Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals Update

It's that time of year, again isn't it?  It comes around faster and faster each year.  Here is my assessment of accomplishments and outlook for 2013, trying to see things in a positive light, and not beat myself up.

My posted "Art Quilting Resolutions" for 2012 were:


  • 1 - Focus on 2 classes for fall
  • 2 - Focus on Art Quilts
  • 3 - Study and practice Crow assignments
  • 4 - Work in a Series: Strip Piecing
  • 5 - Work in a Series: Map Quilts
  • 6 - Prioritize "Painted Lady" quilt
  • 7 - Resist temptation to do "functional" stuff
  • 8 - Learn all I can from the GT's.
  • 9 - Finish or give up on the current UFO's
  • 10 - Learn to use Photoshop and take better photos

In brief, I'd rank my success:

1 - 100% -  The classes were definitely my priority
2 - 80% -  Most of what I spent time on was art quilts (but see 7.)
3 - 80% - In addition to the strip piecing series, and finishing Filmstrip I started an abstract curve piece and made an improvisational piece from Filmstrip leftovers.
4 - 100% - Did this.
5 - 0% - Didn't do this.
6 - 0% - This ceased to be a priority
7 - 50% - I only partially resisted.  Started a quilt for my granddaughter, and an iPad case for a friend.
8 - 100% - The group has disbanded but I did learn all I could in the meantime.
9 - 30% - Finished a couple, I think, and gave up on a couple.
10 - 40% - Did some work with Ps on the Petunias.

Considering the move/remodel/new studio I think I did fairly well in putting in time in the studio.  I did not succeed in creating any sort of standard schedule, but my life is never standardized enough!  Of the time I put in, I'm about 75% satisfied with what I chose to do with that time.   I am disheartened to note that I really didn't finish ANYTHING, but since the focus for both Nancy Crow and Lisa Call was to create quilt TOPS, I should not feel that way.  Unfinished pieces was my GOAL for goodness sake.

So in that vein,  in 2012 I created the following quilt tops:

1.  Background Noise
2.  Filmstrips
3.  Filmstrips improv
4.  Golden Mean Series #1
5.  Golden Mean Series #3
6.  Golden Mean Series #4
7.   WIS maquette
8.  FFF Challenge #66 - Starry Night

I also started several new projects, and rather than be depressed about them adding to the UFO list, I am feeling more positive, because they took me in the right direction...   The curved piecing study has already taught me (again) that curves are harder than they look.  The other two Golden Mean pieces maybe unfinished and ugly, but I learned a lot (color, value, composition, figure/ground).  So that is three more "studies" completed.

I also started some non-art things, and rather than beat myself up, I need to acknowledge that there will be down times (like after completing my two classes on Dec. 11) that I need to let my brain rest, and if it gets the urge to make a quilt for a granddaughter out of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, well - let it!  It's almost done already, (the top) and I promise I'll post it soon.   It also taught me a lesson about value - I generally tend to go much too much toward middle tones, and end up without enough contrast.  I made the reverse mistake in G.M. #2 and #3, so maybe I'll learn eventually.

I also learned that if my brain is feeling an overwhelming urge to do something, like try paper piecing, I should just do it.  Because I'm likely to try it, understand it, not like it so much and get over it, whereas if I resist doing it, it continues to haunt me, and I spend time thinking, sketching, Pinteresting, etc.  I tried enough of this method to learn that it is really fun, in small doses, and probably the only way I'll ever create anything detailed, intricate and precise.  

There, now that feels like a more satisfying annual report! 

Incorporating what I've learned about myself, my goals, and my available time, 2013's goals are:

1.  Prepare for March Crow workshops by working on similar assignments, finishing one large?
2.  Create pieces for at least two shows, SAQA due Feb. 28th, and Whatcom Museum due May 15.  
3.  Look for other exhibition opportunities that match up with what I want to do anyway.
4.  After Crow workshops focus on free motion quilting by finishing UFO's.
5.  After Crow workshops assess where I am with a "voice," and where I want to go.
5.  Learn to dye fabric, focus on solids.
6.  Continue learning Photoshop Elements.
7.  Learn all I can from members of my small group.
8.  Continue studying - modern art, abstraction, color, theory, composition, etc. either on my own or in classes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WIS Assignment #2 - Space and Scale

It's been a  slow go here with the blog, excuses range from seasonal chaos to being a landlord, to a complete hard drive melt down.  Nonetheless I still have high hopes of writing about and posting more details of my Working in a Series pieces.  At this point three quilt tops are done, #1, 3, and 4.   Today's feature is #2, which is currently in many pieces.  I still have some hopes of "finishing" it, or at least sewing it all together.  This was my least favorite of the five pieces.

