Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I've had a wonderful day. I've spent the evening chatting with a friend, which was fun in itself. I inspired her to start knitting again, which is even better, and it means I have another crafty person to come and keep my company while I work. She was very impressed with my socks, and the potential for tiger socks. I should point out I am not a great knitter, this is a very simple pattern, and the wool does the pattern for you. It is magical knitting these. I love it.
When she left (on a mission to find knitting needles) I checked my email. I had one titled Celebrate Spring Notification. My first thought, was why couldn't that have arrived earlier, if I had known it was rejected I could have put it into Quilts in the Garden. The I noticed my heart rate, hmm bit quick, got to love that sick feeling too. So I read my email. I got in! In full bloom is one of 46 finalists selected! I am so excited. You can tell. I don't normally use that many exclamation points. Normally I am hopeful I might have got into a show, this time it really didn't occur to me I might have. What a confidence boost, and just when I needed it.
I've also found time to do a batch of quilt show entries today. So I have now entered 5 quilts into shows this year. Most of them are juried so I don't know how many quilts will actually get in but I have tried, which is all my goal says. I figure I can't really do much to ensure the quilts get in but I can make sure I enter.
Now I think it is time to make my scarf. Oh yes, I finished my socks. I will try and take a picture later and show you. I hadn't had time to work on them since Christmas, but at the weekend I bought some silk yarn that I will use for socks. How decadent? I also have some tiger wool, so I need to get another pair under way sooner rather than later. I can't believe how excited I am by knitting socks.
Monday, January 29, 2007
I took some pictures of the scarf I was talking about. I really like it and I have mine ready to sew. Hopefully I will get to it tomorrow evening. The scarf is made of lengths of Sirdar Organza and Sirdar Boa. They are cut to about 80" then layered between soluble interfacing and quilted. I am surprised by how solid it seems, but I am very pleased with it. I left the ends unsewn to be a fringe. It is a very quick way to make a scarf, and I do think this will be next years present of choice. I can even say that, as I am sure people (possibly including me) will forget by then.
I've had a go at the textured sculpting of fabric today and I have completed my first sample. I am interested in working on a torso, so the biggest problem is how to release fabric to form the breasts. This sort of works but isn't quite what I was after. I have a couple more ideas to try as soon as I have time. I am also considering fabrics to try. I want to be able to make this self supporting. I don't really want to stitch it to an internal structure, so I have to consider how thick it will be and what fabric I can use. I am wondering about canvas. It will be hard to work with but the end result might be very satisfying. It may also bulge better with less folds. Lots to play with.
I finally got my new to me sewing machine open. I thought I now had the key but it turns out not to be. Fortunately the advice I got from a member of the quiltart list got me into the machine. It is from 1925, and a model 99a. It is a three quarters scale machine and seems to have been very well cared for. It moves so smoothly. It also has lots of feet with it, including a tucking foot. I've never seen one before and can't wait to give it a spin. The only part of the machine that seems to have any issue is the lock. It is very stiff so I have given it an oil and will see how it gets on. I am very pleased with the machine and hope to put it to work.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
In another setting I think this could be the source for several quilt projects. I has so much potential. I love the twist to it. I love the fact that it has five sides, curves and points. It's a really fun object. I do have to admit I don't even know what it is it is an image I found on the net and fell in love with.First thing on the second day we were asked to start drawing the objects (making marks). We were to focus on the aspects of it that fitted our words. In my case organic (by which I mean it looks like it grew), curvaceous and concealing (see I was trying to sound arty ). So I tried drawing. This is what I came up with.
Apparently this is a very poor start. The main complaint was that I had drawn the joint between the faces as smooth, not knobbly. I hope you can see in the picture I was working on that. I tried saying that, but no, I don't really look and I hadn't seen that the joint was rough and textured (I described it as scab like) so I needed to start again. Here is take two.
I tried to make the texture more obvious and quicker,. I have to get it on the paper before she gets back round to me. You may recall I have no confidence in my drawing skill, but I think this is pretty good. In fact I think both pages have many of the most important features of the object as I see it. So she comes back round to me, and again I've got it all wrong. This isn't capturing the object, I am not seeing the details, I am not looking.
She explains what I should be doing. I need to use the ink and a brush. Keep the brush fairly dry and use it to paint sets of lines in one go. OK, dry brushing I can do. The palest lines below were the first ones I did.
Oh yes this is much better, you see how this is capturing the details now? Erm , no. Not at all. This doesn't look anything like what I am looking at, but glad you like it. Next I am to do the same again but twist the brush as I draw the curve to represent the twist in the object (can't I just draw the twist?). So I tried to turn the page. NO! just put them over the top of the other ones. OK, so I did. Next lap she is even more pleased with me. Oh yes I've got it now, aren't these so good. I am really getting the details now. Pardon? I see a mess (at least with her wanting it all on one page I have only wasted one sheet of paper.). So now I have to wet one of the lines and just touch more ink to it. Shrug, I can follow simple instructions, but I still don't understand why this is essential to making fabric sculpture. Asking why doesn't help either. This exercise is making me look at the object (the one I gave up looking at when I realised that wasn't getting her what she wanted). So now I have made amazing progress I was ready to move on.
