Entries categorized "Art" Feed

Out Of The Fog, Came A Roar

Sometimes words fail me, so I depend on art, either by creating it or viewing it, to articulate what I'm feeling.  I started working on Out Of The Fog, Came A Roar shortly after my family and I walked in The Women's March (D.C.) on January 21.  

When the Threads of Resistance exhibition was announced, I knew it was a tremendous opportunity for quilt artists to create work relating to our current political atmosphere.

Though my work was not chosen for the exhibit and probably won't be seen by many people, I thank you for reading this and am grateful that I can share it with you.  I encourage you to visit the site and see the work submitted as well as the work chosen for the exhibit. 

My statement is below the photo. 

OOTFCAR

Out of The Fog Came A Roar

27" x 45" 

In the days following the Women’s March, I had a hard time answering the question, “How was D.C.?” While I had words to describe the event, I was unable to explain the experience. Transformative only scratched the surface.

I needed to quietly process that day. Unfortunately, with the new administration in office and the bewildering sequence of events that followed, moments of quiet reflection were rare. Just as I felt the glow of the March begin to fade away, an image appeared in my mind. I could not connect it to anything, so I just let it stay there, hoping to interpret what it meant.

As part of my processing, I turned to a quilt I started in November 2015, High Road To the White House. Working with the base block, Many Roads to the White House, (a pattern attributed to the Kansas City Star, 1955), I wanted a quilt that would commemorate the election and perhaps send a vibe to the candidates to take the high road, something I have always taught my son to do. Yet no sooner had I started the project did I abandon it. It became clear that this campaign was on a different trajectory, one that often left me speechless. I shuddered at my naiveté. While handling the abandoned blocks, the haunting image reappeared; a enormous moving shadow of black, grey and white, squeezed and re-emerging as a stunning, multi-colored shape. I grabbed my scissors and began to cut the blocks I had tossed aside thirteen months earlier. Everything fell into place.

I remembered that on the morning of the March, we walked to The Washington Monument, which significantly stood cut in half by fog. It felt like that same fog that had shrouded me since the election. I stared at in sadness for a few moments and when I looked away, I realized that the casual group we had walked in with had grown into a large, cohesive, committed assembly, dropping their own shrouds, eager to have their voices heard.

Things began to get loud, and then came a roar.

I will never forget it - I felt pulled in by the roar. As the passage to the stage became smaller, I lost sight of my family, but I knew they were safe. I raised our green and purple protest quilt, Save Our Democracy, hoping that they would see me. As the crowd got bigger and distance between each of us smaller, I found it difficult to take a deep breath. With my camera clutched tightly to my chest, I could not even move my arms to take a picture. Instead, this powerful, peaceful, determined and committed group, became part of me, and I became part of a movement.

In that moment, we made history. We came out of our collective fog and we roared.

 

 


Less Writing, More Reading. Less Planning, More Making.

It's been kind of quiet here at jump cut arts, at least as far as writing goes.  I have been doing a lot of reading and making.  

My day job has kept the left side of my brain occupied, but my right side has been just as busy.   Leaf-n

I am hand sewing every night - so rewarding, comforting and productive.

I've rediscovered linocut printing, a process I tried years ago and have now fully embraced, and in doing so I found something I lost.

 

 

J-maple-2When I studied photography in college, many years before the digital revolution,  I would spend hours in the lab trying to get the perfect print.  

Having developed my own film (which if you didn't do right, you had to reshoot and hope for the best),  I could only see the final results of my work a few hours later, after a spot was available in the shared lab.  

This was a long process - not then, really, but an eternity by today's standards.  Analog photography takes a long time and it is an expensive pursuit too.  But for a 19 year old who loved the mystery and thrill of the photo lab, I also loved every minute of my mistakes and successes.  

I'd spend any money I made as a teaching assistant on more film and paper (and cappuccinos).   

 

 

So a few weeks ago smack in the middle of peeling a print off a block, all of these college memories came flooding back - a true moment of deja vù.  

Just as I panicked about exposure times and f-stops in the darkness of that lab years ago, feeling a thrilling bit of discovery and anticipation of work about to reveal itself, I stood at my table and froze.

