Friday, December 30, 2011

The Reading Part of the Process

Visitors, kids out of school, and general holiday festivities have not been conducive to making art. I have been thinking about though. Through a series of confluences, I was inspired to re-read "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell. It seemed quite relevant to our metamorphosis challenge. Like Deborah, my process usually starts with words, free association, and browsing inspiration. This time I'm diving pretty deep into the word part.

The book has more emphasis on psychology and religion than I remember from 15 years ago when I last read it, and it's a bear to read (or has motherhood fried more brain cells than I thought?). But, bits and pieces have informed my world view for decades and it's nice to re-familiarize myself with it. Though I'm not taking specifics from the book, I'm certain that the metamorphosis of the hero-journey will be my subject matter. Now, whether it will be a person in general (self portrait), the transformation of a soldier (in keeping with my non 12x12 work), or the metamorphosis made through motherhood, I'm not sure.

Along with my book and sketchbook/journal, I've also made size specific design boards for 20-12 and another project. Our new size is looking very do-able -- especially in comparison to the other, much larger board!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Considering Size

As we "twelves" began discussions about what to do after we finished the ColorPlay series, several of us expressed a desire to break away from the 12x12" size requirement. Others were concerned about making too big a commitment to too many more quilts -- or more square inches.

As you know, eventually we decided on creating five quilts that would measure 20x12" during the year 2012. They will each have a theme that will be chosen by one of the twelves. Gerrie chose the theme we are working on now, Metamorphosis. My name was drawn out of the hat to choose the next theme.

At first I was a bit daunted by this new size. In my mind, it seemed much bigger. Last week I cut two 20x12" templates so I could warm up to the size.

Here they are pinned to my design wall -- both a positive and a negative.
The gray house on the purple background is an in-progress piece. It's unrelated to any 12x12 work, but maybe it provides a bit of scale in addition to the iron on the ironing board at the right.

So now 20x12" doesn't seem as big as I thought it would! In fact, now I'm feeling that it's too small for some of the ideas I've been considering.

Our 2012 Series is larger in the sense of the square inches we'll be creating during the year.

In our ColorPlay and Theme series we did six 12x12" quilts in one year. So, that's 144 square inches per quilt, times six quilts for a total of 864 square inches.

In our 2012 series we'll do five 20x12 quilts in one year. That's 240 square inches per quilt, times five quilts for a total of 1200 square inches.

Yikes, when I think in terms of the entire year and the total square inches, it's feeling big and a bit overwhelming again.

I suppose it's a bit funny and strange to get so hung up on size. I'm sure that as I begin to create my pieces, they will adequately fill the space. It's possible that I'll discover new ways of composing my designs to fit this somewhat unusual size -- and that will be exciting and unexpected. I should focus more on the process rather than some inaccurate vision about the size requirements.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Talking about Collaboration

I was delighted to see Ricë Freeman-Zachery again in Houston this year. (This picture is actually from 2008. Apparently we didn't take a picture this year. I wish we had.)

She spent time checking out our 12x12 exhibit and was especially intrigued by the idea of such a large group of artists collaborating together. She recently interviewed me about the project. You can read part one of my answers on the Create Mixed Media website here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Metamorphosing a quilt

BEFORE I read Francoise's posts about transforming an old quilt I decided to play with the same idea. In fact I had had this idea in the back of my mind since Festival of Quilts when Linda and Laural Kemshall planted the idea. So I dug out a little piece which was an insipid nondescript samples from when I was playing with ideas from June C Barnes book about stitching to dye. I used paint scraping techinques as I had juts been watching a DVD about that when I was sick and languishing on a sofa. I used first a tester pot of household emulsion then  a variety of Steward Gill and Jaquard textile paints. Here Is the sequence of transformation.

So. From insipid but inoffensive to stiff, ugly and possibly worse. Sigh. I bet Francoise does a whole lot better.
PS. It was fun making a mess though!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Helen's Dilemma

I've been thinking about Helen's two blogs on her metamorphosis dilemma and all the interesting comments.  I'm  remembering the discussion we had about whether this challenge should be a series and if so, what would the series be about?  At the time I was disappointed we weren't going in that direction, but on reflection, I'm content with our decision to do our own work with individual themes.  I even had the fleeting thought, like Kirsty, that I could somehow work out a series with the five pieces we are doing this year, not even knowing in advance the themes to be chosen. I soon realized the foolishness of that, as I would be making up ways to fit the theme to my work.

I can't let go of series work though, I've been doing it to long, and with the larger size, I feel less like experimenting and more like doing serious work.  I think others of us are leaning in the direction of expanding on each theme into our own personal series, Helen and Françoise have both written about it.

I'm thinking of my work exploring the body through medical imaging, and how I can include metamorphosis in that challange. Since I usually work abstractly I was interested in the replies to Helen's comment on whether "the subject of a work of art be obvious to a viewer or need it only be in the recesses of the artist's mind."  Most of the replies reinforced my belief that the artist should make the art they need to make and the viewer should interpret it the way they need to see it. Obviously, with our discussions on the blog, the reader will receive lots of information about what they are viewing, but I'm hoping to look at the art for a while before reading text.

This is the start of my series, subject to change of course

Friday, December 16, 2011

From Colorplay to Metamorphosis

I've been trying to switch over from "Colorplay" to "2012", and in order to visualize the new size better, I've pinned a 20x12 piece of hand-dyed fabric on my cork board.
I will probably have no time to start working on this new quilt before January, but I've been thinking a lot about it, writing down a few ideas. I also did some very practical transformation experiments. See...
from these elements...
I got this interesting looking material...
and finally it turned into these yummy edible objects...
More seriously, one of my ideas is to take one of the numerous quilts that I have never shown and to change it into something completely different. Not sure this is the way I will go, as I also want to make a 20x12 series.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beautiful Butterflies

I have no idea of the species of caterpillar in my previous post.  Perhaps it is related to this butterfly which I understand is a from the from the Dayflying Moths family (aka Agaristidae Agricola Donovan).

Friday, December 2, 2011

STITCHED Workshops!

I am thrilled to tell you that two of the 12x12 artists (Deborah and Nikki) are instructors in the new STITCHED collection of online video workshops!

Join Deborah in exploring botanical shapes, textures and patterns! She'll share her process for creating a collage incorporating fabric, machine and hand stitching, and a variety of unexpected materials and techniques. You’ll choose your own fabrics, compose an original design and experiment with layers of detail. I’ll teach ways to add personal design to your fabrics with painted patterns. We’ll use simple construction techniques, then enhance your collage with a variety of unusual materials and interesting embellishments. Plus, I’ll share tons of fun embroidery stitches to add more detail. Check out more images and details on Deborah's blog.

Nikki's workshop is titled "Mini Treasure Box of Dreams."

In Nikki's workshop we will make these Mini Treasure Boxes of Dreams.  We will explore my quirky method of backwards quilting, make fabric paper, secretly share our dreams and wishes on some fabric beads, and share the big secret of sewing these boxes 100% on the machine.   Plus I couldn't resist throwing in some extras, like Treasure Tea Boxes and Nesting Boxes. Read more about it on Nikki's blog.

I think Nikki and I would both say that being a part of 12x12 made a huge positive impact on our artistic lives! We're both thrilled to find ourselves exploring this new endeavor of online video teaching. We hope you'll join us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

In contemplating various metamorphic transformations, I am struck by frequent connotations of improvement and betterment.  The icky, squishy caterpillar rolls itself into a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly; the ugly duckling turns into an elegant, graceful swan; and so on.  But caterpillars can be beautiful too. This one deserves to appear in a quilt one day.