1973, AP # 74


A Strong Desire

The older I get the stronger my desire to explore and experience the many forms of art. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend numerous classes—each one exposing me to techniques or philosophies I have not tried.

One of the classes I attended was Pam Beal’s Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. If you click on the link attached to the class name you will be taken to the blog post she shared once our class was complete. Within that post is numerous photos of her own work as well as the work of her students. Photos # 7, 8 and 10 show a few of my projects. Photo # 8 is the subject of today’s story.

Let’s Begin!

1973 was the year I graduated from high school. My graduating class contained 400+ students—way too many to remember them all by name.

Our official school colors were cardinal and grey. Often times they were referred to as red and grey by our cheerleaders. I can still recall one of the chants—

Red and grey,

red and grey,

fight, fight!

The Name Is

Recently I put finishing touches on a small art quilt started while attending Pam Beal’s class.

After adding the last detail I always give my art quilts a name. Sometimes the process turns very slowly—in this instance it was quick and painless.

My Assistant

My husband is very familiar with my class colors and the year of my graduation. When I proudly shared my finished piece he instantly named the quilt

1973

in honor of my high school graduation and my class colors.

1973
1973, AP # 74

Distinguishing Features

Pam Beal’s quilts primarily contain straight line piecing. On occasion she adds an element of surprise through circles or curved pieces.

Following in Pam’s footsteps, 1973 was assembled with geometric, straight-line shapes. Added for pizazz were two gently curved strips—one each in the upper and lower quadrants.

These wavy lines add interest and movement by drawing your eye from one side to the other. Pam emphasized that a well-balanced piece will

keep your eye moving.

One way of providing movement is to

bring your elements (i.e. colors, piecing, quilting) off the page,

or in this case, off the mini quilt.

I think 1973 has achieved that feature through the addition of those strips.

Color Pallet

Since the theme of the class was minimalism I kept my color pallet simple. Chosen were grey, both light and dark; fuchsia; white and black. The grey tones are not part of my normal color family. In fact, grey is one of my least favorite colors. Given that this class was supposed to help me reach outside my comfort zone I made the decision to challenge my norms by adding colors unusual to me.

Another Door

Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact taught me the qualities of a well-balanced art piece. Learning these traits opened my eyes to new opportunities to analyze my own work. These revelations, in essence, swung open another door.

Doorway Features

Just as with Blue Door  this mini art piece also reflects the imagery of a doorway.

  • The doorway was assembled using strategically placed rectangles of color.
  • Standing outside looking in you will notice a window made from fuchsia cotton fabric.
  • Radiating from the window is additional rectangular shapes fashioned from a soft grey, more fuchsia and white. These added fuchsia and white fabrics give the door interest.
  • Emphasizing the image of a door knob is the oversized silver snap.
  • Strips of fuchsia colored cotton lead your eye to the outer right edge of my piece. By leading your eye in that direction I am enticing you to reach for and turn the door knob.
  • To add even more interest and encouragement of motion I added hand quilting. The stitched lines in and around the door bring your focus to the opportunity for discovery. An open door can lead to new and exciting experiences.
  • The grey stitches reaching from the left edge outward to the right give my piece even more movement. A movement that should also tease you to open wide the door.

The Final Details

1973

  • Measures: 11 7/8” L x 9 3/8” W
  • It Contains: Cotton fabrics
  • Is bound and backed with: Black fabric
  • Is sandwiched with: Warm & Natural Batting

In Conclusion

This was the second of many art quilts to develop during the Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class. I will continue to reveal the other ones in future posts.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing my latest art piece. Perhaps the tips shared will help you when analyzing your own works of art.

Please Share!

If there were aspects of my quilt or techniques that you found interesting, please share those thoughts. I learn so much from your comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for visiting! I look forward to our next opportunity.

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The Blue Door, AP # 66


Being Stretched

Since May 2016 I have had the amazing opportunity to attend classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. While there I have studied under Rayna Gillman, Lisa Binkley, and Pam Beal. Pam taught the class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

Opening oneself up to new ideas can be scary and exciting at the same time.

