After Thanksgiving, I was ironing all the pieces down…here’s the biggest pieces of flesh on the whole quilt. I used up almost all of this fabric (which I really loved)…
I stitched a baby tonight (yes, I started writing this last night). I stitched mammary glands. Not very realistically, but whatever. It’s like Picasso meets Richard Scarry. I stitched a tattoo and some arms. I did a female face.
I didn’t start until really late, because I went to the gym and then spent more than an hour trying to plan to be gone for two days, just for school. I had to write 4 pages of instructions and load three files on my website, and I still don’t know if it will all work. The timing sucks for being gone. Then again, it always sucks. I wonder what it’s like to be a nonteacher and go on vacation or take a long weekend. Being a teacher, it just seems like punishment sometimes. And I still don’t have next week figured out. I also spent some time searching out photos of the quilt that will be in Celebrating Silver, the SAQA exhibit opening at Houston like right now. I set up 3 posts…now just pictures, words to be added later, probably starting tomorrow, because I haven’t been able to show the whole thing until the opening. I’ll be in Houston Thursday afternoon with mom, hopefully in time for the SAQA meetup. I’ll be at the artist’s tour on Friday. We leave early Saturday morning. Yes, we kamikaze Houston. Three million quilts, four million vendors, and we basically do it in a day. It’s a little insane.
Tonight, I shoved my head deep into the next book and exercise and art, because the school day was so incredibly frustrating, I wanted to scream. My team agreed…kids aren’t listening. Tomorrow is the test and the entire unit is due (yes, I will be grading for days), but apparently none of that is important. I’m seriously going to run out of the classroom throwing papers wildly about. Either I will be relieved after they take the test…maybe my lecture today kicked their asses? Or I will wonder why I do this job.
Deep breaths. Walk away. Enjoy two days off. Of course, I have to survive tomorrow first.
Ironically, I keep saying Deep Breaths to myself, and we are finishing up the respiratory unit.
I found my sketchbook. I sorted through my stitching for stuff to do on the plane. I’m going to wear lots of black. I will need to bring 5 pieces of electronic equipment and all the chargers. I plan to start NaNoWriMo on the plane Saturday morning.
Girlchild rocked her second take on the SAT…I’m so proud of how she’s handling this college stuff. Except for when she freaks out on me. Seriously. She’s just motoring on, finishing essays, making decisions, asking for advice, doing what has to be done. Thank god. Now I feel like I can send her off. I counseled (seriously, that’s what it was) another parent of a friend of hers the other day, 20 minutes in the gym, interrupting my workout, because he’s so freaked out about sending his oldest (a girl) off far away…and I kept telling him, “But that’s what you have to do. That’s what they need. She will be fine.” Over and over again. Because most of them will. A few will flip out or do something really incredibly stupid that negatively affects the rest of their life, but most of them get through and even excel. It’s alternately exciting and terrifying and even depressing, as you realize they don’t ever really come back…that the babies you had and sent off will come back as competent (mostly) adults who will have their own lives. Although then they will text you for two hours about what to wear in snow. Apparently it’s my fault his daughter wants to do a year abroad; she heard me talking about it and now that’s on her list. He was bitter about that, but I think it’s really important to send our American brats off to the rest of the world to get a clue.
OK. So I think I’m ready to face today (Wednesday now, for real, in the morning, parent meeting in 45 minutes)…despite what my students might throw at me. I’m ready to go to Houston, but I have to tell you, I’m not ready to talk about that quilt. I guess I need to get there by Friday…the talking part, not the Houston part. I’m being squawked at by a small black and white psychotic cat. I’m not really awake (oh god, wait until tomorrow). I need a serious infusion of caffeine. And deep breaths for getting through the test. Deep breaths for just getting through.
This poor pin…stuck into 4 or 5 layers of fabric pelvic girdle and Wonder Under, then somehow wrenched open and destroyed.
Probably it got caught on something. You know, I use a lot of safety pins in my work…but I reuse the same 500 over and over again (and yes, I think that really is how many I have…so I can have more than one quilt pinbasted at a time. I think I have at least one pinbasted right now besides the one under the machine). The thing about a wrenched-open safety pin is that it’s no longer useful. I tried rebending it, but the top section (OK, I did in fact Google the names of the parts of a safety pin, and despite the fact that many disturbing things pop up in that search, I did find out that the top portion is called the clasp. So you learned something today. Or not.) is almost pulled out and separating, so it is in fact now completely useless for its job. So I threw it away. I almost never throw them away. I’ve even been known to sand the burrs down on the pin part if they are snagging while going through the fabric.
