It Needed a Chandelier…

Day 20: Proudest Achievement…still making art after so many years? Nah, I do that to keep me sane. Oh yeah, they probably mean with quilting…I used to think that once I got into Quilt National and Visions (two big art quilt shows), that would be it. And I’ve done both…I’ve been in Quilt National three times now (the latest to be 2021) and Visions once, and they are prestigious shows and fun to meet all the artists and be part of the group (well, you know me and groups…I do my best, but sometimes I need to introvert for a while). So then what? Because yes, it’s cool and awesome to hit a goal, but are you just gonna stop making? So then it was wanting a solo show, and I’ve managed that twice plus another 2-person show with a sculptor, which I thought was pretty cool. Give up? You’ve done it? Nah. Still making. What should my next goal be? I think I’ve admitted to myself that I’m just going to keep making and entering shows and getting offers for interviews and videos and putting my work in shows, more invitational stuff, which has been happening more, and I fully appreciate those things, because they aren’t things I tried for or asked for…they just happen because people think of my work for those things. So that’s awesome too.

I’m not that good at proud, really. I’m proud of my kids and my students. Proud of myself is more complicated. It’s not in my nature. I do know to say ‘thank you’ when people say nice things about my work, instead of downplaying it or making excuses. I know how hard I have worked over the years and how much of me has gone into my pieces. So thanks to those who acknowledge that and tell me they like my work. Appreciated.

I’m having a rough weekend. I’m tired and family stuff is all around. Stressful. Work is hard too, even with days off…I have too much grading to do and I just want it done. I’ll feel better when more of it is done, let’s put it that way.

Last night’s drawing with fire in fireplace and really difficult movie on the telly (Tenet…the man watched it twice, the second time with closed-captioning on, and even then, I’m not sure he got it all)…

I didn’t have the patience for a second try…straight up. Started with the hair and somehow ended up with a chandelier. It needed a chandelier. I can’t explain why.

I thought I’d have everything cut out in the current quilt last night, but no…I still have some to go…

I’m watching total escapist television (The Wilds on Amazon Prime), so tonight, I’ll draw, watch some episodes, cut some more pieces out, hopefully all of them, and then ideally tomorrow will be better. I have work tomorrow, lesson planning, actually AT school, if I see you, I will spray you down, because I’m in super-paranoid mode at this point. By the way, if you know someone has anxious tendencies, telling them to stop worrying is really useless. It makes us feel worse, actually, like we don’t have a right to be anxious or worried…and we usually do, but maybe not about what we’re voicing our concerns…those are maybe easier to say than what we’re really worried about. You can say “don’t worry about it until it happens,” but you know, I’ve been this way for a long time, and one part of my brain is constantly saying that while another part of my brain is worrying, and sometimes one part wins out over the other, and I have to try to sway it back. I do that when I feel supported and loved, and not when I feel chastised for natural feelings. More helpful? “I’m sorry you feel that way. Is there anything I can do to help?” There probably isn’t, but I feel better when you say it. So there.

Yeah. Rough weekend. Gonna go draw it out.

Trusted the Brain…

There’s a definite weight off the shoulders. There’s still plenty of work to do, but knowing I don’t have to have 17 posts ready for Google Classroom by tomorrow night is a relief. Knowing I don’t have to be on Zoom and watched by parents and brothers and sisters is a relief. I can just sit quietly with myself if I want. Well, when I’m not around all the other people and animals in the house, right? It’s hard to get away from absolutely everybody, and I’m not sure I’d want that. I am alone here right now and it’s dark and I just heard something go over the gate. Or under it. Probably a bunny. But who knows; I’m in here freaking myself out about it. You’d think after living mostly alone for a goodly number of years while the kids were in college I’d be OK with it.

Today’s topic is “on the design wall.” Ah, so many assumptions in that topic…that everyone has or wants a design wall. It’s not how I work at all. I don’t ever pin something up and step back and look at it. Maybe I should, but I don’t have the space or the time, so I mostly always did without…trusted the brain to do the previewing and critiquing before things were all put together. Crazy, really. So yeah, I draw in a sketchbook and sometimes on a big sheet of paper, and then, when I’m ready to iron Wonder Under to fabric, when I’m at the color-choosing stage, that’s the closest I get to a design wall. I hang the drawing up and stare at where each piece is and stare at the fabrics I’ve already picked and stare at the background fabric, and that’s it. My brain does the work.

