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

 

Using the Language of Art

When I was an art teacher in the public school system,
my students from kindergarten through high school
used the language of art.
 

The poster many art teachers have in their classroom studios.


The Elements and Principles of Design are the foundation of a visual language.  Think of the elements like car parts: wheels, body, doors, wipers,  lights, etc…  Elements are words used to describe the “parts” of work of art. The principles of design describe the how those parts make a whole. Car parts can make a station wagon, a truck or a sports car.  Lines, colors and shapes can make a landscape, a still life or a portrait.  Remember the elements and principles are used by artists to speak in a common visual language. 

I was inspired to write this post after reading a resource article on the SAQA website. The writer frames the elements and principles as if they are “rules” to be followed.  Below is a quote from the article. 

I finally understood, also, that I didn’t have to understand those “rules” I had been given. Those rules are not rules that have to be followed. The rules didn’t come first–the art did. The rules are simply our very human attempt to explain what works, what pleases us, most of the time. And as we have seen in the discussion of this subject, we are all different and what pleases me may not please you.

A visual vocabulary list helps artists describe and evaluate verbally or in writing what they see. The elements of design are not rules, they are tools. Whether you are looking at a project on your design wall or sharing a completed work at a gallery artists need to be able to identify the parts of a composition. 

For example in the composition show above (“Tom” 34″ x 24″ 2016) the elements of color, line, share, value and texture are at work. I used a two primary colors, yellow and deep blue, to catch the viewer’s eye. The circular lines of stitching provide a frame for the figure. Small slivers of cloth make a wall of texture at the edge of the composition. In the process of enhancing the digital image I exaggerated the changes in values to create a spotlight effect. 


I strongly encourage you to make a habit (if you don’t already), to start looking for the elements , like lines in composition; before you identify the subject. For example the trees in picture of a winter landscape are vertical lines and the place where the sky meets the hilltop is a horizontal line.

 

Visual vocabulary is a tool.
Use it!

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

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

 

“Quilting Arts” February /March 2017,Turmoil (page 21-27)

 

Word of the Year: Observation

Observation is the my word of the year.

 

Last  year I found myself taking action without thinking. We all have done it, said “Yes” before thinking about how much time you are willing to give. Raising a hand or offering to help before considering how much energy this will take.  This is true whether it’s committing to entering (X) number of shows or showing up to volunteer (X) number of hours.  

My time and energy are my most valuable assets and I need to guard them. This year I am spending more time in observing before acting.  


Observation is critical to my studio practice.  In every studio session I take frequent breaks to look at my work in progress on my design wall. More often than not, I am having internal argument.  “This composition or color scheme is not working but I don’t know how to fix it.”  Artists need other artists to evaluate problems with a set of fresh eyes. It is essential for creative progress. 

My critique group  in Colorado helped me move from experimentation to competence in art quilting.  Luckily I now have an opportunity to start a critique group in my new community.   

After I moved here to Saint George, I found out there were two people within walking distance of my home who were art quilters. . Both are creative spirits, but have an aesthetic that is different than mine. We visited each other’s studios.  They had so much to offer me and couldn’t wait to get together again.

 At my local guild there was definite openness  to experimentation that is sometimes missing in a traditional guild. After attending a three day retreat I met other kindred spirits interested in meeting to provide each other feedback.  I came home reassured I will be a member of a functioning critique group in the near future. 

If you are thinking about forming a critique group take a look at a wonderful resource written by Marjorie Jannotta on the SAQA regional blog for Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.  Here’s little taste from Marjorie’s guide.

“Jump Start Guide to Successful Quilt/Fiber Art Critique Groups”
by Marjorie Jannotta 
This handout will help you plan and launch an art critique group. (For simplicity I will refer to contemporary quilts, mixed media works with stitch, and fiber art as “art.”)
Critique groups can serve several purposes that a larger, formal quilt guild or association cannot. Critique groups can:
• Provide a “nest” or “incubator” for those wanting to explore art ideas, learn skills informally, and try out new approaches in a supportive climate.
• Give each person a chance to sharpen skills in examining, analyzing, and understanding the work of others.
• Let participants receive specific viewpoints about artworks before, during, and after they are made.
• Create a learning climate that creates affiliation and friendship among participants.
• Be a platform for exhibits, community outreach, teaching, and contributing to associations and other groups.
• Avoid formal bureaucracies that take time away from the art itself.


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

“Quilting Arts” February /March 2017,Turmoil (page 21-27)
“Quilting Arts” June/July 2016 Stories of Migration (page 11 -18)

 

 

It’s been awhile…..

It was couple of years ago I moved from our family home  to our vacation home in Mesquite Nevada. I wrote several posts describing the change, what I didn’t share was how this change ultimately fell short of my expectations. 

Source: paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com

Isolation

 

Transition takes time to emotionally sink in and when in the middle of a big change you may mistake being “busy” for being fullfilled.

I did. 

One day I woke up and found myself lost.

Apparently I had been lost for sometime and did not realize that externally I had reorganized my life with fulfilling tasks, but failed to meet the needs of my soul. By the summer of this year, despite a glorious trip to Europe and the birth of the most perfect grandchild; I was down in the dumps. I suffered from anxiety, spent way too much time alone and had trouble motivating myself to do anything outside of my studio.

Luckily for me I am by nature; an analytical person.  When I realized  the problem was not going to pass on it’s own I sought help. I was not afraid to make changes, research, to be open to suggestions and to try potential solutions.  I got a new doctor who was a good listener. I made some lifestyle changes and made an effort to be more attuned to my physical well being. 

The second thing that started me on a more positive path was growing connections with fellow creative spirits: Women who wanted more out of life than just to be comfortable. Although I have a wealth of creative friends which I keep connected to online, in Mesquite I wasn’t able to find the intellectual depth I needed to grow . I found these kind of women in Saint George Utah, 


So I moved!
 


We found the perfect home. It’s less than an hour from Mesquite, but is in a much larger and more diverse community.  It has an active and interesting quilt guild. There is a museum.  The downtown has an amazing library. The are lot’s of bike paths and it is filled with beautiful places to hike. There are good places to eat, shop, listen to concert or go to a play. 

We choose a family neighborhood, near a park with room enough to comfortably have guests. The house has a back yard to garden. There is a huge gourmet kitchen and a three car garage that my husband loves. My studio is in a front bedroom that is larger than my old studio and filled with light. 

I plan to start full speed on several new projects. I also want to balance my studio work with a daily journal writing, cooking, water aerobics and making functional items. There is a wonderful group of art quilters to keep me moving forward. 

Southern Utah is place of great beauty. People from all over the world travel here to see Zion National Park. I feel at home here. I feel welcome and I look forward to many happy years in my new home.

 

Next Post is my word of the year: Observation 

Until Next time..
Margaret