I’ve officially been here in Bedford for two weeks. It has been time spent cleaning, unpacking, and arranging Little Old Lady Quilting Studio/Gallery to get ready for visitors. I’ve been sewing a lot of the time too.
So I thought I’d show you a little of the display furniture that I’ve been accumulating:
Of course, first there is Ruby. She is my HQ Avante 18 long arm machine and my best friend! Though she was not cheap, she was an investment for a lifetime. (Mine anyway)
So that is where I am today. 2 months until my grand opening on March 31, 2018 10:00am – 4:00pm. I still have a ton of stuff to make, and some friends and family to collect things from. But it is slowly coming together!
Home! It means different things to different people. In all my travels around the world there was always the idea of HOME in Bedford, VA. when I left Bedford 40 year ago, like many young people then, I could not wait to get away could never dreamed of any reasons to return.
A lot changes in 40 years.
I traveled the U.S and parts of Europe as a classically trained professional singer. I rubbed elbows with well to do people. I learned to speak proper English. I learned to eat fancy food and to wear really expensive clothing and even to be comfortable in it. I confess, even as a child my sisters alway thought me a bit of a snob and elitist and I enjoyed the world outside of Bedford.
As I aged out of my professional career as a singer, I began to look at other creative endeavors to fill my life and produce an income stream as well. I worked for a number years building a career as a Fine Artist working in oil pastels and oil painting. And then I discovered the world of Quilting.
In all fairness I must say I returned to the world of quilting. My Mom had been a quilter most of her later life, She would spend hours in her basement sitting beside a hanging quilt rack hand stitching quilts she had pieced from old scraps of fabric. That was the world of quilting I knew. But then i discovered the work of ART QUILTS and my life changed. One of the things I was unhappy with in my oil paintings was that there was no chance for a tactile exchange and discovery between the viewer and the artwork. “Don’t Touch” is everywhere they are displayed.
But I WANT my artwork to entice people to touch it, to follow the seams, to explore the landscape or the image in front of them. See how the thread is layered like paint for blending and for effect.
So, now I have returned to Bedford. I am in the process of opening a private Studio/Gallery to continue to create my artwork and to finish quilts for others with my long arm machine and FMQ. What is most interesting to me is that my love of Bedford has grown 1000 times. I love the people. I love the landscape. I love the big skies. I love the weather. I can spend the rest of my life just creating works of art that celebrate Virginia, Bedford, and the Blue Ridge Mountains and I will never run out of subject matter.
Like this Wall hanging I have almost completed of Dogwoods — The State Tree of Virginia.
I’ve been fiercely creative these last few months. It is part of the reason I have not been writing often enough on this blog. Besides the 5″ x 7″ thread paintings I created for the Electric Company, I have created a number of alternate pieces for changing out the art come January.
I have also done a number of commissioned pieces for collectors and friends.
This series was commissioned as a holiday gift working from the client’s photos.
So much is happening in life today. In the process of closing on a cabin/studio/gallery in Bedford, Virginia where I will be relocating by the first of 2018. The Cabin is a lovely handicapped accessible, one-floor cabin to live in. There is a totally separate 800 Sq Ft. companion building beside it that will be a quilting studio and a Gallery for my art quilts.The gallery has been a quilt gallery before. In fact, my mother sold quilts there in the late 80’s. It has also been a garden center, a wine shop, and a fine art gallery. I will be very happy to return it to a full-service quilting studio to complete quilts for other quilt top makers, as well as opening the gallery to showcase my Art Quilts.
I’ve been accepted into a small gallery collective in Bedford called The Electric Company Art & More. I have a number of my small thread paintings for sale in the gallery there. The Gallery there is also having a Holiday Show featuring works of art for $99.00 and less. I have six (6) 5″ x 7″ Thread Paintings available for sale in that show as well. Here are the works that are currently in the Gallery in Bedford.
It has been a crazy month here. We have bought a second home, a cabin/studio/gallery for my business Little Old lady Quilting, in my hometown of Bedford, VA. I have been working towards this for a while, but it all happened rather quickly when things lined up.
Besides preparing for the purchase of a new property, I have also been organizing and planning and working towards more inventory for the studio. I have also been creating a number of items for sale at a gallery in Bedford.
I am now a member of The Electric Company Art & More at 207 E. Depot Street in Bedford, VA. 24523. How that fam about is a funny story. I had intended to enter some pieces of art into their annual holiday Art4Gifts show. Everything in the show must be priced $99.00 or less. Since so much of my quilting work is large and time-consuming, I knew I would have to especially create something for this show.
I began to make a series I called “The Bedford Paintings” – six small 5″ x 7″ Thread Paintings based on my original artwork of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As I made the pieces, I posted the process and the finished works on my Facebook page. I was suddenly selling them as fast I could make them. Thre of the six I sold immediately and had to remake copies of them for the show in Bedford. Since I was moving them and had a good response I decided to prepare a larger number of them to have ready when I needed them. I prepped 18 of them with images and the fabric underlay I do to have them ready.
Since Mike and I were taking a long weekend Columbus day weekend to go to Bedford and look at a property, I took the six I had prepared for the Art4Gifts show along with 2 extra thread paintings with me to show the gallery to see if they would accept them for the upcoming holiday show.
My thought was being in the show was a good way to get my name and my artwork known in the Bedford community before we moved there. But what happened was that the Gallery coordinators were so excited about my work that they convinced me to join the gallery as a full member and hang my work right then for display and sell in the gallry. I agreed and actually signed a year+ gallery contract for them to represent me in Bedford.
