Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Gift of Fantasy

What an appropriate time to read this quote ..... as I'm brainstorming and sketching ideas for our first challenge .... thought artists and all would enjoy this .....

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Games People Play?

A few days ago as I was laying on the carpet relaxing after some yoga and exercises I felt a very gentle nudge of my hand. I turned my head to see Nicolas, one of our dogs, asking as nicely as he could to please throw the tennis ball that I was holding in my hand. I was still holding it after having used it to help work out a muscle kink. I tossed the ball and he happily ran after it, returned with it but didn't give it up until we had wrestled over it for awhile. This is his game. The little light bulb went on again; games aren't limited to people. We've discussed how people play games, not always the board, card or sports ones either. Games certainly can take on endless meanings and be interpreted in just as many ways.
This is Cleo, playing one of her games with some favorite toys.

Tied up!

That's where I think my inspiration is heading for this challenge.  Without giving it away, I thought I'd throw out a little clue.  And if the title doesn't make sense, then perhaps this picture may help.

If not, then you'll just have to wait till reveal day.

Nope it has nothing to do with "cowboys and indians".

Saturday, April 9, 2011

playing games

Thanks to Beverly I’m playing games again!

What a wonderful theme with endless possibilities! Boardgames, computergames, children’s games, mind (brain)games, sports. I worked through our stash of boardgames looking for ideas. I remembered all the games we played in the streets, when I was a little girl. The games I played with my big sister and little brother during childhood. I remembered all the lovely New Year’s Eve’s when my grandparents invited all the grandchildren to play bankboard. My grandmother used to make a table filled with prizes for the winners. My grandfather bought some indoor confetti bombs to make the fun even bigger.

I’m chewing on the games theme a lot and finally made some sketches to clear my head a bit. I’ve always been a lover of the simple plain (anthroposophical) wooden games for little children. I’ve been looking for a typical Dutch game, but these days not many things are typically Dutch anymore.

And sometimes a solution is just around the corner, but you need to ‘see’ it!
For 6 weeks now I’m frequently visiting the eye specialist, due to an eye contition, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the waiting room. They have put up a table with special toys and games for children with poor eyesight. Those games are made to stimulate the other sensory organs. Some little children will even have to deal with getting blind in the future.
Having a little nephew with poor eyesight (he’s also physically and mentally disabled), I have been pondering on this subject for some time. When we visit him we always like to bring him a little gift and we need to go to special stores to find him something.

When I was waiting at the eye specialist again this week, I’ve been giving these toys and games some thought for my games quilt. It’s certainly challenging to explore how to translate a special needs game into a 16" square quilt. I will have to work with different textures and maybe even braille. Maybe, I found my subject...!

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thinking and Marinating

I am not an organized artist.  I don't use sketchbooks much, although I keep telling myself I should.  I enjoy working improvisationally- when the inspiration is flowing, it is great being in the zone.

So I started my research for Games.  I thought I'd end up doing something related to all the games I remember playing with my family as a child: card games, board games, you name it.  I have a plethora of possible inspirations.

But when I was writing the blog post to announce the theme, I vaguely remembered the title 'Games People Play.'  I thought it was from a movie, but when I googled the words, I got blurbs on Transactional Analysis and Eric Berne.

Although I haven't done therapy in awhile, I am trained as a clinical therapist.  I probably learned something about this in my many-years-ago grad school classes!  But the bits that I've read are sending me down a totally different path than what I'd first envisioned.  Mmm, finally my art and my professional training intersect.  This could be interesting!