So there’s the drawing clipped up from when I did that. It will come down when I start ironing together next week, because I use it as the pattern: put the teflon sheet on top of it, so I can get the pieces in the right place.

No design wall. Sorry? Not sorry. It’s just now how I work. I did in the very beginning; I even had this big cubicle wall for a while that I was going to use for that, a leftover from somewhere, but there was never room for it in the house, so it went at some point…probably when we cleaned out the garage a few years back.

Speaking of the most current quilt, I’m almost done trimming all those bits and pieces…I had Calli for a while…

Simba too, but not photographed…and then Kitten…

I cut for almost 3 hours last night, quite happily.

There isn’t much left in the box on the left. Maybe I’ll be done tonight? Sort tomorrow night? We’ll see.

I also started my Winter Break tradition of a drawing a day…while gaming…

I was pretty tired, and I didn’t think very hard about any of it.

Certainly my glass ended up in the drawing…in fact, that’s where I started, with a hand around the glass.

Today’s been pretty quiet…some grading, some Pilates on Zoom with dog assist, plus a 4-mile hike…

Outside is always a good thing.

San Diego is currently full of idiots refusing to stay safe…so we go out here, where most people are sane. We think. It’s certainly not a restaurant full of people.

OK, so finish cutting, do a drawing, watch a movie. It’s supposed to be chilly tonight; maybe a fire in the fireplace, dinner from somewhere, not inside, not around people. Then sleep again, because I haven’t gotten enough of that in a good long time.

Stop Thinking for a While…

Hello vacation! Or break! Or NO ZOOM ZONE. Whatever you wanna call it, this teacher is on it for three weeks. Don’t get too excited. You should see my to-grade list for that time period…it’s massive. I’m hoping to bang through it quickly though. Although it includes 5 large art assignments. WTF was I thinking? Nothing. No, I was thinking that if they didn’t finish before break, they would throw them away, and no one would have them. So there we are. Anyway, wish me luck on that. I’d like to have everything planned for January (except art, because I need to wait for the other teacher to do some stuff) and graded by Christmas Eve. Could be impossible. We’ll see.

I’m stressed, I need sleep, I need to not be on Zoom a million hours a day. I need exercise and books and sewing and drawing and relaxing. We’re halfway through the longest school year I’ve ever experienced, and it will take everything I have in me to get through the next half. Sure, there’s a few 3-day weekends in there and 2 weeks of Spring Break, but mostly it’s a hellaciously long stretch of ugh. Meanwhile, my neighbors aren’t social distancing for shit, because they are young and apparently can’t get sick or die or get their relatives sick or anything. I don’t even know what to think about that. I think about every interaction I have, every time I leave the house, everything I do that is outside of here. And I’m paranoid as shit about it. Maybe it’s being high risk? Or just naturally paranoid? Anyway. They’re fucking nuts.

So the topic for today is “If I could sew with…”. Hmmm. Is this a person? If so, I want to sew with Queen Elizabeth. I know she learned how. And I’d like to talk to her and meet her dogs. And then I want to sew with Sue Spargo, just to see how her mind works; she’s incredibly creative. And then maybe the BadAssCrossStitch woman, Shannon, just because she sounds interesting and is trying to create community with stitching. Honestly, anyone who’s ever stitched the word “fuck” on fabric…I wanna have a big stitchalong with them. And then I’d like to stitch with about a million of the stitchers I follow on Instagram, because some of them have such interesting and different styles from what I do…I wanna watch them and try to do it that way and maybe just talk to them about birds and cats and pine needles. Or whatever.

Now the other way to look at this is “If I could sew with…” metal. Are we talking materials here? I have done a tiny bit of metal stitching, not the metallic thread, because that is always a pain in the ass, but the twisty stuff, damn, what’s it called, purl? AKA French bullion wire (because it looks like a bullion knot, but wire, not thread). I also have some metal mesh I always wanted to use. There isn’t much stopping me from using metal, but time and ideas…I got close when I stitched on window screen to make my COVID mask.

Not quite metal. Maybe just stitching with different things. Experiment more. In my spare time. Some day, I will have spare time that is not eaten up by grading 17 assignments in a week, and I will have more time to spend on experimentation. Or not.

