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Where Does Crazy Start

It's hard to know where my 'crazy' starts. Is it with the idea or the implementation? 

Wire stitching detail

This is going to take awhile.....

As Arturo Alonzo Sandoval simply states, "Work produces results." And did you know that Arturo is also one of the Radical Elements artists? It is for the opportunity to show alongside preeminent artists like him that this piece will get done! Work produces results.

Until next time --

A Perfect Ten

The weather in the Mid-Atlantic area has been incredibly beautiful lately – “perfect” even.  So when the local forecaster described one day last week as being one of the “ten best days of the year” it seemed a shame to squander it indoors.

Perfect Ten blog2

Yet . . . . . I have studio work nipping at my heels. Between lots of summer travelling (fun, fun, fun!) and a distinct lack of motivation (not so fun) my Radical Elements deadline is looming near and it’s essential that I get to work!

Perfect Ten blog1

Turns out I found a way to both enjoy the Perfect Ten day and get some “studio” work accomplished.

I took all the credit card pieces that I’d cut up and my Dremel tool and set up outside to do the shaping and smoothing of the plastic.

Perfect Ten blog3

The added benefit is that it got me rolling and excited about the project again, so I was able to move on to the next step with some solutions to the ideas that have been milling around my head.

And just so you know, I have been working on Radical Elements up to now!  Lots of preparation work like research (on Chlorine, which is my element), sketches, brainstorming, and then winnowing down all the research and ideas into a consolidated “story” to tell. Many of the decisions have to do with which materials to use as we have been challenged to eschew the usual fabric and thread and utilize alternative materials.

Not every step of the project allows me to work outdoors, unfortunately. Today is another one of those Top Ten days, but alas, I will be working in the studio – with the windows thrown open!

Until next time – 


Same But Different

Wow! It’s been awhile since I blogged!

Here’s my excuse…..  I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Santa Fe in April. Five days with my dear sisters and mother-in-law having a grand old time seeing the sights, and five additional days attending the SAQA conference "Expanding Horizons".

Everything about the trip was fantastic! The SAQA Conference was so inspiring, yet I got home and I’ve barely been in the studio. Evidently the weeds were “inspired” also while I was away so I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors on the job that will never end.

Yes, that was weeks ago and weeding certainly doesn’t explain how I’ve spent all my time. Part of my excuse is just plain inertia.

I have spent some time in the studio and I’m still working on the looped wire elements. Sorry if I’m boring you with more of the same…. but wait! These are a little different……

Looping samples

What I’m doing is experimenting with modifying some of the shapes I’m making. I’m working out different sizes and shapes and figuring out how much wire each one takes. As I construct each one I get more ideas for additional shapes and forms to make.

Beaded looping

This one has seed beads on each loop. And I’ve got a list of ideas for other elements to add to the looping process.

One of the reasons I’m working through all these samples is because I plan to use some version of them to construct my piece for SAQA’s “Radical Elements” exhibit. Each artist is to create a new piece specifically for the exhibit. It’s due in September and I really need to get crackin’! 

Lack of blogging means I haven’t been over to Nina Marie’s lately, but today I’m linking up again! Why not see what everyone is up to this week? I can’t wait to catch up myself – after some weeding and looping, of course.

Until next time –

Stealing Time

I've been stealing some time in the studio each day this week to make some of my favorite things.

Pinks1 blog


I've been making more of these.....

Pinks2 blog


To go along with these.....

Pinks3 blog


Eventually to be incorporated into a companion piece to Metamorphosis

This technique is known as either "looping" or "knotless netting". I'm using wire, but this process is also more traditionally done with thread, yarn, rope, or other softer materials. Think fishing nets, for example. 

If you are visiting me here I encourage you to take a look at the other artists linking up at Nina Marie's Off The Wall Fridays. And if you are visiting here from Nina Marie's I do hope you will leave a comment.

What do you think of looping wire? I'm absolutely hooked on it!

Until next time --


Coded Messages

It has taken me several weeks to revisit telling you about this quilt because I have been working diligently on solving the problems I encountered with it.

Bits and Bytes blog

Bits and Bytes, mixed media quilt, 24" x 24"  ©2013 Martha C. Hall

I started this quilt specifically to enter into a particular show. I knew it was a tight deadline and if I hadn’t encountered a crucial problem I think I would have met it.

Well, the deadline has come and gone, the artists have been selected and I missed out. SAQA members may have guessed that I’m talking about the “Text Messages” call for entry. No guarantees that I would have been selected anyway, but I think this quilt would have been a good fit to the theme.

As to the “crucial problem” I came up against ….can you guess what it was? It should be obvious, right? Hopefully you recognize that this is a QR code. If you don’t know what a QR code is, you can read about them in my previous post.

So…. I meticulously pieced and quilted the entire thing and then….. it wouldn’t “read”! Why I ever went ahead with the quilting when I already had an inkling of the readability – or non-readability to be exact – is a psychological issue for another day.

But there I was pushing right up to the deadline and experiencing an epic fail. Not to be deterred, though, I knew there was a solution. I did give up on meeting the deadline, but not on finishing the quilt.

With the deadline expired I had time to step back and think through some ideas toward a solution. I’ll talk about the solutions in a follow-up post, but just so you know – I did get the QR code to read.

If you have a QR code reader on your smart phone or tablet you should be able to scan and read my quilt from the image on your computer screen. If you don’t have a reader, Google “QR code readers” and download one for free. And if you happen to be reading this blog from your smart phone or tablet, well, then ……. you're not going to be able to scan the code with the device from which you are reading!

Why am I so fascinated with QR Codes?

First of all there is, to me, the obvious connection to quilts - the gridded structure, the patchwork of squares to form an image. I like playing with the design possibilities of the code, especially using color to take it beyond the black and white matrix (although I might experiment with a black and white version at some point).

There's more to it, though. Beyond the apparent imagery is a coded message that is not obvious. The viewer needs to go inside the code to see what that message is. Hopefully the color and construction choices support the coded message and, if necessary, stand on their own merits visually.

Bits Bytes detail blog

Bits and Bytes, detail (click on image to see enlarged detail)

While I've been finishing the final construction by hand, I've had ample time to think about Bits and Bytes. Technologically speaking, bits and bytes are small pieces of coded information that, when combined, create a whole. My bits and bytes are represented by the 'bits' of credit card plastic with fragments of words and letters. They are connected on the quilt surface by circuits of copper wire.

I started to consider bits and bytes as a metaphor for human communication. We provide bits and bytes of information about ourselves or about a topic or opinion. Others are expected to connect those bits to form the whole. But what if all the bits are not available or not connected? Then the message, the whole, may not be apparent. Whether by exclusion or misinterpretation, we may send 'coded messages' about ourselves or our ideas and opinions, that are not readable from surface appearance.

Oh my! Such deep thoughts! Well, that's what happens when I'm all alone in my studio working away on repetitive tasks.

Anyway, I will follow up in another post about what I did to solve my problems - with the QR quilt that is, not my personality ;-)  Stay tuned.....

Until next time -



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