Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Deco Done Wright

June 5, 2019

The binding is on one of my Projects in Piles (PIPs), and it is labeled, so I can check it off the list. This is Deco Done Wright, a project that began with a coloring exercise.

Betty Busby had some of these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired printed squares at an Art Quilt Santa Fe retreat. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color in parts of my square, then put it away for “the perfect project.” Since that never comes around, no matter how long I wait, I pulled it out for my quilting buddies in the Progressive Party to finish. They did such a great job I put the project away again because I didn’t know how to quilt it. When I started my PIPs challenge, I decided I would combine hand and machine quilting.

Once again, the power of a deadline came to the rescue and I now have a wonderful quilt. Force yourself to finish things. Setting a deadline works for me – find the way that works for you. You’ll feel a foot taller without the weight of unfinished projects on your shoulders.

Luck and wisdom!

Memoir, Turning Points, and Character Development

June 3, 2019

Linda Joy Myers has a lot of good advice for memoirists. The most useful (in my opinion) is to note the turning points in your timeline. We moved around when I was young, so those were both anchor and turning points in my list. Times when I said yes to a new challenge went in, as well as times when I ran for cover and thanked my lucky stars I got out before the (metaphorical) bullets started flying. Then I put in when I met those special people who befriended me and changed my life. That’s when I realized I was missing something.

My brother, mother, father, Dennis Franklin, and Hal Franklin (taken by me in 1966)

The man on the far right is Hal Franklin, who befriended my father and changed his life by teaching Dad about photography. Dad dabbled with photography, but having a mentor made all the difference in the world. It made all the difference in the world to me as well, since Dad introduced me to the camera. Because Dad and Hal explored creating art with their pictures, I learned – without really noticing it – that everyone can be an artist. Put in enough time to learn technique, train your eye to really see, and you can create beauty.

While I may not write a memoir with this epiphany, I will keep it in mind when I am writing backstories for my characters. Who they are doesn’t depend solely on the turning points in their own lives, but also on the turning points of those who have influenced them. Whether those influencers appear in the book or not isn’t the point. They may deserve a book of their own sometime. Can you say prequel?

Luck and wisdom!

Good Times at Art Quilt Santa Fe

May 29, 2019

For the last ten years, I have gone to Santa Fe every spring to help out with Art Quilt Santa Fe. This year was the last session, and what a wonderful time it was. Although I was there as a classroom assistant, not a student, I still got to experiment when there was a lull in class.

Metallic blue and eggplant, using a faux-mori folding technique

Betty Busby has been the teacher almost every year. Her silk painting techniques are fabulous. Although Art Quilt Santa Fe may be no more, Betty teaches all over the world, so check out her schedule and see where she’ll be next. You’ll thank me later.

Soft greens – perhaps for an embroidered forest?

The hidden treasure about taking workshops is the chance to meet other students who can inspire you. Two of the other students noticed some embroidery I was doing when the students and Betty didn’t need my help, and brought out their own hand stitching projects to show me. Since both of them are far more advanced than I could ever hope to be, it was a gift from the thread goddess to see their work. I was so inspired, I actually finished a piece I had been working on for several years.

Inspired by a Montana pine forest

I will miss my annual trip to the Southwest, but will treasure what I learned there – especially about taking advantage of every opportunity I possibly can to gain new skills.

Luck and wisdom!

Six Inches – As Wide As The Ocean

May 8, 2019

I was working on the quilt pictured above when I detected a burning smell. It wasn’t strong, just a hint of something metallic and unhappy. Since I didn’t hear a pop or see any change in the light, and I couldn’t really tell where the smell was coming from, I asked my husband to check out the sewing room. He couldn’t tell what was causing the smell, either, but the damage was done. “The only way this room could be more of a fire hazard would be if you stored cans of gasoline in here,” he said.

He’s right, of course. Everything in a sewing (or crafting) room is flammable. As stuffed as mine is, I’m surprised my sparks of imagination haven’t burned the place down. I’m working on reducing the clutter (oh, stop laughing), but his concern was more immediate. “You need six inches around that electrical outlet under the ironing board,” he said.

Lose six inches, was he kidding me? The space underneath the ironing board was – in my opinion – prime storage space. I use the past tense because there are no longer as many piles as there were. Although six inches seemed as wide as the ocean, I cleared out space.

You don’t want to see where I put the stuff that once lived there. Some of it got sorted into other bags, some of it went away, but most of it is in another pile in the aisle. And I’m really hoping my husband has forgotten about the other outlet in the room until I can figure out how to clear six inches around it.

