Friday, June 29, 2018

4 Quick Art Quilt Tips - Off the Wall Friday

I thought it was time to start a new monthly series of posts on tips that will help with the beginner art quilter and maybe the not so beginner art quilter.  .Some may be practical, some philosophical, some a little bit of both. Please feel free to chime in on your opinion or advice whenever you want.  Also, if somebody wants me to highlight a guest tip just email me and I'll include it in a future post.


Research on Edward Hooper
I can always tell when I look at an art piece if the artist has researched its topic.  It just seems to give the piece more depth, more emotion.  Now what do I mean about research?  Well if you are working figuratively make sure you have plenty of inspirational photos or pictures of what you want to create.  Look at how other artists have handled the topic.  Explore different viewpoints.  Explore the history and context of the subject you are making.  If you're working abstractly,
research different compositions, palettes, themes.

Edward Hopper Painting that I made a collage  art quilt from
My daughter, now a junior at university (how did THAT happen) showed me how important this was.  Every time she has to portray a new character in a play she does her "Character Work".  She gets a little notebook and starts researching all the ins and outs of the play and character.  She uses that information to draw from as she's giving her own rendition of the part.  This can easily be transferred to figurative art.

So before you start a piece...... Research


Now, let me tell you after 25+ years of quilting, I've created a lot of scraps.  Did I save them all?  NO!  But, I did save enough to be helpful.  My quick tips to save scraps is I organize them into two groups.... Commercial Fabric and Hand dyeds.  Then the groups are separated into gallon size zip lock bags by color.  Only save workable size pieces.  "Workable Size" is different for everyone so you'll have to figure that out.  Then I keep all the zip locks in a nice pretty basket.  I've
tried a bunch of different ways to save scraps but this  - for me - has worked out to be most low maintenance as well as useful.  When I need a scrap - I grab the bag that is the right color.  While I'm working on a project, all the scraps go into a zip lock when at the end I just sort them into the right color bag.


Jackson Pollock Quote
This is one that I have to keep reminding myself over and over.  Stop making art the way others think you should make art.  Stop working in a manner that others thing you should do.  Work in the way you WANT to work.  Since most of us aren't professional artists, we are in this for the joy of creating so we don't have to justify our work to anybody.  Now of course this is easier said than done because really why make art if you aren't going to share.  With sharing it, its human nature for
you want it be well received.  But at some point you want to balance the part of you that wants acceptance and recognition with the part of you that wants to do work exactly the way you want to work.  I highly suggest you give more credence to the latter than the former.

To prove my point, I've been pretty busy in my studio lately doing.....wait for it..... a traditional quilt kit.  Yes, they literally give me the fabric and the pattern and tell me exactly how to make it. So NOT originally work !!  GASP!!!! I haven't shared it here here since its nothing earth shattering but I've been having a BALL!  I forgot how accomplished I feel when I see all the pieces come together properly.  Plus, I'm honing all the piecing skills that can be later used in my own work.....if  when I get back to it.

4.  HAND DYE YOUR OWN FABRIC  (at least once)

My life got so much easier once I learned how to hand dye my own fabric.  For the first 10 yrs, I resisted the urge to dye. It seemed VERY mysterious and VERY complicated.  I mean, really, what did I know about that???  Not to mention, there was a thousand different set of instructions out there on how to do it and none of the materials were readily available in Erie, PA!  Once I finally screwed up the courage and said enough is enough, I got the stuff, picked some instructions and made up my first batch.  It wasn't that hard and it made my life so much easier.

Now don't get me wrong, hand dyeing is a LOT of work.  But, once you get the hang of it and come up with methods that work for you, its really not hard.  Plus its so much cheaper than buying hand dyeds.  Since I don't have a wet studio, I tend to dye a bunch of fabric once or twice a year.  I dye gradations of colors which come in super handy  when I'm doing a piece that needs a lot of different value.  I also, do improvisational  dyeing with my Red Solo Cup Method (which I swear pretty much anybody can get great results).   Plus if you hate doing it and find it too much work or too messy or really both, you can at least say, I tried it once.

 So What Have You Been Up To Creatively?

1 comment:

FreeDragon said...

This wonderful, I love the advice. It is timely, too, today I will be ice dyeing!