She carefully explained to me that pencils can make different marks. WOW! If you push harder it gets darker, (yes really try it if you don't believe me) and if you lighten up it makes lighter marks. Oh my isn't this thrilling. So I had to draw a wiggly line with light and dark bits in the same line (that's the tricky bit) and the apply a dilute ink wash to one side of it. In case it doesn't come across, yes this is dripping with sarcasm.
There you go, the pinnacle of my design career. Isn't is amazing. Doesn't it do a great job of capturing my object. Can you just feel the design? Yes? If so it is yours. My tutor was thrilled with this, darned if I know why. It's nice to know I can follow her instructions and make her happy but...
I meant to dump this stuff in the bin before I left, but I just bailed in too much of a hurry. Still it has been interesting to be able to show it to other people. So far I haven't found a good explanation of why this is good. I am sure it makes me very stupid but I really don't see the amazing improvement in my work through the day. I see quite the opposite. I also don't see anything that would help me in using this shape in a piece of work. It is just crazy. I am sure there is a good artistic reason to do this, but I don't get it. If someone can explain it to me please do, it would be good to understand what I should have learned.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I do still need to produce something from this course for show and tell. I gave it a lot of thought on the way home. I will spend tomorrow playing with fabric manipulation techniques. I have some ideas for samples i need to try and for a few pieces. Depending on how the samples go i may try to make a whole thing as well. I also want to make myself a t-shirt with my quote on it :)
Wow I really wasn't making much sense, sorry folks. I quit the course. I just couldn't take another day of it. I hate struggling without the right tools and materials, especially when I have them at home. I couldn't see how anything we were doing related to what the course was about. I positively hate the thing that had been my inspiration. Note to self, never take something that really inspires you as design inspiration. The daft things you have to do really demotivate me and I never want to work with it again. I hope one day I will love my tools again, they were the subject of City anf Guilds.
Still I am home, I have gone and visited a friend who isn't feeling at all well, and I managed to take in a skirt for her to wear and a fancy dinner next week. It was fun and it made her happy, far more productive than sticking with the course.
I will work hard tomorrow though and try and get something to show for it. If nothing else I have some stunning pictures of the grounds that will provide inspiration for several projects.
I have come to the conclusion that I am not an artist and neither are any of the people I know. I don't know what we are, but I am quite sure we don't fit the 'proper' definition. SO if anyone has a suggestion for what we could call ourselves (that is polite) do let me know.
Anyway I have a precious half hour to do some sewing in and I can't waste it on the computer.
It is amazing how much better doing something really creative makes me feel. I don't know how I would cope if I had to not do it at all for any length of time. It is quite weird not being able to see who is on and looking at the blog. It feels a lot more like shouting into the void. I know intelectually you are all still there but it doesn't feel like it. That is the point of a retreat I suppose :)
Friday, January 26, 2007
So, the room is small but directly opposite the studio we are being taught in. I couldn't have asked for a more convenient room. I have been given the key so I can make use of the tables to work on out of hours. This is really good news as I have a few things I want to get on with while I am here.
Our first session was about what inspires us and why. It turns out that all the objects that inspire me are very sensual. I suppose I should have seen that coming, but I didn't. Apparently it was really obvious to everyone else. It now has me wondering whether I can use these sculptural process to make body parts. Maybe a torso? I think that may be tomorrow nights project.
Yes I will post some pictures of the scarf, I was too excited to take pictures last night I wanted to get started on my scarf. I will try and do it Monday. Anyway I have things I want to work on before tomorrow, and I want a shower so I had better get a move on.
The only lead left was the Embroiders Guild. They do book this person to teach. So I tried them. They were amazing, and are still trying to locate contact details for me. There is nothing in it for them, yet they are putting in more effort than the place I have paid to take the course. Guess what, next time I want to do a course, if the Embroiders offer it I will do it with them. I don;t like giving money to unhelpful organizations, I would much rather support the good ones. So Twig, we just got value for your membership.
On the other hand I still don't know what to do about this course :( I feel so vindicated for always including my contact details on my requirement lists.
I found some amazing yarn at Rainbow Silks in Great Missenden, but I am finding it very hard to use. It is in skeins and I need to wind it off. The first one was fine for about three quarters of it then knotted up horribly. The second has knotted almost at once. It is going to take quite a while to untangle :( I was hoping to have it finished before the course starts tomorrow, but I don't think I will manage it.
Either way it is a lot quicker than knitting and I think I will be making quite a few more. I love it.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I am looking for someone using Firefox, with the ISP Qwest Communications. The ISP is in Seattle Washington, so the person I am looking for is probably too. They visited my blog at about 10am GMT on the 10th of January. That was about 2am for the viewer. I would love to give the quilt away, I made it and everything :) So If you think this is you, or you know someone it might be please do get in touch.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I've also been thinking about more quilt designs. I have another one to make with the Ombre fabrics, but my brain just isn't working. I am going to have to print up some shaded paper to play with. When I figure it out it will be good, and I think very easy to make, but working it out is hard.