Luck and wisdom!

Photo-haiku and the Reason to Take Classes

May 6, 2019

I took a photo-haiku workshop at a Treasures of Japan Festival because someone whose writing I admire sent me a flyer. Although I haven’t done much work with poetry since college, the program fee was low and the workshop sounded like fun. Best decision I made all weekend. The teachers – a poet and photographer/poet – were fabulous, the other students were delightful, and I liked what I wrote. Best of all, we got to do some collaborative work. Seriously, when someone offers to teach you something and it isn’t immoral or illegal, say yes.

Luck and wisdom!

Spreading the Joy of Quilting

May 1, 2019

100 kits in the boxes – we went through at least half

My guild was offered a booth at a local historical event – Sheep Shearing Days – and I volunteered to staff it. I knew we would be in the kids crafts section, so we brought kits of felt and cotton squares, with embroidery floss to stitch them together. I figured parents would haul their young ‘uns up and say, “Try this!” I was wrong. It was the kids who came up, eyes sparkling, waiting for me to ask, “Would you like to sew?” Not all of them knew how to keep the thread in the needle as they stitched, but all of them loved the feeling of fabric against their fingers. Will any of these children – boys and girls – become quilters in the future? Who can say. All I know is there are at least 50 families in the area that have a new appreciation for quilting. Not bad for an afternoon outreach event.

These blocks really drew in the visitors!

Luck and wisdom!

Color and Balance

April 24, 2019

One of my friendship groups is experimenting with color and balance. I thought I had a good grasp of the concept until this week. I feel it is important to give more weight to value than to color, but the group experiment adds the brightness of the color into the mix. Since my current Project In Piles has lots of dark (but bright) golds and orange, I thought this would work well for the assignment. It did work well; in fact, better than I expected.

This flower is eye-catching. Without going into color theory, if I tell you it glows in the garden, you know what I mean.

The fabric with the deer (upper right) has a background similar to the blue iris. It also glows like the iris, but since it is surrounded by bright orange and red I thought the balance would work. I was so sure of myself that originally the block was three times that size. The fabric features several framed animals and I like them all, so I cut a large square. Luckily, I left the blocks on my design wall and checked the effect under different lighting conditions. The day I intended to start assembling the top happened to be very sunny, and the animal fabric turned into an eye magnet. Even trimmed down to the same size as the surrounding blocks, the deer is prominent. I can live with the effect, but I will be more careful in the future about value, brightness, color, and balance.

The buds from last week bloomed!

Luck and wisdom!

Waiting for the Reveal

April 10, 2019

I am making progress with the PIPs (Projects in Piles), but nothing to photograph. Luckily, the front yard is in the process of blooming, which illustrates the way I feel about the last couple of weeks of work. I put borders on three UFOs (UnFinished Objects), and made backs for them. I suppose I could photograph the tops but I would prefer to wait until they are done. They’ll be donated when completed, but before I can get to the quilting I need to finish a few simple sewing projects. In the meantime, I will enjoy the message of the flowers – patience + perseverance = progress.

Luck and wisdom!

Display Block Doggie

April 3, 2019

I took a workshop from Nancy Brown last month. She does beautiful hand applique, and teaches her students how to get the same results. Here is the dog I made from her Labrador Retriever pattern.

I knew I would never get a full quilt out of this one block, and didn’t feel like keeping it around until I get through my other projects and can make brothers and sisters for old Blackie here. Instead, it will become a Display Block for my guild’s collection. These blocks go up at our guild outreach events, at local libraries, wherever we are offered a chance to talk about quilting. It’s much better for someone else to enjoy the block than for it to languish at the bottom of one of my piles, yes?

Luck and wisdom!

Picking (Up) The Low-hanging Fruit

March 27, 2019

My plan to sort through the piles is working, and I think I’ve hit on the “organizational” scheme that will see me through. I’m working on the piles on the floor near my sewing machine. I can see them, reach them, and I’ll have instant feedback of success because there won’t be as much to leap over. This week I am working on two class projects that I determined from the beginning would become donation quilts. This is what the basket class project became:t

I found a cute flannel for the back, and decided to machine applique some of the animals in and around the baskets.

The binding is a stripe I had thought would make a good handle fabric. It didn’t, but I still wanted to use it, so binding it is. The top is busy enough that I did an overall loopedy-loop quilting design. The quilt is labeled and ready to donate, I’ve put away all the leftover fabrics, and I’m ready to start the next project. Is this what progress feels like?

Luck and wisdom!