Thursday, January 28, 2010

Key West Houses

I have Key West fever. I decided that I had to make some of the typical conch houses that are all over the island, out of fabric. I went to The Seam Shoppe, which is the local quilt shop. It's actually the only quilt shop for 150 miles. I bought a charm pack and a few quarter yards and some sky fabric. I also had some fabric that was usable from another project.

This is a photo that I took of one of the house styles that you see everywhere. The hard part is getting a clear picture without cars or foliage blocking the view. The roof is metal.

This is my rendition:

It's small, about 4"x6".

Here's another house style,

and another.I made 15 of these little pieces. I couldn't stop. I turned 8 of them into a fiber book. The cover I made separately. I did the printing using WordArt with the computer. Timtex was used as a stabilizer to make the book rigid. It's constructed accordion style so that it can be displayed on a table or shelf. I plan on doing some beading along the top edge.

I am making the rest of the houses into postcards. I have also gotten carried away and started making postcards out of the fusible scraps. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Key West Folk Artist, Mario Sanchez

This cover of the Yellow Pages in Key West caught my eye. It is a folk art rendering of a Key West scene from the artist's childhood. Mario Sanchez is the signed name. I saw there was an exhibit of his work at The Custom House Museum down by the seaport. I had to go and see his art in person.

First (and of course, most importantly) I was amazed that they let me bring my little dog into the museum. Then I was blown away by Mr. Sanchez's work. He was born in Key West in 1908 and lived here until the age of 96, passing away in 2006. He was the son of a cigar maker and a self-taught artist . From the phone book I was under the impression that it was a primitive painting. I was extremely surprised that these pieces were hand carved wood and then painted. The detail is impeccable. I wish that I could find photos with a high enough resolution so that you could see the actual carving.

Each piece (and there were many) was accompanied by a placard with a story about life in Key West, really stories about his childhood. From the time that their neighbor, Ernest Hemingway, brought over some sailfish to showing his father at work as a "reader" in the cigar factory. While the men rolled cigars, his father would read to them - the news from the newspapers in the morning and from a novel in the afternoon. You can see him standing on a podium towards the left side.

There was a short video showing Mr. Sanchez at work outside of his home with his chisels and paints. What a great exhibit - a hidden gem.

There isn't much on the web about Mario Sanchez , but if you would like to see more of his work, this is the best website that I have found.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunrise #6

This is Sunset #6. If you happen to be keeping track, you'll notice that Sunrise #5 is missing. It was raining yesterday morning. Pouring, actually. I walk a litle bit over a mile to take my sunrise photos. I was pretty sure there would be no sunrise in the rain.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Tool

I am always looking for practical items to help me with my creativity. Well I now have a new tool in my toolbox. I recently read about using painter's tape for printing on fabric using the computer. So I "borrowed" a roll from my husband's toolbox. It looks like masking tape, but it's blue and is not as tacky.
My goal was to use it to tape a piece of fabric to a piece of paper to put through my printer. I do a lot of printing on fabric. The pre-treated fabric works great, but it's expensive. I also like to use fabric with designs on it and other fibers in addition to cotton.

First I tried to run a piece of fabric through my printer that was 8 1/2" x 11" taped to a pece of paper with the painter's tape.. It jammed my printer. This jammng does not upset me. I have pulled many a piece of jammed paper/fabric out of my printer without hurting the printer.
I did try it again using the envelope setting on my printer. I have never done that before, but under the properties on the print screen, I chose envelope. It went through beautifully.

But sometimes, I only want to print on a smaller piece of fabric that is not a full sheet. This is where the I think I discovered a new use for this new tool. To print on a smaller piece of fabric, I first print the words/image on regular paper. Then I take a piece of fabric that is at least larger by 1" all around and tape it onto the printed piece of paper with the painters tape, making sure I left enough room for a seam allowance. This ensures that I control where the words/image are printed. In this case I used white silk dupioni.

It's a beautiful thing. I used this technique to print on a different fabric for each line.

And used it for a page in a fiber book that I am making to celebrate the marriage of my son.
And now for Sunrise#3. Even though you might not be able to see it, the sun rises every day without fail.

Sunrise #2

The start of another new day. A cloudy morning but with a beautiful glow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Word For The Year

There has been a thread on one of the quilting lists that I often read, about choosing an inspirational word for the year. The object is to encourage and inspire the individual to grow as an artist, or in whatever area interests you. The types of words that people have chosen range from "create", "joy", experiment, innovate, bold, focus,thrive

I guess anti-procrastination could be a good word for me. But, I figured I could give myself a little extra time to choose a word. We are still in Key West, Florida and will be until the end of January. During my morning walk today, my word came to me as I watched the sun come up.


It is amazing to watch that big yellow ball appear before your very eyes. It is so quiet and still and once the sun first appears, it isn't long before it finds it's place in the sky.

But, there is a certain glow before the sun peaks up at the horizon that I think might be even more beautiful than the sunrise, especially when there are clouds.

So my inspirational word for the year is sunrise. I chose it not just for its beauty, but for its uniqueness. Each day, here in Key West, we can see both the sunrise and the sunset. The sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean and sets over the Gulf of Mexico. It is a very special location. To me, no 2 sunrises are alike and there is no "perfect".

The sunrise signals the start of a new day. It's an opportunity to start over. You can restart your attitude or your diet or your daily goals. You can start a new project, a new relationship, a new book. The slate is clean. And if today doesn't go the way you planned, there will always be a new sunrise tomorrow.