work table : cape coral foreclosure boro

I started in on the next Foreclosure Boro today, a glimpse into a neighborhood in northwest Cape Coral, FL. When I went to buy more of the linen I used for the last boro, it was all gone, argh. So I'm experimenting until more arrives with a deep navy blue linen. Bleaching it was interesting, there's a sudden turning point when it gives up all it's color. Here is the water rinse after bleaching. I loved the color and the little threads.

I managed to pull the pieces out just before they turned pale brown. One minute and poof. Yesterday the sun was out and the pieces dried in no time in the sun. Today, the fog had rolled in, brrr.

I like how the bleaching is imperfect, leaving little blotches of navy here and there. Maybe next time I'll tie the pieces into bundles for more of the effect.

Here's the general layout for this piece below. Larger than the last one, it will be 50" long when it's finished. I'm thinking about bleaching out the foreclosed lots, perhaps tearing into the cloth and restitching it. See the little navy bleached sample to the right? 

We shall see how it turns out. I'm looking forward to working a little larger. In the meantime, the large foreclosure quilt goes on and on ...


work table : Kindergarten quilt

This week I decided to stop procrastinating and go crazy with piecing together the Kindergarten quilt I started back in November. Well, not crazy, it's actually been a lot of fun. But the deadline is starting to creep up on me and you can't rush a quilt, can you?

Back in November and December I did workshops with the kids making vegetable prints on fabric. They've been asking me about the progress for weeks and finally have something to show them.

Some of the kids went wild ... some were more controlled. I like the contrasts. You never knew which kid was going to go crazy on the fabric. It was all a bit of a surprise. And here's what I have so far ... a twin sized quilt top!

I found the patterned fabric at Peapod Fabrics in the Inner Sunset. It's a great little store with a Japanese owner who picks some wonderful prints. The fabric for the artwork is from my friend, Ines. It comes all the way from Germany as a duvet cover that her master sewer mother made for her. It's been nice to re-purpose fabric with such a great history. Now on to the quilt back ...


Gallery Route One opening

I had such a wonderful time at the gallery opening yesterday. I met a lot of wonderfully talented and supportive artists. It was such a great feeling to be surrounded by like-minded people as you know how incredibly isolating art making can be (but I honestly love that part of it). Here are some pictures of the evening.

Zoe highlighting Up and Out and Cutting Edge, 2010.
I brought my daughter, Zoe, along to share the experience with her. I remember many times attending my mom's art shows and music recitals when I was young.

Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of the Oakland Museum, was the juror this year and Candice Loheed is the gallery owner.

And it was made perfect spending it with Zoe and her best friend, who have known each other since they were just days old. We had a wonderful dinner that night in Point Reyes Station, which is known for having some great food.


Foreclosure : Las Vegas Boro, 2011.

I've just finished a new piece in my Foreclosure series, the first Boro inspired work. I've zoomed in on a six block area of a North Las Vegas neighborhood that will be included in my larger quilt piece.

Las Vegas Boro, 2011. Denim and wool on bleached linen.
Doing this gives me the chance to study in detail the backgrounds of these foreclosed properties.

Las Vegas Boro (detail), 2011.
The houses in this area were all built between 2003-4 and most have an average of three to five loans on the property in the six year span of ownership. If you think back to our parent's generation, this would have been unheard of. In addition to trading up, it seems there was a lot of refinancing going on to gain more equity out of the home. As we know, it ended badly.

Las Vegas Boro (detail), 2011.
The back panels represent different blocks with the small rectangles representing foreclosed lots. The darker and more distressed the rectangle, the more times the home has been given notice of default and the higher number of loans on the property.

Las Vegas Boro (detail), 2011.
As you can see there are quite a few per block. Many more to come ...


The Liebster blog award

A few weeks back I fell in love with these Flikr images and just had to know the story behind all of these beautiful quilts. Stacey of Peppermint Pinwheels started making quilts a few years ago and hasn't looked back.

The great surprise was that she lives just over the bridge from me in Berkeley. Then I discovered she has nominated my blog for the Liebster Award. Her blog is wonderful and she has many of those beautiful quilts for sale on etsy. Thanks for nominating me, Stacey!

One of the things to get the word out about the award is to pay it forward and nominate 3-5 of your favorite blogs. Here are my current favorites.

- Kitty Kilian, a wonderful illustrator from the Netherlands who has become a dear online friend over the past few months. She's starting a new weekly portrait project and has a great giveaway so be sure to check it out.

Lady of the Buttons, 2011. Kitty Kilian
Chantal Jackson, another talented artist I've met in the past year who lives far, far away in Australia. She is amazingly creative and always has brilliant projects in the works. She is currently helping out with an online action to benefit the Queensland flood victims so be sure to help out.

Sea Urchins, 2011. Chantal Jackson
Sophie Truong of Stitch and Tickle. Sophie's artwork is incredibly inspiring to me. We both share a love of unusual textiles and her blog has introduced me to many related links. But it's her artwork that keeps me coming back time and again. It's just incredible. Here's a small taste.

