Friday, January 17, 2020

Year in Review, Part I

So, for a lot of last year, I was working on a project I couldn't share.  My fiber art group, the ArtCGirlz, did a challenge we called the "telephone line".   The idea is based on the children's game we called  "rumors" - where a word or phrase is whispered from person to person around a circle, until the words are revealed, and have usually undergone quite a change.   
In our challenge, each of us made a 9 x 12 inch quilt to be passed on to the next person.  That person (#2) made a 9 x 12 quilt inspired by the piece they got.  The first piece is then sealed in an envelope, not to be opened until the end of the challenge.  Person 3 gets person 2's quilt and makes something inspired by that, and so on.  There were 9 in our group.  Even a 9 x 12 quilt every month was a bit exhausting, but the work revealed at our meeting the other night was amazing!

So- in order, I think, here are the projects I worked on.

My original piece.
 I used the "Stupendous Stitching" technique to create my piece, using a fat quarter given to me by a member of the group a while back.  She challenged us to try bobbin work, and use a circle technique.  I started playing, but never finished.

I got Kathi's first- on the left.  I immediately thought of the mosaic technique she shared with us way back when the group was new.   I wanted to add something to it, but loved the fabric I cut up and didn't want to cover it  up, so did a thread sketched flower. 
 Most of my inspiration pieces from here on  came from Kathi.  If we do this again, I hope we mix p the order so we each get one from everyone. 

Next I got Mary Lee's.  I had started something completely different for this, but it failed.  So I found this awesome piece of fabric in my stash and embellished it using Laura Wasilowski's "Joyful Stitching technique to embellish it! I only stopped stitching when I ran out if time.

The robin on her nest on Chris' piece made me think of spring- especially since the peepers were singing at the time.  So I  made a tiny peeper on what I imagined as a cat tail leaf, welcoming spring.

 The first thing I thought of when I saw Elaine's piece was a beehive hairdo, but all of my drawings were too cartoony for my taste.  Knowing Elaine's love of nature and flowers, I went with a bee savoring a clover blossom.  The wing extends off the edge, which is why I photographed it on black. 

The way Kathi arranged the eyeglasses on Mary Ellen's piece made me think of a Japanese pagoda, but that didn't inspire me.  So I used the colors- which as luck would have it, I had leftovers from an old strip piece project to play with.  I used a piecing technique from a modern quilting design to create the shapes, the quilted funky feathers over them.

Kathi was away when it was time to swap again, but she sent me a picture of what she had made for Susan.  I admit, this one didn't inspire me at all at first glance.  So I pondered where to go for a few days and finally landed on the words flowers and moon in the quote.  I made a collage of flowers to be the moon, with a few blooms escaping.  But the moon looked like a white blob until I added the organza to create a crescent moon.

For Cynda's I received a piece from Mary Lee.  I have wanted to create a piece based on a picture I took at Crater Lake for a long time!  This was my opportunity!   Fortunately I had just the right fabric to show the beauty of the water there.  I think this is also my first landscape quilt!

My last piece- Lori's-  also came from Mary Lee.  The trees left me feeling blah, so I used the Bigfoot as my inspiration, and made a big foot- like a footprint in the woods.  I used some  oil pastels to enhance the edges of the foot and the quilted leaves in the background. 

 The reveal was so exciting- like a quilted Christmas morning.  As I opened each envelope, I was amazed at how beautiful the work was, and at the creative thinking of each of my friends!  This is the collection I received. 

Row 1 (L to R): Mine, Lori, Cynda
Row 2: Susan, Mary Ellen, Elaine
Row 3: Chris, Mary Lee, Kathi

We hope to enter them all in the Museum Quilt Guild show coming in October.  We just have to figure out how to mount them for hanging.  

You can see the whole collection at the ArtCGirlz blog in the link at the beginning of this post.

