March 30, 2012 4 comments

Tagged... and I entered a contest so come vote please!

MR over at Quilt Matters has tagged me to answer some questions, so here goes:


1. What is your favourite book?


Oh, so hard to answer!  I'm a book worm and I love them so; but I'll have to say Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye".  I've read all of her books, but my introduction to her was "Tar Baby", and when I first read that book, I felt like the Universe had Toni write that book for me, personally - but I read it 7 or 8 times and couldn't figure out what the MESSAGE was (How annoying!) It wasn't until I read "The Bluest Eye" that I finally understood "Tar Baby" - and that's why, oddly, "The Bluest Eye" is my favourite. It explained so much about my self to me.




P.S. - some really bad photos from early in my career will be in this post!

2. If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

Assuming you mean someone other than BSP, I'd have to say my mother. There's a lot more talking we need to do. 

3. When you free motion quilt, do you drop the feed dogs or quilt with them up?

I drop the feed dogs when I remember to. lol


4. What is your proudest quilting moment?

When I made "Man's Fans" - 'cuz when I quilted that, I finally knew that I could quilt!



Back:



5. When did you know you were hooked on quilting?

About 1/2 way through my first quilt. I already had designs for another 20 quilts in my head by that time. 


6. What is your favourite place in the world? Why?

Not to be too corny, but in my BSP's arms. I have never felt so loved, appreciated, admired, respected and safe as I do there.

Other than that - my sewing room!!!





7. What is a little known fact about you?

I am terrified, TERRIFIED of clowns.


8. If you were given $1,000 that you could spend on anything for YOU, what would you spend it on -- clothes, shoes, fabric? Something else?

Batting.  lol I  am in desperate need of batting! If I were being less practical, I would buy shelves with doors for my sewing room where I currently have shelves with boxes of fabric.  I have that set up because I haven't yet saved enough for shelves with doors!


LIATORP Glass-door cabinet IKEA 3 adjustable glass shelves.   Adjust spacing according to your storage needs.
9. What is your favourite quilt that you made?

I think my favourite one is still the second I made. I think it's incredible, In fact, I think I need to make one for myself now that I'm thinking about it!

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Sadly, I only have crap pictures of it because I didn't know how to take pictures then, and it was a commission.  

10. What is your favourite quilt that someone else made?

Victoria Gertenbach's "Work Quilt" she made several in this series - I loved the quilt itself, but I also loved how you could see her moving in a new direction as an artist - feeling her way to where she needed to be. It was a real privilege to be able to watch that process - and it's only because of blogging that we're able to!




And if you'd like to play along, please self-select!

Also, I entered Ontology Of A Rabbit in this week's Quilting Gallery contest.  After looking at the other submissions (the theme is "spring") if you feel moved to do so, you can vote HERE (you have to scroll all the way down to vote.)




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March 27, 2012 14 comments

Tuesday's Table...(and a little FYI)


My sewing room has been featured on another site, and there were some comments there about how I'm "impossibly neat" and questions like "how does she create without making a mess?"  So, your Honour, I offer into evidence this picture of my table. I make a mess!  lol

This was the heap of stuff on one side during the construction of Ontology of a Rabbit. You can see bunny detritus alllllll through that. Rolled up gold leather, some silver sequins that didn't make the cut, a gorgeous chocolate brown ribbon that I'd pulled for binding until I decided to do an escape hatch closing (thanks Melody Jonhson!) tape and paint that was a possibility for B'rer Rabbit's nose or eyes (I was considering pink eyes for awhile but didn't like them in practice), pattern pieces - a host of other things.

Also - on a serious note - I wanted to let you know that my mother passed away a couple of weeks ago.

This isn't a plea for condolences, but I have run out of my pre-done posts now, and though I do have some things I can show you over the next little while (some fabrics I'd hand-dyed, a quilt show I went to, the results of the resin experiment, a bed quilt I've started and stalled on)  I don't have a lot of content left and I'm not feeling motivated to create at the moment, so posts may be light around here for a bit.

