Phoenix Foreclosure Quilt

Finally!! I can share with you the Phoenix Foreclosure quilt that I finished last month. First, the sunny weather got in the way of photographing it and then, surprise, I lost a crucial part of my tripod, grrr. I put it down somewhere in my studio telling myself I would find it easily here ... well, obviously my brain wasn't capable of remembering.

Phoenix Foreclosure Quilt, 2012. 22" x 52"
Shot cotton, cheesecloth, linen, yarn and embroidery thread.
So, this morning I rigged up a ladder and pinned the piece on the exterior of my new studio wall. It's not perfect but at least you get the gist. There are foreclosures all over Phoenix. It was hard to narrow down an area, I could do many pieces here. For now, I zoomed in on what looked to be a thriving neighborhood with a well-functioning K-8 school (the blue rectangle on the right). What must it be like for these kids to walk through this neighborhood?

Phoenix Foreclosure Quilt detail, 2012. 22" x 52"
Shot cotton, cheesecloth, linen, yarn and embroidery thread.
I chose shot cotton for this piece. Red seemed appropriate for Phoenix as well as the dire aspect of the crisis these days. I also used the cheesecloth again as an interior fabric, similar to Detroit. The cheesecloth continues to deteriorate each time I handle the piece, which is part of the point.

Phoenix Foreclosure Quilt detail, 2012. 22" x 52"
Shot cotton, cheesecloth, linen, yarn and embroidery thread.
I am almost finished with the Riverside quilt of which you had a peek here last week, just another week or two. It's shaping up to be one of my favorites.


Featured : Poppytalk and New American Paintings

I had the wonderful honor of being interviewed for two great websites last week, Poppytalk Handmade and the New American Paintings blog.

Lisa Solomon paid a visit to my studio last week and took some great photos of my space for the Poppytalk : In the studio feature, including a few wide angle shots which I've always wanted but didn't have the right lens. Thanks, Lisa!

Studio in February 2012. Image courtesy of Lisa Solomon
She asked some great questions as you'll see in the interview. I visited her studio a few months ago so we had some great conversations about our workspaces. We also have plans for trading some artwork, I'm so excited about that! Head over to the Poppytalk site for more images of the studio and a few more of my home.

Just before Lisa came over, New American Paintings blog contributor Ellen Caldwell interviewed me for their site.

Although we couldn't arrange a studio visit, we were able to have a great interview through email. Ellen's questions are wonderful and thought-provoking. Definitely spend some time looking back through her past interviews, great reads.
Work wall in January.
Besides all of this, I have been hard at work in my studio. I haven't been able to take any final images of my new finished piece, Phoenix for several reasons. Along with the sunny days, which make it impossible to photograph textiles, I lost a crucial part of my tripod! I put it down the other day and can't remember where! But, here is a glimpse of the finished Phoenix as well as the work in progress image of Riverside. Thanks to Lisa, you have some images!

Phoenix on the right, Riverside in progress in the center,
a Fog Linen Work runner in progress on the right. Image courtesy of Lisa Solomon
I'll keep you posted with some new images soon! In the meantime, enjoy the interviews!


In another life perhaps ... my passion for CERAMICS

I'm a hopeless romantic. Ever since I saw pictures of Diana Fayt's bay area studio, I've been infatuated with the life of ceramicists.

Diana Fayt's studio. Courtesy of DesignSponge.
Their work amazes me. Diana's is quite beautiful and ever evolving. Sometimes it's muted, sometimes bold.

Diana Fayt. Courtesy of www.dianafayt.blogspot.com.
The materials and tools they have lying around are gorgeous. All those subtly toned tile samples lined up in all of their studios appeal to my sense of order and love of color. And then there are those amazing photos of the artist at work.

Laura Stasser. Courtesy of www.laurastasser.com.
They make it look so blissful and easy. Well, I know it's not! Actually, I'm sure it's pretty damn hard to make something turn out how you want it to. And even then you have to be open to surprises. I'm sure, like any artist, it takes years to find your voice in the medium and then years to hone it. Here are some that have certainly honed it.

