Thursday, May 15, 2014

Catching Up

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted anything here, so, for those of you who sometimes follow this blog, my apologies.  Spring has slipped into early summer and I realize I haven't made much art this year.
I took a class at Quilt Academy on Fractals.  It looked really interesting and I'm sure it could have been a lot more enlightening if I had been able to master the software program I downloaded.  The instructor recommended it as a way to experiment with fractals and see all the possibilities of working with them in making an art quilt.  Quite honestly, I'm still not sure how to define or explain what a fractal is.  I don't fault the instructor, but I think the class assumes you are a lot more computer literate than I happen to be.

I did complete one piece as a result of the class.  It is based on a spiral and I played with some new techniques.  I made ragged strips of fabric and placed them on batting that had Mistyfuse over it.  When I had all the batting covered, I ironed everything down, then stitched over the raw edges.  Then I placed the pieces I had cut to form the spiral (each piece was an identical shape but each piece was a bit bigger than the one before).  Once I had them placed the way I wanted, I sewed around all the edges.  I used a sparkly thread (Glitter by Superior Threads) and a satin stitch.

I decided to play with some gauzy fabric (organza) that was the perfect color and had beads attached randomly across it.  I placed that on top of the piece and quilted through all the layers.  I like that you can move around the piece as it hangs on the wall and the light catches the beads in a way that makes them look as though they're twinkling.  Is it great art?  I doubt it, but it was a lot of fun to play with and it didn't take up a great deal of time.

It really doesn't photograph very well--the organza is a bit too opaque, so the color underneath in the spiral is very muted.  I didn't mention that I had some ribbon on hand that was the perfect color, so I cut small pieces of it and randomly scattered them around under the organza.  They are anchored down with some of the quilting stitches.  Unfortunately, the glittery beads and thread don't show in the photo.  I call it "Spin Cycle".

A lot of what I've done recently has been an exercise in procrastination.  I had a photo I wanted to work into an art quilt and I have found many reasons to delay.  I don't know why I do that, but it happens more than I'd like.  I spend days and sometimes weeks thinking about a piece and it seems the hardest thing to do is just begin.  Once I start, I'm totally absorbed and loving every minute of it.  What makes me hesitate?  That's the $64,000 question.  I think the feeling must be similar to what painters feel when they face a blank canvas.  The hardest part is to just begin.

This is my progress so far.  It is based on a photo I took of a small boy, playing in a fountain.  I loved his head full of blond curls and the bare feet.  I have a long way to go--lots of challenges in making the wet sidewalk and all the water, but I like where he is right now.

This post is getting much too long, but I have to mention my trip to ArtFields in Lake City, SC.  My daughter-in-law, Robin went with me and we had a great time.  This was the second year for the show and there were 400 pieces on display, including my "Best Friends Forever".  The art is shown in various venues around the old part of the town--everything from a huge warehouse with great brick walls, to a barber shop, a cycle shop, even a mattress store.  It has to be a massive undertaking just to organize and hang all the work. 

Robin and I walked and looked all day, but didn't see everything.  The exciting part was the announcement of the awards on Saturday evening.  They gave two $12,500 prizes, three $25,000, and the grand prize was $50,000.  Now, that's pretty impressive.  Of course, I had no expectations of winning anything, but it was a thrill just to have my work accepted into such a spectacular art show.  We were already planning our trip for next year on the way home.  I'll try to post some of my photos next time.

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