This picture is how it looked when I submitted it at the deadline.The assignment as I interpreted it ( we were encouraged to start with the proposed topic and define our goals and the exercise we planned to do in a way that was meaningful to our particular medium, style, etc.) was to try to convey a sense of depth or space by overlapping elements, and also to focus on the figure/ground relationship.  I attempted to do this by using value to make dark pieces stand out on a light background.  I also used the shape of the cross-bar or tee to create the effect that the dark green piece was behind the lines.

I felt that to achieve a clear figure ground relationship I needed to exaggerate the values I used.   This is my least favorite of the five pieces, and it was a big disappointment after liking #1 so much.  Yes, there are clear figures (dark) on ground (light) and yes, there are some interesting compositions in the individual "vignettes" (my term for these little "units" I like to make), but as a whole this piece just sucks.  It sucks because the figures are just blobs. And they are bumping up against the edges of the composition, or just floating in space, neither of which is really interesting to look at.  

The way the dark bit in the upper left just barely touches the green bit that passes "under" the cross bar is annoying, and the sense of a square that it and the pieces below it are supposed to make is destroyed because it's awkward shape is jumping off the page, and the lower pieces connect to their mates on the other side, not to the square.  I thought it would be enough to make the shape, but without value as part of the definition, it doesn't work.

I should abandon it, but I have taken that upper left piece apart to see if I can find something more satisfying.  I tend to want to fuss and slave over a bad piece, when I should just toss it and move on.  I should learn that it's very unlikely that fussing will transform a bad piece into anything better than a mediocre piece.  Why put all that effort into something that will never be good?  
I guess because I learn from it.  I can see that this is bad, so if I can see that I should be able to figure out why it's bad.  And that should lead to knowing how to make it less bad...

Following are some photos of other variations I tried, other units that were deemed too ugly or too mid-value to create figure ground...  So you can see, or at least I think I can see, that the final piece was at least an improvement!
In this one I am overlaying pieces on #1 to get the size and proportion right.
I struggled and struggled with that gray part, and it never did make the "cut."

Here are some other variations.  Part of the problem is I just DON'T LIKE RED.

As you can see, it received way more attention than in was worth.
So that's the scoop on assignment #2.  Chalk it up to another learning experience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WIS Assignment #1 - Color and Value

Assignment #1

I stuck these posts of my workshop series up as placeholders until I could get back to write more.  It was pretty intense trying to complete the series during the eight week workshop, and there was no time for blogging.  Now that I've had time to breathe, I will look back at them, share some of the thoughts that went into the creation, and the learning experiences.

This was the first piece I made, and by far the best.  That seems a little ironic, and it was disappointing when the following works didn't live up to the first one.  In retrospect, it's not surprising, since each piece had additional assignments attached.  This one was simply about use of color and value.  Moving forward the assignments needed to be about line, shape, texture, etc., while still using value and color successfully, so instead of following down the path I started exploring, I needed to move on and respond to the assignments. In the end it was for the best, because each exploration generated more and more ideas for possible future works or directions for series.

In this one my goal was to create a "High Value" composition.  (the concept of high = light, low = dark is counter-intuitive for me) As I began selecting and putting together the strip pieced fabrics,  I felt I really needed to have a light-medium range so that the piece was not too boring.   I think I succeeded in making a good piece and an interesting piece, but not really a high value study.  This was my first encounter with the question:  Do you pursue your goal, assignment, sketch etc., or do you make good art?  I tend to get too obsessed on following directions and not enough on trusting my creative instincts.

