Sunday, June 26, 2011

Studio Sunday

Well, here we are at Sunday and it's going to be a busy one!  I'm working on my series of mini art quilts adding embellishments to the surface and finishing off the edges.  My plan is to incorporate all of these into a sizeable hand-made fiber art book.  (yes...lots of expectations on this project)  Here are a few shots of unfinished pieces.

The images originate from photos, drawings and painted elements.  Then they all come together in Photoshop Elements 7 for loads of play!  The first piece includes a photo I took of my shadow on a beach.  I call this one Introspect.  The next two were designs that I worked on simultaneously so they share all the same colors.  You can see I used my doodled squares in both as background elements.  I just love the doodled squares because it is so versatile!!  I hope you enjoy the peek!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hard at work

It feels good to be back in the studio with a full day ahead of me.  I've been playing since 8:00 a.m. and have already done a little fabric painting, and a bunch of hand stitching.  While I was working away, I was watching two new Quilting Arts DVDs, DIY Surface Design with Leslie Tucker Jenison and Mixed-Media Collage:  Working in Layers with Jenn Mason.  Both of these DVDs are fantastic but Jenn's layering with monoprints and collage was my favorite!!!  I highly recommend this one!  Go to the Quilting Arts site to purchase.

Well, my mini quilt hs been coming along.  I added French knots and random stitching in black embroidery floss and then ripped strips of a painted fabric and attached it to the edges using a running stitch and green embroidery floss.  I like the texture and the raw edges! 

This will be one of 10+ that I will be adding to a handmade book.  I'm not sure how much of the book structure will be fabric or paper at this point but as I go along, I'm sure the finished pieces will tell me what to do.  I will continue working away here diligently and will catch up tomorrow!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back to the Studio

Well, it feels good to be back home after my 10+ hour roadtrip this weekend.  I'm happy to say that I acomplished everything that I needed to up in Maine, that is after I replaced the battery in my car!!!!  Saturday morning, I got up early as usual and all I wanted was a nice big cup of coffee.  My intent was to jump in the car and drive down the road quick to pick up coffee and a bagel.  Imagine my surprise when my car was dead!  Thank goodness for AAA and Mark's Garage in Stockton Springs.  If you ever have car trouble in the Belfast, Searsport, Bucksport or Castine areas of Maine, call Mark!!!  Mark's Garage, 578 US Route 1, Stockton Springs, ME 04981, Phone: (207) 567-3964.  He makes great coffee too!

I was in flower heaven this weekend because the lupine and so many other flowering plants were in bloom!  Here are a number of my favorites.  It's so amazing how when you look at a flower up close, just how much detail and texture are revealed.  I can't help but look at flowers up close.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Maine in my blood

Well, I didn't do so well posting additional pictures of my 10 mini quilts that I have been working on.  That would be because I haven't had any more time to work on them yet.  I thought instead I would share with you my thoughts on Maine, specifically Castine, Maine.  I am spriritually connected to this place where my family owned property along with a whole bunch of cousins, and great aunts and uncles. This is where I am going this weekend, to finalize all of the details for my upcoming wedding ceremony in July.  I can't wait!!!

I had made a wall hanging from photos of this special place of mine that I am sharing below.  Scroll further down and you will read my personal expressions about Where Angels Gather.  Enjoy and see you next week!

Where Angels Gather

by Margaret Applin 8/2/2010

There is a place where angels gather to play amongst the tides
Where wild fields of lupine join the endless bright blue sky
Where seagulls flock and herons talk upon the water high
The seaweed breaks still waters as the tide begins to rise

In morning you can hear angels dance along the foggy shores
The ducks will wake and seagulls take to skies where they can soar
Angels leave their footprints in dampened grass as they walk by
Then fade into the morning sun on summer breezes high

There’s a place in my heart where angels gather where hearts no longer run
Where people tied by common threads and blood no longer come
Now nothing’s left but doors on hinge through which they entered here
But the angels stay to watch and pray for those souls to gather near

