Sunday, July 10, 2011

What's your inspiration? The fire in your belly?

Yesterday Elin Noble was the guest speaker at the Contemporary Quiltart Association meeting. She was as lovely as her gorgeous textiles!

What is her primiary source of inspiration? Her mother and her upbringing living around the world. It made me think, what is my inspiration? I think my inspirations change - seeing new techniques, new insights into different art, but underlying it all is the creative environment I grew up in. My mother was always creating - sewing garments, knitting, crocheting, floral arrangements, and anything else she could find to keep her hands and mind busy! Similar to Elin, I was raised overseas - with interesting cultures and colors.

I enjoyed her sharing that when she looks at a piece, she asks herself 'what part of this puts fire in my belly'? This is something I need to do more often. What is it that makes me passionate to continue? What is 'ho-hum'? And quit trying to make pieces 'work' that don't give me that fire in my belly. When I'm working on a piece that gives me that fire, I am inspired, work on it every day without having to push myself. I need to give myself permission to let the other pieces 'go' and spend the small amount of time I have on my art, with the ones that put fire in my belly.

What gives me the fire in my belly? When I work with great, bright, cheerful colors . . . adding a bit of glitz and texture with beads, threads, yarns and other embellishments.

Today, it is time to put away those pieces I've been trying to 'get to work' and work on something that puts fire in my belly!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Play, release and create

I haven't posted in a really long time - over a year. It's been on my to-do list for a long time. Yes, I have been busy creating, just not posting.

Today, I wanted to share a link to Austin Kleon's post about being creative. This is so inspiring to me, and I wanted to share, and post it as a reminder to me when I'm feeling overwhelmned and not creative.

My key takeaways today are:
1. Play . . . just take time to play. Try someone else's technique, and put my own spin on it. Combine techniques that I haven't together. There is no such thing as original art - it's all been done . . . it's just how I might do it!
2. If I don't like working on a project, don't! Release it and move onto something I like, have fun.
3. I need to update my blog and enter shows. My quilts deserve more than just being rolled up in a corner of the room!
4. Love the reminder to 'be nice' - it is one of my mottos. The world is very small, and the internet makes it even smaller . . . it takes less effort to be nice and keeps everybody happy!
5. Be boring - what a great way to phrase this! My day job gives me the resources to be creative. A great reminder to take care of our health, so we have the energy and time to do the things we really want to do. Working on projects a little every day, and they can be accomplished!
6. Creativity isn't just the things I choose to do, it is also the things I choose not to do . . .

Today will be a day to release the projects that have been sitting there that I really don't want to do, and focus on the ones I want to get finished!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rainy Day

What a perfect day to make this post, as it is really a rainy day in Tacoma. Winter has certainly arrived - can't remember the last sunny day we had! This is my first quilt using the 'Creative Catalysts'.

Here is a close-up of some of the beading  . . .

It was a fun day when I initially worked on this quilt, as several of my quilting buddies were over for a 'play day'.  Here is how the piece evolved:

1. Here is my start, sewed together a 'scrap' batik that I got after admiring it from my friend Debi, and a piece of Judy Robertson's hand-dyed fabric. If you aren't a member of her 'yard of the month club', you should . . . her fabrics are amazing!

2. The first thing I drew was "Use something from the bathroom - either on the piece or to mark the piece". I found a toilet paper tube, and used it to stamp circles on the beige hand dye piece.

3. "Add something shiny". I knew I had a rubber stamp with the same pattern of the batik, so I stamped with gold ink to unify the background.

4. "Cut in two pieces". I decided to cut the dark batik in half, and add it to the other side of the piece.

5. "Add something ugly". Okay, so last winter and spring, I made houses . . too many houses . . . I had plans for them, but really didn't like them. Some have ended up on other quilts, the others were just hanging around my design wall. This house seemed to go with the background that was evolving.

6. "Add a different type of fabric (silk, velvet, cheesecloth, chiffon, tulle, etc.). I wanted to add some interest and texture behind the house, and this sheer in my collection called to me to add behind the house, sort of like a fence. The shiny gold helps add some light and interest.

7. "Add a texture". Well, I cheated - I had already put beads on the house, and knew that I would be added more as I finished the piece, so consider beads the texture!

8. "Add a strong vertical line". The obvious is to add a tall tree . .