I am trying to assess everything I use that comes in plastic, now that plastic recycling is in crisis.  Many of our recyclables are being incinerated due to the volume and quality of items being recycled.  There are personal care products, laundry soap, kitchen items... made so no plastic packaging is required.  My husband will resist, but I am willing to try bar shampoo and toothpaste "pills"
We must stop using fossil fuels for every aspect of our daily lives.  Every little bit helps. 

I am grateful for:
Not having to cook much this week, even though I got a great new stove!
A kind and forgiving boss.
Special time with my grandsons!
I have enough- of almost everything. (except time)
None of the grumpy kitties bit me.  Good for both of us!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Decisions to make

The beast is finished and on the bed!  (I hope no one judges the fact that the pillowcases don't match.  Hubby hogs the matching ones, so I get to pick out fun fabrics and make my own!)

The name on the label of this quilt is "Anna's Stars (AKA that F***ing quilt)"  Anna picked out the pattern, but the battle to finish it gave it a new name.  It's warm and not falling apart and it's finished.  That's all I care about.  

Now that that's finished, I hope to get some of the small projects I've started this year finished.  Of course there are always "Have-to-dos" on the list. The annual challenge is due in just over a month- and I haven't started! I am not stressing.  If I don't get one finished, life will go on.

But I did get a couple of them out recently to make some decisions.  The butterfly from the LInda M Poole class needs a background.  These are the finalists...

All are fabrics I painted years ago.  I'm leaning toward the last one.

Then there's my stitchery piece, which I've decided to mount on a slightly larger quilted background.  I'll finish the edge with the green ribbon yarn shown here.

It's kind of a toss up on these.  I like how the second one looks a lot like the background of the stitchery, but I also like the pops of color in the first one.

If anyone is reading, let me know what you think.  (Three people will answer- all with different opinions.  :-)
I wish wither of these would fit the challenge theme.  I don't have much in progress that I can finish quickly for that.

In other news, my kitties are starting to get along better.  George must be mellowing in her old (7 years) age, because she never allowed Marigold to sleep this close to her.  (I just noticed this picture looks like I'm scratching my boob)

Hopefully I'll have more to share soon.  I'm not doing much sewing these days.  Stupid Christmas is sucking up all my time.

I am grateful for:
Not having to cook some days.
Caring co-workers
Christmas cookies
the technology that allows me to share an experience with Guy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Quilts=Art=Quilts 2019

The week before Thanksgiving, Mary and I made out annual trek to The Schweinfurth art gallery in Auburn to see this art show.  I've been attending for many years, and the exhibit has changed a LOT in that time.  Some years I am inspired.  Others I leave wondering what the jurors and judges were looking for when they chose these quilt.  This was one of the latter, unfortunately.

The exhibit in the upstairs gallery was worth the drive, though!  It was called Narrative Quilts, by Ellen M Blalock of Syracuse, NY.  Most were based on a story from a member of her family.  Some were sweet, some were very sad.  Her work is exemplary, though, and I was glad I got to experience it in person.

The Angel Quilt (artist statement below)

The Dandelion Quilt
The seed puff on this one was super cool- it looked like netting that had been stitched on with silver thread, with threads hanging off of it making it textured and fluffy, like a real one!

 The Quilts=Art= Quilts exhibit was not worth the drive.  The award winners all made me say, "Really?"  And there were a couple that I asked, how is this even a quilt?  (I suppose I should have taken a picture of those just so I could see if my faithful readers agree.  Sorry)  One was layers of silk burned into different shapes, held together with very loosely knotted threads.  Is that a quilt?  One was something painted onwhat looked like a felt backing- again the layers were knotted together.  And- as always- several artists had two very similar pieces in the show.  I don't get that.  If they would limit them to one accepted per artist, they could have more pieces in the show.  Why choose two so similar I had to look twice when going through my pictures, thinking I had taken two pictures of the same piece.  So that's my review of the show.  I'm hopeful next year will be better.  It seems to go that way.
You can see a short video of the exhibit here

I didn't take many pictures, since there were very few I really liked. Each piece has the name of the artist on the artist statement beneath it. 
I liked the palette and the hand stitching on this one. 

