Cabin Fever Art Show

close up of chicken quilt

I have taken my kids to Piney Run Park for years.  There we’ve hiked, gone fishing, picnicked and rowed boats.  This past weekend the nature center at the park hosted a Cabin Fever Art Show.  art for saleI signed up to be considered for the show (it was a juried sort of event) and was accepted.  It was only after I was committed to attending that I was sent a flyer which advertised an “art show for artists inspired by nature”.  In recent months most of my pieces have been centered around portraits — I had some work ahead of me!chicken quilt

I ended up creating three new pieces for the show.  One was from a photo my neighbor took of her chicken, Booboo.  When I incorrectly identified it as SunnyJay on Instagram, she was able to quickly correct me (which made me proud that I had so accurately captured her bird!) The success of this particular quilt had a lot to do with the talent my neighbor has in her photographs.  The vibrancy of the feathers just lent itself to my medium.  I spent a few excited hours stitching in the details of those feathers with a variation of colored threads.

close up of chicken quilt

The next quilt was of a photo I had taken of a sunflower on our property.  I plant sunflowers every year, and every year I end up taking dozens of photographs of them.  I can’t seem to get enough.  This was a close up of a particularly tall one.sunflower quilt full size

And finally I wanted to pay homage to the family of red-tailed hawks that lives in our sycamore trees.  They have nested there since 2009 and I love to listen to their high pitched calls and watch their shadows as they glide over our land.  The mascot at my college was the red-tailed hawk, so I guess that also lends to my affinity for them.

 

I had a great deal of fun creating the right shading on the back feathers of this hawk with varying colors of thread.  In the photographs I have taken, it looks as if the tail is in 3D, but it is actually flush with the rest of thehawk full sized quilt 2 quilt.  This was one of my favorite quilts and I unfortunately did not have it long enough to get a proper photograph taken — it sold to a very nice fellow quilter, whose husband loves the red-tailed hawk that lives on their property.  :)

 

hawk full sized

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Posted in Sewing

Creativity

earrings 1

I’ve always encouraged my kids to be creative.  They come from a long line of talented people (and not just me! ;) ) Their grandma, my mother-in-law, is one of the most talented peoplAnne's Boxe I have ever met. I’ve menAnne's handiworktioned her in a previous post but thought I’d share some of her work here.  This is a wooden box she made for my husband.  The detail in the piece is just breathtaking. Another year she asked Terry for a picture of our house.  He sent her a photo that she manually drew grids on, and from that she created this for me: a cross stitched completely accurate depiction of my home.  I can do work similar to this, but with a computer and in fabric.  She eyeballed this and it came out beautifully.

So my kids come from a talented line.  Tom was one of 15 sophomores selected in the state of Maryland for the All State chorus.  He can play almost any brass instrument and has been in our hmore forced famliy funigh school’s award winning jazz band since his freshman year.  Elizabeth has a real eye for art.  She sews like her mom, but paints like her grandma.  She loves experimenting with new medium and has 2 craft closets full of materials.  My oldest, Eddie, never thinks of himself as creative, but he’s the one I’m writing about today.

When I went back to work this summer I was very concerned that the kids not spend all their free time sitting in front of one screen or another. To ease my mind, Eddie took over the care of Elizabeth.  They went on day trips, saw some movies and made jewelry together.  Elizabeth has been doing this for years, but it was new to Eddie.  He’s always liked intricate work (painting small models, building complicated Lego structures) so this was no stretch for him.  However, he soon discovered he had a real affinity for it.  beading

Before college resumed this semester, Ed spent a good deal of time beading while watching Netflix marathons.  His work is really well done.  He has begun to experiment with metals and is looking into taking a metal work class while in college to satisfy his art requirement.  For my part, I opened up an Etsy store for him and encourage you to visit it.  Since his earrings are not too expensive, I decided to show only one of the kinds he has made in the variety of colors that he chose (Etsy charges by the piece for displaying work and this would keep his costs down).  However I think I’m going to be a proud mama now and share some photos of his other work here.

earrings 2 braceletsearrings 1

 

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Posted in jewelry, Not Sewing

Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Flag raising full quilt

rosenthal's originalAs the wife of a Marine, I know to call this iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal the 2nd flag raising on Iwo Jima.  The date was February 23, 1945 and the image inspired a nation, winning Mr. Rosenthal a Pulitzer Prize in Photography.  It said to be the most reproduced event in World War II.  night view

