Monday, November 28, 2011

Wonky Cabins

Over the long weekend I was able to finish the quilt top for a piece I am calling "Wonky Cabins."  It is a nine-patch (obviously) made up of the bits and pieces I created in the Gwen Marston class in May.   I consider it a practice piece.  I'm not unhappy with it, and in fact hope to have it sandwiched, quilted and on the wall for our office party on December 16.   But rather than a work of art, I consider it a learning experience.  I definitely prefer working intuitively to following a set pattern or system, even if the design is of my own devising, I get bored executing it multiple times.  But it's hard sometimes to see where you're going when you start without and end in mind.  I wasn't sure that the black blocks with the "bits" really even wanted to be in the same composition with the wonky log cabins, but to be honest, I just wanted them all "used up," because I was ready to move on.  I'm also ready to be done with prints.  Too bad I have a huge stash of them!   

I am not sure yet if I will put a border of some sort on it or not.  Looking at Gwen's samples She uses a wide border frequently to sort of corral things. 
Wonky Cabins
So my own critique: 
1) The color palette is varied enough to provide interest, but limited enough that it doesn't seem totally random. 
2) I like the wonky then squared feeling of chaos within organized framework.
3) I like the way the orange stripes give it a "base." (Only turned it sideways after completing and decided I liked it that way),   
4)  I think the repeated fabrics, especially the aquas and oranges, pop out and create enough contrast in the blocks to keep the eye moving and interested. 
5) Ditto for the floating blocks in the center of the black squares.
6) Even though the blocks were randomly pieced and not measured at all, I liked being able to inprovise enough to make them line up in rows.  

1) The intended light/dark log cabin blocks don't have enough contrast (or I wasn't consistent enough) to make the pattern recognizable. 
2) The Xs in the black squares stand out too much, I wanted the Ls to be floating in a sea of black.
2) Some of the dark colors are too muddy next to each other. 
3) I'm not sure if it's wonky enough or just looks like I'm really sloppy or lazy.
4) There's no focal point or hierarchy so my eye just wanders in circles.

Bits before being assembled
Anyway,  I read a really good comment recently and swore I'd remember where it was this time so I could link and credit, but of course I don't.  The gist of it was that it's not bad to be dissatisfied with your work, because if you are passionate about your art, then you will always be striving to be better with each completed piece...    

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Now that the big quilt is done  and off the wall, I decided to pull out a bunch of UFO's to get my mind back into design mode.  This is not ALL the UFO's but it is a good representation.  There are also a couple "finished" pieces, that currently have no homes.  

This noon I went through the start up process to start selling on Etsy.  My intent is to put up some of these pieces at reasonable prices and see what happens.  I have no desire to keep them all here.  I consider them learning experiences rather than finished art work.   I will be clear with my descriptions that they are "student" work, and priced accordingly.  I hope that by the end of the year I can have a good selection of items to make it feel like a real "Shop."  There is also the process of customizing the shop to make it appealing.   It's too late in the year to go after Christmas markets, but I might work on some Valentine's Day items. 

I really have to learn how to photograph my work better.  Without flash, the light seems too yellowish.  With flash it's sort of dark and blueish.  
The whole design wall

Large blocks from Gwen Maston Class

Small blocks from Gwen Marston Class

Blocks done when I was participating in the Bumblebeans 15 Minutes Play site.

An almost-finished piece featuring bead embellishment.

FFFC Challenge on Art Deco

The piece from QSDS featuring the "Gram's House" plan

The Visual and Verbal Together

I spend a LOT of time - okay, WAY too much time - clicking around Pinterest. It's impossible to go there without clicking one or two little pins.  Even to retrieve the URL just now.   It's just so addicting to have this constant feed of visual stimulation.  And it hooks itself in to my horder instincts.  Instead of piles of design magazines that I "might need for reference one day," or file drawers of clipped articles for the same purpose, I can now stick every image that intrigues me on a virtual pin board.  What could be better?!?
(Road to Town, woodcut by Gustave Baumann, 1881-1971, 
German-born American artist and puppeteer)
Well, here's something better that I found while browsing Pinterest last night - an Art/Poetry blog.  I just LOVE the way she illustrates her daily poetry selections.  Hope you'll enjoy it as well:  A Poem A Day From the George Hail Library, Selected by Maria Horvath.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Organic Waves Finished

Here is the finished quilt from Karla Alexander's class.  Sorry for the terrible photo.  I stuck it up on the wall in a hurry before I took it to show and tell at the guild meeting Monday, and this is the first chance I've had to post it.    

Overall I'm happy with how it turned out.  I'm not thrilled about using the cheapo fluffy batting, but when I realized I didn't have anything else big enough in the house I went ahead with it.  It's not something I'm going to love forever, and at least the poly stuff is warm. It looks nice on the couch.   I learned a lot from this quilt about color and value.  That even when you combine twenty greens, they don't all play nicely together.  I thought from the start that the light yellowy one with the olive leaves on it stood out too much, but I did it anyway.  Mistake. And the mossy green in the dark group is too light and stands out too much.  But still - overall - it's fine.  

I quilted in the ditch on the squares and on the wavy lines.  If I'd had thinner batting I would have done more dense quilting, but I had enough issues with the backing getting folded and puckered.   I was able to get almost all the quilting done on Saturday and finish the binding by Sunday night.  I did both sides of the binding by machine.  I really don't mind the look of this for regular, functional quilts.  I used all dark fabric to bind, to sort of provide an edge or frame, then used dark thread on the top side, and light on the bobbin.  

I think I'll go curl up on the couch with it right now!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Somersault - or Organic?- finished tonight.  Maybe I'll post pics tomorrow.  Too tired tonight.