Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions Made (But Can I Keep Them?)

Yes, I make Resolutions. I try to keep them . . . really, I do try. But most tend to fall by the wayside, some sooner than others. I believe I've figured out why. My resolutions tend to be too general. For instance, every year I resolve to lose weight, but I never include specifics; it's always just "lose weight." This year, I'm getting more specific.

My major focus will be my art. I've spent more time on art, and art-related activities this past year than I have in a long time. I intend to spend even more this coming year. Of course, it will help that my husband also intends to spend more time on his own art as well! LOL! So, while he's in his studio recording his music, I can be in mine, working on projects.

So, what are my art-related resolutions for this year?

1. Update this blog at least once weekly. As you can see, it's been some time since I've posted. One of the reasons I started this blog was to enable me to write more, which is something I love to do. I feel that writing here will motivate me to write more, and then I can finally finish at least one of the many novels I've started over the years.

2. Watch no more than 2 hours of television a day. My time at home is very limited. I really only have Saturday and part of Sunday to work on my art. But, I have a very bad habit of zoning out in front of the television, watching movies I've seen a hundred times, or some inane sitcom just because there's nothing else on. Before I know it, the day is gone, and I've gotten nothing done! And, if it's a show I really like, it's hard to concentrate on handwork because I really do want to watch the show. I do have a couple of favorite shows (Project Runway, The Fashion Show, Launch My Line, Legend of the Seeker, V, True Blood, Uncommon Threads, Craft Lab . . .). Okay, well, maybe more than a couple! LOL! But, because of my work and commute hours, I have them set to record on the DVR. When I do get time to watch them, I can fast-forward through commercials. I can actually watch 3 shows in about 2 hours. Isn't technology great? But back to the point. I have to stop spending a day in front of the television getting nothing done. Two hours of television a day is enough to watch the shows I really like.

3. Go to the gym at least three times a week. I'm through with the "lose weight" resolution. My eating habits are mainly healthy. My diet is primarily low-carb, low-fat, with very little sugar. I occasionally need my burger/pizza/ice cream fix, but as long as it's not more than once a month, I feel that's fine. I believe the main reason I'm not losing weight is that I'm sedentary. With my long commute to and from work, sitting in front of a computer all day, sitting in a classroom two to four times a week, and the fact that my favorite activities are sitting at a sewing machine or at my craft table painting or glueing, I get almost no exercise. I do try to get out and walk around at lunch, but it's not enough for the amount of sitting I do. So, off to the gym I must go. Adding the exercise will result in weight loss. Now, I can hear you asking, "How is this art-related?" It is; the more weight I lose, the more energy I will have to work on my art instead of vegetating in front of the television!

4. Pick one UFO and work on it every week until it's finished. I have so many unfinished projects. As of this writing, I have 81 UFO's that I know about! I'm sure there are more in some of the boxes in the garage that haven't seen the light of day in decades! About 20 of those were started this year. I have so many interests and ideas, that I find it hard to stay focused on one project for a long period of time. I'll start one, then put it aside to start something new. Sometimes it will be a long time before I get back to it (obviously). Or, I'll start something with the intention of entering it into a challenge or entry call, but will miss the deadline, and the project gets put aside. I can't say that I'll finish one every week. Some of them are barely started, and require more hours than I have in one week to finish. That's not to say I won't start on new projects; that would be asking a little much! But, I will work on one every week to its completion.

5. Show! What good is my art, if I keep it bottled up inside my head, trapped inside a sketchbook, or loitering in my studio? Art is meant to be shared, viewed, experienced, and not just by the artist. I need to let go of my apprehensions and let people see what I have to say. The other day, I came across a wonderful quote by Dr. Seuss:

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

I read it and almost cried. It resonated within my soul. I can handle criticism of my work, and I've always known that other's opinions shouldn't rule my existence. I knew it, but that day, I felt it! I wanted to soar! So, with that in mind, I will show my work. I will make every effort possible to answer Entry Calls. I will show in local guild shows. I will post photos here, and in my Flikr page (which I've just created). I will share my art with anyone who wishes to see it.

So, those are my resolutions for 2010, as they relate to my art and my artistic journey. These are resolutions I plan to keep. There will be some hurdles to overcome. Old habits, especially long existing ones, can be very hard to break. And there may be weekends where, due to family issues, work and school, I may be just to exhausted to do anything other than vegetate. I'll deal with that when it comes along. 2010 will be a good year, I can feel it!

I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve. May the next year bring you everything you dream of, hope for, and desire.

Until next week, take care!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Where is the work?

I created this blog to encourage me to keep a journal of my art. I also love to write, and this allows me the pleasure of doing so. As is obvious, I haven't updated this in a few weeks, mainly because I've done very little artistically during that time. I suppose I have some excuse. My weekly schedule is pretty full: I'm up at 4:00 every morning; on the commuter bus at 5:00; start work at 8:00 or 8:30; back on the bus at 5:00 or 5:30; home anywhere between 7:30 and 9:45, depending on the day of the week; and in bed between 9:30 and 10:30. I have classes two days each week, and I try to get to the gym the other three (key word here is "try"). I am working on my BA in Business Administration, so most of my free time during the week is spent studying. I have one class on campus, and the other is online. My one and a half to two hour commute in the morning is spent sleeping. I have a hard time reading on the bus, so I usually do some handwork during the ride home, unless I'm really tired, then I sleep again.

