CONTENTS

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Daily, weekly, sometime stitching ...

I'm still stitching. Sometimes my choice of stitch feels quite forced at others it flows nor does that seem to change with time.

I had no plan for the pieces when I began and every one who sees them assumes that I will be sewing them together at the end. At the moment that is the only thing that I am sure of - these pieces will not form a patchworked textile!

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Shelley Rhodes Workshop

I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop run by NWCQ, a physical branch of the almost virtual Contemporary Quilt Group . The workshop was led by Shelley Rhodes and called  'j u s t    o n e   t h i n g '

I like Shelley's work but it  is so far from anything I've ever done that I was either going to love or loather my day. Fortunately I loved it and I can see the exercises that we did becoming part of my practice. Shelley was both giving and patient which removed the workshop paralysis that I often experience, though I did struggle during the second half of the day In some respects there was little that was totally new but the presentation and variety of exercises all slotted together and made sense. For a literal person like me, it was an extremely free-ing day. You can see the small bundle of letters that I used as my 'one thing' to the the right of this set of exercises:



Rather than loose the impetus by putting my materials away until I could find time, I've selected the bits that best represent what we did and have created myself a reference book. But the element that I will definitely be exploring sooner rather than later are these marks:



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Evernote

I've had an Evernote account for ever or so it seems (Since the time of the day job, which seems like forever ago!) and never really got to grips with it. This morning I decided that I either closed the account or got to grips with it. In true visual learner style I turned to YouTube and came acros a video by Paul Boag about how he uses Evernote. As I seem to be in need of some organisation, I've decided to give it a go. I've also subscribed to ifttt which I hadn't heard about before. If that works a link to this post should appear in my under-used (Since the day job.) twitter account!

 

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Using time productively

I make lists - on paper, on ToDoist, and more recently I've been trialling Nirvana but there are days, usually when I have a lot of time, that I seem to get less satisfaction from the days work than I'd expect of myself.

Yesterday was a case in point. I've three large-ish quilts that are nearing completion but are frustrating me for different reasons. Yesterday I decided to add more quilting to the one that I used an experimental grid pattern on and then I decided that I didn't like. If I'd written that down as an item on my list it would have read 'do quilting' and I'd have done what I did and added the extra quilting, but somehow the time spent sewing felt as though it had had no impact on my work.

I'm a starter not a finisher so whilst I love starting new projects and thinking about starting new projects I actually get a lot more self-satisfaction when I finish things.

So from now items like yesterdays quilting will be written differently, instead of  'do quilting' it will be recorded as 'Finish quilting' (Even though I
may not even have started it!!!) and I'm going to see if I can create more completion goals to up my sense of using my time purposefully!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Work I like

At a loose end I've been wandering the web and via  Robyn Gordon's blog I've been introduced to the work of Donna Watson . I really like the way she uses what she calls collage, but looks to me like wrapped bundles, to hold memories ....







Friday, March 14, 2014

Keeping up with the Journal Quilts

It's March and I'm still keeping up to date with my CQ Journal Quilts - the first time for a while!

Using my Gelliplate printed fabrics has made this interesting for me, but I need to print some more for April onwards.  More often than not when I've been printing I put my fabrics to one side, that 'Too nice to cut up' mentality kicks in and then they become too special and lurk in the back of the cupboard. So this time, knowing that I wanted to use them for the JQ's I cut them into pieces before they went into the cupboard. That way I was (Mentally at least!) using up my scraps which I always find more interesting any way!!!

January


February

March

I've just noticed a variation in the blues in these photos that isn't true, GIMP or another session with the camera???????

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Pride comes before a fall ... Again, again!!

So, I took my little Adrinka symbol squares and sewed them on my plank piece in a winky wanky fashion and thought 'Phew, got away with that!'
Then, I sprayed the piece ready to block it and as if by magic one side of the piece turned bright red - some colour from the backing fabric had leeched through! Into the washing machine with a colour catcher it went. The red dye came out easily but so did the colour on the strip cloth - out came the paints. I  didn't quite manage to capture the warmth of the original colour, but I was quite pleased with the end result.