I’m sure this is some metaphor for my life, that I am a useless, bent-out-of-shape safety pin, right? Eh. Whatever. I’m getting by. I’m getting shit done. I’m not getting it all done, but getting some done. It’s not easy. I don’t know why it is easy for some people. I guess nothing affects them. This is a continuous conversation I have with my counselor. I need to learn to barely react to extreme stress. Or something. Sigh. I think I spend too much time in my head with no distractions. I don’t think my brain works like those people’s brains. I don’t even understand how their brains work.
So when I finished all the work duties yesterday, I went shopping for stuff for the boychild (and me, although I failed at that) because snow starts Friday. And I don’t know. He might die. OK, not really. But I’m shipping him some stuff today, including a rewards card to the local sports shop (which is also out here). And I sat and finished my book. And exercised. Because drama. And girlchild. And stress. And garrrr. And then I made dinner after being screamed at, because it’s my fault Etsy people can’t ship stuff here by Thursday (sigh. Don’t leave Halloween costumes until the last minute if you want choices). And we ate together, watching the last and final episode of Big Love, which made me cry, and girlchild is getting all freaked out because I’m crying, and I say, HORMONES, like all the time, and she’s still freaked out (I’m a little freaked out too, because the hormones don’t seem to be mellowing out, and my face breaking out nonstop tells me it probably IS hormones, and hell…WTF? Leave me alone, you silly chemicals. I don’t have the patience for this.). I’m fairly sure all this chemical imbalance is not helping with my moods or my reaction to stress. And my blood sugar levels have been completely fucked up for about two weeks now. I’m getting tired of it.
I finally found the energy to quilt after 10 PM again. Ugh. I really need to go to bed earlier tonight and tomorrow night, because my Thursday AM wakeup call is actually in the middle of the night.
But I quilted two legs…
And a pubic area, plus pelvic girdle and uterus…and then I should have gone to bed, but I’m an idiot and I quilted a bird as well, because it was kinda fun and I didn’t feel like stopping.
That late-night bad judgement that tells me it’s OK, that I’m really not tired (I wasn’t. I had a really hard time falling asleep, even though it was almost 1 AM)…I don’t know what that is. It’s the part of me that wants a different life, I guess. I’m totally jealous of all those fulltime quilt artists I meet, the ones who have a marketable skill and can sell classes and books about their technique (OK, I really don’t want to do classes, to be honest), the ones who have a partner who fully finances their habit, their drive. Man oh man. Do they know how lucky they are? Do they know what it’s like to work a 60-hour-a-week job and come home to screaming drama and cooking dinner and no one will help you take out the trash (yes, we were doing that at 10 PM and she was yelling at me then too, because it was my fault we hadn’t done it earlier). Bloody hell. Maybe I would just be a shitty lazy artist if I didn’t have all that hanging over me. Maybe I would never get anything done because I wouldn’t have this incredible drive to create something to make up for all the other crap. Maybe I’d have given up on art completely.
Seems unlikely. This is who I am. This is how I am. But it would be nice if it were a little less ouch. And weepy. Tired of the weepy. Damn safety pin.
Here’s to trying to pull all the pieces of a weekend (and a brain) together into one coherent post. Why start now? I mean, sometimes I am probably coherent, but if you really expect me to be all together on a Monday morning, then you’re probably a pretty demanding person, and I don’t want to hang out with you. Leave. Go read another blog…the blog of someone who has perfect hair and wears makeup and is all fashion-conscious and shit. I don’t want you here anyway (OK, you can wear makeup and be fashion-conscious and stuff, but just don’t expect me to be making any sense right now).
Weekends are kicking my butt at the moment. I make lists that are miles long and then I realize I got one thing done on them. ONE THING. I actually took grading with me to the California Fibers meeting yesterday. I needed to get grading done. I graded in the car on the way up and at the meeting. It was a slightly contentious meeting anyway (many of them are, but it’s a good group that gets good shows and there’s a core group that I get along with just fine)…so it was good to have something else to focus on. Artists…we are so emotional and opinionated. It’s hard to have a whole room full of us. Saturday night I actually went to a Halloween party, but no one knew what I was…OK, not true…they knew I was a painting. They just didn’t know who the artist was (SIGH. Jackson Pollack. I know. Maybe I don’t expect you to know, but it would be nice if someone knew. I expect too much.). I’m not much of a party person…and I know these people, but it’s still hard for me to stand around and make small talk and ask the appropriate questions at the appropriate times. It makes me want to crawl back into my studio by myself (yes, counselor, I am isolating myself) and make art. And rarely come out.