Games Children Play

Thanks Beverly for a wonderful challenge theme!
I have been thinking about this theme for a few days.  My original idea was a pictorial quilt, with a child building a sandcastle on the beach.  I think I will still make that quilt, but perhaps not for this challenge.
So, I started thinking about games children play - traditional games - and hunted around the net.  I found these

Skipping, dolls, and hobby horses.  (these images are copyright free).  All of them would make beautiful quilts, but as I was thinking today, I asked my self
"Why do children play games?"
And I realised that this theme could could even be a series and be taken a lot further.
When I was a child, and when my mother was a child, games and the toys we played them with served a purpose.  We played them to learn about life, about responsibilities (eg dolls), about achievement and persistence (eg skipping), about practising things we might do as adults (eg hobby horse) or about working together in a community (eg games with rules, like chinese whispers).
We were not aware that that was why we played games, but all the time we were practising to be adults.
What does this mean for many children today who no longer play with dolls, or trucks, or skipping ropes?  Will it make a difference to how they are as adults?.  A BBC study says that children are integrating  modern technology into playground games and that playing games is as alive as ever, and instead of playing  cowboys and indians,  they play  Dr Who and the daleks or Who wants to be a millionaire
Now, of course, I need to decide what I want to say and work out how to arrange these ideas into a quilt.

Monday, April 4, 2011

So Much In Common

Sometimes life has a way of throwing us an unexpected curve, but I am ready to post my introduction.

After reading all your introductions it seems to me that our common love of fabric, process and sharing will be a strong bond that will serve us well as a group. I was also impressed by how many of you mentioned having one or more relatives who sewed.

My grandmother and mother made quilts and clothing and as a child, I was always thrilled when I got a "store bought" item of clothing. I only wish their excellent seamtress skills had rubbed off on me.

My first quilt was attic windows and I was warned that it was not a beginners pattern, but somehow, with much encouragement from by husband and mother, I finally persevered until it was completed. I enjoy crazy quiliting because there is so much left up to the quilter's imagination and it is easy to take off in many directions and still come up with a unified whole in the end. 

My latest passion is making my own fabric either by using Transfer Artist Paper or printing directly onto fabric from the computer. My most recent series uses paper and fabric which I printed as well as commercial fabric. My piecing is straight forward and my machine "quilting" is mostly done with decorative stitches, but it does serve to hold the fabric sandwich together.

This quilt is part of a 12 by 12 series I am in the process of completing. The quilt will be attached to a wooden substructure and will have a wooden frame around the edge to finish it, much like a framed work of art.

cannot get it to link....Sharon here

For some reason I could not get that to link to her studio so you will have to cut and past....enjoy

Good morning,afternoon or evening Ladies...Sharon here

Since we are all here to experience new ways to display and grow as artist, I hope you all do not mind if I refer you to a sight that a lady by the name of Terri runs. Her last name begins with an S and I do not want to destroy it so I will just let you all see her last name for yourselves. I do believe she is one of the 12 x 12 ladies or was at one point and some of you might have already been there. I just think she is a wealth of info and is showing a different artist each month with a different technique. Anyway she has great tutorials on using lots of differnt fibers, threads, paints Oh just a bunch of stuff with free patterns. So if you are interested in learning a little bit more it might be a good place to start anyway. I hope this helps


Oh, and one more thing. . .

I guess it would be nice if I specified the size for this challenge!  We'll be doing a 16 by 16 inch quilt this round, with a reveal date of June 15.  I hope to see lots of chatter about the theme and your thinking!

Happy creating!

First Challenge!!

Let’s Get Started!!

I feel rather like the flagman at the Indy 500 races, starting the whole event!  So, in that spirit, Tangles, your first challenge is. . . . 


My hope is that we all approach this collaborative challenge in the spirit of playfulness and fun!  

If you need a little bit of help to get your creative juices going, here’s some definitions straight out of the dictionary:

1. an amusement or pastime: children's games.

2. a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.

3. anything resembling a game, as in requiring skill, endurance, or adherence to rules: the game of diplomacy.

4. a trick or strategy: to see through someone's game.

5. wild animals, including birds and fishes, such as are hunted for food or taken for sport or profit.

6. Fighting spirit; pluck.

7. to play games of chance for stakes; gamble.