Fabrics small  Here are some of the fabrics I created.
I do love to compare how a pieced fabric became a composition.  Here are some examples:
fab 1 

One other thing I should mention about the series is that I set a size and proportion for myself as an added way of giving the series some consistency.  The shape I chose was the "golden rectangle,"  something we learned about in architecture school, and also the basis for our company's logo.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time to Decompress

Golden Mean Series: #4, Line

Today I will have my final phone call in the Working in a Series Workshop with Lisa Call.  It's been a wild ride for me.  I was ready to completely immerse myself in producing the best five works of art I could in eight weeks, while at the same time learning as much as I could absorb about the assignment topics, from her lectures, and from the weekly e-mails.  It sort of felt like being surrounded in a swirling whirlwind of art.  She provides all sorts of backup material to read and think about when you're not in the studio trying to finish your assignment.  I felt as if I was deeply immersed in a graduate level art course.

Eight weeks is a long time to stay shifted into overdrive, and she warned about mid-session burnout, but I powered right past that, and into week seven, where I promptly crashed.  All the pressures of work and family that I'd shoved to the side just couldn't wait one more week, and assignment #4 didn't get finished on time.  I did finish it yesterday, six days late.  Last night I promptly started on #5, which was due - last night.  I don't think I'll have much to show Lisa on it before our mid-afternoon call.  Oh well.

Prior to the call I have a date with my color/painting teacher Caryn Friedlander, to see her studio and her work.  I'm excited, and pleased that she invited me.  But scared to death of the reciprocal invitation.  My "studio" is nothing but a messy basement full of fabric.  Her class runs through the end of the quarter, early December I guess.  I'm hoping now that I'm done with the series workshop I will be able to devote more time to it.

So blog posts have taken a distant back seat to all this.  I will try to catch up and share more of the results of the workshop, and possibly post some of my workshop posts to share and record the thought process at the time.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kandinsky Again

For our next assignment in Color class, a calendar of Kandinsky's works was cut up into pieces, each student got a piece.  Our  mission is to duplicate the colors as precisely as we can.  My piece was the lower left quarter of this work, Landscape 1913.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quilts and Color

Michael James' "Lush Life."

This week's assignment for color class was to go to the museum and look at the quilt exhibit.  There is no way I can call that "work!"  We were asked to pick one piece and write about it in relation to the color combinations used.  I felt a little bad for not picking the Nancy Crow piece, but it was "March Study," from the 1970's, and the use of color in it didn't really excite me.  Since James uses strip piecing I thought it would be more relevant for me.    Here's my essay.

 I chose Michael James' "Lush Life,"  which was created in 1992.  The piece is constructed using strip piecing, a method I am exploring in my current series, so I thought it would be interesting to look closer at a master's work.  

Very generally, strip piecing involves cutting long thin strips of fabric, then sewing them back together into new "made fabrics."  The "made fabric" is then usually cut up and reassembled in various ways.  This is where any similarity between Michael James and I ends.  Obviously there are an infinite number of ways to slice up and reassemble fabric.
Unlike some of his other works, such as Rhythm/Color: Morris Men,(See below) in "Lush Life" the  the strips are arranged in a very simple allover 45-degree diagonal pattern.  Although each made fabric is made up of various colors and patterns of fabric, the simple overall piecing design allows sections of dissimilar value to read as solids when placed adjacent to each other. 
Looking at the piece from a distance, or on a small screen,  what you see first is the stencil-like cut-out shapes that appear overlaid on a contrasting background.  Low value figures on a high value background.  Or is it the other way around?  James is able to achieve subtle gradations of value and hue by carefully selecting the alternating color strips.

 In places the light fabric gradually transitions into dark rather than being sharply contrasted with it.  Where does one figure end and the other begin?  This draws you in closer, to the point where you realize it is all one very, very, carefully constructed symphony of strips.  Or stripes.  The lightest areas use pale gray and  pastel tints, so that there is little contrast between them.  The fabric reads overall as light.  In the mid-range values there is more contrast, so that the patterning is more evident.  In the darkest sections contrast is reduced again, and the overall image is "dark." 

I think that blue is the dominant color, but that is by no means certain.  There is also a lot of yellow and pink.  The blues tend toward blue-green and range from palest tint to darkest shade.

