Not much has changed since I last wrote. I am still in a fog about my ongoing work, so I am not focusing on that. If I continue to narrow in on my shortcomings, I tend to stop doing anything creative, which makes me even more depressed. So I have decided to try something else that is distracting, but I know it is not my focus. I know I will be back on track, hopefully, sooner rather than later, but I will get there.
I am following the video tutorials of Melinda Barlow CTZ Inkidoddles on Youtube, and I find they keep my mind occupied. I know I need to draw more, as that is what inspires most of my work. Zentangles are a controlled way of drawing and doodling at the same time, I used to randomly draw patterns when I was on the phone or watching a movie when I was younger, but as I lost that inner child, that ability faded. So we will see where this leads.
I am still practising my ruler working quilting and I plan to use it extensively on the T-shirt quilt I am making for Shelbie’s Mum. I need to get started on it soon as I want to give it (or them) to her on what would have been Shelbie’s birthday in January. I am planning to make at least three wall hangings using a quilt as you go method. That will allow for different size T-shirts using the backs as fill-ins. I have never made a T-shirt quilt so it will be a challenge.
Despite the fact I am having a Meh period in my work, I am keeping myself busy creatively, which will eventually lead to a more productive period for my work.
I really haven’t done a lot since I last wrote in September. I had lots of good intentions but life got in the way. I did make 75 koozies for daughter’s wedding using my Brother scan n cut. I also made a centre piece and a cake topper for her bridal shower.
I am now following a course by Shannon Rendon using the Jakarta placemat and table runner design by June Tailor. The instructor, as I indicated in my previous blog, is using 12 different templates, a bit excessive! I will be using about 4 or 5 templates, maybe just 3 as that is all I have of the ones she is using. In a an effort to use the templates I do have that will fit as 2″ wide space, I have been using my Westalee stitching discs to draw out designs. These discs are so useful as they act like the quarter inch ruler foot on my sewing machine. This way the designs will be exactly the same size as you would sew. It’s just a practice piece so I am not overly concerned about how it turns out. If it does work out, I will donate it to my quilt guild for their fundraiser at the local craft fair in November.
Once I have finished the placemats I will make a start on the three t-shirt wall hangings for my late daughter-in-law’s mother. I have never made a t-shirt quilt so I will be even slower than normal as these will be very special.
In between times I will work on my own art work. I feel I am dragging my feet a bit in that area.
I decided to add some more pages to my website and change up the design. Unfortunately, it has proved more difficult than I anticipated! I have used WordPress for more years than I care to remember, and I have toyed with the idea of changing to Wix or Squarespace. Then I try them out and hate the thought of starting anew. My main driver in the quest for change is that we (my husband) will be downsizing our house in two years, and I look around my art room, sigh, and think, what am I going to do with all this stuff! I have no idea, but making a huge bonfire out of it might be one solution!
I was definitely in a funk after my disastrous venture with ‘finding my joy’ I did a lot of practising with the Westalee rulers. I watch a lot of their videos, and I would get excited about another template. They are expensive, though. More than paint and canvas! I signed up for one of their free classes for a set of placemat designs. I totted up the cost of the templates (I have a couple), and if I brought the whole lot, I would be out of pocket to the tune of $305. However, you are better off getting their sets with the complete size range, which would be a staggering $990. Fortunately, most of the instructors only use one or two rulers for each project
My 1st actual project after that debacle was a piece based on a NASA picture featuring the birth of a star. I started it while I was doing the painting practice:
I used Mistyfuse to create a painterly collage of fabric.
I used a couple of Westalee templates to enhance the spiral effect of the collage. After that, I embellished it with some thicker embroidery thread and bobbly yarn.
I added some beads.
Once I finished that, I signed up for a free class from the grandly titled Westalee Design University. It is excellent, and the projects are well priced. The designer I chose to do a course with was Angela Attwood, and it was a templee quilt, a form of reverse applique. It used precisely one template, the 12″ Arc. It was a great practice piece, and I was pleased with the result.
I also did some practising on paper with the templates. Because you are using a ruler foot ( designed to be used with templates) when you are quilting, you have to consider the quarter of an inch that the foot uses. To get around this, you used stitching discs designed for use with a variety of drawing implements. It seems simple enough, but they do tend to slip under the template at times!
Finally, I created another fabric collage with Mistyfuse. I got the idea from a photograph I had taken when we were in Scotland last of some small stones on a wall looking over the sea. It is the direction I am going to continue going forward. I used foil for the first time, plus some paint, beads, quilting, the whole gamut, in other words.
While I wait for a set of templates to arrive, I will continue to redesign this site with additional pages showcasing my past work.
I haven’t done much in the past month, although I have watched numerous Youtube videos on Westalee template designs and reacquainted myself briefly with painting.
From having no Westalee templates for quilting at the beginning of May, I now have several! I have done several practice swatches with the first set I got on 6th May. The rulers themselves don’t come with many instructions, so Youtube is an excellent resource for teaching you how to use them.
My sewing machine was due for its tune-up and would be missing in action for what I thought it would be a while. It turned out to be just a couple of days. However, I invested in some ‘stitching’ discs made by the same company, Westalee. They enable you to draw out designs on paper with the required quarter-inch taken up by the sewing foot used for ruler work. Working on paper is also less expensive than just randomly quilting on a fabric sandwich. There is quite a learning curve like any form of quilting, but I am enjoying what I am doing so far. I am not gripping the template so much, and I can unclench my teeth occasionally.
Although my primary focus, at the moment, is quilting, I haven’t entirely given up on painting. Apart from watching mainly art history videos, I have also dipped in the videos by Louise Fletcher. As I was getting my sewing machine ready for the shop, I saw that she was doing a brief seven-day free taster course on Facebook. I thought, why not? So I joined up. It seems that was similar thought to a lot of people. There are 12,031 members in the group! It’s actually way too big to be instructive. The group is named ‘Find your joy taster 2021″ and is a very effective advertising plug for the 12-week course that follows, also led by Louise and her assistants.
I have no intentions of doing the following course, but the exercise I have done so far was OK. I didn’t quite get into my inner child. The 1st painting was very random, and I didn’t know what to make of it. You start by sectioning off the paper with tape, in this instance, into six. You begin to paint, using any medium you liked, over the whole sheet of paper (or whatever support you are using) and ignoring the sections. It was a timed piece, and although you could finish after five minutes, you must complete it in thirty minutes. Once you had finished, you removed the tape to reveal the six mini paintings. I didn’t feel any ‘joy’ in these small paintings. I did realise I am not fond of black. It was just too chaotic for my liking. It reminded me of some pictures I had seen in the Blanton museum by Joan Mitchell, which I never understood or liked!
I attempted the exercise again, and although I enjoyed the process more this time, I didn’t exactly keep within the exercise parameters. It was very obviously a flower painting, and on the reveal, it became a window with some flowers. I liked the individual sections more this time, and I enjoyed the marks made by the various tools I used.
I have yet to do the 2nd exercise. I keep putting it off. I have distracted myself by working with some new templates I received on Friday, made up a quilt sandwich to work on, and wrote this. I will admit I am a bit stuck. Fortunately, I didn’t pay for this ‘taster’; otherwise, I might have been a little disappointed, but hopefully, I will get something out of it. The instructor, Louise, is very good with her enthusiasm for playing with paint, which is why it has been so popular. Its a free week of painting exercises and for that I am grateful. I might or might not do the other exercises.
I must stop doing these courses and just trust my own instincts on where I am going.