Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
June 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  
07/04/15
Getting Inspired
Filed under: General, Quilt Art, Creativity, Challenges, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 10:51 am

Last weekend I got inspired and started a quilt for the JAM art quilters July challenge, What Inspires You? I drew hearts of 3 sizes, made templates out of cereal cardboard, chose fabrics that I loved, marked and cut the hearts out, and arranged them randomly on a background fabric. It was spontaneous and fun. What inspires me? Love of family, love of friends, love of quilting, and love of art/ mixed media/ art journaling.

We are having a 3 day holiday weekend here because of the 4th of July, the independence of the United States and the birth of our nation. I intended to have a quiet weekend to myself with simple plans, and instead unintentionally made too many plans. A good friend of mine told me you need time to yourself when I told him about all my plans. I didn’t think so two days ago but now I realize he was right. Yesterday was too chaotic and I was totally exhausted when I got home. I am just getting over being very sick for 2 weeks and thought I was better but I am still supposed to be taking it easy. And as an artist I need to preserve and make time for myself every week, not just when I’ve been sick.

This morning I watched some videos from Journal52 and realized that I need to get back into painting/ art journaling/ mixed media. This is very important to me and I have been neglecting/ avoiding this since my mother went into the hospital February 14. I have been spending a lot of time worrying and unable to focus. I was able to start working on small art quilt projects in April and that has helped me a lot. There has been some hand sewing involved and that is very centering for me. What I really need to do is work on art journaling projects that are inspired by my internal landscape. The year long classes I signed up for in January are great and I can use them as a jumping off point, but they are not getting me where I am, where I live, where I belong. You can’t force it, you have to let it flow.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
05/25/15
Transition
Filed under: General, Collage, Quilt Art, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Challenges, Design, Creative Every Day, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 3:58 pm

For a while now I have been thinking about where I want to go with my art and my life so I have been feeling my way through transition. I was feeling uncomfortable about where I was at and was unable to focus on any one thing long enough to work on my art. Instead I spent a lot of time just being and flowing from one moment to the next and taking an introspective look at what I was doing and why. I asked myself a lot of questions about my life and my artistic direction.

As suddenly as I had stopped, I got started on doing art again but this time in a more relaxed and contemplative way. I no longer felt driven to complete the weekly challenges in all the classes that I had signed up for in January as I was not enjoying the frantic pace very much. And I felt that I needed to be more self directed.

I started quilting again after a long haitus from needle and thread and found myself torn between art quilts and mixed media. Could I do both? Did I want to do both? The answer was a tentative yes. There is only so much time available and I work full time and want to spend time with family and friends. But I need my creative time and it is very much a part of my well-being. A lot of my work needs to be done at home. Still, there are portable projects like hand sewing aspects of a quilting piece or small mixed media pieces like ATCs or twinchies that can be done with markers. So off I go to work or visiting friends with a tote bag containing portable art and quilt items.

This is the opening spread for Book of Days 2015 Volume 2 Mixed Tape. It’s just a simple spread with a vintage photo of me and scans of CD covers of music that I listen to now. No, I don’t listen to oldies and like new music. I added some rubber stamping to unify the spread.

This is a spread for Book of Days 2015 volume 1, week 7. The theme was choices and I was inspired to write a spontaneous poem about choices. I used a simple collage approach to the spread.

Choices
We all make choices in life.
Some choices are small,
like what to wear today,
or what to have for lunch.
Some choices are not so small,
like who to spend time with,
where to work or where to live.
Some choices are not so clear,
like what is the right thing to do
in a complex or difficult situation.
You will choose many paths in life,
and it is ok to change direction
when you see new possibilities,
or when the truth becomes known.

This was from a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to look for a magazine. I have a lot of Art Journaling magazines at home and I have a previous issue of Bella Grace which is wonderful, but I wanted a magazine about art quilting and Quilting Arts was recommended to me by a friend.