I managed to get some more supplies for the weekend. No not that sort of supply, I am doing a weekend workshop. It is a residential course at Missenden Abbey, with Janet Edmonds. It will have a drawing section and then we will be making vessels. It sounds like it should have a lot of potential for future projects. As it is partly funded by a bursary I felt I should do something big that would really stretch me, and this will do that. I have calico and muslin to play with, I've found inspirational pictures, but I haven't got any shells of other organic vessels. I am hoping I will be able to look at the ones other people bring. I still need to go for a walk and look for found objects to add to whatever I make, although that doesn't really appeal to me at the moment. Still better to have and not need... While I am at the Abbey I won't be able to pick up my email, and I am planning on having my phone off most of the time as well. I am planning on updating the blog while I am there but I can't be certain it will work.
I wish I had had time to enjoy the snow this morning. It was so pretty. I did look a lot but I had to get to my meeting so I couldn't take any pictures. Keep your fingers crossed for more snow for me. I would love to add pictures of it to my inspirations folder.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I've noticed that once I hit this magic moment everything seams to move quicker. It just starts to work and come together properly. I love it. The best bit is I tend to forget it will happen before it does, so I am not even just sitting waiting for it. Wonderful. That is why I had to share right now. I had better get back to the jacket before it gets bored :)
Monday, January 22, 2007
- I live in a small terraced house with two guys. I say house, but really it is now a studio. The front room is where I do most of my work, it is where I am typing this. I built a large desk into the whole of the bay window. I found that too bright, and having run out of wall space there is a row of bookshelves around the windows at the edge of my desk. The back room used to be a dining room but is now filled with a longarm sewing machine. The kitchen has mostly been taken over for dying cloth.
- I used to make electric guitars. I wanted to learn to play one when I was younger and my parents told me I would have to built one if I wanted one. So I did. After that I went on to design and make more. I have a wall full of guitars behind my longarm. I am better at making them than playing them, mostly because I never put enough hours into my practice.
- I collect Ford Capris, I love them to bits. Just as well as they are getting to the stage in their life when they fall to bits. I think I mentioned the great white having exhaust problems, but it is just one of six. My everyday baby is in need of some welding which will hopefully get done next week and I will be back driving her. Yes I love cars, but especially mine. It is a metallic blue 2 litre S, which I refer to as Kdu. I also have Atcho, my restoration project. I want to bring it back to showroom standard plus. More how Jaguar would have sent it out. This was the driving force for me to learn how to do car interiors.
- Many years ago I appeared on television unpacking a space craft. My research project was on LDEF, the long duration exposure facility. When the panels arrived at the university the local television station were there to film us unpacking it.
- I love books, I have hundreds of them. I don't think we will ever need insulation on our walls, as hey are covered with books. It shocks people who deliver things, as even the hall is full of books. People often say we should throw them away. Apparently we will never read them again. I know I have read most of them more than once and I know I will read them again, and enjoy doing it. I'll read anything, including cereal packets, squash bottles, anything. The really odd thing is I am dyslexic. Go figure. I do misread many things, but I've learned to see the humor in that, for example how do you ork a cow, it must be possible a lot of companies have coworkers. My spelling stinks, and if two words are the same kind of shape I see them as the same. I've also realised why older books are often easier to read, there is less contrast between discoloured pages and the text.
I am still building my business and I will not be turning down work if I can avoid it. Especially when it is this fun looking. I just hope I can get it done quickly. I've just finished sketching the design and I think it will work well. I may even make two so I can have one as well. I don't often do such a detailed sketch but I have so much to do right now I needed to make sure I would remember my ideas and get it out of my head. I need to be thinking clothes today not art quilts.
I have to admit to being quite flattered to have been asked as well, that probably effected my answer too :) Oh and the fact that I love to do the impossible.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
We did manage to finish the wedding quilt last night, and as it has now been delivered I can show you some pictures of it. It has been named 'Grace under Fire'. I wanted a title that covered the elegance of the cranes it is quilted with and the somewhat military looking colours used. Believe it or not most of the blues are quite grey and dull looking on their own, and the other colour a kind of tan, but together they are so different. I think it is really quite vibrant. I hope it isn't too bright now. The new owners seemed very pleased with it, and they are people who make things too, so have some understanding of the time and effort that goes into something like this. It was quite a hit with the other guests at the dinner too which is a very nice bonus.
As you can see we went for a quite subdued backing, it is actually a very dark blue with white vines on it. The binding uses the same fabric as the centers of the log cabins, and I think adds a lift to the quilt. The rest is scrappy. We picked colours that were roughly the same colour, cut the strips and just grabbed them at random. We both particularly like this method for making quilts, it adds more depth to the colours that one fabric could possibly supply. As ever in the sake of speed, a Ricky Timms binding. I love this method, and I seem to be getting better at it at last.
