Nellie"s Needles

Monday, April 26, 2010

Strata - "Interpret This" April Challenge

I have loved this photo that I took of a crumbling bank while rafting the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2006.  The exposed strata of rocks, soil and roots above the clear running water intrigued me.  And of course, I knew just how I wanted to portray it for the Interpret This challenge.  But wait ... what I had in mind is what a lot of people would expect me to do.  I like a challenge, plus participation in this group is pushing me to stretch beyond my comfort zone.
Strata - 13"x 17"
All those round stones led to my remembering a selection of decorator fabrics featuring irregular circle designs that I had tucked away a number of years ago.  This led me to the idea of portraying the whole scene with circles.  What you see is not ALL that I did with this interpretation.  Go to "Interpret This" to read the rest of my story for the first reveal of this month's challenge.  Then continue going back to see the reveals by the rest of the group members:
April 26:  PM: Barbara

April 27:  AM: Judith
              PM: Kim

April 28: AM: Beverly
             PM:  Debra

April 29: AM:  Libby
              PM: Karen

April 30:  AM: Kay
                                            PM: Rian (as time allows)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Glorious Spring Flowers

We've had over two weeks of perfect weather with glorious spring flowers.

 It had been an exceptionally cool spring.  After the first few nice warm days every plant either bloomed or leafed out.  We've been living on our patio.  Presley, our female sheltie, has enjoyed being outdoors a lot, too.

This lavender azalea bush couldn't be more full of blossoms.

Tomorrow severe storms with lots of heavy rain is expected.  I'm  happy to have had so many days to enjoy Mother Nature's gifts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ArtPrize Entry

Today I submitted my entry, The Lake (9' x 7' installation piece) to the ArtPrize exhibition and competition that takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan this next September.
Paper mock-up of "The Lake" (12"x 10")
And again, our older son created a template in Photoshop for me to drop the photos into place as they're completed.  This is a wonderful tool to more easily see how the flow from one panel to another is developing as well as seeing the over-all effect ... a difficult thing to do when the composition is in separate large pieces.

To date ten of the twenty-five panels are complete.  Just as was done when composing the smaller lake pieces in this series of 100, I started at the horizon.  For those 68 art quilts the first pieces I laid either in the sky or the lake set the tone and direction of my design decisions for the rest of the piece.  This is the overall effect that I'm aiming for ... an idyllic summer day at the water's edge.  It, along with the paper mock-up, are my reference material.  Both are pinned to my design wall at eye level so I stay on track with my plan.

Lake #32 (17" x 14")
Here is information about this art extravaganza:
We are living in a time of great change. New ideas, fresh inspiration will move us forward. There are enough art competitions where the winners are decided by a jury of experts. That's not the competition we are creating. We're looking for a giant conversation to happen between artists and the public. That is why we developed a radically open framework for this event, which gives power to everyone's opinion. When everyone's opinion counts, everyone is included in the conversation. This is the prize breakdown of the largest art competition in the world: 1st place: $250,000 2nd: $100,000 3rd: $50,000 4th: $7,000 5th: $7,000 6th: $7,000 7th: $7,000 8th: $7,000 9th: $7,000 10th: $7,000
Mission Statement:
ArtPrize exists to reboot the conversation between artists and audiences on a grand scale.
  Here is a flickr site with many photos of last years entries.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gifts In the Spirit of "Earth Day"

My new cyber friend of Quilt or Die made a series of ATC's from the leftovers of her February challenge for "Interpret This".  I'm the lucky recipient of this one.
She calls this series "Take Home From Shanghai".  Her challenge piece was titled "Dinner In Shanghai".  Someday she'll get an ATC featuring the lake in return.

Our younger son and his family visited from Oak Park, Illinois over the Easter holidays.  I took this opportunity to present two of my all time favorite dresses to our daughter-in-law.

