Wednesday 30 October 2013

Being creative

Balancing family and artwork is always a challenge. Family will always come first as relationships are the most important things in life.  Being with those you love and enhancing relationships with those you love is the most important work that can ever be done.  

However I have found though that I can't give to those 
relationships without being creative.

 Dieter F. Uchtdorf  said

"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."

If the families needs today are greater than art in the studio, there are still many ways to be creative. So much can still be accomplished.  One person is capable of making huge differences in a small part of this huge world.  It may be one stitch,  one smile,  one meal, one drawing or one hug. By changing the thought process of what creativity is , creativity can be found in every corner of life.

Kantha map
15cm x15cm

This little kantha embroidery was created a few stitches at a time during a very busy time of my life.  I picked it up when I could and little by little the project was completed.

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 working on a beautiful garden done little by little.

With a little effort there are many ways to create. 

An art card.  A small way to create and make art.

Ideas to be creative

  1. Present a meal beautifully.  Be a master chef for the day. Even a plain bowl of soup can look elegant with parsley on top, a dollop of cream and some crusty bread.
  2. Cut some flowers for the table
  3. Tidy up.  The carpet wasn't there before :)
  4. Take a photo of the sunrise

5. Plant a tree or a veggie garden
6. Read a book
7. Write a poem
8. Make a art card one stitch at a time
9. Set the timer for 5 minutes and sketch
10. Dance in the rain or sprinkler on your own or with a friend
11. Daydream and think.  
12. Bake a cake
13. Re organise a room.  Even move furniture around for a new look.
14. Play music
15. If you can play an instrument make music.

16. Write a letter
17. Laugh
18. Create a .......from cardboard boxes
19. Take time to talk and discuss
20. Love

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Emotion in Art quilts

I've been reading the series once upon a time....the retelling of fairy stories.  They are written by a variety of authors for older children and teens.

"It's not your love that holds her hostage.  It's your need.  True love wants,  but it doesn't need.  True love thinks of the beloved first"    (The rose bride By Nancy Holder)

tree of love

An author expresses and enrich stories though emotive language which got me considering how do artists use emotion to express themselves? 

An artist creates art from an emotion or an experience whether it is done consciously or not. Every piece of artwork created  draws on previous experience either technically or emotively.

Most women can identify themselves in this art quilt.  I made it on a bad PMT day when I was feeling like someone different to who I really am. 

The viewer respond to the artwork with an emotion.  this emotion could be the same as the artist or completely differently depending again on the viewers past experiences and point of view.

In this piece of work, 'We will remember them' I was celebrating the lives of my family who sacrificed their lives in the war for my freedom.  I saw it as a celebratory quilt but many viewers have seen it as a sad reminder of what was lost. 

A viewer will subconsciously or consciously make a judgement on a piece of art usually based on an emotion formed. The task as an artist is to connect with a viewer.  This can be done in so many ways. Many artist try to shock their audience or to get them to question belief systems they have in place.  I choose to create work that uplifts and and creates light inside them.

In 'Hot chocolate'  I purposely wanted the viewer to consider the emotion of safety and warmth on wonderful cool winter nights watching the flames of a fire.   Most viewers have commented on how peaceful this quilt makes them feel.

When I am considering a new quilt I try to think of what idea or emotion I want to create.  I want my work to be uplifting so I think about many of these things as I work through the design process.

  1. Choose topics to photograph or quilt that create the emotion wanted.  
  2. Use colours that evokes the emotion being used.  Research the use of colours and the emotion created by them.
  3. Pray throughout the whole quilting process.  Having guidance from above really helps my creative process.
  4. Love what is being worked on working.  The feeling I have while I am working seems to always come through the finished work.
  5. Get others people to critique the work.  This is is a good way to get neutral feedback. Sometimes we get too close to our work.
  6. Use colour, line,  shape and texture that reflects the mood or emotion in the quilt.   
  7. Use expressions on faces to express the emotion.
  8. Brainstorm ideas for creating emotion.  Use a mind map to collect ideas.
  9. Listen to music that reflect the mood of the work.  Music is a great way to feel the work you are creating.
  10. Study and look at other artwork that creates the same emotion in you. Look at the particular parts of the work that creates emotion in you.
  11. Ask and answer questions about the emotion and make a list of the answers. ie I wonder what love would look like?  What objects describe love the best to me?  what shape do identify with love?  How does love show up in my family?

Saturday 26 October 2013

Photography: Colours and textures of a kapahaka festival

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the Local school kapahaka festival.  A celebration of Maori dance and song.  The children were amazing.  It was wonderful capturing the day on camera.  Because of privacy laws I can't put any photos identifying children on my blog but I thought I would show you some of the textures and colours of the day.

