20 April 2013

One Chapter Ends...

No art filled news this week, but the week became unexpectedly momentous for me. I officially handed in my resignation and will retire on the day of the summer Solstice, June 21. I knew that it would happen, I just hadn't been certain when it would happen, or how it would look when it happened. During a discussion with my most excellent 'boss lady' this week I knew that the moment had arrived. 

For some months I had been having inner dialogues with myself and dithering about the practicalities, the "what if's", the good, bad and indifferent considerations. How much notice to give, would it even matter how much notice I gave? Was I even sure that this was a change I wanted to make? Of course, I think that we all struggle with retirement, and I don't mean just on the financial "what-if" level. There are so many things to consider. We have our family family, our friends family and our work family. These connections are not severed willy nilly - at least not when one is of a more mature age  and has been in a job for quite a long time!

For me, being the hermit that I am, work was my "in the world" time. Now I will have to push myself to socialize more, but I'm thinking that this is something that I will choose to do more easily without the constant fatigue of the work week.

This morning a friend sent me a congratulations quote that says "the longer that you wait for the future the shorter it will be "(loesje). That really did have an impact on me! The only thing that I have ever wanted to do was to make art. My father refused to pay for art school and so, at age 16, I set off into the real world of rent and food and bills, and I had little time to worry about making art. I was more into 'making the bills' every month! It's amazing how much the monetary reality of life can change your prospective! I'm proud that I was successful in a more right minded business for so long, but it did, inevitably, drain my soul. Now, it's time for me to reclaim a bit of that artful longing that drove my youth.

This is my chance to 'be' the person that I had always hoped to be. I may not be famous, but I do hope to make a little extra money selling my felted bags and other small art works, but I will, once again, have the word 'possibility' in my vocabulary. My life will spread out before like a dew kissed wide green lawn on a summer morning; sparkling with possibilities and, I'm sure, a few moments of utter terror and my life rearranges itself. I feel like I have taken the first step onto a diving board and, as I approach the end of board, I hope to have the courage and the faith to simply leap off of the end in joy.

15 April 2013

Fiber Thrincies = New Mixed Media Fun

One of the side trades over at heARTist Trading Cards is for 'thrincies'; or  three inch squares. I plan to use the thrincies that I get to make a small treasure box with. heARTist Trading Cards is all about the love of small art. Our regular, monthly, trades are made in the standard ATC format of 3.5" X 2.5". The fun thing about this group is that we always have side trades going. Our side trades are always optional to participate in, and the trades are, generally, all focused on 'small art'. I love being able to explore a variety of shapes and themes, and the group is short on rules which makes participation even more of an exploratory bit of fun.
For this set of 'thrincies' I used a muslin piece that I had, at one time, used to wipe a printing plate clean with. I overprinted it with a simple pattern and then added paper bits and a quote for added textural appeal.

For the backs of the 'thrincies' I monoprinted another muslin piece with a limited palette of only three colors and then added the word joy - because that's what playing with the 'thrincie' theme brought me ! Next side trade is "Foursies", yep, that's right a four inch theme...maybe another box? Maybe a montage. It all equals fun!

07 April 2013

What Was I Thinking?! Too Many 25 Patch Blocks!

At our recent retreat to Vashon Island last month I worked on 25 patch blocks until I could do it no longer and still manage to maintain a smile on my face. 

In order to break up the '25 patch blues' I decided to make a much needed 'designer' cover for my sewing machine. I have it all 'put together' (see the image above) and I am working on what sort of free motion quilting I want to do on it. The fabrics are all from various Kaffe Fasset fabric lines. Vashon Island boasts the most amazing quilt shop, Island Quilter. They have the largest selection of Kaffe Fasset fabrics that I've ever seen. They specialize in Kaffe. The vibrabt flowers fabric above is actually a home dec fabric. The same pattern was available in a 'regular' quilting cloth but, for some odd reason, the colors in the quilting fabrics were far more subdued than the colors in the home dec line.

Below is the '25 patch blues' project that I am slogging through.

I have been working on this traditional bed quilt pattern (king size) for more years than I care to admit to. It's a Darlene Zimmerman pattern called Amelie's Story, Many Blessings'. I have a yen for making bed quilts in traditional repro fabrics (both CW as well as 30's). I like sleeping under them, but they can be very repetitive to make - some more so than others!
This image is taken from the front of the quilt pattern  booklet and is what the basic idea for this quilt is.  I chose to use a lot of coordinating fabrics from my stash for the blocks instead of more solid looking colors, but I do plan to use a mix of muslin light colors for the sashes and borders.

 I have piles and piles of 25 patch blocks and 2.50 inch, hand cut, strips. What was I thinking?! No wonder this quilt is taking me so darn long to get through. I need 120 of these blocks - or more in case I have placement issues - plus I want to use some for the back as well. All of the prints are from Judy Rothermels's various collections - they're beautiful quality, and scarp quilts make using these half yards feasible...but how tedious are 25 patch blocks anyway ?!! Very tedious indeed!
The question is - will I finish it? I am SO tempted to slice them all up and use them in a contemporary way - something far more abstract. I'm really considering doing that because making these blocks (think of the perfect corners and joins!) is making me crazier than I already am! I think the could easily work these blocks into a quilt  whose message would be that I am combining the old, traditional, with the new, more abstract quilt. Hummmmmm..... thoughts? Ideas? Comments?!