Monday, July 28, 2014

Monthly meeting -- studioQ

My fiber art group, studioQ, met today.  Being mid-summer, and horrendously hot here in Fort Worth, only 7 of us attended.  And only five of us had finished our pieces for Color Challenge #8.  But what was shown was fabulous!  Here are the five pieces, both fabric and paper, laid out on a table:
I passed out color cards for Color Challenge #9, which will be due at the August meeting.  I can't wait to get started on mine!

We have some odd flowers blooming in the garden right now.  Very inspirational shapes and colors.

I ran across a quote recently that has really resonated with me.  
“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
I haven't been in the mood recently.  I've printed this out and stuck it on the bulletin board over my cutting table.  Time to get back to work!

Friday, July 25, 2014


This is the palette for Tuning Fork #22, which I've been piecing for the last month:
A bit murky, very can I make anything interesting out of these fabrics?  Well, wait and see!

But, as I said, it is a very dark palette.  And I LOVE color.  Bright colors, especially those on the warm side of the color wheel.  So when it my turn came to pick a palette for the studioQ monthly color challenge, I decided to look for an inspiration photo with lots of the colors I love.  Here it is:
 And here is the palette I've chosen to make my piece with:
I pass out color swatches on Monday to my fellow fiber artists in studioQ.  On Tuesday or Wednesday, I should finish piecing TF #22 (I'm oh so close) and then I will plunge myself into this bright, and I think delicious, palette.  Can't wait!

I've linked this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" and "Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?" Go see all the beautiful work posted there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To Facebook or not to Facebook...

I belong to an art quilting e-mail list.  I have for years.  I get my mail in "digest" form rather than individual e-mails, so periodically I receive an e-mail with seven to ten "posts".  The list of subjects is conveniently displayed at the top, and I can scan the list and decide if I want to read any of them.  If I do, I scroll down to the e-mail I want to read.  If not, I delete the digest.  More often than not, that's what I do.

I have learned a lot from the other list members over the years.  Topics are generally art and fiber related, and frequently involve some process discussion, which I often find interesting.  Periodically, the discussion involves more general topics, such as "fiber art and it's place in the traditional art world" or "what do you call yourself -- artist or quilter?".  Other more personal topics often surface.  I generally skip those, not that I'm not interested, but rather that I prefer to spend my time in the studio making art.  Through the list, I've been introduced to some fabulous quilt artists by following the links to their blogs and websites.  I've enjoyed my membership.

Last week someone proposed moving the list over to Facebook.  There was instant uproar.  There seem to be a lot of Facebook haters out there.  Personally, I rather enjoy Facebook.  In moderation.  And I love that the new group is private, and that we can post pictures of our work.  As a private group the posts and pictures cannot be seen by the general public.  No more searching out someone's blog or website.  It's all right there.

There seem to be several objections.  Firstly, that viewing Facebook wastes a lot of time.  Secondly, that images on Facebook are not protected.

My feeling is that we as users are directly responsible for the amount of time we "waste" on Facebook and the internet.  I do restrict my time online.  My main computer time is early in the morning.  B and I get up at six am and while he showers and dresses I do my morning tasks (feed the cat, make B's lunch, make breakfast, make the bed, make coffee, clean up the kitchen). After I've done all of that I sit down with a cup of coffee and read my e-mail and check Facebook.  I see what my friends and family are up to and I check my groups (SAQA North Texas, Master Class and now Art Quilts).  When Brian comes down for breakfast I get off of the computer.  I do check my e-mail at lunch, but I try not to spend more than 15 minutes online.  In the evening after dinner I check e-mail and Facebook again.  Only a very small part of my day is spent on the computer.

I don't take my iPad up to the studio.  I don't want to be distracted from my work.

As for the second objection, I believe you cannot control any image you post on the internet.  Copyright or no copyright, once it is on the web it is to some extent public property.  If you don't want your pictures copied and pasted and pinned and misappropriated, then don't post them.

As an artist, I am concerned about my copyright.  But I also want my work to be seen and enjoyed by others.  If I have a piece, like Tuning Fork 22, that I don't want pinned or copied, then I won't post it.  Otherwise, I hope it is seen by as many people as possible.

I, and 700 other list members, have joined the Facebook group.  And I still get then e-mail digest.  The list seems to be a place of deeper discussion, the Facebook group a place to show our work, both finished and in progress.  I see validity in both platforms.

To change the subject completely, Tuning Fork 13 is on it's way to IQF Houston.  Any of you going to be there in November?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fort Worth Modern Quilt Guild

I recently joined the Fort Worth chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild.  I'm finding it a really wonderful group.  Several friends from my fiber art group have also joined, so I am among kindred spirits.  And the room is full of a great deal of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that has been missing in the more traditional quilt guilds I have belonged to.

Last night, members unveiled their Michael Miller challenge pieces.  There were quite a few participants, including my friends Jay and Rhonda.

