Just Can’t Quilt While the Sun Shines

It is hard for me to get studio work done when Springs arrives.

Snow Canyon Park is 12 minutes from my house. 

Now that I am in Southern Utah with a new home and a garden to plant, landscaping to improve, trees to trim  and a lawn to maintain spring takes me outside.


I really had a lull in my studio production that I only became panicked about when all my quilts  were out in shows or committed to shows. “How did this happen?”

As it turns out I was working on other tasks like…….
Gardening.
Being “Nana” to a perfect 1 year old who lives 4 hours away.
Taking a Mediterranean cruise.
Working on functional quilt projects.
Investing time for my critique group.
Working on my computer skills.
Hiking.


It all adds up to time away from production. …..Or does it?


Actually I am further ahead than I would have been if I stuck to slugging away in my studio. During this time I have been gathering ideas, collecting images and working on creating visually challenging compositions with the help of digital media.

In early March my husband and worked hard on getting our yard in shape. We trimmed bushes and trees that had been ignored for years. We hired a contractor to extend our garden wall. I put in a simple patio of red pavers, added new garden beds and planted pots.

During the process I discovered a great app that modifies images taken  by my iPhone. It’s called PicsArt. It can do typical edits like cropping the image , adjusting the contrast, or color. What is special about this app is the filters that completely transform a picture. It’s great fun to play with a phone photo while taking a short break from another project.

                                                   My phone is an “art tool”  

This spring I really explored the camera and the basic editor by forming a habit of collecting and editing images daily. Now this is an integral part of my artistic practice . I delete   more pictures than I take because I review and edit my saved images working to improve the quality of each composition.

 

 

A man walking near a Cathedral in Malta.

My husband and I went on a Mediterranean cruise in late April. Like all tourists I took lots of pictures but I also kept the habit of selecting and editing photos at the end of the day. During the excursions I discovered the value of a selfie stick as a very functional tripod. I began looking for people and places that would be more than documentation of a place. 

When I came home  and settled into a work routine I discovered a new line of inquiry. My current portfolio has been focused on using family portraits because they have an immediate subtext. As I look at my current file of potential projects I am included some of my daily photos.           

The tiny tourist on a swing in Sorrentino.

What binds this work together is my fascination with a story. There is a photo taken of me and our family dog Jimmy. It is the morning before we took in for his last visit to the vet. As you can see I manipulated the image but the story behind the project is my primary source of inspiration.

My last day with Jimmy

 

Now I have a very large selection projects. Some are  vintage family photos, others are pictures taken of people that I met on my travels and some are photos documenting my life. I am working harder on using digital software to push my own limits. 

Until next time….
Margaret

You can see my work……. 
Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
 July 7 – 23 2017 and Traveling through out the country!

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah 
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

Untethered Thread
Poway Center for the Arts
Poway, CA
June 1 – June 24, 2017

35th Annual New Legacies
Lincoln Center 
Ft. Collins, CO 
July 5 – August 26

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Simple, No Hand Sewing, Hanging Sleeve.

Traditional quilt shows use a rod and pole display system.

                                  

The sleeve for this hanging system is very important to making a pleasing display. A sleeve is a fabric tube sewn on the completed quilt by hand. A sleeve is 4 inches wide placed an inch from the top and sides. The sleeve has enough “give” so the quilt hangs flat.

Art Quilter’s”  use a sleeve with a wood or plexiglass slat. 

The slat has holes at the end that can be wired and hung on any gallery wall. Unlike art in a frame and under glass, art quilts are economical to ship and easily stored. This is an incentive for galleries and museums to display our work. (Check out this SAQA resource about hanging quilts in a traditional gallery) 


I didn’t really understand the importance of the sleeve when I first began making art quilts. For a time I backed my quilts with canvas or other materials. My sleeve was sewn flat to the backing. This works well if you are using small nails at the end of the sleeve, but is a poor choice for any rod system.

After some experimentation, I found a simple way to make a sleeve that does not require hand sewing and can be easily removed.

I use Oly*fun.
It’s a poly fabric used for crafting. Although it comes in many colors, I use black exclusively. You can buy it online or at Walmart or Joannes in 10 yard bolts. It is 60″ wide.
The fabric is super light and cheap.

                                                       

                             (Be forewarned: you cannot iron this stuff!)


Here’s my process

  1. Set out a rotary cutter, white marking pencil and ruler. Measure the width of the quilt. Cut a 4.5  inch strip.  Cut a 6 inch strip. Roll up extra and keep these on hand for the next project. 
  2. Lay the 6” piece over the top edge of your quilt . (I don’t use a ruler!) Leave an inch on the outer edge. Mark with white pencil and trim to size. Make a 1” line with your with  pencil on all for sides of your 6” piece. It will look like a frame. 
     

