rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

I started to post more than a week ago but the app kept freezing - so here it is, unfinished. Am back in (chilly) Florida, so am finally checking in and editing - a bit behind schedule.

I was in New Jersey visiting family and I’ve made three trips into New York City to see my Gillman kids and grands. Fortunately, the weather was mild and sunny — although “mild” means in the 40’s and low 50’s instead of the 20’s, which it was when I arrived.

Normally I take tons of photos when I am in New York but this time I was lazy. However, here are a few from this week.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal decked out for the holidays.

Iconic sculpture by George Segal. Everyone loves it because we can all identify! It has been here for almost 40 years.

When I'm there I realize how much I miss the energy of the City, but when I am back in Florida I have to put it out of my mind.

Back in the studio now, so stay tuned.

I have spent most of the last six weeks in the dentist's office, which didn't leave much time for blogging or working in the studio. Last week 3 times and this week, twice.

Last week my brother and sister-in-law were here for a few days from Pittsburgh. What a joy to spend time with my brother; this was a rare visit and we always make each other laugh. When we were children at the dinner table all we had to do was look at each other and we both collapsed in hysterics over nothing. What a gift!

We spent several days (without making a dent) going through family photos and documents so he could take what he wanted. There are still thousands left (and I am not exaggerating). Cartons all over the living room so I can sort and label before I return them to the overstuffed closet. OMG.

Today I am in the studio because my new kitchen cabinets were delivered. At the moment, they are in the bedroom keeping the dishwasher company. Nothing more will be done until January.

Here is how the kitchen looks now. It's tiny (7.5'x7.5' ) and pretty much a horror. I never intended to renovate it but wanted a dishwasher and a garbage disposal. Because the counter was installed wrong we couldn't get the cabinet out without destroying the (butt ugly) formica counter - here we go. The new range and fridge are already it. The old ones were unspeakable. January!!

Last week I finished stitching this little guy (with a ¼" foot). It is 12" x 12' and I am going to mount it on a gallery-wrapped canvas. This is made with Helene Davis' hand-dyed fabrics; I started it in July when I was in Paducah. I was going to submit it to QuiltCon in the small quilts category, but missed the deadline. sigh...

For better or worse, I am DONE with this piece. It was not intended to be perfect - it is improv, after all. With all this talk about walking feet I finally decided to try mine again. I hated it years ago and I hate it now. For the last section of quilting I went back to my ¼" foot and it is fine.

It may remain nameless. `I know what it reminds me of and I'd love to know what it makes you think of.

Hope you have super holiday season and I'll see you in 2020.



Although un-stitching is not my favorite activity, it is kind of zen after you get into it -- especially if you've quilted straight lines that are not only not straight (mine never are exactly) but they are wandering so much that the stitches at the bottom of the quilt top end at a different spot than the stitches at the top, where you started. Before you know it, you started at 12" from the top edge and ended at 8" from the bottom edge. This will simply not do. This can be corrected with the next line of stitching, but only if you notice it before it gets out of hand. Long story short - (sort of) I spent a bit of time picking out four or five lines of stitching this afternoon. This is how it looked on the wall as I was designing it, but I have made a couple of very minor changes since then.

I've been playing around on the design wall with these re-purposed triangles for more than 2 months. Here is what they looked like in early September.

Needing a break, I decided to raid my surface design closet and see what was there after I moved to Florida two years ago and put everything away. Lo and behold - everything I was looking for was still there: dyes, soda ash, sodium alginate, gloves, dust masks, etc. (I didn't actually think someone had broken in and stolen it; I just couldn't remember what was in there).

It has been five years since I printed with dyes because I was so burned out after my commission of 50 silk scarves all the same color and all containing certain specific images. Yes, I was well-paid, but it was not worth the work.

However, after five years I am getting the urge to print again -- so I've brought a few supplies out of the closet. I now have to put on my mask and consolidate the dyes because I have, for example, six partly empty jars of blue 406 and duplicates of other colors too numerous to name - but that's for another day.

I haven't even touched the paints and screens, but I will get to those so I can teach my class, "Paper, Tape, and Glue" which is great fun and non-toxic. All in good time...

Meantime, I am going to continue in my next post. It is well after midnight and I have a list of things I must do tomorrow, starting with meeting the electrician at the studio at 9:am.



 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019