Author Archives: metaphysicalquilter@gmail.com

About metaphysicalquilter@gmail.com

Retired art teacher from Colorado. I have a Masters in Art. I am passionate about Studio Art Quilting, I love to read, golf and enjoy the life of my dreams!

Finishing Touches


This morning I posted an image of a quilt made a few years back on social media.
As I cropped the picture  I saw, for the first time, the error of my composition.


 

Alamo Gate

I have been consistently posting on social media. Each morning I post an art quilt to my Facebook and Instagram accounts. (You can find these posts by following my hash tag #metaphysicalquilter ). Everyday I share one of my quilts on Facebook groups like Art Quilts or Textile Art. This morning as I was posting “Alamo Gate'', I saw an issue that needed to be resolved.  

This quilt was accepted into very few juried shows. It was one of three quilts I made after a trip to San Antonio. Although rejection from a juror is not a final word on the success of a submission, I enter enough shows to know when something didn’t hit the mark. This is a key factor in my relative success in the world art quilting. Juried shows provide valuable feedback and have helped me improve over time. The jurors had told me that Alamo Gate needed more work.


Claude Monet, the impressionist Master, commented that the “finishing touches on a painting might seem insignificant, but to the painter they are much harder than one would suppose.” 


Claude Monet was absolutely right. My finished projects are much better when I let them sit on my design wall for a period of time. I look, look again, take a picture with my camera and wait until I know. In the case of this quilt, I didn’t make those finishing touches. I rushed onto other projects and the result was an completed, but unfinished art quilt.

One reason I moved onto other work is because landscape is not my area of emphasis. The bulk of my work is figurative. Landscape quilts hold my interest as reminders of favorite places. Some I make to hang in my home like “At Dusk”. This quilt has been rejected in several juried exhibitions probably because of the lack of contrast. It hangs near my front door. I love it.

“Alamo Gate” is a quilt I finished without feeling it was done. It has been hung in storage until now. Today I know why  it didn’t find a place to show off. I can fix the composition’s problem with paint. A little paint over the lantern and it becomes the stone wall.

The problem is the lamp as a center of interest. This composition is visually engaging because of the tree and its wild growth pattern. That’s why I selected  the photograph. The gate is not a visual or thematic focal point. It’s the tree. The tree is amazing. It has lived in that spot for hundreds of years growing with twists and turns. Surviving through the twists and turns of history, this tree thrives in the courtyard of the old mission.

My quilts are stitched painted photographs. As artworks they float between defined categories. This gives me the freedom as a creative to ignore the rules of any discipline. So I am going to paint out the lamp and quilt the stone wall pattern. The back would confuse the quilt police. So what! I am also going to rename the quit “Live Oak”. It has a new life and possibly will find a new place to live.


 Until Next Time.....
Margaret 

2021 has Finally Arrived!

Like many of us, I am glad to be moving forward.

Exhibitions were cancelled.

My art quilt retreat refunded my money.

Lectures went virtual.

Workshops became “Zoom” groups.

It’s not all bad.

 


I tried an Etsy Shop and found that my work was lost in an ocean of other sellers.

I also placed fabric on Spoonflower but didn’t find my niche.

My efforts at booking in person workshops and lectures fizzled

Quilts accepted into AQS shows were returned unseen.


What has been surprisingly successful was my online class:

Photo 2 Fabric.

As a retired art teacher, putting together a class is definitely within my skill set. I want to share what I know and build up the community of art quilters.

My approach is different from a typical quilt project class. I provide a framework for  people to build their confidence in making their own design choices. My job as a teacher is to facilitate learning. To support students ideas and not to set hard and fast rules.  My goal is to have students become independent of me and my process. When students understand and apply core design concepts they can follow their own path to achieve their desired results.

I don't want to provide a set of instructions to follow.

I want to present a wide array of possibilities. 

Yesterday I posted my latest class. It’s super fun.

Photo 2 Fabric: On the Go!.

This course uses your phones’ photo editing software and  Picsart. Picsart is one of my "go to" phone apps. In Picsart there is a set of filters called Magic. This group of 30+ filters can totally transform any photograph. It took me several weeks to put together a series of presentations. Along the way, I learned so much and hope that my discoveries will inspire others. 