I didn’t have a lot of time for that this weekend. No art at all happened on Saturday. Saturday was all about errands and soccer and finishing stuff and being sociable. Sunday was all about trying to finish the stuff I didn’t finish Saturday because I wasn’t efficient enough and going to a meeting. But I finally started quilting around 10 PM.
I didn’t get far, just an hour in, just the very bottom section of the scales, with the two hands. I got the heart done too…
But if I figure I have 15 hours of quilting, then it’s not surprising that I didn’t get far. I wanted to start much earlier in the day, in case I didn’t have the right colors of thread, but I was lucky and I seem to have enough of what I need. I might be a spool short (ha ha ha…is that a euphemism for not having all my brain parts in working order? It feels like it is. Don’t judge.) of the background color, but that isn’t going to matter this week…this week, I will just be outlining. I love the outlining stage, when all the features start to pop, like drawing that black line on the white paper. The defining moment. Except I never use black. Black thread is so dead-looking. On this one, I’m using a dark blue. Anyway. This part of the process is very meditative. I gave up over a year ago on listening to music in this stage. I used to always listen to music while quilting, but music has fucked with the dark side of my head too much, so I just put the sound up real high on Netflix (still watching Star Trek) and listen to the blather instead. Fewer triggers.
I also went to the last official game I will see of the girlchild’s season (she has tournaments, and then high-school soccer, and then more tournaments, so it’s not like it’s OVER over…it’s just the season is almost over…one more game, but I’ll be in Houston)…
She really likes to head the ball. By the way, the ref in the back? Asshole. We used to be on a team with the daughter, who seems perfectly nice, but the dad has a Napoleon complex that makes him a psycho jerk on the field, and he seems to be getting worse each year. So we played half the game down a player because she got red-carded for calling him ignorant (which he is). If you can’t control your game, get off the damn field.
We should have won, but tied.
Toldja she liked to head the ball.
Makes for amusing pictures.
Babygirl is annoying me with her need to be right next to (or ON) the computer. She also wants to be on fabric. Or my hand. Or my leg. She’s very needy at the moment. I really need to clean up the studio and get her off the stuff I need less cat hair on…
I did clean this weekend. One thing (well, besides the entryway floor so I could pinbaste). This:
Yup. A spider web. It was a big one. No one sits in that room now that the boychild’s not here. Kinda weird to realize that.
Here’s a video of the SAQA exhibit that is at Poway’s Center for the Performing Arts until Thursday…my Eyeball Tree made it in the video, so that’s cool
That’s all I got. The brain is still wallowing around in Feels-Like-Shit (the town next to Feels-Like-Crap), so I distract it with books and quilting and trying to push everything into the corner. I stay off the social media, I don’t read anything online. I just focus inward and get shit done. I don’t know if it’s healthy or not. It just is. The counselor warns about not letting myself fall back into the hole, and I really do try…but it doesn’t feel like I have control over that. I have control over that damn spider web. The ability to just switch that part of the brain off…I wonder about the person who can do that, who can shove everything under or in a drawer and lock it up. Maybe it’s healthy? I just don’t know. I do know that I don’t know how to do it. I just have to work through it. Apparently for months on end. Frustrated yowl.
So I went to the Quilt Visions opening a few weeks back and this is what I thought: Wow. This is ABSTRACT. In fact, if you didn’t have squares or abstraction in your piece, you probably weren’t in this show. I can think of about 3 pieces that weren’t abstract, and two of them were abstracted. And another two were so close to the subject, that they read as generally abstract. It reminded me of the Visions of old, back up at the Oceanside Museum of Art, where I’d walk through and say, well, I don’t do squares and I don’t do abstract, so I will never get in.
Now in reality, it’s different jurors every year, so that does have an effect on the show. The three jurors are Patty Hawkins, Sue Benner, and Bruce Hoffman, two art quilters and one director/curator. The jurors stated that they wished for the exhibit to show that art quilting is fine art, and it shows a universality of artistic expression. They were directed to “assess the entries in the broader contemporary art context.” Benner admitted that “as a panel we tended towards abstraction.” I’m glad they admitted that. Hawkins claims they were “seeking outstanding artistry within the broad range of voices.” Hoffman mentions that “all art should be judged with the highest of criteria and should be true to great design, understanding of color relationship, secure in strong draftsmanship and the nuances of fine craftsmanship.”