Pam’s class stretched me in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. She nudged me to think outside the box, use unconventional materials and incorporate blank or negative space.

The small expressions of art that developed from those trying moments will be the focus of my attention over the next several postings.

First Up

The first to take shape was Blue Door.

Blue Door, AP # 66
Blue Door, AP # 66

Near the center is a stitched together grouping of blue and teal strips. The denim colored pieces were the inspiration for my small quilt’s name. They are the doorway to my new adventure.

By attending this class I was in essence opening a new door.

A door that led me into a hallway filled with apprehension, inspiration and intrigue.

How fitting to name the first minimalist art quilt to evolve from Pam’s class

Blue Door.

A Closer Look

Let’s take an even closer look.

Immediately surrounding the door are two thin strips of a soft gray fabric. Those slivers of light surrounding the door represent the opportunities just waiting to burst through and enlighten my exploration.

Apprehension

Next to the rays of light are black fabric. The black symbolizes the apprehension I often feel before I open new doors. As my heart beats faster and my muscles begin to tighten I feel as if I’m surrounded by darkness…unable to focus.

The Handle

In the lower right corner is a small green rectangle. This added pop of color is the handle to my door.

Stitched on top of the green fabric is an iridescent bead. The bead, with its shiny facade, beckons me to open the door.

Aha Moments

I reach for the door and turn the knob. As the door creaks open the fog or darkness begins to fade and is replaced by an even brighter light. The bright light that expands my way of thinking is represented by the two larger strips of the same soft gray fabric.

Filtering through the bright light are the “aha” moments when the uncertainty begins to unravel. Understanding new concepts is not something that happens all at once. The learning comes slowly. Those glimmers or breakthroughs are identified by the blue and teal print fabrics.

Hand Quilting

Throughout the entire miniature art quilt you will see rows of carefully placed hand stitching. The thread colors selected were meant to quietly compliment the fabrics without drawing unnecessary attention.

Finishing Touches

Blue Door, AP # 66 measures 12” long and 8 3/4” wide. A single layer of cotton batting secretly rests between the quilt top and the black cotton backing. A sleeve for hanging and a label were added to the back.

New Opportunities

The process of creating my small art quilt took me on a journey that opened opportunities for greater growth in my exploration of the arts. I’m very pleased with its outcome.

Your Reaction Please!

Now that you have met Blue Door what are your thoughts?

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Minimalist Design


What is it?

Any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston

Early in June I took a class taught by Pam Beal. The class title was

Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

I’ve been experimenting with fabric for decades.

My path began with structured piecing using quilt patterns and rigid measurements. From there I turned to impromptu piecing.

My first introduction to minimalist design was through a book written by Rayna Gillman and reinforced by a class of hers.

Pam says she is

an improvisational quilter from the Liberated School of Design.

I enjoyed listening to and learning from Pam. Here’s one of her wonderful quilts.

Lilly Pad A LA Mode
Lily Pad A LA Mode, 24” x 38 1/2”, 2013. Designed, made and hand quilted in a floor frame by Pam J. Beal, Mass City, Michigan.

While at the class I created a number of small art pieces. Some of them used colors and combinations that were out of my comfort zone.

The mini projects, numbering at least 16, are anxious to meet you.

Be watching for their debut.

Blessings to you!

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The Last of the Salvage: Lilly’s Rising Star, AP # 63


Rediscovered

I’ve been sharing stories of my recent endeavors to revive and finish a large group of art pieces. This last one, the 20th piece to be revealed since mid July, was actually a finished block leftover from the 2016 class taught by Rayna Gillman. It was one of the last minute throw togethers just before the end of the session. For some unknown reason I had stuffed it into a box and lost track of it. During my frenzy to finish a bunch of projects I rediscovered the mini quilt.

Lilly's Rising Star, AP # 63
Lilly’s Rising Star, AP # 63

Its Construction

Two years have gone by since I assembled this mini quilt. With the passing of all those months, most of the details of my construction process have long-since been forgotten. All that I can share with you are the materials I used as well as the finishing touches .