There are loads of directions you could take with this one!  Think board games- Monopoly, Sorry, Trivial Pursuit to name a very few.  How about card games- bridge, canasta, poker?  Some of us are old enough to remember Transactional Analysis and The Games People Play.

If you prefer nature subjects, think game animals, endangered species, environmental causes.
Or, how about the Olympic Games, the Para-Olympics, the World Cup, World Series, the Super Bowl, March Madness?  (For the non-USA folks, that is the college basketball tournament that is almost over right now- the final game is tonight.)  There’s the Highland Games in Scotland- I’m wondering if the Aussies have anything similar?

What about the games you played as a child- hopscotch, dodgeball, tag, hide and seek, red rover, jacks, blind man’s bluff, tug of war?

Something to do with Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or Monaco would certainly fit here!

These are just a few examples to get your thinking going.  I’m sure you’ll come up with many more directions to take the word.

Let the creative games begin!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Starting Point

Hi, this is Gina and I want to start by saying that this is all quite exciting, to join in this upcoming series of textile challenges with such talented and diverse ladies. Many thanks to Diane from 12x12 for creating this group.

I am a Home Economist turned potter and I am now finding time to return to my first love, textiles. About six years ago I picked up a copy of "Quilting Arts" in the bookstore and found it fascinating. Wow, had quilts changed! I had made a couple traditional quilts many years ago and had enjoyed making small crazy quilts for awhile but had abandoned quilting when teaching and other sewing took up my time. Then I discovered clay and time became even more scarce. When I was reading my first copy of "Quilting Arts" I was working on my final assignment for a graphic design class. My professor encouraged me to incorporate my clay in this final project and I was thrilled to finally combine my two creative loves of clay and fiber into one piece. I took the idea of using Solvron, a product I had never heard of before, to create what I started calling fiber studies. I layered fabric, yarns, seeds, petals, under netting and over the solvron. These studies were attached to slabs of clay. I didn't know it then but this was the start of my journey into art quilting.
My goal has continued to combine my clay with fiber and use a variety of natural materials such as seeds and petals but I have been finding time to explore the world of art quilts/art cloth and hope this challenge group will push me to find my voice in that world. Above is a small quilt including petals and seeds, stitched into a clay box. What I make for our upcoming challenges won't be stitched into a clay box!

The one from downunder

As the Australian person in this challenge, I thought I would post something very Australian.  But first a bit  about me.
Like a few of the others, I am not a lifelong quilter.  I drew from an early age, as did all of my family.  It was expected, just like writing and reading, however the belief in my family also was that art is not a reponsible profession, and I suppose back in the 60s and 70s, it really wasn't.
So, I became a biochemist instead and until my forties, I did little real art or craft although I was always drawn to making things.  When I met my partner and moved out into the bush, we were kindred spirits and both loved creating.  He is a master craftsman and does woodwork and turning.  I joined the art group.  Through the art group I saw quilts at our shared shows, but I didn't really decide it was for me until I met QUILTING FABRICS.  Yummmy.
I did do traditional quilts for a short while, but there always something different waiting to be done.  I loved all the different techniques and textures and wanted to try them all.  Machine quilting was something I really loved and it led to thread painting, which led to the quilt I am going to show you.
When our town was destroyed by fire in feb 2009, both tony and I decided that our lives and our crafts were more important than any other thing and this changed our lives - in a good way, I think.
Since then I have been working on broadening my technique base and intend to do city and guilds machine embroidery in a few years when I feel I have enough mastery of technique.
So this is my quilt.  It is quite large being about 50x40 inches and it hangs on the wall in my studio.  It is all raw egdge applique with a lot of thread painting.  It took me a year to complete, with many breaks.
Albert Namatjira was the first Aboriginal artist of note in Australia and even though he died a few years before I was born, his work was important to me in that it was about the true essence of Australia.  This is my rendition of  "Ghost gum - Mount Sonder" which hangs in the national gallery.  I feel a bit afraid putting this up, because, sometimes I can't believe that I made it and now I will have to at least match it in the challenge!
I am in awe of the range of work we have all been putting up and can't wait for the experimenting to start.