I wonder if the angels know to watch for me someday
When I can join them on the shores where forever I will stay
To greet the morning sun, hide behind fields of wildflowers
To dance forever amongst the tides on shores that we called ours

From the time I was born until the time I was old enough to work, my summers were spent on the shores of the Penobscot River in mid-coast Maine. As soon as school was out, Dad would pile us in the car and make the long road trip to drop us off until Labor Day weekend when he would come back to pick us up and spend some of his vacation time. My grandmother and her two sisters had summer homes on the same beach where all of their children and their families would come to visit. At times, there would be as many as 35 cousins and second cousins from Tennessee, Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut who all gathered here to celebrate family and summer.

Big bonfires on the beach where we roasted marshmallows, cookouts with fresh lobster and crab, Fourth-of-July parades and festivities, ice cream at The Breeze on the dock in Castine and so many more activities and fun times are forever imbedded in my memories. When I was old enough to skip afternoon naps, I would head down to the beach where I would bask in my alone time. I remember making up songs, writing poetry, and dreaming about what I wanted my life to be like when I grew up. Because of all of those summers I spent on that beach, gathering shells, lifting seaweed to capture small crabs, and climbing on big rocks as the tide came in, I have a connection with this place like none other in my life. This is the most peaceful place I have ever been and will ever be in my life.

As life progressed, part-time jobs and summer fun with friends replaced the summers previously spent in Maine. Families split up and cousins graduated school and started families of their own. We no longer joined each other in that beautiful familiar place to continue making memories and building new experiences there. When I look back now, I see how our priorities changed and the pace of life grew faster and faster until years later when we were looking back at what, in hindsight, we would give back in order to have spent more time there. For some of us, a dull ache existed; a longing for one day, one week, something that would bring us back there to recapture those memories and perhaps make some new ones, but we never were back there together. We talked a little about it, but didn’t end up making any real decisions and life moved on.

Life had gone beyond what we had there. Time passed, family members passed away and a couple of celebrations brought us together on the same shore but only for brief periods of time. The properties were sold and new faces, new families existed where we used to be. They would walk the floors we walked, play in the yard where we played, and sleep in the rooms we used to sleep in. All of a sudden, it seemed, it was someone else’s story.

I’ve been back now, going on four summers, walking the beach here, singing to myself and feeling so at peace with life. I can sit for hours on the beach looking back at the red camp, and the other houses still there, smiling to myself, and lost in endless moments of years past. My spirituality is here on this beach. It’s all around me in the lupine fields, driftwood washed up on the shore, patches of muscle and clam shells, the sound of the waves gently soothing the rocks and sand as the tide creeps forward. I like to believe that my grandparents, and those family members who have passed, still exist here. They gather here waiting for us to return, someday, to continue what they started.

My quilted wall hanging is a visual expression of what I see inside my heart. The background fabric and that of the sand piper birds was painted using Adirondack Color Washes. I transferred the images to fabric, stenciled and screen printed the background cloth around the pictures, and added details using both hand and free-motion machine stitch. I used an authentic piece of driftwood from the beach in Castine to hang the quilted piece from which felt appropriate. The sand pipers are stitched and mounted to another piece of driftwood from the same beach to complete the scene and the memories.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mini Quilts

Well, it took me a while but here is the sneak peek I promised yesterday.  I'm working on a series of 8 x 8 mini quilts that I'm going to make into a book.  This pic is one using a digital background I created in PE printed to fabric along with some free-motion stitching.  The appliqued pieces are from my Big Stash Bag of Little Pieces or "BSBLP".  (Figured I might as well give the bag a name since it is taking up so much of my studio floorspace.)  LOL  Yes, I know, I've probably spent a little too much time in the studio lately :)))

Back to the artwork.  It needs more, as do the other 10 mini quilts I'm working on at the same time.  I'll reveal a little more every day.  This project started by submitting my "This Week as Art" images for the Create Mixed Media site.  I was invited to participate the weekly posting for the week of July 10th - 16th so be sure to check out my heart-themed digital images.  Those designs led me to expand on my digital graffiti images on fabric, of course, to create into a fiber art book.  I can't promise miracles but I'm hoping it eventually looks very COOL!

