Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do You Have Creative ADD?

Creative ADD; I'm not sure if it really exists, but if it does, I think I have it. Recently, I've been chatting a bit with one of my blog buddies Penny, from Art Journey , about how much I admire the fact that she starts a project and finishes it before starting another. I, on the other hand, start a project, see something else I would like to try, and drop everything to start another project or craft. In the last few weeks, I have started two quilts, done a block for Quilts of Hope , which I found out about through another blog that I follow, called Stitching Life , made some fabric postcards, and also made an I Spy Bag for my daughter. This, you see, is why I think that I have what I call Creative ADD...

The bad news? It takes me FOREVER to finish anything... The good news? I get to try all sorts of fun projects and ideas.. Would you like to take a peek at what I've been up to? Have a look:

This is the Block I made for Quilts of Hope

Here is my progress on the free form quilting blocks I'm working on

And this is the I Spy Bag I made for my daughter, which she loves!

I have also made minimal progress on the Stash Box Quilt, which I started at the beginning of the new year. Add to these projects the fabric postcards I've been working on, and I start to realize I'm not so lazy, after all; I just work on multiple projects at once, so I need to remember not to rush to finish anything, unless of course, I have a deadline in place.

Next Friday will be my daughter's eleventh birthday, which means that on top of my list of projects, I have a few more things to add to my "to do" list. I'm not sure about you, but I have always been a person who likes to have a full plate, although I will admit that at times, things get a little crazy.

So, I have to ask: what kind of quilter/crafter/artist are you? Are you the uber organized, list making, take one step at a time, and finish one piece before you start another? Or, are you like me - a million things going on at once, and a million more ideas cropping up in your brain and in your sketchbook - not so organized, not too many lists, and sometimes wonder where to start? Perhaps you are one of those people who fall in between these two extremes - a few lists, a few projects, and an organized way of getting through it all?

Whichever type it is that you are, or if you approach projects in a way I haven't even described, I would love to know; after all, I'm a people person, and I love to know what makes us all tick... 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When a Piece is "Overdone"

Mostly when it comes to making art, I am somewhat of a minimalist; today, I was happily carrying on making more fabric postcards, and I broke my own rule. Generally, I like to think that meanings etc. can be implied - after all, it takes a pretty intelligent person to appreciate your art, right?

As I was saying, there I was, happily stitching a freeform meander, meant to imply water running under a bridge. At one point, I thought I had it, but then something inside me said "just a little more will REALLY make it look like a running river"... and a little more later, plus a little more, and the next thing I knew, my work was overdone, and going into the "things I have learned from" pile...

If you compare the top stitching to the bottom, you will see what I mean; I really, and I mean REALLY, shouldn't have stitched across what I already had... at least the day wasn't a total waste - I learned something new. And that is a good part of what art is, right? Learning about ourselves, and how we work...

I think then, that this is a sign for me to move onto something else for a bit; I had planned on making a block or two this week for a project called Blocks of Hope, which I learned about on Karen Turner's blog, Stitching Life. I also have a number of other ideas swimming in my brain these days, but I think that maybe that is what I will do... I will make some Blocks of Hope today..

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
(excerpted from Encaustic Mixed Media, by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fabric Postcards

Saturday evening, I had a little "aha!" moment... I had an urge to create art using my current stash, but on a smaller scale, so that I could see finished results sooner than I would if I was making an entire quilt. A whimsy hit me, and my little bright spark led me to try my hand at making fabric postcards.

Now, I will admit that this is my second attempt at it (my first attempt proved a bit unsuccessful, if I do say so myself) - I will also admit that I am very happy with the results of this second attempt at fabric postcards. I guess this is what happens when we become more comfortable with our craft - it gives us the courage to think beyond the box, and not to worry so much about the outcome, since it is, after all, an experiment.

The ironing, cutting, and stitching took nearly all of my allotted creative time on Sunday (which was a good chunk of the day, but I am enjoying the process); today, I was able to design, stitch, and create a few finished pieces, that look like this:

Following is a close up view of each:

The fabric compositions are fused to Strathmore watercolor postcards; the funny thing is that on the second composition, I actually fused it upside down. I guess it doesn't matter, since it is abstract, but really, I thought it was funny.

I've decided that these would be a good thing to add to my wares, should I be able to do a craft fair or two this year. I am also considering opening an etsy shop, but am unsure of how it might work, since the saturation level is so high. However, every time I run into someone who talks about my work, one of their first questions is whether or not I have an etsy shop. If you have one, or can recommend another avenue, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Finally, I will add that I am currently having problems posting comments on some of the blogs I follow (screen goes blank when I click the link to get the full page) - for the most part, this seems to have resolved itself, but it is still happening with one blog in particular. Has anyone else out there had this experience? If you have, please let me know; and, if you have trouble posting on my blog, you can contact me directly via email at bohemeatheart at gmail dot com.

In the meantime, I will be attending my first meeting at a local quilt guild tomorrow night, and hope to make more progress on some of my other projects this week.

