Summer Plans

Summer is Here!Summer is here and I have started making my summer plans. My plans don’t really include champagne on the dock, though maybe they should. Instead, I am planning:

  1. Auction Hiatus  – My eBay auctions haven’t been as successful as I had hoped so I’m putting that experiment on hold. I’m going to rethink how I’m selling my quilts and come up with something different to do in the fall.
  2. New Projects – I am wrapping up a commission and am soon going to be finished with my large Victims Quilt project so I’m turning to new things. But, it’s also summer and after a winter spent on some political works, I’m in the mood for something light. Stay tuned for more on that this week.
  3. New Focus – I’m doing some planning for a series of Creative Play workshops. More on that to come too.

 

Creative Play Date Week – Day 5

We have reached the end of Creative Play Date Week. I’ve probably rambled on about it before, but you may wonder why I think play is so important. I think that as we get older (particularly appropriate that I am typing this on my birthday), the process of “growing up” causes us to take on a lot of baggage from society, parents, teachers, etc. and we get too far away from our innate state of curiosity, of questioning, of experimentation. To create art that really comes from our souls, from the core of who we are, we have to get back to curious, questioning, experimenting beings we were as kids and the way to do that is to play again like kids.

For me, I have to go pretty far back because I stopped playing before I was anywhere near the end of childhood. To make it happen, I have to schedule it and set aside the time, but once I am playing, I can rekindle that spirit of childhood and reconnect with my authentic self.  It is when I am playing that ideas for work flow out of me and I get excited about creating. It is when I am playing that I begin to create art that I know comes from deep within my soul, work that is truly and uniquely my own. It is through play that the serious work of being an artist begins.

Today, I made dots.  A friend and I have experimented with Creative Play exercises of painted dots. She made some great ones on fabric and turned them into journal covers. I loved what she did so I made some dots of my own on fabric today:

Creative Play Date Week – Day 4

I think that the Universe is contriving to make my Creative Play Date Week both as challenging as possible and as rewarding as possible.  It’s challenging because my life this week has been busy. By early afternoon Wednesday, I’d already worked as many consulting hours as I normally do in a week. Plus, I had more family obligations than normal, including an overnight trip to the other end of the state and back. Finding the time for Creative Play this week has been a real challenge and I think that I am supposed to have the experience of having to make the time when life is as busy as it gets.

Maybe because the rest of my life is so busy, I am finding the Creative Play time to be so rewarding. Today, I completely lost myself in painting. I wasn’t using any special materials, just my daughter’s nearly-dried poster paints and cheap brush, but I was getting such pleasure from the process of painting that I lost all track of time. And that does more for my blood pressure than 20 minutes of meditation.

Here’s today’s project. I took the page layout from the June 15, 2017 front page of The New York Times and painted blocks of color. Could be a quilt, don’t you think?

Creative Play Date Week – Day 3

Today’s Creative Play was quick, so quick that I decided to do some doodling after I finished my project for the day and doodled a design that would look nice on a quilt.

For my project today, I pulled out the deck of Creative Strength Training Prompt Cards I just bought from Jane Dunnewold and pulled a card. The action was to use an emotion as inspiration. I have paintings hanging on my studio wall for “love” and “grief” so I chose “anger,” which was why the painting came so fast. Anger was easy for me to tap into this week and the image I wanted to paint came pretty quickly to mind. As you can see, slashing paint onto paper didn’t take that long either. I am happy to report that it was therapeutic.

Ju

Creative Play Date Week – Day 2

You read about the day I had on Monday so it won’t surprise you that Tuesday morning I was a little tired sitting down for Creative Play. I didn’t create any masterpieces on Tuesday either, but that’s not really the point.

One of my experiments for this week is to see if 15 minutes of Creative Play at the beginning of studio time can replace Morning Pages as a way to get in the zone. I find my Morning Pages generally involve 3 pages of me whining and complaining and while I think that the premise that I am getting all of that out of my head makes logical sense, in practice, it means that I start my day off discouraged. During Tuesday’s Creative Play, I realized that there really wasn’t a lot going on in my head or if there was, I wasn’t paying any attention to it. So, I guess that’s a good thing. There’s no question that starting my day off with something creative, rather than checking my email or something like that, gets my day off right.