Sara Paloma's vessels. Courtesy of www.sarapaloma.com.

Erin McGuiness. Courtesy of www.erinmcguiness.com.

I love that the pieces are functional but also pure art. And often, they're more appreciated than the fine art hanging on the walls in people's homes. Which is fine, I understand that. When I go into someone's house and see they have one of Rae Dunn's pieces, we have an instant connection. A love of fine craft and a wonderful story to tell about how each piece was chosen.

Rae Dunn salt cellars. Courtesy of www.raedunn.com.

Check out all of their work. And let me know of any ceramic artists that you admire. I'd love to know more.


Uppercase Journal and a view of my work table

I mentioned last month that the latest issue of Uppercase Journal would include my work. I'd been hearing everyone ooh and aah over their copies in the last week. I swear I had subscribed but perhaps I was dreaming. Finally, impatient enough, I walked around in downtown San Francisco one morning searching for a place that carried them. I gave up, went home and realized later that Anthropologie had them the whole time. How did I get my copy? My friend Myrna heard my angst and gave it to me as a present last Friday when I went to her studio. So sweet of her! My friend Claire Brewster's work is also featured. Be sure to grab a copy, now at Anthropologie!

I realized it's due time for another work table posting. It's been so busy around here that when I could finally photograph my latest finished quilt, Phoenix, I missed my chance. Frankly I can't complain, it's been sunny and summery here in San Francisco. I need a dry, cloudy day to photograph outside. It will happen soon! In the meantime, here's my work table (with a tiny sneak peek of Phoenix in red on the wall).

I became downright angry Thursday night. Angry because, still, little is being done about foreclosures. Yes, Obama did unveil his new mortgage task force last week but really, what he did before did little to stem the crisis. I actually pulled out my marremekko fabrics with the thought of making a 'scream in your face' quilt full of bright colors next to deep, dark blacks. It ended up looking a little scary and realized I needed to calm down. What I needed to make was a real scrap quilt.  To go back to those original depression era quilts that inspired me. I yanked out all of my depressing blue and grey remnants and started to make one.

This will be the inner sandwich piece of the next quilt. Which I'm thinking will be Riverside, California. I discovered just one of many blocks where pretty much all of the 64 lots had been foreclosed on in the past three years. It's downright depressing.

A lot of this inner sandwich will be exposed on this quilt. I'm randomly placing the pieces together and I'm still not sure what the top layer will be. It will likely become obvious once this panel is finished. I plan to spend my weekend gardening, thinking positive thoughts!


Artist : Marian Bijlenga

I debated about calling this post Conversations on Flikr. We'll call it a subtitle and I'll get to that topic in a moment. I did discover Marian's work through flikr some time ago and was completely drawn in. She's based in Amsterdam and this piece certainly reminds me of a map of the water city.

Untitled by Marian Bijlenda, 2011. Horsehair, fabric,
machine embroidery. 43 x 43 cm
Today as I was doing my usual monthly gasping session perusing BrownGrotta's website rather than doing actual work, I came across Marian's work again. BrownGrotta representation, what a dream!

Untitled by Marian Bijlenda, 2011. Horsehair,
machine embroidery. 46 x 45 cm

Marian is a talented and very prolific artist. Her work is truly hers, unique and clearly all her own. The works are so delicate yet have a strong tie back to nature, using materials such as horsehair and fish scales. Fish scales?

Untitled by Marian Bijlenda, 2010. Fish scales.
There's a lot in that series. All stunning. Her flikr site offers lots more of her work and is well organized. And that gets me to Flikr. Some of my friends refuse to use it, some say it's a tad old but Marian uses it in a unique and beneficial way. As an open dialogue among other artists. The comments become a back and forth visual conversation that evolves and inspires. Go check it out and see what I mean. Thought provoking.

Sampler by Marian Bijlenda, 2011.

Marian Bijlenga's website can be found here. Her flikr page is here. Enjoy the tour!


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