Thursday 30 September 2010

My quilt is finished!

I have finished both my quilts with 2 days to spare for our Auckland city exhibition.  It is so nice to have them finished. 

The first one is a quilt to fit in with the theme Retro.  I was inspired by Vector flowers on the Internet.  I quilted this piece first and then coloured it with shiva paint sticks.

Retro lime sorbet

I will put my finished mother and child quilt on the next blog.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Quilting critique

How do we deal with quilting critique? Friends and family's comments on our work tend to be very 'nice' as most people will find something nice to say rather than pick something that needs improving.  Even if we ask for constructive criticism most people will not have the skills to critique or choose not to because of  fear.....fear of saying the wrong thing,  fear of getting it wrong,  fear of hurting our feelings,  fear of damaging a friendship. 

Critique is an important part of the quilting process.  In Lyric Kinard's new book Art + Quilt found at a whole section is devoted to critiquing art work.  This is an excellent resource which can really assisted us in looking more closely at quilt art.  But like anything in art practice is the key.  Practice at looking at all art with a critical eye.   Sometimes though we need another persons opinion as they can look at our work with a fresh and clear perspective.  

Lets take a look at a recent critiquing experience of mine

"I have just received back the judges sheets from a recent judged quilt exhibition.  I had very mixed comments.  Some very justified  i.e. Finishing needs more attention (I always rush this bit to get on with next idea I have buzzing around my head)  and raw edged binding needs to be even and straight.  I am the first to admit that I need to work on this part of my work. 

 I felt some parts of the comments were definitely just the judges opinion and it is those comments that can sometime sting because they can seem unfair.  i.e. More quilting needed in bigger spaces/uneven amount of quilting.....I put no quilting there for effect and contrast,  Backing should compliment quilt top.....I was recycling fabric.  Next time I might over dye or paint the quilt backing to try and satisfy the judge and my need to be ecologically friendly and a 5 out of 10 for design and colour use, but wonderful comments about the design  in the comment section.....ummmm...  not sure on this one!!  This is were thick skin comes in.  take what I feel is justified and improve on it and let some of it bounce off my skin and try again.  "

We all need critique as without it we cannot improve or work as well or accurately.  How we choose to accept critique is key in using it to our best advantage.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Inspirational quilting

For a while I have been contemplating using people more in my quilts.  I felt inspired to capture the relationships between people and relationships between people and our planet.  It has taken a lot of courage to do this as I have always found painting people more of a challenge than any other subject.  There is something quite hard about capturing emotion and getting proportions right in the human form. 

So I have taken the plunge and jumped right in to paint my first "people" quilt.  The first part of the process was to find a photo of a woman and child interaction.  I found a picture of me and my brand new nephew that was just what I was after.  It tells a lovely story of the delight of my twin sister giving birth to such a lovely wee man and of the relief of her safety after a particularly difficult birth.

I put this photo onto adobe photoshop,  cropped the photo and then reduced the colours to 8 and converted the picture to black and white.  I have sketched for years so I found seeing the image in a less complex form far less intimidating. 

This picture gave me a better indication of where the highlighted areas are and the shading was.  I decided to base this work on a sketch I had done a while ago .  I began by doing a colour drawing in my sketchbook.  I tried to upload a photo of this but the computer would not let me do this.  The joys of technology!   I then transferred this on to cloth.  I chose to paint in sepia and do the pendant and skirt in colour. 

I left the hands till last as I think this is the trickiest part to do.  I was quite happy with the finished result.

Now for the quilting..........

Friday 24 September 2010

Teaching quilting to kids

Our local school has a clubs programme they run once a year.  For one afternoon a week for five weeks the children can choose and elective to participate in.  I volunteered this year and took a fabric art class.  The design inspiration was cut fruit.  The 6 girls aged 10 and 11 made their own design,  pattern and constructed their own quilt right down to machine quilting and making labels for their art work.  Their finished pieces blew me away.  Once they knew they could do it, the creative juices just flowed.  Children are amazing creatures we do not always see what they are capable of  accomplishing.  We can miss an amazing opportunity to teach kids by thinking they can't do something when in reality they can. 

These photos are of their work that they did.

I had a wonderful experience with these children.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

My holiday

I went away for 3 1/2 days with my sister to place in New Zealand called Waihi.  I stayed at the beach which is miles of golden sand and beautiful views.   I had a wonderful break and I feel very refreshed.  It is music for the creative soul.

The town closest to the Beach is a gold mining town which is still in operation today.  Near by there is a gorge where all the old gold mining relics from the past are tucked away in beautiful bush and rock.  The contrast between nature and man made surfaces is beautiful.  These are some photos of that wonderful experience. 


Tuesday 21 September 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

week 16

I have a quilt sandwich I use for practicing my machine quilting before I quilt on the real thing.  I had finished a a practicing piece and was going to throw it out when I asked myself a question could I colour and cut this and make a card for this week?   Using non metallic paint sticks I started drawing over the patterns on the practice piece and then I cut out a few different pieces and played with them.  One of the pieces reminded me of a rose so I began to develop this idea.  The effect was very different but beautiful.  I will be keeping all my practice pieces in future and further developing them after this experimentation.

I love how the lines of quilting still come though under the added colour giving the feeling of movement and depth.

Now will I ever throw any scraps away again?   
I might need more storage.............

Sunday 19 September 2010

quilt challenge-52 cards in a year

Week 15

I'm just a wee bit behind on the last 2 weeks cards but for good reason. I have had a couple of quilt deadlines looming and I have been away on my own.  Childless for a few whole days.  Absolutely bliss!! 

