Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Surprise in the mail today

The book I had ordered from England arrived--Karen McTavish's "Mastering the Art of McTavishing"  2nd edition.  I had seen so very many variations of the technique  that I wanted to get the info "straight from the horse's mouth", so to speak.  I had been told that the book was out of print, but both the first and 2nd edition are available on Amazon--both new and used. ( The used for up to $600.00, but the new for about $35.00Cdn) 

I can understand the many variations, out there, as she actively encourages readers to work with the technique and make it their own.  A refreshing attitude.  The book included two dvd's, the one that accompanied the first edition and a re-done one for the 2nd edition.  There was an obvious difference in production quality, but more interesting, obvious growth and change in her methods over the years, ( to say nothing about her changing hairstyles and body art).  I have seen several of her U-Tube videos, and have been distressed by the poor production quality, but the dvd's I received today were great.

Of course, I had to sit down and try it.  I first saw the technique done during Leah Day's first FMQ'g workshop on Craftsy, but having now seen the real thing, in several versions, I'm finding it much more appealing and plan to use it,--once I develop the necessary skill in producing it in several different scaled sizes.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

the next generation

Today my grand daughter came over.  She is quite enjoying her art classes at school, and had received a couple of gift certificates for art supplies for Christmas.  But she had been told to see if there were any of my supplies that she could use, before going shopping, so she could maybe make what money she had go further.

She went home with water colour paints, acrylic paints, paper, stretched canvases, and collage materials.  Her father was joking, and said that she might have to spend her money on an organizing system, for all of the stuff she had.

I had explained to her that the supplies were a gift, and gifts should never come with strings attached.  The supplies were hers to do with as she pleased.  (I would still be interested in what she might produce.)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

social groups

Last evening was a meeting of a small local fibre art group I belong to.  We have a few business items--nothing earth shattering, and then an interactive "show'n'tell", (although most of us hate the term.) The interaction is lively and the comments honest.  It's this honesty that most of us crave, and need.

I also have a friend, an art photographer, with whom I often share a coffee and conversation at the local donut shop.  ( Doesn't Tim Horton's love it when we come in toting a large box of photos to discuss!  LOL)  But we trust each other to give an honest critique.  It's helpful that we both have the experience and trust to critique in a helpful way.  Our last conversation ( earlier this week) lead to the discussion of a potential collaboration, and we've actually picked one of her photos that may result in this.  I'm looking at the photo as an inspiration for the piece I need for an upcoming show--about a year away.

The group I met with last night is sponsoring the show, and I now have permission to use this collaborative process for my show entry. The concept, although a sort of esoteric abstract on my part, has been approved as being in line with the show theme.

It is amazing how this sort of honest conversation, and associated approval, has invigorated my creativity.  However fleeting they may prove to be, it has given me a sense of direction, and a focus for my time management.  This proves, to me, at least, how valuable this sort of group can be.  In my case, I believe, it is an essential part of the process.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


I've decided that my focus for the year will be to trudge along and not to accept or sweat any deadlines.  A "cop out"?  Maybe, but it's what I need at this point in time.

So, I'm going to take the re-vamping of my Machine Quilting class slow and easy, but am going to start the process now, so as to have lots of time, and not end up with a panic over a deadline.  The first steps will involve lots of computer work.  Now I know that I'll go crazy without some time at the machine, so I'm going to allow myself to finish up the few current projects that are "bugging" me. But there will be no sewing after the evening meal!  Evenings will be reserved for time at the computer--and it won't be times spent on silly games!  Yes, My sister got me hooked on Candy Crush over the holidays. (Oh, I'm so embarrassed!)

One of the current projects was a charity quilt.  While cleaning out the storeroom, I found a box with about 45 4" squares that had been appliqued with a 2 1/2" squares.  I figured that 100 such squares would make a more than adequate child's quilt.  The original squares had been left over after a class several years ago given by fibre artist Iris Roundtree ( best known for her ecclesiastical work).  It was a technique class that taught us to layer the four inch squares with batting and backing, and then machine applique the smaller square on top.  Next, some of these squares were cut at various angles and the resulting triangles mixed and matched.  Then the triangles were re-assembled into squares by butting the edges together and sewing the seam with a wide satin stitch.  The unique thing about this is that the squares didn't need to be sewn together in neat rows, but could be put together in almost any configuration involving right angle corners.  

Well, I wasn't going to go that far!  But DH had been asking what I was going to do with all of the hexies that I had put together out of my scrap bin, so I simply appliqued a hexie onto each square.  Then put the squares together by butting the edges and using the wide satin stitch. Sure used a lot of thread!

Here are some of my individual squares ready to putting together. and the finished quilt ready for binding.  I quite like it, but was a little dismayed by the poor manner in which my machine did the wide satin stitch, so while I love the look of it, it will remain a charity quilt.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What to do, what to do?

This is the time of year that one hears of artists selecting a word or phrase to use as a guiding principle for their work, over the next year. This isn't an easy process for me.  Two pieces, that have been in a travelling show for the last two years, were returned to me today, and I realized that it's been more than those two years since I have entered anything in a fibre-related show. But, I really have little to show for those two years, most of which was spent recovering from various surgeries.  And my forced stash reduction activities continue to deserve a degree of priority

 Looking toward the future, my next potential show entry is more than a year away.While this means that I don't have to force my creativity, it also means that I could get away with creative laziness, should I choose.  I'm anxious to do some more work with the dyed mandalas, but shows usually have size restrictions and themes, and these concepts are not really compatible with the idea of a square, abstract mandala. A further concern is that I'm committed to teaching this spring, and want to re-vamp my class to include some of the work I've done since it was last taught. 

So, I need to find a focus for my work, but that process will have to take place prior to finding a word to guide whatever focus I come up with. ( Oh My! Confusion you say! Maybe I just need a good night's sleep!  LOL)

While this is going on, I continue to work on my charity quilts.  An opportunity to deliver them comes up in a couple of weeks, and there are two more to finish by then.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A new year, and back to work

My time off turned out to be somewhat a truly very special time in my life. Family was wonderful, and, as well, I had a really great visit with my sisters.  The three of us haven't been together in several years. At our age one never knows if we will ever see each other again, and this awareness made the visit even more special. I wouldn't trade the time for anything. But during the last couple of days,  I was getting anxious to get back into the studio.  This was a surprise to me, until I thought about it, and realized that the studio time has been an important part of my life for the last few years.  Maybe too important??  Or maybe just the least physically demanding thing I could do while enduring several surgeries.

What ever was happening, today I'm back in the studio.