Friday, September 29, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 09/29



Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Forest Flora
One of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes is, "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." Although I write about the practice of my work, the reality is I have tendency to whitewash it, and what is shared comes closer to theory than practice. I can procrastinate with the best of the procrastinators, finding all sorts of more appealing things to do than facing up to a task that needs doing. One such task that has weighed me down for years is what to do with the mountain of artwork I have accumulated from more than 30 years of creating fiber art.

I know I am not alone struggling with the dilemma of too much work and too few people to pass it on to. Some people put their work on E-Bay or Etsy. Others have reached heights in their careers (not me) where museums might be willing to accept a few a pieces, especially if those pieces fill a gap in their collection. I have heard of quilt artists who pass their less satisfactory work onto animal shelters for bedding. There is always Goodwill or similar style charitable organizations. Nothing felt like the right fit for me. So, I procrastinated, and watched what others did, and procrastinated some more. 

Detail of fiddlehead fern and mushrooms
I am pleased to announce, I have found an organization, possibly two, willing to take any work I am willing to give them. The first is Habitat for Humanity. If you are from the US you know what this organization does. I've been tempted over the years to help them build houses, but have little interest in doing the basic carpentry required of their volunteers. However, I can brighten their new homes, and office with my work. They agreed. I am hoping Harbor House will be just as happy to receive my work. They are a safe haven for women and children of domestic abuse in the city where I live. 

Now that I have a solution for what to do with my work, I can create more, knowing I can always find a home for it. This is why I went to the studio and worked on the following with a glad step:

1) Work on Experiment in Equilaterals: - Done!

I am working on renaming this piece, perhaps it will be Forest Flora. I've had lots of fun free motion quilting mushrooms, imaginary ferns, and am in the process of filling in the voids with fallen leaves. 

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4 - not yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

I'm getting a feeling for how to intertwine fallen leaves and fill in those pesky gaps.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

I will be away from the studio next week. When I return I plan on attending to the following:


1) Work on Forest Flora

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4

3) Pot(s) made this week


4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 09/22


Experiment in Equilaterals is the current
project under my needle.
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Hillary Clinton has been on a recent publicity tour promoting her book, What Happened. No surprise, a common interview question is, "Did you see the loss coming?" This is quickly followed up by, "How have you coped?" The answer to the first question is an emphatic, NO! What has surprised me is what Clinton turned to as coping strategies. She took lots of walks with her dog, cleaned her closets, and did alternate nostril breathing. 

My tip is to follow Clinton's lead. I admit, they are my coping strategies, too. I don't have dogs, but I do begin my day with exercise. The current regime is biking in the National Bike Challenge. I have logged over 1,600 miles this season. I have been doing a substantial purge of items around the house and in the studio, which no longer suit me, or I haven't used in 7 or more years. Then there is alternate nostril breathing. It is different from a cleansing breath. The point is to quiet the mind and restore balance. It is very easy to do. Here is a link, which covers why engage in alternate nostril breathing and how to do it. 

You don't need to loose a very public election to feel stress. Creating art, for all the joy it brings, can be stressful. It can also be stressful to find the right balance between creating art and attending to the rest of a full, busy life. Yes, my life has been both full and busy this week. Still, I found the time to:

1) Work on Experiment in Equilaterals - Done!
Close up of the quilting progress on
Experiment in Equilaterals.

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4 - Not yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

If tossing possessions and creations out of the house can count, I have been making pots. Each choice to remove something, is a decision. The more decisions I make, hopefully, the easier it comes to make these decisions. Just as the more pots made, the more instinctual one becomes at making them.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

I did lots, and lots, of free motion quilting on Experiment in Equilaterals

Next week will likely be more of the same, which is why my plan for the week rarely varies as you can see:

1) Work on Experiment in Equilaterals

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 09/15

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Scraps from creating
Experiment in Equilaterals
are used to build a sample
block to test quilting motifs
and determine how a one
of the likely thread choices
will read on the fabric.
One of the most difficult aspects of creating new work, for me, is overcoming fear. How scary can making fiber art really be? It isn't like dealing with a debilitating illness, a natural disaster, or living in a war torn country. Still, it can feel paralyzing to take that next which may be pure genius, but could also be a complete, possibly irreparable disaster. It feels like choosing to dive off a cliff into a lagoon many feet below. What if I don't leap out far enough? What if the lagoon is too shallow or there are hidden rocks below? Is that momentary thrill of sailing through the air to the water below really worth it? The wise person will use due diligence. Have other people made the dive safely? How far is the actually distance? She will check out the lagoon first for hidden hazards. There comes a time when everything which can be checked has been checked, but fear remains. There are several choices. One is to chicken out and not go through with the dive even if it appears safe. Another is to have faith in yourself and make the plunge.

