Friday, September 14, 2018

Finding Inspiration - Off the Wall Friday

Recently, a relatively new friend of mine was a bit surprised to find out I was an artist.

 She says, " I knew you sewed quilts, but really, you're an artist?"

Wellllll, yes

"I mean, you make up the designs you sew into quilts?"

Ummmmm, Yesssssss, but really, they're more art than quilts.....wellllllllll really they're both

"From scratch?"

Yeah, like any other artist

"But where do you get all those ideas from.  I could never do that!"

OMG, ideas are everywhere,  In fact the hard part most of the time is narrowing them down to one idea.

She didn't believe me. I could tell.  But really its true.  Ideas are everywhere if you just look around you.

Although most of my ideas come from my own photos - all these ideas were taken from Windows 10 Themes photos (An important note, however: these images are licensed by Microsoft for the personal non-commercial use of Windows users.)

All of these could be used as inspiration for both figurative works as well as abstract.  They also also could lead you to art quilts or more traditional quilts or even into the modern arena.  I mean - gosh - I could go on and on just by exploring the free themes of Windows 10 but I really do need to publish this post!!

At this point, if you're asking yourself - wow where did she find all those themes - its pretty easy.

Go to Windows 10 Free Themes

Browse the themes and pick one!!  Just Click on the theme - Click on "Get"

It will download, and then you click  "Launch"

The theme will appear.  Now you can change your themes through "Settings"

If you're looking for the individual pictures - that's a little more tricky

I used  %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

in my Windows 10 search box and then clicked on themes - they all should be there

 So What have been up to Creatively?

Friday, September 7, 2018

How to Become an Art Quilter - Off the Wall Friday

So this week I've been participating  Benita's Quilter's Meet & Greet Blog Hop.  I highly recommend you take some time and look at all the blogs!! Its been a lot of fun getting to know some new quilter bloggers and get a peek into their world.  Plus, I found the comments on my post interesting.

One in particular comes from Mindy who wrote,  "after looking at your blog I really want to try my hand at an art quilt. I just have to remind myself that I have very little experience and the first one I do will not be my best!  
How did you start?"

Good Question, Good Attitude!!  I was lucky enough to make my real first art quilt under the watchful eye of the late Joan Colvin  (Click here for a great little video featuring her!) in a 5 day class at
Quilting by the Lake.  She was the one that taught me that     WoW I can do this!!

However  I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have a family that will let them drop everything to go to quilt conference, so I would suggest using blogs, youtube (because as always its not worth knowing if there isn't a tutorial on youtube)  and lastly books.

Blog Posts  (A few of my  past posts that will get you started  but honestly explore the web - there are ton out there!)

From Photo to Quilt   A quick explanation of how to go from a photo to pattern.

Big Idea at QBL  Shows how you go from your pattern to picking out fabrics

7 Ways to Abstract a Photo  Gives ways to take a photo to  a abstract design

Improvisational Piecing  Shows how I do quick easy abstract piecing

Red Solo Cup Dyeing   Hand fabric dyeing for beginners with fabulous results

Design Composition - Pointers on Good Composition

Favorite YouTube Channels 

Colourious - Textile Art   A ton of different techniques from sewing, thread painting, surface design
Ellen Anne Eddy  Shows her style of thread painting

(to tell you the truth - I use Craftsy classes for videos more than Youtube - I can highly recommend them for the small cost of them!)

Books I Couldn't Live Without!

 Art Quilt Workbook, Jane Davila, Elin Waterston
The Complete Photo Guide to Art Quilting, SusanStein
Create Your Own Free Form Quilts, Rayna Gillman
5 Must Have Art Quilt Books

There is so much out there to explore.....once I started compiling this list I thought - WoW no wonder someone could become overwhelmed.  I think if it was me....I would start with a good class on Craftsy.  Minimal investment, you can work at your own pace and there is always someone to answer questions.  Then start reading and practicing and don't be afraid to make mistakes and revival in your successes!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Nina-Marie! Quilter's Meet & Greet

My Studio in the former front parlor of my house
Add caption
Hi!!  Benita was gracious enough to invite me to her Quilter's Meet  & Greet!!  I thought it a brilliant idea as a way to meet some new quilters and introduce them to my blog.

