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01/31/10
What’s Going On
Filed under: General, Photography, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 10:57 pm

There has been a lot going on this past week which is a good thing. I met some big deadlines at work on Friday and another big project is close to being finished. Hence the offbeat picture of my command control center at work. I emptied my kitchen and moved everything into the living room this past week and the ceiling is finally being repaired after the Niagara Falls incident a year ago. This is too big a job for me to do by myself so I was able to hire someone who is very talented and wonderful to work with. He is giving me assistant jobs to do like scraping off two layers of wallpaper with a chisel he let me borrow and washing the walls with bleach. He is going to paint the cupboards, wainscoting and walls as well. Repainting my home has been a long time coming and I am just doing one room at a time when I can. I did my bedroom all by myself this fall and only fell off the ladder a few times :-)

On the creative side, I am working on my ATC cards to go with the core values I did last week for the True North Arts Vision Journaling class, I bought background fabric at Joann’s to go with my stash of floral fabrics for a bed quilt for my aunt Ethel, and my new Staedtler triplus fineliner markers and 9 sheets of different colored Canson mi-Tientes paper came from Blick Art Materials. I also managed a trip to Borders to use a gift card from Christmas and chose Somerset Publications Art Journaling and Art Quilting Studio. And I picked up the first lesson of a free year long online scrapbooking class The Street Where You Live by Jane Howden at Get It Scrapped. In the supermarket today there was a sign at the deli counter that said “49 days ’til spring” and the below zero windchill factor weather seems to have passed today.



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01/24/10
Vision Journaling Week 2
Filed under: General, Creativity, Inspiration, Design, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 4:58 pm

Week 2 in the Vision Journaling Workshop involved a process to elucidate your core values. I did not follow the initial directions and started this at work, which turned out to be a good thing as it was a major mid-day de-stressor and led me to focus on what is important to me. I also have a long commute and do a lot of thinking in the car with new age music in the CD player so ideas come to me easily that way, even when doing 75 on the interstate (in the slow lane just keeping up with traffic and everyone is still passing me). I struggled with this exercise somewhat as it was hard to narrow things down to just 10 items and my initial lists were very long. In the car on the ride home Friday night I visualized exactly what I wanted to do - get my yet unchosen 10 words into the computer with a pastel box behind each word on a page that I could print and cut out and then add the words to a paper collage. And I still want to do that as well as make ATC cards… later.

When I started on this with InDesign yesterday and the 2002 Land of Forever CD playing, my graphic design gene led me down a different path. After working through the exercises I had 29 words and could not choose only 10 words so I finally settled on 12 that truly resonated with me. I typed my words in, first the whole list and then the list of 12. On the next page I took the 12 words, made boxes behind them, and chose different pantone colors. Then an idea came… I thought why not make a background with all the words repeated over and over, faded color and leading (line spacing) spread out. What next? Why not adjust the colored boxes the way I would have cut them and place them randomly around the background and do this piece digitally? The stark white background did appeal to my minimalist senses but I added a color screened back as a transparency and was pleased with the results. I have included the 4 page PDF to show my thought process. Once I get started it seems that one idea leads to another.



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01/17/10
Vision Journaling Week 1
Filed under: General, Collage, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 12:26 pm

I am taking the True North Arts Vision Journaling Workshop with Kathryn Antyr and am finding it very helpful in facilitating my creative journey. At this point I have created the journal collage for the first week which is pictured below and have started on making the ATCs to go with it. I wrote out a list of intentions for the ATC cards on my lunch break at work and keep a notebook handy there to record creative thoughts that come. This whole vision journaling process has given me more awareness of things that I am struggling with and how to address these things.




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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.



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01/09/10
Circles Theme in Art
Filed under: General, Inspiration, Drawing, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:34 am

This circles piece in my sketchbook is an example of what you can do when you choose or discover a theme and let yourself run with it over a period of time. Last summer I started a couple of journal page quilts that included circles cut from cereal box cardboard templates made with a compass and then set them aside after completing one of them. Near the end of the summer I was google surfing and found this inspirational pastels tutorial from Dirty Footprints Studio which must have registered in the back of my mind. While Christmas shopping in December I found myself in the art supplies aisle looking for a gift for my niece and I spotted the C-Thru plastic circles template. That was an “aha” moment for me as I remembered that the pastels tutorial used a circles template. This tool has been fun to experiment with and I feel that I have just scratched the surface. My first circles piece was done with pencil outline and colored pencil lightly applied and this piece was done with a Rapidograph ink pen outline and colored pencil with more pressure on the application of colored pencil to deepen the colors.

The Creative Every Day Challenge is inspiring and motivating me to create art. The saying “Not every piece is a work of art” on the sketchbook page is not a criticism of my work. It means that when you just let things flow and see what happens without the intention of creating a work of art you end up creating art that is meaningful. Sometimes when you plan things out and have wonderful intentions of creating a specific piece of art the end result does not always resonate with you. For me it has to do with the shift from left brain to right brain thinking (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards) and letting my muse and intuitive thought process speak through me.

Here is the circles piece in process on my coffee table. The C-Thru circles template (T-800) is on top of one of the pencil boxes.



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