A friend of mine asked me to choose a project for both of us to work on simultaneously. She lives about two and one half hours away; the traveling distance meant we would work on our projects independently. The deadline for the completion of the item was February, 2019. I was assigned the task of choosing the general guidelines. I selected red, teal and black for the must use colors. I also encouraged my partner to utilize the techniques outlined in Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv.
Before the month was over I had this lovely specimen completed. Measuring 24” x 22” Exploring Shapes, Art Piece 95 easily met all of the requirements.
If you have really great eye sight you might be able to read the placard displayed above my art quilt. On the card is the details of my project. This art piece was part of my September, 2019 solo exhibit at Blue Bar Quilts in Middleton, Wisconsin. Exploring Shapes is currently on display in my home.
Best wishes for a pleasant and productive day!
Exploring Shapes, Art Piece 95
Exploring Shapes is a one of a kind art piece. Measuring 24” x 22”, it was constructed from cotton fabrics.
Late in 2018 I received an invitation from Gael, the owner of Blue Bar Quilts in Middleton, Wisconsin, to display my art quilts in a solo exhibit. My response, after overcoming the shock, was absolutely! September of this year was set aside for my event. Yesterday the two of us sorted through, organized and put on display 64 of my art pieces. The experience was exhilarating!
I am overjoyed to proudly announce the official opening of my solo art exhibit titled Transformation. The event will run from September 1, 2019, until September 30, 2019. A reception with refreshments will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Please stop by on the 14th to say hello and share in my excitement. I would love to see you. If you are able to stop by during the exhibit, please don’t forget to sign my guest book and leave a few comments.
Before departing I must say thank you to the individuals that have had an impact on my art. First on my list is Gael from Blue Bar Quilts. Thank you Gael for giving me this awesome opportunity! Your interest in my art has brought me so much joy! Next I would like to extend appreciation to the individuals that have had a profound impact on my journey. They are Rayna Gillman, Lisa Binkley, Judy Coates Perez, Pam Beal, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Susan Carlson, Cindy Grisdela, Heidi Parkes, and Maday Delgado. Your amazing talent has helped me to expand my horizons and become the artist I am today. The last and most important person is my husband Gary. Without his unconditional encouragement and financial backing I never would have had this opportunity.
Now, make plans to visit Blue Bar Quilts some time between September 1 – September 30, 2019, to observe my solo art show and of course do a little shopping.
The photo shown above includes all six blocks. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out; especially since it was my first attempt at this technique. Through the experience I learned so much about curved circles as well as color distribution.
When I selected the colors for these blocks I tried to anticipate how well they would work together. Sadly, I wasn’t particularly alert to their color values. After stitching the blocks together I noticed that many of my 1/4 circle blocks had values in the same range. This similarity created muddy or dark areas.
Obviously, if I had it to do over again, I would hope to avoid this situation. Creating art that has a well-rounded distribution of color values seems to be a lesson that I need to work on over and over again. I look at it as a bonus! This means I can make more blocks; which means more sewing; which means more fabric. Yippie!
Does It Have To Be A Circle?
I also discovered, after-the-fact, that I didn’t necessarily have to form circles with the four components. I guess I focused too much on the title of the chapter, Improv Circles, and not the many possibilities for stitching them together. Instead I could have turned them in different directions, creating flowing waves.
If I had paid more attention to the photos in Cindy’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting, especially the one on the first page of the chapter, duh, I would have observed another variation. Just like with the issues I have with color values, making new blocks with flowing waves rather than just circles will give me the chance to create more art! Woohoo!!
Originally the blocks were meant to be included in my Mystery QAL art piece. They hung out with my other building blocks for quite a while. Eventually I thought they were way too special to be hidden amongst all of the linear pieces so I decided to give them their own stage. Thus, another original art piece was born!
Which Way Looks Best?
I had fun arranging and rearranging the blocks to achieve different designs. I used my iPad to take photos of the various options to keep track of my progress. Those photos are what helped me to settle on a placement. The photo below shows my final product.
Did You Notice Anything?
After seeing the photo you probably noticed that each of the blocks were surrounded by a border. I think those borders help to give each block the individual attention it deserves. I’m so glad I decided to add them.
