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Semi-Quilting sabbatical

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I have decided to take a semi-sabbatical from quilting.  I’m not planning to full on QUIT quilting, but I’m going to put it in the backseat and put painting in the front seat.  For the month of September at least.

Years ago, I took a workshop on cold wax painting.  I wasn’t crazy about the workshop (the teacher was distracted, jet lagged and not attentive at all) but I did like some of my results.  However,  I never went any further with it other than to put my paintings up and admire them occasionally.

I have been following the work/art of Rebecca Crowell for well over 5 years.  Dreaming of painting in that style.  About 2 years ago, she came out with a book with Jerry McLaughlin.  They crowd funded it.  Over the last two years, I’ve sat in my chair and read and re-read their book.  Dreaming.  Now they have video teaching available.  I would love to invest in the video, but here’s the thing….I’m still just DREAMING.  And, it is an expensive video (although a LOT cheaper than going to one of their workshops).  I have yet to mix cold wax and oil together and put it on canvas or paper so it is hard to justify the purchase.  But….that is going to change.

September 2019….I deem COLD WAX PAINTING MONTH.

(5 day pause)

ok, so it is now September 4th.  My plan/goal is to paint daily for the month of September and then evaluate whether I want to continue painting or not.  So far, I’ve painted 3 of 4 days.  I do enjoy it.  It only ‘takes’ about an hour of my time though before I’ve run out of ideas and painting substrates so then I switch over to quilting.

My question at the end of my painting session today was “How do you know when to quit?  How do you know when a painting is done?”  Especially with abstract painting….it’s not like I’m trying to paint a tree or a house or something specific.  So…..how DO you know when to quit?  I’ll get back to you on that one if/when I figure it out.

I’ll post picture of my painting throughout the month.  I’m not looking for critique.  I might even shut off comments if I can figure out how to!  I really just want to paint because I want to paint.  I want to suspend judgement on whether it is good or not.  I just want to paint because I enjoy it.  Not because I want to sell my stuff.  Not because I want to have a gallery show.  I really don’t want anything other than the joy of creating.  This, combined with my fear of sucking should prove to be interesting.

Pictures below are progress on “One Hot Mess”.  The top is finished – now I’m working on the words for the back.  “I like pretty things…and the word @*&$”.  🙂  (Sorry mom…lol)

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One Hot Mess

The start of a new quilt.  I’m calling it One Hot Mess.

It is from Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s book Double Wedding Ring Quilts.  This pattern is Bright Lights, Big City.  I’m adding my touch with the crumb blocks.  I’m also planning to make it a reversible quilt with an improv – word inspired – back.

The New York Beauty-like pieces are paper pieced.  I bought the papers and templates when at her store in New York earlier this year.  I swear….it is the smallest quilt shop I’ve ever been to!

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Modern Quilt Show

Friday found me at the Modern Quilt Guild show in Kiama.  The first MQG show I’ve been to.  I was impressed.  To me, it was one of the best shows (of its size) that I’ve been to in years.  Here are two slideshows of some of my favorites.  The pictures don’t do them justice but they at least give you a general idea of the designs.

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Here my latest finish…Sweet Fanny Adams (SFA).  She’s hanging in the little house above the pressing station.

Chartreuse linen from my friend Elizabeth’s stash.  Cherrywood dark scraps left over from previous projects.  Bamboo batting.  FMQ doodle-style with Sweet 16.  Double trapunto letters (I didn’t want to run the risk of them NOT standing out!).  Faced edges.  Lettering inspiration from Jessica Wheelahan.  Design style inspiration from Irene Roderick.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of my most favorite quilt book EVER The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters suggests that when you finish a project, you evaluate it by asking yourself questions such as:  surprises?  discoveries?  dissatisfactions?  changes?  what next?

What surprised me about SFA?  I’ve done a fair bit of improv over the years but I found it difficult to study Irene’s work and try to interpret it without copying it.  It was difficult to use her work as a springboard to where I wanted to go.  Although, having written that, I rarely have a plan.  I just wanted the FEEL of Irene’s work.  I struggled.  In reading about her process, I learned that she works from the inside out with her pieces.  I honestly tried to do it that way, but finally reverted back to my technique of starting on the edges and working inward.

Discovery?  No real surprise…I love doing quilts like this.  Quilts that start with a fabric or an idea or just random left over blocks…and build from there.

Dissatisfactions?  I might have rushed it.  I struggle to let things marinate for very long.

Changes?  I wonder if the lower left is a bit ‘heavy’?

What is next?  I have an idea brewing that I’m calling “Oh how she loved being home alone”.  My friend Marcia and I have been brainstorming and I have a loose plan.  I want to finish my String Therapy series (I’m working on #7 now).  I have 8 rows of 24 clamshells (10 across) finished and I have 44 of 45 autograph blocks embroidered.

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Family of Strong Women

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“Family of Strong Women” is completed.

Inspiration came from the work of Segolaine Schweitzer.  I saw her work at the Sydney Quilt show in 2018 and was absolutely fascinated by her work.  Her medium is primarily wool whereas I used cottons, lace and linen, but the layering/embroidery inspiration was certainly from her.

Six generations of family and friends, over 70 names and birthdates embroidered on it.

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Bits and pieces layered.  Antique Sanford linens, upholstery fabric, an embroidered broach that my mom made for me about 25 years ago, lace and doilies from a couple friends, ribbon, a needle felted piece from my friend Elizabeth, tea dyed/stained new fabrics, a few painted fabrics left over from Voluptuous Woman.  Hand big stitch quilted with 12 weight floss.  The back was pieced with larger pieces of fabric that I tea dyed/stained.

I thought it would be heavy – but it is surprisingly light.  Probably largely due to the fact that I used Quilt Lite, a woven interfacing used in mens suiting, as the batting.

I enjoy doing these personalised quilts.  Quilts with heart.  Quilts that tell a story.  Yet to do is a label for the back.  I’m planning to make an envelope and then print the names and the story behind the quilt onto photo paper and then tuck those into the envelope.  That’s the plan anyway…

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