Robin is very proud of this quilt as he did all the piecing while I did the cutting and pressing for him. He hasn't been quilting long but his points are great, and this is just a utility quilt! It is intended to be used, and as such there are errors in the quilting that we chose to leave. For a customer or a show they would have come out, for a working quilt I think they add character and I am sure it will be kept well away from quilt police. Ops, I just realised I forgot to warn them that after washing it will look different, oh well too late tonight I will have to try and remember tomorrow.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I really like getting quilts in the post. It's so fun. I know, I know, you told me, but it isn't the same as doing it. I am going to have to start working small and posting them. Here are my first two quilts made by others.
This first one is from Kate. I should have taken a picture of the back of it as well. It has a colours backing and it is great. The design is couched threads and fancy stitches. It also has sequins. Remember these quilts are only 6"x4", and they are quite tricky to photograph well.
This second one is by Nellie Bass Durand. It is of Lake Michigan. I had to give you a close up of the piecing on this one. There aren't any raw edges! It's really raised the bar for the landscapes I have planned. This is the card that started me on the Art Share Meme.
I am so thrilled with both of these. I am trying to think of a good way to display them. I might try and design a quilted album to put them in. I have some clear plastic that I could probably sew into pages to make pockets for them, but I don't know if it would out gas and damage them. I suppose I could use some sort of net or mesh and take the cards out when I want a good look at them. Either way, I want more so I will have to get to work. Thanks guys they are great.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I've finally come up with a plan for the future of my blog. I wll be moving it to my own server running wordpress. It is going to take a month or so to get moved but in the mean time there will be photos :) I have decided to accept the terms on a temporary basis and hope I can move before they decide to use any of my images. It seems likely given this is a low traffic, specialist blog. All this means, I can show you some photos! Yay!
So here it is. I was asked to come up with a pattern for a bed size quilt, to use a range of fabrics from the Ombre range and spraytime if I needed something more plain. It had to be a quick and fairly easy project. I had three quarters of a meter of each of the Ombre fabrics. I was told I could ask for more, but I like a challenge so I set out to design something that would only use what I had and some spraytime. The black is spraytime so is mottled, I really like it.
The biggest challenge was how to stretch a 44" width of fabric to the width of a bed. As you can see I did manage it, but boy it took some thought and fiddling. Remember I also had to be sure other people would be able to recreate it, and believe they could.
As ever I used a Ricky Timms style machine binding. I don't know what I would do without it for urgent quilts. The one on the frame now will have this type too. The main body of the quilt uses a Dave Hudson pantograph, and the borders are also a panto. I hadn't used either of them before, but I quite like them both. However I am already planning my own designs to do the same job, but the way I want. I am thinking of doing a series of patterns starting with one inspired by the watery pattern here. Rest assured you guys will be the first to hear about it.
I know the pictures aren't great but hopefully they will give you the idea. I was in a hurry to deliver it and couldn't wait for better light. If you want to see some good pictures, I guess the magazine will have them. It will be in the March edition of Popular Patchwork, which I think comes out about the 15th of February.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
I've sent of the mother of the bride skirt today. I am surprised how much I like it. It really isn't my colour or my style of fabric, but I suppose it is a design of skirt I really like. I just hope she likes it as all she has seen is a small sample of the fabric. She hasn't seen any pictures of the skirt design at all. Scary. Still it will fit perfectly with the brides outfit, and I guess that is what most mothers would really care about.
I've finally found a scrapbook to put all your supportive comment in. I've had so much support from the Internet in the last year, and I want to keep making good use of it. On days when I don't believe in myself I can look through it and see that there are a lot of other people who think I can succeed. I found a purple faux suede photo album in the sale and I love it. It matches my quilt design notebooks so I think it was meant to be. Even better it has those peel and stick pages so I don't have to worry about finding a glue that will work. It's been great reading through the comments and has helped me with preparing my talk for Saturday. It is rather daunting going and talking to a room full of people for an hour, but I have lots of support, I won't let you (or me) down.
I am working on plans to get pictures back onto my blog. I can't switch to Wordpress right now as they don't have a tool to move the new blogger blogs over yet. They also don't allow blogging by email, which is what I do from my mobile phone. The do have moblog, but my phone doesn't. What I may do is host the images elsewhere and just code the html myself. I am working on it. I will also try and get my new works put onto my main site then you will at least be able to see them there. Thanks for bearing with me while I figure it out. If I get really desperate I may accept the terms I don't like and hope Google never notice my site. After all I am sure this is a very low traffic blog and if they are going to use any ones images it is more likely to be the more popular ones right?