It’s highly possible I should have looked at the list of blog topics before I signed up to do this. Speaking of, it’s the first day of Winter Break! I like to do a drawing a day over Winter Break. Shall I? Can I? Do I have the fortitude? I have the last two years. Hmmm. Gaming tonight…it’s possible to draw and game.

Meanwhile, I’ve been cutting tiny pieces out…I made it through all of the flesh last night…

I did a lot of it in a stitching meeting, totally exhausted.

Made it into the sky. I’m hoping to be done by Sunday so I can start ironing it together. We’ll see how it goes.

You gotta love your job a lot to answer an email like this…although the suggested answers are pretty valid.

I didn’t use one of them. I wanted to.

Remember back in November when we went up to 29 Palms to help construct that labyrinth? Well here’s a drone view of it…

Linda did an awesome job setting this up and building most of it. So cool.

Got some more artsy shit coming up over break too…mostly looking at other people’s art, but as artists, we need that connection to other people’s work.

But for now, find a sketchbook and a pen for drawing while gaming, plus probably need to see if I can grade a few things, and I need to find some supplies for these classes I’m taking in January, ironically need plastic bags, just the words off them, but I don’t have a lot of plastic because I don’t use it unless I really have to, plus some stabilizer I don’t use either. Maybe mom has some? Who knows. It feels a little lighter having no required work for three weeks…hopefully by the end of next week, it will be a lot lighter. Unlike the summer, I know mostly what the next 6 months of school look like…painful but doable. Summer was so stressful because we knew nothing at all. This is just stress that I know about.

OK. Find sketchbook. Stop thinking for a while.

Some Things Never Change

Welp. I finally missed a day. I meant to write last night, but I was so dang exhausted. I know I came in here to do it, but then IDK what happened. Plus I thought I was supposed to write about today’s topic, which I didn’t want to write about. So now I’m doing two in a day. I HAVE FAILED. Nah, it’s OK. Shit happens. Have you seen 2020? Case in point.

So yesterday was actually a good topic, Why do I sew? Well, I started because presumably my mom thought I should learn or she was doing it and I saw it and I wanted to learn. I don’t remember. I was young. So I learned how…so did a lot of my generation, and then the vast majority of them finished Home Ec and never looked at a sewing machine or a needle again.

I never stopped. I sewed stuff for art in college, I sewed stuff for the house in my 20s and 30s and less so in my 40s, and I started quilting at 23. And never stopped. Something about fabric calls to me. I started making art as a printmaker…I probably would have stuck with ceramics too if I’d had more access to equipment and people…but once I started seeing quilting as an art form, better yet, a portable, easy-to-drop-and-then-pick-back-up art form, then that was it. The tactile qualities of fabric, the design and pattern, the hand-dying, the stitching, having it in your hands, the 3D nature of a quilt on the wall. I was hooked.

Now today’s topic is the one I was avoiding, my favorite ‘sewlebrity.’ UGH. So a stitcher who’s famous? I’ve taken many classes from people who are famous in their own right…some were fascinating to learn from, some not so much. Is there someone I always watch or listen to or look for their Insta? Not really. There are LOTS of them: people who talk about their process, who keep making, who find a way to challenge what they’ve been doing. I know the purpose is to give you a name so you can check them out…eh…there’s a bunch in the blog roll on here (which I need to go check and cull this year…it’s been a while). I follow another million or so on Instagram…pictures seems to be the thing now. There are people I admire, not for their sewing prowess, but for their ability to get things done and PIVOT…hate that word: Pokey Bolton, making Craft Napa grow in a pandemic; Luana Rubin for advocating against climate change, for using her company to support art quilters and awesome causes; Carolyn Mazloomi for backing beautiful exhibits that showcase issues for BIPOC and BIPOC quilters. There are more, but it’s early and the tea hasn’t kicked in.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There are people out there using fabric and the quilt world to make some positive things happen.

Meanwhile, I’m slogging through my day job. Yesterday was exhausting, for me, but probably for the kids as well. They want to give up because it’s almost Winter Break, and so do I, but we can’t. I’m grading as fast as I can, so I don’t have a ton to do over break, but there’s no way to avoid some of it. Plus trying to get the kids through the last part of a project…some get the concepts and some are just so far away from them that I don’t know how to help them. Some just want the answers, and I want them to work for them. As always.

