sign up for a letter which they use as inspiration, they create postcards to send to each person in the trade group and keep one for themselves. After four rounds of these trades each member will have a full set of the alphabet. We’re into the second round and the letters available were G, H, I, J, K, L and M. I chose G. While I was felting that first bit of lovely gray dryer lint I hit upon the idea of using Gray as a theme for creating a series of postcards. Not wanting to repeat the same postcard seven times, I began to let my mind wander about the possibilities as I created landscapes. Here’s the second one

That was fun. How about orange?

And gold?

Okay, time to move on design wise and use up the lint. Circles anyone?

And more circles. . .

Fewer circles and the last of the lint. . .

And now for something completely different

So there it is. The creative process beginning with cleaning out the lint trap on laundry day, selecting the letter “G” as inspiration and three different design ideas.

More Lint

Remember the lint landscape from December? I had some lint left over so I felted it. This time I tried something new: I felted it directly to fast2fuse, the double-sided fusible stiff interfacing I use for my fabric postcards. One of my postcard-trading buddies in Postmark’d Art mentioned that she does this.

It worked very nicely! I felted wool roving circles. Next came cotton embroidery floss for hand stitching and last, but never least, beads. Rules to live by: You can’t have too much hand stitching and beading. Because the fusible web on the address side of the postcard was now pretty covered, I decided to add some WonderUnder as insurance for attaching the fabric.

This little project was a lot of fun, I learned several things in the process and I now have a series going.

P.S. My gray dryer lint is gone. Don’t save any for me. I’m moving on.

Inspired Gifting

It’s always nice to know that you have inspired someone to action through your own actions. Well. . . almost always.  Just before coming to my home for Christmas dinner, my friend Shari discovered her lint trap was full of pink lint. Remembering my recent post on needlefelting my own dryer lint (be sure to read the 12-13 posting too), she did what a good friend would do — she tied a bow around it and popped it into a gift bag.

It did get a good laugh!

I think that re-gifting this would be a nice idea, don’t you? Yes, I’ll do something with it. Recycling is what we call it today. And since this is such a “personal” gift, it may become a birthday postcard. Or perhaps, since it’s a joint-venture lint collection, maybe an anniversary card. Who knows? I’ll look to the new year for new direction and inspiration.

Meanwhile, don’t save your lint for me. Be inspired to use it yourself.

Lint Landscape

The Lint Landscape is done! And I’m quite pleased with it. It seems to have a nice structure, movement and a bit of whimsy.

Whodathunk that a mundane weekly task like laundry could lead to the creation of art? I’ll admit that needle felting has been on my mind lately — but this little landscape would not have come into being if I had not be observant enough to notice the great color of the lint. This has been a great reminder to keep my eyes and ears open to the possibilities that are at hand every day.

In what unlikely place have you found inspiration that drove you to your studio?

Distracted by Dryer Lint

I cleaned out my lint trap the other day and couldn’t throw it out. You see, I usually toss the lint so frequently that I don’t have much to toss. Thanks to my recent slovenliness in this area, I had a nice 1/4″ deep pile of lint in an interesting shade of gray. Well, one can’t just leave lint lying about. I did the only thing I could do….I hooked up the felting machine.

This is rather like punching room-temperature butter. In no time I had a nice “background.”

A simple landscape is developing.

It seems to be calling out for some additional thread work and beads. I’ll be able to get back to this in a day or two. I’m not going to feel too bad about letting this interrupt my threadpainting project — this is a small piece and I’ll be back to the sun print next week.

I’ve felted dryer lint before, but it has been quite a while. I created some bark postcards that were a lot of fun. I never know when inspiration will hit. Perhaps I should let the lint trap fill up more regularly.