Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop!

Greetings from hot and sunny Fort Worth, Texas!  I've been tagged by Hilary Florence, of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop, to participate in an "Around the World Blog Hop!"  The idea is to tell you all about my work and process, and to then tag several other quilters to tell their story.

Hilary, by the way, is a fabulous artist living and working in the UK, please check out her work here.  You will be amazed!

I was given four questions to answer, so here goes:

What am I working on?

At the moment, I am madly sewing facings, sleeves and labels on 8 or so quilts that I am sending to various shows in the next two weeks.  Why, you might ask, do I wait until the last minute to do this important task?  Because as much as I love to design, piece and quilt, I ABSOLUTELY HATE to do the finishing handwork.  Why do it any sooner than I have to?

Here's the pile of quilts, draped over a chair in my living room, to give you some idea of the depths of my procrastination:
Well, I have the answer to the "why do I wait?" question.  Because I'm silly, that's why!  I have 2 quilts that must be delivered this week to "Art in the Garden" at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 5 quilts that will be in the Trinity Valley Quilt Show in a couple of weeks, one quilt that must be mailed to Houston this week for the International Quilt Show silent auction, and one tiny quilt that needs to be mailed off to a traveling exhibit.  All must be done by Friday.  Omigosh, now that I've listed them, there are actually nine.  At this point in time, I am wishing like mad that I had had the foresight to do the finishing work a little sooner.

I've also spent the last month working on a quilt that can't be photographed.  I am entering it in an exhibit that insists that the work has never been shown on the internet, so all I can show you is this:
These are the fabrics I used.  Murky, huh?  But I am very happy with the quilt, and look forward to someday showing it off.

I've also just finished two projects.  Tuning Fork #23 is 18" x 23", and is ready to go to Houston for the silent auction.  Please note, it is COMPLETELY finished.  I finished the hand sewing yesterday.
 I finished piecing Subdivisions #2 on Sunday.  It is my piece for a monthly challenge at my art quilt group, and we showed them at the meeting on Monday.  If you read back a few posts in my blog, you will see that this started as a small (18" x 24"-ish) piece and grew to 53" x 72".
I can't wait to quilt it, but I am forcing myself to wait until I finish all of the facings.   Sigh.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think it is a little different.  Many quilt artists do intensely pieced quilts, but there are several things I do consistently that make mine different. 

Firstly, my work is almost always asymmetrical.  I like to flow the pieces of the figure across the background.  

Secondly, I love to play with value.  My backgrounds are often graded from light to dark or vice versa.  

Lastly, I love to play with scale.   I love mixing large scale pieces with very small scale pieces.

I think you can see all of this in Tuning Fork #11:

Why do I create what I do?

I love to piece.  I really really love to piece.  I have been quilting for 34 years, and I have tried many many types of piecing, appliqué, surface design, etc, but I always come back to piecing.

And I always wanted to be an artist.  My parents forbade me majoring in art in college, for some reason they felt that I needed a degree that would enable me to make a living, but I have always felt compelled to create.  And I am fortunate enough to be at a point in my life where I can focus on art.  I am a full time studio artist.

I also am lucky enough to have learned from some of the greatest art quilters around, Nancy Crow and Lisa Call.  They have both helped me get to a place where I can create art that makes me happy.

What is my creative process?

Generally, I start with a color palette.  I love to choose the fabrics, colors and textures for a project.  And I love to choose gradations of values in each of the colors I have chosen.

Once I have established the color palette, I make a very general plan.  For example, in Tuning Fork #12, I decided that the colors would flow over the background from upper left to lower right.    And I decided that the background would grade from dark to medium values of black, gray, red violet, blue and brown.

And then I start to make tuning fork blocks.  Lots and lots of them.  I make background blocks first, and stick them on the design wall, and then I start making the "figure/foreground" blocks and stick them up.  So after a week or so, it might look like this:
 As I create more blocks, both figure and background, I lay them out.  And move them around.  After a couple of weeks, it might look like this:
And then I start sewing sections together.  And continue making new blocks to fill in the sections and to maintain the flow between colors:
Finally, here is the finished Tuning Fork #12.  I quilt most of my work this way -- very closely spaced straight (more or less) lines.  I love the way they look on the surface of the quilt.


And on to the next hop.  On September 8, three quilters will post their contributions to the hop!  

First up is Maria Shell from Anchorage, Alaska.  Maria is an abstract art quilter who does the most intricate piecing and quilting.  Check out her work here -- it's fabulous!

Next is Jay Dodds, the "Creative Crone from studioQ."  Jay is a fiber artist from Texas.  Her work is fabulous and her blog is always a fun read.  Click here to read it!

And last, but by no means least, is Julia Graber.  Julia is a quilter and fiber artist from Mississippi who does exquisite work, and you can see it here.

I look forward to reading their posts, and learning about their processes and their latest work!

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Monday, August 25, 2014

What a week!

The last eight days have been crazy.  I've been working hard trying to finish TF 22 -- 2 1/2  days quilting and two days sewing the facing, sleeve and label on.  I've hosted the August meeting of the SAQA North Texas Circle, I've attended the meeting of the Fort Worth Fiber group, studioQ, and I've presented the program at two quilt/fiber groups in DFW.  Yikes!

The SAQA meeting was great, but I didn't get any good pictures.  In fact, the meeting was so interesting that I forgot to take any, except one exceedingly blurry picture that I snapped at the end.  But take my word for it, it was a really good meeting.

