Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Need to be Committed

No, I don't need to be locked away (unless it's in a fully stocked creative space with  great coffee).

I need to commit to participation.
Having other people count on me to finish a page, enter a quilt or mail a postcard makes me accountable and forces me to finish (and start) projects.  I have been careful not to over extend myself so that I don't 'flake' or drop out of a group.  Spreading the mediums make my creating more interesting.  So what have I committed to this year?

I am at the tail end of an altered book round robin.  Each artist chose a theme for her book and we each took four or so pages to alter.  Fellow participants chose varied themes ranging from Africa and Edgar Allen Poe to Galileo and Nick Bantock.  My book has a travel theme and I look forward to getting it back and seeing each interpretation.  

I belong to two quilt guilds and each had a themed challenge.  One was 'masks' and the other was 'log cabins'.  I struggled to be inspired for the mask challenge - actually I had some great ideas that I sketched but was not able to execute them in time - so I back out.  The log cabin quilt turned out adorable in my opinion.  I liked the final piece!

Most recently I signed up for iHanna's DIY Postcard Swap.  Hanna is a blogger from the Netherlands who hosts the international swap twice a year.  I made ten postcards and sent them around the world.  In turn, I receive ten in my mailbox.  As of today I have received four - each unique and wonderful.  
Here are the postcards I created:

"Just Go Forward' had always been one of my mantras.  I always found that if I am moving in a positive direction - no matter how small of a step - that it is a good thing!  I have also often drawn arrows.  So this is what came out of my art (the post-election sentiments may have had a bit of an influence as well.) 

So that's it.  Do you find committing to participate motivates you or stresses you?  What are you committed to lately?

Friday, September 30, 2016

If I don't try...

I won't grow as a quilter - more apt, an art quilter, if I don't try.  Challenge myself.  Put myself 'out there.'  It is hard for anyone and I envy the artists that have the confidence to enter and exhibit pieces and call themselves the artists that they are.  Have you ever attended an art show and thought to yourself 'I can make that', 'my art is better than that'?  If you said 'no' - I don't believe you.   

My son is a budding film maker and musician.  He calls himself an artist.  While an introvert, he confidently enters student film in competitions and posts his work on line.  I admire his confidence. Perhaps what differentiates those that have the ability to call themselves artists feel the message that they have to share with the world through their medium, as opposed to what many of us have, which is the need to make something visually appealing.  

I created this art quilt for a show that Pokey Bolton organized to pay tribute to the late Yvonne Porcella.   Yvonne was a talented artist, art quilter and founder of SAQA.  This piece was inspired by an early book of hers.  I submitted the photos and statements and it did not get selected.  I was not surprised, as the artists who also submitted works are the tops in the quilt world.  And this is not my best work - too much negative space on the top and bottom (it would have been better if it was horizontally focused, but I did not read the instructions for the dimensions until I had finished the kimono piece.)  I don't feel bad about this piece, even though I did not get accepted, because I tried.  I did some small piecing and painted, did hand and machine work.  I put myself 'out there'.

I am thinking of adding some beading and entering it in a local show.  And I will continue to grow in my artistic journey.  I will continue to try and put myself out there.  Perhaps someday I will have the true confidence to call myself an artist.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Letter to the Unknown Crafter

Dear former owner of the treasure box,

I never knew you but enjoyed walking around your home and perusing the many items on display on folding tables throughout.  I hadn't planned on stopping but a friend told me about a good estate sale that was on my way to work.  Certainly a quick swing through the rooms wouldn't make me late on a Saturday.
The large hat box on the floor caught my eye.  It was overflowing with trims. lace, ribbon and ends of plastic baggies.  Marked at only $20, it looked like a good price for some fun fiber pieces to play with.  Before I could find someone to pay, I noticed a folding table piled high with all kinds of fabric and needlework.  Some little vintage needlepoint started my creative juice flowing.  How could I incorporate some of these in my projects?  The gentleman taking the money offered up the entire pile of stuff, along with the hat box, for a fair bulk price.  Not having time to sort through things, I agreed and his friend materialized with two garbage bags to haul my lot.  I watched all sorts of material be shoved into the plastic, include some yucky coated table cloths and discount store table runners.  Everything went into my trunk and  as I drove to the store I wondered what kind of person you might be or might have been.

It wasn't until the next morning - Sunday, my day off - that I unloaded my car to see what I purchased.  Not knowing the condition, I set up on the counter in my patio area.  Starting with the hat box, I pull out pieces of lace and trim and sorted them.  There were lots of pieces that were interesting in shape and texture and suitable for dying.  Some eyelet, some battenberg, a few doilies.  Pieces cut from old garments.  I imagined you saving bits of dresses that you hated to throw out.  I hope you don't mind but I think I may turn much of what you saved into bright colors.

I think I got to know you a little more as I went through the bags of needlework and home items.  I tossed the plastic coated pieces and will donate some of the mass produced items.  I will upcycle some of the needlework, because there was a lot!  I am imagining you did much of the needlework yourself.  Us crafters often enjoy the making and don't always finish the items and find them a home.  There are many needlepoint projects that were well done!   Many look like they were from the 70's, especially the crewel pieces.  It's the colors and motifs that give the hints!

So dear crafter (or collector) please know that these items that you kept for so many years - finished projects and pieces for future ones, are in a good home.  I have already started to enjoy them,, having dyed some pieces pink and some green.  Some may be used in art quilts, others perhaps to embellish garments.  The possibilities are endless!

(who has more supplies for 'endless possibilities' than she knows what to do with!)
P.S. I started playing with some dyes and this is some results! Pink and green pieces of lace and eyelet.  They turned out great!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weighting for Rust

I really do create everyday. Very often it a small bit at night, but no day goes by that I don't do something.  I can't help myself, can you?  

Sunday is my day to play the most, and this weekend was no exception.  My son had surprised us for a visit from college the previous weekend and left all of his weight lifting equipment outside on our patio (in Florida.)  Rust appeared in areas and just called to me to dye with it.  So I did.

I grabbed the required supplies, which are always things I have around the house (and that does not happen often when the creative spirit moves me to try something new.)  Vinegar with water in a spray bottle, fishing line and fabric.  (Gloves may have been nice but I couldn't find any.  I am updated on my tetanus shot.)  

I wet the fabric with the vinegar/water mixture and wrapped it around the rusty areas.  Some pieces were scrunched, some were cut thinner and wrapped around.  Another was placed under weight plates. 

I let them sit overnight, spritzing it a few times to dampen it.  In the morning I unwrapped the fabric.  It was rinsed in a water and baking soda bath for a while to neutralize the rust and then rinsed again in clean water.  Some pieces came out better than others but I am excited by the prospects.  

Some pieces turned out better than others.   Not quite sure what I will do with the new fabric, but   I am liking the possibilities!  
(so is Stella! )