The piece has now been handed over and you can see it and the other 'plank' pieces, which vary enormously in size, at www.buyaplank.com/ . The quilts are now available for bidding on the site. They will also be shown together at the British Quilt and Stitch Village in Uttoxeter on  25th, 26th and 27th April 2014 where viewers can place a bid in person. Bidding will finish when that show finishes. All quilts have a starting bid of £75. "May we encourage you to view the gallery and, even if you cannot bid, to enjoy the art, to be inspired to make your own art and to consider how you could use it to help others."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wandering but not Lost: The impossibility of February

I love Kate Castelli's work but this piece also has the most appealing title - The impossibility of February: The Frequency of Falling woodblock on vintage paper, unique impression 7 x 9.5" copyright Kate Castelli 2014, Wandering but not Lost




Saturday, February 15, 2014

More mono printing

Guess what the theme for the next Twelve by. The Dozen challenge is! I've had my gelliplate out again and have been having fun. For someone who always finds the 'add some more' way of working difficult the gelliplate is helping me break that habit! Mind you the fabric got a bit shiney in places. ...

 

 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pride comes before a fall ... Again!

I was really pleased with how these little Adrinka symbol squares turned out. Each symbol is only 1" square and I drew and painted them myself but they look as though they could have been printed. I can be just bit clumsy with a paintbrush hence my satisfaction!

It was only when I auditioned them on the on-going African plank piece that I realised that they should have been done on point.......

I've no more of the surrounding fabric so if I did them again there'd be a lot of unpicking as well as the painting to contemplate and I fear that my luck with the paintbrush would run out before I completed the task. What to do?

 

Monday, January 13, 2014

A lesson learned ...

... in more ways than one.
I've had a quilt top waiting to be layered and quilted for a couple of months. It was a top that I was really pleased with as it expressed my idea as well as it could. For a large part of the surface I used the fragmented log cabin technique that I fell in love with last year but I decided I wanted to try something other than the narrowly spaced lines of quilting that I've used in the past. The narrow lines tend to blend the pieces and make the piecing disappear - I wanted to try something that would echo the piecing so went for a horizontal and vertical grid of  'not quite straight' lines. And I don't like it! I was right in that this style of quilting does echo the piecing but it's all a bit too much. So lesson one is don't use this quilting pattern again.
But for me lesson two is the exciting one - as it became apparent that the quilting wasn't going to be to my taste, rather than trying to unpick a lot of stitching or putting it to one side to ponder over (Something that can go on for weeks whilst it niggles and irritates me!) I put a concerted effort into finishing the quilting on the basis that I can do another one and try something else! Wow - so simple, I can allow myself to get things wrong knowing that I can try again. How many years has it taken to learn that? So, here's to tomorrow ....





Saturday, January 04, 2014

Playing with my Christmas plate

Like lots of people I met at K&S show at Harrogate I bought my own Christmas present on behalf of my other half. And, if there were a top ten of presents for contemporary quilters I guess a Gelliplate would have been high on the list and I'm no different. I've always enjoyed mono-printing whenever I've dabbled but didn't necessarily see a place for it in my work, but the idea of creating my own textured fabric does appeal and it's something I've seen a lot of since the advent of the Gelliplate.

However the random, chuck everything at it to see what happens approach wouldn't suit me. Even though this was my first attempt I needed a structure so I went shopping:-

And add myself some stamps:

I used a, commercially printed, very pale mottled grey fabric and printed and removed colour. I used the stamps that I'd removed the colour with to add colour back in, but all the time worked with the same Prussion Blue acrylic. (It was rather old paint and splashed across the plate on more than one occasion!) But I learned a lot, mainly about how little paint you need, but also about not leaving thread ends trailing across the plate!

 

Needless to say my favourite piece was the one that I put on the plate as I was spraying it to clean it at the end of the session. I thought there was very little paint left until the water droplets started to move the colour around:

I now have a batch of fabrics for my 2014 JQ's and am looking forward to my next session when the colour mixing begins!

 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy New Year!

Resolutions? Word of the year? Goal statements? Nope, none of the above. Though having decided that it would be useful to record what I did achieve last year I realise that I should make recording what I complete this year a target as I have no record of 2013!

2014 looks like being a good year for stitching. There are some exciting exhibition opportunities coming up, a couple of retreats in the diary as well as some interesting challenges in the offing. Reading through the latest issue of the Contemporary Quilt newsletter I could be kept busy by the challenges in that alone!