Did you also notice that they are not all the same size? The first grouping of blocks that I made originated from smaller squares of fabric. When I decided to make three more I also made the choice to use larger blocks. I’m so glad I was able to add variety to my piece through the different sizes.
Even though my blocks didn’t turn out as spectacular as I had hoped I am very proud of my first attempt at improv circles. This original art piece will always remind me of my maiden voyage.
So, would you like to see how the back turned out; here’s a photo.
The above photo shows a very jazzy backing. This batik is one of the favorite fabrics I have in my inventory. When I saw it in the store I just had to purchase a piece. Thankfully I didn’t just get a fat quarter. Nope, I purchased yardage! I chose this fabric to be the backing for my Disjointed original art piece because I thought it replicated the lively color choices included on the front.
From the above photo you will also observe that I chose to use a facing for my piece rather that the typical binding used on quilts. A binding would have been very visible and I didn’t want that to draw my attention away from the blocks. Also added was a hanging sleeve and a label.
Shall we talk about quilting? Yes! Let’s!
When deciding how to quilt my piece I took a step back to take in the over-all appearance. The wiggling lines created by the improv circles gave me the idea to repeat that motion through my quilting. To do so I chose to stitch wavy lines with a coordinating, variegated thread. The quilting, as seen on the front, nicely compliments my design. From the back the quilting is even more striking. The curving lines make me feel like swaying to the beat of music.
Disjointed, with all it’s awesome traits, measures 26” x 17”. All of the fabrics used were cotton solids taken from my stash. The thread I used was from the King Tut family by Superior Threads.
I will proudly display my new art piece in my home. The lively colors as well as the curvy lines will add a spark of enthusiasm unlike any other.
One More Thing
Before I let you go there is one more thing we need to discuss and that is the naming of my original art piece. I’d like to be able to say that I arrived at it through some magical process or journey but that would be very far from the truth. The process was actually very simple. The improv circles have a disjointed appearance. The disjointed or irregularly shaped lines inspired me to call my piece Disjointed. See, nothing magical. 🙂
Signing off before expressing my gratitude for your attention would be criminal. Thank YOU so much for your continued support as well as your many comments. I look forward to the opportunities we have to interact.
I looked forward to returning to my studio today. My mood was extra perky because the clouds were gone and the sun was brightly shining. I just love it when the light filters through my studio window. The glow of the bright rays and their warmth always makes me smile.
My goal for today was to create new building blocks to fill in some of the holes in my design. I also had plans to manipulate the arrangement of my blocks. The process of moving them around obviously won’t stop until I start to stitch them together. The farther I get into my project the harder it is to see big changes.
I have a large volume of scraps stockpiled in baskets and tubs just waiting to be added to an art piece. Sometimes I think I pay more attention to them than I do my neatly stacked and folded fabrics.
Perhaps it’s because the contents in my cubby holes serve two purposes,
I love to surround myself with bright colors. My home glows with pizazz from my many art pieces and the carefully chosen collectibles. In my studio, my neatly pressed fabrics help to add the punch of color I crave.
A decrease in my inventory would mean a reduction in the colors on display. Of course I could always remedy that with additional trips to the fabric store. But, on the other hand, that would mean I have to spend more money and spending more money is something I hope to curtail. The scraps of fabric, while quite colorful all on their own, don’t provide as much of an artistic impact. Besides cutting into a scrap is much less traumatic that a whole piece of cloth.
I used those strips to create the center section for the block in the top left corner. I’m amazed at how interesting it turned out. The other five blocks were also made with scraps from my baskets.
Mystery QAL Day 9, Design Wall in Color
Mystery QAL Day 9, Design Wall in Mono Tones
Pictured above are my color and mono tone photos from yesterday. The photos show areas of concentrated dark values. To make my piece more appealing I needed to insert blocks with lighter tones to break up those areas.
Some of the blocks I create are random sizes while others were made with a definite size in mind. All of the units I made today were meant to fill specific areas so their sizes were predetermined. Their color values were pre-planned as well.
These new blocks were made to help breakup yesterdays problem areas. I inserted them into my art piece then took another set of photos.