The art piece measures 10 3/4” long “ x 7 1/2” wide. The main fabric in the center of the tiny art piece was harvested from an old woven curtain. The balance of the fabrics were scraps leftover from other projects.

Beneath the quilt top is a layer of Warm & Natural batting. The fabric for the backing was originally part of a kit. After deciding to not assemble the intended project I made it my mission to repurpose all of the fabrics. The backing on this mini quilt was one of them. I used my Pfaff sewing machine to quilt a simple linear pattern. The thread colors chosen coordinated nicely with my fabrics.

The raw edges of my mini quilt were wrapped with a facing made from the same fabric used for the backing. Once those were complete I finished my project by adding a hanging sleeve along with a label.

A New Home

I have an over-abundance of mini art pieces just waiting for a home. After completing this art piece I decided to offer it to my family. This one seemed like it had the most potential to be adopted. In a matter of minutes my oldest granddaughter made her claim.

My granddaughter told her mom she wanted to start an art gallery in their basement (she is 10). On display, in her art gallery, will be this quilt. Miss L asked her mom to find out the quilt’s name. The information was needed in order for her mom to help her make a label; the kind they make for art on display in exhibits. How sweet is that!

An Amazing Young Lady

Miss L is a very sweet young lady.  She is the middle child of three; very sensible; and a peace keeper between her siblings. Miss L is just beginning to take an interest in baking and has been experimenting with recipes from a book they borrowed from the library. In honor of Miss L’s rising potential I am calling this art piece Lilly’s Rising Star, AP # 63. The plus sign reminds me of Lilly spreading her wings to experience and learn new things.

A Note to Miss L

Dear Miss L,

Thank You for your interest in my art! I hope that someday you will look back on this tiny art piece with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face. You have added so much joy to my life.

Nana ♥️

Thank You!

This post wraps up a long and winding adventure. Twenty finished art pieces is quite and accomplishment to brag about. However, believe it or not, there are many, many more just like it waiting for their turn.

To you, my reader, I say Thank You for traveling along on this journey! Your presence makes sharing these stories so much more meaningful! Until next time…

Talk with you soon!

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Fuzzy, AP # 62


Converting Scraps

Creating works of art from leftover fabric scraps has been one of my ongoing projects. The art piece I am sharing today is the third and final one in this series. While the other two mini quilts Windows, AP # 60 and Windows At Night, AP # 61 were formed from tiny scraps this one was actually meant to be a block in my Bits & Pieces, AP # 33.

I tried desperately to incorporate it into the structure but it seemed so out of place. It was as if it was meant to be a stand-alone art piece from the very beginning. In order to keep the progress on Bits & Pieces moving forward I pulled it from the stack of blocks and set it aside. My intention was to revisit it at a later date. The opportunity for my orphaned block to become a work of art finally happened. The story of its evolution is shared below.

AP # 33_ Bits and Pieces-Finished
AP # 33: Bits & Pieces

The Third One

Fuzzy, AP # 62
Fuzzy, AP # 62

This mini quilt was a very simple piece to create. Making up it’s layers is a denim colored shot cotton; a scrap of blue; an off-center leftover segment of a hand-dyed batik; and an ever so tiny smidge of orange shot cotton. All four layers were fused together with Misty Fuse.

Fringed Edges

When you look at the photo above you will notice that most of the fabric scraps have fringed edges. I enjoy adding this feature whenever the opportunity arises. Here’s a couple other art pieces with the same technique.

The center most smidge of orange shot cotton gave me the inspiration. The fuzzy edge is actually the selvedge. With my love of fringe I simply couldn’t pass up on making it a design feature. To replicate the fuzziness on the other fabrics I strategically removed threads until I achieved a pleasing look.

The Name

I am a super organized person. Spreadsheets are one of my favorite methods to manage my information. I even have a spreadsheet that keeps track of my many art pieces. All of my art quilts are given a name and a number. For some the process is quick and easy while others take a lot more thought.

Naming this art quilt was super easy. The fuzzy edge of the selvedge provided the inspiration. Since so many of the fabrics were fringed to match the orange shot cotton I thought it seemed only natural to call my art piece Fuzzy.

