Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I don't remember the lilac leaves from last fall, know that I took no pictures. So I was surprised to see how they had reacted to the shortening of the days. I've had a bit of a problem adhering to my goal of putting in daily studio time, no matter how long or short. Temperatures shot up, skies cleared, and suddenly there was a two-day weather window in which to get some work in the garden done. Ah well, I was back on track today.
I knew the top of the angel quilt needed something, and this, apparently, was it.
It not only provided balance at the top of the quilt, but balanced the additional beading I wanted to add to the tunic. I think I'll also scatter a few of these beads along the side border seam. And then I may be done...
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I don't have to do anything. Nothing. I can just sit around. But, suddenly it starts, you see. This terrible feeling that I am just wasting my life, I'm useless, I'm no good. Now, it's a fact that if I spend a day busy as a little kitten, racing around. I do this, I do that. But I haven't written, so it's a wasted day, and I'm no good. How do you account for that nonsense?"
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
The binding's sewn down on the angel quilt and I am pleased with how it looks. It was the right choice. So today the plan was to determine what else this quilt might need, specifically, if adding some rosettes would improve the design. And unfortunately, the only way to know that would be to make a bunch of them. These are similar to but smaller than the ones on the first Cathedral Angel quilt. The grid in the picture above is one inch, so you can see I'm working fussy again. I fused two pieces of the red together, traced around a tiny heart template for each petal, then cut each out. The center circle has fusible on the back. Arrange the petals, place the circle on top and fuse to hold all together. The tweezers are helpful in shifting the petals and positioning the circle.
I really wanted to skip this part. Just to test my idea, I figured I'd need to make at least 6 rosettes. That's 30 of those little heart petals. And if I decided the rosettes were a mistake, then what in the heck would I do with them? You know me, I can't toss anything, especially if it's taken me a lot of time to make. My better judgment that suspected this was a detail that would really improve this quilt was getting drowned out by the willful child who just wanted to be done. But even the child had to admit that the quilt still looked blah, a bit dead, and definitely in need of something else.
Those six rosettes were all that was necessary to see I definitely needed to add these. It made making the additional eight less of a chore. Once they were all positioned on the quilt, they helped those outer vines make sense, and I also think they help move the eye around the design. My fear that they would detract from the angel in the center was unfounded. Instead, they echo the fabric in the angel's tunics, seen no where else on the quilt.
I'll stitch them to the quilt using gold metallic thread and probably a buttonhole stitch just around the centers. The petals will be left free. After that I will try a few beads in the sky along those rays in the fabric, and possibly a few in the water as well. And then, I think this quilt will be finished.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
My artist brother Mad Max, the one who works with wood, has been playing with making wine stoppers. I loved the one he made for me so much that I've bartered with him for more. I've spotted a few similar ones here and there, ones that look like afterthoughts, bargain priced and set out next to the more expensive bowls and vases. I could envision the wood worker with scraps left over, and like the waste-not-want-not mentality of quilters, deciding to make something of them rather than toss them out. They impressed me as very cheesy, the lovely wood tops, usually all the same, attached to plastic or cork stoppers. No heft, no weight, no class. These shown here with the metal stopper have substance and a streamline elegance the others lack. These are wine stoppers for the discriminating wine connoisseur.
So the question is, would these sell for what my brother feels he'd need to price them to cover his time and materials? Their simplicity is deceiving. They are time consuming to make. And like me, as much as he'd like to sell his work, my brother doesn't want to end up in the production business. Each one he makes is slightly different, unique. He chooses the wood carefully, matching exotics to the recipient, experiments with grainlines. It would ruin the pleasure of the making if he suddenly had to churn out dozens of these at a time, possibly to someone else's specs. It would take away from the other pieces, the real pieces he wants to make.
Yet, he still toys with the idea of making small quantities of these on a limited basis to sell.
Sound familiar? Starve or sell your soul, are those the only two alternatives for artists? Dip your toe in the market and risk losing control or keep your day job and your independence?
If you are interested in more information on these wine stoppers with a mind to placing an order, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will forward your request. Yeah, the mercenary in him couldn't resist!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Chestnuts have always fascinated me. With their rich color sporting what looks all in the world like wood grain and that smooth polished surface, these could be tiny wood sculptures. They are raining down in earnest at the moment, their less interesting green husks bursting to reveal the treasure within. For a truly beautiful artistic take on the humble chestnut, see what June Underwood has created with silk and thread here.
