March 29, 2010

Shelter, a class, some writing, a workshop

While I work on constructing the black tier of shelter, I'm also doing some hand-sewing on the other tiers, doing final stitching and taking out basting. I've enjoyed looking at these pieces up close again as I sew.
And here's the black in progress. It's coming along quite well.

Progress is a little slowed by the start of a new term of teaching, with some other things on my plate as well. I'm taking a drawing class at the college, one that focuses on the legacy of minimalist, abstract drawing (like Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, Sol Lewitt) rather than representational, figural drawing. I love these artists, and I think this kind of drawing will help my development in quilting. We'll see.

I'm also working on a presentation I'll be giving at the college in late April, "From Study to Studio," describing/explaining my turn from scholarship to art. I've talked about this to an audience of quilters before, but not to my colleagues at the college.

In June I'll be attending a workshop by Terry Jarrard-Dimond, "What If? Building Pathways to Creative Work." This is being offered at a new workshop venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan, modeled on the structure of workshops at Nancy Crow's Barn, but one day shorter (so a little less expensive), and with a greater variety of types of workshops: There are a number of fiber arts workshops (including a Susan Shie workshop in October on “Diary Quilt Paintings" that I wish I could go to). There are also watercolor, pastel, oil, encaustic, and other things being taught. Anyway, you might take a look--they've asked participants to spread the word, to help them fill this inaugural set of workshops.

March 16, 2010

Stones-from commercial fabric

In between the painstaking work of piecing the black tier of Shelter, I've worked on this simple quilt top, made from the pile of stone-looking commercial fabric I bought a couple of years ago, when I thought I would be using it for appliqued stones. In a previous post, I described what I eventually did with all the background fabric I had cut up for that project (along with some images of the trial applique blocks that I abandoned). And now this was a way to use the "stone" fabric. (The top is 56 x 73", with each block the size of a brick.) I'm not sure if the stripey black/gray blocks are a mistake, or if they liven it up a bit.

After I thought of doing blocks the size/shape of bricks, I had fun looking up "brick patterns" in a Google image search--certainly many other possibilities adaptable to quilting.

March 10, 2010

A compromise solution

Three commenters on the last post told me that the value range in the turquoise looked fine to them--very helpful to have this feedback, which leads me to a compromise plan. I've pinned turquoise strips up over some of the darker teal/green strips, but not over all of them. This looks like the right direction to me. A big relief. This gives me the energy to finish up the piecing and sewing of the black tier, and then I'll go back to re-work the turquoise a bit.

March 3, 2010

A new problem with Shelter

I've strip-pieced most of the black strata needed, and stuck them up on the design wall, pinning the other tiers in place so I could get a glimpse of the whole. The little tags on the turquoise are marking spots I was planning on altering. But now I see a larger problem. The turquoise tier has a much wider range of value than any of the others, and I don't think that works. I think I'll need to revise more deeply, taking out/covering up the dark teals. Of course I could go the other direction--add more value range in the other tiers. But I think a smaller range is more in keeping with my vision of the piece--and adding a wider range for black isn't possible in any case.

I want to feel closer to the finish line with this piece. . . Instead of getting easier as I go, the challenges keep adding up. I have to keep the mantra of "persistence" in mind.

Curved piecing two ways

I'll be teaching a workshop for my guild in June on curved piecing, and spent today finishing up the samples--placemats made using two different methods. The first one, above, is done in a "quilt-as-you-go" method, using thin straight strips that are manipulated into curves as you sew. I learned this method from my friend Mary Beth; I think it must be the same method used by Ann Brauer, whose gorgeous work I saw in a show a few years ago. The fabric above is an assortment of Japanese Daiwabo fabric. The second placemat was done by laying wider strips of fabric on top of the other, right sides up, overlapping a bit, and cutting the curve one wants. This way one can get deeper "waves."

I've collected instructions for this second method from several sources. Brenda Gael Smith's instructions are especially clear--see any of her patterns that include curved piecing, available on her web site.