Pieces of Me

Reading what the others have posted, it sounds like there are a lot of similarities in what brought us to this stage of our lives in quilting.  I also grew up surrounded by needles and fabric.  My mother sewed and knitted, my grandmother quilted, and my aunt does all of it.  I was making most of my clothes by the time I hit high school.

When I was first married, my husband's aunt had a quilt store.  I worked in it occasionally, and did some small pieces.  One was a really awful landscape done with 70's calicoes- I finally gave it away as a white elephant Christmas gift a few years ago.  I didn't keep up with the quilting, and didn't do anything else until my youngest and only daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age 6.  A friend saw that I needed something to occupy my mind and hands, and got me back into quilting.  I made a couple of Margaret Miller Strips that Sizzle quilts, and have been at it ever since.   I'd also say that Margaret Miller has really influenced how I look at color and value.

I've never done much with traditional bed quilts- I got seduced by the art side pretty early.  I don't follow patterns well, and I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with my own designs.  About ten years ago, I took a fabric painting class- and fell in love with designing not only my own quilts, but my own fabric.  I taught myself dyeing from books, and have been at it ever since.  I'll still use paints occasionally, but dyeing is my real love.  The serendipity intrigues me, and the moment when you pull your fabric out of the dryer and start ironing it is just magical.

I've also added other surface design skills to my repertoire- I discharge several different ways, I screen print, make my own stamps, and stencil.  I am trying hard to prevent myself from being a slave to all the different techniques that are out there, and being selective and judicious in choosing those techniques that can best serve my vision.

There is a certain amount of irony to that last statement, because some of my best work has not been the result of careful planning- it has been more of a "let's try this and see what happens!"  That's how this piece that I completed last year came about.

Reap the Whirlwind, 2010

This is a wholecloth quilt done with a piece of fabric I drip-dyed.  It's based on a photo I took of wind turbines that are close to my home.  I painted the wind turbines using freezer paper stencils I cut.  The mountains and sky are defined only with the quilting, using many different colors of thread.  It was the first time I'd attempted anything so ambitious with free motion quilting, and I was very happy with how it turned out.  It was part of an exhibition that the Art Quilt Association (AQuA) of Grand Junction, Colorado had at PIQF last fall.  (Yes, I belong to a group based in Colorado!)

I think I am still trying to find my voice- that unique something that says "Beverly made this."  I think continuing to create, to just do the work, is all part of the journey.

On a more personal level, I'm married (although not to the husband with quilt shop aunt), with two sons and a daughter.  My husband also has a son, so between us we've the four grown children.  My oldest is married and lives in Tampa, Florida- as does my beautiful granddaughter!  My younger son lives in Chicago, and my daughter is still at home working and going to school.  My husband's son lives locally, and has two children that we see frequently.  I work full time as a social worker- and I'm really looking forward to retiring in a few years.  I decided years ago that quilting and fiber art are the best forms of therapy for me.

I'm especially excited to have an international component to the group.  I was fortunate enough to spend a year traveling Europe and North Africa when I was in college, and another year living in Belgium after college. I also taught for a year in central Africa after college- another eye-opening, life-changing experience  My daughter-in-law is from Colombia- I'm having fun watching my granddaughter Michelle learn two languages.  She'll have to be bilingual, the maternal side of her family doesn't speak English, and the paternal side is pretty much English speaking!  I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to experience life outside the US, and wish more Americans did. 

I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone, playing, and growing artistically. 

it’s still feeling a bit weird

to introduce myself on ‘our’ blog with a quilt and a little story. It feels great to be invited by Diane and to become part of a wonderful group of very talented and experienced quilters / artists. I can’t wait to get started.

African Atarashii quilt front - started in October 2008 - finished in September 2009.

