Adventure is the word that resonated with me today. Every single time that I enter my studio, I feel as though I am embarking on a new adventure. Whenever I say ‘what if…’ and sparks of ideas fly into my imagination, the next escapade begins. And there is always a piece of fabric, or a color, or a bead that inspires action. I cannot imagine that I will ever run out of inspiration, though I am old enough that I CAN envision running out of time or physical ability!

This experiment is wrapping up. All the concepts are roughed in and it is at the point of filling in the blanks with the technical, mechanical details. Always fun, as well as being important to strive for excellence, but the mind is free to start exploring territory for the next undertaking.

Quite a few more sun ray lines to do, with some metallic thread added for a bit of sparkle! And more quilting to do with the leaves and grasses, but essentially done.

My mind has wandered on…and that’s a fitting phrase for what it wandered onto. Alzheimer’s is an affliction that is near to my heart, since my father had it. Every now and then I try to express my feelings about this utterly devasting disease with a piece of art. Not the cheeriest of subjects, of course, but art is emotional–ALL the emotions.

This is started and my mind now gets to ask ‘what if…’ for the next steps.

I believe it is headed for the foggier brain side of the disease rather than the loss of function of the physical side.

The daily adventure that is now my life continues!


Seascape, I think

Started work on another edition of “Find a Good Seascape” today. I thought I would begin with a bright, sunny day.

Sunshine and blue sky–perfect. It needs a few clouds, of course, so I went through my hoard of dyed cheesecloth.

I think I found what I need–so I went and found some more.

After I laid out my sky, I started to wonder about what process would work best for getting it stitched down. There was some green tulle on the shelf and I laid a piece of it over the entire piece. Not too sure, so I cut some pieces of the tulle to add a bit more texture and color to the sky.

I liked it and decided that those bits of green would stay even with the tulle over the top of the whole thing. That would be an easy way to finish things off, but I really do not like the look or feel of tulle over the top. It kind of defeats the purpose of having textured fibers!

But before I had to make that decision, I had to make some land for that sky to sit on! Came up with a very narrow strip of land/water/beach and added cheesecloth to that, too!

Yep–still like that bit of green tulle added to the sky.

Back to the technique decision. Don’t know if you can see it in the pic, but when everything is covered in tulle, I think it feels like a mesh bag of onions, ready for the fridge. Nope.

I went with my old standby next–water soluble stabilizer over the top. Usually works like a charm. This time it was a disaster. It was so bad I had to rip it out right away. Didn’t even take a picture of it. It pulled and wrinkled and distorted in a way that I have not seen before. And I’m not going to try to solve the issue when there is a way that always works.

Basting. Takes more time. It’s a pain to do. This time, it’s the only way that seems to work. But it always works!

Basting in a high contrast thread color because I want to easily see it when it comes time to remove it. That also forces me to look closely at all the areas when I’m doing that and make sure that I didn’t miss sewing something down.

That will be the next step in the process, but I won’t have much studio time in the next several days. It’s probably a good thing, since every step of this piece is taking a lot of thinking. And I THINK I’m on the right track now!

Going nowhere, fast!

Weekends are not very productive around here–and for exceptionally good reasons! Weekends are grandson time, whether it’s just hanging around the house or going to his hockey games. Much higher priority than playing in the studio!

I worked on my challenge and thought that it was finished. I didn’t take a pic of it, though. As I thought more about it, I felt that it needed something more. It did not speak to me very well. And now I am in the process of adding more to it.

X’s and O’s and the more I add of those, the less and less I like the beaded center strip. That may all have to come off and probably be replaced by small x’s and o’s. I think that’s what this started saying to me. And when your pieces talk to you, you need to listen!

Thinking about the beach

My recent exhibition has generated a possible commission, but even if that never finalizes, my creative energy is on a new track. The thought process went from summer chairs

to feeling beachy. I auditioned a ton of fabric and decided today to work with these.

I thought my fabrics were a touch too busy and substituted a soft hand dye for the fabric in the upper left corner.

Spent the day playing, arranging, re-arranging, cutting and stitching and totally enjoying myself! This is what I ended up with at the end of the afternoon. Seeing the photo, I may want to change the bottom a bit, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with my progress.