I am glad that they said nothing about the show being innovative or the cutting edge of the art quilt world, because those things would be untrue. Let me be clear, there is some beautiful work in this show. There is some amazing work in this show. There are also pieces that are derivative and that I can walk right past without feeling a need to explore. Yes, that’s always the case, but I would hope it would be less so in one of the bigger art quilt shows. Much as I love having the Visions Art Museum in my town, it’s small…I wish it were a bigger space and that the Quilt Visions exhibit could also be bigger. Then again, I wish a lot of things that haven’t happened yet. And the theme? I saw a few quilts that hit the theme, but I don’t know that the theme is the point.
I would suggest you get a copy of the catalog if art quilting is your thang…you don’t have to MAKE them. You can just like looking at them. Here’s some that I thought were intriguing.
Melody Randol’s piece Still Waters is quietly beautiful. OK, maybe not so quietly with all those marks, but a stunning piece, really deep with wonderful mark-making. What’s interesting in looking at her website is that she has a lot of beautiful landscapes on there, but none that look like this piece.
Rachel Brumer’s 88 Constellations is another intriguing abstract, with marks and stitching representing an “abstracted vision of a turbulent sky,” interesting because it is mostly white. This doesn’t look like much in print, but is wonderful in person.
Diane Siebels‘ Head 3 was a piece I really loved. A flashback to crazy quilts, but without all the pieces, the stitching is full of movement and color. I have to say, this piece doesn’t fit into the show, but I’m glad it’s there (and to be honest, I wish there were more pieces that didn’t FIT into this show…it would be more interesting). Siebels has some interesting tree constructions on her website as well. I will tell you that I couldn’t see the heads on there on Chrome; I had to switch to Firefox. YMMV.
Maggy Rozycki Hiltner’s Red and White Quilt with Racist Embroidery is more interesting because of the thought behind it than the actual construction. Rozycki Hiltner added rescued racist embroideries from old textiles to a rescued red and white quilt, bringing up all those stereotypes of African Americans in our past, definitely a conversation piece. She has some very interesting and political (and some just amusing) pieces on her website, all echoing or appropriating the embroideries of the past, those dish towels and potholders and tablecloths.
Jean Herman’s Katherine a la Picasso caught my eye because it was one of the few figurative pieces in the show, yet highly abstracted. I’m still not sure I like it, but if I stand and stare at a piece for a long time, I would call it successful. The black line unifies it greatly.
Helen Geglio’s The Lost Art of Mending 3: Constellation is a quirky little piece that needs to be stared at. It has the look of the top of someone’s bed, but it’s the mending marks and hand-stitching that makes this an interesting piece. This is an abstract I can get behind. I would love to see more of her work, but she seems to not have a website.
Emily Richardson’s piece Swiftly is a subtle piece, but so beautiful, with the depth of the silk and the color shifts across the piece, plus the hand-stitching. Richardson doesn’t seem to have her own website, but here is one gallery that represents her.
Vicki Carlson’s Points in Time is another piece where the hand-stitching has made it interesting. The color movement in the repeated circular shapes where they overlap creates a lot of interest. I do think this one also reads better in person.
There were other pieces that were executed well or looked nice, but they just reminded me of other pieces I’d seen about a million times. And there were some, like Shin-hee Chin’s piece Ryu, Gwan-Sun where I was intrigued by how the piece stays together…it’s interesting to look at in terms of construction, and I do love how she is experimenting with making faces in different ways.
And then there were a few that I thought, why is this in here? This is not what I would consider fine art, to quote the jurors. And yet, I know that looking at a million pictures of things that look better in real life and trying to make decisions for a coherent show must be difficult. I also wish that if the jurors were only going to focus on abstracts that they admitted that beforehand, so the figurative people could decide if they wanted to make a donation to the museum, because that’s what it is when the jurors go that way. I guess they could have realized their tendencies after that fact, but it’s amusing to me that there’s never been a show that hasn’t been heavily abstract…and even if I were the juror, it is the way with art quilts that the entries would probably be mostly abstract…but can you imagine picking a Visions or Quilt National exhibit one year that is almost all figurative work? That might be interesting…in a whole ‘nother way. Hey, I think I suggested a show like that to SAQA, and they told me I needed to find a gallery that would do that (ahem. hello.).
Anyway, the show’s worth seeing. Most of the bigger-name shows are…even if it’s just for the 3 or 4 that rock your socks off. Seeing fiber art in person is always better than on a screen or a printed page. You’ll see a lot of abstracts, things that you feel like you’ve seen before. There was a lot of hand stitching this year. The food at the opening was great and so were the people. I love meeting artists. Someone told me this was “the best Visions show they’d ever seen.” Um. Not for me. I’ve seen more exciting and interesting shows…I’m thinking of I think it was the last one at the Oceanside Museum of Art, with the huge pieces they could hang there. It had a wide variety of work from abstracts to calm landscapes to bright and vibrating florals. It rocked my world. This one? Eh. Go for the few pieces that make you happy.