Had I pressed the print carefully?   K-leaf-no-bg

Used too much ink?  Too little ink?  Did I frame it properly?  Would people get it?  Would people like it? 

My heart was pounding.  I continued to peel.

The print was fine.  

It was a very happy moment for me.

I traveled back in time to the moment I discovered  creative expression, the sheer joy of learning and making, and all the possibilities that process holds.  

I wasn't expecting it, nor was I looking for it, but there it was - I felt renewed.

As you can tell by the accompanying leaves, I started this post a few weeks ago.  By now I should be sharing ornaments and trees and white lights.  The leaves look nice though, so I'll keep them.

This little break from writing has been a good thing for me.  I'm really looking forward to a new year of creativity and I hope you are too.  

 

Take care,

Pam

PS -  If you haven't seen the Pantone Color of the Year (2107), go do it!  Finally, a color I l-o-v-e!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Red Riddles

    I bought two yards of Kona Rich Red.  No matter what the fabric, even if it's white, I pre-wash: hot water and a bit of detergent just to take out any finishing.  I rinse, wash and rinse until the water runs clear.  I never used color grabbers until recently so I thought I'd try them with the red.  Last night, I washed my red three times.  I let it air dry overnight and decided to wash it again this morning. Four cycles later and the color grabbers are still doing something.

Red 2
The fourth color grabber is almost identical to the second.

    I did change the soap.  The first three times I used Purex.  In the final wash I didn't, but I did use a bit of 20 Mule Team Borax and Arm & Hammer washing soda.  Even though the water looked completely clear to me,  the fourth color grabber definitely picked something up.  Not only that, some mysterious blue spots appeared after the fourth wash. Do you have any ideas as to what is going on?

Red 1
It looks like ink.

    Speaking of red, I pre-ordered Red & White Quilts: Infinite Variety.  It won't be released until September 22.  I am still kicking myself for not seeing the show in person.  Ironically, I was installing a quilt show that week and just couldn't make the trip. I have a nice stash of red and white fabrics (not to mention some freshly washed Kona Rich Red) and am anxiously awaiting this book both for inspiration and to satisfy my historical curiosity.  My question is this: why was Martha Stewart was asked to write the forward?

Take care,

Pam

 


Such Is January

I never thought I'd ever say this, but I'm kind of enjoying January.

Jan-1

Writing that ranks right up there with other things I'll never say like that root canal was hilarious or no, I don't want an Academy Award.  I've come to accept January and realize that it has the kind of still beauty that I need every now and then.  I've been getting up to stitch before the sun comes up and the heat turns on because a January morning has its own special reward.  

It's quiet

Back in November, just as the days were getting noticeably shorter, and my list of things to do was getting longer, I fell into a quilting rut.  I missed doing hand work and since I didn't really like the  little Christmas quilt that I was working on (I finally admitted it)I realized I was in my own way.  An artist friend suggested that I find time to scribble every morning.  She guarranteed that I would find a way out of my creative funk.  

My friend's idea of adding one more thing to my daily list didn't seem like the solution.  But that afternoon I found myself driving by my local big box office supply store and impulsively pulled in the lot.  I picked up a fresh ream of cardstock and a brand new pack of Sharpie extra fine points, which, by the way, I recommend because they have no fumes.  The binder section threw me; I just stood there unable to make a choice.  I almost put the markers and paper back.  I figured I probably had an old binder at home which I did.  I used my three hole punch, loaded up my binder and left it on my kitchen table for the next morning.  I'd give myself two weeks.

Jan-2

November 22

I began with one line and that led to another and another.  Short, long, curved and straight.  No goals - just lines. Before the sun had risen (and my 15 minute timer went off), I had something going on.  I was ready to face my busy day.

Jan-3

November 25

After a few daily doodles, the exercise triggered a memory of a rainy day activity I played with my son when he was very little.  We'd take crayons and drop them on a big sheet of paper.  After a series of drops, we'd try to connect the dots into something that made sense.

Jan-4

December 8 

I wasn't doing this as an exercise to design my next quilt, but let's be real.  Give a quilter pen and paper and she will most likely produce a sketch of an idea that's been floating around in her head.  

