Search This Blog

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Just One of Those Art Days

This morning I woke up to a power outage. The good thing is that it meant I could still paint if I brought everything upstairs. However, I couldn't blog, I couldn't sew, and I couldn't do any other work on the computer like check if I had been accepted for the "In the Garden" Challenge.

I did bring my painting stuff upstairs and worked on a portrait of my grand-daughter that I have been working on for a long time. This painting is the second one I've attempted because the first one was not working out the way I wanted it to.
This is the first attempt. I quit before I put too much into it and
might just revisit it later. Being watercolour, I can still make
some changes to it.

This is the second attempt and it has potential. It is far
from finished but I kind of like what it going on.
The house was getting a little cold by this point so I went to visit my son and daughter-in-law for coffee and when I returned the power had returned and the house was warmer. This meant I could check the Quilting Daily website to see if I had been accepted into the challenge. Alas, my name was not there. Disappointment. Oh well, keep trying, maybe.

With the return of power, I could use my sewing machine and I needed to do some quilting on the table runner my friends and I had succeeded in putting together.

I'm happy with it, however, as I quilted it, it started to bunch and buckle. I've quilted three squares and I'm not happy so I will have to take it apart and come up with another plan. 

So you see, artists don't always have successful days and this one was absolutely not successful. When I have days like this, it is inspiration-sapping and I find it hard to continue or come up with an idea, that I think will work. From the past, I've learned to just work through it and eventually I receive success and the inspiration will return again.

I'm hoping that in next week's blog, I'll have some really positive experiences to share with you.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

In the Garden Challenge Complete

Well, with the help of some wonderful friends who drink tea, I've been able to complete the challenge....a day early, I might add. I've just sent the email with my images to Interweave who puts out the Quilting Arts Magazine I subscribe to. I will find out on January 30th if it has been accepted into the challenge. If it is accepted, I'll have to mail the whole thing to Interweave where they will photograph it for publication in their upcoming June/July issue of Quilting Arts.

I am a lot happier with the final piece. Once the tea bags had been fused onto the background, I machine quilted it, using a metallic thread in the sky for some sparkle. Then I embellished the piece with green beads, some dragon fly charms and a cross-stitch of a bumble bee to add some interest. It's titled "The Garden's First Blooms".  Hope you like it and thanks for the help!

It was so nice to be thinking about Spring during this
cold, stormy, snowy winter.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Challenge Stress

The title above can be understood in two ways. Remember the Challenge I blogged about last week that I wanted to enter? Well, it's STRESSING ME OUT! I think I know now why I never bothered to enter challenges in the past.

The more I worked on the little quilt that I'm doing for this Garden Challenge, the more I hated it. So before I used up all my painted tea bags, I stopped. I really didn't like the background I had done with the acrylic paint. It was too bold and when I applied the painted tea bags to it, you couldn't tell they were there.

So yesterday, I had decided to drop the challenge.....the easy way to eliminate stress. Besides, I have a million and one other projects in my head that I want to do. Why should I spend time on something I really didn't like to do anyway?

But.....this morning when I went into my studio where my painted tea bags were still sitting on my table, they continued calling to me to try to complete the challenge. I have to admit, my first attempt did teach me something about the medium I was using and that was that I cannot put the darker painted tea bags on first. Because the tea bags are transparent you see the dark right through so when I was trying to put a red flower over the blue sky it wasn't reading as a flower. Along that same line of thought, I also learned I could layer the tea bags to get darker shades.

With my new plan and the things I learned, I began again. Which brings me to the second understanding of the title of this blog. Challenge Stress. Stress can be a challenge in itself to overcome and with my new plan and the headway I'm making on the project, I think I've got it on the run. The stress is leaving, however, I still have a deadline to contend with and I'm all out of tea bags! I'll be drinking a lot of tea today in order to finish the project in time to submit it.

I started with a plain cream-coloured cotton as the background and fused the painted tea bags directly on it. I like the delicate look of the tulips which comes from the transparency of the tea bags.

I still have to put more leaves and greenery on the bottom, then sandwich it and quilt it before the January 24th deadline. I'm much happier with it. Now for a cup of tea.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

What Creative Possibilities Will This New Year Bring?

Well, it has been a while since I have blogged and that has mostly to do with the weather, which left us without power and gave me lots of extra work to do. It also has to do with the fact that we've just come through the Christmas and New Year's holidays and those times are so filled with extra company, festivities, and a general lack of routine. So, I didn't get a lot of art making done.

But it is now a new year and it's time to make art a priority again.

One of the first things I did was to become a member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Association). This is a group that promotes the making of Art Quilts which is what I do as opposed to traditional quilting. I received their latest Journal and it is filled with inspiring quilts and articles. I'm hoping that this membership will help me grow as an art quilter and maybe give me the confidence to enter some of my work into Juried Art Quilt Shows. I have attempted to enter in the past but was rejected for various reasons. Perhaps this membership will help me to become a better art quilter and enable me to produce higher quality quilts with better technique.

Another thing I started was a small 8 X 10 inch quilt for a challenge from the Quilting Arts Magazine I subscribe to. The challenge is called "How does Your Garden Grow?" The rules are that it must be 8 x 10 inches, it can be made with any materials but must be quilted, and two low-resolution images must be sent via email by January 24th. The deadline is looming and I haven't gotten very far in the process. I am planning to use painted tea bags again. I felt that my last attempt at using them was quite successful.

A sampling of some of my painted tea bags
I also created a background for the quilt onto which I will sew the tea bags. This background is just plain off white dropcloth. I used a gel plate to print onto the fabric. A gel plate is a clear rubber slab that you apply  acrylic paint to and then print with it on fabric. Before these gel plates were available in the stores, artists used to make them with real gelatin. The drawback was that they could only be used so many times and then they were garbage. I haven't totally got the knack of using the gel plate but I gave it a try.

The "Gelli" Gel Printing Plate in the package

Here it is ready to accept paint. You can see, if you look closely
that I've painted it loosely with yellow at the top.
This is the background gel print for my "Garden " quilt
I'll keep you posted on it's progress and whether or not it is accepted into the challenge.