Clarity

It’s a good word.  Clarity.  Something we strive for.  Something I need to have as part of my artists voice.  I’m struggling with it a bit.  (Not the same struggles that I have with autocorrect,  or Fat Finger Syndrome (that’s what I call some grevious mistakes made while texting because your fingers get in the way).)

I know as an artist that it is important to have a voice.  Figure out your style.  It doesn’t mean it can’t evolve and change, but your body of work should be recognizable as yours.  Another way of identifying you.

I had posted over a year ago about my artists voice. I’m still challenged with it.  That means I haven’t been putting the work in.  But, I’m getting closer.  I’m trying to put more of the work in. And, even just me admitting that colours and their playfulness, their interaction, their ability to evoke reactions is why I love colour.  Now to translate that into my work so others can feel that is what I’m trying to project and communicate with it.

I think of a few famous artists – Van Gogh, Georgie O’Keeffe, Monet, Sting, Ruth McDowell, Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry all have recognizable artist voices.  (I have included a couple of quilt artists in this mix and is by no means a comprehensive list and I welcome you to share other artists who you may admire /appreciate.)  They all have a clear artists voice.

I myself am having a hard time choosing a clear direction.  If I had to choose one thing that identifies things I love it is bright colour.  I am attracted to rich and bright colours.  One look at my fabric stash confirms it.  I have long been enamoured with brightly colours paints, markers, dyes, any kind of artist medium.  When I dye clothing and fabrics, I want them to be bright and cheerful. The colours – range, richness, energy – makes my heart sing.

I am stumped in translating that love of colour into my own voice as an artist .  How do I interpret that so moving forward  my work  is consistent.

So back to clarity.  Trying to find it. Is your voice then only one component of your art?   There is also execution, materials,  content. You need all of the components to give your art its inherent depth.   You need the “blood sweat and tears” to give it soul.  Your voice helps give consistency to that soul.

Sharing with you part of my journey. I have attached a picture of some fabrics I pulled for a project. Yup, I proved it again.  I love bright colours.

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Scaredy cat…..

imageI am hoping that the title of this blog got your attention.

I was thinking today that I hadn’t posted for awhile.  I allowed life to get in the way.  I have allowed my fear of lots of things to get in the way.  I was doing some introspection, and realized that I have been allowing fear to paralyze me and not allow me to get some things done that I really want and need to get done.

I want to finish up some quilt patterns and publish them.  I want to keep designing quilts, create them, and create the patterns for them.  I want to get my website going, and a myriad of other things.  I am holding myself back.  My fear of failure, not being accepted, of rejection, are all present. And I’m giving it all more traction than it deserves.

So what am I doing about it?  Going to look fear in the face and curse at it and tell it off.   It has its place in my life, but I am going to harness it.  Ha.

How many times has fear done that to you?  Well, I’m about to kick its ass.  Come and join me.

 

Being an adult….

I was watching a TV show the other day, and one of the characters was asking the other when they had started feeling like an adult. Now I can recall, it was on “Big Bang Theory’ where Bernadette and Penny and Amy were talking about that subject.  Guess I get some of my best ideas from TV?  Wow, I digress.  

This TV discussion got me thinking about how I feel about being an adult, when I really felt like one, and how often I don’t want to be one.  Ha ha

That doesn’t mean that I would want to go backwards in time.  I just appreciate the innocence, the purity, and the goodness that children embody.  And how we all need to embrace our inner child more often.

This means I need to let myself play more often.  I have to allow the luxury of play without an agenda.  When was the last time you played for the sake of playing?  For the sake of laughter and enjoying the experience.  

It makes me want to go out and catch snowflakes on my tongue, (which I tried to do on the last walk I was out on with a good friend, but wasn’t fast enough) make snow angel, do a silly dance as I’m walking down the street, talk in a funny voice, make a goofy face, draw a funny picture.  Tell a joke that would send a 3 year old into hysterics, laugh at the absurdity of life.  

I want to do all of this more often.   Think I’ll set a timer on my phone to do this.  I’m exhausted from being an adult and taking myself and life too seriously. I want to remember what my younger self found fascinating about life, and what would engross me for hours.

Anyone else up for this?   This kinda relates to quilting.  I want to allow myself to play more.  I love colour, I just need to let it out.  

So who is going to join me?  Who wants to let their child out?  I think they need to!  

  

Completed ‘Oh Canada’

I promised in my last post that I would share pictures of the completed Oh Canada quilt.

This quilt has a sordid past you could say.  The fabric and pattern were procured before Christmas 2014.  I had these overly ambitious plans of having it done not long after that Christmas as a belated Christmas present.
Little did I know that it would take me many hours of cutting with special rulers, piecing, pressing, trimming all blocks with special rulers, and more piecing and pressing.  It probably took me approximately 5 months to finish piecing. I was super happy with the finished top.  The points were so much more precise because of all the special trimming. 

All I had left to do was quilt it.  I had purchased some particular fabric for the back.  My calculations were incorrect, and guess what?  I didn’t have enough fabric for the backing. So I had to order more.

