Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop!

Greetings from hot and sunny Fort Worth, Texas!  I've been tagged by Hilary Florence, of Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop, to participate in an "Around the World Blog Hop!"  The idea is to tell you all about my work and process, and to then tag several other quilters to tell their story.

Hilary, by the way, is a fabulous artist living and working in the UK, please check out her work here.  You will be amazed!

I was given four questions to answer, so here goes:

What am I working on?

At the moment, I am madly sewing facings, sleeves and labels on 8 or so quilts that I am sending to various shows in the next two weeks.  Why, you might ask, do I wait until the last minute to do this important task?  Because as much as I love to design, piece and quilt, I ABSOLUTELY HATE to do the finishing handwork.  Why do it any sooner than I have to?

Here's the pile of quilts, draped over a chair in my living room, to give you some idea of the depths of my procrastination:
Well, I have the answer to the "why do I wait?" question.  Because I'm silly, that's why!  I have 2 quilts that must be delivered this week to "Art in the Garden" at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 5 quilts that will be in the Trinity Valley Quilt Show in a couple of weeks, one quilt that must be mailed to Houston this week for the International Quilt Show silent auction, and one tiny quilt that needs to be mailed off to a traveling exhibit.  All must be done by Friday.  Omigosh, now that I've listed them, there are actually nine.  At this point in time, I am wishing like mad that I had had the foresight to do the finishing work a little sooner.

I've also spent the last month working on a quilt that can't be photographed.  I am entering it in an exhibit that insists that the work has never been shown on the internet, so all I can show you is this:
These are the fabrics I used.  Murky, huh?  But I am very happy with the quilt, and look forward to someday showing it off.

I've also just finished two projects.  Tuning Fork #23 is 18" x 23", and is ready to go to Houston for the silent auction.  Please note, it is COMPLETELY finished.  I finished the hand sewing yesterday.
 I finished piecing Subdivisions #2 on Sunday.  It is my piece for a monthly challenge at my art quilt group, and we showed them at the meeting on Monday.  If you read back a few posts in my blog, you will see that this started as a small (18" x 24"-ish) piece and grew to 53" x 72".
I can't wait to quilt it, but I am forcing myself to wait until I finish all of the facings.   Sigh.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think it is a little different.  Many quilt artists do intensely pieced quilts, but there are several things I do consistently that make mine different. 

Firstly, my work is almost always asymmetrical.  I like to flow the pieces of the figure across the background.  

Secondly, I love to play with value.  My backgrounds are often graded from light to dark or vice versa.  

Lastly, I love to play with scale.   I love mixing large scale pieces with very small scale pieces.

I think you can see all of this in Tuning Fork #11:

Why do I create what I do?

I love to piece.  I really really love to piece.  I have been quilting for 34 years, and I have tried many many types of piecing, appliqué, surface design, etc, but I always come back to piecing.

And I always wanted to be an artist.  My parents forbade me majoring in art in college, for some reason they felt that I needed a degree that would enable me to make a living, but I have always felt compelled to create.  And I am fortunate enough to be at a point in my life where I can focus on art.  I am a full time studio artist.

I also am lucky enough to have learned from some of the greatest art quilters around, Nancy Crow and Lisa Call.  They have both helped me get to a place where I can create art that makes me happy.

What is my creative process?

Generally, I start with a color palette.  I love to choose the fabrics, colors and textures for a project.  And I love to choose gradations of values in each of the colors I have chosen.

Once I have established the color palette, I make a very general plan.  For example, in Tuning Fork #12, I decided that the colors would flow over the background from upper left to lower right.    And I decided that the background would grade from dark to medium values of black, gray, red violet, blue and brown.

And then I start to make tuning fork blocks.  Lots and lots of them.  I make background blocks first, and stick them on the design wall, and then I start making the "figure/foreground" blocks and stick them up.  So after a week or so, it might look like this:
 As I create more blocks, both figure and background, I lay them out.  And move them around.  After a couple of weeks, it might look like this:
And then I start sewing sections together.  And continue making new blocks to fill in the sections and to maintain the flow between colors:
Finally, here is the finished Tuning Fork #12.  I quilt most of my work this way -- very closely spaced straight (more or less) lines.  I love the way they look on the surface of the quilt.

And on to the next hop.  On September 8, three quilters will post their contributions to the hop!  