I only quilt for about 4 years, being mostly self taught. I’m a member of the Dutch Quilt Guild and of a small group (called one stitch back) that meets once a month at our LQS. I love to take classes and to join quilt clubs, which provides me of the needed feed back and tips and tricks. I also like to take part in swaps.

I could go on jabbering away about quilts, why I quilt and the split person I am when it comes to my taste in quilts, in fabrics and techniques, in patterns and non-patterns. Being this kind of chameleon makes it tough to choose one quilt that exactly reflects what kind of quilter I am.

African atarashii quilt back

I love to work on quilts that are meant to comfort people. I also love interaction, so I’ve organized some interactive quilt projects on my blog which were a wonderful experience and learning curve. These kind of quilts reflect me best for the quilter I am and want to be. But... I’m also a quilter that wants to make difficult quilts, needs challenges to stay focussed, to enjoy the process, because I get easily derived and bored.

The African atarashii quilt reflects that part of me. When you make an atarashii quilt, you need to think of the front and back of the quilt at once, so it’s a mind boggling journey. The quilt shows my love for colours, my persistance in getting things done, my wish to learn new techniques from all over the world and my love for these wonderful African hand dyed fabrics.

I hope these characteristics will help me to accomplish the challenges that we will embrase together!


A little bit about me...

Hmmmm how do you talk about yourself. I started sewing about 20 years ago when my daughter was in 4-H so we really kind of learned together. I lived in florida at the time and clothes were easier to learn when there really was not much too them....
After about a few years of doing that and then we moved to my Dad's home state of TN I started watching the "Eleanor Burns" show and was hooked on traditional quilting. I took some classes at our LQS and sort have grown since then. I really have lost the patience to stay with a quilt for months before I wonder onto something else so I loved to do a mixed array of stuff now as long as it has to do with fabric and thread. Now I still do my occasional traditional quilt but not so much anymore. There is just so much out there now for quilters and sewers that I seem to want to try it all. I started to get into crazyquilting and stitching and always go back to it because it must be the feminie side of me. So basically I get I am self taught. I do allot of volunteer quilting for our charities here in TN particularly the woman's abuse centers.
I have two adult children and 3 grandbabies ages 13,9 & 2 two are boys and the baby is a girl, and they take up allot of my time and I have no complaints about that.

For my picture I composed a collage of my different recent involvements because they all mean a little something to me.
I think quilters are the best people in the world. We seem to become close quick and always want to be there each other. I am involved in 4 quilt guilds here in TN and a fiber arts guild also. These are most of my friends because that is how I chose it to be. It seems to me that some (not all) of the people that are not involved in fabrics and fiber who I thought were friends turned out to be acquaintences and that is fine but my heart is with my family and friends. I tell things like I see them and hopefully am very tactful about it. I enjoy being with people whether it is in blogland or real life.
I am so excited to be a part of this group and I am glad that we are from all parts of the world. It is nice to know that when you get up in the middle of the night and somebody from over the pond is awake they just might want to chat a bit and I get to know them better. Well that is it I cannot wait until we get to play together and I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It all started...

with my mother who was always busy creating something with her hands.  Dresses for me and my sisters, embroidered blouses, crocheted tablecloths, knitted sweaters.  I would watch and try to learn by osmosis.  While on a Sunday outing with her, I came across a book about quilting.  I thought, "I can do that!"  That was in 1993.  Since then I have made numerous quilts that have found their way onto the beds of relatives, to Hospice patients, over incubators in neonatal wards and to numerous other recipients.

During those first 16 years, I mastered the fundamentals and amassed quite a fabric collection in the process.  Up till then I had been working solely with fabric and thread.  Now I wanted to try something different, yet remain textile focussed.
Over the next 2 years I attended workshops that added things like working with angelina, foiling, stamping and fabric painting to my skill set.  My local guild provided an avenue for sharing "inside tips" that the camraderie of like-minded individuals offers.  And then of course there was the internet where I was able to view what others were doing with textiles.  I decided it was definitely time to spread my wings.  So here I am.