Sooooo, I'm Nina-Marie and I live in a small town outside of Erie, Pennsylvania where its gorgeous three seasons a year.  The other season only snow mobilers and ice fisherman enjoy.  My husband Paul is an artisan woodworker when he's not baking and my college age daughter, Tessa has minors in Creative Writing and Drama.  So needless to say, we're a creative household.

My First Art Quilt made in a Joan Colvin's Class

I started quilting 25 years ago by mistake when I received a quilt book in the mail.  Since I love quilts, I decided to make one of them thinking, "How hard can it be??"  That  was the beginning of a life long passion.  Over the years, I've explored  pretty much every aspect of quilting there is and love  them all equally.  Each new project I did, taught me something new...and I'm still learning. 

This was made from my own hand dyed and hand painted fabrics

This was a Do-Over Piece from the original

This blog acts not only as my on-going creative journal, but also as a way that I can pass on what I've learned.  Seven years into my quilting journey, I made the leap into art quilting.  Since my degree is in Engineering, I had NO idea what I was doing.  In fact, I thought that you needed to be VERY artsy to make such amazing art quilts I saw in magazines and online.  What I learned  was that although you do need some artistic knowledge,those quilts were the products of years of learning and a lot of hard work.  It wasn't magic.  This blog is here to document that journey.

This was a block of the month quilt from Quilter's Newsletter I learned so much!!

Quilting is very personal to me. To me, its not just another fad craft.    Although of late, I’ve been doing mostly art quilting, I still love to traditional quilt.  I’ve made mega-projects completely by hand before (I have one in the works still!) and I love, love, love hand quilting.  I was a 20,30 something quilter before it was fashionable to be one.  People would say “Why do you spend all your time and money cutting up perfectly good fabric and hanging out with old ladies?”  I’d laughed at them  – point to a creations that was uniquely mine and say, “Why not?  Now that I'm finally aging into the quilting crowd , quilting seems second nature.
This is my favorite pattern quilt because I love the use of gradations

My favorite art quilt because its reminds me of summer
Because I'm working full time now (I'm a sales representative for ladies catalogs - so I help ladies shop over the phone) I don't have time to blog as much as I'd like.  I do however host a blog link up that is mostly aimed at art quilters (but any quilter is welcome) every Friday called -
 Off the Wall Fridays.  We're a pretty informal lot and anybody is welcome to link a creative post any week.  The Link up starts every Friday morning - midnight EStime and ends at the end of the day on Monday.

I'm so glad to take this time to introduce myself and show off some of my work.  I encourage you to visit Benita's Meet & Greet to get know more quilters!!  
My favorite  abstract quilt so far....I love the colors of it

Friday, August 31, 2018

More Quick Art Quilt Tips - Off the Wall Friday

Before I get to this week's tips, I want to thank you for all the encouragement last week.  I was feeling pretty low and empty and I appreciate you all listening!  This week things seem so much better.  I did take a good look at balance in my life and scheduled a bunch of time off between now and Christmas.  As you all probably know, when things look their lowest its probably because some part of  your life is out of balance.  So I thought with some time off to play domestic goddess and quiet time in my studio it would be just what the doctor ordered!!

Okay!!!  On to this month's Tips!!

Know Your Sewing Machine

Yes, I realize you know how to turn it on and off, but you really need to know way more than that.  You need to know how to clean it properly, how to take the bobbin compartment apart, what all the feet do and how to use them, what stitches you use most and their many variations.  You want to know your machine manual inside and out and how to wind a proper bobbin.  You want to know what thread your machine loves best and how to quickly change your feet.   Yes, all this and more.  Believe me it will make your life so much easier.  When something goes wrong with your machine, you'll know what to check first.

Start a Creative Journal

For years, I tried to start a journal of my work.  Several got started, several got abandoned.  Until, I started this blog.  For me it was much easier to type and edit photos than to write long hand with a pen.  It finally clicked and let me tell you, its been a life saver.  In your journal you can you have a running account of works in progress, but you can save experiments, future ideas, things you've learned, things you want to learn.  Pretty much a week doesn't go by when I don't refer back to this blog for something.  So start a journal - pick any form you want  - traditional journal, virtual journal, even a three ring binder with page protectors.  Whatever suits you!!