First up is Maria Shell from Anchorage, Alaska.  Maria is an abstract art quilter who does the most intricate piecing and quilting.  Check out her work here -- it's fabulous!

Next is Jay Dodds, the "Creative Crone from studioQ."  Jay is a fiber artist from Texas.  Her work is fabulous and her blog is always a fun read.  Click here to read it!

And last, but by no means least, is Julia Graber.  Julia is a quilter and fiber artist from Mississippi who does exquisite work, and you can see it here.

I look forward to reading their posts, and learning about their processes and their latest work!

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!


Hilary Florence said...

Great post Heather and really interesting to see your design process and piecing journey. I am amazed at the amount of quilts you produce! And how wonderful to be a full time artist now.
I totally understand the lack of enthusiasm for sleeves and finishes - I also dislike making up the quilt sandwich.
As always, I love your designs and your ever imaginative colour schemes - they truely make your quilts your own.
Thank you so much for taking part.
Hilary Florence

Norma Schlager said...

I love your work and I'm always amazed by how much you produce. You obviously have a great work ethic. One question, do you change colors when quilting a piece?

Heather Pregger said...

Norma, I audition a lot of threads by laying them over the quilt, trying to see how they look against all of the colors of the quilt. And then I choose one. Quilting from top to bottom it would be too difficult to change as I go over the quilt. And this way I also have no ends to bury in the quilt -- they are all at the top and the bottom.

I generally pick a medium value tone -- sometimes gray, sometimes red, sometimes gold or brown, depending on the quilt, and I find that even with the intense quilting the color of the thread doesn't really impact the flow of the colors on the quilt.

Julia Graber said...

Thank you for sharing your design process. I enjoyed this post so much. Your work is awesome and I just wish I would have thought of doing what you are doing with "tuning forks." I'm captivated by that series. I'm also looking forward to the quilt that we aren't allowed to see.

Kaja said...

Great post. So interesting to learn how you approach your design process and how your work evolves. I very much like the quilts you make, especially the way you make colours work.
Thanks also for your comment on my blog - did you know you are a no reply blogger?

Heather Pregger said...

No, I didn't, Kaja. Not sure what that is.

Regina B Dunn said...

It's always so interesting to learn how other artists create. Thanks for sharing. I, also, dislike the finishing up...binding, sleeves, labels. But I make myself do them before I go to the next quilt or two or it blocks my creative thinking knowing they are waiting to get done.

Vera Holmgren said...

How interesting to read about your design process! Your quilts are wonderful, love your colors!

The Inside Stori said...

Appreciate your insights about the design process......as much as you hate the finishing details, I dislike piecing.....too bad we don't live closer.....grinning....

Chantal Thibodeau said...

I just discover your blog after you left me a comment. I'm so glad you did and that I found you. I'll keep following your work. About the "no-reply blogger", it's a seeting you need to change on your blogger account. Google that and you'll find plenty of "how-to". That mean that we cannot reply to your email directly.

Hilary Florence said...

Hi Heather - it's Hilary again. I see someone else has left you a comment about being a 'no-reply' blogger which means that your blog is set up so that people can not reply to comments you leave on their blog - which is a great shame. Are you on Google plus? That is usually the problem for some reason, and it is usually resolved if you leave Google Plus. Hope that helps.

Heather Pregger said...

Hilary and Chantal, I've deleted my Google plus profile. I hope that takes care of the problem.

frankikohler.com said...

I also like to learn about other artist's process. Thanks for sharing it here Heather. And thanks for the comment about my most recent posting.

Hilary Florence said...

Heather, leave me a comment on my blog if you like and we will test out if you can now get replies. Fingers crossed!

Natalie Jones said...

I adore your tuning forks quilts - the colours are fantastic.

Hilary Florence said...

Hi again Heather
Thanks for your comment on my blog (and I have to say after seeing the way you manipulate colours in your quilts, I feel very lazy with my random scheme). Unfortunately you are still a no reply blogger, so leaving Google plus has not done the trick. I know I had this problem, and went through quite a process to solve it, but unhelpfully can not remember what I did. If you have got the patience, google it and see what comes up.
One of the things I value most about blogging is the dialogues I get into with other quilters and that is very difficult to get if you can't just reply.
Best of luck

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