Sheryl Eggleston

A Journey of Words and Stitches

Monday, October 25, 2010

great grapes - are you kidding me?

The grapes here are harvested and juiced. Later I can make jelly if I want. I can't wait to have an extra acre to plant more grapes and with irrigation, they should get nice and plump. The new place already had some vines, but they are totally in the wrong place, so moving them will be a spring task. A freeze is due in another morning, so I have to get all the tomatoes in. I just found a recipe for green tomato relish to try.

Fall has just set in and I'm already dreaming of Spring and all the new stuff I can plant! I am going to have so much fun with my girls crafting in the new place. I am so excited to be able to just play from now on without any business stress! We will finally have room to sew clothes and paint and leave everything out for another day! The oldest granddaughter loves to make stuff for birthdays and holidays.

Has anyone tried to buy a house lately? What a nightmare! I understand there are good reasons to carefully review records but it seems the pendulum is swinging just a little too much to the other side right now. Let's hope the process gets under control and back to the center soon or there will be no economic recovery.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creative is a Verb

Yes, yes it is!

A fabulous new book due out in November by Patti Digh, author of Life is a Verb.

I bring this to your attention not only because it is a new gem worthy to grace the top of that pile of books you are surely reading, but also because two pieces of my collage art grace its pages. I was creativly inspired to make these pieces based on essays that were sent out and I was thrilled my art was selected. They were definitely made by the light of the moon, but when inspiration (or a deadline!) hits, one has to go with it.
I've skipped around a bit and made it to page 10. So much of what I've read resonates with me right now that I have to mull over parts and pieces for awhile. I'm betting most everyone will find their own inpiration within these pages. There are several cities where Ms. Patti Digh will be on this book tour so check out her site as well as the blog
If I wasn't going to be in the middle of moving chaos, I would surely find my way to San Diego as well as the writing workshop on Nov. 6th in Portland, Oregon!

page 104

page 195 (another house! read the next post for more about houses and homes)

Home - A New Nest

home n., adj., adv., verb, 2. The place in which one's domestic affections are centered.
house noun, adj., verb 24. to give shelter to; harbor; lodge.

One of the best things about growing in years is retrospection becomes easier, if only because there is so much time behind us. Not a bad thing really if one is willing to explore that time, take the lessons learned and move forward.
In the last year I have pondered the reasons I wanted a new house, and how our homes reflect who we are and if they influence where we are going. A home as just a showcase is really not a home, though it may be a house.

I hadn't realized how much a home means to me until I counted 12 pictures on my walls that include houses in some form or another! And I have of late been making lots of pictures with houses in them. My chosen art form of textiles and quilts reflects the home and 'domestic affections'.

After much angst over this issue in the last couple years, we finally went house hunting and will sign on the new homestead in a couple weeks. It must be the right one because it has moved so fast it makes my head spin! We have been ready to move on for quite some time and we had several options, including building a studio here and rebuilding this house that is quite literally falling apart around us;instead we opted for a fresh start. I will be curious to see how it affects us or not, in the coming years.

There was several criteria we looked for: acreage with irrigation, bedrooms for the grandkids and guests, office space, studio space, room for books, guitars, a good kitchen, and lots of light. This one fit the bill and will serve us well. I can already visualize a new center of heart and hearth.

Studio Space! I've been dreaming of where everything will go :) I see lots of craft night sleepovers. Granddaughter number one has already scoped out a spot for her art dest.

Mini Art Quilts-Journal Class

There is hidden talent up in the mountains! A couple weeks ago the assistant (aka Shannon) and I drove up to beautiful Garden Valley to teach 22 women how to make reuseable covered journals. Whipping together the actual pieces that cover whatever notebook or journal you have is the easy part, creating the fabric art for the covers is the fun part. The art is as diverse as each person and equally beautiful. Creating with whatever is in front of you and your imagination is always an interesting experience and one everyone should try occasionally. Some days we need to just play. Thanks Garden Valley Quilt Guild!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Don't You Dare Give Up!

I should have posted a sign way, way back in May that said "This Life Interrupted For Gardening Season" and in some ways that has been true. There has been lots of gardening going on and swimming and late night fires and smores and star gazing . . .
But in truth, I've really been in a funk.

What put me into it and what has just made me decide to 'snap out of it' are two different stories.

It was the post I read this morning by Melody Ross at the new and fabulous Brave Girls site that made me realize I want to DANCE again, let go of my pity party, get creative and choose HAPPY.

The first and most important message to greet me was "Don't you dare give up" and that went straight to my soul. Even though I don't feel I completely gave up, everyday more and more of my happiness has slipped away. So I'm going to turn it around and get back on track.