Today was a day for puttering. Although I didn't share them, I'd set some rather modest goals for the week which were not getting done (with the exception of the journal quilt). The studio was a bit of a mess, so some of the puttering involved straightening up, putting away, clearing a space on the table to have room to work on a couple of those goals. Then I could lay out and steam the angel quilt in preparation for binding it. Then I could cut and sew a sleeve for Willow II and hand-sew it on. Perhaps tomorrow I'll get the label printed and attached, the angel quilt trimmed up and binding considered. Regardless, it just felt good being in the studio, doing anything in there. It was feeling a bit like home instead like a strange place.
I also took a few minutes to sketch an idea that came to me while writing my morning pages yesterday. Upon seeing September's journal quilt, but before seeing the picture that was its inspiration, a close friend commented that it surely represented one hell of a crossroads I've arrived at. Mmmm. Perhaps my subconscious was working overtime, but the idea of this being anything but a rendition of the front of a chest of drawers had not entered into my thinking while making it. I pressed her for more information, and she said she could see fields with roads running in between, representing crossroads. I chuckled to myself. Well, if they're crossroads, they aren't lining up, so no wonder I'm so confused!
Still, it made me think. Sometimes outside observers have a better take on where you are than you do. This was the second time in just a few months that a close friend had commented that I was at a crossroads in my life. Both times I objected and said that I did not feel that I was. I knew where I wanted to go but wasn't sure how to make it happen. In my mind, that's not a crossroads. The crossroads had been whether to seriously pursue art quilting or lapse back into the comfort of traditional quilting. The crossroads had been whether to stay in Wisconsin or move, and then move where. Am I up against another crossroad and just haven't been aware of it yet? I found myself writing, "All I see is a rut - a rutted path disappearing into an unfathomable distance. No signposts. No indication of where it is leading. No place to get off."
Then an image of a woman kneeling by a dirt road popped into my head. She held her face in her hands. She was surrounded by a dense forest. Was she me? I don't know, but I had to try to sketch it. Bear in mind, drawing is not my forte, human figures even less so. But I like this idea and hope someday I can translate this into fabric.
Friday, October 05, 2007
"I think the most difficult part of managing the quilted line is to control it and make it a part of a bigger whole. Like any other art form, it may be easy to master different segments of the craft, but difficult to put it together into a cohesive statement."Pam Rubert - Pamdora's Box: My Art Adventure Blog
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I wished that I had allowed more excess fabric beyond the 8-1/2 x 11 finished size. If I had, I think I would have done a facing again like I did last month. I really don't like satin stitching the edge, but I didn't want to do binding either. So I thought perhaps I could make my peace with satin stitching this time around. (It irks me that it really takes two rounds and a ton of thread to get proper coverage, and I especially have trouble turning corners neatly.) I must have tried half a dozen different colors of thread, none of which I liked. I finally settled on this yellow King Tut, reminding myself that this is just a journal quilt, after all. Still, I like to have a decent finish on each that I do. I'd toyed with the idea of couching something along the edge instead, but found I didn't have anything thick enough. It did unearth some hand-dyed threads and cordings, one of which I'd have used for sure had it not been so thin. Now I wondered if I could couch it on next to the satin stitching as a bridge and defining line. It was just what I needed to do to be able to live with the yellow thread.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Before I show the results of my journal quilting yesterday, I want to talk a bit about the magazine article from which the design idea originated. The August 2007 issue of The Magazine Antiques featured a story covering "classic Shaker furniture design as it emerged in the early nineteenth century," noting that "...concepts of balance, pattern, and scale all contributed to each piece." This may sound dry, but the pictures of both Shaker furniture (such as the 1860 sewing desk above) and modern pieces influenced by classic Shaker design (such as the 1999 dining chest by Roy McMakin shown below) immediately captured my attention. Oh great, I thought, as if I don't have enough ideas already. But what I was seeing WAS giving me ideas, a new direction for my Grid series (see Grid #2 and Grid #3).
To be honest, after I finished the third in that series, I caught myself losing interest, in spite of the fact that I had not worked through all my original ideas. I was stuck in a rut already. What intrigued me about this furniture was the varying sizes and shapes of the drawers and doors within a single piece, and the asymmetry (such as the 1830 and 1840 washstands below). Seeing these examples unlocked something in my head, reminding me that grids are not always made up of squares and don't necessarily have to be symmetrical. Brilliant!
Of course, I also homed in on the very visible wood grain in some of the pieces, thinking how easily this could be rendered in thread. More on that when I reveal September's journal quilt.