Friday, March 16, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, March 9, 2018

Progress - Off the Wall Friday

For the last month I've been spending at least one long day in my studio working on my Craftsy Block of the Month Quilt.  Ya know, there is a running debate about what is more work an art quilt or a traditional quilt.  To tell you the truth, I had absolutely convinced myself that an original art quilt was more work.  I mean, ya gotta come up with the design yourself right?  You have to decide how you're going to make it right?  And THEN you have to actually make it so it looks half way decent.  Obviously, an art quilt takes more time.

Well that's before I dived back into the world of traditional quilting.  I mean gosh this kit came with ALL the fabric, the WHOLE pattern and even an online class with a clear speaking TEACHER.  How hard could it be?


But after spending a month of paper piecing and matching points, I'm much better at it.  Plus the method of paper piecing the class taught left nice neat backs.  Truly paper piecing is a great way to get small precise pieces together!

With the center medallion done ....I only made one piecing mistake from the original pattern ....and once I noticed it I decided I liked it better this way anyways.....I'm onto the next month's lesson...curve piecing.  

More than once I've studied curved piecing but its good for a refresher.  Plus this uses paper piecing AND curve piecing  ....ohhhhh goody.... she says sarcastically.

Still with all the whining, I'm really loving the refresher and feel accomplished when I get a section done.  Another good by-product is that I'm noticing that several of my tools that I've had over 25 years need replacing so I get to do a bit of shopping!!

So onto Curve piecing!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Legacy of Mary Blair - Off the Wall Friday

Blair, before the design for the Mural for Tomorrowland, Disneyland

So this week my life has been consumed with planning our upcoming Disney World trip.   Since we honeymooned there, we thought it was the perfect place to celebrate our  25th anniversary.  
Little did I know that it would take a full year and countless hours to plan.  Now with tickets bought, dining reservations made and fast passes obtained, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  All we have to do is GO!

All this Disney though has brought to mind an amazing artist, Mary Blair (1911-1978).    Now you might not know exactly who Mary Blair is, but I can guarantee you that have seen her work.  Her fingerprints can be seen all over Disney's empire from movie shorts to full length movies to Disneyland to Disney World.

5 Things You Didn't Know about Mary Blair

1.  She worked for nearly 30 years for Disney Animation on projects such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan.  She is the creator of the illustrations of Captain Hook and the White Rabbit.  

2. Walt Disney himself recruited Blair to spearhead the design and creation of the iconic ride  It's a Small World which debuted at the 1964 World's Fair but then was moved to Disneyland.  It of course was replicated in Disney parks in Florida, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong

Blair's Concept Art work for It's a Small World

 TO This

3. Blair created several massive murals for the Disney Parks including the famous ceramic mural that is still the centerpiece of the Contemporary Resort at Disney World.

4.  Due to Blair's bold and ground-breaking color design. She is credited with introducing modernistic art styles to the Walt Disney Studios

5.  But it wasn't all about Disney, Blair illustrations can be seen in the Goldenbooks series which is still in print today.

With all this planning behind me, I can finally get in some sewing this weekend!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Finding Your Voice - Off the Wall Friday

I've been floating for a while now.  I'm not beating myself up for it, mind you  since I've learned over the years that creativity cycles ebbs and flows like most things in life.  But hours of working your way through someone else's  traditional quilting pattern gives a girl time to think.

What is the voice of my artwork?  Have I found it?  Was I actually looking?  grin

hmmmmmmm, after a little research I found suggestions on how to!

Curves, Color and Joy - My Voice
  • Which design element is important to you - shape, line, value, color and texture? Which one do you see taking center stage in your pieces time and time again.   Me, I'm a color girl first and foremost with Value doing a lot of the work.  
  • What are you trying to say?  This takes some thought because you have to decide what is important to you.  Some artists have big political statements; some artists want to change a mundane moment in life into something noteworthy.  Some are storytellers; Some artists want to convey the emotion of what they see.  The list is endless.  I think, and I could be wrong, for me its  all about emotion and beauty. 
  • How Are you trying to say it?  This is all about developing your own working style from  inspiration to the design process to the method of construction and completion.  Yes, you will be influenced by those who have taught you and those you admire, but in the end you need to find out what works for you.  I remember, taking a master class where the teacher was surprised to see me piecing my work.  Apparently, everyone else was fusing.  I at once looked up and said should I be fusing too?  She laughed and said no, the texture the seams are making is amazing.  I realized then and there that I don't need to do what others are doing, but what is right for me.  
  • Where's the Commonality?  Start linking our pieces by what things they have in common.  Explore old elements while adding the new.  Working in series helps with this tremendously but even stand alone pieces should still share some elements with your body of work as a whole.  
  • What Do You want to leave out?  Accept the fact that you don't need to be anybody's idea of an artist but your own.  There are a lot of elements out there that are considered art.  You do not need to put them all in your work.  Work the way you want to work, saying what you want to say and don't apologize for it.  Centering on what's inside of you rather than what's out there in world of art will only strength your own voice.  
I'm sure there are more things to consider, but that's a good start.  Finding one's voice is definitely a work in progress but a rewarding one.  There is nothing I better than hearing one of friends say, "Oh Nina, I could tell your piece right away"

It might be good.  It might be bad.  But its definitely me.

