Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Cameras and Quilts

I have the instructions ... I "know" what needs to be done ... but I am going to need lots and LOTS of practice. A camera stand has been added to my supplies. It is a little stiff still and hard to adjust exactly where I need it. A good light still needs to be purchased to add shadows where I need them (on the quilting not the edge of the quilt). Moving living room lights around didn't make the cut. I remembered to use the 'close-up' function and then move the camera & the stand back until I got the photo I wanted (wasn't watching how far back I was moving and tripped over a chair). And I did 'bracketing' (taking groups of photos with minor adjustments) until I got something close to what I wanted.

This is the completed "Ontario North - Georgian Bay" art quilt inspired by the Canadian Group of Seven artist, Franklin Carmichael. (It has been sold). (17 X 19.5 inches)

The 2nd art quilt "Ontario North - Algoma" was inspired by the artist J.E.H. MacDonald (16.5 X 19.5 inches).
What I really need is a little Level Bubble on my camera to tell me that the camera is square! After fidgeting with the camera stand for a bit, I seemed to be getting worse, not better ... so, even with some camera & picture-taking knowledge, my pictures are still a bit wonky. :-(

Monday, 27 April 2015

Good News

Well, it is almost all good news ... the downside is, it is snowing AGAIN! I know it will melt soon, but it is the last week of April ... the sun should be shining so my crocuses come up!

Mayflower QG has a retreat in Sept this year; there are 3 awesome teachers (Karen Kay Buckley, Ana Buzzalino and Laurie Swim). Laurie, an awesome art quilter, was my first choice and I found out this past weekend, that I will be in Laurie's class. I am hoping I can get some help on water, waves and fog in art quilts, but anything she teaches will be an asset for my skills.

AND then another email came ... the Structures quilt "Crossing the HRM" (the 5 bridges) was accepted in the SAQA Atlantic Canada show!! 25 quilts out of the 34 entered were accepted for the show.  The venues at the moment are:

Art Gallery of St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish Nova Scotia, June 1 to July 15

Gallery at the Guild, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 19 to 30, 2015

Inverness County Centre for the Arts Gallery, Inverness, Nova Scotia, September 27 to October 18, 2015

Saint John Arts Centre, Saint John New Brunswick, January 15 to March 4, 2016

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Branch, Nova Scotia, March 15 to April 30 2016

Just for a little creative fun, I have been making some items for Charlotte: some bibs, pull-on pants with feet and this bonnet. My daughter found the pattern on Purlbee ... and once we figured out that we had forgotten to put the centre panel in & corrected our mistake, the reversible hat worked perfectly!
 I think C. is going to need a couple more bonnets to match her outfits!!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Disappearing 9-Patch

I am trying to use up fabric ... I could give it away, but creating Charity / Comfort quilts is probably a better use for it. Last year I taught a class on a variety of Disappearing blocks ... One of them was the Disappearing 9-Patch.
     Years ago, when my daughters were into horse-riding, we bought horse fabric. I think we made some small projects with it, but it isn't fabric that I am likely to put in one of my art quilts.  First step ... cut the material into 6 inch blocks.
Since I didn't want the horses to be cut into little bits, I left them in the corner blocks.

Cut down the middle in both directions and start to play with possible placements. In my case, I left the top left and the bottom right where they were and flipped the opposite two corners.
This worked for me ... the rule of thumb is to keep your center block the same for all pieces or at least similar in colour. My center piece which is the one that gets cut into four sections, doesn't really show up well here since it is so similar to the horse sections.  This  quilt is machine -quilted. I ran out of the light coloured fabric for binding; instead I made two sides light and two sides dark. Final size is 40 X 60, not quite big enough for a twin bed; works for a crib quilt or just something to wrap up in when watching TV.

Here it is again in red and black:
This was made using 2 1/2 inch blocks .... I would NOT go any smaller than this since those tiny red pieces (with seam allowance & being cut in 4 sections) are 3/4 inch finished squares. I am not too crazy about working with miniature quilts!!
I have also made this with only the center block being the same and multiple scraps in all the other positions and that worked out well ... and a good way to use up scraps!!
I found a good area to hang my quilts for picture taking so I don't get the wonky perspective look when taking pictures ... Now I need to get proper lighting and a camera stand!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Stash Time

     Art quilts are so much easier to work on compared to bed quilts although they seem to be taking about the same length of time to create (unless I decide to hand quilt a bed quilt ... then that takes me forever!)
     The stacks of fabric in the cubicles is a bit overwhelming. I really do not need that much fabric to make art quilts and it puts a damper on going to a fabric store when you really DO NOT NEED to buy anything.  I think it is time to wean the stacks to a more manageable size .... Charity & Comfort quilts to the rescue.  I seldom take pictures of the quilts I give away.

     These two headed to the IWK (hosptial) for infants - premies. A couple years ago, I challenged myself to creating one Charity quilt per month ... I think I should do that again to help use up some scrap and stash piles.
     This one I made for fun from strips and black triangles. It was given to Bryony House (shelter for abused women & families). The coloured sections were long strips of 3 colours each, cut into 45 degree triangles and sewn to the black triangles. Then the fun begins mixing the blocks into multiple patterns. The border was created with the leftover ends after cutting out the triangles. I had a few blocks left over ... they were pieced into the backing. 
     Time to attack the stash!!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Brain Overload

     This past weekend was spent at a SAQA Atlantic Canada retreat near Saint John. Photographer Walt Malone taught us about lighting and reflections and improving our ability to take pictures of our quilts ... so many possibilities!! The first thing for me to do is find a suitable tripod and then start experimenting. It might take a little while before I get the hang of taking excellent (well, at least better) photos.
     And then there was Show & Tell. So many awesome quilts with so many stories with so many techniques that need to be tried. I am glad that Show & Tell was broken into little segments and you actually got a chance to absorb some new ideas.  I think it is time to start dyeing cloth and painting some of the backgrounds in order to get the colour gradations that I need.
     I showed off the Bridge quilt (Crossing the HRM), my Ireland quilt and the Group of Seven art quilts. It has been suggested that the bridge quilt be priced at $1200 ... that is so shocking to me.  I can't believe that other accomplished art quilters think my work is worth that much!!
     And that is part of the problem with many artists ... we undervalue our work; we can always find someone whose work is better and therefore ours is not quite good enough.  This is work, just like working at a job or a career (except we probably enjoy doing our work more!) and in our society, work has a monetary value. I really need to think this through ... I only have a couple days to decide how much I should up the value of the bridge quilt!