Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lockdown diary and dubious "accomplishments" plus a project!

I keep reading about all the amazing things people are accomplishing during this time of isolation - like teaching your children to tap dance! Well I don't have the oomph for that! or the child who wants to learn...but I have got quite a few things done.

Decided to try to learn spanish ....again!!! it is much easier than English...but I can't get out of the habit of pronouncing words the french way - sort of high in the back of the palate!

exercise! what to do ? As a swimmer I was a bit stuck with the pool closed, hard to swim on dry land after all! but I did discover a couple of parks very close and duly masked have perambulated through mud and leaves in the hope of achieving "fitness"!!! (not yet! but still hoping!). In the park I saw people trying to play tennis on small courts with little paddles and whiffle balls! Turns out it's a new sport called pickling!!! So I'm trying to pickle!! Not very good at it and my first teacher gave up on me cos I wouldn't take it seriously and kept laughing...!!! I mean PICKLE! of course you should laugh!

Getting into "death cleaning" as the Scandinavians call it - i.e. clearing out all the clutter, those bulging cupboards of stuff that "might come in" some day!! has lead to several projects - 2 summer bed quilts made from scraps of Liberty fabric I brought to the USA with me when I emigrated years and years ago...a big pink scrap art "window" quilt for a friend which nicely used up all the pink fabric I have never ever wanted to use in any quilt!! It's funny how there's one color you avoid! I am just not a pink person!! I also sorted out all my knitting yarn and now have it divided into neat piles with a specific pattern or idea and the right size needles...I only allow myself 4 rows a night of knitting (arthritis) but it's surprising how quickly you can make something with just that little amount. I often use 3 strands together and that works up very quickly. it's also a great way to make something unified that could be very bitty.You take one yarn that you have a lot of ...which is usually a boring dreary color that was on sale! and then you add in all the fun stuff...the boring yarn holds it all together visually and the bits of fun..give it pzazz!

So then my death cleaning got into my class notes and power points...I've taught a lot of classes over the years....and working with them, I updated a couple of my classes.... the Art Quilt from Start to Finish, formerly Inspired to Design, and Abstract Art for Quiltmakers.

I usually work from a rough sketch (like below), sometimes from a watercolor, but the most fun - and useful I think - is from a collage.

Working from a collage is a lot of can use plain paper in just 3 values...or.... Cut out images, or parts of them, from magazines - NOT quilting magazines! - just from the adverts in an ordinary news magazine....and try to make little compositions with them...fitting them together onto card and glueing them down...or you can use those sticky sheets you get in photo albums - if anyone still has them! I like to take apart old christmas and greeting cards and just keep the blank bits...or glue the cuttings over the existing images... make a few of these...and you'll begin to be able to get a sense of what makes a good composition. then take the best one...and make a quilt based on them!!! Send the others off for birthdays etc! have fun...and let me know how this worked for definitely shifts you into working another way and thinking along different lines...which I love. And, if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth ps. please comment! also look out for my article in the upcoming issue of Quilting Moderne.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Getting started on new work after a hiatus...don't set deadlines on creativity!

d'you find it really hard to start work again after you've been away from the studio for a few weeks? I know I do...I futz around tidying fabric, getting the scissors lined up, picking up pins, replacing thread and so on...but once you start refolding fabric from the bottom of the know you're stalling!!! Time to get some action going!

In order to be creative you need to be experimenting, playing, having fun, trying out possibilities in between major pieces...this is what leads to discovery. Looking at art - preferably very good art that has stood the test of time...and then thinking...hmm how could I play with that idea? Please don't feel that you have to have something ready for the next show, the next challenge etc. don't set deadlines on creativity. Become a curious person! No!!! not to others...!! but to yourself...being curious about whether you can arrange eleven triangles and one square to indicate comfort....or alienation! Can you look out of the window and "discover" 6 new design ideas? Exercise your curiosity each day...and it will grow stronger, just like muscles!!!

don't switch off your artist mind when you leave the studio or sewing room, be your artist self all the time...seeing the beauty and wonder possibilities for new quilts or new paintings!!! So many people seem to repeat the same old thing over and over...don't be one of them!!!

pull out your there anything that you didn't follow up on? look at the photos on the phone...should any be sent to your printer for further manipulation? Take the first likely possibility and start playing - whatever your preferred method is...I like to trace or sketch and then layer and collage...just with 3 values of paper. But everyone has their own preferred technique.

think of all the different ways you can manipulate the ideas you find: smaller, larger, different proportions, details, upside down and inside out, values reversed, straight lines curved and curved straight, everything in dots ...or dashes! all lines going all the way to the edge, everything slanted, try out all the filters on your photo imaging program! The quilt on the left? I cut into 6 vertical strips and rearranged them!!! Try that!

pin up the best possibilities on the wall, and consider which could be refined...

Be aware that you are improving and let that encourage you and lead you forward!! it will, honestly!!! and while you're encouraging yourself, consider reaching out and encouraging others too....there's nothing so energizing as having a friend exclaim in delight over something you've made!! "Motivation is in the world around us. We have an infinite amount of material at our disposal, in the lives of those we meet, in what we see, feel and discuss." (Pablo Picasso) and, let me know how you do!!!!

if you have been, thanks for reading!!! Elizabeth