An Artist's Quest

Posts tagged “art quilt

Slow stitch: a lesson in leisure

3 primary panels

For those of you who have followed for a while you know that I’m am a wandering artist. Trying this technique and then that teaching what I learn along the way. Sometimes I lament that I’m not a Monet type, you know, painting my metaphorical lily pond every day. But I’m really more of a Picasso (not the boorish, misogynist part), just when my audience knows what they like about my work I change it. Lately I’ve been doing more stitch in my mixed media work, you’ve seen that in my most recent posts. When I first started art quilting, I was all about the machine stitch…. don’t slow me down just get it done. But increasingly I’ve been drawn back to hand stitch. A participant in a workshop gave me some feedback that having a hand stitch option for a workshop would be attractive to some people, so I set about making some examples to satisfy that request. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it would be also attractive to me, that in sitting down with needle and thread in a comfy chair with a podcast or music or friends that I would find a quiet beauty in the doing. Something different than the feeling of accomplishment at finishing quickly…. sometimes in my life I have measured my success by how quickly and efficiently I could complete a piece of work or art to my satisfaction. The act of slow stitching does not check off that box. I let my stitches be improvisational and move where they want to go, sometimes sparse and sometimes dense, complicated or simple; each section of the piece tells me what it needs. Adding this leisure and slowness to my work has added a richness, a texture and a fullness that was not achieved by the machine and by speed. The hand at work is evident, the art was clearly held, nurtured into existence.

I hope you can find your leisure in the doing. Perhaps its baking something special to bring to a friend’s house or maybe taking time to prune the roses in your yard of faded blooms, maybe even slowing down your power walk to hear the birds and watch the breeze sway in the trees.

Whatever it is be well, take care.

Black,White,REDcroppedfinal.jpg

PS. I’m teaching a workshop about this Fabric Cut out technique in October – contact me if you want more information.

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Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

final quilt

A several weeks ago I showed you the first art quilt in a series about endangered species of Sonoma County; that piece highlighted the plight of Myrtle’s Silverspot Butterfly. This week I finished the second in my series featuring the very charming Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. Just like Myrtle’s Silverspot, this little mouse is endangered mostly due to habitat loss but climate change and sea level rise are a problem for it too. It seems we humans are a most invasive species and I’m afraid the habitat loss is the main reason for most of these endangered critters. My next quilt will feature the California Tiger Salamander, maybe not quite as cute as the mouse or beautiful as the butterfly, but charming in it’s own way. Look for that in the coming weeks.

I hope you notice the hand printed and marbled fabrics I used in these quilts, I have some upcoming workshops to introduce you to stamping and marbling fabric check out my website for more info.


Making Connections…

 

whole quilt

I Spy quilt made using 20 original stencils and gel plate print technique

Those of you who follow me know that I’ve got a million ideas and time for about 10 at a time. Some times my ideas are bigger than me and I don’t always reach out to make the connections I need to take an idea to another level. Because really there aren’t a whole lot of things we can do all by ourselves, and frankly, that’s a good thing. When we try to do things all on our own we don’t have the power of community, the power of family, the power of partnership – so things can only go so far. I’ve had this idea – well to be honest it’s not totally my idea – it’s an idea I’m borrowing and putting my own spin on.  It’s an idea that is all about connecting – connecting on so many levels… let me try to explain.

close up multicards

Detail of quilt and matching cards

A few years ago I crossed the path of a woman making an “I Spy” quilt. Do you remember the game “I spy with my little eye”….? It started out as a game to pass the time especially on road trips, clues are given and the guessers guess until they get it right. So an “I Spy” quilt has blocks with different animals or object in each printed square of store bought fabric (Goggle it you’ll see some examples on Etsy). So the “I spy” game on a quilt is like the original but it’s a conversation piece for parent and child. It could also be a way to teach attachment parenting and build language skills (you might have guessed in another life I was preschool teacher).  So what if there could be a connection made between quilt guilds – who love to make quilts – and early childhood learning organizations for families in need?