One thing I have decided to explore is a hand stitching project that is visited regularly. Kathy Loomis wrote, just before Christmas, about her weekly/daily stitching projects and I found her reasoning behind these projects really appealing. I've tried a weekly project before and abandoned it very quickly. I made it far too complicated and found myself, as ever, focussing far too much on my technique. Subsequent conversations made me realise that I needed something where I could identify an end to a period of stitching and which wouldn't leave me disappointed with myself if I failed to meet a day's target ( My own sense of failure is a sure trigger to make me give up!)

Enter the hand stitch project. The fabric is cut into small pieces 5"x4", and I'm using just one length of thread to 'complete' the stitching. But how often? I've 54 pieces so that's one a week with a couple spare. I'd like to think that I'll do one a day whilst I'm at home but I know that is unlikely so completing the pile in a year will be good enough for me!

And a few that I've completed as a test run!

 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Looking for photos?

10 new photos every 10 days

unsplash is  based in Montreal with photos from all around the world and offers free (do whatever you want) hi-resolution photos, like this:



Thursday, November 07, 2013

Technical skills

People have lots to say about technical skills, that they are esssential/aren't important that they enhance/get in the way of art and so on. Other people comment positively on my technical skills, but I interpret those 'skills' as experience. I'm aware that the more pieces I make the more efficient I become because my hands carry the knowledge they need and I stop less to consider how something should be done.
This week I've become even more aware of this 'expertise  gained through practice' as I've a) tried a new way of putting a piece together and b) begun to consider a longer term project inspired by comments by Edmund de Waal talking about his 1,000 hours project -


I decided to use a collage technique for my next 12bythedozen piece and happily arranged my chosen components into what I considered an appropriate arrangement but then what? None of my experience applied - did I use glue, hidden stitching, running stitch, overlay with organza then stitch?? There were so many questions it was some time before I realised that I just had to do something to find out whether it was viable for me at all. (The piece is finished, was fun to do but veered away from the original challenge - oops.) Will I do another collage, yes and another, because only in that way will the significance of the technique become secondary to what I want to make - the circle completed!

In thinking about how I could apply Edmund de Waal's re-iteration of a process to an idea that's been stewing in my mind for some time I realised that I was putting technique before the work I wanted to make and my reasons for making it. My idea is something that needs to be 'got on with' but without too much thinking. In this case I have the technical ability and need to let the stitching direct the next steps - but wait, which fabric will I use, will I finish each piece individually, how will I mount the work ...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Andy Warhol quote

I've just picked up this quote from Hilary Beattie's Facebook entry


If I change art to quilts this should become my mantra ...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

All in a day's work ...

.. is the title of the next CQ suitcase collection. The deadline isn't until 31 December but time is ticking by very quickly at the moment. (How is it that hours can drag when whole months can rush by without a murmur?)

Returning to the idea of  the personal cost a person's labour I've gone back to the spinning industry of the nineteenth century for my inspiration. I have the source and some contemporary accounts - my problem will be fitting all that into an A3 piece!



Friday, October 04, 2013

Tea

There's a lovely piece about tea on the Art Propelled blog by Robyn Gordon. The ceramics are amazing - there is something about the form of these 'cups' that I love and there are some interesting surface treatments too.




Saturday, September 28, 2013

The demise of Google Reader

Some time ago I pondered on the impact of the demise of Google Reader, which was such an easy tool to use.  I'm now using Feedly having trialled one or two alternatives, it's O.K. but doesn't make commenting on a blog as easy as before.
More significantly I happened to take a rare peek at my visitor numbers, they were never high - I can't do self publicity, but it seems that they have halved with the loss of Google Reader. Typically for this time of year my posts are less frequent which may be part of the reason but there also seems to have been an increase in blog-style posts on Facebook.
I'm on Facebook, but like many people my age use it as much for keeping up with my family as anything else.  I can't imagine using Facebook to keep track of the projects that I'm working on, but interesting images appear from time to time:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Audition - the first

Having established which is the right side of my plank I am less than inspired at the moment - where is the colour???

But, I can add colour and what if I add it log cabin, possibly even QAYG, style?

I like the idea of using this piece of bark cloth, but at the present size, about14" square, there would need to be a lot more done to add visual interest to the piece. And as I type I'm thinking about some of the motifs on the 'thank you' fabric that could be cut and applied .... Hmmmm