(Wow, seeing my schedule written down, it looks like a lot. It doesn't feel that way, though. I guess I've been doing it so long, I don't even realize how much I do.)

Weekends are a different story. My husband works at home. He's a much better cook than I am, so he pretty much fixes all meals, including my lunch for the next day. Since he's at home, he also does the majority of the cleaning. The only thing I do in that department is laundry, and I do that every three weeks. On Sunday, we do grocery shopping for the week, as well as any other shopping that needs to be done. I try to get my studying done during the week, but I may do a few hours each of those two days, especially if there's a project or exam coming up the following week. Other than that, my weekends are pretty much free.

The question then becomes, why am I not producing more art? I generally have large blocks of time on the weekends, especially Saturday. I have all these ideas and images floating around in my head, some of which I've sketched out, or written descriptions of, not to mention all the unfinished projects, including several novels. Why are they not being realized? Because I'm sitting in front of the television, vegetating. When I've mentioned that to a few people, their reaction is usually, "It's okay to vegetate once in a while," or "Sometimes you need to just do nothing." The problem is that I do it almost every weekend! It's not just once in a while, it's every weekend. Suddenly it's Sunday night, and time to get ready to sleep, and I've gotten nothing done. I have spent the weekend channel surfing, watching inane shows I've seen too many times.

I need to get working. I need to finish what I start. I want to produce something that others will look at and say, "Wow, how'd she do that?" I want to have pieces of my work in shows and magazines. Of course, that can't happen if I don't finish a piece and send it out! No one is going to come knocking on my door and ask for my artwork. They don't know it's there! I have to put it out for everyone to see.

Okay, I'm getting excited. I have projects to finish. The year is almost over. There are still a few months left to finish some things. Not everything I wanted to accomplish this year will be realized, but I've done a few of them. I finished a couple UFOs, I entered two small pieces into my local quilt show, I joined and completed some swaps with a couple online groups. I am working, not as much as I'd like, but there have been some accomplishments. So I can do more.
It's October 1. I wonder how much I can finish before December 31..............

Monday, August 17, 2009

Melinda Bula and Steam-a-Seam 2

I took a workshop with Melinda Bula on Saturday, 8/15. We did her geranium fusible flower. It was so much fun. I've only worked with Steam-a-Seam 2 a little, and wasn't really impressed with it for most applications. I used it on my small Dancers quilt, which is the picture under "About Me." It didn't turn out quite as I expected, and I wish I had used a different fusible web. However, it worked really well on a dolphin PC I did for an online group trade:

It just seems stiff and unyielding for large projects. But looking at, and being able to touch Melinda's quilts, I wouldn't have thought she used Steam-a-Seam 2. Which is the main reason I took her class. I wanted to know what she did differently. What I learned was that she quilts the heck out of them, using threadplay instead of traditional quilting, which appears to take the stiffness out of the fusible. This is what I was able to finish in class:

There's still quite a bit to do before I can fuse it down permanently and begin to stitch. I'm really excited about finishing this, and have plans for the piece once it's done. I'll fill you in as I get there......don't want to spoil the surprise!! But I will tell you, it won't be a wall-hanging.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good Advice

Melinda Bula was the guest speaker last night at the Antelope Valley Quilt Association, where I've been a member since 2002. She was warm, funny, and very inspiring. Her quilts are amazing. If you haven't seen her work, you must check it out. She is one of those "painterly" quilters, the ones that take a photograph and paint it in fabric. Again, amazing. I could relate to a lot of her background: getting scraps from her mom's sewing trash to make her own Barbie clothes, wanting to learn how to use the sewing machine at a young age, going with her mom to buy patterns and fabric. For me, that was always the best part of any shopping trip: stopping at the fabric store. In junior high and high school, I would save my babysitting money to buy fabric and patterns. I still have those patterns, and scraps of some of the fabrics. For the past couple years, Mom has been cleaning out her house, slowly divesting herself of things that she doesn't use. I was so excited when she asked if I wanted her old patterns! Among them was a dress pattern she made for me to wear to her younger brother's wedding. I so loved that dress. Also included were her patterns from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. I can't wait to use them. Some of them aren't really my style, but I could work with them. Others, well, they're just too cool. I love the full skirts and fitted bodices. When I see multi-media artists using old patterns in their collages, part of me just cringes. To cut up those wonderful old patterns.........ah well, to each his own.

But I digress.

One of the things Melinda said that really hit home for me was not to be afraid to enter your work into shows. She showed a quilt, her first one, that didn't have straight seams, points didn't match, and there were wrinkles in the backing from the quilting. It won ribbons. She also said that there is no such thing as perfection. I've always known this to be true, but I'm so critical of myself and my work, as many of us are. I need to let go. I need to learn to trust in my skills. I've been sewing for so many years, I know I'm good. Yes, there will always be more to learn, and I do love to learn! There will always be better, easier and faster ways to do something. But I am artistic. I love fabric, pencils, paints, paper, etc., etc. I will let go. I will put myself, and my work, "out there" for all to see. It's time. I have begun........

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It Begins.......

My first post. I'm excited about this! My plan for this blog is to journal my journey into and through fiber art. I have so many ideas in my head and sketchbooks, I don't know how I'll get to all of them. The only way to do that, is to start. My art life starts now!