I started cutting stuff out for the newest quilt on Tuesday night…

Lots of tiny rocks in that box…it’s been cold, so we have had lots of animals on the couch with us…

Kitten tried to push that box off the couch at some point. And here’s last night’s cut…considerably less time. I had Zoom Pilates and Zoom book club and hit major exhaustion right after.

I did a very slow hour. That’s all flesh I’m cutting now. Kitten looks cranky…

Like she’s about to whack me. Because she is.

I did this…

One quilt is in there four times. She took a long time to make. Anyway. Thursday. Ugh. Long. Too much of you. We will get through. I tried to go to bed early last night and then ended up making plans to travel without seeing or talking to anyone except for the man, just for two nights outta here, because I’m going bonkers. Hiking and walking and just sitting around talking to a rooster. It’ll be fine. For now, I have a staff meeting, I’ve got to teach science and two levels of art today, and hopefully wake up a bit more. Then plan some science, meet with other sewists (better than sewers, y’all), and cut some more stuff out. Collapse in bed. Do it again tomorrow, minus some of it, with added Zooms. It will be nice NOT to Zoom for a few weeks. NOT to get up and walk to a computer and stare at three screens and try to type and get my internet to behave and answer a million questions in the chat and chase kids down for not doing any work and deal with 17 million emails. Really. It will. This year is different, but some things never change. Teachers need breaks. So do kids.

Small Hands…

My earliest memory of sewing? I remember trying to embroider (badly), but I don’t remember how old I was. Somewhere in this house are a few pieces of half-done embroidery or cross stitch from that era…definitely younger than middle school. When I was 7 or 8, I used some of my mom’s curtain material, yellow for god’s sake (not a color I ever wear). You cut four rectangles. Two got lace all around the edges. The other two were sewn together on the sides to make a short fat tube, and then gathered at the top, and then somehow you attached the two rectangles to the top of that to make these wing sleeves.

Hell…this might have been the pattern…

My lord, that is ugly. In fact, I have a stash of clothing patterns, also hidden somewhere in this house, which has some pockets of black void that hide an endless number of bizarre things I will never use again. I sewed a lot of my own clothes for a time, even into high school, thus labeling me forever as a strange beast. Nothing has changed since then, except I sew quilts instead of my clothes, preferring to fritter my time away on art rather than making stuff I can wear that costs a ton of money.

I do remember sitting at the Jack and Jill desks my mom had in her weaving/sewing studio that my dad built her, and listening to Muzak versions of the Beatles and The Mamas and the Papas, while I coaxed my mom’s old 1962 Singer (still in my garage even now) up to about 100 miles per hour of straight lines with the occasional zigzag.

Nothing has changed. Well, mom still has the desks, and I sew at my own desk, so there’s that.

I made curtains, I made a couch cover, I’ve made bedding of sorts, lots of clothing, baby quilts, etc. But mostly art quilts. There are over 90 of them here. Storage is an issue.

Anyway. Last night, I finished ironing all the Wonder Under to fabric; it took just over 19 hours.

And 165 different fabrics…

Now I get to cut them all out.

I walked tonight. Made a new friend.

Presumably he doesn’t get out much. Small hands. Stopped at the ex’s house to check out his lights.

Actually, I really needed to pee. Then I put my headlamp on and did the last half mile to home. Cooked dinner, did some grading, tried to finish my book (it’s good!), and now I will start cutting. I might grade something else first. I’m trying to get ahead (you’re never ahead) so I don’t have to work most of break. Ah ha ha ha ha. It’ll never happen. But I’ll try.

Stash

When I was growing up, there was this cardboard box in the cupboard in the hallway between my room and my brother’s and it was full of fabric scraps. I recognized some from things I had in the closet, mostly pajamas, honestly, but some other bits and pieces from dresses and tops. I had some scraps of fabric in college from classes I’d taken; being told that fiber and fabric were not of artistic merit, I ignored the professors and found classes at art centers in weaving and batik and eventually quilting. In the early days, I bought 1/8 yards, because I couldn’t imagine using up that much fabric ever. Eventually I graduated to half yards, which is mostly what I buy these days, except if I need yardage for bindings or backgrounds, or if all that’s available is fat quarters. When people give up quilting (whether temporarily to move to Morocco or permanently because it no longer gives them joy), they call me and I pick up their stashes. When someone dies and no one in the family sews, I pick up their stashes. When people move across country and can’t take it all with them, I pick up their stashes. Sometimes people see a piece of fabric and it speaks my name to them, and I get it in an envelope in the mail. Someone gave me an apron once because they thought I would like it; another person sent me a scarf.

