Sunday, March 24, 2013


Why do you, we, I make art is a question that comes up now and again when artists get together over a cup of tea or over the Internet--and sometimes when an artist is by herself and having a bad day. The other day as I sat stitching at the window I was reminded forcefully of one of the things creating art has done for me--it has taught me how to see, observe, be aware, wake up.

I looked out the window and smiled to see all the red-winged blackbirds below the bird feeder (our official sign of spring here in northcentral Pennsylvania) and then realized there were more grackles than blackbirds in this flock of almost thirty birds. Grackles are truly birds of many colors, as I discovered when I made a quilt last year based on a dead grackle I found in the yard after a windstorm and thus had the opportunity to see all the purples, blues, greens, reds, even yellows that the feathers of this seemingly black bird contain.

I looked for all those colors on these living, moving birds and was seeing glints of purple changing to blue when the sun came fully out from behind a cloud and what a show! Colors changed and danced from one bird to the next as they pecked and turned and bobbed and as the sun and clouds changed the light.

This day came in the middle of a chaotic week--and all that was forgotten for a few glorious minutes. Later in the day I took this picture of part of a group but a photo can't capture the myriad colors or changing sunlight.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's All About--Me!

Last December it was my turn to suggest a theme for the local challenge group that I belong to and I finally decided on a letter or letters of the alphabet used as some kind of design element. I had what I thought was a good idea at that point but by the time the holidays were over and I actually sat down to do some sketching, something entirely different leaped into my mind. I had been having some discussions with friends and with myself about identity and egos and so I started playing with a "Me" concept and here is what finally came together:
Once I had gotten the idea I had to come up with a way to translate it into fabric before the March deadline, and after rejecting fusing and hand applique, I decided to start with the E's and see if I could piece them.  When they seemed to work, I set about putting the top section together. And then, in case you missed it, there's the tiny addition:
I, of course, had to call it "It's All About Me."

And if you're still with ME, thanks for the company!

Friday, March 8, 2013


The word for our Art 1016 challenge this time was "Transformation," a word that, as the member who chose it pointed out, can be applied to just about any quilt since we are all taking fabric and thread and whatever else strikes our fancy and transforming it into a whole quite different from the sum of its parts. But even with that wide interpretation I almost didn't work on this challenge due to all the other transforming that's taking place in my life.

But, as I begin my goodbyes to this place that I love, I keep being reminded of times and scenes that I want to hold onto--like walking in the fields with Terra on a late autumn day and suddenly I am aware of snowflakes falling, just a very few drifting silently down. And there was the idea for a quilt--the very beginning of a transformation.

This is a small piece--the rules for our challenge group state that the quilt should be no larger that 10 x 16" (although we have begun to relax our rules somewhat) and so I was originally going to make the quilt 10 inches wide but split that 10 inches into three panels:

This layout was bothering me, however, probably because the middle panel needed to be more obviously the focus and the three pieces seemed less unified than they could be. So I finally happened upon the idea of putting that center panel on top of the other two as it appears in the first photo. Do you think the change made a difference?

 There are also very quiet snowflakes on that panel that may not show up so well on your screens:

And now that you've seen what I've done this week, you might to check out Off the Wall Friday at Nina-Marie's blog to see what others have been creating.