That's kind of what happened.  I definitely tapped into something and I feel like my ideas about quilts are changing.  I'm really comfortable with commitment-free sketching and not having an end product in mind.  I don't feel like I have to stitch every idea that comes into my head - there will be more.  I'm trying to get unbusy here.  The sketches are safely in my binder and I'll go back to them when I want.

Jan-5
  

But until then,  I'm working on a project I'm in love with.  It's perfect for quiet early morning stitching.  Like that free sketching, it helps me set a peaceful tone for my day even if the day is no longer about parties and shopping and lots of food.  These are new days, when stillness and beauty are before us and we can stitch in peace. 

Such is January.

Take care,

Pam


Around the World Blog Hop!

Welcome to Jump Cut Arts!

Thanks very much to Joanna of The Snarky Quilter for inviting me to be part of the Around The World Blog Hop.  Grab your beverage of choice and stay a while!

What am I working on?

Blue-greenI'm almost done piecing a benefit quilt for an event hosted by my nephew, which is a fundraiser for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease).   If I were to make only one quilt a year, it would be for this event.  If you heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge this summer, you know what I'm talking about.  I even managed to find some ice cube fabric . . .

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm not too sure my work stands out at all so that's a tough question to answer, but I will say this:  I am straddling two worlds right now.  I'm a traditional, old-school hand-quilter who just joined the Modern Quilt Guild.  I l-o-v-e the rebellion in modern quilting, but I believe it's enormously important that we learn quilt history because we are part of it. On that note, I am working towards adding some unpredictability to my quilts.

Why do I write/create what I do?

The physical act of cutting fabric and sewing it back together again bears a remarkable resemblance to film editing which I trained for in college.  I worked as a video editor for several years after that.  I'd cut videotape during the day and cut fabric at night.   The phrase jump cut refers to an edit where the sequential shots are different but very slightly - a perfect visual expression of memory and the passage of time.   The technique gained notability in 1960 with the movie "Breathless" by Jean Luc-Godard. If you want a definition of mid-century cool, watch this. It was a rebellious movie that challenged traditional filmmaking.  My heart still skips a beat when I see it.

Lights

I love cotton fabric.  I started quilting over 20 years ago and so I couldn't imagine not making quilts though I did stop for a few years.  I came across some judge's evaluation on a particularly beautiful quilt done with superb workmanship, and her comments were really negative.  I knew I would never enter a competition - it's just not my thing - and reading the comments felt like a blow. It took a lot of the fun out of what I was doing so I stopped.  Fast forward a few years and I had the opportunity to take a class with Denyse Schmidt as part of a studio tour to benefit a local arts center.  Her place is not too far from where I live and it sounded fun so I signed up.  I had no idea what I was getting into - my quilt life changed.  I'm a much more relaxed quilter now and I find writing about my quilt experiences and 'exhibiting' my quilts through my blog enormously satisfying.  I think a lot while I hand-quilt too.  It's a form of meditation for me.  If quilts don't make us think about memories and the passage of time, then I don't know what does.

How does my writing/creating process work?

Some people count sheep when they go to sleep; I arrange quilt blocks in my head.  I keep a gridded notebook on my nighttable so if something particularly interesting pops up, I'll do a rough sketch and try to refine it in the morning.  I'll get to work on it pretty quickly but with handquilting it takes a while before the whole piece is actually finished.  I'll use a traditional block as a starting point, but it's in the arrangement of the top where it becomes an expression of something else.

Take-out

This top is called Take Out/Full Plate.  At dinner one night, I realized that my family had different take out selections on each of our plates.  It dawned on me that we had so much going on - our plates were too full - and once again we ordered take out.  It's that way for a lot of people I know.  I'm not sure that's a good thing.

And that's all she wrote, which I think is quite enough!  Next Monday, November 17, head west and meet Sarah at Cedar Fork Stitches.   When Sarah photographs her bright and lovely quilts against those gorgeous skies, I want to pack up my bags and go west . . .

 Take care,

Pam

 


A Shawl For Piper

    Ever get one of those ideas that wakes you in the middle of the night and you have to start working on it right away or you'll explode?  This happens quite often, but not this time.  This idea has been brewing for quite a while.