This is my earth day challenge for the JAM Art Quilters’ April challenge. The only restriction was that the quilt had to be round and it was great fun exploring this format I made this 14″ round quilt at the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild retreat at the beginning of May and am very happy with how it came out. This Earth Day quilt, along with the Postcards from Iran quilt, will be in the JAM Art Quilters group display at the Newington Library in Connecticut for the month of June.

This quilt is a mariner’s compass wall hanging for Father John, St Mary’s retired pastor. He had seen a table runner in this pattern that I made for my son a few years ago and he liked it very much. So I made him a wall hanging this month.

This is a work in progress for the JAM Art Quilters’ May challenge, which was to use a poem or quotation. I chose the Rumi quote, “Open your hands if you want to be held.” It seemed only natural to trace my open hands for this piece. I am adding a few more things to the piece and then it will be ready for quilting. I am using hand applique techniques in this piece which makes it a portable project and it is also very relaxing to do hand work.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

2 comments
08/10/14
Documented Life Planner
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Challenges, Creative Every Day, Quotes, Documented Life
Posted by: Mary @ 4:45 pm

On the way in to work one morning this week I spotted an incredible pair of spider webs on the split rail fence at the corner of the building. I got in almost an hour early that day because I had a lot to do, so the early morning sun backlit the top spider web and created a stunning visual effect. I often notice the little things that others would walk past and not see and that is part of who I am. People have differing opinions on spiders and some are afraid of them but I think they bring good luck and are industrious creatures.

This weekend I did not get a lot of artwork done as there were a lot of things I needed to do around the house that I had been neglecting. I don’t get down on myself for not accomplishing everything that I have in mind. My list of what I’d like to do is long and I need to choose what things need the most attention and let go of the rest. There will always be another day!

I spent some time working in my documented life planner and would like to share the pages with you. This is a year long project with weekly prompts that is run by the five inspiring women of Art to the 5th. There is a Facebook group and a Flickr group where people share their artwork and it’s awesome. No two journal pages are the same. You start with a purchased weekly calendar book and then add art to the pages using the weekly prompts. There were about 800 people in the FB group when I signed up in mid-December and now there are over 8,000 group members. News about the group has spread by word of mouth in the online mixed media art community. I am perennially behind but there are no time limits on when you need to complete pages.

For week 26 we were to choose either a bible verse or a line from a favorite book. I have a favorite Bible verse that immediately came to mind so here is my page. I am Catholic so this is from my Dad’s Cardinal Spellman (NYC) Catholic Bible that I have now and this may differ from other translations.

Week 27 was to add a crossword puzzle, suduko or word search to your page. I used to do pieced puzzles when I was growing up but I never was much of a one for word puzzles, hence this page. My aunt in New Hampshire who is 95 and sharp as a tack loves doing Sudoku puzzles.

Week 28 was to add an Instagram or other tiny photo to the page. I had a photo left over from my art journaling last week that was too small, so I used that here. I must confess I did not like selfies at first but I have become a big fan of selfies and take them whenever I can now :-)


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
01/13/10
Shafts of Light Diptych
Filed under: General, Quilt Art, Inspiration, Challenges, Quilting, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:46 pm

This past weekend I finished a quilt that forms a Shafts of Light Diptych with a quilt created ten years ago, in the year 2000. The original quilt was done as a challenge for the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild retreat that year. The challenge was to interpret the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, Voices of the Night/Prelude, in the form of a quilted object. This theme manifested itself to me as a visualization of abstract beams of light penetrating through the forest. I drew my design on an 18″x24″ newsprint pad (I probably sketched thumbnails first but don’t remember after 10 years) and when satisfied with the angles and layout made a paper pattern using drawing paper. The design or layout of the second quilt is a mirror image of the first quilt but with different fabric choices. It is a rare occasion for me to make a second version of anything as all my work is one of a kind.

