Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Cloud Rim: Summer 1991, Finished

On Monday I blogged about a new smocked piece and showed the painted and quilted fabric.  Today I'll share some finished shots after I smocked it.

Here's the finished piece.  It's fairly large (and of course has to ship flat), finishing at 69" H x 44" W x 4" D.  You always lose a lot when smocking.  I decided to do the smocking on the diagonal which generated a parallelogram rather than a rectangle. 

It was quite tricky to mount and hang because the top and bottom points don't line up (since it's a parallelogram and not a diamond), and I wanted the smocking lines to be vertical.  I made a wooden frame for it which was challenging, and the piece mounts to it with velcro.  Of course I didn't take any pictures of the back, and it's a pain to take down once it's hanging, so for now, only pictures of the front.


Camp Cloud Rim, Summer 1991.  C.2020, Shannon Conley, Photo Mike Cox 69" x 44" x 4"

I love the swirly paint on the bottom tip!

The artist statement reads: The flexibility of cloth and stitch lends itself well to creating motion and texture; organic openings shift in shape, color, and depth. This piece is part of a series capturing places dear to my heart. I spent my childhood in the dry mountains of southern New Mexico, a place where the tiniest of creeks was cause for delight. So I well remember the urgency and excitement I felt when I got the chance to go to summer camp with a friend in Utah; a place with not only mountains and trees, but the new and wondrous experience of a lake.

I was sorry this didn't get into QN, but I love the way it turned out!

Monday, November 23, 2020

New Quilt: Cloud Rim, Summer 1991


I made a new smocked quilt earlier this summer and wanted to finish it for the Quilt National 2021 show.  I got it done and entered, but sadly it didn't get in.  I'll enter it in other things, so not to worry. 

My inspiration color palette cam from memories of Girl Scout Camp in Utah as a kid.  I was one of those kids who loved camp (I still love camp), and had the privilege of going to Girl Scout Camp for a week every summer (as well as other things later like church camp). 

The camp I grew up going to was Camp Mary White in Mayhill New Mexico, and I have many wonderful memories from my time there (llama camp was especially fun).  One summer though I got to fly to Utah to go to Camp Cloud Rim with my friend Tristan.  It was very much like other Girl Scout camps I'd gone to, lots of hiking and singing and other outdoor activities, but miraculously it had a lake! 

Lakes were never something we did much of as kids-  it was very dry where I grew up and I was always envious of summer camps on TV which all seemed to have lakes (the original Parent Trap was one of my favorite movies as a kid).  Anyway, it was so cool to go to camp where there was a lake to swim and canoe in.

I started this piece with those colors in mind, and as usual painted a large piece of fabric (about 60" x 85").  It was some sort of pink polyester,  from the wondrous Georgia boxes.  The pink underlying color gave everything a sort of warm tinge, but that's ok.  After painting, I quilted the whole thing and finished the edges.  A lot of the shapes in the color come from the wrinkles in the fabric on my table.

Here's the whole thing after painting, quilting, and blocking.

These two show the back-  In this case I used the same fabric for the back.  I put the backing underneath the front fabric while I'm painting.  Less paint is wasted that way and the backing has a similar (though not as paint-dense) color to the front.

It's always more interesting after the sculpting, so come back Wednesday to see the final piece!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I Like #190

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  Apart from some really bad wind, we've had lovely warm/cool fall weather which has been great with the puppy.  I've been able to work from home a lot so he's getting to be outside.  He's figured out the doggy door, and also just likes to play with it.

My outside flowers are well and truly dead after the ice storm, but my Christmas cactus has really started going gangbusters.  So pretty!

Thanks to the nice weather, I was able to go for a hike down in the Wichita National Wildlife refuge.  I met my sister and her family there and it was a lovely day to be outside.

Of course the puppy has to take up most of the pictures.  

Even Bentley got in on the fun!  He's too stiff to want to play with the puppy, but he got super excited the other day when he found one of the puppy's squeaky toys.  He squeaked like mad for quite a while.

The puppy is very attached to the bathrobe.  It seems to be his favorite thing to pull down and nest in.

I stocked up on regular dog food and puppy food when they were on sale this week at Sams (their curbside pickup is great!) and the puppy was very interested in that.

And of course he loves to rumpus with Blue.

Hope you're all staying healthy!

Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

I Like #189

Welcome to another list of things to like!

These are a couple of cool things I saw this week, one is about an around the world embroidery project that was really cool, and the other is about a sculptor whose sculptures are like optical illusions, almost disappearing from some angles.

In what should come as a surprise to no one, I have more dog and puppy pictures this week.  Spooky the puppy is a great challenge but super duper loveable.  He's getting along really well with everyone.

I made him a new leash this week out of some strapping in my sash and a clip from an old leash blue chewed up.