Finally (for now) I still haven't found my 10,000 visitor. If they haven't come back here by next Monday I will post details of the 10,001 visitor and see if I have better luck with that one. Who would have thought that giving something away would be so difficult.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Last year at the Festival of Quilts the organizers asked if they could use one of my quilts for advertising the Festival this year. I agreed but then heard no more, and I had forgotten about it. Today they got in touch, they are still interested in using my work to advertise the show. I am thrilled, not only because they like my work and have remembered me, but also because they are keen to push quilting forward. They want to make it clear it isn't old and boring and encourage younger people to have a go. If I can help achieve that I will be very pleased. I think this is possibly the most important thing for the show to be doing, we need more quilters.
It seems I have made one of those serious mistakes that you regret as soon as you have done it. I've moved to the new blogger. I now have to accept new terms and conditions to be able to post pictures. I don't so I can't. I guess that means I now have to move my blog :( I really didn't need that.
Anyone want to recommend their blog hosting site? If you do and are feeling really kind could you use the contact me form to let me know. Blogger seems to be using an email address I don't check very often. I will try to fix that, but I don't know how much luck I will have.
Sorry Kate, I was planning on putting up the card you sent me too. It's a great card and very exciting. I like this getting art through the post.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I am stunned by how much inspiration i get from my trips to art galleries. I never expected this. I don't like art. I don't know why i know this but i do. So how come, i do like the art and i do get so many ideas when i in and look round galleries.
Yesterday started well. I am planning a couple of architectural quilts and there is nowhere better than London for finding architectural details. We barely cleared the tube station before i started finding buildings with the right details for one of the quilts and a sign to a museum with the design elements of the other one. I guess i will be going back with a camera in the very near future.
As usual the first stop was the national gallery. I was surprised how many pictures had moved. Even in their temporary exhibition some of the paintings are on longer on display. I guess i was lucky to see them in the first place. I am quite pleased that i remembered them well enough to know what was missing from where. I hope that means i am learning. I was very disappointed to find one of the pair of pictures of venice has gone. Still it is in my head and as i know it exists i can always look it up. These two pictures have convinced me that i want to visit Venice. I wonder if they have quilt shops there and he so would they like to hire an English quilt teacher.
From what i saw the Tate Britain is much more my line of gallery than the Tate Modern. I suppose that translates to they have art i get :) we managed to catch the Turner Prize show. They had work from the four finalists. For a change i thought two of them made realy interesting work. Mark was talking a lot about trying to get people to interact with art in his video interview. I understand what he means and i quite like the style of his work. He is also interested in the effect and power of words and uses them in all of his work. I have been trying to avoid that, but i think i will lighten up on it. If i think a piece offer text it will get it. One of his works has given me an idea for a dynamic quilt that changes design as you look at it. I have been thinking about quilts with changeable designs for a while but hadn't come up with anything that would be good for a show environment but now i think i have cracked it.
Even more strange than there being a Turner Prize finalist i liked, i like the winner. She paints great quilt designs. More interestingly i felt like she was challenging me. I can do this in paint, could you do it in cloth? Some even had the impression of depth which seems like is should be easy to replicate, except it was so sharp with hard angles. Getting fabric to do that will be a challenge. A challenge i intend to meet.
We didn't manage to see much of the rest of the gallery this time but i did see enough to get a better idea of what i don't like about newer art. Well specifically recent paintings. I find them too naive and simple. Is there a reason for so many people to work in this way? There are still some very painterly painters but either there aren't many or they aren't successful at the moment and i would love to know why. I found it very interesting that some of the same artists doing there very simple painting were askn producing amazingly detailed works in other media. So it isn't that they couldn't be more painterly them dont want too. Or the galleries don't want to show it. Any ideas why and what this is all about. I would love to plug a new to me artist but there seems to be very little about him. His name is Robin Ironside. I think he is worth having a look for have a look and let me know what you think.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I then discovered that my favorite sushi place had closed. It might be gone of it might have moved. If it has moved I don't understand where the sign said they have gone. Maybe I will find it again in the future. At least it beat being out in the rain. Boy did we have rain today. I kept finding flooded roads trying to get home. It isn't ideal getting this much rain this fast. On the other hand the news is talking about people flooded out of their houses by a burst watermain. That is really horrible.
I had a productive sewing afternoon. I now have a test garment of the blouse I was drafting yesterday. It looks interesting in the shiny blue fabric, but shape wise I am quite pleased with it. I hope my customer will like it too. I then went to start sewing the skirt. Turns out I have never had a need for ivory thread! I do now so off for an emergency thread purchase. At school rush hour. Unfortunately I needed the thread so there was no way to avoid it. Also I was driving a Chevrolet Camaro, in England that is pretty unusual and the roads around here aren't designed for cars this size, especially with double parked parents everywhere. Still like I said nothing for it but to go, so expecting the worse I did. Sure enough first set of lights a car tries to get through on my inside. Except as he pulls alongside he slows down and stops, he is just looking at the car! The lights change and he waves me on with a big grin. Cool! I should point out that there don't seem to be that many people interested in cars anymore so this isn't that common. I do however take great pleasure in stopping for zebra crossings. I can see the pedestrians don't expect me to (the car is matt black with a Motorhead skull on the bonnet) so I do, for a man who also looks at the car, grins and waves. OK this is wired, but good. On to the next crossing (yes we have a lot) two young girls this time. Who are so busy staring the forget to cross for a while and try to put their heads on backwards as the stare at the car as they cross the road. When the reach the other side they stop to watch me drive away. Girls noticing a car is really bizarre, but very good. As you can imagine this really cheered me up. A far better journey than I could ever have hoped for.
