Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Like #87

Welcome to another week of things to like!

1. It's been raining and raining and raining here, but that does mean fall temperatures have finally arrived (which I love).  Unfortunately, that means lots of muddy dog footprints in the house, and lots of outside activities in the rain, but I'll live.  The pups don't like going out in the rain, but lately they seem like they'd rather do that than miss their walk, so we've been persevering.  No walk in the rain pictures, but here's a snap of Blue who perked up when he heard something he thought might have been a treat.

2. My dahlia is still blooming!  I think it's about time to move my oustide summer houseplants inside, but the Dahlia is still going along well.  I hope it doesn't freeze too soon.  I saw this cool caterpillar on one of my dahlia flowers the other day, unfortunately, I think he was eating it.

3.  I love re-finding things I'd forgotten about.  In cleaning up my office the other day I came across this armadillo pin made my a New Mexico artist Barbara Hansford.  I have a long and storied history with armadillos and some years ago my mom gave me the pin, but I'd forgotten all about it.  I was so excited to find it, and it even matched my outfit that day.  I think unfortunately his ears and the tip of his tail have broken off somewhere along the way.

4.  I love bag making!  We are singing out of several different books in our church choir and my previous choir bag (a super cool sparkly gold lunchbox which was a gift from a dear friend) wasn't big enough to hold everything, so lat week I decided to make a bag for my music.  I incorporated a few details that were interesting or new to me, which was lots of fun.  I especially love the tubular handles and hardware.  Making a new bag is always a super fun puzzle for me

5.  I love music!  My friend and I went to the OKC Philharmonic this past Saturday and it was just glorious.  They played a Prokofiev Violin Concerto with which I wasn't familiar, but which was really remarkable.  The second half was Holst's the Planets which is one I know and was also wonderful.  There's something about hearing things live that is really moving.

6.  New on the blog this week I talked about my most recent quilt finish, the portrait of Bentley I started earlier this spring in a Susan Carlson workshop.  Check it out here, and the in process post here.  It was a really fun project. 

Thanks to Lee Anna for linking us up!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Bentley the Rainbow Dog: Finished

Earlier this week I talked about collaging my Bentley quilt and today I'm sharing the final piece!  I went with a double border of the two turquoise fabrics I'd bought, and I tried them in a bunch of orientations (polka dots inside? outside? inside on half?) and settled on this.  I really like the polka dot fabric it feels like a nice contrast to the tiled floor background.  I had to re-do part of his tail because the end of it was turquoise and it was getting lost in the border, but you'll never convince me there's too much pink.  I quilted it fairly simply since the colors are so vibrant and then bound it in my favorite bright orange armadillo print, some of which is included in his hind end.

Bentley the Rainbow Dog, c. Shannon Conley, 2018 38" x 41"
Bentley the Rainbow Dog, c. Shannon Conley, 2018 38" x 41", detail

I love his face and tongue, but I think my favorite section (mostly because I know how long it took to get it to look right) is his front paws.

Bentley the Rainbow Dog, c. Shannon Conley, 2018 38" x 41", detail

Bentley the Rainbow Dog, c. Shannon Conley, 2018 38" x 41", detail

Bentley the Rainbow Dog, c. Shannon Conley, 2018 38" x 41", detail

I had it pinned to the bottom of my design wall to keep it out of the way and thought I'd capture a quick picture of Bentley-for-real with Bentley-the-quilt.  But now it's hanging in my dining room where I can see it every day.

I love the way he turned out.  I'm not sure he's got a particular rainbow personality, (though it is a very snuggly bouncy lovey personality), but I certainly have a rainbow personality and it suits me very well.  I'm so glad it's finished!  Have any of you made pet quilts?  I've made a few different ones now and it's always fun.  I'd always rather be with dogs than without!

Monday, October 8, 2018

New Quilt: Bentley the Rainbow Dog!

Some of you may remember me mentioning that I took a collage art quilt class with Susan Carlson earlier this year.  I used her approach to make the quilt of Missy for Mike, but I haven't had a chance to share the quilt I actually started in the class until now.  I finally finished it, so many months later and figured that should be motivation to write about it!

I started with this picture of my precious Bentley, I love the tongue- it's really a great snapshot of him!  

You may know that Susan Carlson's quilts feature very bright saturated colors, lots of print and "busy" fabrics, and often non-realistic color schemes.  The bright, saturated, non-realistic colors definitely appeals to my design aesthetic, but I struggled think what colors I should do for him- blue and yellow?  Green and orange?  In the end I couldn't decide and no one should be surprised to know I picked "rainbow".  Basically his brown parts are bright rainbow and his white parts are light rainbow.   Her method starts with an outline drawing on muslin and then you start collaging in with small pieces of fabric.  The goal is to take advantage of your prints to give shading and shape whenever possible.  Here are a few shots of him in progress.

