Tag Archives: dots

Pushing one’s preferences, but not too much

This picture was shot under a sky light that was filtering northern light through a thin veil of snow — hence the blue cast.

Are all epiphanies obvious after the fact?  Here’s my latest, associated with making this little quilt — when taking on something new, don’t change up EVERYTHING else while you’re at it.

While consciously switching scale, palette, or medium is very instructive to an artist, and probably ought to be built into one’s work rhythm on a regular basis, juggling too many projects where everything is new is disorienting.

Case in point — my first script quilts (like the above).  I was busy shifting to a paler palette, sewing more by hand, trying out gel mediums and markers on fabric, weaving strips of fabric — and getting very frustrated because NOTHING was familiar (except the collage aspect).

For the  little spiral piece, I played with some of my most beloved fabrics. . . current fabrics (in use in the Global Warming Quilt that is in progress downstairs).   This is my preferred palette.  I am drawn to very saturated colors — not always this hot, but usually this saturated.  To mix in a few washed out hues was not enough to throw me.  Further, these are patterns I love — polka dots, solar disks, spirals.

So, the teeny scale and hand stitching, which are NOT usual for me, could be dealt with.

I picked a single variegated Sulky thread and stuck with it, so that I could focus on placement of stitches and not thread.  It was so pleasurable to stitch!

PS  I am thrilled to be pushing a needle through soft layers.  In the past, I have needed to use my TEETH, often, to get a needle through because I’ve backed my quilt with an upholstery fabric and layered applique on top of piecing, and sometimes added sections of previous quilts (that would be SIX layers, one of them upholstery-weight!).

Dots in the trunk…

Christmas came a little early! I met a jeweler in October, who is married to an upholsterer, who called me last week and asked me if I wanted some fabric.

I tried to limit myself to two bags, but took three, and I may go back for some more silks. It was all so beautiful and neatly folded and sorted by color and/or fiber type.

Truly made my day — my week — my month?

But, here’s the thing. As I fall down the rabbit hole of blogging and find one amazing quilter after another, three of whom, say, then lead me to another set of amazing quilters (perhaps in the comments of the first batch of fiber artists), and then I find ten other amazing quilters on a sidebar somewhere in there, and I am feasting my eyes in wonder and appreciation…. I am falling, falling down this seemingly endless tunnel of creation thinking — can I possibly slow down long enough, commit long enough, pursue long enough, to create a signature?

And here’s another thing, I am starting to wonder how I can continue to be a quilter who merely SEWS when all the work that most excites me these days seems to involve dying, bleaching, wringing, aging, distressing, and intense surface embellishment.

So, while I LOVE, love, love these dots — part of me is judging them for being premade dots — dots that I have not fashioned with my hand, dots that are not imposed by rust or clamps or applique. They are velour-ish designer dots.

There is more to say about this that has to do with learning/imitating/finding one’s true palette/tempo/scale/approach, that I am much too tired to take on at this moment.

But let me say that in falling down this rabbit hole lined with pictures, I am aware that I have to preserve a rhythm, a confidence, a pursuit, that is all my own.

Which is difficult this time of year because even though I have some time my basement-space is too cold to work in right now. And for some reason, I am feeling determined to keep the upstairs looking festive and if cluttered, cluttered with Christmas things.

I guess I am taking a break.  I am wondering if I want a “word” to inform a series of quilts, like Jude Hill and others who follow Jude are thinking about…  And what would my word be?  I have been collecting fabrics for awhile now that have a script-like quality — perhaps what I want to explore is the shape and nature of writing itself, and not a particular word.  Take this wisteria, for example — I feel its twists and turns as a kind of language, one that very definitely resembles writing.

Lastly, I am mulling over the idea of taking on one master quilter a month and consciously making a single piece that does homage to their style, content, and approach (as I understand them), as a way to learn, as a way to more directly work with this whole tricky business of learning by imitation and making something one’s own.

But don’t worry — I love my velour-ish designer dots and have the utmost faith that they will be well used in the coming year!