Whatever I do, I am constantly thinking to myself “Where will this lead me?” That is the gift given by this tumultuous year. Plans were set aside but new possibilities appeared. There have been many days at home, but very few days where I wasn't challenged to figure something out. Looking back, it may have been the year I rediscovered my passion for teaching. 


I want to wish everyone a wonderful and creative New Year.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes to inspire your journey in 2021. 

Until next time....
Margaret

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

―  Pablo Picasso

More important than a work of art itself is what seeds it will sow.

―  Joan Miro

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works

―  Marc Chagall

Art Yoga

Art Yoga

I know some of you are reading this blog post with snow and cold outside your doorstep, but I am happy to be living in a warmer climate.

Even in Winter I can sit on my patio most days and draw in my sketchbook.


I have been posting my sketchbook pages on Instagram and Facebook with the words ART YOGA superimposed over the drawing. The hardest part of this ritual is taking a photograph of the drawing and seeing a mistake with my composition. Maybe the color is off or I have failed to fill in an enclosed shape with color. Sometimes there is not enough visual interest. I need to add texture or change the values. 

There is a quote from Scott Adams “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  Adams created the Dilbert character. Dilbert is an office worker surrounded by strange co workers, incompetent bosses and assigned to work on outrageous projects with ridiculous expectations.  

I read the Dilbert comic strip most mornings in my digital edition of the Salt Lake Tribune. The cartoon strip is placed on page two with the news of the world. I believe the placement is for people who are never going to have the time to get to the end of the paper who are probably working or have worked in an office  like Dilbert’s .Dilbert’s office is not unlike the culture of administration at the school district where I worked for many years.

Without a doubt creativity is coping strategy in stressful work environments. Luckily I now do not have a place of work that includes a boss or coworkers and no stress.  Creativity is the core of my business . Recently I have committed to sharing not only the finished and polished products I make, but the unfinished and messy mistakes that allow my creative process to grow. 

I am almost finished with my most recent sketchbook. As I look over the little drawings the sketches of vegetables and people with umbrella’s have possibilities. The landscapes that are disappointing. Pages filled with patterns need work. Taking the photograph allows me to see my composition from a distance as if I was a person looking over my shoulder. It also allows me to share my process with my audience.

Using my cell phone and photo apps, I can make adjustments to my composition before I post an image. Digital cropping makes it easy for me to change or add a center of interests. Using filters I can apply texture. Changing the contrast I am able to adjust the values. In a couple of minutes I will have multiple versions of a little drawing.

After I have a digital image, my next step is to post that image to my Facebook and Instagram story. The images disappear in 24 hours on social media but I have a collection on my devices. Some of these would make interesting yardage. Others could be used in combination with photographs in a digital collage.


 Not every sketch is worth keeping. Every sketch is worth doing. Artists, I believe; need to incorporate routines that are designed to create without any predetermined outcome. Adding accountability to the routine will increase the likelihood that it will become ingrained and open up new avenues of exploration.

Possibilities grow with each day I work on my art yoga.

 Until Next Time.....
Margaret

Observation and Duplication

We learn by observation and duplication. That is an important part of the creative process at odds with the myth of the artist. Art relies on a community of artists who are working alongside each other for energy and inspiration.


http://dw-wp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Loud-Learning-300dpi.jpg

Art quilters are largely passionate hobbyists. Many art quilters happily produce work in the style of their favorite teacher for a period of time. Some take classes from a variety of  teachers until they develop a more personal style. The natural process of creating a unique voice will include a period of being derivative. 

 

Derivative: (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.: "an artist who is not in the slightest bit derivative".

Synonyms: imitative, unoriginal, uninventive, unimaginative, uninspired, copied, plagiarized, plagiaristic, secondhand, secondary, , trite,  clichéd, stale, tired, worn out, flat, rehashed, warmed-up, stock, banal

 

I have been reading “Writing Down the Bones.” by Natalie Goldberg. It’s now out in the 30th Anniversary edition. It is a classic text for writers circles. Goldberg believes in the power of writing as a form of meditation, self reflection and art. In her book Natalie encourages keeping a free flowing journal. I see many  parallels to my own art practice in this approach to the creative process.  