To me, this piece is so complex I can look at it, and try to understand it, for hours.  There are so many levels of color, shape and design that it's hard to know how to take it apart.  Here is the Nancy Crow piece that was featured in the show:
Nancy Crow, "March Study"
And here is Michael James' other work mentioned,  Rhythm/Color: Morris Men.

Rhythm/Color: Morris Men by Michael James
Morris Men

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Art of Color Class

I've been so busy actually doing art that I have not had much time to blog about it.   No complaints, that's the way it should be.  I waste way too much time staring at a screen and not creating.  But I like to keep the blog up, if for no other reason, to have an ongoing record of what I was doing and thinking at various times.  And it's stored in a place where I can't lose it, unlike paper or even digital files on my computer.  
So today I am sharing last night’s projects in my Color in Art class.  I didn't know we would be using oil paints or I would probably have been too intimidated to take the class.  Not sure why painting and even drawing scare me off, but they do.  It's like this little hidden secret, I'm afraid someone will find out that I really can't draw to save my life.  I know I could learn, and I think I eventually must go there.  The whole idea of learning how to use oils seemed intimidating and I feared failure.   But the experience so far has been the total reverse of that!  Being told exactly what to buy and how to use it solved much.   Last night when I started seeing all the amazing colors that would emerge out of mixing the six simple primaries (two of each) I never wanted to quit.  Merging two things that I was sure would produce a brown muddy mess instead created a mind bogglingly beautiful teal blue.  Wow. I'm hooked.  So - yesterday:
The first project was to try out all the combinations of our primary paints to see which ones produced what sort of secondary colors.  I knew nothing about oil painting, so it was fascinating to me to mix the colors and see what came out.  We did this in the classroom, but mine was a smeared up mess so I redid it.  Sorry the photo is crappy.

The second assignment was to create some sort of grid on a piece of paper 6″ x 9″ and then make an exact copy of it. One version was supposed to illustrate “color harmony,” and the other “color dis-harmony.”    No explanation or definition was given of those two terms.   In class each person put up one of their pieces on the wall and others had to guess which one was which.  Not as simple as it seems!  Very fun, though.  Everyone had quite different interpretations.
The other thing that is fun is that our teacher is very into Nancy Crow and quilts in general, and unlike most people already recognizes that there is such a thing as an art quilt, so it's nice not to fight that battle.  In fact, our assignment this week is to go to the local museum exhibit, American Quilts, the Democratic Art, and write an analysis of the color use in one of the quilts.   Fun! And an excuse to go back and soak in the exhibit one more time before it closes next week. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

WIS Assignment #3 - Shape and Texture

Looking at Art - Kandinsky

One of the things I am learning in the Lisa Call "Working in a Series" workshop is how to look at art critically.  This is something I always thought I "sort of " knew, but never had any concrete way of doing, other than staring at a piece, thinking about "What does it mean?" and "How did s/he DO that?"  Lisa has provided a couple different ways of evaluating or critiquing.  One is a standard four part format that I've seen a few other places as well:  "Description, Analysis, Interpretation, Judgement."   This method produces the type of critique you would read in a review of a show or exhibit.

The other method Lisa offered was a much more detailed set of questions to guide thinking about the design elements that are used in the work of art.  I decided to try out her questions and evaluate one of my favorite works of art, Yellow, Red, Blue, painted in 1925 by Wassily Kandinsky.

Here is my analysis, with thanks to Lisa for permission to reprint her questions.

Yellow-Red-Blue -  Wassily Kandinsky

Write answers to the following questions about the elements that make up the design:

§  What is the color and value usage?  There is a wide range of values from almost-white and very light yellow in the background and the left figure, to the dark red, blue and purple masses of the right side.

§  What impact do the colors have on you? They seem to represent an opposition of a dark, sinister element with a bright happy one. Although I don’t know what they are or if they are anything objective, but I sense opposition between them.

§  How are they using the space?  The two major figures occupy most of the picture plane, both of them seem to float in mid-air.

§  Flat picture plane or 3D?  At first it seems mostly flat, but especially in the dark element there are checkerboards and fields of color that are shown in perspective, as if they are floating off into the distance.

§  How are they achieving the 3D illusion?  Perspective (vanishing point) and smaller size.

