Friday, December 31, 2010
Due to family issues, I've only been working on a few things, not very much, but a few. I've finished three more pieces of my 2010 Bead Journal Project, and should have a fourth piece done next week. March, April, and May are now done; June is almost finished; February still needs to be completed. I have the colors decided for July through December, though I don't have all the beads yet. The colors will be: July - brown, August - red, September - blue-green, October - red-orange, November - blue-violet, and December - violet.
I've also done some felt flowers. They were fun to do, and it's gotten me interested in embroidery again. I plan on joining the Embroidery Guild and the Needlepoint Guild this year.
So, what are my resolutions for 2011? More art, definitely! I will be finishing my BJP pieces for 2010. I have three photos to use as inspiration for art quilts for the Visioning Project in connection with SAQA. I plan to finish many of the 118 UFOs I have sitting in my studio and in containers in the garage. I also want to enter just a couple of quilt shows/exhibitions, just a couple.
I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. May all your plans, goals, and desires be fulfilled.
Thanks for reading, and take care.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Studio: I've been cleaning and rearranging my studio the last couple of months. It's almost done. I've got a new table, and am planning on getting another one. That will give me three six foot tables along three walls. I've just recently decided (today, in fact) to dedicate each table to certain types of crafts. One table will be for mixed media painting and collage. I'll keep all my glues, paints and papers on and under that one. A second table will be for beading and embroidery; all my tools and supplies will be there. The last table will be for sewing and quilting. There's a fabulous store in the mall across from where I work. It's called "The Container Store," and that's just what it is. They have just about any and every type of container you can imagine for any and every room in your home, including the garage, as well as containers for traveling and shipping and gift giving! I love it! I've been organizing and containing everything in my studio.
Bead Journal Project: I've finished March (orange) and April (green). May's color turned out to be gray, and is about half done. June's color and beads have been selected: yellow, as in sunshine, "Follow the yellow brick road," and there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I know what I want to be doing, and I have so many ideas percolating. I haven't gotten back to February yet, but I will. I've put these aside for the moment because of deadlines in the next couple of areas......
Beading for a Cure: I've been working on this, and need to get it done. I've finished most of the beading, and will then need to assemble the purse. I've got all the materials I need, everything is cut out and ready to assemble once the beading is done. It needs to arrive no later than August 2, so I've got less than a week to finish it! I should be able to get it done.
Hoffman Challenge: Well, I didn't get this done. I actually thought I had another month to work on it, but I just checked the rules, and it's due today! Another year missed! Okay, I'm putting myself on notice! Next year, I will have a project in the Hoffman Challenge!
I also mentioned Bead Dreams and Save the Planet in my last entry. No, those didn't get done either. Bead Dreams didn't get any further than the drawing board, and Save the Planet still needs to be lined and the strap added. It's a shame too. I found the perfect fabric to use for the lining at the Glendale Quilt Show. Ah well, I'll just add that one to my bag stash! LOL!
SAQA Visioning Project: I joined Studio Art Quilt Associate's Visioning Project in March. I've gotten some wonderful inspiration and encouragement from this group, even though I haven't really produced anything yet. I'm focusing on finding my voice as a quilt artist, and have come up with the idea of taking three photos and doing a series of small quilts of each. No quilt would be larger than 24" on any one side. Each photo is a bit more complex than the prior one. Each series would build on the techniques learned and ideas worked on in the previous series. I've picked out my three photos, and have enlarged the first photo to start creating my quilts from.
Online Trade Groups: I belong to three online art trading groups: Fiber Art Traders and Art 4 Mail (both Yahoo Groups), and Swap-Bot. This is where I've been doing most of my artistic work lately. I've done several embroidered pieces, some quilt blocks, my first ever dotee dolls, my first miniature quilt, and even a couple of short stories. However, I plan on cutting back on these trades for a while. Although I love receiving pieces of art from, and sending to, people around the world, I find I'm spending so much time with these, I'm neglecting my artistic vision. I justify these pieces by telling myself, and others, that I'm honing my skills, practicing my embroidery or applique, when the fact is I'm really procrastinating. With work, school, and family to deal with, I have very little time for art. If I continue to do as much with these trade groups as I have recently, I'll never get around to creating the larger pieces I have visions of. I won't give these groups up completely; they are a fascinating and wonderful group of people and artists, but I need to cut back. Perhaps I'll do one trade a month, or one every two months.
