The Last Gift

On May 30 my husband and I celebrated out 39th anniversary.  We decided against gifts since we had just purchased a house in North Carolina and we had our hands full getting our Michigan house ready to sell.  We’d be celebrating our 40th in a new house. We went out for a nice dinner and its a memory I will always cherish.  Bill died suddenly 12 days later.

Bill’s funeral is this Saturday, on his birthday.  Family and friends are coming from out of town.  Its going to be a bitter-sweet weekend for me seeing all of them.

After our parents died we discussed our funeral arrangements and agreed that neither of us wanted simple services and no fancy urns but when I picked up Bill’s ashes a few days ago I saw how tacky the box was.   I knew right away that I had to make a fabric box to cover it.

Summer-fall

So for the first time in 6 weeks I picked up fabric and scissors and began to work.  Years ago I made embroidered fabric boxes and I pretty much remembered the process. I had a nice piece of white dupioni silk for the base fabric and for each of the four sides I designed a simple motif representing one of the four seasons here at the lake. Bill loved nature and the gorgeous setting we’ve lived in and I wanted to honor that. I finished last night and I realized that while I was working on this one last gift for Bill that I started to feel a little alive again.

Fall-winter

People start arriving tonight so I need to get ready for that now but I feel I have accomplished something and perhaps I will find some solace in working again.

winter-spring

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A short update

I am taking a hiatus from art.  Right now my life is in turmoil.  I will share two things.  The first is art related, a nice article from the Petoskey News-Review about a piece of my artwork that is on display as part of a regional SAQA exhibit at Michigan State University.

http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/community/local-fiber-artist-expresses-her-michigan-memories-in-msu-show/article_eafd6797-2e1f-564a-8b5f-db1b5a12187f.html

The second is my dear husband’s obituary.

http://www.petoskeynews.com/obituaries/william-bruce-bill-briggs/article_9b82389e-84a1-54a3-acf8-bfad58a706b2.html

We were planning a move to North Carolina and had even purchased a house in Weaverville.  My intent is to follow through with our plan as best I can alone once the house in Michigan is sold.

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No Time for Art

Much has happened since I posted here two month ago.

For some time we have been talking about moving to a milder climate and last month we bought a house in Weaverville, North Carolina, just outside of Asheville.

Our Michigan house is for sale and getting the house and studio ready to show has taken most of my time.  With our prolonged winter it has been a formidable task.

Luckily I started preparing for a move in December but getting rid of (at least) 10 things every day. I have made countless trips to recycling and the charity resale shops.  I have sold items on eBay and Craig’s list.  I have given away almost all my craft items, books and doll house items.  And it feels wonderful to be free of things I no longer love or no longer need.

I’ve had very little studio time but I did manage to finish a piece I started in a workshop I took with Gwen Marston the day before I went to Asheville and fell in love with the new house.  Gwen’s workshop was about creating abstract quilts using only solid fabrics.   I almost never use solids so I had to buy some fat quarters just to have a decent selection of fabric.  Turned out to be a lot of fun and I love the contrast that you get with solids.  I like it enough to try a couple more and then see how I will incorporate solids with my usual batik and hand-dyed fabrics.

29" x 17.5"

29″ x 17.5″

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Filed under abstract, free-piecing

What Happened to February?

Its the shortest month of the year but around here it often feels like the longest month.  Cold, snow, colder, more snow.  This year the weather was terrible, like most of the eastern half of the US but my month flew by.

Circumstances limited my studio time but I concentrated on two pieces with imminent deadlines

Golden Marsh 34" x 34"

Golden Marsh 34″ x 34″

Golden Marsh is my entry for a Michigan Regional SAQA exhibit “Michigan Memories”.  Work needed to be created specifically for the show and while I was tempted to just create something white-on-white to memorialize this memorable winter I decided that spring is a happier memory so I returned to my marsh marigold series.  Working with the bright colors was a good antidote to the white & gray outside my window.

Jazz Flow 29" x 29"

Jazz Flow 29″ x 29″

Jazz Flow was a more challenging project.  Its for “Got Jazz?” an upcoming traveling exhibition of the Fiber Artists Coalition.  I wanted to create something that represents what I hear in the music without using any literal imagery.  I started this last year and various parts lived on my design wall for a while before I figured out how I wanted to make them come together.

I set Feb. 28 as my deadline (to give myself time to be done a bit ahead of the actual deadlines) and photographed them over the weekend.

My goal for March is to finish the samples for a workshop I’m teaching in April.  And to get back into blogging once a week or so.

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Filed under abstract, free-piecing, nature inspired

Color Therapy Continued

I enjoyed the process of free-piecing the log cabin assemblies and  decided to use the same 4 colors but with red as the predominate color for the log cabins.  The red called out for more lime green.  Purple and turquoise played supporting roles.

"Don't Worry; Be Happy!"  approx 21" x 21"

“Don’t Worry; Be Happy!” approx 21″ x 21″

And I think though this piece has the same elements it has a very different feel.  I worked on this piece in frigid single digits temps and a snow storm.  I’m wearing a lot of layers and taking breaks to put more wood in the stove. But the colors made me happy and soon I was singing Bob Marley’s song.  So this piece has a name.

I worried a little that working with such bring, saturated color that I might not be paying enough attention to value but when I took black & white photos (something I often do when creating a composition) I was happy to see a decent mix of values:

first compostion

first composition

second composition

second composition

Tomorrow I will start a different grid exercise.  Time for a new palette. Something with blue.  And with blue I will want orange and ???   If I’m more-or-less  snowed in at least I can play.

 

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Color Therapy

It has snowed nearly every day the past two months. The sun has come out rarely though it made an appearance today; something it only seems to do when we register single digits. So this week I decided it was time to bring out the bright colors and have some fun.

I’m working through some exercises I have designed for an upcoming class.  I like to have several samples to share with the class.  This is a grid exercise and I decided to play with free-form log cabin assemblies.

I keep my scraps in clear plastic shoe boxes and I like to start my piecing using scraps.  I can always cut from yardage is I can’t find what I want in the scrap box. I grabbed four boxes holding favorite colors:  green, red, purple and turquoise.

untitled 21" x 21"

untitled 21″ x 21″

Its stitched and back on the design board while I contemplate a matching or contrasting binding.  I have flipped it around several times before decided which way was up!

I’m repeating the exercise with red as the predominate color and more contrast.   I am having a blast and the bright colors have put me in a happy mood.

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Filed under abstract, free-piecing

New Year, New Work (finally)

Its hard to believe that it has been nearly three months since I have posted!  I admit to not spending much time in the studio lately.  In October and November I was busy dyeing scarves and socks for the holiday art markets and a couple of the local art centers.

Medium Socks 1 Rayon 4
The rayon scarves sold pretty well.  The silk scarves and bamboo socks did not do as well.  I dyed additional socks as gifts and the recipients love them.  They are soft and comfy.  I am wearing a pair right now so I don’t mind having leftovers.

Right after Thanksgiving I hung an all media art show at the Charlevoix Circle of Arts.   The featured exhibit is a collection from the Fiber Artists Coalition,  “Milagros”.

FAC letteringAnd then December was the usual blur.  However in December I was able to begin a new piece for Loose Threads’ annual show at the Charlevoix Library.  We have an architectural theme this year and members have been asked to create works based on the following concepts:  passageways, roof lines, steps, and windows.  The pieces are to be 12″ x 12″ 18″ x 18″, or 12″ x 18″ (either orientation).

This morning I finished stitching my passageways piece:

Portal 72 dpi

Portal 18″ x 18″

Finishing a new piece is a good way to start the new year and hopefully I will get back into my rhythm.

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