Fair warning!

Take care,
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March 22, 2012 37 comments

Ontology of a Rabbit

If you wonder where the world of a flying rabbit comes from, the answer may be an even stranger thing than you first imagined.  

When I finished this little piece, I said to BSP “I don’t know what to call it...” – and BSP asked the usual question, “Well, what’s it about?”

Ontology of a Rabbit (c) 2012 Kit Lang (indoor lighting)

And I explained that this piece was about perception and reality and said that the title should convey that the world this rabbit was flying in was not a dreamscape, or an alternate universe outside our own, nor even that it was our present universe transformed by a fortunate confluence of stars, time of day and lighting – but that – in the rabbit’s mind, this was the “real” world – and who are we to say it isn’t?

Branch is made from a dark brown fabric with copper threads running through it;
leaves from gold mesh, hand sewn with gold thread

That just because we don’t see the world this way doesn’t mean that it isn’t real – it only means that we don’t have the correct perception, beliefs and societal constructs in place (i.e. that rabbits fly and that leaves are jewels)  to believe that its real.

We agreed that was a tall order for a title.  :D


Look Ma, I used beads!

But while I was making this piece, I was having Deep Thoughts (no relation to Jack Handy) about anti-realism (i.e. that there is no objective reality – life is how you perceive it); cultural relativism (that reality is constructed by cultural and mental iconography, religious and political movements and societal constructs of what is “real”); and moral relativism (ethical standards, morality, and right or wrong are culturally based, and that therefore, we all decide what is right for ourselves, dependent upon our particular culture.)  


Light tan suede, copper & brown silk from the challenge fabrics plus my own shiny fabrics.

I suppose you might wonder why I have been thinking about these things, but in recent weeks there have been some news stories out of the United States that have raised issues that had me feeling quite depressed.  In particular, what was “hot” during the construction of this piece:


Painted lutradur nose and eye

The Kony 2012 meme. That video propaganda was so carefully constructed that it got a shocking number of people to agree that we in the West ought to involve ourselves in the civil war in Uganda and further, that we ought to pursue that war despite the facts that doing so would:

Rabbit`s body made from that amazing snow dyed polyester fabric

a: support armies who use children to fight their wars (although that was the very problem Invisible Children particularized with Kony); and that

b: by supporting Invisible Children’s chosen army, we were supporting soldiers who are currently literally raping their way across Uganda leaving in their wake rape’s attendant despair, demoralization, physical and psychic pain, disease and children.

 
A flying Easter bunny!

And when the figureheads of Invisible Children (those behind Kony 2012) were asked about these issues (and a host of other, problematic issues with their campaign), they said “Any help is better than none”.  And apparently, millions of Americans and Canadians agreed, as evidenced by their ‘likes’ & ‘shares’ on Facebook as well as their monetary support.  Moral relativism at it’s best – invisible children indeed!

Mr. Bunny`s tail is made from one of the painted squares in the challenge bag.

And I was also thinking about the kerfuffle with the United Nations several years ago with respect to the fact that their “universal” human rights were objectively Western.  I mean, “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms” sounds awesome and every single one of us in the West can get behind that statement with a hearty “Goooooooo West!”; but said statement is a subject of continued and ongoing objections from non-Western countries, and with good reason - because how can universal human rights even exist, in such a culturally diverse world?

Japanese paper for the inner ears. 

And just who are we in the West to point fingers and say “Bad dog!” when American women’s right to have control over their own bodies (in 2012!) is a topic up for debate on the US national stage right now?  Cultural relativism – how you disturb me.

So… no matter what y/our stand is on the West’s involvement in Ugandan civil war/the pursuit of Kony: or whether your personal belief is that a bunch of men should get to decide for women in the US that they ought not to have access to birth control without having their right to privacy and their personal dignity invaded; and that their employer should get to be the one who makes that decision for her, or whether you believe that some wrongs are less wrong when they are done in the pursuit of a “greater” right;


Wings are gold leather turned backwards for the suede - with some of the beige japanese paper for the design

...the pervasive question that covers it all, is: Is it all right that one group’s morality carries the day for all groups? And who knows if we can agree on the answer to that question? But I’m quite sure the one thing we can all agree on, is that these are deep thoughts for a flying (?) bunny!

