Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

This is one of four pieces I plan to complete in January (they're all basted now) -- the four that I've mentioned innumerable times.  This little series is local art, the featured digital images taken right here in Fortuna.  The sky images themselves could be the start of another series of small works.  To see my daily sky images, check out Sky Journal.

2010 was a productive year for me in many ways ~~
  • at least 60 quilted pieces were completed, many of those small to medium sized and framed
  • probably 400 collages got made, considering the various journals I've been working in
  • huge changes took place in my personal life (way smaller digs, happily solo again, financial house in order)
  • creative doors closed making way for new adventures to come (no more spinning, weaving, jewelrymaking -- although some supplies are still available here).
As I move into 2011 my creative "vision" still seems a little murky when I try to articulate it verbally.  So I'm going to quit trying to name it, because words just get in the way.  It's evolving in its own right, on its own terms, in its own way, if I just don't try to categorize it.  I'll let it be what it wants to become and go along for the ride.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

La Dolce Far Niente

...the sweetness of doing nothing.  Yep, I've done close to nothing over the last four days.  I'm still working on the not-feeling-guilty part.  Although I did add to the list of things I'll do to have a Brilliant 2011 (brilliance being my word for next year), tinkering more in my studio without a plan.  Not all the time, but more than I typically do.

I have made good inroads into the Monk series, though, am nearly done with season 3...totally loving it.  I've gotten back into collage in two very small journals I began earlier this year -- haven't done anything there for three months at least.  I have those four quilts I keep referring to ready to baste into sandwiches; they'll get done in January.  Made a delicious pot of chicken noodle soup with the leftovers of a Costco cooked chicken I had for supper on Christmas.  Baked my best apple pie to date and have been enjoying it daily.  Have been sleeping late (for me).  And that's about it.

So onward, to the new year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Delightful Days

The last three days were pure delights for me ~ I never even left the studio/home except to walk across the street to the mailbox.  I really needed the solid creative time...and that paved the way for my next two weekends, both 5 days each because of the holidays.

This piece is the eighth In Dreams mini quilt, on raw silk.  I collaged much more than usual these past days -- I'd fallen a bit behind -- but I caught up with 2 or 3 pieces a day.  I completed the Fiberactions "environment" quilt and am working on the frame as we speak.

I also spent a lot of time feeling absolutely sublime ~ listening to the rain, feeling the cool breeze, hanging out with BeeGee, and reading another of many books on Italy -- this one, The Hills of Tuscany by Ferenc Mate.  I love reading about others' adventures recreating their lives from elsewhere, in Italy.

Hope you have a wonderful week leading up to Christmas, and a blessed holiday season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recycle to Upcycle

Twenty years ago I was experimenting with abstract work on paper.  I had had a few pieces framed and displayed them in my home or office.  A few years ago I got rid of the frames, which I no longer liked, and imagined doing something else with the paintings eventually.

Concurrently, for years I've lamented my collection of ugly but extremely functional industrial/office bookends, those beige metal things we've all seen or worked with.  This morning, these two streams of thought came together.  And now I no longer have bookends I hate looking at.

You could do this with any mixed media work on heavy paper, and if I had yet more bookends to cover, I might do just that.  But I'm probably set with these, for the rest of my life, or until I ever decide to change them.

An unanticipated delight from cutting up those old paintings ~ I like the work a lot better now, in bite sized pieces!

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Visuals

I've been working all week, in bits of time here and there, on my Fiberactions "environment" quilt...but I won't be posting it until reveal day on January 15.  I'm really happy with the way it's turning out.  The fabrics have been on my design wall for at least a year, hoping to be a quilt with a similar theme but larger, that never quite came together.  This piece, then, is obviously the fabric's intended use.

Even though I said earlier that I didn't intend to have a list of plans and goals for artmaking in 2011, I have been making a list of things I hope to get back to at some point.  Funny, next year's list looks a lot like this year's list did a year ago!  That means a lot of techniques to revisit.  I always anticipate spending more time on a technique or at least getting back to it again sooner, but life inevitably gets in the way.  And the years roll by. 

I haven't quite solved the dilemma of where to leave printed fabrics to batch overnight, now that I'm living in my studio.  Once I have that figured out perhaps I'll jump back in.  One idea might be to do a smaller number of pieces at one time, but do several sessions of that technique over a week or so.

This is promising to be a rainy weekend and I'm looking forward to it.  I'm hoping for a wave of creative energy to motivate me to action on a bunch of work in process plus several things I want to try.  Once I get into that flow, the activity feeds on itself.  It's the effort of getting my feet wet again that periodically holds me back.  I can't really blame it on the time of year, because the holiday season makes very few demands on me or my time.  Rather, I think I'm still working my way back from three months of nearly constant change in just about every area of my life, reacquainting myself with my creativity and my muses.

I like to be productive, it's satisfying, it feels good.  I have to remember this particularly at times when I lament the fact that I make far more work than I sell and I'm not sure what to do with all of it.  The acknowledgment of that can be know, why make more stuff?  The thing is, I'm a maker.  In truth, I have to make art for the joy of making art, of working with materials, of trying new techniques, of challenging myself to articulate my responses to the world with my chosen media.

