Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End

My nose has been to the grind stone this past couple weeks. I have been trying to clear the desk and do all those last minute year end things. Included in the list was writing the annual holiday letter and getting it posted to our website. The other big thing was reworking my arts and sciences portion of our website. It has been 3 years since it had an overhaul. Since I've taught a lot in that intervening time, there was lots to post. There are some pieces still in pdfs and the pleating/smocking section still needs to be done. Have I mentioned that I really dislike working on web pages. It is very difficult for me to pay attention to the level of detail necessary to make all the pages have the same formatting, etc. Any way we can now count it DONE! -- well there is always more to do, but at least I don't feel the same level of burden.

The spouse worked ALL weekend. He has had 4 days off in the last 6 weeks. He is taking off 12th Night but he may have to work part of Friday and Sunday - we shall see. Poor guy! At least we are going out to celebrate tonight. Off to our local restaurant, Cafe Gibraltar. It is fabulous food and they do a special menu for New Year's Eve. We will drive even though it is about a mile from the house. Then home to cuddle up on the couch and watch all the NYE hoopla.

Need to buckle down this week and finish my outfit for 12th Night. Don't think I'll get the 2nd one done for Friday, but will bring garb for Friday night.

Hope 2008 is a wonderful year for each of you - filled with good health, happiness and personal fulfillment!

Friday, December 21, 2007


I've been wanting to try this format for awhile. Since it is traditional to thank the members of the Board (and a few other special people) at our Guild holiday meeting and officer change over, I decided to make bicornus as thank-yous for some of them. This is my first attempt. Figured I wanted to be comfortable with the sewing up process before embroidering something special.

FYI I had purchased a stack of 5x5" awhile ago. I had only wanted a small piece of one of them. This made the perfect way of using some of this type of stash. If you are looking for a tutorial - check out Rissa's. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Creativity - High Note

I have been waiting to blog on this until the package arrived at Sharon B's door. While Linn was here we went to Kooza - the new show from Cirque du Soleil. Talk about Creativity!!! The link by the way is to their intro page about Kooza and talks about the creation of the show. There is also a mini movie on the show!

So after the goldwork class, we took ourselves off to Kooza. It was all the things a circus should be - fun, thrilling, amazing, and all without animals. They even have the requisite clowns between acts. At one point they point a big canon at the audience and shoot out streamers. One hit Will and I immediately claimed it. I reeled it in and rewound the part that had unwound, and wound, and wound, and wound. Linn and I also took one look at each other and thought ATC materials - so pounced on more stuff.

For those that don't follow Sharon's blog, her daughter, Eve, is with a circus. She does fire walking and the high stilts. She also just expressed and interest in quilting. Linn had planned on sending the program to them. But we couldn't just let the envelop go empty could we? We were high on the energy from Kooza for the next couple days. Linn created an ATC and I created a tri-fold piece. We also wrote on the streamers and pulled bits from our fabric stashes. What fun to create something and then share it! I really think that is the best part of doing any art form.

Here for your pleasure are pics of the trifold:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Inspiring Creativity

Much of what I have been doing lately (crazy quilting and ATCs) requires the doer to be creative on demand and the teacher to enable this to happen. From my limited experience as a teacher my hat is off to Sharon Boggon and Linn Skinner. It is hard to create an atmosphere where others not only want to play, but can do more than just the mechanical.

For me to be "inspired" I tend to use the volume of stash method. I place in front of me the items from my stash that I think might be useful on this project (no matter the project). If I'm really stymied I may put the items out across the room and let my eyes play over them for a couple days. Usually by then something will jump out and say "try me" and other items will have retreated into the background.

My eye must also be attuned to the project. When I'm crazy quilting I look through websites like Sharon's and books like the ones by Judith Montano Baker. I don't want to copy what these creative ladies have done, but rather tune my eye to possibilities that lay before me. When I am preparing for class, I usually need to limit my work to a set of possibilities - like a set list of stitches. It does not mean that I need to limit what I do with the stitches.

Part of this is that I am a seat of the pants project person. By that I mean that I just do and let the project evolve. If I was teaching mediation, I would be saying "trust in the process". I do trust my process of evolving the project into something that eventually is more art than what Linn would call "a pig's breakfast".

Some might say that this is the lazy way out. I admire those that create visual journals and work from them. I admire those that design a project and then execute it. However, so far this has not been the right "method" for me.

When I design a project for a class, I start with a list of things that the project needs and goals to be accomplished - ie. blackwork, basic outline, basic filling stitches, pomegranate, max size 5" x 5, 28 count linen/14 count aida, etc. If it needs to be charted, sometimes I start at the computer, and sometimes I start with the fabric/tactile. It still is an evolution process, just more constrained. Sometimes what comes out is not appropriate for that class, but suitable for a different/later class. In that case, it is back to the drawing board, however, I usually put out some different items from my stash to make the "view" something new/fresh.

This year for my EGA chapter I have thrown them a challenge of sorts. Rather than have lots of different or small projects, I am encouraging them to create a sampler. Several of the classes we are doing are suitable or adaptable for doing on 28 count linen. Each of the teachers have been asked to provide fabric, but also a drawing which then can be traced onto the sampler fabric. I am currently opting not to put the sampler in a frame, but will use a series of hoops that are wrapped on the bottom to create a firm base. I also am encouraging them to do a basic plan -- my plan is to do a colored thread running stitch which will divide the sampler into 4 quarters (Left Top, Right Top, Left Bottom, and Right Bottom). My whitework will go into the Right Top section and my first 2 spot motifs into the Left Top section. Then I will move down the sampler as appropriate. The linen is 17 x 18, I think, and I will do some hem stitching around the edges. We shall see what transpires.

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