What I did on Tuesday was look through a magazine for a phrase or colors that spoke to me. I found this page that I had already torn out of an Architectural Digest article about Josef Frank. (Home magazines are such a great place for color inspiration.)

Architectural Digest, 2017

And, here’s what I did. This went right into the recycle bin after posting, but like Monday’s coloring book work, it gave me 15 minutes of peace and that’s what really matters.

 

Creative Play Date Week – Day 1

Day 1 of Creative Play Date Week was an exercise in finding the time and a good reminder of the benefits of just 15 minutes of play.

Monday was busy, really busy. We got our kid off to her first day of camp and then I commuted into Boston for a full day in the office. I raced home, picked my daughter up, did more work while boiling pasta for dinner, got my kid in the tub and ready for bed, then did two more hours of work before I finally crawled in bed myself.  Reading that, you may wonder when I did my Creative Play or if I decided that I was just too busy and bailed on it.  I seriously considered it. It’s always really easy for me to justify not allowing time for my creativity because I have work to do and the dangerous thing about that is that there is ALWAYS work to do.

But, you may remember me saying that if you have a kid like mine who takes a while to get ready for bed, you can squeeze in 15 minutes there. That’s exactly what I did. I got her in the tub (She is old enough to not drown so I can leave her alone in the bathroom, though I did come back to shut off the water before she started a flood.), then I went into my studio to find something to play with for 15 minutes. I didn’t create amazing art, but I did sit down for 20 minutes of coloring in a coloring book. I know, hardly stretching my creativity, but it calmed my mind for a few minutes, revived me a bit because I was making myself a priority and even 20 minutes of that was invaluable on a frustrating day of doing things for other people. I know that I will have many more days like that so I think that I will leave the coloring book out and keep the markers handy.

Here’s what I did in 20 minutes. It’s from “Big Blossoms Coloring Collection” by Angela Van Dam.

On the Auction Block – “Hello, Sunshine” art quilt

This small art quilt (approx. 10″ “square”) can be hung or used as a candle mat or under a vase.  Yellow sunshine and rainbow border are machine stitched with cotton thread to a black cotton fabric background.

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

Start Your Bidding!

Creative Play Date Week

I’ve talked a lot about 15 minutes of play time each day. I even wrote about it in my last newsletter, which was when I realized that I am not practicing what I preach. I’ve been spending a few hours working in my studio each day, but playing? Nope, I’ve just been hard at work on my projects. I’ve decided that I need to do something about that  so I am designating the week of June 19th, Creative Play Date WEEK. I’m going to do my 15 minutes of play every day. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you join me, I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

#APQResolution – French Doors

I feel like I’m finishing up a school year and getting ready for summer because I have been finishing stuff up like crazy. Last week, I finished quilting “Rajah Quilt Revisited” which was a 2016 Block of the Month that I started in January.  This week, I finished a quilt that had been in the UFO pile for a decade. Yes, you read that right. I pieced these tops in October of 2007. (I think. It could have been ’06 or maybe ’08.) I made them to be a Halloween costume for my DH and me. We each pinned a panel to our shirts, wore berets and threw drapery fabric toga-style over our shoulders and went as a pair of french doors. (Yes, it took some explaining.) After Halloween, I stuffed them in my drawer with the intent to quilt them one day.

One day arrived in April, which was the month when these were supposed to be finished for the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge. I pulled them out, started quilting the first one and then moved on to the other. It was at that point that I realized one was shorter than the other. (The one I started quilting, of course.)  My DH is a foot taller than I am so I made my panel shorter, but in the decade that they sat in my drawer, I totally forgot that detail. So I pulled out stitches, added more fabric and started quilting again. Of course, as you’ll see in the photo, I still mis-measured. But, they are done, not perfect and after a decade, having them hanging is worth an extra half inch of fabric!

wall quilt with photos of Paris and white sashing

French Doors, 2017.

On the Auction Block – Urban Baby Quilt

Not all parents want pastel baby quilts, which is why I made this one. I’ts a simple, modern style quilt in earth tone browns and spring greens with straight line quilting and a striped binding. All cotton materials and machine washable.

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

Start Your Bidding!

baby quilt, brown and spring green stripes