And when I worry about having too much finished art tucked away in the nooks and crannies, I'll remember my dear friend Joan, who has a huge studio with stacks of work on every flat surface and something hanging or pinned up to every square foot of wall space -- how absolutely engaging and inviting it is, how I could lose myself for weeks exploring everything there is to see there.  I should have so much finished or in process art!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Design Frenzy

I got going on a couple of back-burner projects this week.  The first -- not as back-burner as gotta-pull-something-out-of-the-bag -- is Fiberactions' "environment" themed quilt, due January 15.  For weeks nothing has grabbed my imagination with this word, but finally something clicked.  So because I want to use for that piece some of my handmade fabrics that have been earmarked for two other quilts, I've moved forward on the two other quilts to I know what fabric I have left for "environment."  Whatever gets you moving!

The two quilts just mentioned are part of a 4-quilt series that I've talked about a couple times over the last few months.  I decided I want to have them ready for my show at Curley's Grill in Fortuna, April & May 2011.  Two of the four came together months ago -- I just need to take all the steps necessary to get the fabric to be a quilt...but the designs are good to go.  The other two, the ones I'm working on this weekend, have taken a lot more effort to meet my own requirements.  Just finished off on the design on one this morning -- will get to the other one later today. 

I'm quite keen on listening to myself, my own critique, my own judgment when I'm designing.  I recognize those moments when I want to go with what I've got just to get it done, enough so to put something on the shelf for a few days, keep looking at it and trying different fabrics and/or arrangements, and then coming back a while later to redesign the whole thing before I get what I really like.  It's a process I'm developing more trust in as I age.

If you're a knitter or crocheter, or interested in handspun yarn to weave with, check out the yarns I've listed at my Etsy Shop this week.  A couple of enormous cartons of handspun yarn have boiled down to only these remaining skeins now available at Etsy. 

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cloud of Unknowing

Finally something new to post -- just finished today, Cloud of Unknowing, 26x17 inches.  This piece belongs in the Beyond Boundaries periodic series.

As I have with many quilts recently, I put two layers of batting in this one.  I've been using thin-ish cotton or thin cotton/poly batting when I double up.  I love the deep relief that the quilting lines create, plus the heft of the finished quilt.  I've found that heavier or doubled batting makes a piece hang a lot better and flatter than a single layer of batting does.

The center image was one of my many digital experiments.  In this case I printed the image on a transparency, then burnished it onto fabric treated with acrylic medium.  The colors transfer in an unusual way with this method -- I wasn't able to get the full spectrum of colors -- but I like the moody, uncertain quality of the image.

I had an excellent liquidation sale over the weekend, was able to sell a lot of no longer needed materials plus a few finished pieces.  Then I posted a lot of the leftover supplies on Etsy and sold much of that in short order.  There are still some spinning and weaving supplies left, though, if you want to have a look.

Usually, at this time of year, I begin an exhaustive list of what I hope to do in the following year.  Last year at this time I was involved with SAQA's Visioning Project, my goal being to "find my voice" with art quilting.  A few months into the project I withdrew myself from the structured aspects of it, but I did continue to move forward with what I intended to pursue -- which was/is my fascination with digital imagery on fabric.  So in retrospect, I accomplished a lot this year despite giving up on the busywork involved in following SAQA's suggested visioning format.  The fact is, I'm not much of a group person, I prefer working on my own, don't need frequent support or handholding, and usually end up resenting the amount of time involved in group participation.

This year, I'm not even a SAQA member any longer (couldn't afford to renew a couple months ago), and I care less and less about following anything suggested or prescribed.  The only thing that's ever worked for me, in the long run, has been to follow my own muse wherever she may take me.  I'm finally okay with that.  I don't need anybody's agreement or critique of what I do. 

So anyhow, back to next year, I don't have any grandiose plans.  I'm just going to keep taking it one day at a time.  I know that as I continue to clear away old stuff from my life, doors will open with new ideas and new directions, and my next creative steps, whatever they may be, will happen organically. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Books & Blogs

I seriously considered getting on the calendar bandwagon this holiday season, with images of the daily collages I produce and post to Collage Journey.

The problem I encountered is that neither Lulu nor Blurb have calendars that open in the vertical format.  Duh, why the heck not?  I'm not keen on calendar pages with vertical images surrounded by large blank areas.  I have been making some collages recently in horizontal format, but frankly I don't like them as much as my vertical pieces. 

Maybe this will work next year -- I did make a suggestion to the powers that be at Lulu that perhaps I'm not the only artist who would prefer vertical orientation for their images.

I've also thought about self-publishing a book of collage images but there were too many decisions.

Instead, what I've done is create Archive Pages on Collage Journey, where I have between 80 and 100 images at a time, beginning at the beginning.  Since Picasa Web Albums (part of the evergrowing Google conglomerate) already contains everything I've ever posted to all of my blogs, this was a fairly easy thing to do.  Archive 1 is here; Archive 2 is here.  I'll get around to the next couple of Archives later this week.