Entries categorized "Studio" Feed

To All The Shirts We Loved Before

With apologies to Willie Nelson, "To All The Shirts We've Loved Before"  is from shirts we've worn for a number of years, some 20 years old.  It is an improv piece, not a process I typically do, but sometimes when the mood strikes, you have to go with it.

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It was tremendously satisfying to work this small quilt, (19" x 20"), and I finished it in less than a week. I also wanted to see if I still had my small stitch skills.  Without a doubt, working with a finer cotton (almost too fine as the fabric was a little slippery) and a smaller needle is much easier on my hands.  I think I was trying to hard too make my rocking stitch work with a larger needle, but there is just no comparison to doing the rocking stitch with a size 9.  

There is a lot to be said for muscle memory - glad I still have it.  Sit ups are next . . .

 

Take care,

Pam

 

 


What's Next?

I am starting to think about next year - my goals and plans for living a creative life.

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What I'm working on now . . .

I had a good year:  I created a business, I made a lot of quilts that I loved, I sold quite a few prints, I accepted commissions for relief printing and was part of an exhibit of 'underexposed' photographers.  I submitted a quilt to one exhibit but was rejected, but I also submitted samples to lecturers and teachers to include in their presentations.  I continued my arts mentorship program with Jane Davila in the company of several talented artists.  I put myself out on Instagram (@jumpcutarts) and participated in an IG quilt group where I saw work that blew my mind, made me think, and fall in love with the potential of artistic expression all over again.

It's been good.

I work full time too, some times 6 days a week, so there is no way I could have done all of this had I not made one small yet
significant change to my life.  I've always been a morning person who can't resist a beautiful sunrise, singing birds and hot cup of coffee.  Yet on many a morning I'd grab a quilt, some good reading and head for the nearest comfy chair.  Not a bad way to start the day.  I knew I needed to make one significant change if I was going to lead the actively creative life I wanted:  I got to work.  Washing, pressing, cutting, measuring, pinning, piecing, sketching, carving, inking, printing, photographing, editing, framing - for about 90 minutes every morning for the last 2 years.

And that has made all the difference.  So has a supportive husband and family.

Nights are reserved for two other activities, those which would help me transition from a full and busy day to a good night's sleep.  There is nothing like a solid hour of hand quilting to center me.  The rhythm of the rocking stitch is a great way to unwind and process the day.  The other is poring over books: art and quilt history, design and photography, technique and process, life of an artist and how she made it work, or didn't.

I usually sleep pretty well.  

Don't be fooled - the stuff of life, blah, blah, blah. It's always there. I deal. You deal. We all do.

So, what is next?  I'm not sure I want to change much.  A specialty coffee would be nice, a different tea.  I still have not found the right footwear for these cold New England mornings.  

The work?  I wouldn't change it for the world. I know I have a lot to learn, but I am actively honing my skills.

I can't wait for 2018.

Take care,

Pam

 


Light The Fires

I started sewing these half-square triangle blocks on a  dark and dreary March morning.  I needed to work on something summery.  Within a moment of putting  just a few blocks IMG_6473together, I knew this quilt would be for my sister who was born on the Fourth of July.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember when I posted this picture.  It reminded me of when we would watch Chiller Theater, a local television program which featured scary movies.  The opening of the show featured a cartoon hand coming out of the ground.  So I laughed when I took this picture - obviously it was a sign.

I continued sewing every dark morning until the square measured 45".  It wasn't done and it needed something else so I thought I'd just go ahead with a border, but that was pretty blah.  Bonfires popped into my head.  I mixed up the old adage - where there's smoke there's fire - and started a little deconstruction.  The quilt changed direction  just a bit - just like smoke from a fire - and that's when all the memories of July 4th past came flooding back and I knew what had to be done to make it complete. 

Our family lived on Long Island Sound - the body of water between New York and Connecticut - during the summer.  Our Independence Day ritual included building a bonfire from driftwood and beach chairs that did not survive winter, and lighting the fire just as the sun had set.  On a clear night we could see the fires and fireworks on the Connecticut shoreline.


IMG_7028Sometimes you couldn't.  Even the darkest July sky can can get a little pale with all that smoke from all those fires. I felt I had to add lighter blocks to the upper left corner to indicate this.  Only then did I feel the top was complete.

I took a gamble with machine quilting.  I think between that and the all-cotton fabrics and batting that I used, the quilt shrank quite a bit. 

The top measured 55.5" square, but after washing and drying, it is now 53".  Still, it is a good size to cover yourself if it is a freakishly cold July.

Like all that smoke from a the bonfires years ago, the quilt made its journey across Long Island Sound this week to my sister.  She called to thank me today and we had a nice talk about all those fires years ago.  Now, I have this vision of her sitting with her one-year old grandson, watching fireworks, and wrapping him in the quilt if the noise gets too loud or the night too cold.