I made a new sign just now to hang above my desk in my cozy office -

and everyday it will remind me

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Creative Avoidance=more creating!

I am really good at creative avoidance. Even though we have finally have a sunny, fairly warm day, it is really windy so I'm putting off going outside. I used to go shopping to get away from what has to be done, but I like to think I've moved beyond that. (Most of us probably have enough stuff to create with for the next century! I have finally given myself permission to just DO IT.)

I'm in the midst of several large home/garden projects, but the other night I took pause to create some little pieces with paper for another project that had to be sent off. I had forgotten how much fun it is to just play and stayed up until midnight. I would have continued and made piles of fun stuff for later, but I know it will be several weeks before I can do more.

These little pieces just begged to be glued down, so even though I should be outside hoeing or packing up the studio, I took time to make this picture. I think I will sew it onto the pink painted canvas for my oldest granddaughter's birthday. In conjuction with her birthday, we will have a play night and sleepover for all of us girls! This won't happen until June but it is good to have a plan. The littlest had a cupcake party for her special day complete with aprons. Having granddaughters is such a blast.

Creating activities that are meaningful and memorable doesn't take alot of money, just time and that is priceless.
Check out what Jane LaFazio in San Diego is achieving with a group of 4th & 5th graders.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Slowing down

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."
Eddie Cantor - from the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron.

That sums up one of the lessons I learned from my recent trip to the beach. There is nothing like sitting and watching the waves to calm the soul and slow one down. In that moment we take pause, almost subconsciously, and realize there is value in slowing down our daily lives and just enjoying the company of ourselves and others.

Of course, it could just be my own lesson I'm learning and not meant for anyone else. I've been meaning and needing to slow it down for awhile and just enjoy life and the process of creation. In these days of multi-tasking and instant messaging/information overload, it takes a conscious effort to not get wrapped up in the 'getting' of it all.

It doesn't mean that my days won't be as full as ever with a large garden, dogs, chickens, turkeys, daughter and grandkids, husband, art, but I think I will look at it differently, as something to be savored and enjoyed within that moment. At least that is my hope.

The piece above was hand appliqued and embroidered on an antique kimono sleeve. The crane is very serene as he waits for whatever the stream will bring his way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life-What a Ride

Wow, is it ever hard to reconcile oneself to not playing in the beautiful blue seas every day!
The sea in all of its incredible daily dramas is so much like life and such a paradox. One can bob along waiting for the 'big one' while missing all of the great little rides, or be so immersed in the little stuff, that you miss the big one!

Live mindfully and intentionally no matter where the next wave takes you as long as you don't let it take you down. Some days that is the tricky part.

I recommend "Life is a Verb" by Patti Digh. I've just started it, but it looks like a winner in living with intention.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going, going . . .

I started to play with this little piece this morning because I couldn't settle down to pack and get done what has to be done before a holiday. I have some crochet to take but won't take any stitching, though my fingers itch to start on this little scene (and the many more stacked up!). I'm sure I'll be plenty inspired to sketch, watercolor and take plenty of fab photos like the two below.

This is the view I'll be looking at for the next 10 days. Aloha!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Monet kind of day

This was the scene of my studio last Tuesday. I have to say again: painting on fabric is so much fun! I could have never stopped. I was going to change palettes in the middle of the day but I became enamored of the softer lavenders and teals.

I painted on several pieces that had been repurposed. My favorite was this linen tucked blouse front. It has alot of potential. I see a garden and rolling hills.

This is cotton sateen that was used as a blotter piece under what I was painting on top! I love how the colors have muted and blended, creating soft, watery vistas.

Detail of what could become a background for 'Shangri-La' amid the mysterious mountains somewhere in Asia.

Another lovely backdrop begging for ribbons, threads, beads,. . . on egyptian cotton.

I've had this bolt of not so pretty batik for 2 years now and I've never really liked it. So I gave it water and paint and it has sprung to life! Now it has lots of potential.

The picture above has the original color of the fabric in the center with paint on both sides.
The picture below shows it after it has dried.

And that was as far as I got. That night I slipped on a water hose and a very large garbage can to suffer a smashed and broken nose. This required a trip to the ER and a resetting and then several days on the couch.
Lesson learned: Stick with the fun stuff-it's safer!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Peeking Through the Fence

Originally this was a painted piece of fabric that I then cut into strips. I like the contrast of black so I added some of those. These weren't sewn together at this point.

I looked at it for quite some time on my design wall and wondered what to do with it. I played with the widths of black and the size. I needed a 12" square piece for the SAQA Auction that begins September 20th. So I chose a section with a nice color range and sewed it all together. What to do next?