And I did a little sewing for a friend, stitching these pillow covers up out of some old beloved shirts.

I also finally got around to blogging about a quilt from earlier this fall- it's an abstracted landscape of the plains of eastern New Mexico.  You can read more about it here.

I hope everyone is having a good week!  Click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Quilt: HWY70: Portales to Roswell


Our 4 Common Corners art group's call for Q3 of this year was called Fractures and Fissures.  I was inspired by the fractured look of this piece I made last year.  

The quilt was inspired by another photograph I took out my car window while driving down Hwy 70 on the way to my parents' home in Ruidoso, NM.  The trip is a long one, over 500 miles. I'm almost always leaving Oklahoma in the afternoon after working a long morning, so the day seems to drag on forever.  The first several hours of the trip are on I-40 through some very boring country and my heart is always itching to get back to the mountains.  The last section of plains, between Portales and Roswell, NM seems to take the longest.  However, I'm often driving that section during the early evening, when dusk is approaching and the skies are suffused with gorgeous light.

I started from another picture-out-the-window, and I specifically wanted one with more sky (compared to land) this time.

I processed the picture in photoshop and had it printed on shiny shiny polyester satin from spoonflower.  I forgot to take a picture of the fabric before working on it.  And of course it turned out bigger than the call for entry allowed so I had to trim off a few inches.  I cut it up into large pieces along the tile lines, and fused them to a background.  The background is a fairly coarse weave linen, which gives a great textural contrast to the shiny satin when you get up close.  

Here I am quilting along the tile lines on the landscape and in swirls in the border.

Here are some detail shots of the finished piece.

I wanted to make this piece for Fractures and Fissures because the plains often get a bad rap for being flat and boring from those of us who consider ourselves mountain folk.  But hidden beneath the surface are both literal and metaphorical fractures and fissures.  A walk through the plains turns up unexpected ravines, delightful pockets of wildlife and plant life, as well as human-inspired contentiousness. The often conflicting interests of those who want to continue extracting oil and natural gas, those who want to populate the landscape with alternative energy sources like windmills and solar panels, those invested in providing food for our society on farms and ranches, and those who have an interest in preserving the native plains ecosystem, filled with unique grasses and wildlife will rear their head to anyone willing to probe a little deeper.

Here's the final piece.  I love how much volume the sky and the top border capture;  that's really how it feels out there; sky forever.

Hwy 70, Portales to Roswell.  c. 2020, Shannon Conley, Photo Mike Cox

Thursday, November 5, 2020

I Like #188

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  

After the crazy ice storm, we're back to nice fall weather here.

Amid all the election chaos and my massive push at work to get out my grant (biggest deadline of the year), the big news here is that I accidentally acquired a puppy this week.  He ran out in front of Mike's car and after almost a full week no one has come forward to claim him.  We think he's boxer, and he's super cute.  Mike couldn't keep him, so he's come to live with me.  His name is Spooky since he's our little Halloween pup.  He's very little, maybe 12 pounds-ish, and possibly about 2-3 months old. He's decided his favorite toy is my bathrobe which he tugs on constantly as I move around the house or try to sit at my computer to work. 

Blue and Bentley get along fine with him, Bentley mostly ignores him.  Blue likes to play with him (I'll try to put a video below), but gets a little tired of it by the end of the day, when the puppy still wants to play.  It's very annoying.  And his little teeth are very sharp as he plays.  I'm trying to teach him "no" but I'm all covered in little bite marks anyway.

Right now he's small enough that all four of us can fit on the sofa, but I expect he'll be too big for that in the future.

He's very anti-knitting, he loves to chew on it and run away with the balls of yarn, and tug on the end of the work.  It is not good.  I have to make sure he's somewhere else if I want to knit.  He also already chewed up my laptop charger which was not good.

We all seem to be able to walk together,  it's a little more chaotic, but nothing compared to Blue and Bentley who are much stronger and insist on going opposite directions.  He got seen by Mike's vet for some injuries he had (we think someone chomped him), but my vet was still out of power from the ice storm earlier this week, so we can't get in to see him until next Monday.

Here's Bentley in the sun.  Just because.

And a non-dog thing to like, I read an article about new analysis they're doing to understand the dyes and pigments in a fascinating illuminated pre-colombian Nahuan (Aztec) manuscript.  I thought it was so cool for several reasons;  first because I'm ashamed to say I didn't realize there were any extant manuscripts from pre-colombian societies in the Americas.  Second because I love illuminated manuscripts in general, and this one is so cool and beautiful looking, and third because I love the idea of using modern scientific tools to explore the techniques and methods ancient artists used.  Super awesome.  Of course there are issues surrounding the colonial aspects of a piece of art like this (and the eradication of the associated society), but from an artistic standpoint I'm so glad this codex was preserved!  Read more about it here:

I hope you are all hanging in there,  click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!