I do love fabric, the patterns, the colors, and the texture, the flow, the hang, the drape, the shine, the touch, the feel of it.

I do probably have too much of it. Every year, I make a goal to use more of it, to piece backings and backgrounds and bindings and the like. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes it’s a shit year full of a pandemic, and although my shopping has been limited, somehow my stash has grown.

Hey, so this is just what’s in here with me. I took the doors off the closet. Each bin is color-coded. This is mostly cottons, although the crazy quilt fabrics are on the left.

So all that was the yellows, purples, whites, and some of the blues, greens, and blacks. I have a plan for redoing all this and reorganizing it…but I spent all the money to do that on fabric. OK, not really…I don’t actually buy a ton of fabric. Sitting at the computer and looking under the ironing board (like you do…damn…this is a small room and it’s impossible to get a photo without the ironing board in it)…these are most of the browns, all the oranges and reds, and a few more whites and pinks. Oh yeah, and one drawer of blue and one of black.

Well…pink isn’t exactly right. It’s my flesh collection. Yes, I wear Crocs in here…they’re bouncy and cushioned against concrete floors with no padding. I stand a lot.

Most of the fleshy pink bits hide under the sewing table, along with one more brown drawer and three black.

I like me some black and white graphic stuff.

This part is mostly a disaster. There’s some crazy quilt stuff in there, some muslin, some other solids, some quilts in progress, a pile of hand-dyed (by me) a bunch of batting, some pieces big enough for backgrounds or backings in the white drawers, plus grays, greens, and the rest of the blues. And behind all that is a small cat tunnel made of batting scraps. Don’t ask.

The cardboard box is where the cat has been hanging out lately. I can’t take it away from her.

It all needs cleaning and/or organizing. Don’t tell me to purge. I’ve tried it multiple times and it doesn’t bring me joy.

There is also fabric under my bed…mostly crazy quilt fabrics and wools and a few things that I don’t know how to get rid of, like velvets and dresses from my grandmother or mother or great aunt or who knows? Fabriholic. Yes I am. I’m OK with that. It’s not like I don’t use it.

Speaking of using it, I got a goodly chunk of the body parts ironed last night, the stuff that makes up the rest of the body besides the flesh…also a bird. But I still have lungs and hair and a baby to iron. Hopefully tonight. Then I’ll be done…

That’s all. That’s a lot of colors…

Then I get to cut stuff out.

Looking forward to it. I relax with scissors. Actually, I also relax on walks. We dared to take the old lady dog out on a longer walk (it was probably a bit too long), but we saw two white-winged kites…first time ever, I think.

Great photo, I know…distance is not a phone camera’s friend. Same with this…

Spot the blurry coyote. Ah well. Reminds me it was there.

The skies have been gorgeous for weeks…probably a sign the world is ending.

We’ll find out later that COVID has infected the sky. Lovely poinsettia from my school friends. Matches the sky.

They also brought me this calendar for 2021, since I will probably be distance teaching for most of it. Shoot me now.

Yeah well. It’s hard not to give a shit and still care about teaching. I don’t know how to turn off the ‘care about’ part, so I just try to keep as chill as possible about it with the rest of the crazy shit swirling around right now.

But in good news, even with the stupid electoral college, we now no longer have a Trump in office. May his fuckery take him down. But we’re watching, y’all. Put it all back where it was. Bring back the environment and get those immigrant families back together and if one of our asshole doctors removed a uterus without permission, then those families need to be compensated, and surely there are numerous people who belong in jail right now, and probably numerous people who ARE in jai and DON’T belong there, and let’s talk about global warming and taking care of people and finding money for businesses and people who are struggling right now. ALL OF THEM. Not just the Democrats, not just the rich people, not just the white people. Sigh. This last year has been such a fucking mess. And today is the 8th anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. So let’s do something about guns for once. Really.

Also this…

That’s for sure. OK. I have ironing to do. And I need more tea.