Mystery QAL Day 10 Design Wall in Color
Mystery QAL Day 10 Design Wall in Mono Tones
Here’s how my piece looked after they were incorporated. The addition of the lighter colors helped to break up the overly dark areas.
A Different Plain
Without my saying so, I’m sure you have noticed that my photos were displayed horizontally rather than vertically. I did this because I like to be able to see them on a different plane. This gives me the opportunity to visualize things differently and perhaps notice other problem areas.
My design wall is way too big to turn the other way. It is much easier to rotate a photo than it is to move my board. Besides, if I did try to turn the board I have a hunch many of my units would fall off; creating yet another problem. Then I definitely would see things in a whole new way.
Aside from color value, I also like to analyze the direction of my blocks. Ideally I would have a good mix of both horizontal as well as portrait. My eyes don’t always catch this with a portrait photo. Many times I’m so focused on color and their values that I forget to look at block orientation. The horizontal photo makes me look at things differently and helps me to focus on portrait vs. landscape.
Judging by the photos above I think I have a pretty good mix. There are perhaps a few more that register as landscape but I think I can live with that for now. Especially since I’m not quite finished with my design. This gives me something to keep in the back of my mind, however.
So far today I have made six new blocks, reorganized the block arrangement and analyzed my landscape vs. portrait orientation. Left to consider is my color values. Next I will compare yesterday’s photo with today’s.
Mystery QAL Day 9, Design Wall in Mono Tones
Mystery QAL Day 10, Design Wall in Mono Tones
Looking at the two photos I can see that many of the blocks have been moved to new locations. Moving them around and adding in the six new units has drastically improved the appearance. The ratio of lights, mediums and darks has started to even out as well. With a more even blend my eyes move about more freely and that’s exactly what I want to achieve. Woohoo! I think I am on to something. FINALLY! 🙂
This is an awesome place to call it a day! Before I do that let me share two more photos.
Mystery QAL Day 9, Design Wall in Color
Mystery QAL Day 10, Design Wall End of Day
This side-by-side comparison provides a look at the end-of-day photos from yesterday and today. I definitely like today’s much better! It looks so much more organized and restful.
You have been such a trooper for allowing me to bend your ear. Thank You! I look forward to our next get-together. I am so excited because we are getting so close to the end.
With seven days already invested in this project it would seem that I was nearing the end. Well, not quite! My studio is always full of surprises and today was proof of that. Time to take a look at what transpired.
When I turned off the lights in my studio at the end of Day 7 I was feeling pretty pleased with the status of my original art piece. Progress was coming along very nicely and pieces seemed to be falling into place. Just because I turned off the lights and left the area didn’t mean I had turned off my brain. Anytime that I am engaged in the process of designing one of my original art pieces my brain is continually analyzing my previous and future decisions. I even find myself dreaming about them. Now isn’t that obsessive! 🙂
Day 8 proved to be the beginning of a total overhaul. Before we unpack that adventure I would like to share with you one of the blocks that may see a few changes.
This is the block I was referring to. Ever since I created this wonky-looking thing it’s been hanging on my design wall surrounded by all the other pieces. Many of them had already seen additional changes, but this one had not.
I had taken a special liking to it because of its color combinations and because I was thrilled to be able to incorporate an orphaned section from one of my previous original art pieces. The leftover remnant is located near the center of the block. It’s the four diagonal teal strips.
Here’s where it came from. In Crossroads, AP # 10 I can see segments of the strip repeated in at least 13 different areas. This just goes to show me that a scrap this size is well-worth saving. Someday it will find a new home and for this remnant that someday finally came.
My fondness for this block made me think that perhaps it needed some special attention. Who knows maybe it should to be singled out as a possible solo piece. Whatever its destiny I just knew I wanted to add more color through the addition of borders and not just one.
The fabrics resting beneath were among the many combinations I pondered. After considering my various options I made the decision to use all of them. I will show you how it looked in a later photo.
When Is A Circle Not A Circle?
The answer is, “When it’s fractured into wonky shapes.” In one of my other posts I talked about following Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quiltingto create improv circles for this original art piece. My initial attempt yielded three new wonky circle blocks. I had so much fun making them that I decided to make three more.
