Thursday, May 31, 2007

Strings and Things

Before Elizabeth left for Uculet, she needed a sweater mended. Digging through old needlecraft kits for black wool, I wondered if there wasn't something I could do with all this yarn. Much of it is wool, so needle felting came to mind. Never done it, don't have the equipment, but thought I'd see what would happen with yarn and a sewing machine. Oh, and some fusible web. The yarn was fused to a piece of muslin. I discovered in the process how much I like to look at things straight on when designing, rather than from above. This couldn't be done on a design wall as the threads would have just fallen off, so once fused it sat on the design wall for a bit. When I added extra threads to make the colours work better, they wouldn't fuse, so I stitched it with metallic thread before quilting it. It didn't seem to be the kind of thing to put a binding on, so I stretched it over canvas instead.

I've been trying to find a way to get water soluble pencils to stay in fabric when washed. This is easier said than done. I had a brainstorm that might work though. Using Golden's GAC 900 mixed half and half with water produced a slightly faded result, but not as much as with no treatment.

Pre washing:

Post washing with metallic thread for quilting:

I'm going to try it with less water now just to see.

I've found the perfect background fabric for my wallflower quilt idea, and I'm just itching to get at it, but it will have to wait until next week as I'm off to Seattle for a couple of days to take workshops with Julio Balmaceda and Corina de la Rosa. Guess that means I should go pack.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Form Studies

I recently pulled out an art text book from my short stint in art school in the late 70s. I first decided to look at the book when a discussion on the QuiltArt list brought up the question of what is art. This seems to be an ongoing question within the group (and probably with artists everywhere!)

The book is a workbook intended to stretch how the artist views art and approaches design. The first chapters discuss the history of art, why art is important and what defines art. From there, different aspects of the technique of art are discussed. The first of these deals with form, how shapes relate to each other, how negative space is as important as positive space. Using fabric rather than paper, I've decided to try to do all the exercises. Or I may not. That will be a lot of fabric!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

In My Grandma's Flower Garden

I finally finished my flower garden, and managed to use every suggestion received--the large block was trimmed, but left and I added a border. Although I wasn't sure about that, it turned out to work as it made the piece look more dramatic and kind of tied it all together. Think of it as a mat, not a border and it's fine!

I've also been playing around with fabric dying using acrylic paints. Kind of fun. Here is a bit of what I've done. I like the purplish one. Paint was poured over fabric in a ziploc bag and all the air squished out. Then it was left to sit for about 20 minutes for the paint to absorb. It has a cosmic look to it. I might overprint the green ones, or maybe sunprint or stamp or something as they look a bit dull so far. Okay, off to play some more!

Embrace Tango

This weekend, Tango Pacifico launches their first event! Michael and Beatrix will be here doing workshops at Cafe Casablanca on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Lessons include Friday evening: Tango-Vals-Milonga; Saturday, Tango: Role reversal, Vals and Milonga; Sunday, Valsing & valsing, and New Moves from Buenos Aires. All workshops will take place at Café Casablanca For complete details on our event, check out David's website

We will also host a milonga on Friday Night and Sunday night at Café Casablanca. Both milongas start at 9pm and run until midnight (or longer depending on the weariness of your feet). Michael and Beatrix will perform on Friday night to the wonderful accordian music of Roland Gritani. Tango Vita will also have their regular monthly milongs on Saturday Night at Lynda Raino's dance studio. If you feel like a bit of a jaunt on Saturday instead, Salt Spring will host their Por el Amor del Tango milonga Saturday evening at the Lion's hall starting at 9pm—just make sure you are back by 1pm for Michael and Beatrix's class!

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Certain Type of Woman

There is a certain type of woman I seem to have a great deal of difficulty with. The ones that have more men 'friends' than I have socks. Conversations always start out badly and end up worse. Partly because they are usually looking down their nose at me, partly because my inner bitch becomes my outer bitch by the end.

