This is a very easy but completed quilt made for my cousin Kathleen who just retired. These are her favorite colors and mine too, so it was a little hard to let it go. But it's done and it lives in Illinois now.
I worried about Kathleen in retirement since she doesn't have hobbies like I do. She visited over the weekend though and I think she is doing better than I am with the adjustment. My new job has been to rehab my hand and arm and Kathleen got to go to Ireland. Lucky woman! She wisely told me not to worry if nothing gets done in any given day. She says we're retired, we don't have to be accountable to anyone. I have not been able to sew or paint for several days and I feel like I've been AWOL. I've been busy with family and an upcoming visit with my daughter tomorrow. Family first! (I guess a sketchbook can go along.) I'm retired and not accountable to anyone but my hands are itching to dig into some projects! I am accountable to myself after all!
These mixed media pieces were an experiments that were successful I think. I use layers of fabric and paint together with the poly clay sign. I'm thinking of transferring this idea to a canvas. My biggest problem is how to hang quilts at art shows or places to sell. Most places want a wire attached. Switching to canvas would solve this problem but then it wouldn't be a quilt anymore...
Anyway, this pieces were made during my healing from a fractured elbow and shattered wrist. I am trying my best to be positive and grateful for the mobility I've regained even though I am realizing I will never be quite the same. My hand feels like the tendons are stretched too tight and recovery has been expensive and painful. But, the numbness in my fingers has disappeared and I can play the piano, use a needle and hold a paintbrush, along with many other things we take for granted. So----Love Wins! and Onward!
I now call myself an artist and maker. Disclaimer: This label does not mean that I support myself with my art or quilts. Nor does being an artist mean to me that the art one makes is good. Being an artist to me means trying to make images with meaning, and if I'm lucky, to others as well. I have sold a few pieces. That always makes me feel validated, but I'm not making a lot of money and that's ok. I just want to make meaning.
During my teaching career there was a lot of emphasis on perception. Perception is everything I was told. I tried my best to present my best to the public and to the kids I taught. I could relate to the trials of some the most challenging home lives of my students. But I never understood why. It wasn't until I started asking questions from older family members that I learned the truth. My Dad was emotionally and physically abusive to my older brothers. I was in kindergarten when the youngest brother married and left home. I had no idea. I had a completely different experience growing up. But yes, Dad could be scary.
My Dad died when I as ten years old. Soon after my Mom and I moved away from the country to a different school. I was bullied a bit. We didn't have that label then. I just shrugged it off and did my best to work on my music and from time to time some art scribbles. I did have friends so none of it was very traumatic. But I always felt I was holding back information. I had a very serious interior life but never shared this side. Like most kids, I just wanted to fit in.
As a young adult with this background, choosing a spouse can be problematic. Fast forward 17 years after finding things weren't working, we split up. I wish I had understood that my early home life had started seeping through that marriage. I didn't understand those early experiences until two years ago. (I'm 58)
It's a good idea to work with a good therapist. While facing the truth is tough. Hiding your life experiences is not good for anybody. I even developed asthma and throat symptoms that I associate with not telling the whole truth. Ignorance is not bliss.
Brene Brown has written a good book about vulnerability. I'm doing my best through my art and quilts to speak the truth and be vulnerable. The quilt at the top of this post has symbols in Morse Code. It spells "Love Transforms." I know this is true.
This is a sample of new work that I am excited about. I am using fabric as the underpainting, then a layer of paint, then, fabric collage, more paint, thread painting, thread sketching and polymer clay. Yes in other words, mixed-media. I am happy to work this way now. I have also solved the problem of how to depict people by using photos in the collage process. (I don't have a sample picture today but will next time.) I have a new phone with photo capabilities that I can email and so on. Finally I belong to the 21st Century. :-)
I love this new process. I can change things as I go. Nothing is set in stone until the sewing stages. Oh happy day!
I first became interesting in "making" about the same time I was due to have my first child. Really bad timing in a way. Everyone knows that children take precedence over almost everything, especially as babies. But I had taken my first quilting class and I was hooked. Unfortunately I was not very successful with several of my beginning attempts. The teacher had taught basics choosing seven sisters as one of the first blocks! We were also piecing by hand and oh what a mess that was! I can laugh now that I am teaching the Hunter's Star . However I have Deb Tucker's ruler for accuracy. What a difference! I have come to enjoy making quilts of all kinds however, I eventually felt the need to try other things
Fast forward 15 years and I was making quilts yet not feeling the same satisfaction. I tried rug hooking, weaving, and embroidery, painting, polymer clay, and free-motion machine embroidery. I have pretty much dropped the rug hooking and am considering trading those supplies with someone for a piece of art. The weaving stuff, I'll hang on to. I just have a table loom and it doesn't take up much real estate. I have started to put together the others into mixed media art quilts.
After all of these experiences the painting bug is a strong pull. I am putting paint on my mixed media quilts now, but several years ago I was brave enough to take a painting class in a college setting. I LOVED it but eventually missed sewing. The painting above was done after the painting class. As fun as it is, I just didn't continue to paint in that fashion. Instead, I've been trying to integrate both painting and sewing.
This is one of my pieces that I feel was successful. It's called "Beginning Band" These are the instruments that I taught 5th and 6th graders during my music teaching career.