I got him all finished during the class and took him home in this condition.  Unfortunately, he stayed like that from march until I was home at my mom's over labor day when I finally had time to start thinking about the background.

I considered setting him in a field of green grass like the original picture but I worried that he'd blend in too much and that he'd look like he was floating.  Mom and I tossed quite a few ideas around, and one of her suggestions was a tiled floor background.  I could angle it so it would read as floor and if it was mostly grey and white, he wouldn't blend in too much.  I made a quick mockup in photoshop, and decided it would work.

I thought about piecing the background, but I wanted to maintain the rough-edged organic collage feeling throughout the whole piece, so after tracing the lines of the tile onto the background fabric, I just started collaging the background on.

I found these two slightly greyed out turquoise fabrics at my mom's quilt shop, and thought they'd work for the border.   I'll share the finished quilt on Friday, so check back then!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I Like #86

Welcome to another week of likes.  I hope you are all having fall where you live and the hot season is finally wrapping up.  It's still been warm here (some days in the mid 80s) but we've had enough cool days to feel like the season is changing.

1.  I like hiking!  I got to go down to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge this weekend and do some lovely hiking.  The weather was cool and foggy so there were some very moody Heathliff-esque landscapes.  It was really lovely.  Lots of cool bugs and insects too.  And of course the wildlife refuge residents, bison and prairie dogs.  Fun!  While clambering through a boulder strewn valley I lost my phone down a giant crack between two boulders.  Luckily a kind young boy scout (with a long skinny arm) helped me retrieve it and I decided it was a good place to turn around.  Not a good trail for solo hiking.

2.  I like toads!  The toads have been around more lately, after having been rather fewer in number this summer than some previous ones.  I didn't get a very good picture, but I'm always glad to see them around.

3.  I like the texture and color in this fall circle garden at work.  It drives me bananas how often they re-landscape it (at least once every season), but I have to admit I love this combination of textures and colors.  

4.  No new pics of the pups this week, but they're going along as cute as can be.  I'll just share this comic-  I'm sure I've shared it before but every time I come across it it makes me happy.

Hope you're all having a good week!  Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

I Like #85

Things to like this week! 

1.  I liked not going anywhere this weekend.  I mean, I went places, but not out of town. I love traveling and having guests but September/August was pretty packed and it was nice to be home without an overscheduled weekend.  I worked a bunch on my Bentley quilt and my dimensional entry for Quilt National (I'll share it after the results are out).  Unfortunately Blue chewed up a pincushion so we had to go to the vet for an emergency X-ray, but luckily he didn't swallow any pins.

2.  I liked this bright pink rose they gave me at the endodontist.  It was supposed to be a present to compensate for having to have a root canal I guess (which was misery), but on the upside, the endodontist was very fast and my appointment was at 7:30 so I didn't have to miss any work.  And the flower is very lovely and pink.

3.  I like switching to my fall purse.  I made this one a couple years ago (you can see it there behind the rose) and mostly use it in the fall.  It's a good size and I love the bugs on the black print.  It's one of my favorite fabric prints ever (Prairie Gothic by Jane Sassaman).

4.  I love my pups!  Last night Bentley rushed out into the studio before Blue and managed to snag the armchair.  Blue tried sitting on the pouf but was a little too big so finally curled up underneath my work table next to the batting roll and scrap bins.  He's so cute!  I guess that wasn't soft enough for Blue either though, so he ignored the fact that Bentley was in the armchair and just crawled up there on top of him.  Bentley held his own for a few minutes and then finally gave up and ceded the armchair to Blue.

5.  I love my Dahlia!  It's blooming quite a bit right now, and I've been cutting lots of flowers and bringing them in the house.  The plant itself is starting to look a bit droopy, maybe because of all the rain, but the flowers have been wonderful.

6.  I like my new haircut!  I haven't cut my hair since 2015, so it was quite long, but a few days back I decided I was just done with all the length, so I had it chopped off.  The selfie was just out of the salon, so it doesn't look quite as cute when I style it but it's so nice and refreshing.  I lost most of my pink color (which had grown down into the long part that I cut off), so I'll have to dye it again soon.  I kept the long ponytail, I can't donate it since it's been dyed, but I might incorporate it into a project someday or something.

7.   Elsewhere on the blog this week- I finished blogging about my latest large flower quilt, an abstracted bromeliad.  It's one hanging at the Capitol show in New Mexico, so click over to see more pictures and read more about the process of making it.

