Friday, January 30, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 1/30






Panel #1 - This was my very first try creating feathers two
different ways and playing with the shape of the plumes.
Note the organic versus cookie cutter shape to the plumes.
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Panel #2 - Can you tell that the plumes are
more rounded, less wonky now?
A common sentiment voiced by those of you who generously comment on my blog posts is how you wish you were as organized and/or productive as me. I understand your feelings. I often long to do what I see others doing. Should I be writing books? Seeking more teaching opportunities? Creating more pieces worthy of submitting to Quilt National? Creating more videos? Advancing my surface design skills? And those are just some of my artist longings.

I often debate as to whether I have struck the right balance between my art and my family. I live 400 miles away from my closest relative and over 1,000 miles away from all my other relatives. No matter who I visit or how many visits I make in a year it never feels like I am visiting enough. Am I using the life I have been given wisely? Cheryl Wheeler, a favorite singer songwriter of mine, addresses this very topic in her humorous song, Unworthy. I highly recommend that if you ever have the feeling that you aren't doing enough you listen to her song.

If this gets you thinking about the balancing act of family, health, career and leisure why not make a quilt on the topic. SAQA has an exhibition aptly named Balancing Act that is looking for quilts on this topic. The exhibition will be premier at IQF Houston in October 2015.

Panel # 3 - At this point I can go around corners,
create a feather  wreath by only marking the circle,
fill in triangles and mix up feathers with plumed swirls
for an all over design. The filler design was done
with no marking at all.
My week has been the antithesis of balanced. I woke up Sunday morning and realized that Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci had, as in HAD, to be quilted with feathers. Despite years of practicing my free motion quilting I have done very little practice with feathers and what I have done has been less than satisfactory. I remembered that Angela Walters teaches Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers on Craftsy.com. I signed up for the class then, I spent 100% of my studio time this week doing all ten lessons, each with at least three different variations on the lesson theme. It was worth it. I still struggle occasionally with how to start the first plume of the feather, but now all my plumes are well rounded, I can create them going either up or down the quill, mark feathers, or just do them free form and fill any shape with feathers surrounded by a variety of FMQ fillers.

Panel #4 - The final lessons. Now I can create fancy
corners and central feather motifs for borders. I can
combine feathers and backgrounds to achieve
elegance and texture.

1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Add the label - on hold until I need another label. Otherwise I have to use a full sheet of ink jet printer fabric for just one label.

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

b) Sandwich quilt - Done, but I will probably undo much of it now that I will be marking it for feather placement. Sigh!

c) Start the quilting - Not yet.

3) Free motion quilting practice. - Absolutely - enough for the next month or so. :)

4) Post the number of days I worked in my studio in 2015 - 12.5/126

5) Perform a random act of kindness - Done

Backside of Panel #4
This will be more like how my quilting will look in
Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci. I purposefully used
contrasting thread on the front, so that both you and I
could see what I was doing. The back thread blends
with the fabric so that only the quilting shows - not
the thread.
Next week may be just as unbalanced as this past one. I'm expecting most if not all my studio time will be spent quilting Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci. You never know, though, I may be struck by another brilliant (crazy?) idea and be off and running again. I do have the following game plan to remind me what my intentions are.



1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Add the label - On hold.

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Start the quilting

3) Free motion quilting practice.

4) Post the number of days I have worked in my studio in 2015

5) Perform a random act of kindness

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, January 23, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 1/23

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Last week, after announcing that my Sunset Over Little Lake Butte des Morts had been accepted into Trout Museum of Art's Biennial Member exhibition QuiltedFabricArt asked if I  had ever attended an artist reception. She confused that as an introvert the thought made her uncomfortable. The quick answer is that yes, I have attended my share of artist receptions over the years. I recall being very nervous the first time I attended one. However, the more I go the more comfortable I become. 

Gwyned Trefethen on right, speaking with a couple who
came to the Got Jazz artist reception at the Janet
Carson Gallery in Eau Claire, WI. In the background
is Gwyned's Tickling the Ivories. To the right of Gwyned's
piece is a triptych by Linda Witt Henke.

Here, with a little editing is how I responded to QuiltedFabricArt:

Yes I have been to artist receptions, mostly when I have a piece in the exhibit, but I will also attend local receptions that I am not in particularly if I know an artist who is exhibiting. Since my work is shown nationally and occasionally internationally, my work attends far more receptions than I do. :) I probably go to 6 or so year. This week I attended two different artist receptions. I believe that is a personal record. 

I consider myself an introvert who under the right circumstances can put myself out there. I find it relatively easy to field questions, educate and talk about my work. This is what I do at artist receptions, plus asking other attendees about their work or other logical topics based on our conservation.