Stop Apologizing

That pretty much says it all ....STOP APOLOGIZING for your art.  Let's face it some stuff you make is so amazing you can't believe you made it.....So stuff you make your mother wouldn't even like...BUT its all YOURS.  Its all uniquely you and that's good enough.  So stop apologizing for the greatness, stop apologizing for the dogs, stop apologizing for the time it takes or the money it costs.  Just because the world today doesn't put a high priority on art  doesn't make it any less imperative to
our world.

Organize Your Thread 

Your life will be much easier if your thread is organized by type and in way you can easily find it. For me,  the easiest and cheapest was to use the slim thread boxes.  I have ones for rayon, ones for polysheen, ones for cotton.   I can't tell you how many times, I've had my classmates stop by table to admire my thread boxes.  They have a ton of thread too, but its the organization of it that catches their eye.  Plus when they are in boxes like that, its easily mobile.   I personally would love a cabinet with removable shelves for thread, but for now this works for me.

 So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Writer's Block on Off the Wall Friday

Okay I admit it.....I have writer's block.   So let me let you in on the secret on how I write this blog.  I seem to go in spurts.  I'll come up with a ton of good ideas  I want to write about while throwing in some posts on my own personal work.  I might have a dry week with no good idea or a week I'm busy on the family front or a week that I'm sick (like last week!) but normally that only lasts a week.

Not this time.  Here it is  11 pm on a Thursday night and no big idea has hit me.  I really have thought about it on and off all week - honest!!  But work has been crazy as we gear into Fall (which is a good and bad thing - you gotta love job security but gosh, not  a moment for a creative thought!)

In my studio, I've just been working on finishing up a lot of the pieces I've started over the last couple of years.  So many bindings, edges, labeling that needs to be done.  I've been fall cleaning and trying to get things ready for a winter of sewing.  I've been feeling more creative so I know a new project is on the way!

My daughter has her next to last First Day of School this week.  Wow!!  We've done 18 of these so far starting when she was in the Early Learning Lab at the local university through to now, her junior year in college.  Because of this First Day ritual, it always represented new beginnings to me rather than nature heading into hibernation.

In other news, an upcoming class that I was suppose to to take at Marc Adam's School of mural design class with David Franklin where we would design and paint the halls of the new school's new building.  Apparently the class did not fill and I guess it was too much work for just David and me - grin!!  I'm all disappointed because not only was I finally going to see why my husband loves the school so much in person, but also I wanted to get some insights into designing on such a big scale and how that works!!  Franklin's work is Amazing.
Woodworking got cancelled.  Yes you read that right - I was taking a class at my husband's favorite woodworking school.  It was

Still that leaves me with a week off, no car, and a quiet house .....Does that have STUDIO TIME written all over it or what?????

So that's what is up with me! Hopefully this will not last long.  If anybody has any good ideas, I'm taking suggestions.!!  Please?????  Anybody????? grin!!

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kimono!, The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota - Off the Wall Friday

Symphony of Light, Kubota (5 of a series 80}

So I tend to use my time at Quilting by the Lake as an "Art Holiday" visiting any exhibits that are happening locally.  Well this year, I hit the jack pot!!  The Munson - Proctor -Williams Arts Institute in Utica, NY is hosting an amazing exhibit of the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003).  Kubota is credited with reviving and modernizing the nearly forgotten 400 year old  textile technique of Tsujigahana. 

The exhibit includes 48 nearly 7 foot Kimonos.  Some of stand alone pieces.  Some are series that are meant to be shown together.  There is also part of Kubota's amazing Symphony of Light.  Although only 36 are shown, the complete series consists of 80, yes you read that right, 80 kimonos that represent the grandeur of the universe.  Individually they really are a glory, but together they show the true talent of a master artist.  The 5 that they grouped together from Symphony of Light spanned the width of 27 feet!

The Kimonos are made on silk crepe with a long, labor intensive process of painting, dyeing,
embroidery and embellishing.  The dyeing process is daunting enough, but the hand stitching on the pieces is what creates the texture that brings the pieces alive.

I also bought the book, The Textile Artistry of Itchiku Kubota which I can highly recommend.  The catalog has the right blend of background information and gorgeous photos.  So many times I'm disappointed by an exhibits' book, but this one I can see myself reading over and over.

I promise to do a future post on the actual logistics of the modernized Tsujigahana process, but I thought for today, I would just let you drink in all that is Kubota.

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?