Hobbycraft, my nearest thread store, has a sale on. I managed to get some more of the plastic boxes I use as palates. Four assorted boxes for four pounds. I was pretty pleased with that. I got my thread, the nice cashier remembered me and wished me a happy new year and they opened an extra till to server me. It had even stopped raining when I walked out of the shop. Perfect. Oh yes I also have two of their largest polystyrene spheres, they aren't big by my standards but they might make nice cuddly globes.
Having got home the skirt has come together well. The fabrics are selected for a friends quilt, and tomorrow I have another gallery day. I think it's all come out rather well. Even if we get seriously rained on tomorrow, I think I will still be ahead overall.
Oh yes one other thing. I was sent this link today, http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/01.html. It is another artwork inspired by a Monet bridge. I had a good look at the site and I rather like a lot of his work. There is a lot I don't too. It is quite political and may cause offence to some. I especially liked his drawing of a rat with a paintbrush, and some of the concepts he is trying to show. I could see me making quilts inspired by this site.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I've been stunned at the traffic here today. I am so sorry for anyone who was disappointed by not being the 10,000 visitor. I didn't expect it to be so popular. I think I will probably do this for another milestone number. I'll give it some thought and let you know.
Once I finally got the forms off and on their way, I got down to drafting a Gibson Girl blouse. It's quite a nice design, lots of scope for fitting a large bust without having to worry about the shoulders being altered. There is a front and back yoke to keep the shoulder area a smaller size, then front and back panels are gathered onto the yoke. Adding or subtracting from here is relatively straightforward. Of course there are still sleeve, armhole and neck adjustments, but I really like this style. Of course the other advantage of this style is that it isn't very fitted. Just what I need after dealing with couriers.
The winner is in Switzerland. Apparently near Ecublens, Vaud. Their ISP is Swisscom Fixnet AG. I have a partial IP address, but given I only see a few visitors from Switzerland I think this should be enough to identify them.
However given there are a lot of regulars out there I thought I should give you a chance to get one as well. I've decided to take part in the Art Share Meme. I am hoping I got the last spot on Nellies Needles, so now it is my turn to pass it on.
Basically I have five pieces of art up for grabs. I don't know quite what they will be but, if you're reading here you have an idea what kind of work I do. I also make no promise as to when I will ship them, I will try and get them out sooner rather than later but as you now I am pretty busy and I have to do it when the muse takes me. If you want one you leave a comment on this post, and you then have to offer five pieces of art you have made to people on your blog. The first five to comment and put up their offer will get one each.
Not only does this let you get a piece of work you want, but it also lets you show off your work. Everyone wins. So who is up for giving it a go.
After having a fairly quiet day yesterday, I decided to make the little quilt for the 10,000 visitor last night. It isn't bound yet, but the quilting phase is done. Hopefully it will be recognizable. It it a baby version of the nude in my triptych. Yes it is a mirror image, and no I didn't mean to do it. If everything goes to plan in the future it should be unique :) I plan on making some more in this style, but this will be the only reversed image. It is about 11"x 9". It is stitched in two shades of grey on a plain black background.
I am hoping it will be subtle enough to suit anyone.
Good luck, and I should be posting the winner later today.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I really love talking to you all, and I thought this would be a good way of saying thank you for all the support I get here.
Well it is finished, and we have a title. I even have a name for the technique, impressionist quilting, well the form asked so I had to put something. Now I just have to wait and see if the jurors think it looks like celebrate spring. It does to me, so hopefully that counts for something. It was also one of the easier artist statements to write. I guess being inspired by famous paintings and techniques has it's uses. Of course I do have a few other inspiring works to draw on in the future as well, which will require variations in technique and thinking. Should be fun.
However don't talk to me about courier companies. I am sure everyone who moves mail is just out to get me. I still haven't managed to arrange a pick up for my entry and there is only so long I believe it will all be OK. It is looking like I will have to pay a premium for not having an account because they don't have anyone to open an account for me! Not impressed. Still if I am going to be shipping quilts internationally I need a courier account so I guess I just have to keep trying.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Yay, it is off the frame and all trimmed up. It is quite large and loud in our house but in the pictures I am quite pleased. I suspect that in a show it will hold it's own without being too over powering.
I've included some pictures of the back. It is very hard to photograph, but it looks great. I know you aren't supposed to have the little dots of the front colour on the back, but don't they add something to the design when seen from the back? I think so and I like it. If I didn't I would worry more about loud backs to hide them I don't think it is possible to avoid them completely when there is such high contrast between the front and back. I think you can tell where on the back each of the pictures is.