Feel free to use any of my photos for inspiration but can you please give me credit for my part of your creation :)  xxxxx

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Making creativity part of the day

Being creative fills the soul up, it gives challenge to the mind and it stretches the imagination.

Creativity can make a much more  fulfilled life.  Creativity makes life have more  meaning and more to live for. Creativity is rich, exciting and fun.

 Being creative on a daily basis is a mind set.  It is how we look at what we are doing each day. So even when life seems to get in the way or when it becomes so busy that it is hard to breathe creativity can still be achieved.

Be creative every day!!

  • Make a new recipe
  • Present dinner with garnishes
  • Use expression when reading a bedtime story
  • Make a small piece of artwork 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
  • Identify a bird that flew past the window.
  • Plant a plant.
  • Dance like there will be no tomorrow.
  • Answer all questions with a rhyme for 5 minutes.
  • Do a crossword or a sudoku.
  • 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.
  • Smilat those you love every time you see them.
  • Play in the mud
  • Dance in the rain
  • Plant some flowers or vegetable in the garden
  • Run through a sprinkler
  • Change a routine you normally have every day. IE have dessert first and a main meal last.
  • Daydream about success  
  • Change the duvet cover on the bed

So on those days when you feel that artwork is not going to happen and the time has disappeared set aside to quilt, creativity can still happen.  

Think creatively as the 'normal' part of the day unfolds. 

Monday 21 October 2013

Dealing with 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 critiquing experience of mine

"I have received back the judges sheets from a 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. If we chose to take all of it on board whether it is accurate or not we may end up not being creative at all. Criticism when it is untrue can zap all creative energy and make people paralyzed by the fear of being wrong all the time. The skill that needs to be practised it the one of being able to stand back and to see the critique for what it is and to choose what is critique we want to take on board and what is just someone elses opinion.  This takes time to do and lots of practice.

With my critiquing experience I chose to take on board and to work on my finishing techniques and to try dying the backs of my fabric but I ignored the quilting comments and design marks as the comments weren't relevant or important to me.  I have worked hard at finishing better and in my next show I was praised for good quality finishing. But more importantly I was really pleased with my quality of work.  

When we use critique positively and productively it can really help produce higher quality and more technically demanding work and give a great sense of accomplishment.  

Friday 18 October 2013

Photography inspiration for the week

One of the most enjoyable things about moving house is seeing the garden come to life each season.  I found these beautiful flowers in my garden and I just couldn't resist a few photos.  The day after these were taken a storm came in and the next morning I noticed my beautiful tree had split down the middle and was in 2 parts on the ground. :( It had weakened by disease that we couldn't see and circumbed to  the winds.  

Feel free to use my photographs for inspiration.  Please could you also acknowledge me for my contribution to your creativity.  

Catherine xxxxx

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Tutorial: What to do with practice cloths? Part 2

On Monday I wrote a post about how to use those quilted practice cloths. (see link below for the post)

Today I am going to show you how to make those cloths become something usable and beautiful.  This piece of cloth I am going to make into a pouch.

The quilted practice cloth.

  1. Take the cloth and print one colour on it.  I have chose yellow and used a Jandal/thong base to print lines on the fabric.

2,  Choose another colour and using another texture print it on the fabric.  I have used red and some bubble wrap

Bubble wrap makes a great texture

3. Taking another colour and texture print on the fabric. For this layer I have used burgundy paint though some sequin waste

4. Tip:  Put all the stencils and tools that are painted in a tray to take to clean later.  Doing it all at once saves a lot of time and water.

5. Blot the fabric dry with an old towel

6. Uron until dry if you are impatient like me or leave till tomorrow to dry.

Ironed fabric.

7.  Add another layer of texture.  I have used an old plastic doily and white paint.

8. Use a stencil to add more texture and another layer of interest. use a darker or lighter paint so it stands out.

9. Iron dry again or leave to dry.

10. Brush a metallic paint over the whole quilt to add some shimmer.

11. Choose another stencil to place along the top edge of the fabric.  This will be the edge that will be the flap at the top of the pouch.

12. Use Shiva paint sticks on the stencil with a stencil brush.

13.  The completed painting and texture.  Leave to dry and cure for 24 hours. This process could be shortened by only adding a couple of layers of paint or lengthened by adding more layers.  Go to where you are happy with the the look of the cloth.  I like quite a few layers as it gives more depth and shimmer to the fabric. 

14. Trim up the cloth with a rotary blade and ruler

Trimmed quilt

15. Stitch around the edge of the motif on the pouch flap.

16. Add further stitching if needed to the cloth.  I have added some circles.

17.  Fold over the cloth and check to see if all the stitching and motifs all line up then make into a pouch following these instructions 

Finished inside of the pouch

The finished pouch.  

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