Friday, July 22, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 07/22

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Figure (1)

"Value does the work, and color gets all the credit," is how painter David Lobenberg begins one of his blogs. I don't believe he is the first and he is certainly not the only artist to espouse this axiom. Exploring value is one of my favorite ways to work. It is how I am selecting my fabric for Siren's Song. I am limiting myself to eight values from the palest blue to a mid value green as I interpret an image taken of water  from the balcony of my cabin on a recent cruise. Normally I share the current results of my work. Today, I thought I would share a bit about how I work.

Figure (2)
Figure (1) shows how I lay my fabric out. Note that there are are 8 stacks of fabric, arranged in value order. Above each stack are pieces cut from the fabric to the size needed for piecing. I tend to cut a strip or two at a time. Then cut as many pieces as I can from the strip. Cutting all 2,862 pieces that I will need in advance is, frankly, too boring and tedious. Instead I cut as I need more. It is hard to tell from the picture but each sized piece has its own row. This makes it very easy to grab the fabric I need for my current block(s). 

I won't share my method of how I determine which value to place where. That would make this post far too long. It won't come as surprise, I do have a system.

Figure (2) Once I have laid out the fabric pieces that will form the next block in the quilt, I start to sew. I find it easy to layout my blocks on trays so that I can carry a block with me from work station to work station. I used to only make one block at a time. However, to speed up the process, I gave three blocks a try this week. See those skinny strips on the cookie trays? Those tell me where the block fits in the quilt. One of them is a C1/R3. This translates to column 1 row 3. I have a guide for each block to make sure the units are where they should be and rotated in the correct direction. I double check that I have it right before sewing the units together.

Figure (3)
Figure (3) Once a block is finished I place it where it belongs with the other finished blocks on my design wall. Now I get to see how it is all coming together. The three fabrics hanging with the completed blocks are ones I am living with before I commit to one. There is a section of the quilt where this fabric is used to create the rim around a porthole. 

No surprise my work was very narrowly focused this week as you can see:

1) Create 11 Siren's Song blocks. - Attempted

I knew trying to finish 11 blocks in 7 days would be a stretch. I managed 7 blocks. Plus I am approximately half way through the 3 on the trays. I will get a shade faster over the next couple of weeks. The first attempts always have "learning opportunities" to overcome.

2) Free motion quilting practice - Not this week.

3) Do some surface design work - Not this week.

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

OK, that might be hyperbole. However, I can't think of a single instance when I wasn't open to questioning, trying something new or processing input from others. 

I'm looking forward to next week. I've signed up for Carla Sonheim's Kid's Art Week. It is a free online class with daily lessons from Carla for kids of any age. There is still time to sign up.  I will be doing it (from a distance) with my four year old granddaughter. There is a private group for sharing. In between drawing/painting assignments I will be swatting away on my own art as follows:

1) Create 11 Siren's Song blocks.

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. Thank you so much for sharing some of your process! I love hearing the nuts and bolts of how other artists work!

  2. I love reading about your process too, Gwyned! Those colors are absolutely luscious - can't wait to see it all put together!

  3. Your process is very interesting: you are so organised and methodical! I could take a leaf from your book. Siren Song is already calling me - you are capturing the sparkle of light on water with these blocks: so clever!

  4. Your generosity is much appreciated...thank you for taking the time to share your process.....organized as I would expect....and so very smart to work this way!!