§  How does the use of space make you feel? The dark element seems to be menacing or crowding the light one, while the light one firmly stands its ground.

§  What is the figure?  There are a number of figures, the mass of dark elements collected together, but with small peeks thru them to the yellow background, then the yellow figure which is more ambiguous.  Parts of it are really yellow background, but the whole collection of “things” plus the yellow background seem to be figures on the blue ground.

§  What is the ground?  The ground is a blurry fog of pastel colors, violet, yellow, blue/green.

§  What is the ratio between them?  The figures take up at least 75% of the picture plane,  with the dark one pushing close to the border, crowding the image, and adding to the aggressive feel it has.

§  What story does that relationship tell?  The figures are the point of the story, the artist wants them to be the only thing you observe, there is “nothing” in the background to distract you.

§  What quality do you notice about the lines?  Lines are an important element in this work, and there are a number of different types of lines, thick, thin, straight, geometric arcs, different colors, some vary in width, many are grouped in parallel groups, some equal size, some not, etc.  One of the most noticeable lines is a freeform squiggle that is the foremost element in the dark shape.

§  What story do the lines tell?  What is interesting is that the light figure is mostly amorphous color, with few lightly drawn more geometric lines and shapes, while the dark figure has colored shapes without any lines bordering them.  I think this is a message Kandinsky was trying to convey, I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I have always interpreted this painting as a representation of Good vs Evil.  I’m not sure if he had something more specific given the political climate at the time, and knowing the fact that he had been forced to flee his native Russia and then later to also leave France (?) for Germany I think he may have been representing the chaos of totalitarian governments in the dark figure with lack of borders and haphazard organization while the light figure represents the good in human nature, free, open, light thin, controlled shapes. 

I like to imagine that each of the different pieces of the composition represent different elements of the artists’ life or maybe different aspects of good and evil  I know the labored over each element and how to portray it in the picture.  Maybe they represent truth, beauty, goodness vs. greed, hatred etc….

§  What shapes are they are using?   Kandinsky uses lines for lines’ sake, mostly they are “just” lines, but there are also lines that make up squares, circles, and other geometrically created shapes as well as dark heavy lines being shapes themselves.

§  How are the shapes related?  The lines from each figure are intertwined, overlapping and layered.  But there is only one single point where the end of one thin line on the light side touches one of the dark figures.  This becomes a focal point of the painting.

§  What response do these shapes evoke?  They evoke a sense of tension as the dark figure seems to be menacing the light one and encroaching on its space.  I have a sense of fear for the light shape, and it’s abstract form for me seems to resemble the side view of a human head, with the red circle the eye and the blue arc shape the nose, so I feel like the light shape has its back turned to the dark one. Does it know he’s coming or is he oblivious to the threat?

§  What texture does the artwork have?  none that I can tell, though the background appears to have a misty translucent quality.

Next consider the overall design of the composition.

§  How have they used repetition?  Lines are repeated in groups, the concept of line groups are repeated.  Other repeated elements include the Circles with glowing halos, the translucent squares with outlines, the translucent shapes with no borders, and the checkerboards.  The types of elements are completely confined to one side or the other, except that a thin “mast” carrying three light yellow lines seems to be a flag standard trying to march toward the other side.

§  How have they used variety?   Each group of shapes has its own character, no two are exactly alike.  They seem to indicate that there are unlimited possibilities to be considered on each side.

§  Is it a big variation or small? The shapes are mostly in proportion to each other within the picture plane, other than the big black squiggle that seems to dominate the space.

§  What is the rhythm? The grouped lines create rhythm within each group itself, but not really any in the picture as a whole.

§  Is the design balanced?  yes, somewhat.

§  Is it symmetrical, asymmetrical or off balance?  It’s symmetrical in the sense that the plane is divided into two halves, but there is no actual symmetry of repeated elements on each side.  It is off-balance due to the heaviness of the dark figure and the way it encroaches on the light one.

§  What is the focal point of the artwork?  Hard to say.  at first it’s the bright yellow shape, but many of the other shapes vie for attention.  I think the thin line touching the gray shape is a focal point when you begin to look closer
§  How does the artist achieve that emphasis? The yellow space is one of the few pure colored areas, versus the ones that have a misty or cloudy quality.  It is surrounded by a brownish shadow to call further attention to it.

