Friday, January 22, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 01/22

Deep Waters will finish at
19" x 38"
I plan to add my more quilted
and/or thread-painted white caps.
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Sometimes saying no is saying yes. I think of myself as someone who is good at saying no, while wisely saying yes to opportunities that I feel have a strong shot at advancing my art and my art career. The difficulty of saying no, even to things that you have little interest in doing, is often the fear of being disliked or being seen as not pulling your weight. Who wants to be disliked or seen as shirker? Oh, the advantages of maturity, because the older I get the more I find myself chuckling over Rhett Butler telling Scarlet O'Hara, "Frankly dear, I don't give a damn." It was shocking language for the time - saying damn in a film just wasn't done.  It is still a little shocking to not give a damn about how one is perceived. I find myself at a point where when I say no, I do it with confidence. Life is too short, especially as the amount of life I have remaining is less than the life I have already lived, to give a damn about how I am perceived.
Isn't sun yellow luscious? I can never find the
bright yellows I need in commercial fabrics.
Now I can dye my own.

This week I was open to saying no. I did say say no. It was to an opportunity to lecture. In the past I would have made it happen. This time I knew it just wasn't worth cramming one more thing into my already abundant life. By saying no, I was saying yes to the choices I had already made. I felt empowered. 
The horizontal fabric in each color sequence is the one
done that involves constant stirring. The goal is to
achieve a solid fabric versus the more typical
mottled look customary with hand dyed fabrics.

Because I said no, I had time to work in the studio and do my dyeing lesson for the week. Here is how it went:

1) Work on Sea Fever, now renamed Deep Waters - (Due March 15)
- Done!
I also said no to the sea foam I have been working on. I love the foam, just don't like it for how the piece is coming together. The scale was completely off. Sigh. Perhaps it will work its way into a future piece. This piece is clearly a lake and not an ocean. It needs white caps, not sea foam.

2) Free motion quilting practice. - Done!

I'm not sure why the turquoise in the four vertical fabrics
didn't mottle more. I was disappointed. Still I ended
up with stunning, sunglass worthy turquoise to add
to my stash.
I decided to give Jenny Lyons's perfect quilt sandwich a try when quilting Deep Waters. I still don't have the spray she recommended for stiffening fabric, but spray starch works well enough for me. You have got to love a system that requires no pins or basting. Once the sandwich was fused together with Mistyfuse I was good to go.

3) Do some surface design work - Done!

The class I am taking, Basic Dyeing for Quiltmakers, makes sure that I do some surface design work every week. This time we focused on dyeing sun yellow, fuchsia and turquoise, the colors dyers use for the 3 basic primary colors. The method used was Deep Water Bucket Dyeing.  It is perhaps the most labor intense as you must stir the fabric for a total of 75 minutes. The result, when done correctly is a solid color versus the more mottled effect one achieves but letting the fabric sit in the dye. Only the darkest color of a gradation was done this way.

4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open. - Done!
A tiny detail from Deep Waters shows my
thread-painted vegetation and white caps.
I used two different variegated green
threads in the vegetation. I wanted to achieve
a sens of light and shadow.

It was clear that I was shutting down every time I thought of entering the studio and facing Sea Fever. It wasn't coming together. The sea foam just wasn't right. When I allowed myself to be open to changing from ocean to lake and scrapping the sea foam, I could feel myself opening up and the excitement about where the piece was heading switching from dread to Wow! 

It is going to be a busy week of dyeing (we are filling in the color wheel) and adding whitecaps to the lake in Deep Waters. I wonder what adventures I will be open to. I find that I can be at my most flexible when I have a plan. It is my way of priming the pump. Here is what I plan on doing, but I am opening to other possibilities as well.

1) Work on Deep Waters - (Due March 15)

2) Free motion quilting practice.

3 Do some surface design work

4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open.

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. The really subtle shifts in the blue and blue green in Deep Waters really draw you in. Thanks for showing the detail of the vegetation!

  2. Learning to dye my own fabric was one of the best things I ever did! I'm so glad you are also finding out how wonderful it is.

  3. I love Deep Waters and understand your letting go of Sea Foam....I am sure it will show up in another piece! Ever onward with the dyeing.....I love the way your turquoise turned out!

  4. I'm glad you showed the detail, it made me go back and look again at the piece. Looking forward to seeing it with white caps.

  5. To bad about sea foam , I only saw a small piece - the good part I guess cause what I saw was great but if it's not going the way of your vision then good for you to have the ability to know when to call it quilts and chalk it up to a learning piece.

  6. Deep Waters is really coming together! Beautiful. The detail shows just how beautiful the thread work is.

  7. Deep Waters is beyond excellent....I just love it!!!

  8. Hello Gwyned,

    Well that was a dramatic rethinking of your sea, turning it into a lake. The colour is gorgeous - so calm and summery. I can only imagine the foam reappearing in a furious storm scene.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv