Friday, May 20, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 05/20

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

The quilting on Sunrise Abstraction
is done. If you click on the image
it should enlarge to a point where the
quilting is more obvious.
Technically there is one more lesson to go in the online course I'm taking called Art on the iPad, taught by Susie Monday. However, the experiment, play and assignment type classes are done. Several people have asked about the apps I have been using in class. This seems like a good time to share the ones that I return to and/or enjoy the most.

Sketches II Pro is the one I like to use for drawing, especially since it allows for layers. This means I can start with my own photograph on one layer, and draw an outline on another layer, and perhaps create a watercolor wash on a still another. It also has quite a few different adjustable drawing tools from calligraphy pens to paintbrushes. The colors are limitless, although you start with a basic palette of approximately 20 colors. The one downside, is that it is less intuitive simply because there are so many options AND some of the key adjustment/navigation tools are hidden.

Pixlr is one of those apps where you can run an image through a series of algorithms that change the image, perhaps giving it a totally new palette, reducing the image to pixels or abstracting it. There are two different ways to create collages. Pixlr allows the image to be saved as .png (versus .jpg). Why is this important? It is important because .pngs save images in a vector format and that way when an image is enlarged or reduced it doesn't get distorted. It also requires more .ppi (pixels per inch on a screen) which is similar to .dpi (dots per inch when printed).
This is Pansy Abstraction with the quilting done
and the facing turned to back in preparation for
hand stitching. 

This week the lesson turned to printing what we created. In the US, Spoonflower is the service that comes up with the most frequency as where to go to have your design printed on fabric. You can also sell your fabrics to others through Spoonflower. Since I had already purchased some of Leah Day's fabric through Spoonflower with success, I felt comfortable using them to print my fabric. Even better they are connected with PicMonkey, yet another software program to run my image through. Which is precisely what I did this week.

If you follow my posts you know I did more than my iPad lesson. Here is how the week went:

1) Work on Sunrise Abstraction - Done!

The free motion quilting is done! Next up will be the finish work.

2) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

This sky was painted using Sketches Pro 2 with
just my finger on the iPad.
Between finishing Sunrise Abstraction and Pansy Abstraction (detecting a theme?) I got plenty of free motion quilting practice in.

3) Do some surface design work - Done!

I used Sketches II Pro to create a watercolor sunrise sky wash. I enlarged the .dpi through Photoshop Elements so that it would be large enough for printing. Then I used PicMonkey to modify the color and add the trees and branches. Now I just have to be patient while Spoonflower prints the results. The plan is to create a whole cloth quilt and perhaps embellish it with some thread painting or hand embroidery.

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

It is easy for me to shut down when faced with mechanical repairs, even simple ones. So, when I was biking solo and the chain popped off while I was downshifting, my first thought was, "looks like I am walking home". I was 4 miles from our home. It would be so, so much easier to bike than walk the distance. I took a few deep calming breathes, examining the gears and other related parts and getting over just how disgustingly greasy and dirty the chain was, but I did it. Took only a few minutes and I was back biking!

This is the same sky after I used PicMonkey
to alter the palette and added some trees
and cherry blossom boughs. I have ordered this
printed on cotton from Spoonflower.
It will be a few weeks before I will post again. When I return the plan is to continue as I have been by doing the following:

1) Work on Sunrise Abstraction

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.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - May 13

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

This is a workflow collage of the steps
I took from an original photo of pansies
to the graphic image I transferred to
fabric in order to quilt it.
I've been on a tear this week. You might even say obsessed. That is the way it is sometimes when I am creating something that I need (said in a teenage, long drawn out vowel as in neeeeeeed) to see the finished product. It also helps that the piece I was working on has no clear exhibition path at the moment. In other words, I am making it for the shear joy of creating. Of course this obsession has a good chance of getting me in trouble down the road. Why? Because I set aside my plans, plans made with deadlines and purpose and instead focused 100% of my attention elsewhere.

Fortunately, several of the items on my list were accomplished as part of the obsessive momentum, as you can see:

Here is the metamorphosised pansy image before it is quilted.
1) Work on Sunrise Abstraction - Not so much as a nano second

2) Free motion quilting practice - Done! 

Stitching adds texture and detail. Click on the image
in order to get an enlarged view.
Definitely click on this image, the backside, in order
to see just how obsessed I was with the FMQ.
This week's Art on the iPad assignment focused on creating a series of images and artwork that built on the prior image and/or artwork. Adapting images through various apps on the iPad is relatively fast. I am even getting good at bring images from one app into another and sending images to my various devices. In other words lack of technological know how is no longer  the issue it was when I started this journey five weeks ago. Phew! However, translating an image to fabric and that fabric image to art - well that takes time. My choice was to enhance the image with stitch. The piece measures 11" H x 16". You would think it wouldn't take that long to free motion quilt. However, since I am using many different threads and multiple patterns, it is turning out to take far more time than anticipated. All those thread ends need to be buried. I spent 1 1/2 hours doing that yesterday. I still have a few more sections to quilt. I do plan on leaving some areas open (not quilted) because I love the bas relief effect.
3) Do some surface design work - Done!