Yarn swaddles in process, Sophie Truong.
Lari Washburn. I featured Lari's work recently and I have to say her blog is just as incredible. If you have a chance to view the Sketchbook Project when it's on tour ... please seek Lari's sketchbook out. She obviously put a lot of love into that little moleskin and it shows.

The Sketchbook Project 2011. Lari Washburn.


upcoming show : GRO's 26th annual juried show

Two of my Idiom pieces will be included in Gallery Route One's Annual Juried Show in Point Reyes Station, CA. The opening is this Sunday, the 23rd from 3-5. There has been quite an impressive line up of past jurors for the show. The juror this year was Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of the Oakland Museum of California. Not to be bias, but he has a good eye! I finished matting and framing my pieces for the show and dropped them off on Sunday under beautiful blue skies and 64 degree weather (in January!).

Up and Out and Cutting Edge, 2010.
I'm happy with how the framing came out, considering how hard it is to frame three dimensional fabric pieces. I had to make shadowboxes by hand so that was a nice learning experience to go through. The show runs through February 20th so if you're in the area, I hope you check it out!


shout out : Queensland Flood Appeal Auction by Chantal Vincent

My talented friend over in Australia, Chantal Vincent, is hosting an online auction to benefit the Queensland flood victims. 

Baker's Twine by Another Donkey Design.
She is posting all sorts of amazing goodies on her blog as well as her Facebook page so please pay a visit and support the cause!

Girls fabric necklace by Studio.
The bidding ends on Monday 24th January 2011 (Sydney time) so be sure to stay posted for more items.


work table : starting anew

This morning I was able to sneak some time in my studio and catch up on last week's ideas I've had brewing in my head. I finally shipped off my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project and finished framing my two Idiom pieces for an upcoming show.

The weather the past few days here in San Francisco has been stunning and makes me want to clean out the garden, clean up the studio and get back to work. Even Jacques the cat got into the spirit by cleaning away some cobwebs while I worked (not really but it does look like it, no?)

As I mentioned I've had new ideas brewing in my head, smaller versions of the Foreclosure Quilts but inspired by Japanese Boro textiles. Well, here's the start of it ... my favorite pair of jeans. Rip ... RIP, sniff, sniff.

I'm too embarrassed to show you all the patches over the derrière that I've made in the past few months trying to save them. After two 'ripping' squats I realized it was time to let them go. Thankfully, they will be immortalized forever in my next piece. You can see a little glimpse of my new idea in the image above and my sketch below.

I really have been craving blue lately. I had some intense blue linen lying around and bleached it for different lengths of time to create the subtle color variations for the main panels. And next, will come the 'patchwork' foreclosed lots. I need to fray and age them a bit first before sewing them on.

It's so nice to have two related projects going on at once. I love being able to jump back and forth on them, it keeps me sane. I hope everyone else is having a productive 2011 so far!


Inspiration : Japanese Boro

Lately I've been trying to dig up any info I can on Japanese boro. I first heard of Boro via The Silly Boodilly (thank you, Victoria!). Lately, she's been creating lots of boro-inspired quilts too.

Haba Boro, Sri Threads.
It has become a serious influence in my Foreclosure series as you can see by looking at the example below. There's my wool scrim! I actually found this image after I started my first quilt in the series.

Haba Kaya, Sri Threads.
Haba Kaya detail, Sri Threads.
Lately, I'm imagining little mini wall hangings that I can do concurrently since these quilts are taking forever to make! As I delve deeper into the story behind the foreclosures, I'm learning the many ways these homes have been lost: lost jobs, predatory lending, shady lending practices, etc. Oftentimes, homes are bought over and over again by banks, each time reappraising and over-inflating the value of the home.There are so many layers to the process and I want to find a way to show this in a larger scale so I can delve into more detail. Boro would be the perfect way to do this.

Boro, Sri Threads.
Boro, Sri Threads.
Boro, Sri Threads.
I love the blues, the patchwork and the history that surrounds these pieces. The good news is there are lots, lots more of this amazing eye candy at Sri Threads, a Brooklyn textile gallery that specializes in Japanese folk textiles (talk about a niche!) with a frequently updated blog that is definitely worth perusing. And a lot of these are for sale, some of them actually affordable. And here is one of their recent discoveries, boro sakabukuro or sake straining bags.

Stunning, no? They are so inspiring to me. I have so many new ideas just looking at these. Be sure to check out Sri Threads gallery and blogI just read they are updating their online store January 12th. I'm hoping the sake straining bags will be up and I can afford just one!


The Sketchbook Project : progress ... finally!

Like everyone else, I've been spending the last few weeks creating my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project, due on January 15th. Way back in October when I first registered, I had the idea of making little weaves to slip into the pages. However, when I started working on my Foreclosure quilt series, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to speak out about the crisis ... but how?! Well, here's the start of it ... fabric, in the sketchbook you ask?

Yes, it can be done! I decided to create fabric maps of neighborhoods across the United States that show foreclosed lots on tea stained fabric. I tea stained them to make it look more like the earth (white seemed too pristine for this). Tea staining is addictive, by the way.

I chose a translucent fabric so when the map is folded, you will see a blur of red seeping through the layers, well, hopefully that comes across. Now I had to figure out how to slip these pages into the sketchbook. I took it apart, found some wonderful two layered paper from a sketchbook I bought years ago in Japan (never throw any art supplies away, they will come in handy ten years later). Once I've re-bound the book, I'll slip in the fabric sheets and glue them between the papers.

Now re-binding. I also had bookbinding supplies that I hadn't used in years, including waxed linen binding thread and binding needles that I finally put to good use!

And now for the cover. I hate this part, making a commitment and hoping you don't mess it up since you can't redo it. I went back to my old urban planning days, when I drew neighborhood maps all day, not knowing that I was doing my part to create this entire crisis in the first place. It was surprising to see some of those very projects riddled with foreclosures today. I'm trying to figure out how to confront that fact.The theme I chose couldn't be a more fitting title, "And then there was none." Some of these neighborhoods are being raized over or left as ghost towns, Detroit and Cleveland are prime examples.

The cities I chose to include in the sketchbook were Merced, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Denver, CO, Detroit, MI and Cape Coral, FL. From coast to coast, urban and suburban cities, no place has been spared. Hopefully, this will call more attention to the problem in my own little way.


Artist : Lari Washburn

I first discovered Lari Washburn's work via Sophie Truong (thank you, Sophie!). I was instantly a fan. Lari lives on the Maine coast, which to me sounds so wonderfully isolated. She lives that life I crave outside of the insanity of urban living. And her art, well, just take a look, so wonderfully inspriring and charged with energy.

Lari Washburn

Lari Washburn, 2010
Lari's creative posts on her blog keep me coming back for more.

Lari Washburn
In addition to sharing her beautiful work and progress in the studio, there's a certain calmness to her outlook on life that is so wonderful to see.

Lari Washburn, 2010.
Her inspirations for her work is fascinating to see documented. I love this photo of how she organizes her scraps. It's a window into how she works.

Studio, Lari Washburn.
And now see how she transforms this into a collage.

Lari Washburn
Lately, like many of us, she's been furiously working away on filling up her moleskin for the Sketchbook Project, due in a few weeks. The sketches she's been sharing on her blog and flikr will definitely make me seek out her book when it's on tour in a few months.

The Sketchbook Project, Lari Washburn, 2010
Check out Lari's blog and flikr site to see lots and lots more of her beautiful work and some great images of her studio (who doesn't love a peek inside artist's studios). She was recently featured in an interview with Stephanie Levy of artists who blog. Keep up the amazing work in 2011, Lari. I have no doubt you will continue to inspire us all.


In with 2011!

Happy New Year everyone! It seems like a lot of us are stuggling with finding the positive in 2010. Here in the States, it's been a rough year for a lot of people, including many of my close friends. The good thing is that most of us are positive thinkers and see good times ahead. I'm finally getting around to posting my big four resolutions for 2011. I hope to hear about some of yours, I bet they will inspire us all. Here are my big four.

1. Speak up about my artwork. I enjoy making art so much and I'm a bit on the quiet side, I have a hard time shouting out about my work. I took a big step last year by starting this blog, which has helped tremendously in encouraging me. Thanks to all of you for your support! I've also made some wonderful friends this way which I never would have imagined. This year I resolve to contact more galleries, enter more shows, and find other ways of connecting my work to others. And here's a little peek into my latest progress ...

Foreclosure Quilt #1, North Las Vegas, 2010. 4' x 6'
2. Renew my tiny vegetable garden! I spent last week visiting most of my family in Florida. I reconnected with my brother (the kids call him uncle Mac) and was amazed at how much we had in common including our love of gardening. We took a walk on his property and saw his incredible garden. I was blown away, it was stunning. My little vegetable patch is just outside my studio door and this year I promise myself I'll put it to good use. Here's just a corner of my brother's garden. Inspiring, no?

Uncle Mac's garden
3. Start yoga again. I was really enjoying yoga until summer vacation hit and I fell out of the pattern. When I do yoga, I feel healthy, never get sick and have lots of energy. This year I have no excuse! My dear friends have just opened a yoga studio in San Francisco. I'm so excited for them as they have really worked hard to make this happen. I love being part of someone's life that way, seeing them grow and be successful. If you happen to live near SF, pop in and take a class at their studio, Perusha Yoga Studio on Balboa. They also offer yoga classes in Golden Gate Park on the weekends. Here's a photo of the fun.

Perusha Yoga in the park.
4. Share my love of cooking with our friends. I really, really love to cook and have spent the last three years honing my skills. Last year we hosted more friends for dinner. I just discovered an amazing cookbook called "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" It includes numerous three course menus for every season for six people. It all looks delicious. Who's coming over first?

What are your resolutions for 2011? Happy New Year everyone! This year will be wonderful, thanks to all of you!


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