What constitues work?

Most of my life I have been an artist. My medium may change from the body in dance to the voice in song, to the written word, to painting, to quilting, to gardening, to cooking but I am always striving to  — as a professor of mine once so kindly said  —  live an artful life.

Sometimes life gets in the way. This past year my best friend in the world died of complications from lung cancer that had metastasized and a stroke.Then my husband was diagnosed with cancer at the end of the year and we have been dealing with the realities of organizing treatments and etc.  It has taken me until now to realize how very much that left me lost. Oh, I got through most of the daily things. feeding the dogs, taking care of my husband, finishing projects promised to people before the holidays, and etc. But I was so closed and hurt inside that I couldn’t see the need for creating much. And fear is such a damaging energy to the artist.

I have decided that I need to refocus on life and on the things that make my life worth living and the things I love to share with others. Art, Quilts, creating beauty, finding love in everyday things.

And so I am dedicating myself to this little blog again to let people know what I am doing, what I am making, and the joy of growing my little business to do for others in the quilting and art world. I try to take lots of photos of works in progress so that I can share the process from works created over the last few months.  I will share as those as well as the newly commissioned pieces I get.

Work for me is play. it has always been. I feel so incredibly lucky to have even a few hours a day to do the artwork that I thrive on. When in the creative place the world slows down and my heart sings. That is really all that matters these days. to find a way and a place to be at peace.

My niece contacted me near the end of the year in 2016 to say that she had a bag of cut pieces that my mother ( her grandmother) had started as a quilt for her. My mother passed away from Cancer in 2012. Mother and I had never had a close caring relationship, in fact, we had a lot of animosity towards each other and she died without us having spoken since 1997.

I was very very honored that my niece thought to ask me to finish this quilt for her, But I was also afraid of not doing it justice, and of family politics, and etc. Plus, it was something I had never tackled before. But, I decided to grab it and go and just see what I could do. After all, a finished quilt is better than a bag full of scraps….

The pieces my niece had were scraps cut for a Tumbling Block quilt top. My mother was not a detail person and the pieces were not cut uniformly. She had started to piece some of the tumbling blocks together. Most of the stitching had to be taken out to be redone. She had not left any idea of a pattern or layout. She also smoked a great deal and the fabric was.. well stinky! I started with placing all the pieces in a large dry tub covered with several boxes of baking soda where I tossed them and let them sit for 2 weeks. Next, I used 2 bottles of Fabreeze —  spraying and ironing and spraying and ironing. Then, after I finished the whole quilt top, I machine washed it gently in cold water with white vinegar and a mild detergent. and let it hang to dry.

 

 

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Once I figured out the color choices she had, I realized that there was no uniformity to the darks and lights she had created. And so I decided to let random patterns evolve. It gives it a bit of an Escher feeling but worked alright in layouts.  Becuase the pieces were so randomly cut and pieced and some of the fabric so old, I had to stipple quilt the blocks tightly for stability and to get them to lay flat.

 

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Because my niece wanted it for her king size bed, I added borders in muslin to match the lightest square of the block and then quilted them with a modern loose deconstructed tumbling block to soften the effect as well as to tie into the tumbling block motif.She had said her bedroom walls were a light Ice blue so I used an antique style backing fabric and did binding of the same fabric to tie the blues into the front.

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I am a big fan of machine binding… but at times like this, I felt that the binding would lay better if it were hand stitched and it was a way to honor my mother’s hand quilting work.

 

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My family and I were all happy with the finished product. It also allowed me to finally let go of some of my long-held anger and frustration. I felt by the time I finished this project that I understood my mom better, somehow. That was a wonderful gift.

Create Beauty and fill the World with LOVE!

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