I'm always happy to see Maria Shell's work in person!

Pictures do not do this one any justice!  

So this one has little milano cookies sticking up to create the texture and design.  It looked like the original quilt was larger, and cut up to make the cookies, which were then painted. 

The piecing!!!

Will I go next year?  Probably.  It's a nice day trip for friends to share.  If you go, there's a great diner right off the thruway on your way there or back- try the mac and cheese!

I am grateful for:
Having family to share Thanksgiving with- both those close to us and those not so close.
Taking time to do something just for the joy I get by doing it.
The beast is finally quilted!!! (pictures soon)
Cuddling and sharing "secrets" with Jon.
The first snow was absolutely gorgeous this year. 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Learning to Draw

Some of you know I have a lot of coloring books. The first one I bought was by Secret Garden, Johanna Basford.  I think it's the book that started the coloring craze.  I have most of her books, not that I have colored them all.  When I heard she was publishing a new book, I was excited until I saw it was a how to draw book titled How to Draw Inky Wonderlands.  My first thought was that I have a ton of books to color- why should I draw my own pictures?  Then I saw on her Instagram page she was going to do a free 10 day course as a companion to the book.  That sounded amazing, so I bought the book and signed up for the course.  (The course is closed now, but if you get her newsletter, she offers free tutorials from time to time)
I have no affiiation with her;  I just love her work.

So I've been spending a lot of time with pencils, paper and ink lately.  I know I posted a couple of these last time, but here's the whole story. 
 On Day 1 we learned to draw some basic flowers and a simple wreath.

 On Day 2 we added blooms and a bee to a page in the book.

 On Day 3 we drew a lovely grid of different flowers to use in our own inky garden.

 On Day 4 we moved on to the ocean part of the book, and made some cute fishies. 

 On Day 5 we learned abut creating symmetrical designs.

 On Day 6 we added fishies and seaweed to a page in the book. 

 On Day 7- the day before Halloween, we used our symmetry skills to create sugar skulls.  I copied mine onto another page and colored him in to use as a holiday decoration in my office!

 On day 8 we moved on to the forest section and drew some sweet little birds.

 Day 9 was another symmetry lesson, where we created a leafy bug.

On the last day we learned to create a lovely circular design that could be adapted for use in greeting cards, invitations, thank you notes....  I goofed up the lines in the center on this one, but the beauty of her technique is that you copy the original design using thin paper so you can change the details if you want!

So, since the course ended, I have kept up with the drawing, and have been following along in the book to gain skills she didn't have time for in the 10 days we had. 

I loved this little drawing I did during some down time at work so much...

...I colored it right away!

A lot of days are just practicing different basic components, or trying new designs. 
combinations of flowers and leaves
simple borders



 More borders

This is a page in the book where she had drawn the simple leafy wreaths, and the reader is invited to add details.  I had fun with it, and colored them right away.  

 I tried a full page drawing the other day.  When I traced it, I realized I had left a sort of path through the middle.  (OOPs- sideways.  My photo editor and I are having disagreements lately.  Sorry)
 So I went back to the pencil drawing and tried again. 
Still not perfect, but I learned something and have a nice picture to color!

Think you could never draw pictures like these?  I did too.

A week or so after the course ended, she announced she was going to attempt to do the world's largest drawing as a way to inspire everyone to pick up a pencil and draw something .  She asked Instagram followers to draw on post-its as a way to show support for her.  These are the ones I did.

 She succeeded!  On November 18, in 12 hours, she drew a picture over 5,000 square feet.

I should be knitting socks, or Christmas gifts.  But for now, I'm enjoying my daily doodling time. Like the coloring, it is meditative and relaxing.

I am grateful for:
A new pastime that is giving me great joy.
My family.
The beast is almost finished!!  (Stay tuned)
A day with my BFF.
Any day I wake up without a headache.