The Finish

Behind my mini art piece is a layer of Warm & Natural batting and a neutral colored cotton print. I quilted all the layers together using a King Tut variegated thread. The stitch pattern is a very simple grouping of straight-lines applied with my conventional sewing machine. I kept the stitching simplistic because I didn’t want the quilting to out-shine the rest of my piece.

I wrapped the raw edges of my quilt with a facing made from the denim colored shot cotton. To facilitate hanging my piece I added a small hanging sleeve. A label identifying my art quilt was added as well. Fuzzy measures 8 7/8” long x 4 3/4” wide.

Very Pleased!

I am very fond of this mini work of art. The colors, the fringe as well as the quilting will make it a wonderful addition to my portfolio. I can’t wait to find a home for it on my walls.

Thank You!

Thank You so much for sharing your time! I always look forward to these visits. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them to my post.

Talk with you soon!

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Windows At Night, AP # 61


Converting Scraps

The goal to convert leftover art piece scraps into new works of art continues with this post. Previously I shared a goal I had of turning four leftover fabric fragments into new works of art. Three of them were leftover scraps from my Bits & Pieces, AP # 33. The first segment was turned into Windows, AP # 60. You will find the story of that quilt here. The second bit of fabric scraps is the subject of today’s post.

AQ # 33_ Bits and Pieces-Closeup 1
Bits and Pieces, Art Quilt # 33, Closeup # 1

The Second One

The second art piece to emerge from the scrap bin is Windows At Night, AP # 61.

Windows At Night, AP # 61
Windows At Night, AP # 61

I’ve named it Windows At Night for two reasons. The first is because the staggered pieces of hand-dyed batik remind me of the windows one might see in a high-rise office building. The second reason is because of the dark blue fabric surrounding the hand-dyed batik scraps. This darker blue made the windows appear more prominent. Their prominence reminded me of how light emitted from windows is much more evident at night.

Surrounding the dark blue fabric is a border of hand-dyed cotton from Dye Candy. Dye Candy is created by Chris Daly, owner of Woodland Ridge Retreat.

The Details

The entire piece was quilted on my conventional sewing machine using a variegated coordinating thread and a straight-line stitch motif. On the inside of the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting. The back is covered with a blue floral fabric. I’ve also added a hanging sleeve and a label identifying my work. Windows At Night measures 11” long x 10” wide.

Very Pleased!

I think Art Piece # 61: Windows At Night makes a wonderful new addition to my collection. Next time I will reveal the third rebirth in this series.

Thank You!

Thank You for sharing these moments with me! I always look forward to our visits. If you have any questions or comments you would like to share please feel free to add them to my post.

Talk with you soon!

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Windows, AP # 60


Converting Scraps

Turning remnants of previous projects into new art pieces is one of my specialties. I’ve made so many that I’ve lost track of the count.

In one of my previous posts I shared my latest goal of turning four leftover fragments into new works of art. Three of them were leftover scraps from my Bits & Pieces, AP # 33.

AQ #33-Bits and Pieces-Closeup 5
Art Quilt # 33, Bits and Pieces, Closeup #5

The First One

The first art piece to emerge from the scrap bin was this one.

AP # 60: Windows
AP # 60: Windows

I’ve named it Windows because the staggered pieces of hand-dyed batik remind me of the windows one might see in a high-rise office building.

Surrounding the batik scraps is a bright gold shot cotton. The border immediately adjacent is blue. This blue cotton was selected to match the printing in the batik.

Windows measures 21 1/8″ long x 10 3/8″ wide.

Embellishments

The hand-dyed batik rectangles along with the gold shot cotton were quilted with a straight-line pattern using a coordinating thread.

In the outer border I also used a matching thread to stitch a straight line motif for it’s quilting.

All of the quilting was done on my conventional sewing machine.

The Quilt Sandwich

Used inside the quilt sandwich was a fusible black batting. On the back of my art piece is a black cotton fabric. The raw edges have been protected by a black facing. Of course I’ve also attached a hanging sleeve and a label identifying my piece.