Favorite

Maybe it’s the word ‘favorite’ that bugs me. I’m not such a black and white person. The topic for Day 12 is Favorite Color. When? Today? Right now? Purple. Tomorrow morning, when I’m barely awake? Maybe teal or turquoise. Tonight I’m supposed to start ironing the figure in my quilt, so probably heading into the flesh terrain…so those are the pink boxes, which for me are one of the largest parts of my stash…not because I love pink (I don’t), but because I stash all the flesh tones in there, unless they are hiding in brown or purple…which some of them are. For backgrounds? I love a seriously dark blue…not black, which is my favorite (not)color to wear. And draw with. I love using really bright colors in my work, in my quilts, not on my body. But I appreciate a toned-down palette for when that’s what’s needed. So ‘favorite’. Not a thing. All of them. Wait until tomorrow…I’m supposed to talk about ‘least favorite.’ I think because I make figurative quilts, quilts that tell a story, that all the colors are important and useful. I don’t think of one being more or less useful than the others. They all have their place and I don’t dislike any one.

It’s different if I’m wearing them. Then it’s a different story, right? But every color has its place in the palette.

I ran that year of color thing on my Instagram for 2020 (a weird year, yes, but I still post on Insta almost every day)…

They analyze the colors in your photos by how much they appear. Interesting. So many flesh tones and blues.

I barely ironed last night. I worked and gamed and worked some more. I ironed a rocket ship and I think that’s it.

Oh, I laid out all the 800s. Flesh, baby.

This next section is a big commitment, with all the body parts in there. And it’s already almost 10:30 PM.

We hiked this morning, Boden Canyon, the third hike we’ve done in the Coast to Crest Challenge…

It was pretty; fall colors everywhere.

It’s probably pretty hot in summer, but I was freezing at the start.

It started down in the canyon and then climbed out a bit.

The whole Boden Canyon loop is over 14 miles with 2000-foot gain, which we did not do, although we did do 6.7 miles.

Came home, ate, exhausted, then graded for 5 hours, but got progress reports done. Woo hoo! A miracle.

Now I’m trying to wake up enough to start picking flesh fabrics. The man is working on his Santa disguise.

It was a nice hike, mostly flat for the bit we did.

I’m really not sure how this gate is supposed to work.

Intriguing construction. Anyway. Go outside. Do the nature thing. It’s good for you.

Me? I’m going to try to iron for a bit and then collapse into a death-like sleep. Then tomorrow, I’ll try to figure out what my least favorite color is, in between grocery shopping and trying to finish planning for the week. It’ll be good.

I Don’t Mind It…

Friday. Finally. I was surprised by my team today. They showed up here at my house (masked and social distanced) with wine and a poinsettia and a calendar of Fuckery (seriously…I’m going to love this desk calendar all year because distance learning will be forever, right?). I appreciate them coming over and sitting on my freezing cold deck in the dark on a Friday. The lack of connection to school is difficult. Really difficult. Even for an introvert.

Today’s blog challenge is ‘most impactful class’. Well, there’s the classes you like and the ones where you walk away and think, I’ll never do THAT again, or That teacher may be an amazing artist (she was), but she’s not a teacher (she wasn’t). I do think of three teachers who guided (pushed and shoved?) me in the direction I eventually ended up wandering off into.

The first was Susan, my original quilt teacher. She can be bossy about doing things “right”, but incredibly creative and supportive when you ignore her advice and do your own shit. I learned most of the basic quiltmaking stuff from her and then took classes from a ton of art quilters to get where I’m at today. Without her groundwork, though, I wouldn’t be able to make what I want.

Early on, I took a class from Joan Colvin. I don’t even remember if she provided pictures to start from. If she did, I didn’t use one. I didn’t even have a drawing. I just made shit up out of my head. But she would walk by my table and make minor suggestions and answer questions, giving me ideas of how to do things in ways I’d never thought of. Probably there’s a bunch of teachers who could have helped me in that way, but she was the first one. At the end of class, she was talking about class samples in quilt shows, and how you had to admit you’d started something in a class, but then she walked up to me and said, “You don’t have to admit you started that in my class. You did that without me.” It wasn’t entirely true, because I hadn’t considered how to make quilts without piecing or hand applique at that point, and how she did it was a significant change in my creation process. I do sometimes work that way now, but mostly not…it’s more the idea of having the fabric do the work of making the image without worrying as much about the process of attachment.

