Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mini Retreat, the Visioning Project, and a New Quilt Shop

Last Saturday, January 29, AVQA had a mini-retreat for the members. It cost us $5, and we had the use of a wonderfully large and bright space upstairs at the Sierra Toyota in Lancaster. The room was longer than it was wide, and had windows down one long side and two long counters down the other side. We could bring anything we wanted to work on, and there were tables for sewing machines, two ironing boards were set up, and the cutting mats sat on one of the counters along the wall. I took a couple of projects with me. I had the Series 1 photo for the SAQA Visioning Project, as well as the Exhibition piece I'm doing.

SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilt Associates. I have been a member for a couple years now. Some of the most amazing quilters are members. Many of them are authors and teachers. The Home page of SAQA's website includes a slideshow of some of the members' work. They are inspiring. The Visioning Project is open to members, and is sort of a mentoring program. At the beginning of the year (which, for the Visioning Project, starts in October), you state your goal for that year. My goal this year is to "find my voice" as an artist, and in the process, complete a small body of work. Others have goals such as to write a book, find gallery/agent representation, or create a portfolio. As you work, you post what you've been doing, let everyone else know you've updated your page, and then you get comments and feedback. It's very inspiring, and extremely helpful. Since many of the artists within the Project are working professionals, you're able to get some wonderful information and help along the way because many of them have been where you are now. You're also able to connect with people who are at the same place, and share stories, ideas, and discoveries. They also have a monthly conference call, which, unfortunately, due to my schedule, I haven't had a chance to be part of yet, but the comments and information from those are also wonderful.

So, back to the mini-retreat........ As I mentioned, my goal for the Visioning Project is to find my voice. I've chosen three photographs from which I'll make at least three quilts from each. The first photo is one my husband took of a beautiful window at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, with a palm tree against the building.

I love the window in this photo, as well as the angles and textures in the building and the tree. I had traced out my master pattern and drawn a few thumbnails of ideas about a month ago. At the retreat, I further refined those ideas. I created an appliqué pattern for one of the quilts; started drafting pattern pieces for another; and drew full-size ideas for two more quilts.

On Wednesday, I went with the I&M Quilters to a new quilt shop that's just opened up not far from our offices. It's called Sew Modern and is located on Pico Blvd., just west of Westwood Blvd. I went to check out the new store and meet the owner, but also with the intention of finding just the right fabrics for the appliqué piece I've drafted. Because this appliqué only uses three or four fabrics, I wanted to find something with really great prints. Found them I did! Here are the fabrics with a piece of the pattern itself.

The pink fabric on the bottom will be the background. The bright pink and gold print will be the appliqué. The pink tone-on-tone will be accent pieces, and the butterscotch will be the binding. The appliqué continues on the other side (under the fabrics), but I think I may also flip it to mirror underneath. In other words, what you're seeing may actually be one-quarter of the pattern, rather than half. I'm still trying to decide. This next week, I'll draw it out both ways, and see which I like better.

I also worked on the Exhibition piece I want to enter. I can't show you anything, but I'm really happy with it. I had basted my fabrics together over a month ago, but was afraid to cut into it. I've found that I have some great ideas for exhibitions, but I never get anything entered because when it came down to actually creating the piece, I would start doubting myself and would simply not do anything. I was so afraid of failing, that I wouldn't start. That's now changing. This piece may not make it into the Exhibition, but it absolutely never will if I don't enter. So, I'm working on it. And I'll enter it in the Exhibition. If it gets selected, that would be great, if not, maybe the next one! Anyway, I cut into the fabrics, basted, and am doing a reverse appliqué. It's turning out really cool! I do love it. If it doesn't get accepted into the Exhibition, I'll post a photo of it. Of course, I won't know until June, so don't expect it soon!

By the way, the new quilt store, Sew Modern, was wonderful. Lauren is the owner, and just the sweetest. She is open to suggestions for stocking fabrics or things she doesn't currently carry. The store itself is open, bright, and airy. She doesn't have a lot of fabrics, but what she has is the best I've seen. The prints and colors are fabulous! I wanted a little of each! She has a long-arm quilt machine in the back of the store, and after a couple of classes, or showing that you have experience, you can rent time to use it. So, if you're on the Westside of Los Angeles, stop in. It's worth the visit.

That's it for this week. Until next time, take care.

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