And we had a teeny tiny quilt exchange.  Each participant had to pick a charm square out of a bag and use it to make a small piece.  A mug rug, which as I understand it is a largish coaster.
 My contribution is in the bottom row, second from the right.  It was one of the smaller ones, but it was rather large in coaster terms.  7 1/2" square.  And this is the one I received in return, made by Jenn:
I've put it in my studio, on my sewing table, so that I can put my coffee mug or water glass on it while I work.  Cool!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I just found out that Tuning Fork #13 was accepted into International Quilt Festival in Houston!  It's a huge show and I am very excited!   Whooo hoooo!

I've linked this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" and "Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?" Go see all the beautiful work posted there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Removing a blockage

No, this post isn't about anything medical.  It's about removing a psychological blockage.

Since I returned from Ohio I have felt, for lack of a better word, "off."  Before that fateful trip, I begrudged every minute I had to spend away from my studio.  Since I've come home I have found myriad excuses to avoid being there.  I need to do housework, I need to weed the garden, I need to reconnect with friends (I can be a hermit when I'm "on"), I need to finish this book and find out "whodunnit", I need to work on genealogy, I need to organize the garage.....the list of excuses was limitless.  And although these are all very good occupations, they are just different ways to procrastinate.

I have spent some limited time in the studio.  But I have literally had to force myself to go up there.  Why is that?  I love to work at my art.

When I look back at the pieces I've made during the last six weeks, what few there are, I see that I have mostly worked very small.  Quick and dirty.  I have pretty much finished each quilt, quilting included, in a few days.  And while I think some of them are very nice, I don't like either the small size or the direction the work has been going.  They aren't exciting.

I can't seem to find the joy in my work.  And I need desperately to find it again.

So I've been reading online articles about getting rid of artists' block.  I've tried a lot of the suggested strategies, visiting gardens and museums, reading about artists I admire, changing mediums (I've done some paper collages), taking long walks, avoiding the studio for a whole week -- nothing seemed to work.  And then I realized what was wrong.

After my two weeks in Ohio, I felt forced to change my style.  The last few weeks I've been playing with some new ideas, some new formats.  And nothing feels "right."  I want to go back to my old, comfortable way of working.

So today, I am back in the studio.  Working on a large Tuning Fork.  And feeling much happier.  Whether this is the right thing to do, I don't know.  Perhaps I need to move on.  But at least I'm working again.

Here's a peek at my current project:

How do you get unblocked?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Work

Last week I pieced two small quilts for the latest studioQ color challenge.  I decided to make a strippy-ish quilt, so I cut one strip, in varying widths,  from each of the colors in the challenge palette.  I had chosen more than one values of some of the colors, so there were quite a few strips.  I pieced a small piece together (I think it is 22" x 28" at this point) and decided it was ok.
Composition #1
But I had lots of strips left over.  What should I do?  How about another strippy piece?!  And voila:
Composition #2
 I hung the two pieces on the design wall, and over the weekend I kept walking by and thinking, "hmmmm."  Thinking can sometimes be bad, but I seem compelled to do it anyway.  So today, I decided to sew the two small pieces together.  It is now about 22" x 45".    And this afternoon I quilted it, so I can't change my mind.
Composition #3

What do you think?  Good decision or bad decision?  I'd like some opinions.

And, as long as I'm in a questioning mood, how about this orientation?

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm a lucky woman...

Our 35th anniversary was a wonderful occasion.  We had a delicious dinner at Lonesome Dove, a restaurant in the Stockyards area of Fort Worth, owned by Chef Tim Love.  After dinner, we come home and opened our gifts.  We had both gone overboard.
 Brian's brother Bruce sent us some stunning flowers.  
Brian gave me several art books, and I can't wait to get started reading them.  I'm a lucky girl!

Monday, July 7, 2014

35 Wonderful Years

35 years ago today I married my best friend.  We've had a wonderful life together, and look forward to many many more!

Independence Day, Texas Style!

The annual Berkeley Place neighborhood 4th of July parade was, as always, a wonderful event.  It traditionally starts on the corner in front of our house, so we decorated our house and yard to show that we were in the spirit.
The parade featured the Greater Fairmount Marching Band (retired).  They led the parade playing patriotic tunes in their flatbed trailer.
 Lady Liberty was a highlight.
 Vintage cars, decorated for the holiday, brought up the rear.
 It was a beautiful morning.  Not too hot, which is wonderful considering July in North Texas can be brutal.  All in all, a wonderful 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

studioQ Report

The Fort Worth fiber art group, studioQ, met at Cabbage Rose last Monday.  As always, the best part of the meeting was "show and tell."
During the meeting we revealed our 8th color challenge pieces.  Our prescribed palette was, in my opinion, very rich, and I liked my piece very much.  You can see it here.  We layed all of our pieces, both fabric and paper, on a table and I really thought I took a picture of them.  But, alas, no.  So you'll have to take my word for it, they were really wonderful, every one of them.

I have been working hard this week on Tuning Fork #22, as well as the studioQ 9th color challenge. I had planned to quilt a larger quilt top this week, but instead I'm hoping to have Challenge #9 pieced and quilted by Friday.  I like the small piece I put together yesterday.  Today I am working on TF #22.

A friend of mine, Sandra Palmer Ciolino, sent me the link to a blog post by Kathy Loomis about Form, Not Function.  She talks about the abstract pieces in the show, including the best of show winner and my piece, Tuninig Fork #6.  You can read it here.

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