§  Is the message of the artwork clear without a lot of distracting elements?  Have they added only what is needed?  At first it seems like a lot of distracting shapes, but I think they are all necessary to convey the message the painter had in mind, the careful graphic balance of them makes them all necessary to the balanced appearance of the whole. 

§  What story are they telling?  See discussion under lines. 

§  Is the artwork successful?  Yes, extremely.  it draws the viewer in, wanting to know more, understand more, see more.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Round Robin Wrap-up

Remember this round robin Tree of Life that started the rounds at Moonlight Quilters about two years ago?  I got the finished product back earlier this year.  What do you think?  It's not quite what I'd envisioned, but then  I bet no one's was.  There were a few I liked better, but also some that were pretty scary.  I guess I'll bind it and be done, since I've already removed it from the UFO list.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No Right to be Cranky

I just caught myself feeling cranky that my favorite bloggers don't update very regularly, and thought about how long it's been since I posted anythings substantive.  As I'd fully expected, the intensity  of Lisa Call's Working in a Series class, and now the addition of the color class is taking time and mental energy, but it's such good energy!  I've finished my first asignment in the series class, and am very happy with it, and with the class.  Now to learn about oil paints!  I didn't know that the color class was going to involve painting, but now that I've recovered, I'm up for it.  Might be useful in the future.
I also have to be carful when I find myself feeling cranky about not having enough time, that I knowingly willingly, eagerly got into this, now it's up to me to manage my time so I can enjoy it!

More details and photos promised soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

WIS* - Defining My Theme

*Working In a Series
The first week of my Working in a Series workshop with Lisa Call is complete.  I have been eagerly awaiting this and couldn't wait to jump in with both feet.    I had two general ideas for possible themes and was having a very hard time making up my mind.  The choice was between strip piecing a la Nancy Crow and map quilts somewhat a la Valerie Goodwin.  Jillian, my coach, had strongly urged maps, partly because of the potential for entering Sheila Xs' show, and partly because of the more emotional expression that is involved.  I was leaning the other way, and ended up going with the strip piecing.  There were two main reasons.  First, when I understood how narrowly we needed to define the series, I knew I didn't have enough ideas to narrow the maps to where it would be a good working concept.  Second, of the eight class members, two others were doing maps/aerial view ideas.

It seems whenever I think I have something unique to do, there are a dozen or a hundred others doing it.  Why am I always just a day late and a dollar short?!   Not that I have to have the  monopoly on maps, but I don't want to seem like I'm jumping on a bandwagon just when everyone else does.   However, I am also starting to realize that its not the idea, it's the execution that matters.

So I decided on the strip piecing, then with Lisa's help the parameters were narrowed enough to give me a place to start from, and work from.  An overall size, based on the golden rectangle, and a color palette were defined/selected.  I also limited the sizes of strips to be cut, basically to small, medium, and large.  Here is the original palette I selected.  I say original, because about 5-6 more snuck in there when I wasn't looking.

Full Palette
I wanted to make sure that I had a good range of values, but also that the colors would "go" together such that when the series is seen as a whole, there is a sense of cohesion.

Here are some of the images that inspired my series definition:

Paul Klee: Fire Evening

Elin Larimer, Pajama Party IV

Gunta Stolzl, Tapestry

This horrendous thing was my very fast attempt to intuitively create a "maquette" for the series.  I tried to be too intuitive and quick and did NOT in any way intend to put a big green E in the middle of it.  But there you have it.  Fail.   

I just couldn't leave it as it was with the E.  This is not really any better, but it at least doesn't scream at me.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I always feel guilty for posting boring blog posts full of words.  Art blogs without any pictures of art can be pretty boring.  I haven't been doing too much art, though.  I have been doing little catch-up things here  
and there.  

Here are all my little oddballs above the mantle-less mantle.

Here's what collected back on the design wall after I cleared it off last weekend.  The rectangle is my proposed size of works for the Series workshop.  It is a golden rectangle proportion, but it just doesn't look so harmonious to me right now.  I'm hoping it will grow on me.