    Ages ago, my parents bought a beautiful little christening outfit, complete with bonnet, two pairs of crocheted shoes, two little sweaters, two bibs and the dress itself with a satin underliner, in the hopes that their granchildren would wear that little ensemble one special day.  The family lore is that the set was made by cloistered French nuns and  if you look closely at the work involved, it's hard not to believe that.

Bg1

    It truly is a beautiful piece of work and I completely understand why my mother was drawn to it.  All 8 of her grandchildren wore it and now it's the next generation's turn.  I can't quite believe that my son was the last to wear it 18 years ago.  Times flies like a rocket, my friends.  I could not resist making him a white whole cloth quilt for him then, so I thought it would be a nice idea to make something special for each child in the next generation as well.

    I l-o-v-e linen.  It is my go to fabric for summer, but since I leave the garment making to the professionals and have rarely sewed even a napkin of linen, I did not know what I was in for.  I could not get this idea out of my head: I wanted to make a baby quilt out of linen.  I did my research and contacted several fabric vendors asking for advice.  Quite a few cautioned me on the difficulty of working with linen, but that seemed to make me grind my heels in even deeper.  I compromised and bought a 50-50 linen cotten blend, and that, as they say, has made all the difference.

  The quilt pattern was easy:  I've had a book for a long time by Aidan Meehan called Celtic Designs: Spiral Patterns.  I am fascinated by spiral patterns and they are a huge inspiration to me.  I wanted to use some of the patterns in the quilt, acknowledging Piper's Irish heritage, and when I came across the Waldalgesheim leaf variation, I thought I was onto something.  This Celtic engraving was found in a cave in Germany:

Bunny-half

 

    Mr. Meehan took this simple leaf pattern, flipped it on itself for a mirror image and look what happened.  If bunnies don't belong in baby quilts, I am going to hang up my needle.

Bunny-double

    So a little more research in the baby quilt department lead me to several sources who wrote that it was a common tradition for a baby in Ireland to wear a shawl on her christening day, usually made of linen.  I couldn't stop reading.  I found out that French Huguenots (my heritage), who were expert fabric workers, settled in Ireland and formed a nice working relationship with Irish weavers.  I guess fabric love is on my genetic code.

Shawl2

    If you ever get the urge to quilt with linen, I encourage you to do so.  It is incredibly light and soft and my needle glided through the three layers.  I used a DMC #12 thread for hand quilting.  I finished it during the first six hours of The Roosevelts - a perfect show to have on while working.

  Shawl1

Based on a design from Celtic Design: Spiral Patterns by Aidan Meehan, published by Thames & Hudson Ltd., London.  Used with permission.

        What's next?

Take care,

Pam


Ode On Finishing A Quilt During A Heat Wave

(With apologies to John Keats, Edgar Allen Poe, C.C Moore and Frank Sinatra,

and special thanks to my hand and feet models, Jill and Alice)

 

A glorious summer, not too cool, not too hot. 

Ode-to-quilting-heat-3

Wispy days spent stitching,

pop - pop - pop.

 

With some speedy hand-quilting, 

I got to the edge.

Soon to be finished,

 this project, I pledged.

 

 The quilt was squared off,

the binding - pinned,Ode-to-Quilting-heat2

A chair selected, a beverage un-tinned;

how lovely to sew in the evening summer wind.

 

And then -

the breeze faded, the trees stopped blowing,

mosquitoes a-flight;

should I give up my sewing?

The temperature rose,

sweat fell down my cheeks,

I stitched nevermore

(well, at least three weeks).

 

 It sat on my chair,

forlorn and alone,

sulking and drooping,

like a teenager - sans phone.

 Days became weeks.  

The mercury soared.   

So sad to see my hexie quilt -                                        

 

ignored.

 

I rallied.  

No quilt of mine, Ode-to-Quilting-Heat1

so close to completion,

would sit waiting and watching,

like Keat's urn (Grecian),

for the weather to cool,

the winds to blow,

the roof to be covered in

new-fallen snow.

I carried on, with thread and thimble,

stayed up way too late and watched

Jimmy Kimmel.

 

The heat is still high,

not a breeze to be found,

but my quilt is finished,

it's binding -

now bound.

