Friday, January 24, 2014

Weekly in Review 2014 - 1/24

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:
The best of the bunch from a series
of lessons directed by Carla
Sonheim as part of Life Book 2014.

I have been thinking a lot about facing one's demons. Some days I am better at it than others. I have been dancing around what to do about my Got Jazz quilt for months. It feels like that scene from The Cat in the Hat where every fix to remove the red spot just makes it worse. Not only do I dislike the piece more and more, but the dislike seems to be permeating into my ability to derive satisfaction from my other work as well. Everything feels like a struggle. That is why I so love Carla Sonheim's attitude and exercises. Carla is a mixed media artist who teaches both on-line and off and has written several books, including Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists that I highly recommend. Carla was our host artist for last week's lesson as part of Life Book 2014. The drawing assignments starting in the upper left corner and moving clockwise were to:

1) Draw an everyday object using your non-dominant hand;
2) Draw a giraffe with a single line;
3) Create an imaginary flower from two pieces of patterned paper and a black pen; and
4) Make a blob of paint, then look for an animal in the blob and bring it to life. Just looking at my elephant practicing yoga brings a smile to my face.

Between a quick, but fruitful trip to visit my family back east and my frustration about what to do about my Jazz quilt, it feels like a miracle that I accomplished as much as I did these past two weeks. Here is how my studio time was used:

1) Take Three - Decide whether the piece is finished, if it needs something else to bring it to life or whether I should scrap it and start over. - Done!

This is moving to the hidden land of WIPs. It is just too distressing for me to look at. Instead I am playing with a totally new concept in my head. 

2) Express Your Love II - Leah Day project.

a) Continue piecing the arms from hexagons. - I have approximately 2/3 of the hexagons pieced for this segment.

b) Baste the face, torso and arms to the quilt. 

3) Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Lesson - Done!

Yippee! Leah has returned to adding a weekly video lesson with a new free motion quilting design. This one is called Earth Flower. 

Earth Flower - a Leah Day design with a few
Gwyned Trefethen tweaks.

I had fun playing with Leah Day's Earth Flower motif. Leah opted to create a spider web in the middle of her flower. I went for more of a sunflower seed look. Also Leah left the space between her petals open. I wanted to add a filler and selected a simple micro stipple. I did the whole thing without breaking the thread and very little travel stitching. This is the perfect project to get me out of a funk. I am so, so grateful that Leah has decided to share weekly free motion quilting motifs again.

Life Book 2014 lesson taught by
Kelly Hoernig.

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments. - 2/3 done. I did the first half of the lesson from the week before taught by Carla Sonheim. I couldn't do the second part because I needed to buy supplies in order to accomplish it. Kelly Hoernig's lesson was one that involved layer upon layer of collage. This forced to me to face one of my personal challenges with mixed media - I have an aversion to touching anything wet. It is why I shy away from most surface design techniques and love piecing and stitching - no mess, limited clean-up and no creepy, crawly feeling by touching something wet or worse, wet and slimy. The point behind the lesson was to combine three favorite things. I choose leaves, feathers and glitter. 

Tumbling Blocks I
5) Tumbling Blocks I 

a) Finish cutting out the blocks. - Almost. You can see how much progress I made. 

b) Work out the final layout of the blocks. - Done. I tried several layouts. Since this will hang in baby's nursery I went for a simple but eye catching symmetrical design.

c) Cut out the background pieces. - Not yet.

Now that I don't have the Jazz Trio quilt hanging over my head, I am eager to attack my work next week. I won't get it all done, but I do have a plan and here it is:

1) Got Jazz 

a) Select the fabrics
b) Plan out the basics of the quilt
c) Start the quilt

2) Express Your Love II - Leah Day project.

a) Continue piecing the arms from hexagons.
b) Baste the face, torso and arms to the quilt.

3) Do Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting lesson.

4) LifeBook 2014 - Do the assignments.

5) Tumbling Blocks I 

a) Finish cutting out the blocks.
b) Cut out the background pieces.
c) Start piecing the quilt.

6) Little Lake Butte des Morts in Fall - a commissioned quilt

a) Draft the contract
b) Select the fabric
c) Start piecing the quilt

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


  1. Love your Carla Sonheim exercises. Especially your elephant. My art group does one at the start of our meetings. We are really enjoying them.

  2. Glad I found your blog, Gwyned! I have been missing you in Vision Project. Your weekly list is truly amazing to me.