I finished quilting the Art Deco FFFC piece last weekend, and plan to face it tomorrow.  The intuitive piecing piece is ready for a sandwich and some practice quilting.  The Carol Taylor piece needs more yarn applique around the edges, and then in circles.  The other red, white, blue and black blocks are what I have been doing to practice curved piecing.  I cut enough for sixteen of these babies, and I'm sick of them already.  It takes me about an hour to do each one.  Worth it? 

This picture is the view behind me.  I've used some cute little magnetic clips to hang smaller pieces on the steel column.  I should probably treat that one by Shanna and Barbara with a little more respect, maybe even a frame?

This morning I worked on trying to fashion a 3D petunia bud.  I'm not overly pleased with it.  If Jo will add the fuzzy thread, maybe that will help.

Tonight I worked on a hanging sleeve for the Log Cabins quilt.  
I realized I need to put sleeves on my UFO list, too!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Group Comments

Last night the Grateful Threads had a get together to look at the pink petunia progress (PPP) and talk about our current work.  I can't believe we haven't  met since June and I still didn't have a single thing finished to show.  The moving excuse is getting old!  I am behind on the Petunias now.  Everyone had been saying they didn't start, but then when a meeting got scheduled, work was done. It's starting to be really interesting!   I have not cut out any fabric, but I started identifying which fabrics will go where, and how many values of each fabric, etc.  It was good to see what others had done, now I know I'm generally on the right track and I'm excited to proceed.

There were some interesting discussions too.  One member had just sold one of her major works, through a placement by Allied Arts of Whatcom County.  She's sold a number of other works in the past year as well, which was very exciting to know about.  We talked about selling via art shows versus quilt shows.  Art shows/galleries are so much better for sales of art quilts.  I mentioned that our town has surprisingly few galleries, considering how "arty" we all think we are. Jo suggested that the best options were restaurants and hotels.  Where people might see and buy art work.  In other words finding your own placements.  I was thinking about medical offices - since I had three different appointments last week.  One of my doctors just branched out on her own, and the walls are looking a little bit bare.  It would be fun to put together some available works then send out postcards to medical and dental offices... if I had any available work.

The other interesting discussion was about working in a series. We were discussing Rob Appel, who was the featured speaker at our guild last week.  His current work is the Endangered Species quilts, which are really pretty cool.     Here's one example - you can buy patterns on his website if you are inclined to cut out a lot of really small pieces of fabric:

But he also showed his earlier "Seascapes" quilts, and there are eighteen of them.  And they all look the same....!  He only showed about ten, but still...   they got old really quickly.

So, I don't want to bash Rob, he was a great speaker and he's doing some really cool stuff, and he's donating some of his profits to benefit endangered species. And he was just learning to quilt.  And they are way better than anything I'm learning on.  But the comments that came up last night were, "See, that's what working in a series is like.... boring!  Who wants to do the same thing over and over....?"  This led to more discussions of when it might be interesting to try something again... Jo might be interested in redoing her mountain quilt, and we talked a little bit about how in some cases there are some things that you might like to try again.  But I realized I'm in much more of a minority than I thought.

  After Lisa's lecture I was completely sold on Working in a Series being the only way to develop a career.  I still am. Her comment about taking classes being a distraction was right on for me.  Something sounds good - I sign up - bingo! Another UFO that I have little interest in.  The more I look around at artists and serious art quilters I admire, the blogs I read,  and the people who post on the SAQA list,  people who are serious about this as a career are working in series, or at least developing a clear voice.

When I joined the guild I realized quickly I was pretty far on the left side of the Traditional Quilt - Art Quilt spectrum.  The first quilt I completed was my own design, invented as I went along.  No pattern.  It didn't occur to me that a pattern would really be needed unless you were doing something very complicated.  So  I started to identify more with the "art quilters," going to the more "arty" classes.  I was thrilled when Jo invited me to be part of the G. T., and still am, it's so wonderful to have that interaction, and input and critique... (or it would be if I had something to show them!)  But now I realize with things like Filmstrip, and the Nancy-Crow-esque series I want to do, I'm moving even further over on that spectrum.    I can't imagine what they are going to think if I ever get that monster quilted!