I sketched up a little pastoral scene showing birds frolicking in the early morning sky and pond. Normally I like to do hand work, but I need to start practicing using my machine more so I used black thread, and machine stitched the scene. Too much fun and effective too!

I love ribbons, button, beads and stuff. In my mind this was looking pretty stark without things growing up and around the fence pickets, so I couched ribbons and threads down with beads. This is where I get to do the hand work I love so much. I'm as much a process person as I am a project person. I like the journey as much as the completion. Already my mind is full of ideas for the next quilt.

This is the finished piece and I'm happy with it. It will be on the SAQA 2010 Benefit Auction that starts September 20th. Click on the SAQA logo on the side bar and go to 2010 Benefit Auction to view some of the other pieces that will be for sale. Studio Art Quilt Associates is a fantastic non-profit promoting the art quilt medium in a variety of venues.

I'm not one to bust through walls, and I can get tired of climbing, but while I work through the process of completing a piece I can see progress. I have created a fence that I can peek through, see the promise of a beautiful new day and climb through when I'm ready.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hitting the Wall: Part One

For reasons still unknown to me, I hit a wall when I returned from my San Francisco Art Quilt conference. I was overwhelmed on several fronts and just now feel like I am finding my way out. I have been reevaluating the past three years and what progress I have made and where I would like my journey to go. Heavy stuff indeed.

I took several photos of textures where nature tried to overtake that which man has made, where solid and concrete stuctures were slowly being hybridized by the natural world. Retrospectively, I would say that I needed to find where I fit in with what it takes to be successful in a given area, what my definition of success is, where my true self begins and what I'm willing to do to achieve my goals.

When these times hit, I tend to go within and organize my immediate surroundings. So I've been tending my nest and getting my gardens ready for a new season. Two trailer loads and two truck loads of farm compost take ALOT of time. Not to mention the usual poulty palooza that goes on around here, two lab dogs (one still a puppy at 85 lbs.) that need training, grandkids, and the beginnings of moving the studio. Which means that cleaning and organizing really can't be put off.

I also collected eggs, the first rhubarb and made omelets and apple/rhubarb pies.

And as usual, it is stitching something that really pulls me out of the doldrums. Tomorrow I'll show what I sewed up this week for the SAQA Quilt Auction.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winds of Change

I'm sure you've seen the t-shirts and other kitch that one can bring back from a trip that say "I went to San Francisco and this is all I brought back". Well, this is all I brought back (we won't mention the 3 dyed silk scarves from a conference vendor!).

This little twig was on the ground on our way to the car on the last day and it just said 'pick me up'. And I'm so glad I brought it back with me. It will help me reflect and meditate on all that I learned and absorbed over the 3 days of information pertaining to the art quilt and how the art world perceives them.

I'm not quite sure, yet, how it will all affect me and my art, but I believe I'm in for a profound change.

The twig's branch is smooth and mellow, the wood is bent a bit and it looks to be perpetually blowing in the wind. It has already weathered quite a bit and its greenery is struggling to have its spot in the sun.

Isn't that what we are all trying for?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Painting the Sky

For years I have been amassing a collection of books pertaining to fabric dying and painting. Just a few weeks ago, I finally jumped right in, bought some egyptian cotton and started painting. What all the books failed to mention was just how much FUN it is to paint on fabric and I've only just begun!

I've always wondered why so many fabrics in art quilts are hand-dyed. Now I think I know; it is just so cool to see how a piece of fabric wiil react. A few weeks ago I painted my first background for a large wall piece and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. What is even cooler is that I use muslin or other fabrics underneath the main piece since I get the fabric really wet. The residual soaks in and I get secondary pieces. Over time they will become amazing pieces of saturated color that will spark all manner of ideas.

These pieces were what happened yesterday. I needed sky for a new piece and after auditioning a dozen or more commercial fabrics, decided to just paint it. I think it will work, but I have to wait until next week to see. The top smaller rectangle of aqua/blues were the 'leftovers' and the blue paint water. I see a pond with maybe some water lilies, fishies and froggies.

This section was created from leftovers after painting the large background. I have plenty of ideas for this. Environmentally, it could speak to the fact that things are going to get alot hotter. It also makes a stunning reflection of the sun on the water.

This was my first trial at painting. I then cut it into strips and I'll sew it together with the black strips then add something over the top. This will actually end up being 2 pieces approximately 12 inches each.

Next week I'll list some of my favorite books and paints. Since I'm just beginning, I'm keeping supplies and techniques very simple.

I'm gathering food for the troops and clothes for me today. Tomorrow it is San Francisco and the SAQA Reinvention Conference!