frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Greetings, last post of the year! Here's hoping someone looks at the blog next year. I'm including some pictures. First, the VooDoo spirit doll I just sold. I have been informed that it arrived safely and the new owner is pleased.

I've added three new quilts to Etsy. Here is what's new: The Green and Red one is called August in the Garden

The pink one is called Doll Dress.

The last one is the quilt Kate designed. She painted a block of wood that was lying around in her shop class in High School. She has re-interpreted it as a quilt. I really like how it came out. It is called Heart Flower in the Rain.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another sale on Etsy

I've had an Etsy shop since September, and yesterday I made my 11th sale. I still get a thrill when I sell something. I was thinking no one would buy anything after Christmas, but I was wrong.  Someone in New Hampshire bought a VooDoo Goddess sculpture that I made after going to an exhibition of VooDoo artifacts at the Natural History Museum in NYC. Most of the pieces in the museum came from Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries on Earth. The people used pretty much anything they could get their hands on to make these small sculptures that represent gods and spirits. I've always been very intrigued with art made from found objects, and I was so taken with these objects that I had to make some of my own. Aida-Wedo is a snake-woman deity that I made from a plastic doll with no arms or legs. I spray painted her gold and put a crown of beads on her head. I wrapped wire around her body, ending in kind of a tail shape at the end. This provided an armature over which I glued tissue paper that I varnished. The tissue became a thin and brittle skin over the wire armature, which was embellished with more beads. 

This item has been in my life for a while, and I decided to try to sell her on Etsy. It's hard to put a price on this kind of thing. It's only worth what someone will pay for it, I suppose. I put her out there for $25, and I don't feel bad about getting that.  Someone else will enjoy her and I get a little more space. I'll never get rich that way, but I can't be bothered trying to be rich!

I need to get it together to put more photographs on this blog. Currently, the only photo editing software I have access to is at work. I've heard you can resize in iphoto and Picassa, but I can't figure it out. I want to use Photoshop, which I am accustomed to, but I don't want to spend the money. I know there is some kind of Photoshop light out there for $100, maybe that is the way to go. Anyway, the no photo situation is intolerable, and I will change that very soon. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Notorious Slob

I just spent the entire morning tearing apart my studio, cleaning and reorganizing. I'm really glad it is done, but it has left me weary and in a little bit of a mood. This crappy weather can't be helping. Freezing rain all day. And, the upstairs is still a wreck. We are a family of messy people. Perhaps I need to sit down with a cup of tea.

I read the most hilarious thing in the Sunday New York Times. It was a review in the style section of a book called Once again to Zelda: The Story Behind Literature's Most Intriguing Dedications. Here is a quote from the review, "After reading the steamy novel, Peyton Place, dedicated "To George, for all the reasons he knows so well," the longtime English teacher Marlene Wagman-Gellar wondered, "Who's George?" Looking into it, she learned that George was the indulgent husband of the book's author, Grace Metalious.  Ms. Metalious, a notorious slob, once tried to clean a table with a dead mouse. (She mistook it for a Brillo pad.)

Isn't that great? I love hearing about people that are at least as crazy as me.

Merry Christmas Eve to you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blogging from Work

Greetings from my corporate job. I am so burned out I could die, but it pays the mortgage. Besides, I understand the job market is not so great right now.

I tooks some pics this morning before I left.

First, see the pebble quilt I mentioned yesterday. Imagine running your hand over the "pebbles" and it feels bumpy. I should be able to get this onto my etsy site for January. You can just kind of make out the horrible mess that is my studio in the background.
I'm also including another studio view.
One more picture, I accidentally dumped my button jar onto the floor, and I got it into my head to sort the buttons by color.

My grandparents used to have what they called a "bungalow" in Lake Hopatcong. I spent a lot of great summers there when I was a kid. My grandmother, Nanny, had a purple Lewis Sherry tin with old buttons in it. I used to love to look at the buttons. I really liked the rhinestone ones. When my grandparents died, everything in the house was sorted out and disposed of in various ways. I didn't think to ask about it at the time, but I later discovered that my mother threw out Nanny's button tin!!! Ever since then I have been amassing my own button collection. I sew them into my quilts along with other vintage things I gather. I've got a top finished with a very old and fragile doll dress on it. I'll show that one soon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My First Post

My very first blog post: Hello world, are you interested in what I am doing? I really do wonder why anyone would care what I have to say, but I've created this blog to somehow promote my etsy site. ( Apparently all of the cool artists have a blog. Now, I'm cool too.

I have a number of vacation days to use up before the end of the year. Today is one of those days. I've spent some time working on a new piece of fiber art. A quilted wall-hanging that I will call Pebbles in a Shallow Stream. Soon I will post pictures of it. It is in the quilting stage. I use a Janome 6600 sewing machine to quilt. Before I had this machine all I had was an old Singer that was my high school graduation gift in 1978. I find this new machine fabulous and still sometimes daunting.

Anyway, back to the quilt. I ironed that WonderUnder stuff to the back of  a bunch of "pebble-like" fabrics, cut them all individually into different sized "pebbles", and ironed them to fabric that kind of looks like sand. I really liked how it came out. I find myself just looking at it, noticing the different shapes and colors. I quilted over the edge of each "pebble" and then in the "sand" around each "pebble." Now, when you run your hand over it, it feels bumpy. Like very smooth pebbles, almost. I need to finish quilting the border, and then bind the thing. 

Binding is my least favorite activity in this whole process. It's boring, and I'm not that good at it. And usually, by then I'm already working on the next project in my head.

My studio is in the basement of our very old house. It looks like a dungeon but it is the space I have carved out for myself. It is currently a mess, but it's the kind of environment where only a few things need to be out of place and you have a disaster.

What kind of work space do you have?  Tell me about it. Recently I went down to my studio and found a squirrel looking right at me. We think he came in through the chimney that we had not been using at the time. My husband had it stuffed with insulation, but the squirrel was not deterred. we opened the outside door and he took off, but not before leaving behind some kind of fear scent that grossed me out for days.