The Pandemic ….continued

At the beginning of the covid isolation, I was working on my stitch mediations.
I had seen a post by another instagram poster which tagged stitch mediation and slow stitch. I had come across slow stitch before as I have a couple of books on it. With Slow stitch, you use all natural fabrics, wool or cotton. You use a limited number of types of stitches. Running or back stitch which can be used in numerous way like for darning.
Stitch mediation takes it a step further. There is no limit on the fabrics but generally there is a time limit. From the artist who is 1st attributed to the phrase, stitch mediation, the following:

We often use vintage fabrics and linens that we overdye to give them a new life. Then we add fibers, paper and other bits for fun.
There are just a few rules for your stitch meditation practice:
1. Do not take stitches out. Honor the perfection of imperfection.
2. Keep your stitches simple.
3. Don’t think about composition and design. Let your intuition lead you to your next stitch.
4. Feel free to cut or alter the fabrics in your kit and add other papers and fabrics.
5. Most importantly, remember to breathe.


Well, I don’t have vintage fabrics but I do have a lot of scraps. In the beginning I kept them simple and only used simple stitches. As I went along they became more complex and I introduced more types of stitches. I also began to use things like paper flowers or beads. I designated a time and put on music for meditation to aid the mindfulness of the exercise.

I finished in April as I was becoming overwhelmed by my response to the suicide of my ex daughter-in-law. She was only 29.

I have recently started doing them again. I saw as way to get back my creativeness as I have finished a project which wasn’t my design. It had sapped my energy although I enjoyed process.

The pandemic has seen a huge push by artists and organisations to get more people involved in the arts. I have already mentioned Youtube as galleries have introduced guided tours of exhibitions. These were ones that were due to open before the covid crisis. Production companies seem to be pushing out more documentaries on Youtube.

One of the best projects which Sky Arts TV produced. They make a programme called Sky Artist of the Year. Because of the pandemic, they had to put off filming this year’s contest. In place of the normal show, they came up with the idea of Sky Artist of the week. Using Facebook live, they invited famous people to sit via zoom. Each week a former winner from the show, then did a live portrait painting of the person. In turn, the viewers on Facebook live, would also paint a portrait. The viewers were then invited to submit their work via Instagram. The work was then judged by the show’s presenters. 3 paintings out of thousands were chosen and featured on the following week’s show.

I loved setting aside a few hours a week for this. Not sure I would make it as a portrait artist but I made a good stab at it. The standard of work on Instagram was amazing and made me feel inadequate. The main thing was that I enjoyed doing the paintings although one I gave up on one as I couldn’t get the likeness at all.

It must have been nerve wracking for all the sitters. Especially if they checked out Instagram with 1000’s of portraits of them. There were portraits done by professional artists, amateur painters and children.

How has your Pandemic being going?

Up to now I have been active in a creative sense. With my husband working from home, I don’t like to do housework while he is working other than the basics. That suits me fine as I hate housework. So while the house disintegrates around me from lack of attention, I have been been playing in the art room. Sometimes, I forget about even the basic stuff! Unfortunately, I have now hit a bump in the road. I am struggling to work out what to do. Instead I am writing this blog post, in the hope it might jog my brain back into shape. I am sure I was brimming with ideas in the middle of all this chaos.

Example of a spiral design with a walking foot
drawing design for tumbling blocks on a quilt. Done with a walking foot
Full quilt called Happy Blocks, All quilting done by walking foot.
The finished quilt.

Above are a couple of the quilted blocks and the completed quilt called Happy Blocks. I started the quilt at the HoneyBees Quilt stores in 2019. I decided to quilt it all with a walking foot. Although I had used a walking foot, I hadn’t completely explored this way of quilting before . I got ideas from 2 books.

Explore Walking Foot Quilting with Leah Day. Walk: Master machine Quilting with your walking foot by Jacquie Gering. Both are excellent guides but I found the Jacquie Gering, the most useful.

It was definitely a challenge getting a large quilt through my machine throat, a Juki DX7 but I did it!

Finished block from design of tumbling Blocks. Quilting done by walking foot

I have not done life drawing for several years because there isn’t much available in the area. Also, the one place where they have regular sessions has no natural light. Artificial lights flatten out the shadows and forms I find, plus, I like real light. I should add I am very reluctant to go out most days and the older I get, the worse I get. Regardless, I am always up to a challenge!

