Monday, March 23, 2009

Point of View of A Dandelion

Sometimes you have to look at things from the point of view of the dandelion out there in the middle of your green green spring lawn.

You are:
Unwanted (usually),
unloved (mostly),
and overlooked (almost always).

But still you have a purpose that you go about fulfilling no matter what. Until that mower cuts you down, or that toddler fist grabs you tightly, or that romping dog tramples you. You sprout, you grow, you produce a flower, that attracts various visitors, you soak up the sunshine and rain.

Then you reach the end of your time (at least this cycle) and you let go of your showy petals, and send seeds out on the winds to seek their own spot to grow. The rest of you dies back, but your essence remains in the roots, underground, nourished by a few remaining leaves. And you wait, until it is time for you to go through it all once again.

I love this time of year, when the mower isn't going quite yet, the grass is getting high and the dandelions are dancing across my lawn, providing such a beautiful show. They make me happy just to look at them, at least for a little while.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Collage As Escape

As I mentioned before, not much sewing is happening as I'm working up to figuring out the gigantic king-sized roadblock (hah!) of a quilt that needs to be layered, basted, and quilted.
Soooo what have I been doing instead? Well, besides the sketching I showed earlier, I've been collage happy in my sketchbook. Which is easy to do on the limited flat surfaces in the studio that are still available to actually be worked on.

This first one is called True Art. Which happens to be the name of a local tattoo studio, the logo was removed from the phone book that I use as a glue application surface as I do collage. I've always admired that logo, and was happy to find a good place to use it. The Up n' Atom Chai is a label from the local tea company that makes this chai I buy at the health food grocery store. Oh man does it ever smell good when you drive by the place where they mix and package this stuff. This version of chai is so peppery and sweet and yummy, my absolute favorite.

This one is called: Brains/Responsibilities. Some pen work and colored pencil, magazine photos and tissue paper.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Transcending Rejections & Roadblocks

The ninth secret in "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin, I'm still reading along with other book bloggers (The Next Chapter). I've gotten a little off track with posting on this, but I'm not giving up, because I've found that reading this book along with a great group of creatives really quite helpful.

I think that this secret is probably the turning point, where one decides whether it is worth it to pursue the creative path. Because rejection is absolutely a part of this process, and not everyone is willing to push on through being rejected (more than once usually!). And overcoming the roadblocks that are thrown up, by yourself and others, physical or mental is really where "the rubber meets the road." Do you want success (however you've defined that for yourself) enough to put yourself through this test? Which will be an ongoing experience, not a one-time thing.
I believe this is where the creative dilettantes and dabblers are separated from the Serious Artist (note the serious capitalization). And it is admittedly where I find myself poised at the moment. Well for the last year or so really. Being a creative dabbler is really fun, and relaxing and you meet all kinds of interesting people and try out so many really really interesting new things and techniques. And my goodness I've really truly enjoyed it and gotten so much out of it, and it has saved me so many times I can't even count.
But in the end, the question asked in this chapter essentially, is that really enough for you? For a whole lot of people I bet it is absolutely enough, and those folks are the audience for most of the quilt, craft, scrapbook stuff and magazines and classes, etc. A very valid choice and nothing to ever be sneered at or looked down upon. Better to be a creative dabbler than a frustrated person who never ever lets herself get down and dirty and creative. but but but I hear myself saying, it isn't enough for me anymore.

"Putting yourself out there and sharing your work qualifies as an act of courage and tests your fortitude." - Gail McMeekin

So I have put myself out there, with my work, for many years now. And maybe it is courageous, but that's not how it feels anymore. It feels like it is just part of the whole work of being a creative person. And I know that I need to do much more of the work of the business side of being an artist, instead of just hanging out as a creative dabbler.