One of my goals this summer is to come up with a couple of really different projects.  Not your usual projects.  (Fiber art books are not one of them.)  I've got to do a little experimenting but have good plans in mind.  I'll provide more later.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to my Maine trip this weekend to meet with my florist, officiant, photographer, restaurant owner and possibly a hairdresser to prepare for my beach-side wedding ceremony and reception in July.  It's a lot to balance right now, but I am a multi-tasker!!  I'll post more this week.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Studio Sunday

Wow!  10:30 pm here in the northeast and the time I have been the most productive this entire weekend is about now. I had a few things that needed to get done this weekend and it took me away from the studio more than once.  Next weekend, I'm off to Maine to finalize all of my wedding details.  Hard to believe it its only a month away.  It will be wonderful to be back in my favorite place, though.  My Bloggie will be coming with me as I try to capture video footage of camp and the things that have drawn me to this place since I was a child. 

I will try to give a sneak peak tomorrow of a few of the things I'm working on here.  Too late tonight as Monday awaits :)  Here is a beautiful floral shot for yours and my enjoyment.  I love taking pictures of flox up close!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Amazing Jacky Cardy

Well, as I peruse some of my favorite blogs soaking up inspiration to get my fire started for tomorrow morning in the studio, I have to share with you just how much Jacky Cardy inspires me!!!  She has an amazing talent combining hand-felted, hand-dyed pieces with hand-dyed velvets and stitch.  The colors and textures move me so much I could just look at all of her work for hours.  If you haven't seen Jacky's work before, please jump over to her blog, Dog Daisy Chains, and feast your eyes on the beauty she creates!  Here is her latest post.

It's Friday night here in Massachusetts and I can't wait for time in the studio tomorrow.  I'm writing down some ideas that I want to focus on so I don't overwhelm myself and panic wasting precious time.  There it is, the pressure!  I'm already laying it on! Focus, focus, focus............

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My husband bought me the most adorable little flowers yesterday and guess what I did right away???  Take pictures, of course, from every angle I could!  Looking at the photos tonight, I think of how amazing this little plant is.  From the three perspectives I've provided here, you would almost think they were three entirely different plants. 

I love the underneath perspective because the stems are more visible and they create a sense of strength and growth and reaching high like it is in motion.

Looking at the second perspective, they almost look like little tulips.  For some reason I keep thinking pumpkins, maybe because they look like those little pumpkin candy corns that you see around Halloween.
Then looking at this wonderful third view, I seen an entirely different flower, different petal shapes that become visible as the flower presses wide open in full glory. This little flower plant fascinates me and I'm not getting tired of looking at all the perspectives.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Studio Sunday

Here we are at Sunday once again.  With the limited time this weekend that I have had to devote to my creativity I haven't created much to show.  I spent a little time scanning some new images for brushes in PE that I can use in some new layouts so it will be fun to try those.  I used a withering tulip in this layout below.  I am definitely not a "red" person but I've used it in this layout because I was feeling a little disappointed in myself (for various reasons) and frustrated with my inability to capture the attention of a few publications I have been trying to submit artwork to.  The red and black just felt like an emotional release - and it felt good.  The text is unreadable and looks more like texture - but it was necessary to put out there in front of me.  This is what people mean when they say art is very theraputic. 

The good news is that I was able to get my video equipment working (delayed due to user error) and I will be practicing with some videos to share here in the coming months.  And very soon, I will be adding thermofax screens for sale. 

Stay tuned as I will be the monthly featured Guest Artist beginning August 15th over at the 3 Creative Studios blog!  I can't wait and will be working hard at preparing for it.