Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Finally a finished piece!

Well, we're up to our ears in kitchen renovations here, but I've still managed to find a few minutes in the studio.  I have a Machine and Free Motion quilting class scheduled in a couple of weeks, and like to beef up my technical skill a bit prior to class.  Awhile back I showed the pieced top comprised of various hand dyed mandalas that just didn't work out.  Since this will probably end up as a charity piece, I've used it to practice my quilting, and ended up with a bit of a sampler.

Here is the piece, finished with a traditional binding.  It is about 38" by 38".The red and turquoise are commercial fabrics, but everything else, including the backing, is a hand dye.

And here are a couple of close-ups of the back.

Since I've also had a goal this month of "loosening up" a bit, I didn't sweat the starts and stops.  If I could get away with it, not every loose thread is tied and buried.  :)

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network and Nina Marie's  Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tiny example of change

The small piece I spoke of in my last post is almost finished.  It just needs to be trimmed to size and bound. It is a very simple design, and hand stitched.I considered various finishing techniques, and chose to go with tradition. This decision was based on the final use for the piece.  It is just intended for a casual challenge amongst a small group of friends. The message of the piece is more important than finishing, and once viewed, I have no further plans for the piece.  There are flaws in the design.  I have chosen to ignore them.

Here is a large view and a close-up.  The finished size will be 8 1/2" by 11".

Monday, June 6, 2016

Finding a direction

In a couple of previous posts I've described my agonizing over what is a partial "artist's block', and what is a lack of clear direction in my work.  I also came to the realization that the exploration of various techniques had become as much a part of my "comfort zone", as was my background in traditional quilting.  I also started to wonder if my insistence on developing, and demonstrating, a high technical skill level wasn't a much of a barrier to creating "art" as anything else.  Even when teaching, too high an expectation of skill can be intimidating and serve as a barrier with students.  I still believe that technical skill can only help in conveying a message as  much as basic intent.  So my developing strategy is to give myself a "break".  For the next little while I plan to concentrate on creating something--anything--and to forgive and accept technical flaws.

I accept that some of the techniques I've picked up over the years have a place, but that place is not front and center.  I accept that my background in traditional quilting and hand stitchery is what formed my interest and love of fibre, and should be acknowledged.  
The next project is created in an effort to force myself down this path.  I dyed cotton Damask because I like the look of it dyed, although I have never felt it was "elegant" enough to be in my work.  I used a fairly pastel dye.  I have been resistant to moving in that direction as I'm much more comfortable with stronger colours.  I tore strips and wove them ( OMG! Raw edges!) as I've seen this and liked the effect.  Not an original idea, I know.  My plan involves some hand work--nothing too elaborate, just running stitch.  Because I'm not sure how my arthritic hands will react, I've chosen a small size, but one for which there is a small show coming up in the near future.  The piece also presents a technical challenge in terms of how to construct and finish it, and this will hold my interest--an important part of anything creative.  It's about 1/2 done, and I hope to have pictures in a couple of days.