8.  I'm happy my auction quilt sold!  The annual SAQA auction is going on, and my little A quilt sold in their $100 section.  It's always nice to know someone liked something enough to buy it and I like SAQA so it's good to have contributed to their fundraiser.

I hope you're all having a good week!  Thanks to LeeAnna for keeping us positive!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Bromeliad: Finished

Last week I talked about making the base and petals for my new sculptural flower quilt inspired by a bromeliad.  After making these individual parts, it was time to assemble them.

I started by cutting slits the width of the petals into the origami base of the quilt.  I zig-zag stitched around the openings, then turned the quilt inside.  Once it was inside out, I poked the base of each petal through from the "front" (inside in the pictures below) to the "back" outside on the pictures below.  Then I connected all the petal wires together like a giant spider web, and hand stitched each petal base to the flower base at several parts. That was fairly challenging, my arm was barely long enough to reach in to get several of them.  Turning the whole thing right side out was a giant pain between the stiffness of the base and the fact that now there was a bunch more wire inside, not to mention a ton of quilted pokey petals, but I got it done.

Here you can see it in the process of being turned right-side out.

I'd originally hoped that the wire spiderweb and the hand tacking would be enough to hold the petals in place, but I didn't like how much gaping there was between the petals and the base, so I went back along each petal and hand stitched the petal to the base.  It was tough, I had to do it while the sculpture was on the wall, and of course the base is filled with aluminum window screen, so there were lots of pokey bits along the cut edges where the petals protrude.  I also realized that the flower was pretty saggy.  The base on its own was self-supporting but once I put all the petals on it didn't hold itself up enough so I had to put a wooden skeleton inside.  My arms and hands got pretty scraped up doing this, but finally after a fair amount of sculpting and some additional painting of the petals (which were looking very flat to me), I finally got it how I wanted it an Mike was able to come take some final pictures!  It's about 3x4 feet and protrudes a little over 2 feet out from the wall.

On Bromeliads, c. Shannon Conley, 2018.  32" x 50" x 28"  Photo courtesy of Mike Cox

On Bromeliads, c. Shannon Conley, 2018.  Detail 32" x 50" x 28"  Photo courtesy of Mike Cox

On Bromeliads, c. Shannon Conley, 2018.  Detail 32" x 50" x 28"  Photo courtesy of Mike Cox

I like the way it turned out, but because it's sort of abstracted and the petals have a red/green combo,  the final outcome reminds me more of what I imagine the offspring of a bromeliad and a poinsettia would look like than a straight up bromeliad.  But I guess that's ok!  I think this is my last big 3D flower for a while.  It's been fun making them and exploring different ways to confer dimensionality, but I think I'm going to work on some other stuff now.....

Remember, if you're in Santa Fe, NM between now and the middle of December, stop by the New Mexico State Capitol to see this and several other of my dimensional pieces in our show Off the Wall: Contemporary Mixed Media Works.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Like #84

Welcome to another week of I Likes!

1.  I like flowers!  This comes as no surprise to anyone of course.  My dahlia is blooming nicely, even though we aren't really having fall yet, but also this giant purple thing is growing through into my yard from my neighbor's.  I'm not sure what it is, but it's a huge bush and it has beautiful purple flowers.  It's kind of annoying that it's growing through the fence (I think it's actually messing up the pickets), but the fence is getting old anyway and the flowers are very pretty.  One even had a cool bee on it!

2.  Becky came up with the kids this weekend and we had a ton of fun.  I didn't get very many pictures but I did snap this one at the Science Museum.  They had a giant person sized Lite Brite, and we had lots of fun playing with it.  Anna is all about patterns right now and she made several on the lower section while I spelled out her name above.  I love getting to see them, but the next time will be Thanksgiving.

3.  I love origami and paper art.  While at the science museum I was able to see this AMAZING exhibit of origami and paper art.  This is an art form with which I'm particularly enamoured, and it was really fabulous to see not only the intricate pieces but also the variety from artist to artist.  Much like any other medium, you can really see the individual artistic voices come through.  I've tried to put artist names below when I could.  Really one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.  This is in their rotating exhibit space, so anyone in the area should try to go see it soon.

Eric Demaine and Martin Demaine

Nguyen Hung Cuong

Beth Johnson

4.I love plants!  This is one I got this summer, but I took the picture because I finally got it hung up!  I also really like old school macrame, and I made a plant hanger a few years ago for a plant in the other room, but I had a terrible allergic reaction to the jute fibers.  It doesn't bother me to have the hangers in the house, but making them (as you knot the fibers really get aerosolized) is off the table now.  Mom was going to throw this one away that she made decades ago, so I snagged it from her while I was out in NM, and am thrilled to get it hanging!

Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!