Seriously, WordPress, why do you think this is an improved posting experience? I have to click on more things now to see what I need. I was told yesterday that I was old school…I guess so. The old WordPress posting is called “classic.” And I still draw with a PEN on PAPER. And sometimes I sew by HAND. I was supposed to draw last night. Remember my plan to draw every week? Yeah. Well. I was pretty fucking tired last night. I did manage though to sandwich and pinbaste the damn quilt together, so it’s not like I did nothing. Plus I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch for something I’m going to tonight. And my dinner was just going to be uncooked cookie dough (as it should be), but I was hungry later, so I made English muffin pizzas. I think I am turning into a college student. I just haven’t had the energy to cook anything when I’m on my own. It’s too much work. I need to solve that problem.
Anyway, so I had enough batting and I found enough of a backing fabric (which was a front fabric on another quilt, so I had a shitload of it, apparently) last night…girlchild ditched me for some Haunted Trails thing with her friends (OK, I would have ditched me too…it’s OK), so I first had to clean the entryway so I could actually find the floor. That was not a bad thing. There’s still a lot of shit in there, but it’s much better. The cleanliness issue is driving me crazy at the moment. I just don’t have time for everything that needs doing. Even my computer is slow…wasting more time I don’t have. Fucker.
Wow, that’s exciting. This quilt actually isn’t as huge as some of mine have been recently. It’s supposed to be 36×60″. I’m guessing it will take about 15 hours to quilt. I’m hoping to start today, but today is already turning into a clusterfuck of time suckage, so we’ll see how that goes.
I really need to clean this room up. It’s a hoarder’s paradise. It’s driving me nuts. That’s the thing, though. What do I drop so I have more time to clean? Art? Grading? The gym? I could stop reading books, but then I might kill innocent bystanders. Seriously. I need time in my head.
Anyway. It’s ready for quilting. I’ve spent 70 hours and 33 minutes on this quilt so far. Minus the drawing, because I don’t ever time that. There’s too much staring-off-into-space time. Processing time. Which reminds me, I need to draw the next quilt…needs to be done by January 1. Ha ha ha ha. No seriously. It does. It’s OK…it needs to be smaller.
Pinbasting didn’t take long…
I know, Sion. You think I’m nuts for pinbasting. I’m really just very methodical about certain stages of the quiltmaking. I might change my process if I had a good reason. Or if I had time to experiment. I never have time for that. Everything’s always short of time. I never have enough. I should be grading today AND quilting. Plus the gym and the girlchild’s soccer game, and I need to pick up my library book, and because I’m at a meeting all afternoon tomorrow, I need to lesson plan and plan for being in Houston next week and I have so much grading I might fall over and I really need to clean the damn house!
Yeah. It’s deep breaths.
And you know what’s crazy? I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. I have 28,000 words of a novel and I’m not writing right now (see comments about time above), but I WANT to write. So I’m committing to it. The thing is, I write about a thousand words a day here. It doesn’t take me long, really, and maybe I’ll cut back a bit in November to accommodate the novel. So they estimate 1667 words a day to hit 50,000, BUT…I’m on a plane (or two) on November 1, I have a 4-day weekend thanks to Veterans Day, which includes a soccer tournament and hopefully someone else driving, plus there’s a whole WEEK off for Thanksgiving. I think I can do it (the little voice in the background that is reminding me that grades are due can just shut the fuck up). A school friend gave me her NaNoWriMo T-shirt from a few years ago. And worst-case scenario? I get more written and I don’t hit 50,000. It won’t kill me. But in the 11 days I have off from school, I could do 5000 words a day (could I really? I don’t know that I could.) and be OK.
Hey, you know me. I set crazy goals. Sometimes I meet them. This quilt? Have I been meeting them? Fuck yeah. A few I had to adjust, but I’m doing OK. So I’m estimating 15 hours of quilting. Here’s the problem, though…I’m in Houston for two nights…three days gone…plus catchup when I get back. So my plan is to be done with quilting by November 9. Eeek. That’s tight. Then I need to do binding and figure out what to do with the bleeding spots. Although they’re much harder to see with all the pins…maybe the quilting will help. I’ll still have to do something, but maybe not a lot. And I set this mid-November date…and I really have a little longer. But it needs to be photographed too. And I need to start the next one.
Crazy brain. Thinking it can do all this shit. WTF.