Two Blue Cats...

If you are not familiar with "Two Blue Cats" - I would love to have you sign up for our newsletter featuring Annie's amazing rug hooking along with my game boards.  We have been putting our heads together for years - you know when you meet that person where you just click?  That's us!

T W O   B L U E   C A T S
We Want to Share Our Studios with You
We're two collaborating folk artists -- Diane Allison-Stroud and Annie Hayes -- who both live in the mountains --  Diane in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Annie in the Catskills (hence "blue" and "cats"). We love each other's work as well as the long, laugh-filled conversations we have as often as our schedules let us. This issue, as always,  shows the way coincidence plays a part in this collaboration -- both of us have flower ideas going on in the work we're showing you here.  We hope you love what you see here and on our websites -- it all comes from our hearts.  Let us know what you think -- we'd love to hear from you.

eclipse

D I A N E
"Eclipse"
19” x 19”
$245.00
Limited Edition of 10

I have had this  piece on my mind for so very long...every time I would go through my piles of notes of pieces  that I hope to create at some point - it would always nudge me.  Then summer comes, a time for slowing down in the mountains, a time to really focus on all the beauty that comes with summer....this is when I find myself painting new pieces that I adore,  late into the night....
Most of my reproduction pieces date back to the 1800's.  But I couldn't resist - this new piece is dated to 1900.  The name itself "Eclipse" is what came to mind while painting....The moon and its many phases dancing with the sun...
pretty shades of blue, warm browns and a bit of terracotta sunshine...
Limited Edition of 10 and then it will be retired.
 

2bluecats bird

A N N I E
Caddie
This has been the year of the bird, for me anyway. They just keep popping in my head and I find great joy in making each one different from the last, and full of its own special qualities. They're fun and sweet and mysterious. I love watching them and listening to their calls. Living in the northern Catskills provides a vibrant natural world and I appreciate that.

This one-of-a-kind rug, Caddie, is made of a lot of hand dyed wool. A blue and black buffalo plaid that I found a bunch of in Vermont creates iridescence on the wing. The border is wide and uses a method I've developed the past few years of making the corners darker, to emphasize that it's a frame.  It follows the beautiful folk art tradition of  isolating one tiny branch, having the bird perch on it, and finding ways to add blossoms.

$350
11" high by 13.5" wide and  backed with a black and white patterned bias binding.  More views here on my site.

Find Available Rugs here on my site
website: anniehayesstudio.com
Email me
Call me  at 607 435 3468

Follow me on Instagram here

Included this year in Early American Life's Directory of Traditional Artisans

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Some shots from my studio. I made the pincushion and seem to carry it around with me wherever I go. Other shots are rugs in progress. The photo of a rug being made with the scissors and Sharpie is Caddie, the rug featured in this issue. And the photo of work spread out on the table has, not too clearly, Maddie the dog (on the floor) and Bella the cat (on the chair). They are good company

Below are some shots from my game board studio and my typical Friday night in our small town.  Friday night is spent listening to music at "The Jones House", a local community center in our downtown area.  It's nice to listen and stroll through downtown meeting familiar faces and enjoying summer surrounded by art and music.  My chalkboard is how I keep track of my work - not very sophisticated, I know, but I do LOVE my system!  Also a picture of my painting table and my little office nook...and on each side of my computer stool you will find a dog bed, for they want to always be at my feet.  

jones house summer concert
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  ANNIE'S CONTACT INFO:  To get in touch with Annie:  email:   annie@anniehayesstudio.com   Website :  anniehayesstudio.com   To sign up for her monthly newsletter:  Go  here  on her site and click the sign-up text box at the bottom of the page or use the button below.   NEWSLETTERS : We both periodically send newsletters that offer new work and comments on our process. We think you'll enjoy them, so please sign up and send them along to your friends.

ANNIE'S CONTACT INFO:
To get in touch with Annie:
email: annie@anniehayesstudio.com
Websiteanniehayesstudio.com
To sign up for her monthly newsletter: Go here on her site and click the sign-up text box at the bottom of the page or use the button below.

NEWSLETTERS:
We both periodically send newsletters that offer new work and comments on our process. We think you'll enjoy them, so please sign up and send them along to your friends.

ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS....