I think I am going to put on a black binding with a pink piping. I figure that if the quilt is hung against a black background it will stand out well and the binding will blend in. Against white, I think the quilt will tend to blend in, the black binding should help it out. Well that is my theory anyway, I guess I just have to get on and do it.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Ok, so I have some photos now. I've completely finished the background. I just need to put in the tree in blossom. Funny that the most important part has ended up being the last thing to go in.
I've put in some more closeups of the different quilting patterns. I was really pleased with the brown rocks. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to do rocky, I knew I wanted sharp and irregular but for some reason it wasn't coming together. The angular stipple seems to do the job nicely. I used a variation of it for the underside of the bridge, but there I made it less pointy. The underside of the bridge would be smoother and wet, I wanted the quilting to say that.
The rather strange blob in the water is some sort of plant. You will have to believe me it is pretty accurate. Even the quilting with the curly tops. Don't know what it is but I kinda like it.
I couldn't unwind the quilt from the frame enough to show the whole quilt, so I have just photographed the lower part of it. It's a shame as the top of the bridge is the better bit (more of the bottom will be covered by blossom). Still it should give you the idea.
Now to cut my branches and start getting them in place.
I came very close to finishing the background. I have a narrow (maybe 6 inch) band of water and vegetation to do at the bottom of the piece. I will try and take pictures when I get that done. Then I can move on to the fun part of putting on the trees in blossom. This is going to be the only place where I significantly change the shape of the pieces I use. I want to use long wiggly bits to make the branches. I see the painter taking a thinner brush and making flowing strokes here so I will try and do that. I also think it will allow me to shade the branches more and hopefully give a better sense of form. Who knows, it is yet another new to me thing :) I like trying new techniques, but I really should learn to do them in less critical pieces.
Still the branches and blossom should be fairly quick to put on, and I worked out last night that I can actually post the entry form on Tuesday and have it arrive for Friday, so I have a little less pressure. I think that taking things a bit slower should help, given I still haven't managed to shake the cough and cold I have had since before Christmas. So back to it.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Anyway as requested, some close up shots, and bigger pictures.
This one shows part of the background trees and bushes. It is quilted with a leaf pattern. I have put the hopping foot into every close up to give you some idea of the scale. For those of you not familiar with these machines I have an APQS Discovery, and the hopping foot is about half an inch in diameter.
This is part of the path. If you look carefully you can probably see the edges of the pieces of fabric. My machine doesn't have a stitch regulator so I am trying to get my stitches even myself. I tend to get it pretty well for a given design but it changes from one patterns to another. I can live with that, but I suspect American judges will be more critical. So be it, it's art not textbook quilting.
Here is some of the grass, both shades are grass, one is in light the other in shadow. Part of my reasoning on the quilting patterns is to convey essence of thing. I am trying to give cues for people to fill in the details, rather than just supplying the detail myself. I suspect I am technically giving too much information, but for a first attempt it will do. Maybe in future I will be able to put more trust in my audience.
This is the edge of the base of the bridge. The one I am using as source is formed concrete, and I think the pebble texture says that quite nicely. I wish I had taken some pictures before I quilted it. It was very different. I am also thinking about trying to get some action pictures. I tend to have my left hand guiding pieces under the foot, I knock my knuckle pretty regularly trying to catch misbehaving bits, and I think it would make for some interesting pictures.
Finally, this is where I have got to today. Remember I have to have this completely finished by the end of Sunday. I have the fabric cut for the bridge, which will be the next thing to put on. I am quite pleased with what I have so far. The largest blocks of green will be mostly covered by blossom. There will be a tree on the left of the picture spreading branches over most of the quilt. Covered in pale pink blossom. It will be the pinkest quilt I have ever made, possibly ever will make. Oh and of course I hate green too. Who would have thunk it? :)
I still don't know it's name, or how I am going to deal with the water. Fortunately there isn't too much water.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I am making this directly on the longarm. I have the three layers pinned to the frame, and all the pieces cut ready to use. You can probably see in the picture the pencil lines I have as guides. So I just fill in areas with an appropriate colour. Well that is the theory anyway. I haven't marked the different greens on the cloth, those I just place according to my source image. I use a tiny amount of spray baste to make the base fabric a little tacky, then I lay out an area of colour. To hold everything in place I quilt it quite densely. For the trees and bushed I have been using an leafy pattern. I rather like it, and I finally seem to have got the hang of it. There are always a few pieces that try and leap out of the way of the foot, but I am getting better an spotting them and holding them down long enough to quilt over. I could have just covered it all with wash away stabilizer, but I don't really want to get this quilt wet as some of the fabrics are batik and bound to run. I think I have done about a quarter of the quilt today, and I think it is going quicker as I do more, so it looks like I should be able to get it finished in time.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Can you hear a but coming? Well there is. As I pulled up to the garage to deliver the covers I managed to break the exhaust on the car. Not so surprising, it is a lowered car and tends to catch on things. What is impressive is I broke the manifold! For those not familiar with cars, this is not normal. The exhaust itself is fairly thin metal, and usually corroded so pretty easy to break. The manifold (on this car at least) is cast and very thick. It is usually quite strong. I am guessing it already had a fracture in it which is how I managed it. Either way it meant I had to get the car trailered home, it was too loud and likely to fill the car with fumes for me to want to try driving it. I did get very lucky with my recovery service, they picked me up in about 20 min and got me straight home, no fuss or complaints at all. Good enough that I called them to say how pleased I was, which seemed to make the day of the call center staff I spoke to. So if you get great service, consider telling them, we are all quick to complain when it goes wrong, it's a shame they don't hear more about the success.
