Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Crow Workshop - Belated Post

Since I only blog when I feel like it, there have not been many new posts this year.  Work has taken over my life, as I knew it would.  In March of 2015 I agreed to take on a project which will take until August of 2019 to fully complete.  It's a high school, essentially a 85,000 square-foot new school designed to surround parts of an existing old school.  
We've been designing it for over a year now, and next week when we open bids, we will find out if we managed to design something that was less than the $28 million budget.  The 2nd of June is going to be a very stressful day!

So there havebeen a lot of late nights and weekends at the office.  But it feels good to have our whole office busy and productive after how depressing it got during the "great recession."

I did tear myself away from all that two spend two weeks with Nancy Crow and my workshop buddies.  It was my 5th year there, and it went very well.  I felt good about what I was doing and Nancy was very complementary.

Here's a shot of my piece as it looked on the presentation wall at the end of class.  I've since taken it apart and reconfigured the pieces on my design wall.  I futzed around with various combinations for a month or two.  I've arrived at a stopping point, but it leaves gaps at the ends of the three rows, so I'm creating new parts for those areas.   That's all I've done quilt-wise since March.

Here is a snapshot of the motif/configuration I used to generate this piece.  It was imported to Notability on the iPad so I could sketch out seam lines.  That is always the downside of improvisational motifs.  Nancy tells us to try many motifs to find the ones that are both good compositions and sewable.  I usually screw up on the sewable part.  But I'm learning.  And it is pure joy when you finally start to "get it."

These are a couple shots from my sketchbook where I was drastically elongating the configuration.  This was really fun!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Review

I have made a habit of looking back at my accomplishments, or lack thereof each year (Although I try not to dwell on the "lack" part).   My first intuitive thought is that I really didn't do much, art-wise.  I spent more time hanging out on the couch watching TV with my husband than I have in past years, thought at least some of that time I was stitching bindings and burying threads.  I consciously allowed myself to "do whatever I want."  I found that I was tired of that voice in  my head telling me I "should" be working in the studio, or I "should" be achieving 20 hours a week.

If I know anything about myself it is that I will always resist authority even if it is my own authority I am resisting.

So I was surprised when I looked through my Master Quilt Inventory spreadsheet, and saw all the boxes saying 2015.   I'm a little bit obsessive with this inventory, but I'm glad because it's shown my that while I didn't feel productive, I actually achieved a decent amount considering the portion of  time and energy my job demands these days.

Of course there were the two weeks of Crow workshops in March.  I felt that I made progress there, and actually finished four quilt tops in the workshop.  I was pretty pleased with the final piece although of course when it came to the review my proportions were not quite "dead on."  Sigh.

After Crow, I began participating in Lisa Call's Greenhouse. I have enjoyed getting to know several of my classmates better, but have not really put the effort into the artwork and artwork reviews that I should have, to get my money's worth. And the class facebook group is not very active.  While she can work from anywhere, I have the sense that Lisa's falling in love and moving to New Zealand has been a distraction for her.  I'm not planning to do any sort of ongoing Master Class for the next year, I will see how setting my own goals works, knowing that work is going to have to take priority for another year.

The most exciting thing for me was to start getting my work out into the world.  It was a good year for steps in that direction.

  • In February I submitted Busy Signal for the (non-juried) Allied Arts Membership show. 
  • In March I was asked to donate a piece for a fundraising auction, which I did. - It was an early improv piece.
  • In June, Busy Signal, Green Field and Tipping Point were accepted into the Jansen Art Center Early Summer Juried show.  I was pretty thrilled about that.  
  • I decided to keep trying, and in the Fall I submitted four of the Asemia pieces which were also accepted.  I attended a group critique for artists of that show and recieved very good, positive feedback.
  • And, then the two small Wired pieces and Islands were accepted for the Late Winter Show.
  • In October the group quilt Petunia Patch traveled to the IQF in Houston. 

Wired #2
Wired #3
I did a lot of finishing this year, too.  Leap of Faith, which I'd started in 2013 was finally finished quilting, binding and sleeve-ing.  Rockers #2 AKA Shattered, AKA Magnum was finally quilted, though I stopped binding it in order to consider cutting it down a few inches so it can be entered into a SAQA show.  That has to be decided and completed by Jan. 29.

I finished quilting binding, labeling and sleeving the two small Wired pieces, and the Asemia pieces all got labels and sleeves as did several other stray pieces that had been lingering for months or years.

Proun #1
The only actual new art I made in 2015 was the four pieces I'm calling Construtivist or Prouns.  It seems to be a pattern for me to make something rather large, grand and coplicated, and then to go back and make simpler studies of the same series.  How backward is that??  2.75 of them (the small ones) are quilted.  My goal is to have all four ready to take to the Crow workshop, since that's probably all I will have.  These are process shots, they were completed slightly differently, but no photos taken yet.

Proun #3
Proun #2

In September/October I took an on-line class from Elizabeth Barton called, "Dying to Design."  I liked the class and her teaching style a lot.  She gave very clear and specific instructions and assignments.  I didn't do too well, I only got the first two assignments done as far as dying and only one of the five assigned pieces made, but I know that would happen, too much work.  I was pleased with "Islands" which I made from the gradation of dyed fabric in the first assignment.

This was my first and so far only foray into the Map Quilt idea which I've ruminated on for years.  The islands were very curvy and would have been impossible to piece, so I used a raw edge applique technique.  After doing it, I was ready to go back to piecing.  I guess I just like the structure of making pieces that can be pieced and figuring out how to do it.  So I don't really see Map Quilts and piecing coming together.  Yet, anyway.

Besides the Prouns, I have been working a bit at a time on a giant 24-color color wheel piece.  I have 6 colors done.  It's very interesting and challenging to try to find the needed gradations of hue and value.  A couple were "cheaters" - gradations that I bought from a dyer.  But the rest I am going to try to do out of Kona and other solids.  Train my eye to see better.

In the "regular" quilting area, I spent a lot of time on the Almond Country Beauties.  I'm took on this block of the month thing and then felt like I had to see it through.  It was an easy no-brainer thing to do, but I regret having spent so much time on it.  The scrappy top still needs three more borders before being completed, the solid colored one was coming along until a plumbing leak ended up hitting the bin it was in, causing a lot of red fabric to bleed onto its neighbors.  Sigh.   I will NOT take on another big non-art project in 2016.

In the world outside of art, I was very successful this year in getting an exercise routine underway and actually sticking to it for the second half of the year.  I started using the rowing machines, and find I really enjoy that, and enjoy the challenge of beating my previous time.  We shall see if it survives the holiday time off I have given myself.

That's a wrap!  On to 2016.  I've started a new series today!