Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking shape, and shaping our day

Nothing drastic yet.
On a different matter, I played with my alphabet stamps yesterday. I need to focus on establishing a good daily routine for Caleb and Daniel (something we have struggled with ever since Daniel came along). That, and numerous people wondering where I find time to sew, has had me putting a lot of thought into what our days currently look like, and what I would like them to look like. So here's my plan:
It's those green Z's that we're focussing on for now - getting the boys' sleeps happening at regular times, and getting their afternoon sleeps coordinated, so that I have some time out during the day. Trying to find a good regular time between school runs, errands and appointments has been a real struggle, and I think I'm going to have to let the errands and appointments take second place to the sleeps for a while, until things improve!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

FRCSR Fine Food and Craft Market

I've posted twice already today with the intention of talking about the market on Saturday, and managed to forget both times! I blame it on the fact that I left the market all inspired to make new things, and my mind is preoccupied with all these ideas. A big thankyou to everyone who dropped by my stall. It was so good to chat to you all, and its always nice to hear that people enjoy dropping by this blog. After selling out of picnic blankets, I have been dreaming up new quilts for the future... we'll see what comes of that. Thanks to all your purchases, proceeds could go to both Amos Aid Australia and Nulsen Haven.

The market was so enjoyable. It was a very well managed, happily bustling affair, and is a huge credit to the organisers. If you haven't been yet, be sure to come along to the next one!

Contemplating something drastic

I am currently working on quilt #4 in a set of five. I was happy with #1, but not as much with the following two. I think this current one may also be a bit mediocre, although I have high hopes for #5. I'll make my final assessment once all five quilt tops are pieced. As I have been sitting piecing, and berating myself on not spending more time in the design phases of these quilts (i.e. ensuring that I'm 100% happy with the design before proceding) I have been contemplating something drastic for these quilts. Actually, after mulling over this for the past week I'm almost hoping that the quilts don't pass the final assessment, as I kind of like the idea of some drastic action...

Special privileges

I'm feeling awfully privileged lately. I have received permission from the parents and teachers of Aaron's class at school to take photos of the kids throughout the day, for the purpose of making a quilt! Not only do I have many nice photos to work from already, but I'm also rather enjoying the free license to quietly duck into the classroom for 10 minutes or so at random times during the week - I always enjoy watching the kids interacting with each other and the teacher!My original intent was to take a batch of photos now for some time in the future when I am ready to work on this quilt, but ideas are sprouting, and I don't think they will wait for the future. I'm looking forward to some sketching and designing over the next few weeks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

All grown up

Somewhere in the busyness of the past month our beautiful, wild daughter turned six!
She suddenly seems a whole lot more grown up, too. Where she used to spend a good part of everyday hanging around chattering or not doing much at all (with a constant chorus from me to go and do something useful), all of a sudden I notice that she is self-motivated and I never have to direct her to a certain activity to occupy her. Where she has shown little interest in books up till now, all of a sudden she is learning to read by leaps and bounds, and picking up books to read of her own accord, throughout the day. Needless to say, we are very pleased and thankful to see this growth.

Although it's a bad photo, the one below is one of my favourite recent shots of Hannah. She got a sewing basket for her birthday and here she is laying out her fabric so that she can select the right ones for the project. I love that she arranged her workspace just like I do when I am starting a new quilt.
The sewing basket was the best present we could have given her. Of her own accord she has been making all sorts of little stitched items. Every project so far has involved tears because its not as going as neat or as perfect as she would like (she doesn't learn perfection from me!) but to her credit she persists until the project is finished. So far all the projects have been given to favourite people before I have had a chance to take photos.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

FRCSR Fine Food and Craft Market

IT's only one more week till the FRCSR Fine Food and Craft Markets! I had a practice run at setting up my market stall a couple of nights ago. I'm pretty happy with how it all works together, and am looking forward to market day!
I will have picnic rugs, baby t-shirts, note-pads, drawing bags for the kids, gift tag kits and fabric panels, all incorporating hand-printing in some way.
I do hope to see you there!

Ramblings of a quilter...

My quilts are representational. Quite deliberately so, of course. I have no interest in making photorealistic quilts, or reproducing a photo as closely as possible, which can appear stiff or contrived in fabric. I work from my sketches to make my quilt designs, with reference stacks of photos. I would like my quilts to have a feeling of ‘freedom’ or energy despite the meticulous piecing techniques used. I’m not always happy that I have achieved this, but each new quilt is another step along the learning journey.

