Sunday, June 29, 2008

Unravelled Prayers

Remember the prayer quilts I was making for my friends who made it through the Chapman Tornado?
I decided I should wash them before sending, just to make sure they'll take actual use.
Here's the result:

Sometimes our prayers unravel.
So the rest of my squares are sitting in a pile. If anyone needs them for a purely decorative quilt, let me know!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SpirARTuality: Poetry

This month's SpirARTuality was a stretch for the fiber artists in our group. I invited one of our members to help us write poetry. The rest of us didn't think we could do it, but were all delighted by the results.

Penny passed out 5 poems for us to look at as she read them. We were to mine them for words we might like to use. We circled a bunch of words, then made a list of the words and phrases that stuck out for us:

She then gave us a theme (childhood memories) and we were to write down some words that came to us when we thought of that. When we noticed a word that wanted more written about it, we did. I ended up with lots of rhyming words, although I was hoping to use illiteration instead of rhyme.

After we'd come to a stopping point on our lists and blurbs, we then were invited to make it into a writing. Maybe prose, maybe a list, maybe a poem:

Mine was a poem entitled, "Camp Wood"--the church camp I went to each summer for a week from the time I was in 7th grade through about 24 years old.

Camp Wood
ever stood
feels good
wish I would

Mystery Pod
Hutch Hall plod
not a fraud
close to God

Cross on the hill
grist for the mill
getting your fill
take a pill

Time flies
hug guys
teary eyes
deep sighs
hard goodbys...

And because writing on a page just doesn't excite me much, I had to write mine onto a strawberry box:

What a freeing exercise we all had--We were thrilled with ourselves! Who knew we had that in us?

Monday, June 23, 2008

QSDS 2008 Intro

I was really looking forward to Susan Shie's self-portrait class at QSDS this year. I wanted to take her 5-day class, but by the time I enrolled it was "closed." We found out when we gathered that it had been canceled for lack of enrollment rather than closed. So I'll try to enroll earlier next year.

Here's the bags of stuff I brought to class:

And here's my bag of finished (or almost finished) products:

I thought the scariest part of the class would be coming up with things to write on my quilt--but that turned out not to be very difficult at all after we did a quiet 10-minute writing exercise in our notebooks.

The next scariest part I thought would be my lack of drawing skills. But that turned out not to be very intimidating, either. I even developed my own style of drawing standing bodies that I like, and sitting bodies with frog legs, and I like both of them.

But the actual scariest part was this:

Susan was very strict about us using respirators, even though in the scheme of things our paints weren't all that toxic.
I had asthma as a kid and still have lingering panic issues when my breathing is at all inhibited. It was a big step that I kept this thing on even though it was extra-hard to breath in while wearing it.

But I had trusty Avogadro with me. I made him when I was in Junior High. I went through a phase of making weird stuffed animals (about 25 years before my time--it seems like everyone is doing that now days!). He's half mole (hence the name), half cockroach. He's always been just a stuffed animal, but I realized he'd make a great pincushion.

For more on the class, keep reading!

QSDS 2008 Day 1

In the 2-day class, Susan Shie taught us her technique using the theme of self-portraits. The steps are pretty simple: 1) Draw on Fabric with Rub a Dub, 2) Paint, 3) write words all over 4) self-bind using backing fabric and quilt with crazy grids.

My first piece was to be about my self-image vs. how others see me. I had a great idea in my head which did not make it into my project. It was fun anyway.
Here's my drawing, with the self-image me on the left and the other's view on the right. Susan had mentioned Chakras, so I ended up adding them to my piece as a unifying element:

And here is the (upside-down) painted how-others-see-me:

And the right-side up self-image (which is totally NOT how I see myself. I think at this point, this looks like it is done by someone with a whooollllee lot of issues!!):

And then here is the piece after it's dried and I've written on it.
I almost scrapped the piece after painting and seeing CrazyMe. But I'm glad I stuck it out. I kinda like it here:

And I like it even better as a 2 inch by 3 inch piece as seen here rather than the full size 2 ft by 3 ft!

Off to sandwich, self-bind, and quilt. Oh, I wish I had a walking foot!

QSDS 2008 Wrap-Up

When I thought the Chakra piece was looking pretty ick, I drew out another self-portrait that would be a motivational piece, encouraging me to do all the things I need to do to be healthy and strong. Top left is time for exercise. Top right is eat healthy. Bottom right is quiet/prayer time and Bottom left is creativity.
I drew myself standing on a pedestal, but after painting it green I thought it looked like an upside-down trash can. I was sad. Until I came up with the imagery that this piece is about not treating myself as "trash" so I'm standing on an upended trash can. ;)

My colors were still much more vibrant than I wished. I wanted to imitate Susan Shie's more gentle, subtle coloring. So I also drew a couple of pieces just to practice my painting.