As many of you may know, this image reproduced into a bronze statue in the 1950’s and is on display in Washington D.C.  The United States Marine Corps War Memorial is a must on any visitor’s site seeing list.  When in D.C. on business, my husband often makes a point to visit the memorial and act as a docent for any tourists interested in the battles listed around the plinth.  The statue was commissioned in the early ’50’s — entirely paid for by donations from Marines and friends of Marines.  It was initially made of plaster, then dismantled and taken to Brooklyn, NY for casting in bronze.  This process took nearly three years.  Once the parts were finished, they were reassembled into a dozen pieces and trucked back to Washington, DC on a three-truck convoy.  An interesting family connection; my father’s father, who was still living in NYC at the time, saw this convoy pass.

I thought the up coming 70th anniversary was a good reason to try my own interpretation of this iconic image.  I’ve included a lot of detailed images because I love how all the differing shades of grey worked together to convey real depth in this image.


close up 2close up 5close up 1

Flag raising full quilt

Semper Fi.

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Posted in Art Quilts, USMC

Kathy’s Horse

For the secret Skathy's horseanta at the office this year I drew my friend Kathy’s name.  I was very excited as Kathy was one of the reasons I enjoyed my job.  She has a spirit about her that makes you want to be around her and know her better.  She’s funny, creative, smart and dotes on her grandbabies.  I wanted to make her one of my quilted portraits as she has always been so supportive of my art.  She had a horse that she treasured and I decided to try to recreate an image of Ace for her.  It was kind of tricky getting her to send me a photo of him, but I made up a reason and she did. (Kathy is also very trusting) :)

The picture she sent was of the beautiful beast you see here.  I loved all the chocolates in his coat and looked forward to recreating its highlights.  This is my first horse art piece created with the use of a photo.  I also made a cow portrait for my neighbor a few years back.  She recognized it as her “Daisy” and I am proud to say Kathy immediately recognized Ace. She particularly liked the “life” my stitches gave to his eye.

 

When she first opened the gift, however, she was speechless.  It is a moment I will always treasure.

 

fullsize quilt

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Posted in Art Quilts

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I’ve been so busy with work and the holidays that I have not had any time to post about my sewing.  Tonight I decided to take a minute to share two house pieces I was commissioned to do for Christmas presents.  One was for a lady who found me on my Etsy site, and another was of a local home.  The first is a vacation home favorited by my client’s parents.  She asked that I include some words that she associated with the home in the sky surrounding it.

full quilt

There was a lot of detail, (which of course translates to fun!) in this piece.  I especially liked the flower beds that surround the home.

I just found on my Esty link that my client also left me a review.  It was so sweet I thought I’d include it here.

house detail 3I ordered a custom piece of a family beach house. I don’t even know where to start with my review! Working with Mary and corroborating on this custom piece was a wonderful experience. Mary took all of my thoughts, ideas and requests into consideration and created the most beautiful piece of art my family will treasure for ever. I hope she posts pictures of this piece on her storefront so that you can appreciate the workmanship that went into creating it. Amazing artist and I’m so glad that internet/etsy surfing led me to her!

 

view with fenceThe second piece was of a local home.  I enjoyed taking the photos myself and finding that one perfect angle that spoke to me.  I settled on a view from the fence line with the trees surrounding the house.  When I began to tackle this quilt I considered at first removing the trees from the portrait so I could focus solely on the house.  I quickly reconsidered as the owners probably loved their tree surrounded home and I didn’t want to remove its character.  What got me excited about leaving them in was the fabric I could then use.  About a year ago I purchased fabric that looked like vegetables — tomatoes, corn, lettuce, peppers.  I don’t know what I thought I’d do with it, but it was too cool to pass up.  As I looked at all the colors in the leaves of the trees I began to see that veggie fabric — broccoli, asparagus, red and iceberg lettuce.  I really love the final piece because I can easily pick out all those vegetables … I wonder if you can too.