I have created a card this week from a cut up mono print of an orange.  Mono printing is a technique of printing where paint is added to a glass surface and then a print is taken from it.  The original print was white,  orange and yellow.  I decided to over dye it in a deep pink then to add more stitching to it and shiva paint sticks (my favourite art supply if you haven't noticed yet  :)  )   

I was really pleased with how the over dying came out.  It changed the whole feel of the piece of work.  

The paint sticks have added a lovely shine to the card and given better depth.

Saturday 11 September 2010


In what ways can we all be creative on a daily basis even when life seems to get in the way or be too hectic?

  • Make a new recipie
  • Present dinner with garnishes
  • Use expression when reading a bedtime story
  • Make a small piece of art work (that can fit on a playing card)  Use what ever medium you are comfortable with.
  • Take a photo at your childrens after school activities
  • Take a photo of nature at 6 different angles
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Write a letter to a family member or friend.
  • Make a card.
  • Put a sliced lemon on the edge of a glass of juice.
  • Tidy your lounge and get rid of 5 things which adds clutter to it.
  • Bake
  • Draw in a sketch book.
  • Laugh
  • Identitify a bird that flew past the window.
  • Plant a plant.
  • Dance like there will be no tommorow.
  • Answer all questions with a ryhme for 5 minutes.
  • Do a crossword or a suduku.
  • Read a book.
  • Draw patterns with the sewing machine on a scrap of fabric.
  • Dye your hair.
  • Have a hair cut.
  • Buy and wear a colour you have never worn before.
  • Smile at those you love everytime you see them.

So on those days when you feel you can't get any art work or quilting done and you feel you can fit in being creative remeber you can still be creative with a little imagination and thought.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Creativeness and family and quilting

One of the hardest balancing acts I ever have to do is the family and art work act.  My children and husband will always come first as relationships are the most important things in life.  Being with those you love and enhancing relationships with those we love are the most important work we do in our lives.  I have found though that I can't give to those relationships without being creative.

What is and who can be creative? Dieter F. Uchtdorf has explained this so well

"Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty

Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it."

This small quote helped me to see the light. If I can't get into the studio today I can find many ways to be creative.  I can do so much.  I am a powerful woman capable of making huge differences in my small part of this huge world may it be one stitch,  one smile,  one meal or one drawing at a time.  Creativeness comes from within. 

I try and carry a sketchbook around with me so when a moment arises I can draw,  I try and make an effort to present all our meals in our home with flair and I try to make my home a beautiful place to live in.  I am still working on a beautiful garden  LOL  The weeds look balanced at the moment.  With effort I can see ways to create all around me.  open up your eyes to new possibilities.


You can't give others a bowl of soup from an empty soup pot.  The pot has to be full first yet many of us give to others around us out of a figuratively empty pot.  We need to fill our pot first so we can give to others.


In what ways do you all be creative?  Let me know!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Quilting-What to do when you have made a "mistake"?

I have spent time over the last few days over dying fabric and quilting up the large pile of hand painted,  mono printed and marbled fabric I have created over the past year.  Once the pieces were quilted I satin stitched the pieces together into a wall hanging.  To make the pieces have more cohesion I have dyed the white in some pieces so the tonal quality is similar.  As I have created this piece of work I have had some unexpected difficulties......

Turquoise and tangerine130cm x 150cm

Close up

........What happens when you have a problem with a piece of work....

  • The first thing a piece of work never needs to be perfect.  To many times we think that our work isn't good enough when the imperfections in our work is what gives the work character,  personality and feedom of expression. 

  • So called "mistakes"  are just creative licence to try something new.  I always view them as a challenge to overcome and a new way to experiment.

  • When I first put all my blocks together  there was no cohesion so I over painted some blocks to get similar colours.  When I had constructed the art work I used shiva paint sticks to bring more depth to the colours.

  • When I put all the blocks together there wasn't enough blue so I went through my fabric stash and used some pieces of fabric that were offcuts that fitted in this piece perfectly.
  • The whole quilt came together nicely until the last block was set and now the work won't sit flat....very frustrating!.   I am going to try a few different things to try to sort this out. Lying the work flat on towels on the floor, Pinning it to the carpet and stretching it, wetting the whole quilt and then steam pressing it.  I will try to put some weights into the binding.  If this doesn't work I will try to hang something heavy from the bottom of the quilt to weigh it down ie a heavy fringe. 
  • When I turned over the quilt I discovered the few tangerine squares I found that had already been quilted in my cupboard didn't have a full back on them so batting is showing.  This would be fine for home use or a presie but as I am exhibiting this peice I need to fix this problem up.  I have come up with a couple of things to try.  Painting the back of the quilt,  using paint sticks in thouse patches and putting a backing on the quilt. 
  • Also when I trimmed up each block to get ready for the piecing alot of the threads came undone.  I am going to use a running stitch around each block to catch each stitch.

Use each challenge as way of extending your skills and problem solving.  Many of my piecs of art have started of very different from the end result.  This is fine!!! 

Remember art is always a work in progress

Sunday 5 September 2010

Back on my feet again

It is wonderful to feel normal again.  I ended up with some secondary infections from the lovely bug I have had.   LOL The world feels wonderful and I feel great to be able to breathe and eat. 

It is really the small things in life that make me so grateful to be alive.  The smell of rain,  flowers in full bloom,  laughter of children, the technology that makes life easier,  family,  friends,  health,  children all back at school and running hot water out of a working shower. (It has been one of those months!!!)

The itchy hands waiting to create can get to it. All those ideas dreamed while recuperating can be tried and experimented with.

I am grateful for the life I have and for being who I am.
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