Thursday, December 16, 2010

looking around.

I have spoken to the notion of time so much on this blog that I am sure you are all finished hearing about my obsession. However no matter how many times I sit and think or make around the notion of time I am fascinated. It is the one thing that always moves, can't be taken or brought back.
This year has proven to be one of the busiest for me, but also one of the most fulfilling. I have done my fair share of traveling, exploring and trying new things. I moved into a new place that I love with an amazing person, I never expected to meet. I have made a few odds and ends and stored enough ideas in sketchbooks, and journals for the year to come. I have learned to compromise certain things, without compromising myself. (Maybe the most difficult thing to do when it comes to living with someone again.)
So here I am sitting by my tree, and enjoying the first snow fall of the season. It has that quiet, that snow brings and it has me thinking of all the things I have done in 2010 and all the things I want to do in 2011. I realize that I have everything I have ever wanted right now. I have dreamt of the holidays at my home with family, and friends and they are coming. I have wanted love, not a young, learning love, but a mature, grown love, and I have it. I have wanted friends that are like family, that can bring me to reality and be there when needed, and they are around. I have a close relationship with my family and it is great. All of these connections are what make me whole, you can only live in yourself so much, before you need others. I don't need a great deal of people, but instead a handful that truly get me, and appreciate me just the way I am. The ones that do not fear giving me a challenge every once in a while. That is a true relationship, whether it be a friend, lover, family, sibling, someone that can confront you when needed, bring you back to reality, that is a true relationship.
So I am thankful for every single one of them and all the moments spent this year. As far as 2011 goes my goals mostly involve taking ideas and making them realities. Hiding in my studio until the magic that is making happens. Enjoying every moment, using every frustration as a means to learn how to improve upon myself, or the creative process. I am also challenging myself to learn how to say "no" more, and use my limited time to make, and be in my studio.
I hope that everyone is enjoying the preparations for the holiday, I have a few more gifts to wrap and dazzle and I am almost ready to start roasting. The tree above is the first I have ever put up in my own home. It is real and smells wonderful, I stuck to a color pallet that is limited and "vintage inspired". The rest of the house has touches of Christmas too, but the mantle is the true joy. Happy holidays everyone- may there be peace, light, love, and creativity in your celebrations!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


For as long as I can remember every time that I go somewhere different or even a day trip sometimes, I take a picture of my feet as proof that I was there. It has become a way to track where I am and what I am doing and its almost expected now that I have pictures of my feet everywhere. I think that one of these days I would like to gather these photos and make a collage of them, there must be at least 100 at this point.
Recently I took a wonderful vacation that included a stop at Hogwarts, and then a cruise in the Caribbean, not that nightmare out west... It was beautiful, romantic, and adventurous... Coming home always feels good when I have been gone for a little while but nothing beats standing on white sand with the best person, looking out onto a gorgeous view.

This is what has happened since the return the 1000 plus photos and "stuff" we collected while traveling have taken over the living room, with all the stuff it takes to put it in a photo album. I love a real Scrapbook, I am not talking the new ones where they sell all the paper that matches and the pre-planned pages and all that... No I am talking of the ones where you actually keep all the ticket stubs and postcards etc. from travels and add them with the photos for a visual remembrance of a nice trip. So that is what I am doing- and re-fusing to call it a scrapbook because of all the ugly associations that come with it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a silly trial

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I could make a dress for his daughter based on one a friend had given them... about an hour later i was delighted with a smile on my face with the little one I made for my little P.R. It turned out pretty cute, and being a dress that I made a pattern from not too bad for a first trial. I am going to make a few more for P.R. and Gigi, seeing as how these are being sold for a pretty penny, I think having an original is always nice.

It is a busy time of the year and I am reminded that the holidays are only a few months away. I am going on a long needed vacation next week that includes a stop at Harry Potter in Orlando and then setting sail in the Caribbean. I am really excited. Upon my return I have a new project I want to begin that goes along with a few things I have been dipping into... Can't wait. Hope everyone enjoys the fall and all that comes with this time of the year.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

old and new.