This week I have been standing on the edge of the cliff. I looked over to the lagoon below. I have taken measurements. I have checked for hazards hidden in the water. After days of circling, hemming and hawing, I have taken the plunge. I started quilting Experiment in Equilaterals

Here is what a week of peering over the cliff looks like:

1) Work on Experiment in Equilaterals - Done!

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4 - Not yet

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

I took the scraps from cutting the triangles for Experiment in Equilaterals and created a mini block to test out some quilting motifs I had in mind. The first potting session was creating equilateral triangles from the half triangles left over and seaming them together. Next up was drawing multiple pages of potential free motion quilting possibilities. Then trying my favorites on the scrap block. I'm still not sure how to do the filler around the fiddlehead ferns, but I do like my artistic rendering of fiddleheads. I liked it enough to begin the process of quilting Experiment in Equilaterals.

I used Golden Threads Quilting Paper to
line up the best location for mushrooms
and fiddlehead ferns to be quilted.
Once these have been stitched, the paper will
be torn away, and I will fill in around them.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

Fortunately, pushing through my fear to start quilting Experiment in Equilaterals means I know precisely where I will begin working next week. I might do other things as well. Here is what is on the docket:



1) Work on Experiment in Equilaterals

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4

3) Pot(s) made this week


4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 09/08

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

I am fortunate to have a husband who photographs my work for this blog and my website. He tends to photograph my work with a horizontal orientation as opposed to a vertical orientation, since with our camera and light set up this gets the best even exposure. If the piece is to be displayed vertically all that is necessary is to rotate the photograph by 90 degrees. I had envisioned Experimenting with Equilaterals as having a portrait orientation, that is until I saw this morning's batch of photographs with the piece in landscape orientation. Wow! I like this so much better. Just to add to the thrills, my plans for how to quilt it is better suited to a landscape orientation. Don't you love it when everything comes together?

Experimenting with Equilaterals
Well almost everything. My hours in the studio were dramatically curtailed this week. Here is what I did manage:

1) Work on Experimenting with Equilaterals - Done!

I finished seaming and pressing the piece.

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4 - Not Yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done

Piecing equilateral triangles together isn't as straightforward as piecing half square triangles, squares and rectangles. I got lots of practice in. I even discovered that seamed equilateral triangles have direction and it is easy to inadvertently get the piecing going in the wrong direction. Sigh! 

4) Free motion quilting practice - Not this week.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what will happen when I overlay Experimenting with Equilaterals with the quilting motifs I've been exploring with pencil and paper. So, that will be one thing I will focus on next week. If there is more time I have my list ready.

1) Work on Experimenting with Equilaterals

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4

3) Pot(s) made this week


4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 09/02

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Last week I spoke about a trend I see with some artists to simplify their work over time and how I find myself on the same trajectory. The thoughts I share on my blog tend to be about what captured me when I sit down to write and once on the page they are done and I am on to next idea. So, it was quite a surprise to check out what I had written and realize the thought had lingered when I started working on my next project three days later.

Equilateral Experiment
The left two columns are pieced.
Everything else is laid out ready
to piece next week.
My entry point to the piece was hexagons. I have been enamored with hexagons since my junior high days. I recall doodling linked hexagons in the margin of my notebooks. At some point I thought they could be used to build a modular playground. Of course at age 13 that thought went no further. I believe two of the bathrooms we remodeled in our last home included small hexagon shots between larger square tiles with their corners nipped off. I've done some English Paper Piecing, and although I enjoy the process, it is rarely suited to my design. I admit, I love, LOVE, precision piecing. It is when I am in my element. Unfortunately, hexagons and precision piecing are at opposite ends of the comfortable piecing spectrum. If you break the hexagon into equilateral triangles you have an easy to do compromise. 

