Its that time of year when we turn our eyes to the new season in the shop. It is also a time to reflect on the holidays and the gifts they bring. I have enjoyed the opportunity to wake when I want and movie slowly through the favorite spaces I call home.
My first activity is to always clean my studio space. The tidying up process always reveals the secret stashes of ideas and materials I have gathered and buried. The fresh, open spaces of a tidy work space allay the confusion of creative ideas. So: Lesson #1 is always make space to see clearly
I found that I needed to work aimlessly. Throughout the year time is spent on the demanding issues of responsible life. "I have to do" this before that is a daily thinking ritual. Making space mentally to move freely helps a lot to feeling creative. It literally took 10 days to stop feeling pressure to tick things off my list. Abandoning the list completely for a short time opened up my brain. So: Lesson #2 is make time to hear yourself think.
At the end of a day, when you look back at what happened it is important to accept what was humanly possible to achieve. My yoga instructor the other day mentioned that, "Non acceptance = suffering." I nearly fell off my mat with that thought in mind. It makes so much sense. So: Lesson #3 is to accept what is for what is and try not to want to change it...just for happiness. This is a hard one but I'll try.
I also learned a few things while sewing in my studio. Last year we had a class taught by Bob James called Quilts as Art. I did the class...or maybe just audited the class because I was traveling so much. He threatened to organize an exhibition of quilts made by the people in the classes and then miraculously did organize a show. It was a bit of a shock when at the start of the holidays he announced that our projects would hang at the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery near Wollongong in February and our quilts were due Feb 1! Sheer panic ensued as challenges are challenging and I was looking to rest from challenges.
The challenge was to recreate one of Rolina Van Vliet's paintings with textiles considering the principles of art that we had studied with Bob. He selected one of her paintings for each of us. Mine was a study of lines from nature and I'll admit most likely one of the easier projects.
The first step was to consider what was in the painting. Immediately I selected fabric to substitute for the colours of the paint. My discipline is allowing for the challenge presented by print fabrics so I allowed for that in my selection.
Using print adds an element of surprise. What I liked is that the print softens the lines where the fabrics meet and the variation in color with the prints allows for flashes of light among the shadows. Where solids are easily understood and do exactly what you want them to do without question, print makes you think just a bit harder to achieve a specific result.
The focus of this particular painting was the line. I wanted long vertical lines that were interrupted by the shadows. To achieve the feeling of lines I ripped the fabrics into strips. Ripping seemed to soften the lines but add the challenge of raw edges. I started at the back and then layered the strips. Then used long vertical lines to hold the strips in place while quilting.
I enjoyed this project. It was fun to have an objective for thinking through the questions of creating. I tried a new technique for me which was to do a facing finish. It was so much fun and I love the neat turned over edges of the quilt which worked perfectly for this style of quilt. I even made the label by printing the painting photo onto fabric which for me is a big effort!
So, lesson #4: Challenges are good things. They keep the mind active and give us fun projects to work on. I learned a lot doing this project.
Check out this project and others at the exhibition:
The Rolina Project Exhibition – Translating Abstract Art into Quilts
Inspired by the work of abstract artist Rolina Van Vliet
Hazelhurst Broadhurst Gallery
782 the Kingsway Gymea
February 10-22, 2017 Opening of exhibition Feb 11 at 2pm with special guest Lorena Uriate
Gallery hours 10am – 5pm daily. 11-21 February 2017 and have a look at the exhibition.