Well, that's about it for now. I will get back in next week and post some photos. I've got a mid-term next Tuesday, and a final on Wednesday, so I won't be posting anything before then.
Until next time, take care.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Wow! It's been a long time since I've blogged. School, work, and home have been keeping me really busy and interfering in my artwork. But I'm back and have finally finished my January piece! WooHoo! Yes, I said January. Like I said, life has been interfering the last couple of months. Since it's been so long, my shape is the paisley, size is 6-1/2"x4", and each month will be a different color, with one large bead within it.
January is done, and I really like the look of it. I wasn't so sure when I started (and I do think I started a little too large), but all-in-all, I'm really pleased with the end result. It did get easier the more I worked on it, so my trepidations soon disappeared. January's color is white, symbolizing for me a new year and a new beginning.
This is the beginning of February. February is blue, as I'm sure you can tell, and I really love the beads I have picked out. Blue is a favorite color, so I had a lot to choose from. I didn't have a large blue bead or cabochon, however, but I really don't want one. I was feeling really small and almost invisible that month, and I chose blue because it was truly a "blue" month. Life was just throwing all kinds of curve balls at me, and I was somewhat depressed most of the time. I'm hoping to get this one done before the end of April. With these two under my belt, I'm hoping the rest will go much easier and faster. We'll see......
I've chosen my colors for March and April, even though I'm not ready to start them yet. March will be orange, and April will be green. Before you say it, I've already been told that March should be green. However, that's just a little too cliché for me right now. If I was doing holiday-themed pieces, then yes, March would be green. But these are about me. The end of March found me fired up to work, and what better color for fire than orange! I've got so many ideas for different pieces of art I want to do, and since I can't take classes this quarter, I plan on getting as many of them done as I can! April's green represents growth, especially in my art. As I said, I plan to do as much as I can before classes start up again in June, so there will be a lot of growing this coming month!
Monday, March 15, 2010
I signed up for the 2011 Beading For A Cure ("BFAC"). Each participant signs up and sends a specified amount to the secretary for the bead kit. You're required to use at least one of each type of bead in the kit on your project. You also get to add one type/size/color of bead to the mix. Everyone gets the same bead kit, but the results are so very different. The projects must be received by BFAC before August 2. They'll be auctioned on eBay next year, and the proceeds are donated to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Association. This year's auction is in progress now. I received my beads a couple weeks ago, and absolutely love them! The color palette is one of my favorites! I have the design of the base of my piece done, and now need to design the actual beadwork. I think I've decided on the additional beads as well, but it could change as the beading is designed.
I'm also working on my piece for this year's Hoffman Challenge. I have the fabric, and know how I'm going to use it. Last week I created the pattern for the piece. Now, I need to start putting it together.
I'm also thinking about entering a piece in Bead Dreams at the Bead and Button Show. The entry deadline is April 5, so I don't know if I'll get this one done. I do have my fabric and the pattern for my base. I have my beadwork designed. I now have exactly three weeks to finish it! (Actually, I only have a little over two weeks. I have a final this week, so I won't be doing a lot of artwork until after Thursday.) I should be able to get it done. We'll see.
On my commute home the past week, I've been working on another competition submission. This one is for Red Heart Yarn and JoAnn's Fabric and Craft Store. It's called "Save the Planet", and the requirements are to use one of three types of eco-conscious yarns made by Red Heart and purchased at JoAnn's. I've been crocheting on the bus, which is fun and easy. I've got the major piece done. Today, I'll start on the smaller piece, then I just need to put it all together. This one has to be postmarked by March 31, so again, we'll see if I can get this piece done on time.
