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!

Monday, September 17, 2018

New Quilt: The Bromeliad

Over the last couple of years I've made two large abstract sculptural flower quilts, one of a dahlia and one of an iris, and I knew I wanted to complete a third one for our show at the NM State Capitol.  I have this lovely red bromeliad at the house, and I've loved bromeliads ever since my dad gave my mom this pink one decades ago.  A few months back mine started to bloom again, and I decided it should be my next abstracted flower.  All of these three-dimensional pieces have used a different approach for making them hold their shape, and this time I was inspired by this origami ornament my mom folded for me a while back, and I decided I'd use that shape as the flower base.

I started with some red velvet (thanks Georgia!) and layered it with wool batting and regular cotton backing, but I decided to include a layer of aluminum window screen inside my quilt sandwich (like in the Tesseract) to give me a little bit of structural support and sculptability.  I first quilted the fold lines so I'd know where/how to fold it into the origami structure, and painted it.  After painting, I then quilted away.

All of the edges will be inside the final sculpture, so after quilting I squared up and then finished the edges by wrapping the front fabric around and machine stitching down.  The next step was to start folding, and you can see the shape of the original ornament start to emerge.

I stitched along three of the four edges that hold the 3D structure and left the 4th one open so I could get inside the structure to mess with the leaves/petals.  I wound up putting velcro along the edges so I could get it to stay shut later.

The next step was to make the leaves/petals, and I made three different sizes out of three different painted red, green, and pink fabrics.  I had couple of different red velvets/velours, a pink synthetic fabric with a weave that reminded me of a coarse shot cotton, and a green sweater knit that I used for the petals/leaves. I quilted them in big groups leaving a channel on the edge of each one (to cut them apart) and in the middle for a piece of wire.  It was way easier to just leave a channel for the wire rather than try to quilt around the wire already inside like I did on the iris!  Alas, in the end I made way too many petals, so I have a ton of them leftover in case I ever want them for something else.

Next week I'll share pictures of how I attached the petals and show the finished quilt!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I Like #83

This was a week overlapping my trip to my parents' and the return home which is always crazy.  Still lots of things to like!

1.  I like visiting my home church!  I got to go to church with my folks and sing with my dad in the choir.  I didn't get any pictures of the church but I did snap a photo of this new church banner my mom made with some help from the ladies in the church.  It's for the consecration of the new Bishop soon and depicts our church's front window.

2.  Apples and veggies!  I picked so many apples and veggies, some for my mom and some to bring back with me.  Since I got back I've dealt with almost all the veggies, roasting the peppers, making refrigerator pickles, salsa to freeze with the tomatoes, grating a bunch of zucchini to freeze, and making zucchini bread with the some more of the zucchini.  I still have butternut squash, yellow squash, more zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans to eat fresh or do something with but I made progress!  You can see a mid-size zucchini in the garden snap below and some pictures from apple picking in their orchard!  Bentley and Blue came to hang out with me while I picked apples-  they didn't help much though...

3.  Apple butter!  This one gets its own entry.  I brought back lots of apples, and have started putting them up this week.  I don't much like applesauce but I love apple butter.  I've made two batches this week, I cook the fruit in the evening, then leave it to roast overnight in the oven with the spices and sugar, then can it before work in the morning.  I think 18 jars is plenty for this year, and I think they came out well!  Apple butter is so much easier to make/can than jelly....

4.  I love New Mexico skies.  You just can't beat 'em.  

5. I loved spending time with my parents!  My dad went up with me to Santa Fe last Tuesday to hang our show at the Capitol, and then My mom went with me on Friday to the opening.  Here's a sneak peek at the opening,  check out this post to see more of the show.  There are some really great pieces by several different artists.  I also made a floating frame (like this one for the Missy quilt) for my mom's quilt of her dog Gibby.  Gibby was a black lab, but had the most stubborn personality ever, so she was nicknamed the Devil Dog and my mom made her bright red in the quilt.  I love the way her quilt came out, and you can see it this weekend at the Roswell quilt show if you're around there.  Love you Mom and Dad!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for keeping us positive.  I hope fall is coming to wherever you live!