10. "Blindfold and grab a fabric from your scrap bag". Since most of this will be fused before being sewn and quilted, I pulled out my 'already fused scraps' tub. Trust me, there are lots of colors that wouldn't have worked well on this quilt. I was lucky to pull this piece! Perfect for making some flowers for the yard.

11. "Cover something up." This was easy, the flowers will cover part of the house and tree, and I added some green stems and 'fern-type' shapes to cover up some other areas.

To me, it was done . . . except for stitching, beading, quilting and finishing. So, I did not draw another 'Creative Catalyst'. This was fun, as I wasn't sure what I would draw and what idea I would have next! My goal was one a month . . hmmm . .. it has taken me two months to finish the first one. I will do more of these. Even though the finished product was similar to my current style, it did have to think. I generally don't embellish my fabrics with stamping, and I think that really enhanced the piece, unifying the two background pieces.

I quilted it with two threads, a sliver and a shiny thread I picked up somewhere, in a straight diagonal line to simulate rain. I named this Rainy Day because the background reminded me of the skies on a rainy day, but you can still see the beautiful colors of the flowers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Recent work

After making the quilt for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, I've had requests to see some of my other quilts in this series.
Dancing in the Rain
This quilt has the quote "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain" embroidered on the borders. A whimsical woman dancing in the flowers in a rainstorm. Fusible applique, bead embellishments.

Flower Garden
A whimsical and happy spring flower garden, complete with a little bee in the upper left hand corner!
Fused applique, bead embellishments.

Fractured Flowers
Flowers were made, then sliced and put back together to make this piece.
Fused applique, bead embellishments.

Flowers for Me I & II
These quilts were made together, with complementary color schemes. A nice bouquet of flowers that always look happy and whimsical, for when you need a little 'pick me up'!

Red Flowers
This small quilt was made specifically for an auction, using only red fabrics for the flowers.

Peter's Flowers
A friend of mine is a greeting card artist, and one of his cards inspired this quilt. Check out Peter's cards on Etsy  - they are amazing!

The Neighborhood
This is the second of my quilts with houses on it - the first was made and donated to an auction, and I didn't take a picture of it.

House 1 and House 2
These quilts are just about trying new techniques. On House 1, I tried layering sheers with matte medium and on House 2 I layered sheers by sewing. Interesting techniques to play with, you'll see them more as embellishments in the future.

August Anemones
Trying more techniques . . .this one the flowers are actual images of flowers in my garden, printed on both cotten and silk chiffon. Then, embellished with thread and beads.

Postmarkdt Art

I finally finished my postcards to trade. I joined two groups this year, both Leaves and Spring. The intent was to make and trade fabric postcards based on a theme. Here are picture of the cards I made.

I've really enjoy seeing how everyone in the group translated the theme. It's like getting a present in the mail!


Monday, October 12, 2009

House Built with Love

Today I finished my quilt titled "House Built with Love" which is being donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska for their annual auction on Saturday, October 17th. (size 32" x 32") My friend Tara is very involved in the organization, and this is the second quilt I have made for the organization.

The top background is a cut piece from a wonderful Judy Robertson hand-dye fabric . . . the remaining fabric is purchased print or batiks. The piece is heavily embellished with beads and sequins, and quilted in a spiral motif. A few embroidery stitches outline the walkway to the house - made with love!

Here are some close ups of the beading on the windows and roofline - full of bling!

I wish them best of luck. This quilt was made with love and thoughts of all of the families that Ronald McDonald House touches.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beaded Button Fun!

September means a week at Padre with my family to walk the beach and celebrate Janet's birthday.

And, getting the girls together means its time for a 'craft project'. This year, I brought beads and stuff to try and make beaded buttons. I've seen pictures of some, and read up on tips to making them easier . . . and got some hints from my friend Melodie who took a class. I gathered together a few vials of mixed beads, a few squares of fabric, some covered button kits and a small hoop. Did I remember thread? Of course not! Thank goodness HEB had a little thread kit for not much money!

Before you get started, let me tell you - beaded buttons are addicting to make!

Here is my first one:

In looking at it, I wanted more texture. So, tried using different sizes of beads.

Then, I wanted to try one color - would a monocromtic button be better?

How about one big bead, and lots of colors?

What if I tried almost like a flower in the center?

My sisters decided I was having too much fun by myself. Here is Ginny's button - a terrific spiral . . .

Bobbie's first button used some bigger beads, and more monochromatic

And, her second button is full of color . . .

We had a wonderful week together, and a fun time making the beaded buttons - now what to do with them all?