Working Small / Thinking Big!

I recently had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Jo Fitsell. Jo is an artist with an amazing talent for creating hand dyed and marbled fabrics. Her work is well received in the art quilt community, a founding member of FRCQ and member of SAQA. She is also a teacher.

During her talk Jo encouraged a studio practice stayed with me for many days: work small and without the need to do anything but create. Her point hit home with me. I have found my self focused too much on the next show, completing a body of work, getting into a gallery, etc…. I was focused on the BIG picture.

 Long term goals are important. I believe strongly in creating a vision. A vision allows me to see and internalize what I want to achieve. Visioning gives me permission to change my path.  What I often forget  is change does not require just giant leaps; it requires small steps as well. Allowing myself to grow as an artist in my private studio  is just as important as creating work for the world outside my studio.

About Joy

So I took a couple of weeks off from creating. Today I sat down and made a 12×12 collage out of a small  scraps found around my studio. I gave myself a little more than an hour for the task. I cut the batting, fused the backing onto the batting. I added a layer of fusible to the top of the battering using a release sheet to enable me to fuse my composition down quickly.

About Joy_2 My first selection was an abandoned fiber collage with text, a photo, some painted squares and grey fabric used for curtains or pillows.  My second selection was material that caught my eye as I went through my stash. As it happened neither the color nor the motif  of the second  fabric related to my first selection. My third selection was a novelty print cartoon of a family on a car trip. I placed the three selections down and started to pull items that would visually and thematically  glue them together.

When I thought the composition looked reasonably good, I started sewing using the yellow green thread already in my machine. I played with stitch patterns within defined sections of the composition. Using  cues from the fabric, I added textures within shapes on the material and created an areas of random pattern. All intuitively! No plan, no stress and just letting the process flow.

Joy_composition Joy_stich










I ended up with a little square I am going to send off to a quilt  bombing in Oberlin Ohio. My plan for studio time with be different for me in the future. I will allow myself to work small and think BIG!


 Next time: Rethinking Chaos.


4 thoughts on “Working Small / Thinking Big!

  1. Ginger Younge

    Oh and by-the-way, my son graduated from Boulder in 2012. Absolutely love it there! I did not graduate from college with an Art degree but I wish I had. I have taken many art courses from people here and there. Do you teach?

  2. Ginger Younge

    I am so inspired by your art quilts. Then I was reading your blog posts and was even more pleased by your thoughts. I am not a member of Visions. I have been there to enjoy the displays. I am also a metaphysical thinker, a fellow 50 something women and work on that reinvention thing. I am not feeling so successful in creating a better, more life of thriving as of yet. I am enduring lots of loss, really tough human experiences and working through all that. I know to be creating while going through my troubles, yet I can get so overwhelmed by it all. I’m someone that has been harshly impacted by life’s high stress situations and recovery is very slow. I don’t normally share all this with someone I don’t really know. Yet, your thinking, your art spoke to me and I wanted a fellow lady, with similar interests to hear me. Perhaps we will know one another in some way. Thank you for being “here”, “there” so you could inspire someone who is looking for more sparks! Be Well

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