 

Lo, my broken heart - to see summer ceasing,

Time on the beach rapidly decreasing.

But let's not forget that soon we'll be freezin'

and stitching is good for you, no matter the season.

 

Take care,

Pam

 

 

 


Fortune Cookie Roulette #29

Be unconventional, even visionary.

We are having our house painted.  It seemed like the perfectly logical thing to do now that the temperatures have been hovering at a downright balmy 37 degrees.  Sun screen and shorts are next.  Even the ducks are digging it.  For all you symmetry fans out there, this one's for you:

Ducks

To celebrate the increasing daylight and rising mercury, I took a walk around the yard to see if any of new bulbs are up.  That would be a 'no'.  I stood in front of my derma-brased house and tried to imagine over-flowing window boxes and flowering trees and sunny skies.  Any day now.

In the meantime however, I realized what a perfectly wonderful back drop a sanded house makes.  Naturally I got out a quilt -  I have nothing in the hoop right now, so I had to use an old favorite - and pinned it to the naked shingles.  This is Wacky White House Steps.

Shingles

 As much as I would love to have a nice 8' x 8' patch of unpainted house for just this purpose, I don't think my husband would go for it.  Let your quilts be unconventional and visionary, he's say, but leave the house to Benjamin Moore. 

Take care,

Byrd 


Old School

Many years ago, I took a studio art class at the School Of Visual Arts.  After a long day as a video editor,  where I sat before several screens watching the same thing over and over again,  I would run to the studio and plunge into a series of quick sketches that would help me transition from the street to the studio.  Students never knew who or what the subjects would be so we really had to let go of whatever happened during the day and just 'be'.  This is not an easy thing for me to do and it was really difficult back then as we were buying our house and let's just say that the stress level was a wee bit high.  But here I was in a studio with a blank sheet of paper and a piece of charcoal in hand and somehow I could let stuff go.  And go it did.  Our instructors usually said very little - sometimes just 'ok' at which point I would drop my charcoal, look at my watch and see that two hours had passed. 

I started out designing quilts with a quadrille pad and a pencil.  Having bought the house in the suburbs, I became a long distance railroad commuter.  Sketching patterns during the ride would make time fly, unlike reading the latest best seller or the morning paper.  As soon as I had settled into my seat, coffee at my side, I would get out my sketchbook and start drawing patterns.  A moment later - I'd swear it was just a moment later - darkness would descend over our train, indicating passage into Grand Central Station and the trip was done, a trip nearly 75 minutes long.  Truly, I had lost all concept of time.  

Pencils

A few years into quilting, I bought Barbara Brackman's Block Base  which was a blast.  I would 'sketch'  for hours on my computer with infinite variations of block arrangements and combinations, colors ways and patterns, as well as print templates and calculate yardage.  But I didn't get a lot of actual quilting done, nor did I ever have the same feeling I did when I sketched my patterns.  In fact I felt a little bit grumpy.  I gave it up once we bought a Mac because they are incompatible and honestly, I've never missed it.  As long as I have Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns or  Maggie Malone's 1,001 Patchwork Designs  on my nighttable, a sketchbook and pencil in my hand, I'm a happy girl.  

Apparently, that is a pretty accurate statement.  Betty Edwards, author of  Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, writes that when we give ourselves over to artistic pursuits, our nonverbal, intuitive and holistic right hemisphere takes over, giving the analytical, rational, logical left hemisphere a well-deserved break.   The sense of time is greatly diminished.  Works for me.

So I'm designing a quilt for my grandniece (did I actually write that?) and since she will be a July baby (my favorite month), I've been looking for some summery patterns.  Purple is going to be her color.   I've had some trouble committing to a pattern, but I think it's because I've gotten back in to sketching  and it's fun.  This is Summer Garden (#2284b).

Summergarden1

And that's why sometimes it's good to do it the old school way.  If you've hit a bump on your creative path, go back to the way you used to do stuff.  Look at your early quilts or your sketch books if you've got them.  Revisit some simple patterns or remake your first quilt.  Turn off your screens (not right now, finish reading this first) and get back to basics.  Your brain will thank you.

Take care,

Byrd