Author Archives: julieneu

Rise Up

I’ve completed the fourth in my accidental series of protest quilts.  This one is called “Rise Up” and it features a crazy pieced, then appliqued and stuffed, symbol representing woman.”

art quilt of pink crazy pieced woman symbol on white background

What it Means to Me:

One of the most heartening events since the election was the Women’s Marches that occurred all over the United States and all over the world the day after the Presidential Inauguration. Women, men, and children left the comfort of their homes and rose up. They marched, they protested, and they made clear that joking about sexual assault would not be tolerated, that denying women access to health care would not be tolerated, that rolling back women’s hard-fought human rights would not be tolerated. They showed with their feet and with their voices that they were ready to fight. There is great power that comes from women rising up together and that gives me hope.

The woman symbol in this piece is created from a crazy patchwork of pink fabrics to represent that diversity of women who have come together. The symbol is stuffed to represent the act of rising up.  Quilting lines radiate from the symbol to represent the impact that comes from action when we rise up together as women and as a nation.

On the Auction Block – Quilted Tea Cozy

Tea cozies frustrate me. Most require tying little strings or lifting the cozy off every time you pour so I designed a new one. No little strings, no need to pull it off,  just Velcro® once and pour.

The cozy is lined with batting and quilted to keep your tea warm with sewn-on Velcro® tabs that close snugly over a standard 6-cup tea pot. (Tea pot not included).

Start Your Bidding!

handmade quilted tea cozy with velcro closures

I am running auctions that start each Monday morning. If you’d like an email reminder when the auctions begin, sign up here.

On the Auction Block – Rainbow Strips

As you read in my post on Thursday, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about art and commodity exchange and have decided to try an experiment. If my art is a gift and not a commodity, then I can’t put a price on it. So, I’m going to post one piece of art a week for a 72-hour auction on eBay. We’ll see what happens. Each piece goes on the block Monday at 9 AM ET. If you’d like a reminder email, you can sign up here.

The first piece, “Rainbow Strips” is up for auction now.

 

Creative Play Newsletter, (Vol. 1:Issue 10) – The Gift

I had an essay already written and all typed up for this month’s newsletter when I began reading The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde. (Thank you, Carol, for the introduction to this book.) Reading it has been so transformative that I felt like I needed to shelve my plans for this month and write about it. I have been really struggling lately with my plans of making a living as an artist and the reality of doing so. This book has helped me to understand why this has been such a struggle.

Hyde describes two different economies: the commodity economy and the gift economy. In the first part of the book, he delves into anthropology and history to describe the development of both. But, my basic take-away from the first part was this:  I have participated in a commodity economy for more than 25 years. From my first minimum wage job at 14, through salaried work and now highly-paid but still hourly consulting work, I have been able to directly equate one hour of work with a certain amount of pay. Art doesn’t work this way. An artist participates in a gift economy in which she or he receives a gift of artistic talent or inspiration and then creates a gift by making the art. The artist gives the gift to the world and is compensated indirectly through another gift. It’s a circle that continues but one in which there is no way to directly correlate hours worked with a ROI. To say that this is a foreign concept to me is a complete understatement and I’ve realized I have to completely shift my thinking about what it means to work and about compensation. I have no idea yet how to do that, but it does help explain why this hasn’t been working.

Spring Fling

Most of the quilts I work on are complicated and intricate; I like a good challenge.  But, this past weekend I went away for my guild’s Spring Fling, 3 days of basically non-stop sewing near Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.  For that kind of event, I leave the complicated projects behind and focus on fun, easy, colorful projects.  Here’s what came out of the weekend:

Doesn’t get more colorful than this, does it?

The second project was a fusible kit by McKenna Ryan (Block 5 from “In Full Bloom).  These kits are great for retreats because it’s just tracing, cutting, and fusing with very little thought involved.

Coming Out of Hibernation

The fourth quilt in my Arabesques series has been sleeping the winter away in a heap on my work table. (I last posted about finishing the top in June!) I’d done some basic quilting over the summer (?) in the fall (?)  but put it away after that. I knew that it needed more quilting, but I just had no idea what so it sat. . .and sat…and sat until yesterday. I can’t explain why yesterday was the day when inspiration finally struck, but it did. I drafted up two quilting designs, found that I even have the thread I need (It’s a miracle!), and am ready to get started quilting over the weekend. Here’s one of the designs:

Iznik tile quilting design for Arabesque quilt

I know that sometimes quilts need a little time. I wouldn’t have thought it needed all of the fall and winter, but it did. I also can’t explain why yesterday was the day the quilt finally decided it was ready to be finished, but the months of hibernation did give me some experience working with more complicated quilting designs and led me to the books where the design inspiration came from. I guess sometimes a little hibernation is just what it takes.

Painting Project

Last year, among many other things, I decided that I would take on the project of “finishing” the rooms in the house we moved into two years ago. The plan was to tackle the list of “need a piece of art here, need to reupholster a chair here, this room needs painting, etc.) and knocking them out one room at a time until each was done.  How’d that go?  Well, I fell off that wagon at some point during the year. But, I hopped back on this week and tackled the basement. It was just painted white before and though we had some things on the wall, I still had other stuff to hang.  Now, it’s painted a cinematic charcoal gray (“Stormy Skies” to be exact) and is worthy of being called a “Media Room.”

Media room with charcoal gray walls, movie posters