'Alice in Wonderland'
'Through the Looking Glass'

through the looking glass beginning

Funny how that happens....You choose a pattern and then as you are getting lost in the painting your mind begins to wander towards a certain direction, often leading to the naming of the piece.  I have become part of the art, it absorbs a part of me, not only physically but my thoughts and I become smitten with the final piece.  

through the looking glass alice

The undeniable pull of your eyes towards the center where your imagination is awakened...the movement in each corner seems to almost dance...and if you take a step back you can appreciate how some of those curves also frame the center along with a square - adding to a quilt like pattern.  There are patterns within patterns.

through the looking glass black lined

The colors that I chose to use are what I think as colors of nature....imagining the colorful world that Alice must have experienced, along with the colors that are written about Alice's dress and hair....

through the looking glass alice 2 color

This piece is based on a design dated to the late 1800's.  The geometric design is what drew me right in.  I often wonder what inspired the original artist...was it colors of meaning like my Parcheesi "Before Me", which contained colors of the flowers blooming in my garden.  And this design is so difficult - what moved them?  Can you imagine what they would think when they heard it was recently auctioned for $10,455.  Smiles from Heaven, no doubt.

through the looking glass final

This is a Limited Edition piece of 10 before becoming retired. 

 19" x 19"
$325.00

(only 1 available before retiring)

I modified the original colors to a large extent falling into the thoughts of "Alice in Wonderland"
16 colors:  shades of blue, shades of brown, shades of green, gold, soft rose, sand, ivory, terracotta, straw, latte

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through the looking glass close up
I’m going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life”
— Elsie de Wolfe

ferns from my garden this morning

Alice statue at Guildford Castle

If you would like your game board display to be included on my website for others to enjoy - just drop me a picture, I would love to add it to "Client's Images".  If you have sent them in the past and you don't see them displayed they were lost during my website changes.  I'm sorry!  Please send again!  

 

In the works this week....

This piece is based on a design dated to the late 1800's.  The geometric design is what drew me right in.  I often wonder what inspired the original artist...was it colors of meaning like my Parcheesi "Before Me", which contained colors of the flowers blooming in my garden.  And this design is so difficult - but would it make more sense if we found that the artist was an architect?  Perhaps...  Can you imagine what they would think when they heard it was recently auctioned for $10,455.  Smiles from Heaven, no doubt.

 

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Gee's Bend Inspired Game Board

 
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"Lucy" 


Gee's Bend inspired

Parcheesi Quilt Board
#10 in Series

 

So many of you have been asking me to paint a new Gee's Bend Quilt Board....

Finally....here she is, "Lucy".  

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Blog back of Lucy Gees Bend Board

Gee's Bend Quilt boards are so special to me.  The desire to do the original quilt artist justice while getting lost in the study of not only their quilt but the history and stories of their lives, it's a wonderful place to go in your mind while you are creating.  I often feel that I am meshing our lives together in some way.

I do believe that this new game board was not only the most fun but also the most difficult piece in the Gee's Bend Series for me to attempt to create.  With more than 15 colors and my deep desire to create a design that mirrors the shirt fabrics that Lucy used in her quilt, I think this is my favorite.  I love quilts with plaids and I will admit that I have made 1 or 2 or 3 myself and often used plaids on the backing.

I have now finished the "Gee's Bend" area on my website Home Page. I hope you enjoy looking at the page.  It contains the story of Gee's Bend along with a video of the quilters singing.  Each Gee's Bend game board is shown along with the 'namesake' photos, their quilts and their stories.  I enjoyed hearing them sing while I was writing.

You can read about "Lucy" and check the availability of this piece.  It is a Limited Edition of 10.  I realize in the past that the Gee's Bend Series was available 1-20 and 1-15, but I felt 10 was all I could do with this complicated design for it takes days upon days to paint.

"Lucy"

Gee's Bend Inspired Game Board Series
#10
Limited Edition of 10
(4 available at this time)

Parcheesi
19" x 19"
$265.00

And while we are talking about Quilts...

Over the many years, nearly 25 now I have enjoyed seeing pictures of the beautiful quilts that you are creating.  Of course, my mom, heading closer to her mid 80's, (sorry mom) is a phenomenal quilter.  Every year she is working on a Crazy Quilt, which takes several years to complete and during this time she is also creating other quilts. 

I have witnessed that a woman's hands are never idle; whether we are quilting, knitting, crocheting, beading, cooking or gardening, it seems that our 'downtime' is full of creating beauty.  You may notice on my website this quote:

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.”

— Elsie de Wolfe

I loved finding this.  Elsie de Wolfe was the first known interior decorator.  Back in the early 1900's.  Isn't it a beautiful thought, to create beauty around you as your spirit and soul request you to do?  I do know that when I'm long gone I will be remembered for always having flowers in my home.  No matter the weather, no matter anything, there are always flowers in the family room, kitchen table, hallway and bedroom.  In the Summer the Studio is filled with Hydrangeas from my garden.  How can one function without flowers I've wondered.

And as for me and my Studio:  
Over the last couple of years my studio turned itself into a workshop.  I have spent endless hours cleaning out,  reorganizing and decorating.  It is finally beginning to look like a girl works here again.  I might be surrounded by 'boys', but I will always have pink, flowers and pretty.

Snow is surely on it's way again this week so I'm heading out to the garden to pick the Daffodils and the Irish Rose before they are covered.  I hope your week is beautiful and amazing.

 

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