But that’s the funny thing. Sometimes when artists create something – even something as whimsical as a flying bunny in a fantastical fairy-tale looking world – there is actually some rather serious thinking going on behind it.  And sometimes, the incongruity of a flying rabbit seems the perfect vehicle to carry that mental turbulence.

 
Ontology of a Rabbit (c) 2012 Kit Lang - outdoor lighting (what a difference!)  

All of that said though, I really *do* think this is the “prettiest” thing I’ve ever made.  :)


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P.S.  Process posts here and here  and I am linking up with Amanda from Don't Tell Quilts for TGIFF
March 21, 2012 15 comments

Leaves Of Grass

 

(With apologies to Walt).  When I left you on Monday, I had managed to come up with a design to put to use the fabrics in the Drunken Quilters' Challenge.  I had an idea to do grass in those wheaten earthy colours (plus a few shiny fabrics of my own) as the ground beneath Mr. Rabbit; but before I did that, I had to make a backdrop for the focal point and adjoining elements - which meant I had to quilt the background.

(Well, I didn't have to, but for me lately, my process seems to be that I quilt the background first and then add elements - quilted or otherwise -  on top of it. )


 

I also needed to do something to convey the movement in the inspiration piece, and the best way to do that was through the background quilting.

 

Speaking of background, I wanted the fabric blades of grass to be the lower focal point, but I didn't want them to just be laying there on top of the backdrop relative to nothing, so I also had to quilt in some background grass for them - I mean they were practically there already in the rust dye - they just needed a little drawing out.


And you'll remember that my rabbit was a flying rabbit rather than a jumping rabbit - and since I had to use some of the Japanese paper, my idea was to use it as a kind of exoskeletan for the wings, laying it over some of the tulle fabric.  When I tried that, it looked like what it sounds like - some paper lieing on top of some tulle (no picture necessary lol); but having cut the fabric and not yet fused it down, I decided to do it the other way around - and put the "boning" under the tulle rather than over it.


 

Ummm, no.

I tried something else though - and it looks good from the back, right?

 


 To see the full reveal (seriously, I think it's one of the prettiest things I've ever made!) and to discover how I dealt with THE BEAD PROBLEM (dun, dun dunnnnnnnn!) - come back on Friday!

See you then.  :)

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March 19, 2012 5 comments

Help for Karen Combs. If you are in Texas, please read!

From Karen's blog:

On March 16, 2012, sometime between midnight and 6am at the Courtyard New Braunfels River Village, my rental car’s driver window was broken and my teaching suitecase was stolen. The hotel is located at 750 IH 35 North in New Braunfels, Texas. The police were called, they stated the break-in looked like the work of a professional.

It was a “smash and grab”. The vandals did not know what they were taking and it will have no value to them.  It means the world to me. . .

Inside the suitecase were the quilts  from my popular Patchwork Illusions class. I also lost all my teaching supplies and step-by-step demos for the class.

If you live in New Braunfels or anywhere in Texas, please check local yard sales, flea markets and pawn shops for the quilts.  Everyone, please   forward this blog posting to every quilter and quilt shop you know and ask them to forward it to everyone they know.

If you find one of my quilts or quilt  blocks, please contact me at karen@karencombs.com

Thank you for all your help,

Karen

Patchwork Illusions quilt – BATIK CASCADE RIBBONS


Patchwork Illusions quilt – DUO


Patchwork Illusions quilt – RAINBOW CUBE


Patchwork Illusions quilt – TRIO


Patchwork Illusions quilt top – DARK CRYSTAL STAR


Patchwork Illusions quilt top – LIGHT CRYSTAL STAR


Patchwork Illusions quilt – RIBBON CUBE

Patchwork Illusions quilt blocks

Patchwork Illusions quilt – STACKED AND WRAPPED

Patchwork Illusions quilt top – CUBED
If you see her work anywhere - please contact her immediately at karen@karencombs.com
Quilters Unite!