Those are the pieces I'm currently working on. I have no photos to share at this point. Some entry calls I've noticed require that the piece not have been shown anywhere prior to the competition/exhibit, even on a blog. I'll need to double-check the entries for the above challenges, before I start showing photos. I don't want to be disqualified. I have a couple other pieces, that may or may not see the light of day any time soon. A couple of them were started for deadlines that have already passed. For the moment, they are in my UFO file. They will get finished at some point; I'm determined that they will. The question now is simply, "Which one gets done first?"
Until next time, take care.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I came to an artistic epiphany this past week.
I know I mentioned in an earlier post about being good enough. That's always been the one thing that's held me back; I'm so very critical of my own work. For me, being objective on my own work is really hard. I expect perfection, even when I know there's no way to achieve it. I was working on a baby quilt this last week, and while machine quilting I did notice that my quilting wasn't straight on the top, and that the back had a few places where the fabric bunched up a bit. I looked at it, trying to decide if I should take it out, and telling myself, "See, this is why you shouldn't be quilting." Then it hit me. This is a baby quilt. It's for a baby. I made it to be used, and I hope it's used often. It's going to be thrown on the floor, in the car, thrown up on, and washed a bazillion times. The infant this quilt is for won't care that the stitching isn't perfect, that not all the blocks match exactly. It's bright and fun on one side, and soft and cuddly on the other.
The most startling thing, however, was the realization that I will never get any better if I don't practice. And not just the quilting. Everything I do. In order to get good, I have to work at it. Thinking about it won't make me a better artist. I need to create art!
Now a lot of you are saying, "Well, duh!", but for me this really is a big deal. Actually, not just for me. I was talking to a friend the next day, and she was telling me about the quilt she was working on the past weekend. She said she was in tears, just frustrated because it wasn't good enough. I smiled, and told her my story. I think she understood. I hope she did. She did agree with me, so perhaps she does understand.
Well, I'm now buzzing with artistic endeavors! I'm furiously working on a piece that has to be in the offices of a magazine on March 8. I don't know that it will get done, especially since I haven't even cut the fabric yet! Fortunately, it's only 12" square, and pretty simple, so there's a possibility it will get done. And then there's another piece that has to be mailed before the end of March. I should have that one done, as it too is not too complicated, and is only 16" square. If I don't get either of those done for their respective Calls, I can always enter them into my guild's show in May.
Right now, I have 21 Call for Entry possibilities. A couple I've actually decided not to submit to because, realistically, there just isn't time. Four of them aren't due until the beginning of 2011, so I've got big plans for those! Not all are quilts, but they all use fabric as a base. I am after all, a fiber artist. :-}
Until next time, take care.
P.S. By the way, here's the baby quilt. Today is her last day at work before going on leave, and the shower was at lunch. She loved it!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
On Saturday, March 13, Rob Appell taught his Quick Fuse Seascape class for our guild. He was absolutely charming! He wore a military vest that he'd made over to hold all his quilting supplies. It was too cool! He started the class with about an hour lecture on perspective, placement of elements, and the "rule of thirds" (a composition "rule" in art and photography which simply states that your background should be divided into thirds (horizontally and vertically) and the important elements of your image should be placed on the four intersections of those lines). Rob doesn't follow an exact rule of thirds; his thirds are a bit distorted horizontally, as you can tell when looking at his quilts. His thirds are more of a small, medium and large format. He also did a quick lesson on working with the fusible. With that information in hand, he let us loose to create our "canvas." He brought several bolts of fabric with him, as well as several containers of 1/2 yards and fat quarters that we could purchase. I think everyone bought something! I know I spent more than I intended! The fabrics he brought were wonderful, and I really didn't have enough fish! While we were working, he made a point to come around to each of us and be sure our questions were answered. For many of us, the first question was "Do these three fabrics work together?" LOL! We sewed our canvas, then put our sewing machines away! Here's mine:
I'm actually doing mine rather small, around 20" square. I really didn't want another large quilt started that I probably wouldn't finish. I already have plans to make this into a tote! After lunch, we started fusing and fussy cutting out our elements. Several of us exchanged elements. I really wanted a turtle, and I had a lionfish Darla liked, so we traded! It was great fun!