The first one is a note I leave for my boys if I leave the house before they wake up. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, they are very sad. Since they can't write, it's a pictogram of Mommy Loves Charlie and Luke. I normally add a treat for each of them.

I'm really pleased with the way this one turned out, and will add glitzed-up clothes pins to it so I can attach the treats when needed:

Here is what I got done in our 2-day class. The bottom left is a "Back at (clock)" sign, which I made for our kitchen. Occasionally one of us will leave and not leave a note. I hoped this would help. Until someone walked up and mentioned it, I didn't even realize it's the same wording stores use! Maybe I'm not all that innovative after all... ;)

Once again, I was dubbed Most Prolific in the Class. It's not something I strive for, but because I have so little studio time at home, I really like to crank through as much as I can on those rare moments I've got focused time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prayer Quilt 1

Here's a very poor picture of my first Prayer Quilt for my friends who lost everything in the Chapman, Kansas tornado last week:

I'm a loosey-goosey kind of sewer. So I just folded the green material in half, then measured 4 inches from the fold and 8 inches from the edge and sewed 3 squares down each side.

Then I opened it up...
and realized I'd reversed it and actually measured 4 inches from the edge and 8 inches from the fold!! So I stuck in those 2 tilted quarters to make it look like that's what I intended all along. ;)
That's sort of the way my prayer life is anyway--I'll often think I'll be praying for one thing and suddenly realize something different is going on.

Now, I've just got to bind it up (I think I'll just pull the plush red backing around for a self-binding) and find an address to mail it off.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Purpose for the Bull's Eyes

We've now completed our swap for the Bull's Eye squares we were doing. And they were just sitting there in neat piles, not calling to me at all. But then Thursday morning, I found out my hometown was destoyed by a tornado.

I got right to work on sewing the quarters together to make squares. I'll use them to make small prayer blankets for some of the families that lost everything or were injured.

When I pulled a string off my sewing machine, I realized how beautiful they were and the boys and I just had to hang them like Tibetan Prayer Flags for a moment before we continued:

I knew I could have spent months looking at the colors of each quarter and trying to match them up with just the right other 3 quarters for the perfect look.
To break that habit, I simply went to the sewing machine with the piles, and randomly began sewing 2 together, then another 2, then another 2 until all the quarters became halves:

Then I cut each half from the string of halves, ironed it flat, and made a big stack of halves. I sat back down at the machine and randomly sewed halves together to make whole squares, then cut them apart and ironed them flat:

This morning I went to That Place on Market in Danville to get some $1/yard fabric for the background and back, and I'll keep working (*after* I work at my paying gig, spend some time with the hubby, and some time with the family...)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Altar Cloth in Progress

A few of us from the church are working on creating an altar cloth to be used on our summer altar. All summer long, we worship outside using an IKEA kitchen island for our altar.

As we were fusing the crosses onto the front of the altar cloth today, Jo told us the pincushion we were using (see bottom of the picture) was made by Janet Parr. Mrs. Parr just happened to make the only other hand-made altar cloth our church owns, and made it about 40 years ago. What a lovely connection.

Here's a better shot of what the front will look like. We plan to add a colored strip near the bottom edge, and then pipe around the crosses in green (for the liturgical season of Pentecost).

We're getting to the point where detail work and hand work is needed. That is NOT my forte. Luckily, some other women are very gifted in that area.

EfM Art

As our closing excercise, our EfM (Education for Ministry) group decided to make fabric art. I was delighted because the work of EfM is very heady, so this art would be a stretch.

Before the meeting, I made up a bunch of blanks using hand dyed fabric and double-fuse Pellon. I just fused a big orange piece onto one side of the Pellon and then a big blue piece to the other side of the Pellon and then cut the big piece into 10 smaller pieces and satin stitched around the edges.

I then printed off about 20 thumbnails of "journal quilt" or "art quilt" using goggle image which I passed around to give them ideas.
I then had a big pile of pre-fused fabrics, scissors, pastels, and sharpies on one table and an ironing stations set up on the other.

Everyone did fantastic! Here are the results:

Some reflected important scenes from their life:

Others drew together elements of who they are, what they've done, and the music that inspires them:

Another drew on a family symbol and had a lovely quote around the edge:

This project turned out so well, it makes me want to do this sort of thing with lots of other groups.