So here's a funny story.  When I was due to arrive the same day but a few years later, my parents decided not to light their fire until I was born.  Apparently my mother went into labor on July 4th and our neighbors went ahead and lit the fire.  It was a false alarm.   IMG_7596 (1)I made my grand entrance a week later when my mother was having her hair done.  No fires or fireworks for my arrival, but every year on my birthday, I feel like I should get my hair cut or have a manicure.  One year I got my my drivers license renewed.

Every quilt has a story, whether we realize it or not.  The story may begin when you cut that first piece of fabric, or maybe before you were even born.  Quilts make great memories live again, and they can make new memories too.

Have a safe and happy July 4th!

Take care,

Pam


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. 

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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.

 

 


The Early Bird

I have always been an early riser.  Hand-quilting at sunrise, especially in the hot summer months, was a beautiful (and sensible) way to start the day, and I'd piece at night.  I'm doing the opposite now.  I've committed to getting up very early, putting the kettle on and going to my machine.  It has paid off tremendously in my productivity and I go to my day job feeling  ready to go.  It's my morning meditation, as hand-quilting is in the evenings, and I can't recommend it enough.

Here's the latest.  If you follow me on Instagram (@jumpcutarts), you know that I did a bit of a makeover on this top and I'm really happy I did.  It looked good at 25 blocks, but it needed to be bigger for a lap quilt.  Running out of dark blue fabric - I kid you not - and not wanting buy any more - I kid you not - put me in a different direction.  The top took on a life of its own.  I went along with it, even if that meant some special time with my seam ripper.  It was so worth it and honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal.

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Light The Fires (working title) is a gift for a family member.  It measures 54" square.

If I had gone into the project knowing that I had to cut 638 half-square triangles, I would probably have given up before I started.  Jumping in with a vague idea in mind and working on it for 90 minutes every morning made a huge difference, not just in the brief time it took to get this together, but in how I think of my own creative process.  

 

Take care,

Pam 


Burst

It's been a contemplative winter here.  Anything I've had to say has been on Instagram (@jumpcutarts).   Not focusing so much on writing has allowed me to accomplish much more.

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This is Burst.  It is for my nephew's annual fundraiser for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which was a week ago today.

 I really loved working on this project.   The stars are hand pieced; the rest assembled by machine.  About 52 hours of hand quilting later and it was a wrap.

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Thanks for coming by.  Have a beautiful week.

 

Take care,

Pam

 

 

 

 


The Frame Is Up

So we got about five inches of the snow this weekend.

I was okay with all of that because sometimes you just need one of those days at home to do all that stuff that never got done during the holidays.

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Then I rewarded myself by putting my next quilt in the frame and getting down to the work.

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Of course, I never have less than a few projects going on at once, so if I wasn't at the frame I was at my  design dining room table.

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I did a lot of sketching too.  Lots of ideas. 

Take care,

Pam


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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




One Thing Leads To Another

Who amongst us has not walked into their sewing room/fabric storage area/personal library/studio/workspace/wherever you make the beautiful things that you do, and come out with about ten more ideas?  It's a good problem to have, no?  

Have you ever walked into a room and promptly forgotten why you are there?

I've done both.  I tell myself that the reason I forget why I walked into the bathroom/pantry/basement/garage is because my head is full of ideas having just come from my sewing room/fabric storage area/personal library/studio/workspace and there's just no more room in my mind.

So that's the kind of summer it's been - lots of new ideas in my head, some in a sketchbook, some became blocks, there's even a new top.

I'm currently hand-quilting a piece I made three years ago - Take Out/Full Plate.  The good thing is I still love this top, but it always just found it's way to the bottom of my list of things to do.

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As the temperatures dip, I'm able to work on it for longer periods of time.  It is 82 degrees right now, however, so there won't be any hand quilting tonight.

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I'm also machine quilting something and that makes me a wee bit nervous.  I do like the way it's going though.

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Then there's the handpiecing . .

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 and the combo machine and hand-piecing . . .

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and a special series of quilts that I've been dreaming about doing for the longest time.  They're in my sketchbook for now . . .

Yet there's a piece of my brain - the analytical part - that's been thinking a lot about the current state of the quilt industry.  I'm sure you've read the news about magazines folding and stores closing, about controversies and disagreements.  There are a lot of changes in the quilting world right now and honestly I don't know what to think of it.  I have never taken a business class in my life so I can't help you on that end.  Of course it has to do with money, but I also think time and expectations, both professional and personal, are big players.  Like the quilt I'm doing now - which came out of a time in my life when my plate was pretty full and I didn't like it - maybe we've got to reassess our goals and intentions. 

Is it too much of a good thing?  Have we reached a saturation point?  Have we forgotten why we do this?

I need to sew some more, and that will lead to thinking and maybe I'll come up with something.

I'd love to know what you think, so please don't be afraid to comment.

By the way, you can follow me on Instagram. I do a lot less thinking over there.

Take care,

Pam