This drawing is kind of the culmination of a series of flower doodles that I did in a journal I used in the middle of last year. I got on a flower kick and just couldn’t stop drawing them.
I don’t feel very proficient at some of the technical aspects of the drawings, but it is fun to try and work out the little problems. I am kind of glad I am doing a bit of a series, because I can work out and improve some of the aspects in the later drawings.
I have an idea for a flower/picnic quilt and think that the flowers may be studies for the flowers I will use in that quilt.
I know that all of my sketches are out of order. As a inherently organized person, this is driving me crazy. I can’t, however, with good conscience back date them, so here they are in all their glory.
I think I may be caught up except for Beacon and I have an idea for that one. It is a technique, though and not an image. I really have to check, though to make sure.
I realized that when I am in a class with Pamela, I do think outside of my own quiltmaking box. I also realized that if I just listen and do what she says I succeed. I also feel a bit freer in my work. I really have a strong feeling that I need to make a much larger piece in Pamela’s style.
Pamela gave us tips and I interpreted them as:
make lots of art because not all of it will be good; small is good
your first idea will be crap, so don’t cling to it
put the big shapes down first
move things around; try a new view
if you are bored by your piece everyone else will be as well
We talked a lot about art quilts at our dinner out together. I feel strongly that all quilts need to have a good design. Block type quilts have a basic structure which helps with good design. Most art quilts do not have a basic, inherent structure and some go astray because the quiltmaker doesn’t care, doesn’t know how to initiate and then evaluate a design or doesn’t have the technique foundation. I think it is easy to find out about these things. There are a lot of good principles of design type books, such as Pentak and Lauer’s Design Basics. The basic thing concerning technique in art quilts is that they don’t fall apart upon hanging. Pamela doesn’t have the classic quilt background that many quiltmakers have, but she has learned what she needs to keep the quilts structurally sound and then applied her art and design training. This is the best of both worlds and this is where I really want to be.
You can see from the gallery above how she inspires great and different work. Diane is a wonderful silk painter. She normally paints a whole cloth piece on silk and then quilts it. Her blue trees piece is really different from her normal style and really, truly wonderful. Kristen is very busy with her family and doesn’t have tons of time to sew, but made some fantastic pieces that her children would enjoy. I love that space alien monster! Kristen’s pieces are also cheerful and imaginative and wonderfully creative. Mrs. K’s sauguaro cactus/Suspicion Mountains piece has a calmness to I that I love. I hope she finishes it and hangs it somewhere where it can inspire other people. Everyone really did fantastic work and I am sorry I didn’t take more photos.
We made a creative mess. Mess is the wrong word; we had supplies and we needed to use them. When you only have 15 minutes to make a piece of art, the fabric will be flying and it was. I brought my scraps which kept ending up on the floor. People would stop by, pick up some bit of fabric and ask to whom it belonged. It became quite hilarious. We really couldn’t have done the workshop without Mrs. K. She brought tubs of fabric which allowed us to actually have backs and batting and such things. I seemed to conveniently forget those supplies when I go to Pamela’s workshops! DUH!
I know I showed this quilt on Saturday, but I realized that I am dreaming of flowers and the beach and of all things cheerful. After the Pamela Allen class, I really want to make a larger piece using her techniques. I wish I was at Asilomar with her and could work on it under her guidance. Someday.
Summary: Different options for one new element in the Tarts Come to Tea.
This is a quick post to see what you think about cake plate options.
Here is one of the renditions of the Tarts Come to Tea from 4/19/2009. As you can see I redid the cup in the middle with a to go cup. I am pretty sure I have moved elements around since I took this picture.
One issue with selecting fabrics is I still have a Pamela Allen hangover and I want more pattern. The Child was in the room doing his artwork and offered up his opinion, strenuously!
I really liked the fabric with the flowers. This was the first fabric I tried and it reminded me of a china pattern.
I thought this was more like a china pattern than the fabric in the first example and less regular.
The blue plate special fabric was appealing. The Child thought it was too regular.
The pink melted a bit into the orange background, though I thought it picked up the other pinks in the piece.
I finally gave in and tried a dark-ish blue. Before I did, The Child would just roll his eyes at me when I showed him the above choices and remind me that none of them were solids. He didn’t really care about any other fabrics or patterns in the quilt.