On Thursday, I gave a program on the two types of improvisational piecing I do for the Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild.  The audience was young and enthusiastic, and my quilts looked really pretty spread out on tables after the talk.
 Today, Monday, I attended studioQ.  We showed our latest challenge pieces, which were made using the palette I chose.  Here is Rhonda showing her piece:
 And here is Kay's:
 Bethany showed a lovely quilt that she had made for her daughter:
 Monday evening, I attended Dallas Area Fiber Artists (DAFA).  In the workshop before the meeting, we made a spirit doll.  Here is mine:
 I especially liked her posed on top of the mannequin:
 And then I showed the assembled members the SAQA Texas traveling exhibit quilts.  Deborah and Sherrie helped show them, and helped talk about the techniques the artists used to construct them.

Now it is late.  I haven't been home since 9 this morning.  Time for bed!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The quilt that just won't end!

I can't believe it!  Just when I thought I was finished with the quilt I was calling "Subdivisions #3," and was ready to move on to some very necessary quilting, I find that I am still working on it.  This has consumed my entire week, darn it!

It all started at Kyra's house in Round Rock.  I set up my sewing machine in a corner of her sewing room, and started piecing a small quilt for the studioQ color palette challenge #9.  I absolutely loved the colors.  Well, of course I did.  It was my turn to chose the palette.  I had the piece nearly done when I left Kyra's last Friday and came home.
 On Monday, I put the quilt on my design wall (along with Tuning Fork #23, which I REALLY REALLY need to quilt).  I still liked it, so I decided to finish it before I started the work I SHOULD be doing.  Much more fun to do work that you shouldn't be doing.
 I finished the quilt formerly known as Subdivisions #2 on Monday.  When I stood back and looked at it, I decided I didn't really like it.  Too chippy choppy, big gray blob.  Hmmmm.  So, as I posted earlier this week, I decided to take a mulligan.
 On Tuesday, I started Subdivisions #3.  A lot better, I think.
 On Wednesday, I was still working on it.  And it kept getting bigger.
 And bigger.  Until I finally finished the top this morning.  It's ok.  Not my  most original piece, but ok.
And then I made the mistake of pinning Subdivisions #2 below it.  Darn it!  I think they work better together.  Even the gray blob makes more sense.

Which means that I am, after all, not done with this quilt.  I need to do a bit more piecing.  And it's going to be pretty big.  It's about 55" in length at the moment.

But it will have to wait.  I need to quilt TF #22 and TF #23.  So while I'm quilting, I'll be looking up periodically at these two (now one) on my design wall, and I'll be wishing I could finish them/it.  It'll have to wait until next week.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Subdivisions #3 - Taking a Mulligan

The Wikipedia entry for Mulligan is as follows: "In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke. The result is, as the hole is played and scored, as if the first errant shot had never been made. This practice is disallowed entirely by strict rules and players who attempt it or agree to let it happen may be disqualified from sanctioned competitions. However, in casual play, mulligans speed play by reducing the time spent searching for a lost ball, and reduce frustration and increase enjoyment of the game, as a player can "shake off" a bad shot more easily with their second chance."

No strict rules here.  After all, this is art quilting.  Creation involves a certain amount of rule-bending.  So, in order to reduce my frustration and to increase my enjoyment of the art, I have decided to "shake off" Subdivisions #2 by starting an entirely new piece.

Here is Subdivisions #3 in progress.  
It is in the very preliminary stages, in chunks on the design wall.  An improvement?  Time will tell.  

I've linked this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" and "Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?" Go see all the beautiful work posted there!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Two new smallish pieces

I spent last week at Kyra's house in Round Rock.  We always have a great time together.  And, as a bonus, I even get work done.  While Kyra works (she works at home), I sew.  I worked on two small projects, and finished one top.  The other I finished this afternoon here at home.  Here they are:

 The first is Subdivisions #2.  I pieced this using the color palette I chose for the Fort Worth fiber group.
Subdivisions #2, 21" x 37"
I love this palette, but I'm not sure about this piece.  I may need to make a second piece to see if I can do a better job.  Perhaps I need a "do-over."  Or as my golfing brother and father used to say, a "Mulligan."

The second piece is the piece I really needed to get done last week.  And I did.  This is Tuning Fork #23, which is the piece I am donating to the International Quilt Festival Silent Auction in Houston.  I hope to quilt it tomorrow, and have it ready to send to Houston within the next two weeks.
Tuning Fork #23, 18" x 21"

Friday, August 1, 2014

Art in the Garden and New Figure #1

Three exciting things this week!  First of all, Tuning Forks #16 and 19 have been juried into Art in the Garden, the fundraising art show at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.  This is my first all-media art show -- both 3D and 2D works were accepted.  Both quilts will be on sale during the show,  which runs from September 5th through September 7th, and a portion of the sales price will help support the Fort Worth Botanic Garden!
Tuning Fork #19, 17" x 20"
Tuning Fork #16, 29" x 45"
Secondly, I finally finished piecing Tuning Fork #22.  No photos, but I think it's pretty darn good.

Thirdly, I just (20 minutes ago) finished quilting New Figure #1.  Here it is, with a couple of close-ups:
New Figure #1, 43" x 57" 

I'm afraid my heart is still in the tuning fork series, but I think this turned out pretty well. 

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

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