This silk beaded dress was made in France.  I purchased it from a resale shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin about thirty-five years ago.  I wore it for many years ... the years that I was the age my DIL is now.  It looks so perfect on her and I hope she feels as good wearing it as I did.  Nothing moves nor feels as good a beaded silk.

This one has a story.  I had decided to spend  $100 of "my own money" for my husband's birthday gift.  After four shopping trips in Holland and Saugatuck, Michigan I hadn't found anything worth spending my money on.  The one thing I saw that was worth buying was an aged black beaded silk crepe dress in an antique shop.   It, too, was from France. The gift to my husband for his 47th birthday was this dress that I planned to refurbish so I would be beautiful for him on my 40th one.  Consequently, our DIL had to ask him if she may have "his" dress.

The silk in the layers of the bodice had shattered.  Quite a lot of the beading was still there.  I redesigned the dress with a bloused top that is constructed of silk satin.  The skirt was relined as well.  I even bought a tambour needle to redo parts of the beading design.  To this day it still "drips" tiny glass beads.  I should give my DIL that tool and one of the instruction books for how to bead with that technique.

She has an entry in an art show that has an opening this next week in Chicago.  One of these dresses will make an entrance there.  I'll post a photo here when I get one.

Here's hoping that you enjoy the receiving or the giving of repurposed and, or, passed on gifts.  Those have been some of the best presents that I have  received through the years.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making Headlines

A couple of weeks ago a young reporter visited my studio for an interview.  Initially, her editor had planned just a blurb about "Prairie Performance" in the Knoxville News Sentinel.  After being here, she went back to the editor saying there's a whole lot more story to be told.  We opened this morning's newspaper to find a BIG photo of "Prairie Performance" on the front page of the Community Section accompanied by a nice article.
Go here to see the "PP" photo and read the article.  There are a few misstatements, but overall the information is correct.

Go here to read all the posts I wrote during the process of creating "Prairie Performance".

Monday, April 05, 2010


More of my early quilts have been added to the Page that chronicles my history of quilt making.  This is a detail of one of them.

And just a reminder that the Alzheimer's Quilt Auction is ongoing until 10:00PM this next Saturday.  This is an opportunity to own a wonderful piece of art ... or to shop for a delightful gift.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Chronicle of Quilts Page

I've thought of another use for one of the Page features given to each of us who use Blogger.  This is a good spot to chronicle the quilts I've made beginning in 1993.  It will be great to have the photos and information for each quilt recorded all in one place.  Right now there are many years of loose photos in a shoe box and a list of the of the titles and the year the quilts were made through 2007, plus several binders of crammed and barely organized notes ... 16 years worth.  This is my first entry:

1993 - 1 quilt, 1 top
My original intention was to make textile art that combined skills and techniques from many years of learning and exploring needlework skills with quilting as a foundation.

This one was begun before I knew anything about quilting.  It is hand-pieced silk and the blocks are 2 1/2" square.  The idea I had for finishing it with a border of accordion quilting didn't work.  It may be finished some year now that I am much more knowledgeable.   That won't happen until the mood or inspiration strikes.  In the meantime it wait its time at the bottom of a chest.

Patchwork Perspective
Made of silk fabric samples cut in 1" squares.
My intention was to make all of my quilts with this "accordion" technique. However, the process of learning the craft of quilting waylaid that plan.
Hand quilted - gifted to KandT
Read about this wall piece here. 


It will take sometime for me to record all the quilts that I've made through the years.  This will be an ongoing project that's worked on when I have a bit of time as well as access to scan photographs. The link for Chronicle of Nellie's Quilts is listed under PAGES in my sidebar.  Check that link occasionally if you'd like to see the quilts in my past that have led me to the quilts and art I make today.  Check it now if you'd like to see my first quilts.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter

The pretty pattern on the egg is the design I had made on this donation quilt a number of years ago.  All the fabrics are cotton plisse, except for the diagonal sashings.  They were remnants leftover from garment making.