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Is It Any Good?

The Six Stages of Artwork

1) Brainstorm! This is such a great idea! Let’s go!

2) Early on – Oh yeah, this is going to be good!

3) Somewhere Midway – Oh jeez..... I don’t know. What was I thinking?

4 ) Nearing the end – This is so hard. What a piece of crap. I don’wanna.

5) Finished – Whatever……. Thank God it’s done.

6) Revisiting… Several months later – Now that is some good work right there!

These pictures show around Stage 2 of my latest quilt. I’ve worked my way up to Stage 4. This piece is experiencing a major fail and I will not be making the entry deadline of midnight tonight.

Bits and Bytes 1blog  Bits and Bytes 2blog

Actually, the problem started showing itself at around Stage 2, but I continued on recklessly, convinced that I could fix it later.( Note to self: I should have fixed it earlier.)

I think the problem is solvable. Just not today. I shall perhaps expound on this particular quilt at a later date – after I have solved the issue.

In the meantime I’m going to take a studio break and go make a nice soup and get my house in order.

Until next time --

MCH

Assembly Required

Oh Lawdy, I’ve done it again! I seem to have a knack for it.

When the concept for the EVOLUTION exhibit was presented I jumped in with both feet.

I had an idea of what to make – I wanted to somehow use all the looped wire elements I’ve been making….. oh! but I need to make more of them first….. oh! and I think I’ll combine them with fabric….. oh! and….. well…. you can read my previous posts to see how this project has been evolving.

Here I am at the deadline and I’m still working on it! This reminds me of when I was in school and all the art project deadlines I had. Couldn’t keep it simple….. nooooo….. always working on the grand schemes right up to the last minute.

And of course, today I decided that I needed to make MORE leaves.

Earlier this week I started getting all stressed out over it and thinking, “You know, I’m not in school anymore. I don’t have to meet no stinkin’ deadline. The world will not end.” But then Mark reminded me that there are still deadlines in life and art, which I know. It was also suggested that I “girl up” and get back to work.

OK! I’m working as fast as I can!

Wire leaves FB
Individual wired leaf elements

 

Wired leaves on white
Leaf elements wired together into one piece. I had thought I'd leave the looped wire sections open in order to leave them airy and see through.

 

Wired leaves on fabric
Leaf elements on a fabric backing. Now I'm thinking of mounting all my wired elements onto a fabric backing. The leaves and colors "pop" a lot better with something behind them. Too much "air" behind the open wire work makes it all disappear.

Speaking of deadlines….. when I flipped my calendars this morning I also tossed out the last of the January show entry forms that never got done. Deadlines missed. The world did not end.

Next time I'll continue with more of the assembly process.

Until then --

MCH

 

Doing vs. Done

I'm doing a lot, but not getting a lot done . . . . . as in finished, completed. Dedicated studio time has been scarce lately, largely due to "The Wedding" which is less than a week away!

Last post I showed various ongoing projects. When I do catch some time in the studio, usually with my morning coffee, I've been working on the small Journal quilts. These involve mostly hand work, which I can do in small snippets of time. Although i sometimes get so engrossed that I spend long snippets of time. (Is there such a thing as a "long snippet"?)

The Journal quilts are samples for the upcoming workshop I am teaching, "Big Ideas In Small Art". I want to have them ready to show at my next guild meeting. One of the things we will experiment with is using unconventional or collected items in the small art pieces.

I collect various and random items. Buttons aren't so unconventional to sewing, but I do have a growing collection of all the extra buttons that come with the garments I buy. I don't have most of the clothing anymore, but I still have all the 'extra buttons'.

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Extra_Buttons_blog2 Extra_Buttons_blog3

I emptied all the little packets they come in and, of course, I had to sort them.

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Extra_Buttons_blog6 Extra_Buttons_blog7

I used various embroidery stitches to attach the buttons, mimicking the stitches used elsewhere.

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After the buttons are attached I will do still more embroidery. These are developing as I go. I want the three pieces to relate to each other, but also be able to stand alone.

This week I will concentrate on the wedding projects - creating enough "petals" and patches for people to sign at the wedding, and also creating a dreamy swag of tulle and ribbons to decorate the wedding gazebo.

I'll also spend some time with my "extra buttons" and embroidery because the hand work helps to calm my senses. I am so very excited about the wedding, but also getting a case of nerves as it approaches!

Until next time -
MCH

 

 

Catching Up ..... as if!

It’s crazy time! There’s too much going on! Although I am happy and grateful to have a “full” life, it feels a little too full at the moment.

I have finally resumed work on the big quilt on my design wall – the one I wrote about here. I knew I could figure out a way to assemble this one. I’m constructing it in segments and sections, and then those get sewn together, and VOILA! It is working! And it is doing what I wanted it to do.