Halfway through the afternoon, he did another demonstration on creating an ocean floor, and how we could use a batik to create coral reefs and the underwater portions of our islands. He then talked about the threads and needles he uses, different types of fusibles, how he does his quilting, and some of the tools he likes.
By the end of the day, I was hoping to have a finished piece, but of course I didn't. It really takes much longer than it appears. I have my canvas sewn, my island and ocean floor done, and just a few fish and elements ready to place.
I have more work to do. But this will have to be put on a back burner for a couple months, as there are some Calls for Entry I want to get done. I will finish this by summer, and then I'll have a wonderful ocean tote to carry around the Long Beach Quilt Festival!
Until next time, take care.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Had the flu last week, so, naturally, nothing got done! I did make some progress on my January Bead Journal piece this week. I'm not sure that I'm happy with it; but, I'm trying really hard not to get analytical and/or critical of what I'm doing. I stopped at this point because I found myself analyzing what I had done and considered tearing it out! I was also not really sure where I wanted to go next. Once my left brain kicked in, it was time to put down the needle! LOL!
Rob Appell was guest speaker at our quilt guild meeting last Thursday. He was fabulous; funny, witty, inspirational, and informative. His quilts are beautiful, and I love his Endangered Species patterns. The Bengal Tiger is awesome, and I really like the Macaw, but I absolutely fell in love with the Red Wolf. I absolutely had to have that pattern. He taught his Quick Fuse Seascape class yesterday. I'll post later and let you know how it all went.
This past week I did get a couple of things done. I finished the last two promised items for online trades, which are now very late. The first is a small handbag in black and white.
My sewing machine started choking on thread a couple weeks ago, so I actually ended up doing the entire piece by hand. It's been so long since I've done that kind of handwork that I had forgotten how much I love it! Its dimensions are 6"H x 9"W x 2.5"D. It's hand-quilted, and the handles consist of an embroidered and beaded organza lace sewn on top of webbing. (No, I didn't do the embroidery/beading on the lace.)
The other project I finished was a set of four Shashiko embroidered coasters. They're 4" square, and also completely hand-sewn. I love Shashiko embroidery, and these were a lot of fun to do.
Both of these projects got mailed yesterday! They will also be the last online trades I do for a while. I have a couple of ideas for making a living creatively and I need to focus my attention on them. I want to see if I can get out of the 9 to 5-commuting-business doldrums. I would love to make my living with my own business, doing something fun and creative, and it's time. I've been bouncing the ideas around in my head for several years now, but never felt I was really good enough. But you know what? I am. Something Rob said Thursday really hit home, and it's time to get started. The passion I used to feel for sewing, fabric and needlework had left me for a long time. I thought the fire had died, but there's still a spark. I can feel it. It's time to feed that spark until it burns brighter than it ever had!
More on that later. I've still got quite a few projects going, and even while working on my aforementioned new business, I'll be doing other projects, mostly to work out ideas to incorporate. I've acquired a lot of skills over the years, but there's always something new to learn and share!
Until next time, take care.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I mentioned in a prior post that I've joined Robin Atkin's Bead Journal Project for 2010. It's a personal challenge for all participants to create 12 beaded pieces (or "pages") in the course of a year. The only restriction is that each piece is the same shape and size. I'm using a paisley shape, and exploring a different color each month. January's color is white, and I've finally started.
I placed my large bead first. It's a Venetian glass bead I bought many years ago at a gem show in Santa Monica, California. It has some pink swirls that resemble roses, and some gold flakes. Although January's piece is supposed to be white, I actually chose the side that has more pink and gold. Don't know why. In placing the Venetian bead, I just let it go where it wanted. I didn't think about it, I just placed it and sewed it down. I added the seed pearls, then the loop of mother of pearl beads, then the glass beads around the Venetian bead.