By this point it was probably May. (I had finished piecing in April). So I took the quilt to work to try and pin after work using the boardroom tables.  I didn’t have a big enough batting piece with me. So, I then grabbed a bag of batting and took this and the quilt and backing (now large enough) to my parents to use their large living room floor to lay out the quilt to sandwich and pin.  I laid everything out.  That bag of batting had been cut into. That piece wasn’t large enough either. So, I had to steal some from my mom’s large bolt of batting (affectionately known as Bert) to get a large enough piece.  I finally successfully had the quilt ready for quilting!  

This quilt was taken to a quilting retreat in Colorado as I was working through all the quilting.  I used Mctavishing in all of the white space, I did some funky fillers in some other species, I outlined many other areas, and did some quilt writing both with a straight stitch and a zigzag to write the words to the Canadian national anthem, as well as lots of other Canadian things.  

Binding…. I used some fabulous stripe cut on the bias.  I love this look. And so, hand sewing and then topstitching the binding with machine, it was completed. I then packaged it all up ready to be shipped.  I realized I had yet to put a label on it. The quilt wasn’t quite ready for its journey.  So, I unpacked the parcel, made a label, took a few pictures, repackaged, and it’s on it’s way.  

Every quilt has a story.  This one has earned its story.  :-). 

So, now a question – anyone interested inlearning quilt writing – one of my friends, Cyndi Souder, Moonlighting Quilts, teaches a great class.  I am also willing to teach a couple of techniques here in Edmonton.  Anyone interested?  

Hope you enjoy the pictures!  Happy quilting!   

   

  

     
   

Made it through Blue Monday

A new year, a fresh perspective, a looking forward to what’s ahead.

I did a bit of reflection at the end of 2015.  I also looked at what I want my life to look like in 2016.  Good things ahead.  Always some challenges too, as my car is deciding to start needing more care.  My bathroom faucet is leaking a bit.  My oven element is going to go (has that bright spot on it… I’m just waiting for that to happen).  Just a few minor things that we all have to deal with at one point or another.

I am choosing to enjoy the challenges of those little things I am having to deal with (like cleaning up water from trying to fix the faucet).

I can say that I finally finished a belated Christmas/Birthday gift for a dear friend of mine.  I’ll post some more pictures, but I have a few process pictures that I will share below.  I’ll try to take more pictures before I get it mailed off (I just remembered this morning that I had it all packed up and ready to mail, and I forgot to put a label on it.

This quilt “Oh Canada” has definitely been a labour of love.  The recipient is a very dear friend (sister from another mother) who shares my love of quilting.  She saw me working on it when we met at a quilt retreat in Colorado in August.  She has heard some of the stories, and I teased her with pictures along the way.  I was really happy with the binding (I  will share a picture of that next time) and overall, my quilting.  I didn’t count the hours.  The precision of the pattern (it was a Deb Tucker “Northern Neighbours” pattern) was worth the time spent.  I really was happy in how 95% of my points were nice and share.  The human element is present, so I cannot say it was 100%.  But, the effect and result was worth it.  I’ll take a few more pictures, and give you some more info next time.

And, to start the year off, I redid some of the words from my last posting of my poem.

Sleepy Sheep

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, yawning at their plight
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, wanting rest tonight
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

May your 2016 be filled with adventure, wonder, laughter, joy, tears and balance.

IMG_0011
Details from my quilting – the lyrics to “Oh Canada”
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Overall view of the quilt top
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Some detail of quilt top

One Sheep…

Good morning.

You know when you start having that problem of waking up too early, and not getting back to sleep?

There are a ton of things I need to get incorporated back into my life – one – doing more yoga.  The last time I went – I felt like a train wreck.  I couldn’t hold my balance, and even though it hasn’t been that long since I had last been there, I couldn’t handle the heat too well, and kept having problems with dizziness.

To me, that means that I really don’t have great balance in my life. I  have learned to read those signals.  I am having a number of those other signals right now, so I am trying to figure out how to “rebalance” things.

I mentioned above that my sleep is being affected.  Been trying several different techniques, and nothing is working well at getting back to sleep.  I thought, “ok, I should try counting sheep”.  Ha ha.  I ended up writing a poem in my head about sheep….  maybe that will help.

So, I thought I would share it with you, as a light hearted attempt at sleep.

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, running to keep up
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, chilling and saying “wassup”.
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

So, I can imagine this being illustrated as a children’s book – anyone want in?

Hope everyone got a restful sleep.  Please send any hints to me at how I can try to mitigate this “3 AM” internal clock wakeup call.

Soay_sheep_lamb

Long weekend reflections……

So thankful for a long weekend.  Inspiration and reminders are around me when I look for them for the things I want to accomplish this weekend.  I can find some amazing things and wonderful people when I look for them.

A list of what I’m grateful for can upturn a challenging day when I look for those things.  A smile comes to my face when I remind myself of the crazy things my two fur babies do when I see antics in my memory bank.

I can always find what I’m looking for, if I open my eyes to see it.  

These ponderings could in turn be compared to keeping my heart and my mind open and what I need is there is if I look for it.  

Now I am going to look for snuggling with my fur babies and savouring those moments because I’m grateful I can have them.  

Enjoy your thanksgiving. Wishing everyone a time to give thanks for even just one simple thing.  Just look for it.   

    
 

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