August 17, 2016

 

So all I've been doing since the excellent Artist Residency is—remodel (and remodel) my one and only 60-year-old bathroom. The first guy I hired did do good plumbing, replacing ALL my plumbing in my little doll house, but things didn't work out so well after that. My neighbor, Dale, who helped me remodel my kitchen 6 years ago—and who I should've hired for this in the first place, stepped in and together we redid the work that needed to be done. Dale could only work parttime-evenings and weekends, but was plagued with injuries from his day job, and just as we were getting ready, finally, to put in the floor before installing the fixtures, he fell on the job and broke his foot. My heart goes out to all those hardworking tradespeople who get really beat up doing the work they do. Luckily for me the husband of an artist friend had just quit his construction job and was free to work immediately. And in one short week we had it finished, including the only creative work I've done since the end of my residency on Feb 28, a patchwork "quilt" tile floor. January 11 to minutes before my cataract surgery on August 8. I don't ever want to see blue tape again, nor set another tile.

 





As I said, the bathroom (and all the house clean up) was completed minutes before my baby sister drove me off to get cataract surgery on my left eye, August 8. A week later my big sister drove me to get the other eye done yesterday, August 15. And because the doctor required that they each stay with me for 24 hours afterwards, I considered their generous help to be my birthday present.

 

For the first time in 56 years I could finally see my own face in the mirror without glasses. Too bad that cute little 12 year old didn't appreciate what she was losing. O well, all's well that ends well, no? And the colors! After the 1st eye was done, I could compare what was snow white to the dirty ivory the other eye saw. Ulp. Sure hope I didn't steer my last color theory students wrong. Doctor said that I got cataracts due to some steroid shots I had in 2012.

 

So, for now, I can see distances without glasses, though I may have to have glasses to correct for astigmatism in a few weeks.

 



And with my new readers

 



And this is what I'm supposed to wear when I sleep—super fly!

 




 

 


Racing to finish as much as I could before my time at the 39th Street Artist in Residency was over. This just gives you a taste of how long it takes to make a quilt. Though to be fair, this one is bursting at the seams, so to speak, with ideas, techniques and just plain labor.

 

THE STUDY Testing out assorted approaches to all those words, aptly called by one observer, a giant retirement card.

 




Then more things added to the main work. See if you can tell what was done. Hint—all those little smiley faces are first hand appliquéd; then the fabric behind slit open to stuff them; then the slit is stitched back together; when basting the sandwich together, separate basting is done around each stuffed smiley face (count them...). White items, like Akemi's Daruma, included the additional step of basting a backing fabric to the top image, then the slit, stuffing, etc., so that before it is quilted together there are TWO lines of basting to remove after quilting. Soooo, after four months this is as far as I got. I'm guessing that if I kept at it right now, it would take at least a couple more months to complete. Unfortunately, I did the residency at the expense of other activities that now require my attention. But stayed tuned, I WILL finish it. 

 



And I want to extend my thanks to John Paradiso, and all the fab artists I got to hang with during this utterly fun stretch.




Before I dive into quilting the big piece, I usually make a small version of it with the same fabric, and as many similar features as the big one, emphasizing details that I want the most practice on.


The 39th St Gallery location is wonderful—except when it comes to making the quilt sandwich, i.e., basting together the combined layers of the quilt top, the batting and the backing. Especially for a quilt this size, about 5 x 4 feet, it has to be stretched out on the the floor since I don't have a surface big enough, but not at 39th St--it needs to be spotless, and it can't be the concrete that exists there. To baste a sandwich together of this size means that I stretch out the backing face down to the floor and secure it with painter's tape, and the basting takes 10 to 15 hours. Concrete absorbs too much moisture for the tape to hold, and even if it could hold, there is the risk of mold. So I took everything home to my own studio.

 




 

I also began to realize that one way to tackle this jumble of words and doodles is... to color it in. Eureka! It's a coloring book! I hope none of the contributors mind. Think of it as a collaboration.

 





December 10, 2015

 

John helped me hang yet another show—a popup exhibit, i.e., one day only (pant, pant), for the holiday party and meeting for members, who turned out to be very commited and dedicated to managing the affairs of the Gallery. This show was intended to introduce me to them.

 








Just as I was getting started, in fact before I got as far as the stuffing, the artists both in the 39th Street space—12, I think—and at the EZ Storage studio spaces a block down the street, held an open studio. So I put away what I had just started and hung some work myself. Even sold a few things. Nice. My sister helped me set up Square up so people could use their credit card.

 









Photo by Ronnie Spiewak


This year—okay, last year, just— Artomatic was held in Prince George's County, in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately I was too busy to be able to participate myself, but stay tuned. Of course I couldn't resist posing as a bunny...