Through a friend on Instagram, I was able to join a zoom group for life drawing. It was hosted by the Hackney Wick Life drawing group based in London (@hwlifedrawing ). I enjoyed it most of the time. I am not the best student for life drawing. I get very frustrated with my lack of ability. The models were very patient with all the instructions as they posed. Some could keep very still and others couldn’t stop moving! I am not good with moving subjects, so that was a challenge. Also the models were based in their own space which were either cramped or the light was poor. In one instance, the model almost completely disappeared as the sun when down.

The other things have been exploring are videos on Youtube. Many have been how to videos but I have also been enjoying all the art history videos that are available. At the moment, I am watching a series of videos called Perspective. These written and led by British art historian Waldemar Januszczak. He makes me dizzy with all his rushing around from one painting to another. His presentation though is very informative and absorbing.

I have also watched lectures by the National Gallery in London done before the pandemic hit. “Travels with a curator”, led by Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon of the Frick Collection is also very informative and interesting.

By time the pandemic finished, my art history should be pretty well rounded if I can remember any of it!

Am I a artist, a quilter or a Hobbyist?

Post from my Wix website which I could never really get going. Decided to transfer back to this website. Posted on May 20th 2020.

I will admit I have been avoiding working on this new site as it scares me as it seems more professional than WordPress. With this lockdown, I have no excuse not to learn how to use it! As the numbers in Texas are still rising, I will not be socialising for while yet.
Today I listened to a podcast for quilters which was on the subject of whether you are an artist or a quilter? Podcast is “Quilt and Tell”. In most cases, that would be considered a simple answer as most quilters,I know, follow a pattern to make the quilt top and then pass it on to a person to quilt the top on a specialty quilting machine called a long arm quilting machine which can do free motion stitching or computer created stitching .
However, there are is whole army of people who quilt who I would call artists. They tend to make wall hangings and are just as varied in their subject matter as any other art form. I went to the Modern Quilt convention held in Austin Feb 2020 and was blown away by the amount of art I saw there. It was inspiring and to be honest, quite daunting.

Where to now by Rima Trew.About the Zimbabwe elections in 2018 where 6 people were shot dead by government troops. The 7th dot represents the death of democracy.

Our House is on Fire by the Field Trip Quilters This about climate change and inspired by Greta Thunberg.

No-one is Free by the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.This was in response to the Trump era of locking up and deporting children seeking asylum in the USA. The words are by MLK.

Gateway by Debbie Grifken, Ann Arbor MI.This was inspired by a photograph of some rustic fencing at the Palace of Versailles. I love the fact that with all the gaudy beauty of this enormous palace, the artist was inspired by some old fencing that surrounded the ‘outdoor’ rooms in the garden. A gateway to mystery and intrigue.


I started quilting a brief year ago after going to quilts shows since I first moved to Texas in 2000 and I have a long way to go before I am at that level of professional work. At the moment I am working on a quilt top I made in a class last year. It sort of follows a pattern in that you take 2 x 12″ squares, cut them up , make them into 2 different blocks. Repeat for however many blocks you want to make. Mine is 4 blocks a row x 6 and is called Happy Blocks.

And that is the beauty of quilting, you may be working on the same design concept as the person next to you but it will never be the same as the fabric and size of block choice comes into play. Below is a quilt made in the same way as mine above. Chalk and cheese!

Do I consider it art though, no, its definitely a craft unlike the art quilts I saw at Quiltcon.
Definition of craft: skill in making things especially with the hands. 2 : an occupation or trade requiring skill with the hands or as an artist. So a painter could technically be called a craft person but I suspect most would reject that definition.
I have made a few small wall hanging over the year as I progressed with learning to quilt. This is the reason I got into quilts as I saw it as way of displaying some work I had made a few years back. These I would consider art, not craft, as they are all individual and unique but then each quilt I have made has also been individual and unique to me, so where is the divide? In my mind, basically!
Definition of an artist:

1a: one who professes and practices an imaginative art

b: a person skilled in one of the fine arts

So what am I? An artist or a quilter? Apparently one of the presenters was told if they hadn’t sold anything, then they weren’t an artist. That seems like a pretty narrow definition and would mean that Van Gogh wasn’t an artist. I liked the end of the discussion where one of the guests said they were neither a quilter or artist but a creative!
I would add the word Hobbyist as well. Definition: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation: I might well come into that category as I swing from painting, embroidery, bead embroidery and now quilting, next year I might try my hand at sculpting again! Anything that will convey what I want to express artistically, but it has never been my main occupation. That has been Mother, trailing spouse, Grandmother and wife. However, I strive to be recognised for my work without success as I have regularly posted images of my work on various social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. I have my own domain name and write infrequent blogs on my art work
So I am a CREATIVE!