The book is a collection of short essays that seem designed to be consumed not in a big chunk; but as small bites of inspiration. One of these bites, “Writing is a Communal Act” struck me as applicable to the art quilt community. Art, whether it’s writing, painting or art quilting is, as Goldberg outlines, a communal not an isolated activity. She gives artists permission to write in the style of a Hemingway because he is an excellent writer and to do so without guilt.

To copy a style is not a crime, it  is using the community of art as a resource. 

Art communities are not meeting in the traditional sense as often as they did before. The world is increasingly connected in the virtual space of Facebook, Zoom, Online Galleries, Exhibitions and Museums. YouTube and Instagram have a  barrage of images that seem overwhelming. It is in these spaces that one can get lost. The challenge is to find one’s own path within the virtual jungle. 

As I scroll through my Instagram I look carefully for artists that at a gut level speak to me. It may be that they are working with photographs, their work is figurative, the subject matter is akin to mine or design style is very engaging. Because the algorithms used by search engines send us similar content it is easy to start collecting images or finding videos that connect to each other. They offer opportunities for deeper explorations.

As I play in my studio or in my sketchbook; I never worry about being derivative. I often begin by working in the style of someone else with abandon until that style morphs into my own. 

Until next time....
Margaret

 

 

 

Setting up a Shop

I have been looking at quilts that are stored and selected some to sell. My approach to selling might be different than a typical artist.

  • I have never thought that the price of art has anything to do with its intrinsic value.
  • Money does not inspire me to create.
  • I do not link my success with any income my art generates.

 


The "value" of my art rests  completely in the process of making the art.


Photofox

Since I retired I never focused on selling my art or my skills as a teacher. First I  focused on creating a portfolio. My next step was to enter SAQA exhibitions. Then I tried to expand my exhibit opportunities to include major quilt shows and some of the most competitive juried shows. I wanted to use the  feedback from judges to help direct my creative energy. The process of making art and entering in shows fueled my creative engine for several years. 

As my resume expanded  I wanted to reach beyond the exhibition audiences. My social media presence became more thoughtful and consistent. I created a YouTube Channel to share both my knowledge as a trained art teacher and my skills as an art quilter. I updated my website adding opportunities to for lectures and workshops.

When my inventory of quilts grew I thought about selling. Although  I tried some local galleries , I didn't find a good fit and continued to seek somewhere outside Utah that would attract audiences open to fiber art. My goal was not to produce income. My goal was to share my work with the largest audience possible. 

This year the world has shifted but my desire to share my work with a larger audience has not. Galleries are not seeing foot traffic. Workshops, classes and even guilds have shut down for a period of time. We are now fully in the virtual world where the audience is seemingly limitless.

To share my work and expand my connections I needed to change my focus from local to global. I have been working on launching online classes. (I will be on Teachable in the next few weeks, look for an announcement on my Social Media) In October I will be doing a Zoom lecture with Front Range Contemporary Quilters in Colorado. Any quilt guild or group can reach out and get a virtual lecture by me via Zoom. 

My gallery of work is also in the virtual space.  I have my fabric designs for sale in a spoonflower studio and now I am launching  an online Etsy shop to sell my quilts. The process of opening an Etsy shop was pretty easy. It was similar to Spoonflower’s Studio Space. I wanted to sell art quilts that had subject matter that would appeal to an audience who would find my work through the search engine within the platform. Hashtags leading  them to artists like me are a big help in building an audience.

Most of the initial items for sale were from my travel series. These quilts started with landscapes which I believe will attract a larger audience. I am selling quilts featuring Snow Canyon, Zion National Park, San Antonio and Italy.  I am pricing them at $380. It’s bargain priced because my goal is not income, it’s to share my work with the largest audience possible. 

Longer term I want to add some smaller work that originates with my sketchbook. This work is exciting to me because I am able to engage in creative play. As I finish these smaller quilts, I will be adding them to the shop. I haven't set a price yet but it will be super reasonable.


Join me in this new world. Check out my Etsy and Spoonflower Shops. Like my Facebook Page or Follow me on Instagram.  

It’s a new world. Let’s all dive in!

Until Next Time.....
Margaret