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6 comments

So, about that resin thing...

It's STILL DRYING.  (In real time, and I started doing these posts 13 days ahead of when I posted them here!)

So, let's look at something else I've been working on, shall we?

No, no - that's not mine - it's Salvadore Dali's Down the Rabbit Hole. (Side note: I've always found this version of Alice's rabbit mildly terrifying. That looks like a rabbit that's really, really ticked about being late.  Not to mention, both the insect and the rabbit are like, a million times bigger than Alice - and I like things to be wee -  compared to me not the reverse. )

That said, I find the colouring in this painting amazingly beautiful, the fantastical elements thought provoking, and the movement is... wow. I mean, how do you convey movement like that without actually making swooping strokes with your paintbrush?  The guy's a "master" for a reason and I find this piece really inspiring. It's one of my favourites.

So, what does that have to do with me?

You may remember me talking about my little Quilt/Art group that I'm part of  ( BSP calls us "The Drunken Quilter's Society" 'cuz it's 3 friends and I having cocktails and dinner once a month and talking about our work ), well, Drunken Quilters decided that we're going to have a challenge this month. (Just like a real guild!)

We decided that it would be a scrap challenge and that we would each exchange a bag of scraps and ephemera with which we had to produce something for our meeting the next month.  We didn't have to use all of what was in the bag, but we had to use things in it that we've never used before.

This was my bag:


Aside from the lovely bits of fabric including a polyester snow dye (did you even know you could do such a thing? That's the lovely mottled copper and brown peeping out on the upper left hand side) and some really interesting rust-dyed fabric which practically yelled at me about what to do with it (does fabric ever yell at you to be used in a certain way?), there is Lutradur (eep!), Japanese paper (which I've also never used) and BEADS in that bag of tricks.  Those of you have been with me for awhile, know that beads are my Waterloo.  Which means, there must be beads in this piece. (Hold me!)

But aside from the things I'm going to use which I don't wish to (lol); when I opened this bag, spread the bits around on my table, and moved them around a bit - Dali's Down The Rabbit Hole popped into my head - something about the way the rust moved through the fabric spoke to me about it.

And so, inspired by Mr. Dali's white rabbit, I decided to make a fantastical flying rabbit who lives in a magical-possibly-dream-world too.



This is what I've got so far...
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March 16, 2012 7 comments

Fear not my chickens as we go bravely unto the breach...

 
'Cuz check it out - it came out unscathed!  *PHEW* 

However, as you can see there was no depth at all, which meant I would need several layers to get the effect I wanted.  And several layers of wax - no matter how translucent each layer was, would *not* create the effect I was looking for.



 
The wax also darkened the fabric (as you can see when you compare and contrast the original fabric and the "whitewash" cottage wall.) What you'll also be able to see when you click on the pic and look at it up close (I got rid of that stupid lightbox effect by the way - useless when you want to see detail!) is that it made the fabric semi-translucent so you can see the forest behind it.  Oh noes! (next time, liners for all.)

So I did some research online about resin and decided that this product would be best for what I wanted to do. 

(And there are a LOT of resins out there.) I figured glazing resin as opposed to other kinds  would give me a nice skim coat without making it look like it was under glass.


So I made an enclosure for it out of an old cardboard box and masking tape, set it up on an old cutting mat, and poured the first layer of resin on.



So far, so good, right?  

I'm hoping to show you the finished piece on Monday, at which time I'll also share with you the trials of the resin (and there were MANY); I'll also tell you my learnings and do a run-down of the costs, but it may not be ready as I still have two more layers of resin to do and holy cow, it takes 12 hours to dry for the FIRST layer. But as you build them up? Longer and longer drying times.
If it's not done, never fear. I'll still have something to talk about 'cuz I haven't been sitting on my hands during that drying time!
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