Take the conversation on Saturday with someone I hadn't seen for almost two years. I wondered why she had stopped dancing, something she seemed to enjoy. Her response "because the man I was dating didn't dance" left my jaw somewhere around the level of my knees. In my head I'm thinking "you would give up your life for a man?" That should have been my clue to walk away, but instead, I tried to understand the concept. Wrong! Mouth shut! Walk away! By the end, she was looking even further down her nose at me, and I was thinking "oh God Linda, you are such a bitch." Maybe it would have helped to tell her I couldn't catch a man with a fishing pole and live bait. Although that could be why she was looking down her nose at me in the first place.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

To Cut or Not to Cut

I while ago, I painted two flowers on some fabric. I left it sitting as I wasn't sure where to go from there. Digging in a cupboard recently, I found some pieced vintage grandmother's flower garden, so I pinned them to the background randomly. It looks kind of neat, but I can't decide whether to trim the bottom edge or leave the vintage fabric. Ooh, cutting those 30's cottons will be hard. Suggestions?

The "Perfect" White Skirt

I've been on a quest for the perfect white skirt. It started when Andrea wore one during a performance with Homer last year in September. Of course, there wasn't anything here in town, so I looked in Buenos Aires in November while I was there. After many hours of shopping (oh the cruelty!) I hadn't found anything near to what I thought I remembered Andrea wearing. By now what I remembered and what she actually wore were probably different, but no more obtainable.

Returning home, there was snow and a cold, miserable winter. Must be the memories of warm Argentina that made this winter seem so horrid. With spring finally here, the quest started once again. After much looking, and no success, I remembered that I can sew (for something other than quilts!) and bought the perfect white fabric. Actually four perfect white fabrics. I couldn't find a pattern that came close, though, so have cut, and pasted and fudged and trimmed my way to perfection. Cool, the perfect white skirt.

Tango Pacifico

The official (non)launch of Tango Pacifico took place on Sunday evening. Frank gave a great speech and we nailed ourselves to the wall. Oh, that would be the plaque we nailed to the wall! It was a great way to top off four solid nights of wonderful dancing.

From here we plunge into the Michael and Beatrix weekend. Check out the flier on David's website

Friday, May 04, 2007

Paisley Fishes

In the February/March issue of Quilting Arts magazine there was an article on two different ways to create art fishes. So I created a third. Paisley looks like a fish (it might also look like a bird, so that could be next). The body of each fish is from a paisley fabric, fussy cut and fused to the background fabric. Once the fish were placed, I added seaweed forms.

I freemotion quilted scales on each fish, and bubbles from a couple of the larger fish. Kind of fun.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with all these small quilts. They are piled in a heap in my sewing room right now, no sleeves for hanging, no signatures, just bits of learning and experimenting.

I also overdyed some vintage (gasp) cotton that was once a dress of my grandmother's. I can remember her wearing it in about the 70's and maybe even later. This is the garish pink fabric with the funky flower I've used over and over. Right now it is an anemic blue colour, so I think I'll try some more overdying. Off to play some more!

Forever Tango

What an amazing evening. Live productions are so great! They are a delight to the visual and the auditory. Unlike taped productions, here you can choose what to look at, like the fact that the cellist was bowing so hard he broke some of the strings on his bow. Watching this string wave back and forth as the musicians played was a visual treat in its own right.

It is easy to see the passion of the dancers with the embrace, the foot work and how they move together, then apart, and together again. You can almost hear the caught breath in her throat as he pulls her close. But the passion is mirrored in the musicians in a different way. The broken string, the face hovered close to the instrument as if whispering love songs in its ear.

The evening was capped off with a milonga at Cafe Casablanca. Eva and Patricio (definitely the stars of the show) came to unwind. Later in the evening, they quietly got up and danced. It wasn't a performance, just two people dancing tango. Watching them, I felt the movement of Buenos Aires again, felt how it was to dance with Eduardo and others. Their movements were stretched out, elongated, elegant and so, so sensual. Their movements are understated and beautiful. What we dance here is closer to earlier in the evening on the stage. What they dance in the milongas in Buenos Aires was demonstrated in two quiet dances this wonderful couple shared. It isn't as flashy, it is close, intimate, private and OMG I miss it.