Sunday, January 31, 2010

Learning from Nancy Crow

My goal for the Crow workshop was to get a kick start for 2010. After 3 months away from home and the studio, it was overwhelming to remember - how do I do this? Where do I start? What am I supposed to be thinking about? And of course, what makes me think I can do this - with any competency? Nancy taught us to start with a framework: 1. a motif, 2. a couple of variables set for the composition and color - and then, JUST DO IT.

Getting started is the hardest part - then the joy and struggle take over. At one point, I was frozen, feeling overwhelmed with the same thoughts I have in the studio. Nancy told the class - start putting things on the wall, NOW. Once I had some fabrics up on the wall, my anxiety abated, and I could work intuitively. A simple, but invaluable lesson. No more staring at a blank design wall and trying to think everything through. Pick a palette, have a general idea of the composition, and let it flow from there. I'm looking forward to a productive year.
My third workshop with Nancy, and another major growth experience. I'll be processing, and practicing, what I learned.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Susan Shie begins painting a quilt

The Crow workshop is going great - but I'm too tired to post photo's and write. I promise I will after the workshop ends and I can think again. Meanwhile, I heard from Susan Shie that she is starting a quilt about Haiti. We're both part of a group that is organizing an exhibit about racism. Susan has started her piece, and I think it's a real treat to see her at work. Check it out - I'd like to try it - except for wearing a respirator - hate those things!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Making More Motifs

I've spent the week preparing for the Nancy Crow workshop at the Fuller Craft Museum by making up motifs. I had started working with the motif below, using my hand dyed fabric. It might have possibilities in the future, but for now, I'm stuck. I love the way the hand dyes add little points of light to the piece, and will come home and dye lots of fabric after the workshop. I'm bringing commercial cottons to the workshop because I don't have the wide range of colors and values in hand dyes yet.
Now, for a motif that I think will work for the workshop. It has to be something fairly easy to piece, because we're supposed to finish a piece every day, and I'm a slow piecer. We were to make up at least 10 in black and white. I like the zig-zag lines - they make interesting shapes and graphic lines.

The zig-zag motif - one black on white, the other white on black. The design wall is white too.

This is the practice piece on the design wall to see how the zig-zag motif worked. I think it has lots of potential. Figuring out how to sew it together will be a challenge...

Friday, January 8, 2010

A little note about the last two posts...

I'm still learning how to use blogspot...and got my posts out of order. Read the Workshop post, and then look at the photo's - and thanks for your patience as I learn how to do this!
It's a window opening in a cell in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, but I like the shape and the placement in the frame.
A simple arch is always interesting. This one is from Ravenna, Italy, but I always like arches.
These rocks are a fascinating - they're from The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. This could be a great motif, but might be too time consuming for the workshop.
I love the positive and negative possibilities in this - and would like to design something that looked like it had lights in some of the windows. I'll post more as the process goes along.

Simple Motifs

Nancy Crow is giving a workshop titled "Sets and Variations" at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA. I'm taking the workshop, my third with Nancy. Her workshops are always challenging, and it will be a good way to start off the year - working intensely and getting lots of ideas for the rest of the year. The instructions for the class are to bring 10 simple motifs to the workshop, so I've been making them up in black and white fabric. I've been using some photographs for inspiration, and will need to figure out which motif I want to commit to working with for the 5 days of the workshop. Here's a few examples I've used for starting points:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Year thought

Nuala O'Faolain, a well known Irish author, whose memoirs (Are You Somebody? and Almost Home) are fascinating. She also wrote a novel, My Dream of You. A couple of sentences in her novel jumped out at me as good guidelines for a New Years motto.
The main character wants to make major changes in her life, but is overwhelmed at figuring it out. At a funeral, she talks to a priest, who gives her the advice "Do the thing that's less passive. Do the active thing. There's more of the human in that". It is good advice for many different areas of my life - exercising more often, working in the studio (more work, less worry), building friendships, being more actively involved in LIFE. It is the human thing to do - instead of waiting, and letting others make things happen, or waiting and hoping what you want will happen. We all make some kind of resolutions at this time of year - sometimes letting others know about them, and sometimes just hoping they work out. I'm going to keep these words in my head, and put them up on the studio wall and make the change to be more active.