Amazing new genre pushing boundaries

As a family we’ve recently been on a graphic novels kick.

It certainly makes for shared reading, because books can be savoured and re-read within a realistic time frame.  With text intense books, what often happens is one person gets to read the book from beginning to end and then it’s due back to the library.  Or by the time the second reader is well into the book the first reader has either forgotten vital details, or even worse, blurts out bits of plot and ruins the surprise.  “The butler did it — oops, sorry!”

Despite what you might think, graphic novels can deal with tough, adult subjects.  Art Spiegelman’s Maus springs to mind.  I had read the first version when it came out ages ago, but the most recent edition has more material, and more harrowing material.

We’ve also read Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem, Chronicles from the Holy City   and his Burma Chronicles, Pyongyang (North Korea) and Shenzhen

Young Sprout of course is not ready for adult narrative but has been reading the Little Prince series.  These have a steampunk esthetic and a sophisticated narrative technique. In each story the Little Prince and Fox, his companion, land on a different planet and have to figure out how to help the inhabitants deal with their problems — leading to discussions about motivations and character and why he might like some stories more than others.

Lauren Redniss has pushed this genre to a whole new level.  Radioactive, Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout  combines     the biography of Marie Curie with many sidebars about nuclear war, nuclear tests, nuclear energy, chemotherapy, x-rays.  The artwork is done with cyanotype  a     type of sun printing.  (<<<<  this link includes a slideshow of selected pages to get a tiny idea of the book).

Ah, what inspiration!

More to follow on the resulting output — but that’s a post for another day!

P.S.  No, it’s not lost on me that ironically, a post about graphic novels has no image.

P.P.S.  Most of the links are to Amazon.ca (Canadian website).  Readers in other countries should Google to see if Amazon has a site in their home country.

Batik Slab Tote Finished!

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Leading up to the big reveal of the quilt that goes inside this …

I put this together with leftovers from the quilt itself plus some other batiks and hand dyes.  It’s a little smaller than a pillowcase and plenty big enough to take a large nap quilt with room for a book or other small items that might be needed.

Now I realize I should have taken a photo of the other side too, oh well.  I constructed this by sewing the slab into a long rectangle, folding it in half and sewing up the two side seams.  The lizard tote was folded the other way and I had to sew across the bottom and up one side seam.  Because this will be a functioning tote as the quilt will be carried around, I took care to keep the lighter colours at the top of the bag as the darker colours can withstand being set down better.

The whole tote and the handles are stuffed with batting and quilted with trilobal variegated thread which has a beautiful sheen.

Hmm, I could see getting into more totes and the like, there’s something very satisfying about functional objects that you make yourself!  I’m still going to do art pieces but sometimes the gap between the inner vision and the ultimate object is so vast.

Call for Entries – Digital Alchemy – Juried Exhibition @ International Quilt Market Houston

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My Warhol hot lichen, on sale at Spoonflower, where I go by wordnerd411

Jane Dunnewold is the creative force behind this first ever exploration of how quilters are using digitally printed fabrics from print on demand companies such as Spoonflower.  Of course Spoonflower is the leading company in this groundbreaking field, and they are co-sponsoring the exhibition.  It will premiere at the 2015 International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston this fall.

Jane has put a link to the pdf of the call for entry here.

Details of size, etc. are all on the pdf.  Worth calling out:

Quilts must be made from at least 50% digitally printed fabric.  It is not a requirement that fabric be designed by the quiltmaker, but the designer must be credited.

The other pertinent rule is no online/social media sharing of work in progress until acceptance and rejection notices have been delivered.

Submissions open March 1 to April 5.

Spoonflower turns orders around fast so even if there’s nothing lurking in your stash of too beautiful to cut, you’ve got time to design and order your own fabric — trust me on this, it’s not hard — or just go shopping for other designers’ fabrics.

Since this is for a quilt show (as opposed to bed quilts) you don’t have to confine yourself to cotton.  Spoonflower can print designs onto silk, jersey and now even Minky (think pushing the envelope with soft fuzzy baby blankets in non traditional colours and designs).  Of course quilts have to be quilted and quilting on Minky might be a bit challenging, but interesting.