I finally gave in to certain individuals and created a solid blue cake plate.
I wanted to see a different cake plate, so I made another pattern and cut it out of patterned fabric. I really like this version of the cake plate. It is definitely busier and the cake isn’t highlighted as much.
Summary: This post talks more about how the Pamela Allen class with CQFA will inform the Tarts Come to Tea.
I find that a good class will inform my work in a way that other experiences don’t. I don’t see quiltmaking in a vacuum. I see it related to other art and that is one of the benefits of taking a class from Pamela Allen. She really brings her training in art to the quiltmaking/fabric collage world. Her comments about artists in other media really enrich my quiltmaking experience.
After sleeping on my class experiences I went up this morning to look at the Tarts. There are things I like about it and things that really need improvement. I actually wonder if I should just start over and make the piece in the style I worked in over the past couple of days? I am loathe just to toss all the work I have done, so I came up with a different solution.
When working with Pamela, she suggests putting a background down (which has already been layered with a back and batt) quickly and then cutting pieces to put on top of the background. One of the things that I liked about this method is the layering. I have had layering and the way it creates textures on my mind lately and the class experience solidified some of what I was thinking about.
With the Tarts, I think I will finish my plan so that I have a solid top. Instead of, then, sending it out to be quilted, I will put some kind of stabilizer, or additional stabilizer on it and then add another layer of fabric to the top in the Pamela Allen style. I think that will add movement to the piece and make it more interesting.
I have always wanted to add some stitching and embellishments and will do that after I get the piece quilted.
The Tarts, as they are now, reflect my A type personality and I want to move the piece beyond that buttoned up feel to the piece. The motifs are interesting and the fabrics are fun, but it really needs movement. I took another photo of the entire Tarts and plan to print it out. Once I do that I can take notes on how I want to add layers.
I have been in class for the past two days with Pamela Allen. Pamela is much more than a quilt teacher. She is truly an art teacher who works and encourages work in fabric. I had THE Aha moment in her class today and it really thrilled me. I could feel the difference in my work after that moment.
As you may have read, or noticed, I felt crappy all week. Barely any blogging got done even though I have a pile of sticky notes with reminders of things to tell you. My house is a wreck and my to-do list is still long. A cold was really beating me down and I was doing everything I could to conserve energy so I could go to class. A good move on my part was to take Thursday off of work rather than working straight through and then going directly to class.
I have taken several classes with Pamela. The first one I took was in Richmond, Virginia at Quilting Adventures. I actually took two different classes in one weekend. The first was a self portrait class and the second was on composition. I started one piece in each class.
Pamela also came to California in 2008 to teach at EBHQ. I took her class there as well. I don’t think I ever wrote a blog post about that one, but Julie wrote one, which is probably what I would have written anyway. 😉
The quiltlet, House and Garden, that I did at EBHQ has been worked on more since the class and I am almost finished with it. Maureen sent me a link to facing directions from Jeri Riggs site and I plan to use them to make a faced edging as soon as I finish the beading.
I brought all three of these pieces to the workshop with the intention of working on them and not starting anything new.
The first exercise was a monochromatic exercise. I didn’t do it. Don’t worry! I warned Pamela that I was planning to bring projects from previous classes. I did enjoy the pieces that others in the class made.
I worked and made progress on the Garden. I am actually ready to handstitch on it, though I do still have a bit of piecing to add. I am really pleased with the work I did on the Garden. I think it looks very different from what it was when I started. I also think it looks a lot better.
I am really pleased with the petals that I added. I wanted to create a little more interest in the space where the blue petals are now.
In the bottom part of the piece, the flowers were all middle ground. Pamela helped me create a foreground by putting some darker blue behind the red flower with the petals. I also created a little bit of a different foreground with the flower in the bottom right hand corner. I was thinking of it as kind of a coneflower, but some people said that it also looked like the petals had dropped off. I have a little work to do on the bottom. During the critique, Pamela and the other students suggested that I extend some of the stems to the bottom of the piece and make the bottom of the piece longer as well. They also like the brown border. That brown is currently the back, but I will cut it off and add it to the new front, but only on a couple of sides.
I didn’t succeed in doing my own thing. Pamela is such an engaging teacher that it just wasn’t possible for me to ignore her completely. She did help me with the projects I was trying to work on, though.