I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just doing it. Does that sound strange? It does to me. I'm trying Robin's way of working improvisationally, and it's not easy for me. I'm a "follow the pattern" type of person, although I have altered a pattern occasionally. I love algebra, calculus and geometry. I do like organic and asymmetric shapes, but even when designing my own work, I draw it out, plan it out, know what's going where, and how I'm going to put it there. It's too soon to tell how I feel about improvising. Although I am enjoying it, it's still a little scary. Maybe I'll have a better feel for it when February's piece is done!
Until next time, take care.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The long weekend has come and gone, and I didn't get a lot done. Life has been throwing curve balls at me since the beginning of the year, and I'm not left with a lot of time for art. The Road to California Quilt Show was this past weekend, and I was planning to go, but didn't. Road is one of the larger shows in Southern California. I don't believe it's affiliated with any one guild, and accepts entries from all over. One of my goals last year was to enter a piece in this show. Unfortunately, that goal didn't get realized. It's now one of my goals for this year!
I did, however, take a class with Velda Newman through our quilt guild this weekend. I missed the beginning of her lecture at the guild meeting on Thursday, but did get there in time to help show her quilts. I love holding up the speaker's quilts at the meetings, because I get a very up-close and personal view of their work. Also, being a fiber artist, I love to touch! You can't touch quilts at shows, for very good and obvious reasons. Being able to touch the quilts the speakers bring adds a whole different understanding of the fabric and textures they get in their work. I had heard of Velda a year or so ago, and loved her quilts. When I heard she was coming to our guild and doing a workshop, I was one of the first to sign up! Her quilts are large, intricate and very colorful works of art. She just finished one that's 15 feet long! Unfortunately, she couldn't bring that one with her I would have loved to see it.
The class she gave on Saturday was Texture and Form 1. It was a technique class in how to add dimension to a flat shape with stitching. I had so much fun! We did a basket, a lemon, two leaves, and a melon.
Although this was a techniques class, and these are really just samples, I'll probably use the basket and melon as accents on a couple of totes. (Have I mentioned before that I love tote bags?!) The leaves are perfect for a quilt that I'm working on using a piece I did in a class with Patt Blair (more of that in another post). I have no idea what to do with the lemon yet. I know I'll come up with something.
Velda was great. She was friendly, fun, informative, and helpful. I think we all laughed as much as we worked.
The techniques were superb. Having taken several drawing classes, the technique for the basket was pretty logical. It followed basic drawing rules for creating the illusion of a 3-D form on a 2-D surface. But her take on it in thread was very effective. The lemon was an interesting study in texture; very time consuming, though. I loved the leaves! What a great idea, and a wonderful timesaver! The technique used on the melon was my absolute favorite. It has so much potential! I've got several ideas for using the technique in other pieces.
The rest of the weekend was somewhat depressing. I didn't really get much of anything done, other than sewing a button on a shirt, working a bit on a couple of swap items, and taking the photos of the techniques above. I do need to get more done this week. The swap items mentioned above are late. Both are very close to being finished, and I need to get them done this week and in the mail. If either of my swap partners are reading this, please know that I have been putting some time into them each weekend, and will get them to you as soon as possible. At any rate, I need to turn my dream of being able to do art full time into a reality. I just don't know how to go about it. I have a few ideas, but the one thing I need most (time) is the one I have the least amount of! Think positive, Michele!
Until next week, take care, and thanks for reading.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Everyone has a place they belong. The place doesn't have to be a physical location. It can be a state of mind, a feeling or emotion. That place can change from time to time, even from moment to moment. Mother, Sister, Brother, Father, Lawyer, Doctor, Construction Worker, Postal Carrier, Woman, Man, Under 30, Over 50, Toddler, Teenager..... each moment puts you in a different place, needing different skills, utilizing a different frame of reference; often mundane, sometimes challenging, and occasionally disquieting.
So, where are some of the places I belong in my artistic journey?