My current work in progress uses equilateral triangles exclusively. The color scheme is monochromatic. The lines and shape are clear and dramatic. An excellent first step at working towards a simpler aesthetic.


I'm really appreciating my efforts to simplify my art and my life. I feel like a cat dozing in a ray of sunshine, only cracking open an eye wide enough to note a marauding chipmunk scurry across the lawn. My goal is to continue this way by limiting my plans to the following: 

1) Work on Equilateral Experiment

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 08/25

Art collected by Edward Albee
to be sold by Sotheby's
I have been pondering simplicity and simple pleasure's this week. In one of those moments of serendipity the image of art in Edward Albee's New York City apartment was the lead  story in ArtDaily.org this morning. (If you want to see what is happening in the art world globally from exhibitions, auctions, archaeological digs through new museum appointments I highly recommend you subscribe.) The more I immerse myself in art and spend time deeply observing work that I connect with, the more I find myself leaning toward the power of simplicity. 

The trajectory of Picasso's work fascinates me. It is hard to believe that at age 15 he could paint such a sophisticated self portrait and by 68 he could command your attention with a few simple lines and only a few colors. 

Self portrait by Picasso at age 15

  
Picasso's Bouquet of Peace painted 53 years later at age 68
Back of Picking Up the Pieces #4
I enjoy the simple pleasure of searching through
my stash to choose something unexpected, yet
fitting to face the back or use for a sleeve.
Picasso isn't the only artist to evolve in this way. I have observed many other artists who moved from complex images to simple shapes and lines. As I ponder what to work on next, I realize, after 30 years of making art, I too am pondering ways to capture the suggestion of a shape and the flow of a line. 

This is where my mind drifted as I relished time spent, in the solitude of my studio, in a puddle of sunshine, stitching down the facing of Picking Up the Pieces #4.

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 07/28



My cat knitted knocker still needs a bit
more work to bring it to life. Must be why
Lola is more interested in playing with the
knitting needle.
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques

The most common question I get asked when someone first learns I am an artist, whose medium is quilting, is "How long does it take you to make a quilt?" I've answered that in a previous post. Today, I would like to focus on a typical comment when the topic of my quilting comes up, it is "I've always wanted to make a quilt, but I don't have the time/patience to make one." Does this imply, since I have made several 100 quilts, that I have more time or patience than the person making the comment? Maybe. It certainly has me question whether I have more patience than others. I know I don't have more time. We are all gifted with the same 24 hours a day. The difference is how we choose to use that time. I believe I make the time for two reasons. The first is because I need a creative outlet and have discovered quilting is a natural, essential fit for me. The second is attitude. I am a firm believer in the Tao maxim, "A Journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step." I find if I focus on the first step, and each step to follow as it arrives, I don't get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task before me. 


Picking Up the Pieces #4
The quilting is officially done.
My attitude of taking one step at time has resulted in several milestones being reached this week as you can see:


1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4 - Done!

The first milestone was finishing quilting Picking Up the Pieces #4. 

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3 - Not yet, but...

Milestone number 2 is I finally started sewing the facing for Picking Up the Pieces #1.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

Iris Fine Yarns, our local yarn shop in Appleton, Wisconsin, which has partnered with Knitted Knockers of the Fox Cities, is sponsoring a competition for art knockers. These knitted knockers will be put on display throughout the shop as a way to market the project. I'm intimidated by the very idea of making sculpture. I consider myself little more than a beginning knitter. However, I have made enough knitted knockers (pots) by now to have the pattern memorized and understand how the increases, decreases, and iCord come together to create a knocker. All those knockers made gave me the confidence to try my hand at an art knocker. Of course, the artist in me couldn't resist altering the pattern. By judiciously adding extra increase, decrease and iCord rows, I was able to create a neck, body and tail to form a cat knitted knocker. This is milestone number 3, my first self-altered knitting pattern and sculptural piece. 
Picking Up the Pieces #4 detail

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

I completed my own thousand mile journey. As of this morning I have biked 1,004 miles in the 2017 National Bike Challenge

Although, I will be taking a two week blog vacation, the journeys won't stop. There will be more quilting, knitting and biking in the weeks to come. Here are a few of the journeys I plan on continuing:


1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice


I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.