And as I was heading out of the room, my eyes fell on a stitch meditation piece that was sitting on the table………………..hmmm…………I think this might be a good addition.

Laid it on the piece…not great…moved it up a bit…

still not great…moved it up more and I think it’s getting there!

A good place to walk away and think for a while…with a big smile from a happy day!

Reminded, refreshed, re-energized!

Today’s design workshop with Heather Jones was so much better than I had anticipated. Oh-that sounded bad! I expected a good workshop and this one went beyond my expectations.

Now, let me remind you that I have been drawing, re-sizing and designing quilt blocks for close to 50 years. (Yeah, I’m old–you just hush now!) I was originally drawn to quilting by the wonderful patterns and graphic designs, the geometric precision of piecing. And my total immersion in improvisational work for the past 15 years has moved me away from that.

We brought inspirational photos. No problem…I’ve been taking them forever, but I really haven’t been using them. I will be now!

Step 2 was to decide what we were drawn to and what we wanted to emphasize from our photos. Then a rough sketch. Refine the sketch. Figure out size/ratio, colors–all the quilt math parts.

Abstracting what we needed from each photo——-I haven’t done that in just about forever. Many of the students refined through several iterations and got very abstract designs. I took the easy way out for the first one. I tell myself that I abstracted it as much as possible before I took the photo, but uncertainty in the process is the real truth.

Photo–sketch–drafted design

I started feeling braver, so I went with only a sketch for the next one, because I’m pretty sure I’ll piece it improvisationally.

And I had time to start a third one, which I feel that I have abstracted more to what was important to me in the photo.

I may or may not execute it in black and white, but after making the drawing, I’m leaning towards some bright, high contrast colors.

Bottom line on the day–I was reminded of how much I love drafting and drawing out designs. I remembered what drew me to quilting. I was inspired by the design/abstraction/drawings of everyone around me. I am full of enthusiasm about precisely drawn designs again.

This day filled me with love of my chosen art form, happiness to share it with like minds, and true joy.

This is why I take workshops!


You will be jealous…

Yes, you will be jealous that you are not the new owners of this commission piece when it is done! I’m liking it a lot and I’m pretty sure the new owners will, too.

And BAM!!! There is a huge spike of uncertainty in my head as soon as I write that. Well, nothing to be done but continue on, because it has to get finished before that final decision is made!

Looking at possible embellishments.

At this point, the only beads I am positive that I want to use are the long yellow bugle beads in the center. Embellishment is a voyage of exploration, though, so we shall see.

Trying to get it blocked square and even and then a detail of what I have so far.

It’s coming along and should be done soon.

I’m also narrowing down what I want to spend some quality time studying. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a lot of gelli plate printing on fabric. Did I tell you that already? Anyway, I picked up a few more playthings while I was out yesterday.

Now all I need to do is clear off enough space to work effectively. THAT will not be an easy task!

Was I Bad?

Our grandson was here with us today. I usually like to do fun, entertaining and/or educational things with him when we have his company. Sometimes, though, between his hockey, his school and his Cub Scouts, I love to give him totally lazy, resting days.

This is Christmas break, after all.

I was an ipad grandma today, though. Let him veg out with his electronics as much as he wanted.  I don’t think it was a bad thing, and of course he didn’t complain! And Poppa was here, too, if a Nerf war was needed!

I was the big beneficiary of his lazy day, though. I got to go down to the studio and play with fabric! Washed and ironed my fat quarter bundle that I got for Christmas. Trying to recycle some refrigerator magnets–more on that if it works. Or even if it doesn’t!

Straightening up and moving things and found a large pile of fabric cards that I have made over who knows how long and then just shoved in a drawer.

And I found a pile of interfacing blanks all ready to be used up.

So I’m making more fabric cards. I can’t call them artist trading cards or post cards, because both those things have a specific size associated with them. These are random rectangles and I have plenty of random scraps, so it sounds like a perfect match!

But I am making them with a purpose this time. I am going to start taking them to classes and opening receptions at exhibits and give them away to any who might want one. However, the catch is that my info will be screen painted on them and they will be fancy business cards! It feels good to me to be playing with scraps with intent for a change. Don’t know if it’s a good or bad idea, or if anyone will want one, but they are fun to make and use up scraps. That’s enough of a reason to do it!