Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Must-Have Art Quilt Books - Off the Wall Friday


Okay, say you're stranded on a deserted  island and you were only able to save 5 art quilt book. What would they be?  Now remember you're stuck with nothing else to read and more importantly, no wi-fi - gasp! . . . .so what 5 books did you keep?


5 Must-Have Art Quilt Books

1. 500 Art Quilts:  An Inspiration Collection of Contemporary Work  This is my go-to inspirational book.  The photos are gorgeous and the wide range of art work will take your breath away.  Many pieces have detail photos included.

2.  Inspire to Design: 7 steps to Successful Art Quilts  If you want to learn the design elements in a methodical fashion - this is the book for you.  Elizabeth Barton walks you through exercises step by step  that you can apply to your own work and strength your designs.

3. Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric  this is an updated version of Jane Dunnewold's iconic book, The Complex Cloth.  Its the bible on all the hand dyeing and surface techniques you always wanted to try!

4. The Quilter's Book of Design.  This is the book that taught me the design elements and how they relate to way I was putting fabric together.  I remember referring back to this book over and over again.

5. Machine Quilting with Decorative Threads This is the book that taught me  the ins and outs of using all that pretty thread I had been collecting.  It is literally a wealth of  information and tips that is more than useful if you plan on doing some thread play.

Now I know most of these books are older but to tell you the truth, I haven't found anything that has come out recently that has been as helpful as these.  Most of these can also be found on the used book market (in great condition) for very cheap too!!  

So these are my top 5 - what are yours?
So What Have You Been up to Creatively?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Art, A Scary Business - Off the Wall Friday

LUCY.....the first one and the new one
I love Lucy!  I mean, seriously, who doesn't love Lucille Ball?  Well, apparently, the townspeople of Lucy's birthplace,  Celeron, NY don't.  To be clear, they love Lucy too.  Its the bronze statue of her created by artist Dave Poulin, that they weren't too thrilled with. In fact, they were so appalled at his rendition of their beloved comedian that they started a social media campaign entitled, "We love Lucy. Get rid of this statute". (harsh!)

 And its not just the townspeople either. In  the 7 years that the statute has been in place its  taken on a kind of  local cult following being nicknamed, Scary Lucy.  It was so scary  that its become a tourist attraction in its own right and has generated its share of internet mockery.

Something had to be done.  And it was. New Jersey artist,  Carolyn Palmer was commissioned  to do another statute of Lucy, depicting her in a more positive light.  This past weekend the new statute was unveiled to over-whelming positive reviews.

To be fair, Dave Poulin did make a public apology concerning his work.  He writes, "From the day of its installation, I have shared my disappointment in the final outcome".  He has also gone on to make a huge body of work that has beautified many public spaces.  This one piece from nearly 10 years ago, is still haunting him though.  Worse yet, its haunting him on a national level.

Once I got over the jarring difference of the two statutes, I was struck at how horrifying it must have been for Poulin to see this one piece get such notoriety.  Putting your work out there is scary enough but to fail so spectacularly in the public eye is enough to make you reconsider going into accounting.

I'm sure that the average joe on the street doesn't realize how scary it is to put  your art on display  for public scrutiny.  Nor how difficult  it is to create on demand.   Or how hard it is  to match your talents with that of the expectations of a commissioned piece.

Now that I think about it, being an artist is down right terrifying.



So What Have Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Dyed Days of Summer - Off the Wall Friday

Ohhhh, Baby, its hot outside!!  I mean really hot!!  Now I understand that the rest of the country probably doesn't think 90 is all that hot, but when you  live on a Great Lake, its pretty darn hot!  In fact, its probably the only time my well insulated Victorian ever gets above 75 degrees.  And you know why 75 degrees is the magic number for???  Yep!!  Hand Dyeing Fabric!!!



So once my favorite weather Tom Divecchio  said it was going to reach 90 on my day off, well it was a given that out came the hand dyeing stuff.  There have been years that I dyed for three weeks straight and do a ton.  But this year, I noticed that I really didn't need too much.  What I did need is some Red Solo Cup darker pieces.

What is Red Solo Cup Dyeing?  Its my own easy way of dyeing up fat quarter to half yards of fabric in a very relaxed manner.  What I found over the years is that the results are the very definition of
serendipity and are VERY useful in my work.  So many times, I'm looking for just the right mixture of colors for the piece I'm working on.  Not to mention, its really great when people say - OMG - where do you get your gorgeous fabrics?  And I just casually answer - Ohhhh, I made them myself.  In a red solo cup.  And they always give me a funny look.  Hey, Red Solo Cups aren't just for beer!!


So today I started at 8 am, got them batched up so I could do my grocery shopping and take a nap   finish my chores.  Gosh, I forgot how tiring it is.  They mostly came out great.  A couple I was tempted to overdye but another thing I've learned, that most ugly hand dyeds are ugly right up to the moment when its perfect for a piece.