Here’s the Joan Colvin class quilt, A Study in Flesh (1999)…

The other early class was Laura Wasilowski…and again, I’m pretty sure she had patterns available, and in Nida fashion, I just started cutting out a naked woman and made the quilt. This is Fallen (2004).

She was actually started much earlier than the finish date…it took me a while to decide to turn her into a quilt. There are so many things wrong with the piece, but a lot of things are pretty good.

Eventually I took what I learned from all three teachers and turned it into what I do today. I honestly don’t take a lot of classes any more (although I’m doing a few at Craft Napa this year, just for fun). Summer 2019 I took a class in embroidery on paper. I think that was the last one. I don’t have much time outside of work right now, and I’d rather spend it making a new piece.

I think the most impactful class is the one that teaches you techniques or general ideas that push you off a cliff into making your own stuff. I do realize not everyone wants to do that though. I don’t mind it.

Last night, I got some bits in the sky ironed down…

I’m in the tail end of the 700s. Getting there. About to start ironing flesh.

This quilt seems to have a lot of colors in it. I don’t think I’ll get done this weekend. I have a long hike planned for tomorrow and grades are due Tuesday, plus I haven’t even gotten halfway through planning for next week. I worked until almost 11 PM, I think. Shit, it’s almost midnight. Sigh.

What I was doing with 6th grade art…

Should be interesting. They’re engaged in it anyway.

Advanced art is almost done with their self portraits. So much weird stuff I’ve done this year.

We’re almost at the halfway point.

Kitten curled up next to me as I tried to figure out how this stupid curriculum works.

I’m so tired these days. Anyway. I might iron one thing down, just to say I did, and then collapse into bed.

All About the Sky…

December is the month of Instagram’s Top Nine…always interesting to see what OTHER people liked of my posts. When I was younger, I’d listen to the top 106.7 songs (radio station) of the year. Do they still do that? I realize with the whole work-from-home thing that I am never in the car, never listening to the radio. That was the only place I listened. Interesting. So much new music could be coming out and I wouldn’t even know. For the daily blog challenge, today is the Top 5 books…probably not fiction, which is good, because I don’t think I could take it down to 5…like ever. My head has so many books in it, I wouldn’t be able to suss out this one from the next one. The top 5 books are the ones I’ve loved the most recently. I just finished Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir…great book, second in a series, but I think the second book was better than the first, and I loved the first one (Gideon the Ninth). But you’ll have to like some sci fi/fantasy to read it.

So probably, this being a quilty blog challenge, we should talk about quilt books. Probably most people would talk about how-to books or pattern books, but I’m of the opinion, being an art quilter, that you should peruse quilt art and fiber art books, or even just plain old ART books. Tickle the mind with inspiration and ideas and signs of others’ creativity. Book catalogs of the big artsy quilt shows, like Quilt National and Visions…I read those like novels, staring at the photos, reading the statements.

Compilations of many quilts, especially when they expand on the artist technique or intention…

You know, I love picture books.

I don’t want to know how to make that quilt. I’m fascinated with the why and the thinking behind it.

They don’t all have to be quilts to be inspirational…branch out.

I sold most of my quilt how-to books and pattern books years ago. I kept a few, Baltimore Album stuff, some historical ones, some embroidery how-to books, but mostly I have art books now. And I thoroughly enjoy them. Over and over again.

I should be doing schoolwork right now, but I did a lot of that today. Grades are due on Tuesday, though, plus I need to put together posts for next week for all three subjects/levels, plus finish grading all the panicked late work kids are doing, and do some weird engagement thing that I still don’t understand. So it makes sense that my brain is completely shut down at the moment, talking itself in circles actually, trying to decide whether hopefully cautious makes more sense than cautiously hopeful. Fuck me.

I ironed the sky last night. I made a run of 17 sky fabrics.

I pick out my favorites and then try to make them all work together, and in the end, they mostly do. I had a quilt drawing pop into my head just now when I was thinking about this run of 17 fabrics. And it was all about the sky. In a week, well plus a day, I’ll have time to draw it.

Sky pieces ready for ironing…

Fun stuff.

It’s only 10:30 and I’m exhausted. I’ve been exhausted for weeks.