Now I can get down to some serious work on the Monet inspired bridge I need to get done by the weekend. Oh yes, I checked on when I can show you all 'Under the Rainbow', I will put a picture up just before the magazine with it in comes out. As I said I have plans for a couple of similar quilts, so you might get to see them first.
Anyway, the warm glow of having lots of things sewn and ready to deliver is fantastic. I think I will bask in it a bit longer before bed. I also took some pictures of some of my note book covers so I can put them up on my Etsy shop. The first couple are there now. I have more to go up tomorrow.
I also got another answer from AQS about the size restrictions at their shows. Apparently if is a security issue. They feel the risk is too great for small quilts. Scary to think crime is so high at American quilt shows.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I feel that they have decided that a lot of quilts aren't valid, and for a quilters society that feels wrong. I hope they don't look at it that way but given they won't explain how would I know. I have a year left to run on my membership, which I will not renew, and I don't really want to have now. See said it was pathetic. This has just pushed my wrong button big time. I know a lot of people were disappointed by these restrictions, so maybe the restriction could be reconsidered. Are there really no valid quilts between miniatures and 30"? Can we all apply for bigger houses from the AQS so we have space to hang 'right' quilts.
Now I have work to do, and just today I got an artists newsletter discussing how easily artists are put off. How little things can bug them for ages... Hmmm, did he have a time machine and read my emails :)
I've updated my white board with the next batch of shows I want to enter (and a couple I haven't decided about). Just the ones I am sure about will mean entering 14 quilts into shows, by the end of March. Fortunately some of those will be quilts I have already made. In particular, I have a deadline for the end of this month, and two quilts I would be quite happy to enter there, having checked the rules I think either would be accepted. Yay. That takes a little pressure off.
Under the Rainbow, is all packed up ready to go. It took forever to de-lint. The Hobbs organic cotton wadding seems to get everywhere. I love it, but the clean up is distinctly sub optimal. Maybe I can come up with a way to reduce it's spread. I haven't taken the photos yet, so I suppose I will have to unpack it tomorrow morning and do that.
I got an email from SAQA today. "and fly away" didn't make it into the Transformations show. I didn't think it would so I wasn't too surprised, though not the best start to a new year. On the other hand they only accepted 24 quilts out of over 340 entries, so there are a lot more disappointed people than happy ones. It does mean it is free to be entered elsewhere. Also I am trying to work out if I can enter the same quilts in the IMQS show and the Festival of quilts. Theoretically it should be fine. In fact there should be most of a month between them coming back from one show and going off to another, but what if anything goes wrong? Also am I tempting fate at that point? If them getting back late doesn't matter they are bound to get home safe and on time, but if they could cause real trouble by going missing... Well I can postpone that decision for a while.
Monday, January 01, 2007
I did make 38 quilts this year. Only one was a postcard. 6 were bed quilts. I entered 26 quilts into competitions and won 6 awards from that. I visited four galleries, and went to eight quilt shows. I think for next year the best I can do is try to manage the same again, with bells on. I want to put more quilts into the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. I also plan on entering the MQS this year. I guess if nothing else this will increase my total number of quilts entered. I don't think I will beat my total for January last year, 6 quilts. That is a tough one. Unless I can count all the postcards. I want to get at least 20 made this month.
I am really pleased with my achievements for last year. I just need to keep building on it. I would like to try and get an exhibition together this year. I also want to put up some online galleries with ArtUK and a couple of other places. I need to go and visit all the local galleries and see if any will take on my work. I want to expand the number of places I teach, and maybe work on other talks. I want to start work on a book, and publishing patterns. I was using a pantograph yesterday and realized I could have designed on I would have liked a lot better, so I guess I should, and try selling it. I also want to start expanding my mailing list. I suppose the good news is I now have a mailing list, but it is very select at the moment. How do I approach people to get permission to show them my new work, courses and news? Anyone found a good way to do this. I think this will be my main area for improvement next year. I aim to have so many people on my list I have to get a printer to do my Christmas card run for me, ambitious but what the heck. I suppose I had better aim to earn enough to pay for it too.
Thanks for all the support you guys have given me in the last year. I've not been writing this blog that long, and I feel I have got back far more than I have put in. That is entirely down to all of you who read this.