DANGER LURKS IN YOUR STUDIO!

•August 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Melisse Laing

Disclaimer: if stories about blood make you faint, read no further in this post. There is danger lurking in your studio … things that will jump out and attack you!
Most of us are familiar … sometimes too familiar … with the usual hazards … needles, scissors, rotary blades. If you haven’t been stabbed or cut at least once in creating a major work, you’re lucky. I have a friend who had to go to emergency because she sewed through her finger. And another had to leave a class early because she lopped off the end of her finger with a rotary blade. Ouch!
We all have gory stories about things that have happened in the course of creating our work. Well, I have one more, rather unique one to add to the collection. I was recently attacked by a plastic ruler – one of those 12 ½-inch clear (and…

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DANGER LURKS IN YOUR STUDIO!

•August 26, 2014 • 1 Comment

Disclaimer: if stories about blood make you faint, read no further in this post. There is danger lurking in your studio … things that will jump out and attack you!
Most of us are familiar … sometimes too familiar … with the usual hazards … needles, scissors, rotary blades. If you haven’t been stabbed or cut at least once in creating a major work, you’re lucky. I have a friend who had to go to emergency because she sewed through her finger. And another had to leave a class early because she lopped off the end of her finger with a rotary blade. Ouch!
We all have gory stories about things that have happened in the course of creating our work. Well, I have one more, rather unique one to add to the collection. I was recently attacked by a plastic ruler – one of those 12 ½-inch clear (and expensive) ones by a well-known manufacture
First of all you have to keep in mind that this probably won’t happen to astute artists as you are, but I’m rather a Klotz. I also have very thin skin and have sheared it off of my leg before … and at an art quilt meeting, as some of you will remember.
The ruler was sitting on the floor propped up against one of the legs of my sewing table. I was using it to measure as I machine quilted a piece. I turned in my chair apparently catching my leg on the corner of the ruler and slashed a right angle cut on my leg. Blood all over the place, fortunately not on my work though for just a minute I was tempted to use it to stop the flow. I yelled for my husband. He was upstairs watching a ball game on TV, actually dozing. By the time he responded, there was blood in several places on my studio carpet, and the Kleenex box was empty.
Several bandages later my leg was bound, and I was propped up on the couch with it elevated and a non-lethal book to read. My leg is now in the process of healing. I’ve¬¬ even done some more quilting on the piece but with a cloth measuring tape instead of the plastic ruler.
The moral to this saga is:
Yes, we work with sharp tools;
Yes, we should be cautious; and
Yes, we should have a first aid kit in our studio … in addition to a large box of Kleenex.
But on to safer things: If you’re in downtown Tacoma, be sure to stop by the American Art Company to see the Twelfth Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational which runs through October 4. The gallery, at 1126 Broadway Plaza is open Tuesday – Friday 10-5:30 and Saturday 10-5. There’s a favorite Thai restaurant right across the street. I have three pieces in the exhibit … Fandango,

Fandango

Fandango
25″h x 25″w

 

, Walking Sticks and Stick with Me, the latter two from my Sticks series. You’ll also find work by other Pacific Northwest artists. You can also find information and photos from the show on the website – http://www.americanartco.com
Keep making art … and keep safe!

Happy Holidays!

•December 20, 2013 • 3 Comments

 

Image

Happy Holidays! I hope yours are as fun, family, friends and frolicking as mine!

 Actually I’m looking forward to packing up the Christmas wrap, which has taken over the cutting table in my studio, and getting back to work. I have several projects that need re-acting, finishing up and/or discarding.

 How do you get back in the art mode after “life” has usurped your time and space? Clean and organize your space? Finish up those UFO’s? Make some resolutions?

 I work on those things, but I figure it’s a new year. There are lots of new ideas in my heads and new tempting techniques. I’m going to start a new project – something fun, something “out of the box”, something to get my rotary cutter and sewing machine working. It might not “work” but I’m looking forward to starting as the year starts.

 In the meantime, have a wonderful end-of-the year. I’ll cut this short to let the dog out and put a batch of cookies in the oven.

Successful quilts

•May 24, 2013 • 3 Comments

In my last post I told you about a new product called WireForm. I used it on a new quilt in my collage series which, along with another new pieced quilt, were juried into a CQA (Contemporary QuiltArt Association) exhibition which opens this weekend in Tieton, Washington. Some friends and I will be there for the opening.

Sustantivo

Sustantivo
34″h x 35″w

First about the quilts: On “Sustantivo” I used the WireForm, folded into strips, to connect the smaller pieces that I do in my collage technique.

Fandango

Fandango
25:h x 25″w

“Fandango” is a pieced – rather complicated I must admit – quilt. Both will hang in “Salsa,” which runs 5/25 through 7/14/13 at the Mighty Tieton Warehouse Gallery in Tieton, WA.