Hi Nova. You are a sweet slightly cross-eyed cat.

I feel like I’m going cross-eyed with tiredness. I’ll go to bed a little early tonight. I still want to iron tonight, and I’ll have to work my butt off tomorrow getting stuff done (what’s new?). But I need a break from school and Zoom. I need a moment with my fabric, y’all.

Turkeys…

Day 9…of the blog challenge. Day 271 of COVID shutdown then not shutdown then shutdown again. I heard someone (an ER nurse who deals with COVID patients) that if the shutdown is significantly affecting you, then you were doing everything wrong going into it. It’s true that it doesn’t affect me much. I’d like to be able to go to the gym, but Zoom Pilates with dog and cat assistance will do. We were occasionally eating outside at restaurants. I could do that at home too, although I might need some type of heater at some point. Otherwise, not much has changed.

Day 9 of the blog challenge is supposed to be my favorite tip. I’m a smartass and keep coming up with punny ways to answer that, some appropriate and some not. Well. Some would say I’m never appropriate, what with the body-part quilts and all, slinging the F-bomb like I just don’t care (I don’t. Although I know when NOT to use it…and often use it in my HEAD instead of out loud.). So my favorite tip about quilting? So many of those. Always close your rotary cutter before you put it down so you don’t have blood all over your quilt. That’s from my first quilt teacher. Never forgotten that one. You know, it’s funny…an hour or two ago, when I was dealing with hour IDK-how-many of being on Zoom, I had about 15 ideas for favorite tips, and now, that’s the only one I can think of. Ironic, that, because I hardly ever use the rotary cutter. Hardly ever cut straight lines. Only when I’m cutting binding and sleeves and straightening up the edges. Every other ‘tip’ I have is to keep trying, keep doing it, keep messing with it until it works. Persevere. And that tip works for a shitload of things…COVID shutdowns, distance learning (for kids OR teachers), making art, getting a good night’s sleep, staying healthy, exercising…

Persevere. Hard word to spell, y’all, and I’m generally a good speller.

I have seven days of school until Winter Break. I’m not sleeping enough or well. I’m buried by work. I often think that if I stopped grading or contacting the parents of kids who don’t show up or don’t do anything or who turn everything in blank, then I would have less work to do. You know? And then the teacher brain kicks in and tells me how that isn’t gonna roll. And tries to find something I can simplify or ignore or do more efficiently so that I don’t go insane with the workload.

Working on the next Applique Story block. Another woman. Made her head smaller than the last two…

Barely started. But definitely going to happen.

Also, these are all the fabrics I used to make a Great Horned owl that is maybe 4″ tall.

Sometimes I go a bit overboard. But I did finally manage to iron down all the foreground, plus the tree and its bits…so now I really AM ready for sky. I know I keep saying that, but now I am. I’m in the 600s, with some of them taken up by that owl, so I think I might be halfway? If not, I’m close. It’s about time. An hour or so a night is all I’ve had, and some nights, not even that. Honestly, it’s less about my making time and more about my head not being in the right place. I keep thinking everything is going to be OK, the world will continue to spin on its axis, the birds will keep flying, and then not so much. More exercise, more art, more sleep, more…? More hope, but even that is a cautious and dangerous thing. You hope that everything will be OK, will work out, and you take the risk that it will go wrong again and then that place that makes hope gets a little more damaged.

Ah life. You are such a dick.

Here’s where we’re at before the sky.

Tea last night. Some nights, it’s apple cider. Some nights, chai latte. Some nights, it’s wine. One glass. More than that would be a mistake on a school night.

Two of my quilts are at the Sparks Gallery in downtown San Diego through February.

They are open, allowing a limited number of people in at a time. This is an Allied Craftsmen exhibit.

This is after school, before the union meeting. Cat took over my chair.

It’s OK…I needed to stand for a while.

Puppy love.

He looks like such an old man when he sleeps. I think he’s 5 now, so not really old.

OK. I’m a moody bastard tonight, but you got your tip. Oh, I’ve got another one, but it’s not quilt-related. Today is the first day for the rest of your life. Except it’s 10 PM, so there isn’t much left of it (that last part is mine, the first is one of the things my dad always said when we were growing up…followed by Don’t let the turkeys get you down.). Fucking turkeys.