Work_in_progress_blog
detail of quilt in progress

It really is like assembling a puzzle. As with most of my quilts, I started with a basic concept and design idea, then during assembly the surprises reveal themselves. And when it works it is oh-so-happy!

In the meantime I also started making some 8 ½” x 11” Journal Quilts. These are samples for a workshop I’m teaching in September. I’m doing hand embroidery, inspired perhaps by all the embroidery I saw at FiberPhiladelphia this Spring. The new Surface Design Journal arrived this month and it’s all about embroidery too.

White_embroider_blog Blue_X_embroidery_blog
details of hand embroidery samples

I used to do a lot of hand embroidery back in the day. I do so much machine work these days that it feels relaxing and contemplative to sit and stitch by hand. I have let it distract me from the large project, but at least I am making something!

The real kicker this summer is the upcoming marriage of #2 son. I knew that after we returned from vacation in early July that the wedding next month would be my primary focus of attention. The bride-to-be has asked me to make a quilt for them. Of course the answer is “Yes!” It will be a signature quilt, in lieu of a guest book. I’ve been working out some ideas that incorporate sunflowers, which she loves and which will be prominent at the wedding.

At least the quilt itself doesn’t have to be made until after the wedding! But I did need to have some components of it ready for the guests to sign at the bridal shower last weekend. Which meant that I had to make some design decisions right now. Which meant that I couldn’t procrastinate until August.

The idea involves having all the guests sign sunflower “petals” – made from fabric obviously. And right here and now I want to make it totally clear that the inspiration for this idea came from Cheryl Lynch. Cheryl created a beautiful chuppah for her son’s wedding – you can read about it here on her blog. In this post you can see the signed “leaves” that she used to create the tree forms. There are actually several entries where she tells about the construction of the chuppah, so check them out, too.

The biggest difference between me and Cheryl is that she had to get her project done before the wedding, and have a reprieve until after the wedding! Whew! (Thank you for the inspiration, Cheryl!)

I will also be making squares of fabric in case some people want to write a longer personal message or words of inspiration for the newlyweds. I did manage to pull something together for the shower and I have some time to prepare more petals and patches for the wedding day.

Sunflower_quilt_petals_blog

The fabric is pressed onto sheets of freezer paper to give it some substance to write on. The petals are marked out on uncut sheets for now, to make writing on them easier, rather than making people try to write on little bitty petals. Of course, the freezer paper easily peels away later when it's time to construct the quilt.

I'll do my best to show the progress of the "Wedding Sunflowers" quilt as it progresses.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure I'll never 'catch up', but I'm OK with that. It just means that I always have something to look forward to!

Until next time -

MCH

Decisions and Solutions

..... and all the in between.

I’m sure I’m not the first artist who has ever wished that a vision in their head could manifest itself fully formed.

If only all my work looked as good as I picture it. But, no, we have that inconvenient step of execution.

I like what I do or I wouldn’t do it, but the idea of constantly joyful artmaking is a myth. I think maybe if you are not questioning and struggling a bit with your art, then you’re not working hard enough.

For me the joy comes with the idea, that fully formed image in my head. Then, if I’m able to bring it to a successful completion, there is joy in that.

In between is the hard part, interspersed with joy at the bits that come together successfully as I go.

Sketchbook_BR_GR_color_180webFrom the idea/picture in my head I do a rough sketch so I have a visual reminder of what I’m going for. I can’t go from head to fabric without the sketch – I need the picture as a jumping off point.

I think through color and other decisions at this stage too. Resolving some of the basic design elements at the outset leaves my mind free to answer other issues as the work progresses.

I start cutting fabric, lots of pieces and strips to work with, and lay out a basic framework on the design wall. Then I start stitching.

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I’m not unhappy with this piece, which is not to say that I’ve figured out how the hell I’m going to construct it.

It’s a regular puzzle with lots of partial seams and randomness and muddlement and eyestrain to go with it.

 

Sketchbook_update_BR_GR_180webLast night I went back to the sketchbook to try to think through a construction system. Piecing fabric presents its own challenges that are not a concern with other art media. I am a person who sews, therefore my solutions go to sewing. And if I can pull it off I prefer the way it looks. I’m sure there are easier ways, but why go the easy route when I can suffer through this.

I feel confident I can make this work, a stitch and a piece at a time. Perseverance........

 

This is meant to be a diptych, so yeah, I have to make another one. I haven’t cut any pieces for the second one yet – I wanted to work out some of the solutions with the first one so I don't waste fabric on the next one.

I’m thinking that by the time I figure out the solutions on #1 that #2 might come together a whole lot better, and then I’ll want to remake #1. I really hope not.

 

 

Until next time -

MCH

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