I should apologize for the quality of this photo — I was so anxious to get it to my client on time that I took this picture through the glass of the frame with my phone. :)  You can’t see all the details like the curtains behind the pained windows, or the exact vegetable prints that I used.  But I think it’s a nice picture of the piece anyway.

full house

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Posted in Art Quilts

Happy Birthday, Mom!

cropped

karen mom and meMy mom was a cooking and sewing teacher.  After graduating college, she worked in our hometown as the high school’s home economics teacher.  She couldn’t have been much older than her students and, newly married, she must have gotten a kick out of them calling her “Mrs. —–“. She worked there for two years, then stayed home to raise her five children for another 15 years.  My mom continued to sew, and cook, of course.  My father, the sole provider then, was no good in the kitchen (although he can cook a mean pasta sauce now).  She made a lot of my clothes when I was little, and all of our Halloween costumes (a tradition I have continued).  She was always a good cook, but I remember her baking the best.  My brother once told me he could always count on a few extra dollars on the days Mom packed cookies in his lunch because he would sell them to kids in his class.

 

#13 1976 colonial girl #12  Me in dress 1973 #11 Bill and I Christmas outfits 1979

When I was 13, my mom returned to work this time as our town’s middle school Home Ec. teacher.  She would eventually wind up teaching the children of that first round of students she taught. :)  My mom was voted favorite teacher that first year by my class — an award she would get countless times over in her career.  She was a good teacher; patient, kind, attentive.  Often a student’s first experience in the kitchen would be with my mom.  When I first got on Facebook and touched base  with some of those friends from middle school, they would inevitably ask after my mom.  Some told me they still use her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Mom had to retire in 2003 after contracting a very rare disease that effected her spinal cord.  She’s been in a wheelchair since.  A lot of people, when faced with a life altering illness, change who they are and their responses to the world around them.  My mom lives with pain every day, but she still somehow manages to be the same person.  She is an inspiration to those who know her — living a life of faith and love.

This woman who inspired countless others has of course inspired me.  I, too, got a degree, worked in my field, then walked away from my career to raise my children.  As my mother before me,  I sewed and cooked for them and my husband (but Terry’s cooking has always been better than mine!)  And as hard as it was, I can’t regret that sacrifice because I know what it meant for me to always have my mom there. As she still is.  Her encouragement of my artwork knows no end.  When I have setbacks, she reminds me that many famous artists are rarely recognized in their lifetime.  {Like I could ever be famous! –but what faith in me!}

For her birthday this year I created my rendition of naturalist John Audubon’s painting, The Greenshank. The building in the background is of particular interest to my folks.  It’s the Castillo De San Marcos — a 17th century fort constructed by the Spanish when they occupied Florida.  It is in St. Augustine, their adopted hometown.  I sent it down with my husband and daughter, who were visiting in time for her birthday this year.  Within a day the folks had it mounted on the wall in their condo. :)

full sized quiltGreenshank image

 

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Another Challenge

IMG_8758

living roomA few weeks ago my sister-in-law (a great supporter of my work, as well as a fellow admirer of Halloween) asked intriguing question… why there aren’t more females characters represented at thisIMG_8766 time of year?  Yes we have witches, but that’s not the same as the person of Dracula, or Frankenstein’s monster.  When I glanced around my living room, which I decorated for the season, I noticed the macabre portraits I displayed were of two male writers and a male musician.

So it got me thinking… what female character could I chose that would perfectly reflect the horror of the season? { Here’s a hint — I used one of my authors for inspiration. }

 

carrie full quilt

I chose the most recent “Carrie” movie to base my quilt on.  Of the three movies, I liked the middle one best for its adherence to the plot of the book —- but I love love LOVED Julianne Moore as the crazy mom in the most recent film!!!  Carrie cut out

I’m a fan of all three “Carrie” movies, but I hold a particular affinity for the book.  I think what I truly love about it is the back story.  Steve felt inspired to try his hand  writing a story from the female perspective, but a few pages in discovered he couldn’t sympathize with the main characters.  He tossed the pages in the trash where his wife Tabby later found them.  After reading those pages, she told him “you’ve got something here” and pushed him to keep at it.  He did.  Nine months later he finished his first novel.  After 30 publishers rejected it, Doubleday purchased its rights, and the rest is history.

I enjoy this back story because it marks the humble beginnings of a truly prolific career.  But I also like it because reflects the relationship between a husband and wife — the mutual support and encouragement that we all need.  :)

 

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Posted in Art Quilts, Halloween
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