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  • Missed Deadline

    I’ve been working like mad on a quilt that I had hoped to submit to a juried show. The deadline came and went on Friday with my quilt still unfinished.

    This particular show is one in which I have had quilts exhibited the past two years, so I was really hoping to show there again.

    Although I’m disappointed, I had to quickly put into perspective that it’s not the end of the world, not even my little world. With so much real struggle and strife around the globe my missed deadline amounts to almost nothing.

    (……………… Still disappointed though  ………………)

    At one point in time I thought that maybe I would just produce work at my own pace and when a show opportunity came along, IF I had a finished piece I would enter it. Of course when there is a particular show approaching that attitude gets set aside pretty quickly and I up my studio hours to get things done.

    Deadlines can be a big motivator and keep one focused on results. If I never had a deadline would I push on as hard as I sometimes do? Seriously, if I was left to “my own pace” I might never accomplish anything! It can be good to have outside forces providing a nudge, necessary even.

    What is your approach to making work and meeting deadlines? Do you push for each one or take a laissez-faire approach? How do you feel when you miss a deadline?

    Monday morning I will be back to work on my quilt and it will get done. There are other show opportunities right around the bend --- and I have a new deadline nudging me!

    Quilt_sample_blog
    It's getting there.... darker areas complete, light areas still to do.

    Until next time -

    MCH

  • August Already?

    The summer is half over. They've been pushing 'back-to-school' sales for weeks. Where does the time go?

    I finished out July by taking a workshop at Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, New Jersey. It's in a beautiful area within the Delaware Water Gap. I try to take a workshop there every summer - this was about my tenth, I think.

    I had been looking forward to taking "Wired Once More" for months, mostly because of the teacher, Lindsay Ketterer Gates. I had Lindsay for an instructor over 10 years ago when I returned to school for my B.A. She turned me on to working with wire back then and I've always wanted to try incorporating it into my quilt work. I've experimented a little bit over the years, but haven't taken it full tilt yet.

    Sunburst_with_looped_wire
    Sunburst_looped_wire_detail"Sunburst", 9" x 12", with detail

    Here's a sample of one experiment from a few years back, and a detail image.

    We had an ideal class situation at our workshop - 2 students to one teacher, and a room with AC during a heat wave. Because there were only 3 of us we had plenty of workspace in which to spread out, which we did!

    For five days we learned new methods in manipulating wire and metal mesh screening - looping, wrapping, twisting, painting, attaching, adding objects - and we had plenty of time to explore all the techniques. My mind is once again contemplating how to incorporate wire and metal elements - so disparate to cloth - into my quilts.

    Wrapped_wire_sample Looped_dome_on_screen

    Looping, or knotless netting, is the technique that continues to pull at me. Looping the wire is akin to hand stitching, that repetitive and soothing motion that calms the mind and soul.

    Looping_Wire_in_progress Looping_Wire_finished_dome

    When I got home after the workshop I spent two whole days just looping wire! Like hand quilting or stitching, it is not a fast process. I finally had to force myself to put the wire away for now. I'm back to sewing on a quilt that I had started before the "Wired..." workshop. I'm working toward a couple of upcoming show entries and need to make tracks.

    I hope you'll take a minute to check out Lindsay's work. She's amazing! You won't be disappointed.

    Until next time -

    MCH

  • Dedication

    My summer has been dedicated to creating new work for a gallery show in October. I work most days of the week, thinking that as long as I keep moving forward and getting some work done every day that I can stave off any panic. So far it's been working. Lots of ideas flowing and coming to fruition. I'm even getting back to a comfortable feeling on the long arm, even though it is not running up to par. There is no time to get it fixed properly at the moment - I need it here for work, so I make it work as is.

    Salty_and_Peppy_vintage

    After six studio days last week I started to feel the burn. Standing all day makes my lower back hurt. Working the long arm creates tension in my neck and shoulders. I'm trying to remember good technique - relax, breathe, drop my shoulders away from my ears, that kind of thing. By Saturday evening I was feeling kind of like this picture - not so "peppy". Salty and Peppy here are one of the motifs on a vintage kitchen fabric that I'm using in the latest quilt. It cracks me up actually, how unhappy they look. I'm not sure why that is, but it could be significant.

    I had planned on quilting again through Sunday, but as it happens I didn't and it turned out to be a much needed break from the constant push. BUT! Today is Monday, the start of a new week, and looking at the start of a new month in two days. I have a feeling that as September progresses that feeling of panic may start to creep up on me. Not to buy trouble or anything, I just know how I can get. I remind myself that I am given the same number of hours in a day as everyone else, that as long as I keep working and making things my progress will be evident. I still have two days of August, though, before I have to face that! So, I'll be working in the studio, ignoring the housework, attempting to fit in a walk here and there, and keeping the panic at bay!

    Until next time - MCH

  • Concept to Completion

    I really love it when a concept shapes up as planned.

    I've been creating new work this summer for a two woman show I'm doing in October. The theme is aprons and as I've posted here before, I am using the idea of the apron as a symbol of Women's Work.

    I finished a quilt this week that really pleases me because it came out just as I had pictured it. Most artists can relate to the phenomenon of having a concept and then the brain starts filling with ideas to express it. The hard part is translating the idea to a finished art piece, sometimes more successfully that others. When it happens, though, the feeling is magical!

    This series on "Women's Work" started with the idea of an apron. I spent time creating a pattern and a system for making very small aprons. Happy with that I set to work in assembly line fashion creating literally hundreds of miniature aprons. They came out just like I pictured them!

    For the current quilt my concept was to paint a whole cloth background. I used thickened dyes to paint because I like the idea that the dyes become one with the fabric. I've only used thickened dyes a couple of times before, so I wasn't completely sure what the result would be. I know what I wanted to see; I wanted the color saturation to remain and be strong. I used a good amount of dye concentrate thickened with sodium alginate to paint. I then let the painted 'canvas' sit for several days covered in plastic to allow as much bonding as possible. When I finally rinsed it the color had stayed strong - just like I had pictured it!

    Then comes the quilting. You know, my longarm quilting machine still sets the fear running through me. I don't know why that is, but the solution is to load up the quilt on the frame and get started. Once I get going I calm down and the process becomes very satisfying and even, can I say, joyful! The painting process is like, well..... painting. The quilting process is like drawing. I love that about quilting - the opportunity to add to the overall piece by creating elements of line and as a result, because of the fabric medium, the element of texture. I firmly believe that the quilting line should be a well thought enhancement to the art, not just random stitching. Don't waste the opportunity it provides!

    Once it comes off the frame there is hand stitching to do to finish the edges and apply the aprons. The quilt as a whole turned out just as I had conceived it and as artists that is just the kind of feeling we need to have, often enough to keep us going! Another piece is going on the quilt frame this week - I've allayed my longarm fears to some degree so I'm eager to keep moving ahead. The next quilt is still in the "Women's Work" series but springs from an entirely different concept. I can only be so lucky if the next one is as personally successful as the last.

    Repeat_Forever_quilted_detail_two_copyHere is a sneak peak at the quilt titled, "Repeat Forever". This is a detail view. Entire piece measures 21" x 57".

    The upcoming show is called "Two Sides to Every Story" and is taking place at the TraillWorks Gallery in Newton NJ. I'll be showing with artist Jennie Traill Schaeffer, painter and owner of the gallery. Check out Jennie's website. She's an incredible painter who has a unique take on her subject matter. I love her work!

    More info on my "Exhibitions" page.

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