So What Have You Been Up To Creatively?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Annual Skip Day - Off the Wall Friday

 Tessa and I had an annual tradition which we called Annual Skip Day.  I was a substitute teacher all while she was growing up and  so when Tessa was in school, I  went to school.  It was a hard stressful job which had many rewards, but . . . did I mention stressful?  So, I thought it was a good idea that once a year, I would write a note to her teacher . . . .

 Dear Mrs. Teacher,
                                                      Tessa and I are feeling stressed out so we are 
                                                      skipping school today.  We wish you were
                                                      coming with us.  We plan to have fun and 
                                                      eat junk food and laugh a lot.   Don't Worry!
                                                      We'll be back tomorrow.

                                                                      Mrs. Sayre

I would always make sure that homework was all caught up and she never missed a beat.  But we had a ton of fun!!  We would always plan something interesting and did outrageous things - like have hamburger and fries and shakes at our favorite hamburger join....for Breakfast.  We told all the people we met - We're skipping school!  Wanna join us?  

I say all this because I think its a good idea that once in a while, you  just take day off  just because.  Not a day to go to appointments, or to catch up on chores, or to even schedule a studio day.  Its just a day that you forget  responsibilities and stresses.  And don't apologize for it.

So Fast forward 10 years and I've raised a very responsible college girlie, I can't talk her into taking a skip day with me but I'm doing it anyways. With that this blog is coming out a bit late but that is the last thing that could be consider a responsibility today!  I might start on my Sherlock  Box set I got for Valentines day, but  I probably will end up in the studio sewing on my quilt - not because I HAVE to but just for the joy of it.  I might listen to Harry Potter for the third time and get a Happy Meal for lunch and not apologize to anybody.  I might even get a Coke.  With  SUGAR.

So Happy Annual Skip Day!

You should take one too!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Traditional Quilting - Off the Wall Friday

So the couple of weeks, I've gotten back to my roots and have been working on a block of the month quilt.  No matter how much art quilting I do, I still love traditional quilting.  It might be because it always reminds me of the first years when I learned to quilt and how excited I was to have finally found my passion.  Or it might be that it has its roots so solidly in American history.  Or it might be that it usually doesn't take a lot of brain power to make something beautiful.

Well usually. . . . . but maybe not this time.  I've been working on block of the month quilt that I got
This is what is suppose to look like when finished!!
for my birthday last summer from Craftsy.  It was such a super deal (and its even gone cheaper now- $53 for the material kit, pattern AND class) that I couldn't resist it.   One of the things that drew me to the quilt is that it contained some techniques that I wanted to hone so I could use them in my own work.  This quilt has a TON of them.

The first one is paper piecing.  Now, I know how to paper piece and even draft my own patterns.  But, it always takes a lot of brain power to get it just right.  The first part of the quilt is the center medallion with a lot of sharp precisely paper pieced points (say that three times fast!).

First thing I learned - Paper Piecing Sheets are worth the money
I love how they easily sew up and how easily they rip off.
Also if you need to rip out, they can be easily sewn again


The quilt comes with its own craftsy class to help guide you through the quilt.  The camera work is
excellent so you can really tell what he is doing and watching how he gets all his points so sharp.  The teacher also teaches you how to keep your paper piecing nice and neat.

Second thing I learned - Fold and Cut Seam allowance
You fold along the seam line and trim a quarter inch seam.
This makes your paper piecing as neat or neater than traditional piecing
plus helps you piece your points just right

With all the paper pieces blocks done, I'm now sewing them together.  With this I'm remembering something that I've seemed to have forgotten.

Getting all your points to match is not as easy as it looks

Ohhh yeah, I knew there was a reason I don't do a ton of traditional quilting.  I've spent a lot of time ripping out and getting the points just right because with this quilt it makes a big difference.  

Still  I'm having a lot of fun doing this and it reminds me why I fell in love with quilting in the first place.  Still after I ripped out the same seam - 4 - yes - 4 times I was reminded of Jenny's comment to me last week. . . . .

"Sometimes you just need to sew somewhat mindlessly to get back in the groove."

Ohhhhh yeah......that's right mindless........sighhhhhhhhh 

I'm Linking to  Finish or Not Friday

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Off The Wall Friday

I am happy to report that I have officially broken through the winter doldrums and have gotten back into my studio.  It felt so good and just right.  I spent 4 hrs working on a kit quilt and hopefully I'll be making some original work soon!!  But gosh, having fun just sewing the kit quilt!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?