I think I'm going to do another batch of Red Solo Cup dyeing this weekend.  I want to do some folding of the fabric to get some nice lines.  Another thing is that I'm going to make up more colors so I can have variation in the pieces I dye!


So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Quilting by the Lake 2016 - Off the Wall Friday

Well, a week home and I'm still basking in the creative glow of Quilting by the Lake.  What - A - Week!!  Honestly, I know that people like to go on fancy vacations and explore new lands, but I'll take a week of quilting summer camp over that any time!


Rosalie Dace & Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer
So some of the highlights:

  • A great opening lecture by Jeanette DeNicolis Meyer on the "If. . . Then" of creative ideas.  Many a year, I'm so tired on opening night that I barely can listen to the lecture.  This one was so good, that it energize me into all the possibilities of the up coming week.
  • The best classroom EVER!  No seriously, the best classroom of all time.  20 ft ceilings with a full wall of windows and amazing acoustics so you could hear the teacher no matter where you were in the room.
  • Rosalie Dace at her best.  That woman was constantly teaching.  Each day started with a 45 minute lecture and then she went around the room checking on the progress of each student giving equal attention to everyone (harder than it looks).  The thing about Rosalie's class is that she creates a safe environment for you to create no matter where you are in your artistic journey!!
  • A Great Quilt Show at the college itself and an amazing exhibit at Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn featuring work by the Surface Design Association
  •  I was productive just enough to be happy with myself and not too much to drive myself nuts (that's harder than it looks too!)  I was VERY happy with my piece since its an idea that I've had for a loooonnnnnnnggggggg time!
    First time I've gotten to actual Quilt at QBL!
  • The food was better this year than in recent years.  There was always something good to eat - salads, grilled sandwiches, pizza and of course two entrees every meal.
  • I met some new friends and reconnected with some old ones.  
The BEST part of the week is that I feel totally refreshed creatively.  It was like a damn burst and it all came out of me!  Now don't get me wrong, OMG - its a very physical week.  The campus is spread out and I try to walk everywhere which I never minded before.  But now being heavier, its that much harder. Its given me new motivation to get  this weight off for next year!! The 12,000  steps a day was a good jump start into a new exercise regime let me tell you!



But creatively, it was like putting on your favorite jeans and having them fit perfect!

So if you too are looking for a new creative adventure  - next year's class schedule is already set and will soon be up on their website.  By the way - I was happy to see KATHY LOOMIS  is set to teach next year.  What a nice addition to the QBL faculty!

Next year will be my 15th year at QBL and I can't wait!



So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Big Idea at QBL - Off the Wall Friday

OUR CLASSROOM - GREAT HUH?!
Greetings from Quilting by the Lake 2016 Wow!  What a great week I'm having in Rosalie Dace's class, Skin Deep.    We're studying layering and transparency using sheers and other non-traditional quilting fabric - aka NOT cotton!  Its was so fun getting out my vast collection of sheers for this
class. Its finally a chance to play with all the shiny princess fabrics I've been hording!

Rosalie, as always, is great!  She has been suggesting a series of exercises each day for us aimed at getting us comfortable with manipulating the sheers to reveal and conceal our work.  Now, since she's the type of teacher that understands that each student is unique, she also gave us the choice to do those or  work on a couple of smaller pieces the whole week or work on one big piece.

And what did I choose??  Yep!  You guessed it - one big piece.  Now, this week I wasn't going to - truly!   But when one gets a big idea - one has to go with it!  So I did!!

As always, I started with a value sketch and then picked a palette.  Luckily I only brought one palette
with me so that made that part VERY easy.   I recreated the sketch by just working out the proportions of the jars when blown up.  Then just matched the jar with the right fabric - easy right?  Not!!  I spent a bunch of time in trials.  Here's  a peek into the process ...


FOCAL POINT TOO LIGHT

FOCAL POINT IS MEDIUM VALUE TOO DARK (SMALL RED VASE)
It is nice to have a splash of red in the corner

FOCAL POINT NOW BLENDS TOO WELL WITH THE BACKGROUND
This one is just right - BUT it blends so well that it changes the focal point to the patterned hand dyed vase on the upper right.

The rest of the designing went pretty easily.  In fact, so easily that I'm the process of adding thread work and quilting.  Next week I'll share with you a complete review of my week of QBL as well as the finished piece!

So What Have You Been up to lately???

Friday, July 15, 2016

8 Things You Didn't Know about Bob Ross - Off the Wall Friday

During the lazy, hazy days of summers, the Sayre family has been known to study new things.  Like the summer my husband and 7th grade daughter decided they were going to learn Japanese.  (I'm still finding taped Japanese words on things all over the house!)  Well this summer, it seems that its the summer to discover the treasures of Netflix.

