Friday, December 29, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 12/29

Changing of the Guard
Tips, Thoughts, and Techniques:

2017 is coming to a close and 2018 is looming on the horizon, open to possibilities. It is a time of reflection. It is a time of eager anticipation about the future. On December 31st, Dana (my husband) and I officially retire. He is leaving a career in R&D spanning 43 years with the same company. I am leaving my role as SAQA's Exhibition Committee Chair, a post I have held for three years. It has been bittersweet as we say our goodbyes and words of thanks for those who have worked beside us. This isn't all we are leaving behind. We have an agreement to buy a home in Cohasset, Massachusetts and will soon put our Appleton, Wisconsin condo on the market. Yes, we did make sure there was a place for my studio. :) 
The sky is quilted with clouds.

It is clear 2018 will be a year of transition and adjustment for us. How will this impact my studio time? So far, quite positively. I've actually had far more time in my studio this past week, than I have had in years. In fact I nearly completed Changing of the Guard in a single month, from germ of an idea through completion. If we didn't have such a busy weekend planned, I would be tempted to push ahead and finish on December 31st, just to say I did it.
The water is quilted with ripples.

Each year around this time I set a focus or intention for the year. In 2017 it was about making pots. In 2018, my plan is to stay open, not rush to conclusions, or do things the same way, simply because that is how it has always been done. I want to continue to questions rules. Why are they there? What purpose do they serve? Would another approach be better? Part of being open is being gentle on myself, accepting the natural fear that comes with change, while pushing forward anyway.

What are your plans for 2018?

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, December 22, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 12/22

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

My year devoted to making pots is coming to a conclusion. Here is what I said at the start: 
I've finished piecing
Changing of the Guard.
Next up is deciding how to
quilt/stitch it to the batting
and backing.

2017 will be a year of pot making for me. No, I am not switching mediums to become a ceramist. Nor will I be making fabric vessels. Instead I will be following the recommendation of the allegory shared in Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, on the importance of focusing on quantity over quality.

For me pot making is as much about experimenting, trying different approaches to the same project, as it is about making quantity. Today, I thought I would share this process through pictures.

... and the sunrise reflected
in the water. 
There are distinct sections, such
as the moon...
There is also the sky, or background to consider.
Rather than experiment on the quilt, I take
the time to make a smaller quilt sandwich
to play with. Often I have leftover
pieces or blocks to do this. Not this time.
So, I opted for one of the mid range
turquoise fabrics and a compatible
orange, yellow blend.

I played with different filler ideas. Should
I echo the background geometric feel
with diagonal lines? Perhaps create the sense
of blowing wind and clouds?

What color thread should I use? White,
turquoise? What would happen if I
combined different colors of thread, such
as white as the top thread, and turquoise
in the bobbin, or vice versa?
Should I go with only the clouds?
Finally, it was time to start stitching.
I began by outlining the sunrise and
its reflection with a button hole stitch.
This has the advantage of anchoring
that portion of the quilt to its backing.
I will be adding diagonal "rays" next.

Isn't this a great project to work on during the darkest time of the year? I find sunrises make for such happy, optimistic palettes. Wishing you a holiday filled with light.

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, December 8, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 12/08

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:
Sunrise Abstraction 2017

It is important to work in a series. Is it? Really? If so, what constitutes a series? This maxim, stated as unequivocal fact by many has haunted me for years. For someone who is rule driven by inclination, my art is one of the few places where I do what I want and not what I think I should be doing. 

There are very brief times when I work in a series. I am much more likely to flit from idea to idea or technique to technique, to whatever feels compelling at the moment. I do return to certain themes and techniques. Rather than a clear linear trajectory of work, I would say my work, if graphed would look more like a spider web, with connecting spokes and ever expanding categories of work. 

This week's obsession is Sunrise Abstraction 2017. I have made half a dozen other works featuring sunrises over the past few years. The construction methods, palette, and techniques used are varied. This one features a palette I have nicknamed HoJo's. For those of you reading who are younger than me and/or leave outside the US, HoJo's is shorthand for a chain of restaurants called Howard Johnson's. They were easily recognizable by their orange roofs with turquoise spires . 
The moon block from
Sunrise Abstraction 2017

Next week's obsession is likely to remain Sunrise Abstraction 2017. If I get a hankering to do something else, I have a few other studio projects to turn my attention to:

1) Finish piecing Sunrise Abstraction 2017

2) Finish WIPs (Works in Progress)

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, December 1, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 12/01

Sunrise Abstraction 2017
My latest obsession 
Tips, Thoughts, and Techniques:

I am driven to take full advantage of the studio days I carve out for myself each week. Why now? Could it be the waning of the daylight hours? Perhaps the crazy world we are living in? The fact that I am in a period of multiple life transitions? Or could it be simply that it is December? Why December? There is something about the impending holidays, which inspires me to be creative. This resulted in my knitting my grandfather a six foot long scarf when I was in my early teens. As a young mother I felt compelled to make dozens and dozens of cookies to give to family, friends and neighbors. So is it really any surprise that I would think a time when I should be focusing on anything else, but creating a new quilt, I opt to hunker down in the peace of my studio, cutting up fabric and sewing it back together. 

Yes, despite having a growing pile of nearly finished quilts, I have started a new one, as you can see by what I have or haven't accomplished this week:
One of the nine blocks I made this week.
I have been trying my hand at various
surface design techniques for many years.
Every fabric in this quilt has been dyed,
painted, and/or printed by me.

1) Finishing Forest Flora - Not done 

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3, #4 - Still sitting in a pile by my handwork seat

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done

I completed 9 blocks, over 3 studio days, which involved cutting and sewing 468 pieces. It is a great way to refining cutting and piecing.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Too busy piecing. :)

I feel just as driven at the end of the week as I did at the beginning of the week to piece Sunrise Abstraction 2017 piece. I very much doubt I will do the following:

1) Finishing 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.