After a quick litle quiltlet exercise (15 min), she gave us a piece of fabric and we had to make something with it. My piece was brown. No other colors. None of my colors. Bleah!
The exercise was about accentuating or extending existing lines in the fabric she gave us. I liked the idea of the exercise.
This is the piece that came out of it. The colors aren’t me, and you can see that I injected quite a lot of blue into the surface.
Today, we worked on critiques and one piece using stripes and prints to create movement.
This piece brought the AHA moment for me. The AHA moment was a point where I finally got all that I have been learning from Pamela. I finally understood about the background and how to put stripes and prints on the piece in different ways in order to achieve movement and the illusion of something. I am really pleased with this piece and think it is very strong.
I can see how some of what I learned today will help me with the Tarts. I am going to use some of the techniques and thoughts to get that piece finished.
Yes, I have been working on the Tarts, but often the work I am doing seems like no progress rather than actually work.
I started out with this drawing for the last block, presumably for the space in the lower left hand corner. I found a drawing as inspiration and once I had that crutch to get me started, I took it off in my own direction. I kept thinking about a tea kettle I once knew in Austria.
Once I had a drawing I liked, I had to pick fabric which turned out to be much harder than I thought. I think I have said before that there just aren’t enough colors for me. I thought a pinky-orange would look good, but couldn’t find he appropriate shade in my fabrics, so I tried others. As Lorraine Torrence says “make visual decisions visually.”
I started with a green as background even though I really thought the pinky-orange would be better.
The green is okay, but the kettle color isn’t quite right.
Moving on and trying other colors. Finally tried a pinky-orange I had. It wasn’t quite right with the reds near it.
Still not right, though I liked the purply-pink background better.
The orange is a little too brown!
I am no longer having fun.
Will this torment ever end?
A bit closer???
Finally, I decided on the purply-pink hand-dye with space alien lime green. It was okay at the bottom of the quilt, though I kept thinking that the thermos-like block might be better at the bottom. I changes a lot, but I am trying it out.
Can you tell I am just desperate to catch up on everything? All of my posts lately are entitled “Various and Sundry.” I hope it gives you an idea from the title what kind of post it will be.
I am doing a project (another one? you say) called 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. You can find it and play along at ProBlogger. I am already 3 days behind, so we’ll see how it goes. When I first saw the ad for this project, I was arrogant enough to think I didn’t need such a thing. Immediately after that thought, I signed up, because thinking I couldn’t improve Artquiltmaker blog is a sure sign I need help. If I can make a few improvements, I’ll be happy. If I learn, I’ll be happier.
Reviews and comments about Handmade Nation are all over the blogosphere. I would like to see it as it sounds interesting. I haven’t, however, seen it playing anywhere nearby. I’ll keep looking.
Be*Mused had a lovely array of colors up on her blog the other day. She and I are thinking along the same color lines. Here color palette is the look I am going for with the fabrics that I bought at Always Quilting. I want to add something a bit dark just to take the edge off the bubblegum-i-ness. Not sure what, but I’ll have to look around.
I started listening to another episode of the CraftSanity podcast today. It turned out to be a joint podcast with Jennifer and Sister Diane of Craftypod. Essentially the two podcasters interviewed each other to give tips and pointers on starting your own podcast. Listen to CraftSanity podcast #14 and Craftypod podcast #24 to hear the different takes on the same discussion/interview. I love this kind of collaboration facilitated by the web.
I am cutting 6.5″ squares of blue fabric (like the Thoughts on Dots project) for a project and I have lost about 3/4s of the ones I have cut so far somewhere in my workroom. They will turn up, but it made me realize that I need to have some way of organizing projects that are in the germination stage. There are a number of projects for which I need to gather fabrics while I prepare to sew. I want a system where I can put fabrics and supplies in one place until I am ready for them to be front and center. I am envisioning a system like Jan at Be*Mused put up. She used IKEA’s Expedit shelves. I am not sure these shelves would work for me. I also need a bed in my workroom for guests, so I think my ideal would be the IKEA Billy system with a bed somehow integrated into it. In the meantime, I may just get some POTs and use those.
Finally, Retro Mama made a pattern f or fabric eggs and put it up on her blog. I love these eggs and want to make some to decorate for Easter/the Spring. It won’t work for this Easter, but I could make them for next year. We will see. There are just so many wonderful blogs out there!