To that extent, we've re-discovered  Bob Ross.  Yes the soft spoken Happy Tree painter from PBS.    Something about his gentile way of painting peaceful paintings really is soothing during this summer of turmoil.  Its amazing too how much you can learn about color, value, and composition watching him paint too.  He's inspired me with all new ideas of how to mix colors as well as how to shade effectively.  Because of this I've done a little research on him!

8 Things You Didn't Know about Bob Ross 

1.  He painted a lot of paintings.  A REALLY lot of paintings to the tune of at least 30,000 in his lifetime which equals to over 500 a year!  Once he connected with PBS, he donated most of his work to their fundraisers.

2.  He was into "Branding" before branding was cool!  Bob Ross never was paid for his work on PBS.  Instead he used his name to build a 15 million dollar a year business selling supplies, books, and videos that continues to this day.

3.  He wasn't always a PBS icon.  First, he spent 20 years in the Air Force rising to the rank of Master Sargent.  His time stationed in Alaska developed his love of mountain ranges and yes, trees.  He retired from the military, when he started making more money selling his paintings and giving lessons.



4. His iconic hair-do was a perm that he originally had done as a cost saving measure.  It became so much of his image that when he grew to hate it, he couldn't change it!

5.  Most episode paintings were painted 3 times - one done beforehand planning the composition, the second on the episode itself and third for close ups shots.

6.  90% of Bob Ross Joy of Painting viewers don't paint - ever.    And yes you can count the Sayre family as part of this statistic.

7.  His fast paint style wasn't a TV trick.  He literally would tape a whole season of  Joy of Painting in just two days doing one episode after another.  The show only ran for 11 seasons but still the 403 episodes are  played to this day.

8.  Sadly, Bob lost his fight with lymphoma in 1995 but his peaceful presence is felt to this day.

Even as a teen I would sit memorized  as Bob created a pretty world were nothing bad ever happened.  Isn't it nice that we can still visit that  world today even if its only for 30 minutes at a time? 

So What Have You Been Up Creatively?





Friday, July 8, 2016

Creative Blocks & Their Solutions - Off the Wall Friday

The last few weeks, I've given in to a bit of introspection.  I mean, seriously, its not a bad idea to take a bit of time  to do a  self review.  What did I find?  That I'm not really in the middle of a creative block more like a  motivational block.  Of course, a good argument could be made that if I was feeling creative, I wouldn't have any trouble getting motivated.


So I thought I would look at the causes of different creative blocks and some suggestions to help resolve them.  If it doesn't help me - who knows it -  it might help one of you!




4 Creative Blocks

  1.  The Inner Critic - Yeah, we know this guy.  He's the obnoxious fellow that lives in your head and tells you that your work is crap, your not talented and you smell AND why do you even both anyways?!?  Solution???  Stop the comparison game.  Remember why you are creating and hold fast to that.  You are creating first and foremost for you.  Then work on communicating what you want to say.  If the Inner Critic doesn't get it  - well - he probably smells!
  2. Fear - Let's face it,
    making art is a bit scary.  Now I'm not talking, Freddy Krueger scary, but the  kind of scary that comes with revealing to the world a part of yourself.  Maybe the subject is emotionally painful or embarrassing or just plain strange!  Maybe people will disagree with what you are trying to communicate or worse -  not care at allSolution???  Practically  - you'll have to start a routine and start creating no matter what.  Emotionally, you'll have to accept the good with the bad.  There is always acceptance as well as rejection in every avenue of life.  Why not in our art??  Start with that attitude and its easier not to get blind sided when your best friend says she'd rather put her Thomas Kinkaide print up  rather than the piece you offered to her.

  3. Personal Drama - Hey life is messy and at times it can get real messy!  Who can create when your dog dies, your pick up breaks and you run out of beer?  Ooops - sorry - been listening to too much country music - but you get the picture.  There is nothing to be done about these things - they are inevitable.  Solution???  Accept the Inevitable!  Ride out the drama or at least learn to cope with the stress of it.  To quote my friend Kristen, "Don't let yourself get stuck in that awful moment" - ride through it so you can eventually get to the other side.  And yes, I'm old enough to realize that sometimes that easier said than done.  Creative rituals will help - even if its 15 minutes a day.
  4. Swamped & Besieged - The world is too busy, we're too busy.  There are demands on us coming from all directions -  work, family, social, even creative.  Creative???  Yes!  Too many ideas, too many deadlines, too many inspirations, too many classes, too many tools - too many too many's!!  How is a girl suppose to sort through all THAT and get anything done??  Solution??? Set your priorities.  Yes - set limits.  More is NOT more.  Be brutal but cut, cut, cut things out of your life.  Enjoy the quiet and you'll want to creative.



So of course, this is just my opinion and truth be told, I've suffered from all of these at one time or other.  But what do you think??  How have you gotten over blocks??

So What Have You've Been Up to Creatively ?