-Modern sampler

This summer has been filled with change, experience, and moments shared with some very important people in my life. There was a big move (almost sent me over the edge), a wedding, two new babies, some trips to the ocean, some laughs, some tears, and some room for growth. Through this time my mind has been making what my hands have not had time to do. Finally things calmed down a bit and I started playing with some thread and needles. I have been fascinated by traditional embroidery samplers as long as I can remember. It is an organized way to show different stitches and embroider something as simple as a letter or a number.
With one of the new babies that came I made a quilt, back in the winter, under 3 feet of snow! For the newest little one added to my circle of friends, I decided to make an alphabet sampler. This baby already has two brothers, so she had everything she needed including some quilts, I thought the alphabet sampler would be a fun piece to hang on the wall that the brothers could learn from too. I am using all different fonts, stitches and colors, on a piece of feed sack I have lying around. I am about half way through it and it looks like it belongs in a nursery already.
Sometimes making for me is about a concept, that has many layers and meaning, and others it is about people and the idea of giving a handmade object as a keepsake. After all that is what history is made of.
Some other things have been brewing in this studio as well. A new collection of quilt "fragments" has appeared and when the sampler is done, a new "quilt" project will be tackled.

-Traditional sampler

This is with the letter layed out, not yet embroidered. I am about half way through- photos to come!

Lady gaga

Last week I went to my second Lady gaga concert. I think she is an amazing artist with an open mind, that is not afraid to put out into the world the fantasies that exist in her mind. I enjoyed seeing the show again, the costume changes alone, are worth the ticket. Like most modern artist she pulls from all aspects of pop culture new, and old. There were influences from Madonna, clearly one of the best artists of all times. Even some influences from the wizard of oz, with the trees and tin person. A show worth seeing!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a room of one's own.

You see that light creeping in, the fabric settling down, the thoughts forming... What comes next?? What will these hands make, where does one start?

The move is complete, and the studio is set. Yes these are photos of my new studio, perhaps one of the most beautiful spaces I can imagine to create in. The shelves that line a whole wall were already built in and ready for all my collections. The loft area was already complete with enough light to make any artist weak at the knees. Every single box in this new place has been opened, unpacked, and put away. Every item from two households has been merged into one space. The start of a new way of life. It has been years since I have lived with anyone, and it was not without some compromise, and growing pains. However here we are almost 2 months later and I have to admit that I have never been so delighted to come home at the end of the day. To open the door to a place that is "home". Home can be so many different things depending on what is going on around you, for me home means a place where I feel safe, a place where I can turn off the rest of the world. Home has always been in making and expressing myself. I feel most like myself in that place where I am creative and inspired. In the past months I have learned there is another addition to that place that one calls "home" in my world. It rests in the arms of love. The safest place, even more so than in making. Complete with the two I can move ahead, feeling complete.

It has been difficult for me to adjust, change is hard for me as with so many people. However this change was welcomed and I am so happy to be here now. I have not been able to pick up a needle or thread or anything in a couple of months, first there was the packing and the moving then the unpacking and putting away... Now that everything is in it's place. The need to make the need to move my hands across something and create is killing me. So where does one start... One stitch at a time I suppose. One pull of a needle after another.

So here I go, a new adventure, complete with love, and open mind and compromise. One stitch at a time. Back to making, enjoying life and being proud each day to be where I am.

book worms

I finished the "Lace Reader" last week, and I must say that book was worth it in the end. The last few chapters make you re-think the past 300 some pages. A really smartly written book, and it was full of textile references which I loved! I have now moved onto the second book in the Steig Larrson series, "The girl who played with fire". It is unfortunate that he passed away shortly after writing the trilogy of books, I am so glad he finished these though. I read the first in the series a couple of months ago, and while it took me a while to get into it, once I did it was an addiction. The movie version was alright, however like most stories so much better told with ink on paper.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

book worms

A while ago I came home to find one of the sweetest presents for me. A couple of books and a gift card to Starbucks. It was simple, but reminded me that sometimes taking an hour or two out of a day to sit and be swept away by words is worth more than spending time rushing around. This book, "The lace reader" was on of the books and I have finally been able to read enough to get into it. The book speaks of a group of women from Salem, Mass. that can read fortunes in lace patterns. The whole book speaks of the special lace, and how it is made. It is a mixture of mystery and antiquity. A lovely book to grab for a summer tote.

