Monday, January 30, 2012

Quilt details: To the Third and Fourth Generation

My quilt for 'Regeneration: Contemporary Quilted Textiles 2012' is on its way to the eastern states. Here are some of the detail shots I took the other day (I'll share the full photo when the exhibition opens). The red, blue and white colours where not in the original design, but I'm very happy that I added them. Although I was thinking of quick pencil sketches and sepia-toned photographs when I designed this, the quilt would have been too dull without the bits of colour.
I'm in the interesting position now where all my planned quilts have been pieced and quilted. I still have loads of threads to bury, but other than that, I have not quilts-in-progress. No chance to be bored, though, as I plan and prepare for my upcoming exhibition.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Visiting Perth Cultural Centre

In a departure from quilts and quiltmaking, the kids and I enjoyed an outing to the Perth Cultural Centre today (and I actually had a camera with me). The Centre includes the WA Museum, Art Gallery of WA, Alexander Library and PICA but we spent our time outside in the public open space between these buildings. We love the way this area has shaped up and the kids would have also loved to spend a few hours at both the art gallery and museum.

Aaron wilts in hot weather (you can see him in one of the photos above), but despite this, they all (and I) enjoyed relaxing here - looking for frogs, watching dragonflies, eating icecream... and discovering the beautifully built playground outside the WA Museum.
And while I think of it, those of you who have young children might enjoy this post on the anderson crew's blog. I did, and realised that I already implement some similar 'rules' myself. Today, for example, we agreed beforehand that icecreams where going to be the perfect thing to enjoy together (a little bribe because I also had to do a teeny bit of shopping), but I also firmly insisted that we would not be visiting the museum this time round, as that would turn it into an epic adventure which I simply didn't have the energy for. Keeping it short and sweet meant that everyone went home happy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photographing my quilts

I finally took 'official' photos of the seven completed quilts I had in my studio!

I like to take the photos outside to ensure sufficient natural light. At our previous house I used a large white board for this. I suspended the quilts from hooks that hung from the top edge of the board. It worked well, but the board was heavy and awkward. Now, thanks to the design walls I have seen in the homes of other artists, I have two polystyrene boards about 5cm thick. These are light enough that I can move them around by myself. Today we only needed one board, which made it even easier. And the other think I like about this setup is that I can pin the quilt to the board so that the pins are hidden and I don't have to try to hide the hanging system in photoshop.

I put the board against the southern side of the house (best light for this) and my happy helper held on to it to stop it blowing away in the howling east winds. This is the first time I've taken quilt photos at this house and I'm very happy that it all worked as I'd hoped!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What we've really been up to

I have to apologise for being a little bit sneaky. The last few blogposts were prescheduled (a little security precaution). We were actually enjoying a long lazy camping holiday. I took along a fair bit of 'work' and intended to spend time planning and organising myself a bit better for the new year. But then we found the beach and I never touched any of it. The weather was too warm for anything more than swimming and eating icecream, both of which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The long-planned two-week holiday meant that the timeframe for completing my 'Regeneration 2012' quilt was actually even shorter than otherwise. Thankfully I had Daniel's help...
The last threads were tied off and buried in the car on the way to our holiday destination. Today I need to photograph it and pop it in the mail.

And then, based on the weather forecast, my plans for the rest of the week will include lots of sitting still, lots of iced coffee, and lots of experimenting with our Zoku icypole maker. (Phil still has plans for us all to pave the driveway on Thursday (Australia Day) - I'm still waiting for the weather forecast to register with him...)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The studio is tidy

The studio got tidied up, which is as good a reason as any to share some pictures with you. I love this space very much. It feels very peaceful. I love it that my whole family can be up there with me if they desire, but I also love it that I can be upstairs sewing while the children are happily playing downstairs (I can hear what's going on, and they can hear the familiar hum of the sewing machine so we are all happy). I love my cupboard full of crates (from the local salvage yard - I think they may have contained flower bulbs in a previous life). I love it that the ex-dining table now takes centre stage in the studio, the perfect space for cutting out fabric and spreading out quilts-in-progress. I love the shelf full of art supplies, and the wrap around desk where I sit and sew at one end while Aaron and Hannah play endless board games at the other. I love the green couch which I regularly day dream about lounging on with a good book, but never do. I am conscious of how blessed I am to have this space, and thankful for the time I am able to spend there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quilting my 'Regeneration 2012' quilt

Quilting is underway now... well, actually, it's completed already, after a day-long quilting marathon.
The next step is to pull off the bits of paper you can see here (used as a stitching guide) and tie off and bury all the threads.
Below you can see part of the back of the quilt. I deliberately keep the tension on the top thread a bit loose so that the bottom thread never pulls through to the top (I like to use white thread on the bottom to match the backing fabric).
Nearly there. Maybe I need to call this quilt 'The Eleventh Hour'...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our pencil pot centrepiece

I love it when we can find one solution for two 'problems. I've always had a pot plant on my dining table as a bit of a centre piece, but because we are always busy doing something or other here, the plant pot was always being shifted around. In addition, our colouring pencil situation was not working for us. The pencil tin would be carted from the cupboard to the table and back many times a day (and dropped every so often too) and the small pencils were impossible to get to at the bottom of the tin.
So now we have a pencil-pot centrepiece instead of a plant-pot centrepiece. I'd hoped to find a glass cookie jar (reasonable wide but not too deep) but this trifle bowl also does the job rather nicely.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My goals for 2012

I love this time of the year for reviewing and refocussing on my various regular tasks as well as my ongoing list of things to do. Lisa Call's blog post this week prompted me to put into words the various ideas, wishes and goals that were swirling through my mind. I'm not entirely comfortable sharing the complete list here (and it would probably bore you completely) but here's a little overview...

I'm always reviewing my regular daily and weekly routines. I use the calendar program on my computer to schedule all my chores and recurring activities. This includes daily computer time for checking and responding to emails, updating facebook and flickr, and catching up and commenting on blogs I follow. Following Brenda's example, I bought a timer this week to manage this time.

This year, in addition to maintaining this blog, which I love doing, I also hope to spend regular time each week (also scheduled in my calendar) on developing the business side of my artwork (not so much fun, but I will use Alyson B. Stanfield's book and blog to help me along the way). I already have a long list of tasks to tackle here, one at a time.

While last year was spent working away at a body of childhood-themed quilts, this year my focus will be on exhibiting those quilts! The exhibition is titled 'To Be a Child'. Stay tuned for more details.

I'm going to make a point of visiting a gallery/exhibition at least once a month this year. I used to do this before Aaron and Hannah went to school, but found it challenging when Caleb and Daniel were babies. I'm ready to start this again though, and I'm hoping the boys will enjoy this too. This too has been scheduled into my calendar in order to make sure it happens. I am flexible with my calendar and will move things around if I need to, but I try to enter all my planned tasks and events into it as it's the best way to make sure I get around to them.
And of course I hope, the Lord willing, that there will be many more quilts in the making in 2012 because that is what I love to do the most!

The piecing continues