A great fun exercise in this chapter is making a list of ten acceptance fantasies and then writing them out in descriptive detail, who you talk to, what you say, what you're wearing, which work is involved, what you're paid, etc. And then further on, taking those same acceptance fantasies we're asked to actually detail what goes into success at making these happen, what ingredients you are missing, to specifically plan out how to make those fantasies become reality. That's the crucial thing isn't it, to figure out how to make it happen, oh and to actually follow through and Do It.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Quilting Stuck

Well, what do you know this is my 1001st post!

Wish I'd realized that last time was # 1,000. Oh well. Onto the new millenium right?

I have gotten so stuck on the above pictured quilt. It is a king-sized bullseye in these crazy bright happy spring green colors. For years now I've been saying it will be done by our anniversary (which is coming up in a week). This year I actually have made great progress, and was on track to actually get it done this year. I even made the backing, which took much longer than you'd think.
I finally went and got the wood rails and PVC pipe that is required to use the John Flynn frame I bought years ago. Went to assemble the frame and realized that some critical parts are missing and it won't work at all. This is the first time I've taken it out of the box, so I'm disappointed to say the least. I was on a roll and this has completely stopped me in my tracks.
Now to figure out if I can get the parts I need to make the frame work or give in and try to do this king-sized quilt without benefit of a machine quilting frame. I honestly don't have trouble with the quilting part, the stumbling block is the basting process. The only way I know how to baste a big quilt is with safety pins, and :
  1. I've Never pin basted one this big
  2. Pretty sure I don't have enough floor space to baste it without some major furniture moving
  3. Don't own enough of the right kind of safety pins.
  4. Am struggling with having enough energy in enough of a block to accomplish this, and once the furniture is moved and it is in process on the floor, it has to be done.
When I write this down like this, now I can stop beating myself up about being a slacker and not getting it done (again). No wonder I've been stuck! And no wonder people send out their big quilts to be quilted by a long-armer. I don't have the money to unfortunately, and I really want to gift my husband and I this big quilt that will actually cover our whole bed (with us in it). So I must figure this out somehow, so that I can move on to something else.
I say I'm stuck because all this equipment, long pieces of wood, giant quilt top and backing and batting is sitting out in my studio, taking up all the space and energy and it just plain demoralizing to even go in there and do anything at all. Gosh, what a complainer I am. I feel like Winnie-the-Pooh stuck in the opening of Rabbit's hole, unable to get in or get out. Guess I'll just have to wait until I get "thin" enough to move again...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sketching The Roots

I recently realized I hadn't done much work in my sketchbook, in ages really. (well months) So I sat down and started doodling and produced a sketch of tree roots. It looked really nice just with the pen I'd used, wish I'd taken a picture of it at that stage. but then I wanted to add color.
So I used my Prismacolor pencils. I liked using all the browns together to achieve the various shadings that you see on roots. Then I wanted more amorphous color in the bigger non-root section and sky area, so I used some Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons. When I used my Yasutomo watercolor brush to add water to move the watercolor around I realized that the pen I'd used to sketch with was water soluble (oops). So that made for a very different end product than I'd originally been shooting for. But I like it and how the colors blended together.

And then I still wanted to sketch, but wasn't happy with the way the paper in my sketchbook was reacting to the water. It really isn't suited to watercolor work. So I grabbed one of the blank watercolor paper cards and drew some more roots. This time the color was only added with the watercolor crayons and pencils. I'm pretty happy with the way this card turned out.

Driving or walking around everyday I see exposed tree root systems, as the roads are cut into hillsides. This is of course why every winter during the heavy rains, we have trees falling over, taking down power lines, etc. But seeing this everyday makes it a "go to" image that I tend to sketch. A lot of times I find the patterns the roots make more visually interesting that the tree that grows out of the roots. I guess this noticing what is around me is part of the gathering inspiration process that I automatically use now. I'm glad I've learned to incorporate and be inspired by what is in the natural world that is all around me. Day in and day out.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Surprise! An Award Received

