Monday, June 22, 2015

Cephalopod Transfers

In honor of Cephalopod Week, I have been experimenting with some different transfer methods, featuring old scientific illustrations of various Cephalopoda. Lots more to do over the coming months.
The first attempt with gel medium came out well, and has a lot of potential to become an interesting finished piece.

The Citrasolv technique was more ghosted, but I already have some ideas for using it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Monkeys of the World, Unite!

How do you like the new blog look? It's feeding directly into my newly overhauled website as well!

Last night we enjoyed a great JAM (that's "Journals and More" because we've really expanded our reach from our original task of monthly journal page-size projects) meeting. The theme to kick off summer was Games. I had literally dozens of ideas for this topic. I love the graphic elements of board games; you really get a glimpse into the design zeitgeist of a particular era from the illustrations used in board games. I considered projects based on some really ancient games like Ur and Senet...
The Royal Game of UR, played in ancient Mesopotamia well over 4500 years ago. 

...some classic traditional choices like checkers, backgammon (both of which other group members ended up interpreting for their projects), and Chinese checkers, which would have enabled my hexagon addiction...
Chinese checkers...on an isometric triangle grid!

...some more obscure games that I played growing up in the 70s and 80s, like Bonkers, Connect Four, and Tri-Ominos (which is still going to happen on a larger scale, probably as soon as I get back from the Vermont Quilt Festival...). Take a look at this commercial from 1980 -- can you believe how much wholesome fun that family is having?!? I demand to know why they don't show at least one, if not both, of the kids scowling and threatening to flip over the whole damn table. And the parents haven't once checked their cell phones or gotten up for another drink. LIES, I tell you! Corporate lies!

I even considered some video games like PacMan and Q-Bert, which of course was played on a tumbling blocks screen:

QBert must have been designed by a quilter.
Ultimately, I chose a childhood favorite that was more of a plaything than a game, even though it did come with some vague "rules." I found a simple clipart, enlarged it in PowerPoint, and traced it onto some solid red Kona prepared with whatever fusible I had handy. (I don't know if it was Steam-a-Seam, Heat-n-Bond, or Wonder Under.) After a few evenings of painstaking scissor work, the rest of project went together in a flash:
Barrel of Monkeys! quilt: "Ex unitate vires" (2015, Angelina Kendra)

The only quilting I did on the solid yellow background was the curved barrel lines. These were tricky to implement, not least because I was working without a functional walking foot. I used a 12-wt yellow Sulky thread, and I started and stopped between every segment of the hanging monkeys. Once the monkeys and the quilting lines were finished, it was a very cute little project that would look adorable on a nursery wall. Someone should get on that.

The little monkey on the bottom looked like he was exhibiting a little independent streak. There's a Polish proverb that translates as "Not my circus, not my monkeys" (meaning, of course, "not my problem") which was just PERFECT for this little guy. I can pronounce written Polish (thanks to six weeks of a continuing ed class that I took during the grad school years in Blacksburg, VA), but I had to rely on a Google search for the original Polish words for his protest sign.
Not my circus, not my monkeys
In contrast to Mr. Not-My-Problem, I realized that the others were stronger for hanging together. Their Solidarność flag is the emblem of the 1980s trade union in Poland that was the impetus for the fall of the Communist regime in that country. The day I was finishing this, the NY Times Magazine cover was "Labor's Last Stand." I couldn't stop thinking of how cunningly the current crop of union busters have secured the sympathies of the people who would seem to benefit most from some united strength. I guess we can thank modern globalization for the continuing unraveling of worker's rights in this and every other country. There's always a hungrier mouth willing (or forced) to produce for even less reward. The name of the finished quilt is "Ex unitate vires" ("Strength in unity"). Good luck on your own, little guy.

Fun fact: "Solidarity" (solidarność) was the answer that I missed in the 1990 New Castle News Citizen Bee, thus dropping me out of competition. I did a lot of flirting with my now-husband Barry at that Bee event:
That's Barry and me, front and center. Not thinking about Solidarity one little bit.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Taking the next step

This summer I'm taking the effort to put together a shiny new website, which is nicely underway. I even got brand new business cards, which magically and instantaneously made me feel more professional and serious. I'm trying to figure out whether to start a whole new blog wrapped directly into the new site, or continue this blogger site and just link back and forth. If you're reading this and you have any advice on this decision, I'd be happy to hear from you.

My gypsy wife is en route to the Vermont Quilt Festival, along with Cedric's MTG quilt. If you're at the show, make sure you hunt them down!

In the meantime, I've been stitching up a storm, making a whole bunch of new things of all shapes and sizes, practicing new techniques, refreshing old ones, and improving with every stitch.

I saw an inspiring and thought-provoking piece this week, so I'll close this post with a link to it:

I'm jealous of your success...