Second about Tieton: Where in the h— is it? Mighty Tieton is a group of entrepreneurial creative individuals (designers, architects, artists) working in Central Washington to revitalize the economy of the town and region.  Their Warehouse Gallery is located at 608 Wisconsin Ave, Tieton, WA, which is 15 miles west of Yakima on Highways 410/12, approximately two and one-half hours from Seattle.

Healing IMore good news: An older quilt, “Healing I” we juried into the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibition, “Color Wheel of Emotions.” This is only the second SAQA show my work has been accepted and it was one of 19 out of 268 entries. The show opens a the World Quilt Show in New Hampshire 8/15-8/18/13; travels to the Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza in Oaks 9/19-9/22/13 and then to the Pacific International Quilt Fest in Santa Clara, CA 10/7-10/11/13. More venues may be added.

All of this inspires me to work in my studio. I’m machine quilting on another in my “Sticks” series and starting to piece the works inspired by my Hawaii and Australia photos that I mentioned in my last post. All of this fits into May activities and life in general. I keep telling myself that quilting is a priority, but … More next time.

New work, new ideas, new product

•April 25, 2013 • 2 Comments

If you’re a regular reader – which I hope you are – I’m sure that you know my posts are NOT regular. I hope you wish they were more often, but I don’t think I can offer any encouragement. My life seems to be filled with activities – both artistic and non – but I feel that’s much better than being bored. And bored I’m definitely not!

I spent my wonderful, annual week studying with Nancy Crow in March. Nancy always gives me a kick in my you-know-what and inspires me to spend more time in my studio. This I have been doing. I’ve finished machine quilting two more of my “Sticks” series. I’ve also created two new quilts – both of which, promise, I will post after I find out if they got in a show. And I’m working on the start of what might be a new series, based on photos I took in Australia and Hawaii.

Inspiration for new quilt

Inspiration for new quilt

One of the quilts uses a product that really excites me. WireForm is a brass designer’s mesh. I got it from Dick Blick Art Supply in Portland, OR. (They have stores in other locations plus on-line sales.) It’s a “screening” that comes in various sizes and weights. I got the brass 18-mesh. It is easily cut with scissors, is moldable and can be machine sewn. I’ve always wanted to put dimension in my quilts. I’ve worked with different weight stiffeners, but I think this product might be interested. I’ll keep you posted.

All good things must come to and end. The Color Improvisations show is over and the quilts are being shipped to their homes. Color Improvisations was exhibited in eight locations in six countries in Europe and Britain since July 2010. Three of the quilts sold; unfortunately not one of mine. It was a great opportunity.

Speaking of great opportunities exhibits both local and national are requesting entry applications from artists. This is why I’m spending more time in my studio and less on other things, like spring cleaning and e-mail. I recommend you do the same. Don’t miss out on the many opportunities.

Productivity

•March 2, 2013 • 6 Comments

How productive were you in the past 12 months? I was considering this the other day as I prepared for a workshop with Nancy Crow. She challenged us last year to bring in 40 new works and bragged by saying she has 50 done.

I was chagrined to discover, when looking at my quilt log data base, that I completed only two in 2012, and those were both begun in 2011. So, I thought to myself what HAVE I been doing. I know – as well as you – that I haven’t been writing my blog. I have done several charity quilts. We traveled quite a bit – to Australia for five weeks, Hawaii for three. I have done quite a bit of knitting and reading. I have dealt with some health issues. And so forth.

Then I thought WHY have I not been creating new work? I looked at my calendar and found that my time has been fragmented – doctor appointments, singing, social outings, church work, and so forth. But, I think there is something more. After working rather intently on my “Sticks” series I have come to a block. Should I continue with this series? Should I “revisit” former series? Should I do something new?

Start of new quilt
Start of new quilt

I’m inspired by recent articles in Surface Design Journal and Quilting Arts to go in new directions. I’m beginning one and, of course, have several in my head. It’s time to set aside time and get to work in my studio. Wish me luck!

Retreat and Create

•December 17, 2012 • 3 Comments

2010 09 13_Melisse's Photos 10_0005 I wish happy holidays to all of you, my faithful    blog readers. In these troubled times may God’s light shine on you and inspire you in the coming year.

When the newspaper’s tragic headlines “get to me,” I retreat to my studio and create. When life gets too busy, I retreat to my studio and sort fabric for a creation. When the weather is dark and stormy, I retreat to my studio and create with my brightest colored fabrics. When the old year is ebbing, I retreat to my studio and start to create a new piece to welcome in the new year.

The two things I want to share with you are: retreat and create. If you don’t have a studio (I feel very lucky), find a place where you can retreat – a seldom-used guest room, the corner of a dining room, a closet that you can turn into your space. And if you want to try something new – or a different format of something you already do – or a change your color palate – or anything different, do it now so that you are creating something “new.” I find it a wonderful way to get through the winter slump.

I’ll be back in 2013, hopefully more frequently. Happy Holidays, Melisse