Archive for the ‘Art and Design’ Category

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Casting Shadows

August 2, 2007

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I love adding visual depth and dimension to my quilts. Casting Shadows is an interesting book by Colleen Wise that details how to achieve those effects. She goes into a detailed explanation of the properties, shapes and colors of shadows. She also covers how light sources and nearby colors affect shadows, how to use perspective, color and value to create depth and finally, how to achieve all of this in piecing or appliqué.

All of that is topped off with a gorgeous gallery of quilts by the author and others.

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Brainstorming

May 24, 2007

My quilt guild, the New Braunfels Area Quilt Guild, is having their next show in July of 2008. The theme of the show is Threads of our Past. I’ve been thinking that I should start working on something to enter. As slow as I am, it might be ready in 13 months. I’m actually thinking of entering two pieces but I supposes the place to start is with one. The first one I’d like to work on would be entered into the Wall Quilt: pieced/machine quilted catagory. The requirements for that catagory are that it can be any size, it must be 70% pieced and must be entirely machine quilted. That’s pretty straight forward.

My first thought is to go back through some old designs that I have never completed- actually never even started- and see if there is something there that strikes my fancy. Here are a few of the options, in no particular order: Hm-m-m-m, what do you think?

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WIP Wednesday

April 11, 2007

Subtitle: Little to Show

Oh, I’ve been doing lots. I just can’t show any of it yet. I’m sure you know how that goes. One project is a customer piece and I don’t show customer’s work until they have seen it done. Another is a gift and I don’t show gifts until the recipient has seen it done. The third project that I have been working on is my 12x12x12 piece for April. It is done but my reveal date for it is not until next Monday. Since I have no work in progress that I can show today, I will pull out an oldy, but goody, to share.

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I have always aspired to creating realistic landscape art quilts. This quilt is one small step toward that goal. I made it while working through Cynthia England’s book, Picture Piecing.The wallhanging is titled, amazingly enough, Strawberries and is 6 1/2″ x 8″. The strawberries look solid and actually look like strawberries. I like the way the background is shattered and I like the color combination. I felt that I had really accomplished something when I finished it in 2005. It is a long way from Ms England’s beautiful masterpieces, but like I said, it is one small step.

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Sketches

March 2, 2007

I had lots of time for sketching while sitting in the hospital:

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Radiating Composition

January 14, 2007

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A couple months ago I read an interesting book about art quilts; Journey of an Art Quilter, by Barbara Olson. It is a very interesting read about the author’s experience beginning to quilt and learning what works for her. Then she goes on to explain how she works, her techniques and her processes. One section that I find especially interesting is about her finding and understanding her own innate program which guides her in her design of new projects.

Ms Olson suggests that every person has an innate way of creating that we come into the world with and from where our uniqueness emerges. She feels that working contrary to that “program” results in frustrations. So her suggestion is to find your program and work within it. Some of the examples of possible ways of creating are to form a frame and fill it in, to work from the right to the left, or vica versa, or to work from the top to the bottom, among others. She herself creates from the center out.

Being the skepical person that I am I figured, “Yeah, right” It works for her, but I don’t have any innate program like that.” And I kind of forgot about it.

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Later I was looking at my recent work and suddenly realized that all of the work that I have done recently that I am happy with has a radiating composition. Every one of them. Hm-m-m-m. What was that she said about an innate program?

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So, in light of this discovery, I am going to be exploring radiating compositions over the next few months and see if there is something to this. I did use a radiating composition on my 12 x 12 journal quilt for January and I am very happy with it. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. I should post it by next Wednesday. It’s done already, but we’re actually having grey, rainy days here in San Antonio and since I use natural light to photograph I have not been able to get good pictures.

So what might your innate program be?

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A Lightbulb Moment

October 13, 2006

I had a lightbulb moment yesterday. You know, that moment when the lightbulb goes on in your head and you say, “Oh, I get it!” It is a lightbulb that I’m afraid should have been turned on many, many years ago.

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While I was in college, I took a class for realistic drawing. I enjoyed the class a lot. I found drawing to be very calming and relaxing- almost hypnotic. And I felt that my drawings were fairly successful. Mr. Drawing Professor did not share my asssessment of my drawings, however. “You drawings are technically perfect,” he said, “but they don’t ‘speak’ to me.” So, gradewise, I did not do well in the class and he never would hang any of my drawings in the class shows. I have puzzled for years over just what it was that he meant since he could explain it no better than “they don’t speak to me”.

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Just down the hall from the drawing studio was the weaving studio. It was in this studio that I truly was in heaven. I loved weaving. I didn’t find it relaxing, but invigorating. I wanted to try all of the colors, all of the different weights of fibers. I wanted to mix them all with wire, with plastic strips, with what ever I could find to see what happened to them. My work came out in all kinds of shapes and sizes, 2-D and 3-D. Ms Weaving Professor was thrilled with the work I did, so I did well in that class.

It wasn’t until yesterday that the lightbulb came on as to why my weaving was so much more successful than my drawing. I read a quote from Robert Frost about creative writing and it went like this:

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.

Isn’t that awesome? In the drawing studio I was taking no risks. I was not experimenting, I was not learning, I was not struggling, I was not developing. I was safely doing the things that I had been taught to do with a pencil and pushing it no further. I was not putting anything of myself in to the drawings and it clearly showed to Mr. Drawing Professor.

However in the weaving studio I poured my self into it. I tried new things. I experimented with vague ideas in my head until they became reality. I struggled. I pushed. There were tears when things didn’t work out the way I wanted. And there were surprises when something happened that I didn’t expect. It was much harder but it was all pure joy for me. And Ms Weaving Professor saw it all.

I am so glad that I finally am coming to an understanding of what Mr. Drawing Professor meant when he said my drawings didn’t speak to him. I have finally learned something from that experience and can move on and apply it.

I love lightbulb moments!

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Artist’s Journal

October 10, 2006

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For some time now, I’ve been thinking about how to work on an artist’s journal on location. When Rian posted this photo of chalks being used for street drawings I thought all of those wonderful colors looked like little strips of fabric.

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So I pulled out an old box I used in college called the Art Bin ( I know a tackle box when I see it!).

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And I cut up bits of fabric and loaded them into the art bin. I realized that I could not put my whole fabric stash in the box so I decided to only include my hand dyed fabrics. I had a pretty wide range of hues although not all of the values were there. I cut them all into 1 inch squares because I like working in a grid. I also threw in a small pair of scissors, an acid free glue stick, some pencils, pins, needles and pencils.

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Today I got the opportunity to use my art bin. My son had a doctor’s appointment and the receptionist warned me ahead of time that it would be a very long session and to bring a book. So I took my art bin and a brand new sketch book. I was hoping there would be an interesting still life in the waiting room; a plant, a lamp, whatever, to sketch. No such luck. There were only chairs and 2 end tables. So I just played around with the fabrics and came up with some interesting designs.

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No one told me I was weird to be sitting there doing that, in fact no one seemed to notice at all.

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The best part of it all is that the time flew by. We were there for over 3 hours and I didn’t even mind!