Sock Creature Dramatic Reveal!

mug run laura004The story so far:

Snarfie and Pie Thagoras have spent the previous 350 pages having various suspenseful gothic adventures largely stemming from their need to save their ancestral home from being redeveloped into a bingo hall.

Reluctantly they agree to sell the family portraits.  With heavy hearts and grubby feelers they repair to the Long Gallery and begin boxing up portraits by Van Dyk, Reynolds, and Gainsborough, ready for the monsters from Christie’s to sell them at auction.

They work their way from Elizabethan times up to the early 20th century and lift down the portrait of their great-grandparents, painted by a friend of Picasso’s.  Turning over the precious artefact, what do they find but the long lost legendary Ginormous Emerald either won by Sir Jonas Sock-Creature, the 18th-century buccaneer in a game of chess with an exotic oriental despot (the family story) or perhaps “liberated” when Sir Jonas helped himself to it while a guest of the Maharajah.

MUG RUN LAURA005_cropSir Jonas Sock-Creature, illustrious 18th-century buccaneer.

Sir Jonas bravely fought with hippos and crocs on his adventures!

Sir Jonas bravely fought with hippos and crocs on his adventures!

The family fortunes are restored in the nick of time and the cousins celebrate by snarfing coconut cream pie in the Great Hall.

More Book Sharing

IMG_0505I found two welcome surprises when out walking yesterday:

  1. The neighborhood sharing bin has ebbed and flowed with assorted items but has never contained many books.  But things are changing!  A good selection of literature, and non fiction. interestingly the mysteries I had left are gone after sitting there for a while.  Definitely a step in the right direction and more genre fiction will be added as I read through my shelf.
  2. Dollarama finally has sketchbooks in again. These were in stock in the summer and then when I went back for more they were out of stock.  But right now there is a good supply in.  When I can pay $3 for a sketchbook with 80 sheets of 60-pound paper in the preferred 9 by 12 size, I’m SOOOO there.

I figure this means I can spend more money on other supplies from specialty stores.

What’s YOUR take on this debate about shopping from local stores versus discount places?  Are you firmly in one camp or the other, or like me split between the two?  I’d love to hear!

More about the Sock Creatures and their Ancestral Home

mug run laura003Who hasn’t daydreamed about living in a stately home furnished with shabby-chic antiques and the bric a brac collected by their forebears, such as the eighth duke’s collection of golf clubs and the ball gown Lady Amanda wore when dancing with the Ruritanian Ambassador?

No such dwelling would be complete without the haunted Long Gallery with the portraits of long-gone ancestors, showing the family resemblance as to chin, nose — or antenna?

And this portrait of Snarfie and Pie Thagoras has its own secret treasure, to be revealed in the last chapter of the story, saving the family seat from being redeveloped as a bingo hall … stay tuned!

Arrival of Stupid Sock Creatures

IMG_0502_cropMeet Pie Thagoras and Snarfie!

They are from Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures: Evolutions, Mutations and Other Creations, by John Murphy, published by Lark Crafts.

Young Sprout made most of the design decisions and did some of the cutting and ALL of the stuffing — to the point where I had to do reverse stuffing to sew these critters closed!

Like quilting every project is a learning experience.  With Snarfie  I learned ladder stitch.  He is made from a pair of orange ankle socks, felt, a scrap from an old t-shirt, and a giant blingy bead.

With Pie Thagoras I learned that critters stuffed with rice are heavy and need stronger stitching — he already has an extra blue patch on his derriere covering over the spot where he was sewn closed.  He’s made from a pair of crew socks plus a third blue sock for contrast.

YS has learned how to do the stuffing, that sewing takes longer than you think, and hopefully that persistence pays off to complete projects.  He has also learned more understanding and respect for the importance of sewing equipment and supplies, which in this household can only be a Good Thing.  Also that although the results may not look quite like the book it’s all good.

It’s amazing how these guys have taken on personalities.  The book gives them all names and life stories, but ours have lives and minds of their own!