Monday, September 30, 2013

My Goals for the Year Just Past

Below I'm sharing a post I made to the SAQA Visioning Blog in September of 2012. I wanted to memorialize this somewhere, and I'm not sure if that private blog will be around forever.    In my next post I'll share the summing up of how I did meeting my goals:  

  Hi everyone!  I thought I'd write a couple quick intro paragraphs before launching into the stats, so you might have a better picture of who I am and where I am. I live in northwest Washington State, USA, I am 52 years old and work as an architect in my "day job."  It's turned out that my particular career has been heavy on management and light on creativity.  A craving to be more creative was smoldering for a long time, but I didn't know what I wanted to do and was always intimidated by "real artists,"  their techniques, and that magical "creativity" thing that I had no idea how to discover, if I even had any.  

I had never been very adept at sewing more than a straight line, and although I tinkered with traditional quilts when I was a teenager they had never entered my mind as a form of art.  So long story short, my arrival at quilts as art was very sudden:  Bought a cheap sewing machine to whip up some curtains.  Decided to try a little baby quilt for a new granddaughter.  Found out about the rotary cutter. (Though I could sew a straight line, cutting them was always beyond me). Went on the internet....  Discovered this whole new world.  

That was December of 2009, and I've spent every free moment since then sewing, reading, or taking classes.  I still have so much to learn, but that's the fun of it for me.  I'm still very scattered in figuring out my goals, but hopefully this project will help!

Motto for the year:  You can do anything, you just can't do everything.

How I will celebrate achieving my Vision:  ????

General goals for the year: 
  • Learn everything I possibly can about composition and color.
  • Find my "voice," or at least keep searching for it.
  • Continue to hone technical skills.
Specific goals for the year:
  • Work Work Work! Put in the time.
  • Focus on working In a series, and complete at least five major pieces in one series.
  • Enter a piece in "Perspectives, Fantasy & Reality" Online Entry Deadline November 10.
  • Have five new quilt tops ready for the Nancy Crow workshop, in addition to the two that were started earlier this year.
How will I know that I've succeeded?   Those five pieces will be hanging on a wall somewhere!

My Plan: Steps for Success:
I have committed to two courses of study, and will sign up for a third in the next week or so.
1) Starting 9/16/12, I will be taking an online workshop with Lisa Call, called "Working in a Series."
2) In March of 2013 I will be studying for two weeks with Nancy Crow, classes #3 and #4 in her series of workshops.  (I took #2 this year, and loved it). 
3) This fall, I will take a color theory course at our local community college taught by an artist I have long admired, Caryn Friedlander.

Other Steps for Success: 
  • Review my goals each morning.  
  • Monitor actual studio hours spent. 
  • Revise morning routine to get at least one hour of studio time before work 4 days a week.
  • Prioritize weekend time to get at least four (preferably more!) hours of studio time ea. weekend.
  • Spend at least two evenings per week in studio
  • DO NOT volunteer for anything new, and limit time donated to existing committments. 
  • DO NOT start any new functional sewing projects.

  • Never having enough time!  
  • Too much computer time and not enough studio time.  
  • Working on functional quilts, gifts or other "useful" projects instead of art quilts.

Steps to take this month towards my goal: 
  • Make sure I get signed up for Color Theory before the class is full. [I have accomplished this.]
  • Try to decided what the theme of my "series" will be for "working in a series." I have two options and am torn both ways.   [I have accomplished this.]
  • NEW*  Set a studio schedule that I can actually stick to.  
  • See steps for success.  
  • Schedule studio time. 
  • Reduce other commitments. 
  • Limit computer time.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Color Prints #3

I've been working on another piece in what I'm calling the Color Prints series.  It came together fairly quickly, but it's just not working for me. Especially the yellow.   I debated just calling it done an moving on, but I think it can be rescued.  After discussing it with a friend/mentor we came up with the idea of making it into two pieces.  Either half of it seems to have potential, it just doesn't work all together.

I may just let it marinate on the wall for awhile and move on to something else.  Or I may try splitting it...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Untitled, Revised

I like this piece more than anything I've done in a year, yet it has no title.  Titles are not that important to me, but they usually come to mind quickly.  This time, not.  Maybe it's just "Strip Piecing #8."  That's Boring!

But as I looked at the picture of it on the blog and Facebook, I decided it really HAD to have one more aqua strip on the top.  See if you agree:



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WIP List

I did some editing on my WIP (work-in-progress) lists today, but the end result doesn't make much difference.

  •  I moved Sophia's quilt to "completed tops" which it really has been for months (well, except the border...) 
  • But I had to add Sophia's OLD quilt on WIP as it's still in pieces in a box.
  • I decided that WIS #5 is done, in three pieces, and going to stay that way.  So that moved to "completed tops."
  • I added the two new completed tops.
  • The only thing really DONE and off the list is deck cushions.  I did the hand sewing over the summer.  There were supposed to be two more, but I never did them and the foam rotted from sitting out in the sun.  
  • I took Jackson and Ava's baby quilts off the list, because they're not even started, so can't be "in progress."  That's one way to get things done! 
  •  But had to add the paper piecing stars that never hit the list for some reason.   Maybe at one point they were going to be Jackson's quilt, but they're not functional, they need to hang on the wall.  In the girl's room, hopefully soon.

I have two pieces just waiting for binding, if I get that ready I can stitch in front of the tv maybe.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two More Weeks

That's how long it took me to complete this latest quilt top.   And I love it.  After "Are You Crazy?" I felt like I was in a zone.  I challenged myself to try to complete the next top in a week.  It took me two, but there was just too much other stuff going on.   It was actually about 80% or more done in a week.
It's not all about speed of course, it's about doing good work.  But I know that for me right now it's also about just doing work, not diddling for weeks trying a dozen different options for every move.

ANYWAY, I actually really like this as-yet untitled piece.  I just started out making strip piecing fabrics, knowing I wanted to use prints again, but in a somewhat less chaotic way.  I made quite a few fabrics, but "cheated" by making several that were only 18 - 22" long.  So what?  No rules, right?  After having at least ten or twelve fabrics made, I started cutting and creating units.  You can't make a large number of repetitive units with short fabrics, so I found myself with a lot of different random pieces.

I was in the midst of a very complicated composition of all these different units about a week ago, when I suddenly realized that I really liked the lower left portion of the composition.  And realized that (as USUAL) the composition was way too complicated and chaotic.  So I just pulled off about half the "stuff" and simplified, focusing on the green "L," orange figure and lightest value upper right.

Instead of continuing the direction of "Are You Crazy?"  as I'd sort of thought I would do, I ended up back in the comfort zone of strip piecing, about where I left off at the end of Lisa Call's Working In A Series last November.  But what the hell, it's where I felt like being.  I succeed in the goal of using the prints more subtly; they are much less of a factor here; more of a supporting role than a starring one.  Just for fun, here are the two striped fabrics I used to make my strip pieced fabrics.

Only one section of the top one appears in this piece, but I have several more bits and pieces waiting around for the next piece.  My goal for that is to continue working with the pieces that are left, but to focus on simpler compositions,  with clear figure/ground relationships and good use of value.   The one thing I have not done yet, is to look at this latest in black and white.....   Will do that next!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Just discovered a lot of my older (like 2012!) posts are all messed up.  Since I switched my theme to a dark background and light text it changed over sometimes but not always.  But worse - the photos are missing, and/or linking to the totally wrong place.  Since I am so obsessive-compulsive, I will probably be going back and trying to fix them.  Apologies to **all** my readers who were inconvenienced!