I liked the quilt idea but I wanted the images to be more cohesive and original. So I created 20 silhouette stencils for a farm and garden theme quilt. Each block is a gelli print on cotton then stitched together. I had multiple prints of each block and my husband made the connection that a second matching game could happen. When I showed a friend she thought perhaps the words could be in Spanish (or I guess no words just instructions in multiple languages…might be better). What if I made this into a kit for quilt groups and friends to get together and print and make the quilts to share in their community? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful connection? These are my ideas – a few of millions – I think to really make this idea go anywhere I need to connect with all of you – any ideas? Do you have any connections? I spy with my little eye…. connections happening, wheels turning,  community in action…. let me know your thoughts.


What Price ART? My eternal struggle with what is the value of my art….

Art Quilt from the Peace Series (for sale now at my Etsy shop)

Art Quilt from the Peace Series (for sale now at my Etsy shop)

I have always had trouble assigning a price to my art. I believe strongly that art should be a part of everyone’s life that why long ago I framed the following “the why cheap art manifesto” that my sister gave me decades ago:

213.what price art

I’m sharing this because I have always struggled with what price to charge for my art. On the one hand I want the art to be accessible to lots of people and on the other hand I want to feel like my time and skill are being duly valued. Some people have said I don’t charge enough for my art but I want people to have it- If I make it and it just sits in a box under my bed then what’s the point!? So I have come up with a formula that feels ok to me. I loosely keep track of my time per piece then price the art the same way I would price a free lance graphic design or art teaching seminar, by the hour this seems fair to me, it values my time and it the price reasonable (I hope). So now I would like to introduce my Etsy Shop where I have my art quilts from the most recent “Peace” series to others I think you will recognize from the blog. I hope you will check it out! Thanks for your support and pass this link on to others you think might like my work.

Detail for

Detail for “Peace Be With You” art quilt


PEACE BE WITH YOU

Peace Be With You mixed media quilt

Peace Be With You
mixed media quilt

PEACE be with you….peace BE with you….BE peace….peace be with YOU….this phrase with all it’s possible inflections has been rolling around my head since last Sunday when I went to our regular episcopal church service here at The Bishop’s Ranch. As is the custom of this service there were several readings and then the congregation can share thier reflections. There are a lot of wise and wonderful people who come regularly to the service so I almost always get a little gem to take home with me to reflect on. Last weeks readings talked about Jesus coming to the disciples walking with them, eating with them and talking with them. These are the same guys who just a few weeks before had betrayed and abandon Jesus in his darkest hour. Pat Moore, the Ranch chaplain, reflected on the fact that in each encounter with these scardy-cat disciples Jesus says “Peace be with you”. No anger or accusation, no demand for repenting or apology just “Peace be with you”.   And if you really think about that simple phase there is a lot packed in. It seems to me to be a universal message, no matter ones religious affiliation or lack there of. If we can find peace in our mind, our life, our relationships and if we can truly greet one another with an expression of peace in our hearts, well I think the world would be a better place. So as I left church with that refrain reframed in my mind I went down to my studio and got busy. I spread out some muslin and organza and tulle outside on some tables. I pulled out some stencils and stamps; spray paint and inks and began creating with peace in my heart and nothing but experimenting in my mind. Later that afternoon I had the opportunity to join a quilting group that was here for the week and although my to-do list told me you can’t – my peace filled heart said follow this thread. So I cut up my fabric into panels and with great abandon began quilting these small wall hangings. It was so wonderful to work with no plan, no agenda just tugging on the thread of peace that I had be given to see where it took me.   It took me quite far – today here are two of the pieces I made this week. I’ll share more of what I did in future posts. PEACE BE – BE PEACE

Peace Be mixed media quilt

Peace Be
mixed media quilt

Peace Be With You detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stichted

Peace Be With You
detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stitched

Peace Be detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and sticted

Peace Be
detail- muslin and organza spay painted with Tint-It paint through stencils, stamped and stitched