Looking backwards and forwards

Autism Home Rescue has challenged her readers to respond to the prompt:  What was your greatest achievement of 2010 and how do you plan to top it in 2011?

My comment is posted here because it’s more to do with fibre art than with homeschooling.  However reading her blog I’m humbled by what others have to take in stride day after day after day.

“”I completed an art quilt, Geode, I had started in 2003, involving hours of hand beading. It was shown at one of the exhibitions at the Canadian National Quilt Show in Calgary and I got to meet other quilt artists and had a very encouraging message from the author of the fantasy novel that inspired it.

My plans for 2011 don’t include one giant piece like this one, but I plan to be more consistently productive in my quilting and art endeavours, and more diligent in promoting myself through networking.”

People, please, whatever you did last year, surely you can do better in 2011?  Tell us about it and let’s spread the energy!

Geode

Here in all its glory is what I consider my magnum opus, to date at least.  Geode is approximately 54 inches in each direction and heavily embellished with beads, as seen here.

It’s on display at Satin Moon until Saturday.

I was inspired by this quote from Catherine Asaro’s book The Veiled Web, describing traditional Moroccan homes:  “The houses were like geodes, those rocks that appeared featureless and unadorned on the outside but when opened revealed a sparkling beauty of crystals inside.”

As I worked on completing it, it dawned on me that this is very much a metaphor for how I prefer to live, which was why the original title of this blog was Chameleon’s Nest.  I’m just not a person that wants to blurt it all out all over Facebook!

This piece is constructed of traditional strip piecing which has been slashed and reassembled.  This was the first art quilt technique I learned in a workshop with John Willard in 1998.  He doesn’t have much of a presence online, but this posting by the London Ontario Quilt Guild has lots of information about his work.

Quilted by Andrea Hamilton of Sydney, B.C.  I can’t say enough nice things about Andrea because my quilting skill is not up to the level of my design, and she definitely made all the difference!

Strictly speaking I believe it’s a house quilt, although not the traditional house block obviously.

 

Shading

Today I was aiming for shaded effects and more control over the pen.  When it has thoroughly dried I might post a page from my sketchbook.  I really have to think hard about shading because my brain thinks more in terms of outlines, shapes of things, and of course quilting reinforces that.

I used way less ink on the pen at any one time and that is making it better.  But I find it scratchy and not flowing.  In contrast, here is a doodle I did on kraft paper the other night.  It’s about 12 by 14 inches so this is part of it, since the whole piece won’t fit on my scanner.  Will try more with brushes in Melly’s challenge I think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night while watching Bride and Prejudice, which was fine entertainment, I got around to beading my Dragonfly mola, using mostly hand made beads.

Of course as soon as I stitched on the wire beads I knew I needed black silamide, but since it’s a small piece I kept going to see how it would turn out.  Now I’ve been to Bead World so it will not take long to redo those three beads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And no trip to Bead World would be complete without a) extra inspirational shopping

b) boasting about Geode, my large beaded art quilt, currently on display at Satin Moon!

Idea Tree

This is a scan of my completed small beaded piece, Idea Tree.  It was fun to do and I learned new techniques, beading and doing a back to front finish instead of sewing on binding or doing a pillowslip finish.

The fabric started out as plain muslin that I worked on in the first workshop I took with Melly Testa, and layers were monoprinted onto it using soy wax resist and green and yellow thickened dyes.  I used a lot of this yardage in a very large bold piece called Commotion.

This offcut almost went into the scrap quilt I’m slowly making using up smaller surface designed, hand-dyed, and mottled fabrics.  This is a back burner project because there is no block design.

Then thinking about another larger piece of sunprinted fabric I would like to hand quilt and make into a wall hanging I decided I should practice the back to front finish on a small test piece first.  The wall hanging cannot be started until the beading on Geode is finished.

Image recaptured!

Well, we recovered the “lost” quilt photo by taking the memory card out, and here is the finished quilt.

The challenge fabric is the black with the multicoloured stars.  You can see it in the two biggest black stars that are not purple.

It was interesting to see what other Guild members had done — one made the challenge fabric into prairie points and put them in the middle of the quilt, i.e. sewn between the seams rather than the usual putting them around the edge.  Another person used skinny strips as an accent.

My grandson’s favourite quilt had dinosaurs appliqued onto it.  He kept returning to look at it.

The next project I am focusing on finishing is Geode, which is almost but not quite 60 inches square.  The top is pieced and this aft I started piecing the backing, which is also cool in a minimalist way.  Will post front and back pix when ready.

The plan is to spring for quilting rather than trying to do this one myself.  I feel that’s my best chance to do something this size that I can feel comfortable having on display.  Although I want to get this completed, there is no mad rush to have it quilted, which makes me popular with the quilter at this crazy time of year!

Productivity/ Finishing Projects

crack inspiration0001all my life I’ve struggled with finishing things — be it missing the last day I was going to a particular school, attending graduation at University (but at the time it was NOT a cool thing to go to grad, my mother was in the hospital and I was leaving the UK for a job).  Finishing off quilts and other projects is all part of that pattern, hence my collection of UFOs.  But I’ve joined the Joy in the New Year challenge and with Jacquie and 200 other crafters cheering me on I’ll get there.

The Star is Born baby quilt challenge is due absolutely no later than the Guild meeting in early December (the original deadline was last Tuesday, didn’t happen).  I can’t show photos because I’m under a gag order, that’s part of the challenge.  However just before I turn it in I might post some of the What was I thinking? blocks

Next up will be Geode, because it’s been untouched for years and when I took it out the other night I can see just a little more design is needed and a lot of the parts are in fact already constructed.  I will need to tape it up on the living room wall, step back, take pix and perhaps even print them to audition what the best design is.  I’ve already decided this will be quilted by someone with a long arm, since it’s easily queen size.

The wordle above is a new wrinkle.  I already posted about wordle here, but while surfing yesterday I found this cool tutorial about a feature enhancement.  Yay, Cool Cotton Cocktails!  This automatically creates a wordle from recent posts on any blog or website.  So you could do your own or you could wordle somebody else’s.  Interesting that the only colour names I can find (but I could be mistaken, it’s been known to happen!)  are green, white, and burgundy.

Cotton Cocktails explains how to grab a wordle in a screenprint but this computer is getting to the stage in its lifecycle where I don’t want to download much more in the way of programming, so I simply scanned and uploaded a print of my wordle.

I’m going to paste the original print out into my sketchbook.  That’s a whole other post in itself.  More art/creativity/fibre things happen in my life than I can keep up with in the blogosphere.  Anyone else have that problem?  I have a folder full of blog fodder pix on my pc and paper notes as well and yet work and life and the need to complete things get in the way.

What do YOU think?  Is the unblogged life not worth living, to twist a quotation?