Since they took all eight of the works I had taken with me, when I got back home to Burke, I now had to create six more for the Art4gifts show coming up. Luckily I had prepped the 18 so It was a matter of finishing the thread painting, and labeling and framing them, and getting them in the post to the Gallery in time for the Oct 21 deadline.
The Six additional paintings for Art4Gifts – November 1 – Dec 23, 2017, at The Electric Company Art & More. $99.00 each
At the same time, I got a commission for two pieces for a small show in November for the Reston Community. PLUS I got a five-item commission (from photos the client provided) to create for a Christmas presents for her husband commemorating a holiday trip they had taken together…. Photos to come after she has gifted him over Christmas. I was very pleased with how the came out!
Another Client Commissioned me to do a small 8″ x 8″ Wall hanging for her of a Red Clover plant — one of her favorite plants and the state flower of Vermont, her home state. Here is the finished piece.
I have finally finished all that work. We have a ratified contract on the Cabin/ Studio/Gallery. There is much work to be done on the property. But, I have a gorgeous Studio workspace to create more beauty, and a lovely Gallery space to display and sell my work along with the work of others I deem fits the concept I have of a gallery focused on the crafts and the landscape of the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley.
I am also working on some larger works that can hang on the walls. My goal is to have a number of large tapestries and small thread paintings ready to sell when we close on the property in December.
I am in the process of relocating to y hometown of Bedford, VA. Bedford is a beautiful small town located it the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virgina, between Lynchburg, and Roanoke. Ove the last 30 years or so it has changed from a poor redneck little town to an artist community with a lot of retirees and others moving there for the quality of life it offers at an affordable price.
I am moving there both to be closer to my younger sister as we get older so we can take care o each other if/when we end up alone, and ALSO because I have the chance to purchase a lovely Cabin/Studio/Gallery on the mountain where I can live and work and sell my art quilts and other things to make a little income for the rest of my life and can afford to live comfortably there.
One of the galleries there (The Electric Company) has a call to artist to submit works for their holiday show. Nothing may be priced above $99.99. I figure it was a good way for me to produce some small works that I can work on my technique with, and that, if they do not sell for this show, then I will have them for my gallery in Bedford after I move. My original Idea was that this was a great way to introduce my work to people in Bedford.
I began by using photos of my many oil paintings created from my emotional memories of growing up in Virginia.
I create the images by first using Susan Carlson’s glue techniques to give me layers of fabric color for guidance of the piece. Then working from the back to the front of the image I added thread details and overpainting to give me layers of color.
Surprising even myself, I have already sold 4 of these small works and the show they were originally created for will not happen until December!!! The response has been terrific. I think it is a combination fo the price point, and the artwork is beautiful and intriguing…
This was the last panel of five or the Virginia Wildflower Tapestry. It also as probably the one the scared me most. I had no idea how I was going to get the 3-d effect I wanted and still maintain a sense of whimsy and joy that I had found in the other panels.
I am very happy with this work. I had to redo the background of the tapestry because the original background was too dark and too formal. I wanted more joy in the colors and in the spontaneity of it.
The best-laid plans of mice and men… I fully intended to be writing in this blog on a daily basis. At least, on a weekly basis. But it seems I have been spending all my time creating and not really posting the processes I am going through.
I am about to make a trip to Bedford, VA. This is my hometown. I’ve been away for almost 40 years. I am in the process of buying a wonderful little cabin to live and work as an artist for the rest of my life.
of course, there is a little anxiousness, as well as the excitement of a new adventure.And so I am trying to catch up on my blogging to let you see all I have been creating. So here is the rest of the information on the Virginia Wildflower Tapestry, as well as a new blog on the SMALLS that I have been creating for galleries and for inventory of the new studio/gallery in Bedford.
I had given myself a goal for this year to create a new work every two weeks. Part of this is that I realized that in order to create quality work I must produce a larger body of work. Not everything is going to be a masterpiece. But the more I produce the more I will have quality. AND I learn and improve my technique by quickly having to solve new problems.
I actually took three weeks to make this piece. And to tell the truth, at the beginning of week three I was really beating myself up that I had not completed this one piece IN my allotted time. But then I realized that In making this piece was not making ONE tapestry; I was making five completely different individual works of art that could stand alone and would be combining them into a single large wall hanging. (So technically, I am AHEAD of my scheduled goal of a new piece every week! BIG SMILE!)
I have learned a lot in this process, and I have enjoyed the work immensely. Next up… Panel # 2: Jack-in-the-Pulpit!
Sometimes, like most of us, I am just looking for a way to keep busy. I have these tons of scraps in my sewing room that I never know what they are from or why I have them, nor any real plans for them. But then I have spare time and a hole in my schedule and so I just HAVE to make something.
My kid sister does a lot of beautiful traditional pieced quilts. She is a real artist in the traditional quilting sense. Me, on the other hand, I prefer the actual quilting process to piecing tops. So when I am looking for something to work on, I am more inclined to make a whole cloth quilt or throw together whatever is near to make a top I can practice on.
My sister asked me to make a twin quilt that she could take to a craft market. I had these precut 5″ squares in strange colors I had picked up from a swap table at the Fairfax Quilters Unlimited meeting so I thought I would piece a simple top and a pillow case to go with. The quilting will be what ties the fabric together.
Once I get the rows pieced I will add a border of creme muslin, and a muslin backing. I will then determine the patterns for the quilting. I am thinking Orange Peel for the color blocks using their edges for guides and using a variegated thread. Then perhaps a border of Leaf Meander.
Once we get back from the Drs’ today I will have a better idea of where I want to go with it…