This was a completely beautiful and unexpected surprise, Anne Huskey-Lockard at El Milagro Studios posted a link that I was to check out, and wow! She's given me an award, how about that?
Here's the statement that comes with the award:
"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."
So, wow, thanks Anne! Um, now to narrow it down to eight people to pass this on to, and she's already gotten a few that I would have chosen. Sooo here we go:
Karoda at Seamless Skin
These blogs are so much a part of my life now, I love reading them, and was missing them terribly for the week that I was offline. Thanks ladies for sharing of yourselves and writing so well and being so darned inspiring. I encourage those of you reading this to check them out (if you're not already reading them) and add them to your blog list.
I did some googling to find the origin of this award, because the name of it is so interesting. Couldn't find anything except that the award name, Proximidade is Portugese for Proximity. So mysterious, but it has been around the internet since last year, I love it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Unfortunately, Julie

Oh dear, this is yet another fun use of Google. Thanks to Diane at Going to Pieces for passing it on.

Try googling this phrase: "Unfortunately (insert your name)" and see what you come up with.

Some of the funniest ones I found are:

Unfortunately, Julie lost her role when it was discovered that she had posed for Playboy magazine.
(oh no the truth is out !)

Unfortunately, Julie is a completely repulsive, unappealing and vulgar human being known to man.
(Yikes, don't hold back now)

Unfortunately, Julie was not able to continue her level 10 success in 2007 due of broken leg.
(So much for level 10 success)

Unfortunately, Julie’s environmental illness ended her art career.
(oh dear, that isn't too auspicious is it?!)

Unfortunately Julie sat on them during a break and we had to do a lot of gluing to get them back together.
(I hate it when I do that)

Unfortunately, Julie couldn't resist and found herself having an affair with Franco.
(ahem, I don't know anyone named Franco)

Unfortunately, Julie was recently informed that most of the cats had been poisoned over a period of a few days.
(my goodness that's horrible!)

Unfortunately, Julie got the boot (too early, in my opinion).
(yeah really!)

Unfortunately, Julie couldn't do anything about my slight bald spot and receding hairline.
(you're on your own there, bub)

Unfortunately, Julie's return home wasn't a time for celebration. Instead, she was accused of shooting Senator Mark.
(Who knew I was so violent?)

Unfortunately, Julie's skin turned a nice shade of red, instead of glistening in the sun like a true vampire.
(my other secret is out, now you know why I read all those vampire books)

Reminds me of the one I did a couple years ago, where you google: "(your name) needs" that one was hilarious!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Down At The Ol' LQS

LQS is an acronym for Local Quilt Shop (Shoppe, Store). And mine is Judy's Sewing in Scotts Valley. These two pictures were recently recovered from my old cell phone (the one that took an ill-advised detour into the toilet, don't ask). The cell phone doesn't work, but the teeny tiny SD card decided to work after a couple months of drying out. How about that ? Miracles of technology and all, which are usually utterly defeated by just a little bit of water.So last summer I walked into Judy's and there was my friend, Terri Thayer's first quilting mystery book, Wild Goose Chase: A Quilting Mystery prominently displayed. I was thrilled and rearranged stuff so you could see the book a bit better. Her second book in the series came out Old Maid's Puzzle: A Quilting Mystery (Quilting Mysteries) .

I find them to be much better reading than the Chiavarini quilting books, maybe because I know the author, but definitely because I like the writing and characters and setting a whole lot more.

I'm looking forward to the third one coming out in April, Ocean Waves: A Quilting Mystery . It is fun knowing a published author, we all were quizzing her during the CQFA retreat about the whole writing/publishing thing, very cool. We were full of suggestions for characters and ways to kill off people related to quilting, which she very gracefully and bemusedly listened to.

And another thing that caught my eye in the quilt store was this baby toy to sew. You know those plastic stacker toys, this one is made with high contrast fabric donuts, the pattern is by Heather Bailey. I might just have to make one for my new niece to be, brother and sister-in-law are expecting soon!