This week I finished a quilt top which I am not happy with. I may elaborate on that another day. Simultaneously, I have been closely following an interesting discussion amongst art quilters which included ‘being different’, ‘finding one’s voice’, derivative art, and abstract versus representational quilts. As a result, I have spent more time than usual pondering my artwork and where I want to go with it. This is a good thing of course. It means I spend time thinking about which aspects of my quilts I consider to be strong points, and also facing up to those aspects which need to be improved on. I find that some time spent feeling gloomy about quilts which haven't worked soon leads to a whole host of new ideas swirling around in my head, so that I can't wait to start sketching them.

I spend time considering that strong voice from the quilt art community which disdains representational quilts. I, too, do not like every representational artwork out there, but am also quietly confident that this is the style of artwork that I am called to do right now. The Great Artist created a most beautiful work when He made this world, and I want my artwork to remind myself and others of that beauty.

I won’t deny at the same time that I like to rebel (even if I’m the only one who knows about it) against some of the trends I see– yes, the art quilt world also has trends - natural dyeing, fusing, digital printing (each of these has its place, but I won’t start using these techniques just because they are the latest great thing).

Anyway, thank you for letting me ramble on - I don't expect that you particularly needed to know all that, but I want this blog to record my quiltmaking journey, so I noted it all down anyway. Now that that's out of the way, here's Caleb and some of the activities he has been doing.

Caleb has been devoting a lot of energy to being a general Grump, so these activities were a concerted effort to focus that energy else where. He gave the Fruit Loop necklace a really good attempt for 10 minutes. Then he realised they were edible, and the first one went in his mouth. His eyes popped wide open, he grinned, discarded the necklace and ate the bowl full of Fruit Loops.

The buttons have been more effective in keeping him occupied, although he soon discarded the colour sorting efforts for the simple pleasure of feeling hands full of buttons fall between his fingers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Someone has been sitting on my chair

I believe he is trying to catch some bubbles...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Big sandpit

Our local Champion Lake has a beautifully landscaped recreation area, including a nice big 'sandpit'. I introduced Caleb and Daniel to it last week, and they both thought it was wonderful!I do believe that was Daniel's first encounter with sand, which reminds me of this quilt...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Quilt That Went to Visit Bronya

Well, actually, Bronya made a special day trip with her girls to visit the quilt, amongst other things. This is 'My Big Wide World', currently on show at the International Quilt Festival in Houston as part of the 'Wonders of the World' exhibition. This quilt is based on the idea that for little boys, their backyard is a big wide world just waiting to be explored, with wonderful discoveries to be made at every turn.

I'm sure I wrote the dimensions and an 'official' artist's statement down somewhere, but it is Saturday evening and I am feeling to lazy to try to find them. I think it is in the order of 120-150cm wide. Anyway, thankyou for visiting my quilt, Bronya... oh, and for prompting the whole quilt in the first place!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Current exhibitions

This is a bit late, but I should let you know that Australia Wide 2 opened earlier this month. For those of us who don't live nearby, you can view the exhibition online at the Ozquilt website.

In other exhibition news, SAQA Creative Force 2010 opens at the International Quilt Festival in Houston tomorrow. 'Not Even Solomon...' and 'What does YOUR family look like?' are included in that show, and Wonders of the World including my quilt 'My Big Wide World' will also be on display there.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Flower from Caleb

Caleb gave me a flower from the garden today. Isn't it beautiful?
I've seen these shrubs around, but ever taken the time to study them closely. Now I am itching to have a go at drawing these flowers. If any of you happen to know what the plant is called, I would love to know!

The Art Quilt Collection

I was a bit puzzled some weeks ago to receive a package in the mail with the contents labelled as 'knitting book'. I was no less puzzled to find this quilt book inside (rather than said knitting book). It wasn't till page 150 that I realised why it was sent to me! I think I must have been pregnant when I submitted those images - I had totally forgotten about them.

I love home days

Today I am not going out for anything. No school runs and no errands. This is a good thing for Caleb and Daniel's routine, which often suffers at the hand of our busy family life. It is also a good thing for my quiltmaking, especially since I cleaned the house on Saturday, and dinner tonight consists of leftovers. I am managing to spend a good amount of time getting started on my next quilt top. For now that involves trimming all the pieces, and puzzling them together. I lay them out in sections, on pieces of A3 paper, which get stacked on top of each other until I am ready to sew them. This quilt is tentatively called 'Bubbles' (yes, very original) and is the first in a series of (at least) five quilts. My goal for today is to lay out all the pieces and to screenprint some bubbles onto some of the background pieces. I better get back to it while the boys are still sleeping!

Reaching milestones

I love how when I just concentrate piece by piece on my quilt, rather than being daunted by the project as a whole, I suddenly find myself at the end of a milestone, and it wasn't half as big a deal getting there as it seemed when starting out. Here is the latest milestone - a complete, though unironed, quilt top. Still mulling over a title for this one.