Wishing each of you joy, in whatever you are currently working on!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Adventures in Freeform Quilting

Two nights ago, I had a vision - this is normal for me, to have ideas start to percolate right when I am trying to go to sleep. I usually write down the bits of an idea, and flesh it out when I have a bit of time. This time, however, the quilt idea gripped me like I rarely ever feel, and it even took shape in my dreams. With no further adieu, then, I set out the next morning to try my hand at cutting fabric sans ruler, and the beginnings of what I will call "Pink is the New Black" was born:

Each block took about 90 minutes to make (remember, this is my first time doing this, and you do have to sew very slowly in order to match seams) - the idea was inspired by the work of Alicia Merrett; there is a wonderful series of  videos on You Tube, but specifically I used this one to learn how to make the blocks.

Of course, the blocks don't end up being all the same size; I may work around this intuitively, but right now my vision is to cut the blocks to the same size and go from there. I've challenged myself to work with a very limited pallette here, and currently intend to use only the three fabrics that I've shown in these two blocks.

I love bringing new ideas into focus, and I particularly enjoy challenging myself to work outside of my comfort zone. What kind of projects have you started lately? Are you working outside of your comfort zone this year?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Meditative Process

When I made my first quilt six years ago, I had no idea of how the idea of quilting would take ahold of me. The person who helped me make this quilt (it was a gift for my daughter) moved quickly, and gave me only as much information as I needed in order to complete the quilt I was making, as my focus was only on the end product. Little did I know, the "bug" would hit me, and quilting would become a lifelong journey.

While making my next few quilts, I approached the process in a hurried manner - ironing, cutting and piecing were merely a means to an end - I wanted the finished product!! Over time, though, my skills have grown, as has my appreciation for this fine art. I can now happily say that I am enjoying the process like never before; in fact, I now find the ironing, cutting, and piecing to be very meditative, and I immerse myself in this meditation fully.

During the day, I run a small business that I own (a massage therapy clinic, with 3 therapists); I also make time to be a mom to a busy 10 (nearly 11) year old, and spend time with the other person in my life who is so dear to me, my boyfriend. After this day is done, and when I have a bit of space in between all these things that I also enjoy, I spend time making art. This full life is the reason that I have so many ideas in my head, and multiple projects on the go.

Today, I finished cutting my pieces for the Stash Box Quilt that I am making. I started pinning squares that will be chain pieced as well, and so far what I have done looks like this:

I have a total of 156 small pieces to pin and stitch before I can start piecing my larger blocks - I've made a commitment to be in no hurry to finish this quilt, but to enjoy the process fully. In the meantime, I am still working on more prayer flags for the prayer flag project , as well as sketching for the sketchbook challenge . After all, there is still a part of me that likes to see completed projects in a shorter time frame. Here is a sketch that I completed last week:

This is a simple doodle, in the spirit of the theme for January; it is also a way for me to become more comfortable with sketching and paints. I bought my first set of tube watercolour paints this past week, and used them to create washes of colour for my doodle; I like the way tube watercolours work, since I can control the saturation just like I can when working with fabric paints. My current prayer flag is still in its infancy, not ready to be unveiled just yet.

I hope that each of you is finding a way to enjoy this new year, and to enjoy whatever process is involved in making your art. I love seeing what other artists are doing, and I so enjoy hearing about their process. I would especially love to know what part of the process you enjoy most in your art - in the meantime, happy creating!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Start of Something New

This year, my word is inspire. I want to inspire others, and I want to continue to be inspired by others. I've made some decisions, and identified some goals; one of those goals is to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes a day, doing something artistic. I've also decided to spend a little more time on myself, and to that end, I have started a new quilt, for me. It's called a Stash Box Quilt, and the pattern is from Four Corners Designs. So far, I've only starched and ironed the batik squares that will be cut up and used in the quilt; they look like this:

I am using a package of Tonga Treats, and had to choose 5 batiks from my stash, in order to get exactly 2 of each larger square, and will get more than enough smaller squares. In fact, I am pretty positive that the fabric I have will leave me more than enough to make a second, stash buster quilt (wonder what I'll come up with for that??)..

One of my other goals, is to participate in the 2012 sketchbook challenge ; I've been following it for awhile now, and even posted a sketch to their Flickr page in 2011. This year, I am not letting my inner critic win - I will participate without fear!! The January theme is doodling, hosted by Diana Trout ; in the spirit of challenging myself to create more art, here is what I did yesterday:

This one is based on my word for 2012, inspire

This one wants to be an art quilt one day soon

Have you set any goals for 2012? If you have, I would love to hear about them -  let's inspire each other!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Follow Your Heart

I have never been one for resolutions, really, but I do like to set goals. This year, one of my main goals is to give myself permission to follow my heart, instead of rationalizing why what I want to do is silly and unproductive. In honour of that goal, here is my prayer flag:

As you see, there are flip flops (my fave footwear) following a heart - the path is neither straight, nor does it follow the "path" that has been laid out (I was thinking yellow brick road when I made this flag)...

The flag was made using fabric paint over a strip of foil with lots of holes (it has a name, but I have no idea what that is, sorry).. Then, it was embellished with french knots to make a way to hang it, and brads (the feet and hearts). Finally, the word were free motion stitched over a felt outline.

I used different hearts, as sometimes - actually often - I change my mind on things, and I want to remind myself that this is an okay thing to do, so long as it's done from the heart.

Another goal is to make a quilt for myself this year; now that I've put it out there, I have to do it, right?

I hope that this is the year that you decide to follow your heart. If you have any goals that you would like to share, I would love to hear them. Happy first day of 2012, everyone!!