I chose this quilt as my intro.  It was a challenge, in which I was to work within a specified grid and given a selection of ten 4-inch patches, from which I could choose.  My choice had to be incorporated into that grid.  This continued over several months with each month offering a different selection of patches to choose from.

I was able to make up my own patterning as I went along.  I found myself "playing" rather than "following".  I enjoyed the process of playing with setting things askew even though there remained some symmetry.  I think this one intensified my desire to step outside the traditional box however small the steps.  I too enjoy trying new techniques and have stacks of little samples. 

I've got my toolbox open and I'm so ready to take on the challenges that are in store for us.

How I got here...

It has been a looong and convoluted journey, 
but I am so thrilled to be a part of Tangled Textiles!!!!

My paternal grandmother was a wonderful sew-er, knitter, crochet-er, and smocker.
Fortunately for my grandmother, after three boys, my aunt came along 10 years later!
I am not sure that my uncles and father appreciated her handiwork!

46-Lisa in Rocking Chair
(this is me wearing one of my grandmother's handmade dresses)

My grandmother gave each of her 5 granddaughters (at the age of 13)  money towards their first sewing machine. Since my mother didn't sew and we lived in another city than
my grandmother, I took lessons at our local Singer Sewing shop. 

It wasn't until 18 years later
that I discovered quilting when I registered for a class at the local  community college
and I was hooked!!!!
I have made many (many!) baby quilts, a bunch of quilts for my kids
and a lot of gifts over the years. 

But in the last couple of years, I have begun to branch out.
Many of my 'quilts' are no longer traditional, they no longer follow a pattern,
and are inspired by my surroundings and ideas that pop into my head in the early hours of the morning while running at the gym or outside (it is a good time to think!)
I also have begun to dabble in other mediums, particularly art journaling.

And now, coincidentally, it is another 18 years later!!!!
How weird!

I chose "Sunrise in the Mountain" as my way of introducing myself.

This is not a large 'quilt'
but I think of this 'quilt' as one of my very first pieces of textile art
(ooo that sounds so cool!).

It was inspired by a photo my husband took at sunrise on a nearby mountain
(we live in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of NY)
and I challenged myself by using techniques that were completely new to me.

And now...
I am looking forward to getting to know my cyber fiber friends better,
face new challenges, and tangle myself in textiles!!!!

What does one say

to introduce themselves to a group of talented creative people?  It was suggested that we use one of our quilts that either shows what we are like, or not like, and describes why we feel that way.  Finding a quilt that works either way is a tough one for me - I find my style and likes change so frequently - almost with every single project I do!  I'll finish a scrappy quilt and just love it, but then I'll do a challenge piece that has me selecting colours outside my normal comfort zone, and loving that and just going to town with those colour schemes for awhile. I love trying out new techniques, and am always trying to add something new with each piece that I do.  I love a challenge and a deadline!

I'm going to choose this quilt as the best current representation of me.  It is currently my avatar - I think it depicts my love of colour and acknowledges (at least too me!) that I I can create outside my comfort zone, and love to try new and different things.  It was done for an on line swap, Doll Quilt Swap #9, and my partner's favourites showed she liked blues and oranges.  Blues have always been a comfort zone for me, but I've never been particularly fond of oranges, so had done very little with them.  This was one of the challenges I put to myself - use orange as a focus in this quilt.  I also wanted to incorportae some curves and applique, so the flying geese just seemed the natural thing.  For this piece I did applique the geese using a raw edge technique, but since making this I have also done some paper pieced geese for a postcard swap, and love that technique as well!  My current passion is free motion quilting and trying to figure out what quilting patterns best enhance a quilt.  I really like what I came up with for this one!

I love taking technique workshops, and have all kinds of samples, and try to work them into my pieces as much as possible. 

Bring on the challenges!

Friday, April 1, 2011