Gwyned speak with Jane, whose fiber bookmarks are sold
at the Janet Carson Gallery. Jane is standing in front of
a piece by Casey Puetz. Gwyned is front of a piece by Pat
Kroth. The piece behind Gwyned is by Linda Witt Henke.
Got Jazz is a Fiber Artists Coalition exhibition.
There are several positives to attending artist receptions. The obvious is that it is way to get to ease drop on how other people perceive your work. You have the opportunity to speak to others about your work and theirs. It is a great place to both network and catch up with peers. 

Don't skip artist receptions because you are uncomfortable. If you are completely intimidated you can just view the exhibition. Why not practice by attending artist receptions where you have nothing in the exhibition? Perhaps you could bring a friend or family member along for support. There is no point in having a reception if no one shows. 

The reception in Eau Claire, WI required an overnight stay and several hundred miles of driving. (A big thank you to my husband who accompanied me and did the driving!) I even managed to spend some time in the studio this week, I just don't have the pictures to prove it. You will have to take my word that this is what I did:

1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Prepare the photos for entry: Done!
b) Finishing adding the split sleeve: Done!
c) Add the label: Not yet.
d) Complete and submit to the call for entry: Done!
e) Add Night Vision to my website: Done!

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Finish piecing: Done! 
b) Sandwich quilt: 75% Done.
c) Start the quilting: Not yet.

3) Free motion quilting practice. - Done!

4) Post number of days I worked in the studio in 2015 - 9/126

5) Perform a random act of kindness - Done!

There are no artist receptions scheduled for next week. This means more time in the studio. Yeah!! I could use a nudge to start quilting Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci. This is a tough one to select free motion motifs for. I have some ideas, hopefully I will be able to share them with you next week and along with the rest of my studio to do list:

1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Add the label

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

b) Sandwich quilt
c) Start the quilting

3) Free motion quilting practice.

4) Post the number of days I worked in my studio

5) Perform a random act of kindness


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, January 16, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 1/16

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Detail of in process piecing from Mondrian Tackles
Fibonacci
. Note how I press my seams open. This makes
FMQ much easier. You can also see how I chain piece
the squares if you look between the two rows. 
This is my fourth year participating in SAQA's Visioning Project. The basic premise is that each participant selects her own project to pursue. She breaks the project into steps, determines any hurdles and figures out ways to overcome them. The participants check in with each other on a private blog, where they encourage and advise each other. Last year my project was to complete LifeBook 2014, an on-line mixed media course. This year I have returned to an earlier goal, to put in 126 full studio days in 2015. The biggest hurdle with committing to studio days is treating those days as sacrosanct. Family, friends, and other pursuits easily encroach on this time if you let them. Frankly, sometimes it is just tempting to handle all those interruptions so that they go away. Of course, they never do go away completely. If you do give in and respond to an e-mail, take a call or schedule an event for a previously committed studio day, you can be sure there will be a follow-up e-mail, extra work from the call and heavy cajoling to just do this one more event. If you are craving more time to pursue your interests you can. You just have to treat yourself and your interests as seriously as you do other important people and commitments in your life.

Here is what I managed to achieve by staying committed to my three studio days this week:

Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci  with only one more
square to go. 
1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Finish Facing the quilt - Done
b) Add the split sleeve - Started
c) Take the formal call for entry photos - Done
d) Add the label - Not yet
e) Submit the call - Not yet

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Finish piecing - Nearly there
b) Sandwich quilt - Not yet
c) Start the quilting - Not Yet

Last week's sashiko experiment led to an
exploration of sashiko designs on Pintrest, which led to
a whole bunch of fabulous line drawings, which led
to this attempt at FMQ a leaf surrounded by micro stippling.
3) Free motion quilting practice. - Done!

4) Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts (due January 10, 2015)


a) Submit it for consideration - Done! 

Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts was accepted into the The Trout Museum of Art's Members' Biennial. The exhibit runs from February 6 - April 5. There will be an Artist Reception on opening night, Friday, February 6th from 5 - 7:30 p.m. 

5) Perform a random act of kindness - Done!

Here are my plans for how to spend my studio days next week:


1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Prepare the photos for entry
b) Finishing adding the split sleeve
c) Add the label
d Submit the call
e) Add Night Vision to my website

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Finish piecing 
b) Sandwich quilt
c) Start the quilting

3) Free motion quilting practice.

4) Perform a random act of kindness


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, January 9, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 1/9

The sashiko based free motion
quilting motif was created with
the aid of a marked 0.5" grid
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Life outside of my art has been more demanding and stressful over the past four months. I have noticed that when one part of my life shifts in balance it is essential that I make shifts in the rest of my life to counter balance the new demands. In order to adapt to the new stress I have instinctively returned to the basics with my latest quilt. What a balm to my soul it is to build simple blocks. My advice, when life gets tough it is time to go easy on yourself, not the time to launch into new challenges.