This week I experimented with three more apps that were introduced in Art on the iPad. These apps focus on creating patterns, such as kaleidoscope effects. If anyone knows of a good app for creating tessellations, particularly one that could be used in fabric as a repeat, please share them with me.
4) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open. - Done!

The National Bike Challenge started up again on May 1st. This is my fourth year as a participant. Last year I went all out, by riding 3,000 miles between May 1st and September 30th. The reality of the challenge is that the advantage goes to the riders who ride frequently versus are weekend warriors who ride one or two days per week, but go great distances. It is so, so easy to look at the weather and the demands on my life and want to skip a day. This week has been particularly challenging with rain on and off most days and winds. The winds where I live can be a steady 8 - 10 mph most days and then have gusts in the 20's and 30's. It is tempting to stay inside. So, far I have ridden every single day of the challenge. I will be heading out again shortly after I publish this post.

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, May 6, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 05/06

Seasonal Palette, an all SAQA Exhibition at Taiwan International Quilt Expo.
Photo by Betty Busby
Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Deconstructed Sunrise is included
in My Corner of the World. This
all SAQA exhibition opens at the
Stratford Perth Museum in Stratford,
Ontario on May 21, 2016.
I have heard from several of my art quilt peers who have work in the Taiwan International Quilt Exhibition. Some are even fortunate enough to attend. This morning Betty Busby sent SAQA's Exhibition Committee a photo she took of SAQA's exhibition Seasonal Palette. This exhibit opened at IQF in 2012 and still has one more contracted venue after Taiwan at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. No, I don't have work in this exhibition. I did enter, just wasn't juried in, sigh. However, I am fortunate enough to be in two of SAQA's exhibitions that open in 2016. The first is My Corner of the World, that along with its companion exhibition My Corner of the World - Canada opens at the Stratford Perth Museum in Stratford, Ontario on May 21, 2016. Both exhibitions have the same theme. The first was open to all SAQA members (over 3,400 from around the world) and the latter was open only to Canadian members. I also had a piece selected for SAQA's exhibition Tranquility, that will open at IQF - Houston in October 2016. 

I am one of SAQA's many, many volunteers that make the organization the powerhouse that it is. In February of 2015 I took on the role of SAQA Exhibition Committee Chair. This has me managing a committee of 17 incredible volunteers, staff and Board members who are the backbone of SAQA exhibitions. A question we get asked is why should I enter a SAQA exhibition if it means that if I am accepted my work will be unavailable to me for 2, 3 even 4 years? My response, "For a $40 entry fee your work could tour the world and you don't have to handle any of the travel arrangements or paperwork. What a bargain! What a CV builder." 

Adoration is one of 26 art quilts selected for SAQA's
exhibition, Tranquility. It opens at IQF - Houston
in October 2016.
Why do I take on this responsibility, which frankly is a major time drain, time that I could be spending in my studio? It is because I feel so grateful to everyone that has come before me and will come after me that have done the hard work while I reap the benefits. This is my way of paying it forward.

This week the Exhibition Committee required more of my time than some other weeks. I did a bit of this and a bit of that, just not as much as I might have wished to do. I made progress, as you can see:

1)  Finish Reflection #2  - Attach the label - Done!

2) Work on Sunrise Abstraction - Done!

I continued to free motion quilt the water section of the piece. I had hoped to finish the quilting phase this week. It just wasn't meant to be.

3) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

There is nothing like having a large quilt requiring quilting to keep my free motion quilting muscle memory trained.

4) Do some surface design work - Done!

If you follow my blog than you know, Lola, my studio
cat. This is an example of what happens when I start
with a photo and run it through multiple iPad apps, that
simplify, morph, change the palette and allow for text.
Technically this was a break week during my Art on the iPad class. However, we were encourage to develop a comfort level with the two apps introduced last week, by spending an hour a day playing. I didn't manage to work on the iPad daily, but I did have fun metamorphosizing doodles and photos to a point where they became a brand new image.

5) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open - Done!

Sometimes my opinion is solicited about a new direction or project that SAQA Exhibitions might want to explore. It is so easy to see why these ideas may not work (finances, sell to the membership and more). I have to remind myself to stay open and not close down an idea just because the pitfalls are obvious. Instead I have learned to stay open to the possibilities and work collaboratively to overcome the hurdles. Such was the case this week. A new concept has been raised. I agreed to consider it. I didn't reject it outright, tempting as it was. What will happen? Who knows? At least I remained open.

I am ready to put the pedal to metal on my George and finish up the free motion quilting on Sunrise Abstraction. I am eager to get to the finishing stage, when the quilt is blocked and trimmed and faced. This is when the piece comes alive for me. Hopefully, my impatience will drive me into the studio so that I can attend to the following next week:

1) Work on Sunrise Abstraction

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.