The fabrics in both cases were chosen intuitively which is how I usually work. The only plan I did have before choosing colors was the placement of darks, mediums, and lights. Value changes have more of an impact than color because it is differences in value or shading that give a piece contrast and definition. I tend to buy fat quarters (18″x22″ or half a yard cut in half) as that gives me a lot more variety and depth in my pieces. To make a piece like this I drag out all of my fabric and go through it and choose the ones that interest me and that might work until I have a pile of fabric. This is my palette. When I shop for fabric, which isn’t often these days as I have enough on hand, I do that intuitively too, and not with a specific project in mind but with the feeling that I am adding to my palette.

These two quilts are paper pieced which is a method where the pieces of fabric are pinned or held to the wrong side of the paper pattern sections and then you flip it over and sew on the lines on the top of the paper with the fabric underneath the paper. I love to design my own paper piecing patterns and have a collection of those. The only tricky part is that everything is reversed or mirror imaged which can lead to some interesting mistakes. You can find good information about paper piecing on the Carol Doak web site if you are interested. Both pieces are free motion machine quilted and the first quilt (on the right) has beads sewn onto the surface which was done after the quilting was completed. I learned to free motion quilt in several workshops a long while ago and I have taught free motion quilting. There are some excellent books out now that describe the process and the best advice I can give you is to loosely hand baste (so the pins don’t get in the way) a small whole cloth sampler (18″x18″ to 24″x24″) using cotton batting the first time (it doesn’t slip around), drop your feed dogs, put your free motion foot on your sewing machine, relax, and just doodle and play with it until you feel comfortable doing it on a real quilt.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
08/05/09
Three Muses - Round
Filed under: General, Creativity, Digital Art, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 8:50 pm

The theme for the challenge at Three Muses this week is round - what a great theme! Perhaps a day late and a dollar short  but I brainstormed with pencil and paper and came up with an idea over lunch at work today. After settling on one particular idea I was able to visualize the piece. It is always exciting to be able to picture something in your mind before starting as well as to give yourself the freedom to change the piece as you work on it. Things don’t always turn out as planned but often they turn out better. If not you can always change tack and try something else. Remember that nothing is cast in stone. The clipart is from Dover Publications and the background started out as a vintage book page from Stampington which was then altered using multiple filters. This is a digital piece created using Gimp photo editing software which is open source software and comparable to Photoshop. This is also my first challenge piece from the MacBook that my wonderful kids gave me for my birthday to replace the 8 year old G4. What a surprise indeed!



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

15 comments
07/14/09
Inspire, Achieve, Dream, Become
Filed under: General, Collage, Scrapbooking, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 8:56 pm

The challenge theme at Three Muses this week is Word Salad. All sorts of great ideas immediately came to mind. Since I am having problems with my hand today it was easiest to work with scrapbooking paper, glue, and ergonomic cutting tools. This piece expresses my feelings about the theme and where I’m at right now. Don’t think you’d ever catch me on a surfboard although the snowboard my daughter left behind in the garage sure looks tempting some mornings. Ride the wave!




Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

17 comments
06/30/09
Up, Up and Away
Filed under: General, Quilt Art, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 7:33 pm

This week’s theme at Three Muses is Up, Up, and Away. It just so happens that I have already created a Hot Air Balloon quilt that is perfect for this challenge. The hot air balloon pattern came from the PC Piecers web site and my hot air balloon blocks came from a block swap with other quilters on the Internet. The quilt is my own design with the hot air balloons arranged in a random pattern in the sky. The quilt measures 30″ wide x 16″ high and hangs in my kitchen on the long wall over my kitchen table.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

16 comments
06/16/09
Door to the Unknown
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 10:43 pm

My sister Anne, Anne’s Creative Cornucopia, told me about a wonderful new creative art challenge group that started up last week with the first week’s theme of Mona Lisa. This week the theme is doors and here is my first entry to Three Muses. I did an initial pencil sketch and then decided to build the piece as an 8.5″ x 11″ oval using cardstock, glue, and scrapbooking paper, adding brads and knotted embroidery thread around the edge to create a talisman. My door is figurative and represents the world of opportunity that awaits when we open the door and cross the threshold into the unknown.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

17 comments