This week has been pure bliss in the studio as I started working on a brand new piece that is just plain fun for me to work on. Of course that isn't all I was doing. Here is what I did and did not get to this week:

1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Finish Facing the quilt - Almost done

I still have plenty of time to finish Night Vision before the deadline. I am treating myself to an hour or so of hand sewing each day versus maniacally pushing my way to the finish line.

b) Add the split sleeve - not yet 
Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci 
c) Take the formal call for entry photos - not yet
d) Add the label - not yet
e) Submit the call - not yet

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Design quilt for Art as Quilt SAQA Regional exhibition - Done
b) Decide on piecing strategy - Done
c) Select fabrics - Done
d) Start piecing - Done

I have returned to the basics with Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci. I have always loved Mondrian's palette and bold squares and rectangles with straight black lines divvying up the canvas. I am just as partial to the Fibonacci series. Why not combine them both in a single piece? While I am at it, why not return to the traditional quilt blocks that I love? What a joy it has been so far piecing this quilt. 

Detail of the sashiko style quilting I am contemplating
for Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci.
3) Free motion quilting practice. - Done

I am currently researching and testing free motion quilting designs that could be used for Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci. Once again I returned to basics and tried out a typical sashiko design. It can be seen as either interlocking circles or four petal flowers.

4) Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts (due January 10, 2015)


a) Add the label - Done
b) Submit it for consideration - Not yet. It will be hand delivered tomorrow.

5) Perform a random act of kindness - Done

I'm really looking forward to my studio days next week as I continue to see Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci unfold. Hopefully, some of my other projects will get done too. Here is the game plan:



1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Finish Facing the quilt
b) Add the split sleeve
c) Take the formal call for entry photos
d) Add the label
e) Submit the call

2) Mondrian Tackles Fibonacci - (Due May 1, 2015)

a) Finish piecing 
b) Sandwich quilt
c) Start the quilting

3) Free motion quilting practice.

4) Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts (due January 10, 2015)


a) Submit it for consideration

5) Perform a random act of kindness


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, January 2, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - 1/02

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Happy New Year!

Lola, my studio supervisor demanded that she make
yet another blog appearance. She is also in the video.
To celebrate the new year I have added a new feature to my blog, a video. I've been wanting to add a monthly video for some time, but was intimidated by having to learn yet more technology in order to do so. When I started facing Night Vision yesterday, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and make a video. I can't be the only person who tries  no fail facing methods only to be disappointed time after time. Between the video and the pictures accompany this blog I have assembled what for me our the trickiest parts of adding facing and the best method for sailing through these parts. The first hurdle is making sure that the facing is only visible from the backside. The solution to that is stay stitching the facing strips 1/8 of an inch inside the seam allowance. Getting crisp AND lump free corners is achieved by trimming the backing and batting away from each corner at a 45 degree angle. Do NOT trim the quilt or the facing. (See Kathleen Loomis's blog for an in depth how to on her technique. Finally, hand sew like a pro, by burying your knots and hiding your stitches. I demonstrate this on my video.

The facing and quilt are folded back to reveal the batting
and backing. The blue triangle delineates the area that
the visible quilt top will cover. When trimming the corner
you want to cut just slightly inside the quilt. This greatly
reduces the bulk and allows for a crisp, lump free corner.


It was a quiet, but industrious week with lots of hand sewing as I started the finish work on two different pieces. I really relish the finish work. I find it one of the most relaxing aspects of making a quilt. That is why I choose to focus my video on how to tie an appliqué knot and the best stitch for hand sewing facings or bindings.

video



1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)
The facing was first seamed to the quilt right sides to
right sides. Next the facing is opened to the outside of
the quilt and pressed. Finally, the facing is stay stitched
in place using an 1/8 inch seam allowance. This
keeps the facing from rolling to the front of the quilt.




a) Face the quilt - Started
b) Add the split sleeve - Not yet
c) Take the formal call for entry photos - Not yet
d) Add the label - Not yet
e) Submit the call - Not yet

2) Free motion quilting practice. - Done!

Another FMQ motif from Lori Kennedy of Inbox Jaunt.
Not my best effort. I find midsize and large size free motion
quilting much more difficult than small size. This
is approximately 3" high.

3) Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts (due December 31, 2014)

Sunrise Over Little Lake Butte des Morts
Detail from Sunrise Over Little Lake Butte des Morts

a) Finish the quilting - Done
c) Do the finish work - Just needs the label
d) Submit it for consideration - Not yet

4) Perform a random act of kindness - Done

We are head towards are coldest week so far this winter. Sunday night will be -13F or -25C . Perfect weather to hunker down and do some quilting. Here are my plans:


1) Night Vision - (Due January 31, 2015)

a) Finish Facing the quilt
b) Add the split sleeve
c) Take the formal call for entry photos
d) Add the label
e) Submit the call

2) Free motion quilting practice.

3) Sunrise over Little Lake Butte des Morts (due January 8, 2015)

a) Add the label
b) Submit it for consideration

4) Perform a random act of kindness

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.