Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Steps Forward . . . you know what follows

This past week I “slipped back” a little into last year’s habits of sort of aimlessly wandering when it came to working on projects. I have a class starting later this week (Lyric Kinard’s Artist’s Toolbox at Quilt U) so I don’t really want to start anything new. So . . . .not a whole lot to share with you right now.

I experimented with some bleach and wood pieces and clamps; that was a colossal failure, so no need to take pics of those pieces.

All my sketches this past week were pretty awful. I haven’t felt well and I was forcing myself to sketch anyway, just to make it a habit.

I did run across these purple and green blocks that I had made WAY back when I started piecing traditional blocks. I started to stash them away and realized I was so tired of running across them, so I impulsively slashed them up and inserted some hand-dyed orange fabric, then sewed them together.


Definitely an improvement, but I’m not really sure what I’ll do with this block now.

So, there you have it.

On the other hand, I do have a couple of book recommendations for you. I just finished Mary Karr’s Lit: A Memoir. This book has been out for a couple of years, but I just got around to reading it. Karr is a brilliant writer, and she held me captive with the tragic, poignant, and funny details of her recovery from alcohol addiction. If you’ve ever know anyone who suffered from an addiction, you won’t want to miss this book. Even if you haven’t, it’s one of the best memoirs I’ve read.

For you Kindle people, I happened to run across Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. These letters were written beginning in 1909 by a young widow who traveled to Wyoming with her 2-yr. old daughter to work as a housekeeper. I’ve only just started reading them, but Stewart is a gifted and funny writer who paints a detailed picture of life at that time. And, the best part is, this book is free for your Kindle!

I haven’t been completely slug-like. In addition to that great wonky block above, I went on a marvelous adventure this weekend across the web, learning lots about one of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke. Next time I post, I’ll tell you how I started at Rilke and ended up at Ad Reinhardt’s black canvases.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We Have a Winner

Ok, folks. I "drew" for the winner of The Quilt Show membership by randomly generating this number:

Then I counted down the comments until I got to #7, and Delores, you are the winner!!! Hurray Delores! I didn't see your email address on your blog, but if you'll send it to me at textiletraveler at gmail dot com I'll send you the gift certificate number for The Quilt Show membership. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine!

Oh, and here's a little sketch I did this week:

Now it's back to work for me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My First Giveaway!

Ok folks, it’s about time I had a giveaway, and the perfect opportunity presented itself today. When I re-subscribed to The Quilt Show, I got a free membership for a friend. Since none of my RL friends quilt, I’m giving away this membership to one of my blog readers. I’m pretty sure this is a 6-month membership.

This membership to The Quilt Show is not valid if you are already a Quilt Show member; but if you’re not a member, or if you’re a “basic” (free) member, leave a comment and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday, Jan. 15. Be sure that I have a way to contact you if you win!

On the creative front, I’ve been reading Susan Carlson’s new book, Serendipity Quilts.


Carlson’s technique for creating fabric collage is, to me, very much like mosaic: it’s all about using little scraps of fabric to create an image. I started the first exercise in her book a few days ago, and today I had almost finished this orange and purple spiral:


I needed to do my daily (physical) exercise, and I didn’t want to mess with the Xbox 360, which I’ve been using to do my daily “dance routines.” Instead, I decided to do a couple of miles on the elliptical machine, and that means watching The Quilt Show online. When I went to pull up the latest episode though, I realized that my subscription had expired.

When I FINALLY got through the re-subscription process and pulled up the latest episode, guess who the guest was? Yep, Susan Carlson! It was a lot of fun to see her wonderful quilts, and I’m looking forward to working through the rest of the exercises in Serendipity Quilts.

I’ve fallen behind in sketching. I don’t where the time goes, but I’m pretty sure that darned day job is interfering with my creative time. Oh well, after so many months last year of artistic inactivity and ennui, I’m just glad to be TOO busy for a change!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Where Did The Week Go?

Wow. It has been a BUSY week, and one that has flown by much too quickly.

Only one sketch to show you, from Wednesday. Yesterday I was busy working on a wall quilt (finally! More about that below) and on my Silly Sketch for Carla Sonheim's "Silly the Third" sketch class (which I'll post at a later date).

On Wednesday, I decided that I would sketch my beloved pooch, Maxine (based on the Sketchbook Challenge prompt, "Highly Prized"). She doesn't usually look this angry, but she occasionally gets quite miffed, so it's a fair representation of her, I think:

My other project this week has been a Fast Friday Fabric Challenge piece. This month's challenge was all about "color fields," which was both fascinating and frustrating. Here's the piece I came up with:

I call this "Border Crossings." Take a look at the FFFC blog for more information about this piece or about color fields, or to see other challenge pieces.

I hope you'll take a minute to leave a comment, and I hope you had a great week!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today's Sketch

Strawberries in winter, fresh from the Farmer's Market (one of the good things about living in Texas). I wish you could smell them!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Resolve

Out with the old, right? I'm not sure what there is to "out," but I have some new resolutions for this year. My "word" for this year is HABIT. I want to make a habit of
  1. creating art every day (I'm following the sketchbook challenge);
  2. keeping a design book (I have one all ready to go!);
  3. setting long-term goals and short-term tasks that will move me toward those goals;
  4. keeping up with my blog, both so that I can stay in touch with my virtual communities and record my progress;
  5. cleaning up after myself (I'm starting with a clean and organized studio: Yippee!).
I think that's enough to focus on at any one time, don't you? Last year I didn't make any New Year's resolutions, falling in with the "I don't believe in resolutions" crowd. And guess what? I spent an entire year unfocused, unproductive, and artistically flailing around. I substituted buying supplies for doing work. I became isolated. So I knew I had to do something differently this year.

You'll notice my list is not detailed. Typically, I write myself a letter every year on my birthday (Feb.) about what I want to accomplish, where I want to go, how I might get there (did I even write one to myself last year? I won't know until my birthday, when I open that special journal and remind myself about what I hoped--or neglected to hope--would happen in the coming year). I'll save the details for that letter, though I'll probably be pondering them in the back of my mind between now and then.

I see the list I've included here as a kind of touchstone that I can return to when I'm not sure what to do next.

Today's work is a sketch I did this morning; it's not good, but that's ok. I've resolved to do quick, daily (sometimes watercolored) sketches to start my day off right, and to focus on getting the work done, not getting it done perfectly or beating myself up because these are not great:

So what about you? Are you making resolutions this year? Setting goals? Making lists of things you want to do? Or are you ok winging it?