I've been a member of the Antelope Valley Quilt Association ("AVQA") since May of 2002, about five months after we moved to the High Desert. Last year I finally entered two pieces into our annual show. The first is a small quilt (18" x 16") that I started in a class with Geri Richardson to learn her hand applique technique; it is also hand quilted. When Mom first saw it, as I was working on it, she exclaimed, "Oh, those are my colors." As our quilt show is in May, I decided to give it to her as her Mother's Day gift. "Peony" now hangs on Mom's wall.
The other entry was our Guild's challenge. The challenge was titled "Fantasy Me," and was described as how we see ourselves, or something we always wanted to be. This is also a small quilt (24" x 20"), and is done with fusible applique, machine quilting, and colored pencil for details. I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what to do for this challenge, as there have been so many things I've wanted to do throughout my life. I actually spent so much time working on various designs that I ended up without enough time to properly execute any of them! So I settled on one piece from the larger idea, the one that had always been strongest for me.
I use the top half of this piece as the avatar for my online presence.
I belong to three online swap groups, and I thoroughly enjoy each of them. I've been able to expand on my techniques, learn new ones, and the swaps are a constant source of inspiration. Most of them are ATCs and PCs, but there are some new ideas and techniques I've not seen or done before. This is where I first heard of Inchies, Dotees, Button Fairies, Quilties, Zentangles and Zines, among others. I love button fairies! And, as it turns out, I've been doing Zentangles for years, though mine are a bit more messy!
Last year I joined Studio Art Quilt Associates ("SAQA") and Quilt Art, and just recently joined the International Quilt Association ("IQA"). I plan to follow their Calls for Entry ("CE") very closely this year, and want to submit at least one piece to an exhibit offered by each of them. There are a lot to choose from. A few of the UFOs I started last year, and have yet to finish, came from pieces I wanted to enter into one or another of these organizations' CEs.
I joined the Bead Journal Project ("BJP") for 2010. This is the third year of the BJP started by Robin Atkins. I saw Robin at the first Long Beach Quilt Festival in 2008. Her work is just astounding! I had been wanting to work on my beading skills more, and this will give me a perfect opportunity. It is a challenge only to myself. There are no deadlines, no one knocking on your door asking if it's done yet. It's a chance to explore my own creativity and perfect my skills in bead embroidery. One piece is done each month; at the end of the year, I'll have 12 beautifully beaded pieces to display. I've decided to use the paisley as my shape, and each month will be an exploration of the tints and shades of one color. Each piece will also feature a cabochon or large bead as a focal point. January's color is white. You'll be seeing more of these as they progress.
The next two organizations I plan to join before the end of this year are the American Needlepoint Guild ("ANG") and the Embroiderers' Guild of America ("EGA"). I've been doing needlepoint and various forms of embroidery for decades (literally!). Both ANG and EGA have wonderful correspondence courses that I would love to take. Although I have had a friend or two show me some basics, I am generally self-taught in both needlepoint and embroidery. It would be wonderful to get some instruction from masters in both of these arts. Actually, one of my dreams (should I win big in some lottery) is to study at the Royal School of Needlework in England. Until then, I'll take courses through these two organizations, and, hopefully, be able to attend a few of their yearly seminars.
I'm ready to work and put myself out there. This year, my artistic journey takes its first steps out the door. I've been packing and preparing for this journey for years; it's time to start.
You will see more on this blog this year. I'll try not to get so wordy, and show you more images of what I'm doing. LOL! I have so many projects started, and so many ideas waiting to move from the ethereal to the physical. One major limitation this year will be finances. The first weekend of the year found us putting down over $1,300 in car repairs, commuter bus pass, and textbooks! Of course, that's above and beyond the bills we regularly have to pay each month. Although I won't be able to go out and buy new materials, or even get to a couple of the big quilt shows I wanted to attend early this year, I have so much material at home, I'll still be able to do most of what I want to do. It will also challenge me to find creative ways to finish my UFOs, or even start new projects, with what I have on hand.
If you're following me on my journey, I'll try to make it fun and interesting. Please feel free to leave me a comment, if you so desire. I'm interested in your remarks.
Until next week, take care.