Monday, June 7, 2010

Gathering Materials

I don't like the supplies I use to be too "precious."  I need to be able to trash what I've worked on if it's no longer working without feeling like I've taken a financial hit. I want to be able to make mistakes or make quickie samples or try something I dislike without worrying that I've destroyed something priceless. I prefer to think that it's me who puts added value to the materials.

I had a great time, therefore, during a visit to SCRAP in San Francisco. SCRAP is a warehouse of recycled art supplies and other uncategorizable odds and ends.

 Prices are minimal and choices are myriad. You do need to dig around some to find the treasures you are after. After a lot of hunting, this is what I came home with, fabrics, trims, zippers, and some, er, widgets?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Constraints: Time

I had just enough time last weekend to take a whirlwind tour of the quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago. The festival was a last-minute addition to a packed schedule and I had to choose which of the many wonderful quilts on display  to spend time with and which to skip. I did not consider this the ideal approach to  art appreciation! However, I was able to zero in on quilts which I found interesting, used unique techniques or materials, had a refreshing point of view, or just spoke to me from across the room. It was refreshing to only  eye-collect (is that a thing?) pieces that I would include in a quilt festival of my own favorites. It's several days later and I still can recall clearly most of the pieces I enjoyed. That's a contrast to some shows where I come home with sore feet and "quilt fatigue."

Last November I attempted the Art Every Day for a Month challenge. The idea is to make art every day. Simple enough. It can be difficult to find time, but I tried to finish a small piece every day (and managed to, until waylaid by a bad cold). Here's my first piece, definitely an opening salvo.

Answering to no one but the clock is a challenge, to be sure, but also freeing. In the piece above, I gave myself five minutes to make fabric choices. No dithering or auditioning fabrics for hours.  I learn by doing not by deliberating.

I used to be more of a collector of projects to do someday. I gathered fabrics, designs, patterns, ideas, sketches, books, etc. Now, though, I realize that really what's in short supply is my time. I need to edit projects to those that excite me most. That's what I intend to do.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unintended Series

I admire artists who can spend lots of time working in series. First, you change one thing, then another, and so on. It seems you can really plumb the depths that way and uncover interesting variations. I thought I was too scattered to work this way, but I was pleasantly surprised recently to realize that I do tend to work in series, though maybe not so intentionally.

These leaves are on my design wall at present as I test ideas for a piece I want to work on soon. I kept seeing these leaves when I closed my eyes and knew I had to play with them. I thought they were a new shape for me. That is, until I sat down on the sofa and saw the table runner I made last year.

There are those same leaf shapes again. I found no fewer than three more recent pieces in the house using these leaves. I guess I'm working on my Leaf Series now. Looks impressive when capitalized, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Second Home

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I find other times of the year to be better for resolving to be thinner, tidier, nicer, etc. Now, however, it looks like spring is here again and, spurred on by a need for room in the garage, we've been cleaning and purging the house. It is amazing the space ten years of bank statements take up. In the spirit of it all, I've been sorting through accumulated fabrics and projects hoping that they will tell me whether they should be sent to a new home or need some attention here. Alas, they've been pretty silent about the matter.

This quilt is made from fabrics that found a new home with me. I found them at fabric giveaways or as discards at our local art supply recyclers. They started as white, off-white, ecru, beige, etc. and were pretty unlovable. I over-dyed them and put them together, although it was a challenge due to varying textures and fabric content. Overall, I think the quilt is successful enough and I think if it could talk (too weird?) it would be glad for its parts to have found a second home with me.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Welcome to my blog. Thanks for checking it out. I plan to share (and hope you will want to read) about my rambling explorations of art quilting and some other textile sidetrips I'm taking.

Like many art quilters I started by doing traditional quilts. (You've got to know the rules in order to break the rules, right?) Many years later I'm more interested in marking or dyeing my own fabric. I'm also interested in re-purposed, recycled, or overlooked fabrics. Some of my favorite pieces have been done with fabrics used to wipe up spills after a dyeing session.

I am fortunate enough to have a supportive art quilting community and friends who have their own artistic pursuits. It's lovely to be able to share creative moments. I hope to do some of that here.