My wonky circle blocks were added to my design wall as building blocks for my current original art piece. They were strategically dispersed throughout in hopes of achieving a cohesive design.
Every time I stopped to take-in the piece as a-whole I found my eyes drifting toward those wonky circles. This tendency for them to draw my attention got me thinking. As the wheels turned I began to wonder if perhaps they were too eye-catching to be a part of this design.
The best way to make that decision was to pull them from their places and set them aside. So, that’s what I did. The photo above shows them all together in one area. I really liked the visual impact they made. In fact I liked it so much that I decided they were going to stay that way. Thus, another original art piece was formed.
Before we move on to look at my revamped design wall I would like to take a little time to show you what’s wrong with my wonky circles.
Mystery QAL Day 8, Improv (Wonky) Circle Blocks
Mystery QAL Day 9 , Wonky Circles in Mono Tones
Lately in my posts I’ve been showing some of my photos both in color and in mono tones. The reason for this is to demonstrate how I analyze my original art pieces for their overall impact.
Pictured above is my newest original art piece both in color and in mono tones. Each block in the color photo has a variety of incorporated colors. Some of the blocks appear to have a well-balanced arrangement of tones while others do not.
At first glance there are five blocks, in the color photo, that appear to fail. Block 5, in the bottom left corner, is the only block that appears to have the right combination of lights, mediums and darks. Now if I look at the mono tone photo I would say that all of the blocks fail the test.
In block 1 the border is the problem because it bleeds into some of the wonky circle colors making them less distinct. Block 2 the two colors in the top right corner blend with one another as well as the border. In block 3 the border should have been darker and five of the colors used in the circle sections blend together too much. I think you get the picture.
When I was creating these blocks I didn’t take the time to analyze the values of my colors. From what I have seen now it obviously would have been a great idea. Too late now! They are supposed to be wonky, right!
Even though my wonky circles don’t pass the color value test I still really like them. Over time I’m sure I will overlook their extra wonkiness. These are all great lessons to learn. Up next is a peek at my design wall.
Design Wall Review
Mystery QAL Day 7, End of Day Design Wall
Mystery QAL Day 8, Design Wall in Color
Here we have photos of my design wall from Day 7 on the left and Day 8 on the right. Comparing the two side-by-side shows obvious differences. The Day 7 photo shows a very busy conglomerate of unique building blocks while Day 8’s arrangement is much more compact, yet segmented. I also created and added new blocks to the mix. Here’s a test for you: How many new blocks can you find in the Day 8 photo?
After leaving my studio yesterday I started to think about the arrangement on my design wall. While I really liked the individual building blocks I wasn’t too sure about their placement. Since I hadn’t yet stitched any of the units together there was no reason for me to leave them as is. Believe it or not I took them all down and started from scratch.
A Clean Slate
Actually, it was kind of refreshing to have a clean slate.
Without looking at photos of my previous arrangements, one by one I began adding blocks back to the wall. Some of the blocks were singled out for other purposes. I’ve already shared that the wonky circle blocks had been set aside to create a new original art piece. Also singled out were the block I talked about at the beginning of this post and the largest block of the mix. These two additional pieces are being designated as individual original art pieces too.
Isn’t it amazing that from all of this work I now have authored four original art pieces!
A Quick Analysis
Without going into detail, I want to take a quick look at my color vs. value test for today’s design wall.
Mystery QAL Day 8, Design Wall in Color
Mystery QAL Day 8, Design Wall in Mono Tones
Hmmm, let me see…well, I already know that the wonky circle original art piece doesn’t pass the test because I discussed that one earlier. The art piece directly below seems to be fine. The block directly below that could have had a few light tones added to bring definition between the dark and medium fabrics; otherwise that ones not too bad. The last section on the design that contains the balance of my blocks needs a lot of work. Too many of them blend together. I guess I have my work cut our for me. Oh well! No worries! Tomorrow is another day.
Day 8 has now come to an end. Time to leave my studio and make supper.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today! I’m so glad we had the opportunity.
Talk with you soon!
Before you go, don’t forget to answer the question!