sex and friends

This summer is going to be full of great movies with my friends... The first which premiers today!!! I have been following these ladies since they first began and after the last movie with the amazing clothes, sets and all who could resist another movie! I have a date with my best ladies on sunday to go see it, and can't wait! Hopefully I don't cheat and go see it before then!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

boxes coming in...boxes heading out

I have been meaning to show you this wonderful surprise I received from an old friend. A couple of weeks ago this box arrived on my doorstep, from a friend that was at VCU when I was there the first time. I opened this box and it contained the most wonderful assortment of vintage and antique sewing notions. Buttons, thread, even some old hankies. When I looked close and read the note from Maria, I realized that many of these things belonged to her mother! I feel honored that she would share them with me. I have not yet decided what I am going to make with these things, however something will have to make its way back up north, and into her hands. Thank you Maria, for helping the creative juices flow and adding to my ever growing collection.

So the time has come to pack it all up and move it all out... Yep that's right, I am moving. If you are an artist you know how stressful this can be. As a normal person it is a pain, factor in four years of "stuff" if you are a collector and an artist, and then it is just overwhelming. I am working on not freaking out over this move because it is for the best reason I can imagine.... But I must admit there are times when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and it comes out. The part I am excited about and that keeps me going is living with the most amazing person, and being able to start fresh and re-decorate a whole new place.

warp and weft

The class I taught at the visual art center came to a close a while ago, but I thought you might like to see the photos of the works we had going on.

The women in this class were highly creative as far as what they wanted to weave, and the different techniques to use. Some of them even started ideas for a series of projects. I really enjoyed working with them and it was interesting to see all of the different things that they decided to weave to create their samplers.

some of the materials included: jeans, guitar strings, rocks, seashells, buttons, leather, grass-like raffia, plastic netting...and it went on and on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Give me Liberty!

What happens when textiles meet pop-culture?!? Excitement from this Ana!

This month Liberty of London one of my all time favorite textile houses is collaborating with MAC cosmetics, and Target. Which means that there will be floral prints exploding all over the place in my life, and it would not be liberty without some peacock feathers! Liberty is well known amongst textile junkies, so I already pre-sold my MAC and will be waiting on the 14th for Target to open its doors. It is always interesting when a line that is normally very high end pairs up with places like Target making it accessible to the general public. Can't wait to see what they made!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

traditional methods, unconventional materials.

Just wanted to post some photos of the things that my class at the visual arts center is working on. These are samplers, which means that they are "experiments/explorations" of materials, not finished pieces. I will have to keep in mind how attached people become to samplers, because it was like pulling teeth to get them off the looms this week. We are working on frame looms, because it is a way to transport a tapestry, also a great way to learn on a small scale.
The class is about traditional weaving techniques, using un-conventional materials. Some of the things that they have been weaving include, plastic, paper, denim, legal paper, rocks! yep ROCKS! (had to create a new technique for getting this one in there), mesh bags, lace, and the list goes on. As with any class I am learning how to better teach this in the future, but am considering a part two to this class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

tiny toes.

