Thursday, August 25, 2011

Series Assignment #2

The second assignment was supposed to build on the first (as in a series...get it?). I was hoping to do more with depth, by using different sizes and values, but screwed up in the dyeing. I forgot to write down the amount of dye I used for the darkest and largest circles(highest contrast) pieces, and ended up with the smaller circles being much darker. The opposite of my planned composition. So, I gave up on the idea of the large circles looking closer, and the smaller one in the background.

I really love blue and white, and I thought I would simplify my work by keeping the piece one color with white. I overdyed some very light batiks to see how that would look, and I actually liked it. The patterning of the batik is barely visible when seen from a distance, but up close, it gives it some interesting lines.

There's nothing wrong with your monitor - I didn't have the autofocus turned on in the camera, and without my glasses, I didn't realize it was out of focus! It's off the design wall for now, because we're on to assignment 3. That white square up in the left hand corner will be solid blue.

During the one on one phone call with Lisa, she emphasized that the series had to be something that I LOVED. I'm not loving this series, although I feel compelled to explore more. Lisa says that you may make 10 or more pieces in a series before you know where you're going with it. That has helped me to feel that I can keep going and just explore - and not to feel pressured to make only work that is worth exhibiting. None of the assignments are sewn together. If I sew them together, it will be with the commitment to quilt them as well. As a famous b-t-ch said "I'll think about that tomorrow"!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Working in a Series part. 2

This is a continuation from the last post about the online workshop I'm taking from Lisa Call, on "Working in a Series". 

The challenge of dyeing for each assignment continues - my back really doesn't like standing over buckets, and especially the cleaning up part! But then again, my back doesn't like cleaning up - period. Does yours? I had to miss out on the Lowell quilt shows and SAQA regional meeting - the first time in 5 years. I used the day to dye more fabric for Assignment #2.

Lisa sends us reading material and links to articles and websites that are very helpful. So far, we've read and conversed about Responsibility and Accountability. Both really good things to remember for being productive in the studio. It was the Accountability reading that made me recognize that if I'm going to put my art first, I have to be accountable for it. Missing out on the Lowell shows and meeting was a hard decision to make, because I find looking at Art Quilts, and interacting with friends and fellow artists to be inspiring - but I was feeling really pressed about getting the fabric ready for the second assignment. I don't live in an area with a large art quilt community, so even though I drive for 3 hours to get to Lowell, it's always been a highlight for me.

The action of deciding to put my art first is a way of taking control of my life, and steering it in the direction I want it to go. Prioritizing, sacrificing, being clear with myself are all necessary to growing, and can be painful at times. The time I've spent in the studio lately has been frustrating. I'm not sure I know where I want to go with this series. There are so many possibilities. At the same time, in order to make those possibilities happen, I need to gain more control over the dyeing process. That will take time, and remembering to keep my eyes on the goal, and enjoy the process. Some days, it's hard to remember that making art is about the process, because I want each composition to be great. No artist is great all the time, and it's too much pressure to put on myself. I'll have to repeat that many times in my own ear! I think it's a common thought, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Series

I signed up for an online workshop with Lisa Call several weeks ago, and it's already been a fruitful endeavor. The workshop is on "Working in a Series", and Lisa is walking us through the steps of focusing on a subject, and setting design parameters.

Lisa is very tech savvy, so she has set up a website for the workshop, and we each have our own site and pages. It's pretty user friendly. I'm keeping a journal so I can keep track of my ideas, and all the things I've tried - whether they worked or not.

My series is going to focus on circles. I've been intrigued by all the possibilities there are in clamping circles as resists. The choices for dyeing in different hues and values seems to be - unlimited. But it's not! I will be learning about color and dye forever...

My initial thought was to use analogous colors and white, and to organize the circles as I would a family portrait. That was a way for me to get started on the design. I did stick with the colors - yellow, orange, red, and love the way white brightens up everything. Since my art training was in photography, it is still easier for me to think of looking through a viewfinder, and organizing the composition that way. Whatever works to make the design process a little less painful. I'm not sure this looks like a family portrait, but it helped me to figure out a way into the design.

I plan to design tops - and sew them together if I can. Since the assignments are due each week, and I dye my fabrics for each project, I know I may not get them sewn together. But if I photograph them, and pin them to a backing, I can finish them at the end of the 8 week workshop.

It's helped me to be better structured in my day - and in the studio or dyeing everyday. Lightens my mood, and stirs my juices. Worth the cost already!

Here is my first composition. The back ground is pieced, except for the middle seam. The rest is pinned. Can't wait to see where these circles lead me.
composition in progress 33" x 38"