Very Pleased!

I think Art Piece # 60: Windows turned a group of discarded batik scraps into a striking new specimen. I’m very proud of this new member.

Next time I will reveal the second rebirth in this series.

Thank You!

Thank You for visiting! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them to my post. I always look forward to reading your responses.

Talk with you soon!

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The Orphaned Quilt Block Project Continues


Four More Finished Art Pieces

During the process of recycling the Courthouse Steps castoffs I came across 4 other gems just waiting for my attention. Three of them were started during my lengthy journey creating the Bits & Pieces, AP #33.

AQ # 32_ Bits and Pieces-Finished

Finding just the right place to incorporate the tidbits into Bits & Pieces proved to be too challenging. Rather than forcing their presence I tossed them aside.

Where Did They Come From?

None of the three leftovers were in my orphaned quilt block basket. Instead they had apparently been swept away, with other random bits of fabric, and placed in my buckets of scraps. Who knows what I was thinking when I did that? The mind is a scary thing! 🙃

My research to find fabric additions for the Court House Steps blocks unearthed their presence. Being in a very adventurous mood I decided to convert them into finished art. Once I completed the 16 Court House Steps art pieces I turned my attention to those three mini segments.

All Ready

Now let’s fast forward several months. All three of the tiny fragments have been turned into new works of art and are ready for their debut. I will share the first one in my next post.

Thank You!

Thank You for stopping by today! I’m so glad that we had the time to visit! I look forward to spending time with you again!

Talk with you soon!

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Sixteen of Sixteen: All Done, AP # 65


The Last One

Believe it or not, we have finally reached the end of this series. I’ve been sharing photos of my recently completed art pieces. Last Tuesday we took a look at number fifteen Today’s post features the sixteenth, and final art piece in the collection.

Mixed Emotions

Reaching the end of a project always brings with it a mixed bag of emotions.

  • Sense of Relief: Finishing a project means I can finally move on to other endeavors.
  • Degree of Sadness: I pour so much of myself into each of the projects that it often leaves me drained, and exhausted.
  • Elation: Lastly it’s a chance to shout for joy and acknowledge the awesome accomplishment of successfully achieving a goal.

The completion of this series is no exception. I started out with a desire to tackle my goal head-on with every ounce of energy I could muster. My enthusiasm was as boundless as the stars are in the sky.

As the days and weeks passed I experienced the slow drain accompanied by intense concentration. In spite of my fatigue I managed to press-on.

Even though it is sad to acknowledge that the sixteenth quilt is the end of an era, I am at the same time thrilled to be able to turn my focus in another direction. Before doing so let’s take a look at the sixteenth quilt.

The Inspiration

I’ve titled this last item All Done because it brings to a close my quest to repurpose my orphaned Courthouse Steps remnants.

As you can see from the photo below I approached this miniature quilt differently.

Rather than stitching together random snippets of scraps, to create a center panel, I allowed the three tiny fragments to form a cascading arrangement similar to that of a staircase.

The leftover scraps were originally part of a courthouse steps quilt block. Replicating that design with these pieces seemed only fitting.

The remaining smidgens just happen to be from the same original block and as a result their colors nicely compliment one another.

Finishing Touches

To give the itty bitty squares the focus they deserved I enveloped them in a sea of stark white cotton fabric.

The seams of the border provided natural beginning and ending points for the quilting embellishment.

It Packs A Punch

Even though this small art quilt took very little time to create it carries with it a punch that demands attention.

All Done, AP # 65
All Done, AP # 65

Quilt Details

  • Materials: Fabric top and backing are 100% cotton
  • Batting: Warm & Natural White
  • Dimensions: 8 1/4” L x 4 1/2” W
  • Quilting Stitch: Angled lines using white thread
  • Quilted On: Conventional sewing machine

The Other Fifteen

If you have an interest in reading about and viewing the other fifteen pieces you can find them filed under the category Court House Steps.

Thank you so much for following along on this very long adventure! I hope that you have enjoyed watching.

Dont Go Away!

I have many more art pieces yet to share so stay connected for the next reveal.

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