I began this quilt a few weeks ago, when there was a few feet of snow on the ground, and have had to put it down for a little while to work on some other things. I was never one to make utilitarian objects, I used to focus all of my time on making sculpture/conceptual based work. While I still find that to be the most gratifying when it comes to making, sometimes it feels great to make something special like this little quilt. A few months ago one of my best friends announced she was expecting. This threw me off, seeing as how she has never shown interest in having a child. It took me a while to get used to the idea of her with a baby, but I know she will be amazing at it. A few months later, we found out our other best friend is also expecting. So here I am in the middle with my two best friends ready to have babies. What does this mean for me.... well I see lots of sewing in my future, along with a shower or two... oh and I might actually have to learn how to change a diaper!
As strange as it is to see them both pregnant, I must admit that while making this little blanket for baby number 1, I started to get excited to meet this little human, and be a part of her life.
One of the reasons that I decided making some utilitarian objects is important, is because those are the things that we remember when we grow, and that we take with us. I remember a few things from my childhood that I loved most were made by the hand of my mother, or my aunts. To this day I have a pair of mittens my mom made when I was just a few days old, that are always around. So with the baby quilts, I will include my love for these new lives, and hopefully one day they will look at them and think of their "auntie Ana"... Wow, did I just say that???? This baby thing must be rubbing off on me too.


stitch by stitch...

thread by thread....

I finally finished this little embroidery. This little piece began as an experiment in transferring the image, as a permanent line. It was a way for me to teach myself a skill, and then apply it to another work. Somewhere alone the way I fell in love with the imagery and the idea of concealing and revealing, with masks. There are parts of us that we show to the world, and others that we hide behind masks, and only very few people are let into. I am happy with the final outcome, and can now tear off all the tracing paper with the final image down on the fabric. Usually I go back over the "sketch" with more stitches or take them out, I really enjoy the "sketchy" look of the line in this though.

I have begun teaching a class at the visual arts center, traditional weaving techniques with un-conventional materials. This has forced me to look into some of the things I used to make and how they were made. This is great, in fact it has the wheels in my brain going again... Who knows maybe I will even pick up a loom again. And instead of making pieces about falling apart, they will be about keeping it together and safe.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

when the white stuff falls.

When this happens outside... I do this... (see below.)

For the second time this winter season it has snowed here in Richmond, Virginia. This is an unusual occurrence, considering that in the nine years I have lived here this has happened twice before. I do not particularly like snow, I can live with it, but most of the time find that it gets in my way and makes me feel claustrophobic. While it may be pretty... I do not like being trapped. So when it began coming down the other day I started to think about what project I would work on to keep busy and keep my mind off the snow. I wanted a project that would show me progress quickly, as opposed to the ones I usually encounter that take months and endless hours to finish. So I began making a baby quilt for one of my best friends that is due to have a baby in a few months. I loved working with the size of a baby quilt, so manageable and quick to make, especially when you use a basic pattern. I used a bundle of 2 1/2 inch, 1930's flour sack reproduction strips, and began sewing the strips then cutting then making squares. I got the whole top finished in a day. I must admit that as much as I love working on projects that are very "process oriented" sometimes it feels really great to pop something out quickly, that requires little thought. Just being able to make and keep going without considering why or how... To make something utilitarian can be relaxing at times. I am sure though that this quick, utilitarian project will be followed by a time consuming, mind boggling, embroidery... Because it is already in the works of course.

Monday, January 11, 2010

away and back

Happy New Year to all! I know we are now 11 days into this year, and I have done a horrible job of keeping up with my posts... However its a new, clean slate and I have plans to make, post, and write more on here again. I took a trip to my home country of Portugal for the holidays. It was interesting being in there over the holidays, normally when I visit it is warm and sunny... Not this time, it was grey, foggy, rainy, and cold for 10 days. However, all of the fields, mountains and plants were really green from the wet climate. It was gorgeous to see the oranges and lemons on trees and persimmons and olives too.
I am from a town close to the city of Castelo Branco, which has its own embroidery techniques and patterns. I visited one of the local shops while i was there that sells thread, fabric, yarn and anything inbtween that has to do with textiles, and went crazy for all the different threads and colors. I am drawing out some new pieces I want to make that incorporate the traditional embroidery patterns and some of my own ideas... girls and guns and such. A play on traditional women's work that is in my culture and modern ideals. Hope everyone is having a good start to the year.