 

3.Place the 4.5 inch piece so it lines up with the top 1 inch line – not top of the 6″ strip.  Mark and trim this piece so it fits between the side border lines. Pin this piece so it lines up with the top border and sew a quarter inch seam.Line up the bottom of the 4” with the bottom border line. This  will not lay flat! It creates a tunnel.

4. Next I spray adhesive to the back of my quilt and sew along the outside edges (side, top, side). 

                      

You’re done!

Until the next time…..
Margaret

You can see my work……. 
Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
 July 7 – 23 2017 and Traveling through out the country!

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah 
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

Untethered Thread
Poway Center for the Arts
Poway, CA
June 1 – June 24, 2017

35th Annual New Legacies
Lincoln Center 
Ft. Collins, CO 
July 5 – August 26

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

My New Best Friend the”Bullet Journal”

It all began with mixed media artist called Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

 Julie has a great podcast called “Adventures in Arting”. Her Mom is her sidekick in this venture. Together they interview people in the mixed media girl or they chat about Julie’s latest adventure. They are a super engaging team.


In a recent episode Julie introduced me to a “bullet journal”.  
A bullet journal is popular with millennials. It is used to track your business life, academic pursuits, your daily activity and long term goals. It’s a catch all for a busy life.

The idea sounded interesting so I checked out some YouTube videos and now I am hooked!

My Cover.

 

After listening to the podcast and watching a couple of videos; I pulled out a sketchbook from my unused pile. (I have gotten tons of sample sketchbooks over the years at art education conferences)  

The sketchbook I selected  was a spiral bound book filled with all the sample papers produced by a particular vendor. It included everything from a heavy watercolor paper to vellum.  A variety of papers would turn out to help me make unique pages. The journal is small enough to put in a purse if need be but right now I keep it in my studio.


Creating a cute cover

First I gessoed over the vendor’s image and logo. Next, I painted, colored, doodled and stamped until I had a good design. Since I used plenty of dots and circles; I named it my “Dot Journal”.  (You can add a title to the cover, decoupage,use stickers or just leave it blank and start organizing.)   

Inside my journal is “idea”storage, inventory tracker, shows to enter lists, balance sheets,note keepers, checklists, etc….

It’s my all around life saver.

Look at the things I kept track of when I started. the indexing is growing!

 Begin by counting the number of pages (mine is a little more than 40). The first pages are the index. (I used two pages) Write down page numbers in a column. Draw a line for each number to fill in the page title. Next print page. numbers neatly in the upper outside corner of each page.

 I started by adding a few pages I knew I would need: inventory, calls for entry , dates to mail accepted work and balance sheet. Leaving a number of pages between titles helped me to allow for expansions if needed. All the titles began on odd numbered pages so would at minimum have the front and back page.


*I couldn’t resist getting out a variety of stamps and pens to give individual pages a little visual pop.

Page with stamps and homemade fabric tab.


(Using small scraps of material for tabs turned out to be a great idea.)


 As I started using the journal I began to understand what a great resource this journal would become.

My number of pages increased rapidly . It seemed like everyday I was adding a new page and updating existing pages. For example; I added a page called thread notes after I had a bad hour with thread bunnies on the back of my quilt. After figuring out which needle, tension, bobbin thread, etc… Now I use this page all the time. I have less issues with machine which makes me more productive.

 

This is a page that really helps when I forget stuff like what tension to use.


I have a section of pages for future projects.

This helps when I am looking through calls for entry. I can match a call with a project that already interests me. I also keep track of entry fees and awards. Having one place where I see what quilts are in a show, heading out to a show and what quilts are just sitting around helps me focus my energy on projects that will be shared with a larger community and steers me away from making a project for a call that does not speak to me as an artist. 


 I have high hopes that this idea will spread with art quilters.


 

Until next time….
Margaret


You can see my work……. 
Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
 July 7 – 23 2017 and Traveling through out the country!

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah 
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

Untethered Thread
Poway Center for the Arts
Poway, CA
June 1 – June 24, 2017

35th Annual New Legacies
Lincoln Center 
Ft. Collins, CO 
July 5 – August 26

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

Being friendly pays off – It’s called Networking!

I live in a great community filled with quilters. There are traditional quilters, modern quilters, art quilters and everything in between. One of the draws for quilters is a larger population of people like me who have their children raised and time to devote to the creative process. 


My quilter friends shop at a local gem: Superior Threads. Superior has a warehouse that also serves as a retail outlet. I love wandering around the maze of thread and picking out just the right, weight, color, and kind of thread for my projects. The people in the warehouse are busy packing items for shops and online customer, but they are never to busy to help me find what I am looking for.

As I checked out one day I mentioned to the receptionist my passion for art quilting. We got to chatting and I gave her my website address. Several months down the road I got an email from a member of the Superior Threads team who does the newsletter. She asked if I would like to provide some information about my work.


“This month at my quilt guild meeting, several members mentioned reading about me in the Superior newsletter.” 

Social connections matter to spreading the word about what you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Networking is EASY.
Talk about what you love and you never know what can happen.


There are many places I “network” at here in Saint George.  There are a good variety of places to buy fabric.  I had great conversations with local  longarm quilters with some amazing skills to support local quilters .  There are shops that sell or service machines.  I always try to say “hi” or introduce myself. and make new connections when I am buying supplies or using a service. Having a business card to give someone helps them find more about what I do. 

 My quilt guild is large and inclusive.  Every member is encouraged to grow their skills and knowledge in a supportive atmosphere.  To reach out to the region and beyond; the guild hosts a beautiful and well attending  biennial show  called “Gems of the Desert”.  This year the show offered exceptional classes along with a exceptional variety of quilts. It is a wonderful atmosphere for me to make new connections. 


Going outside of one’s comfort zone to get to know new people is a great opportunity to get the word out about what you do and learn something new. Modern quilters in Saint George have their own guild in town which  attracts a younger group one of whom is in the national spotlight. Her name is Natalia Bonner.

She started quilting when she was a kid. After her first child was born, she began a journey which has produced a thriving business. I was so inspired by a presentation and trunk show ; that I bought one of her books and have begun building my repertoire of free motion stitching. 


(Look for a future post about this wonderful quilter, teacher and author. )

Network works!  Try it sometime. 

Until the next time…….
Margaret


You can see my work……. 
Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
 July 7 – 23 2017 and Traveling through out the country!

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah 
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

Untethered Thread
Poway Center for the Arts
Poway, CA
June 1 – June 24, 2017

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018

 

I

Principles of Design for the Art Quilter


The principles of design tell the artist how the elements of design relate to each other. Through the understanding of the principles, the artist is able to evaluate a composition. Principles help solve problems!


This poster hung in my classroom and in almost every other art teachers classroom in my district. Along with the elements of design, the principles of design are the common language of art. In my last post I described the elements of design:

Elements are words used to describe the “parts” of work of art.

I told my students to think about an element like the windows, tires  or doors on a car. The principles describe the car itself. A sports car,big truck or a family van. It is important for the artist to take the time look and evaluate how the elements of design work together to create the desired outcome. 


And now for the story of “Tom” and “Mimi”

“Tom” is a quilt that I made a couple of years ago. It is going to  be in a show called “Under the Western Sun” at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in late April. The show will travel to New Mexico and Utah. It has also been on display at the Lincoln Center Gallery in Colorado in an international show of art quilts called “New Legacies”.

This quilt was made after “Tom”. It is a portrait of Tom’s wife Mimi. It has not gotten into any shows.Using the principles of design, I can identify the problem with Mimi. 

Note: Principle of design is in bold.

Both compositions use a similar color scheme which creates a strong contrast between the warm and cool colors. The lines created by the quilting and small bits of cloth create interesting patterns and visual rhythm.  So where’s the problem? They look similar, but Mimi doesn’t cut the mustard. 

The emphasis is off center in portrait of “Tom” making  it a more pleasing composition than “Mimi”. Look carefully at the curved lines of quilting. These serve as a visual pathway leading to a focal point. Compare this to the portrait of Mimi where the lines of quilting do not provide a clear visual pathway. The point of emphasis is poorly placed in the center. 

Balance a important role in a successful composition.  I think that balance alone is why Mimi doesn’t work. Mimi is a symmetrical composition. The visual balance is even. The figure and the background have the same visual weight. There is an even divide of space between the background to the left and right of the figure. Even  the figure does not take up enough space. 

In Tom’s portrait the figure takes up at least two thirds of the space.  It dominates the composition. If I had made in a portrait orientation and cropped out more of the background I would have much better portrait of Mimi.

If it isn’t working, try using the principles of design
to identify the problem.


Until next time….
Margaret


You can see my work……. 
Turmoil
International Quilt Festival – Chicago, Illinois: April 2017 

Under The Western Sun
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Golden CO
April 27 – July 25 2017

H2Oh!
National Quilt Museum, Paducah Kentucky
June – September 2017

Sacred Threads
Herndon VA
 July 7 – 23 2017 and Traveling through out the country!

Pathfinders
Southern Utah Museum of Art
Cedar City Utah 
June 30 – August 26 2017

The View
St. George Museum of Art
St. George Utah
April 28 – August 16 2017

Untethered Thread
Poway Center for the Arts
Poway, CA
June 1 – June 24, 2017

Interpretations: Conversations
Visions Art Museum
San Diego, CA
October 21 2017 – January 7 2018