It was a lot easier to make the first week’s scrap quilt in a week since I already had most of the blocks made. (I sew squares together to be leaders and enders when chain piecing and after a while, I get a few blocks made that way.) Week Two’s top took a little longer so I’m thinking the Week 3 project (that I have not yet started and it’s already Thursday) will be something quicker.
Anyway, here’s the final product for Week 2. The blocks were made Log Cabin style by starting with a 4 1/2″ white square, adding a red strip to one side, adding a red strip to an adjacent side, adding an orange strip to the first side again, etc. Just a word of warning, count your strips when you finish the block. I went to sew a block in and wondered why it didn’t fit and only then did I realize it was missing a yellow row.
I didn’t quite get this one done within the week, but it’s close. My 5 year old is very much into rainbows right now so that’s the inspiration for this top and she’s a fan of this one. “I love your new quilt,” she said the other night as it started to come together on the design wall.
This issue marks the one year anniversary of this newsletter. When I created my communication plan, I was going to use the issue to reflect on the past year and to try and pull together a summary. Instead, I find myself looking forward in this moment and not backward. I have decided recently to develop Creative Play™ into something more than this newsletter and I am excited to tell you about those plans.
I am developing Creative Play™ into a full program of creativity talks, courses, and workshops. I’m sending out proposals for Creative Play™ workshops at conferences, developing class plans for 6-8 week live classes and am about to test run a month-long online workshop. I believe that playing in a variety of art media is the best way to become fearlessly creative again and I’m going to be spending my time sharing that message.
One of the first things I am launching is a “30 Days of Creative Play™” online course. Each day for 30 days (plus one intro day), I will send an exercise for play. Each exercise is meant to be short – 15 to 30 minutes, and will involve a variety of different media. You’ll have an assignment so you won’t have to face a blank page but the only goal will be to play without the pressure to produce something useful. There’s no prep required; the prep work is built into the exercises so you can get started right away. Creative play is a great way to loosen up before you start your studio practice. It is a great way to kickstart your creativity if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut. Creative play is also a wonderful way to find a little joy if you’ve been feeling like something’s missing in your life, but you’re not quite sure what. Be a kid again for 15 minutes a day, every day for a month and reconnect with that joy and creativity you felt so effortlessly when you were young.
If you’re interested in participating in my free trial run of “30 Days of Creative Play™,” you’ll find an exercise each day on the Creative Play Date Facebook page starting tomorrow (July 14th). If you would like to receive each exercise in your email box, email me at julie(at)julieneu.com and I will put you on the mailing list.
Summer of Scraps has begun! I was pushing a little on Sunday to get this one done by the end of the week, but voila! one scrap quilt done. There’s a larger blue version of this on my guest bed upstairs. To make these, I sew blocks of 2″ squares (2 1/2″ cut), put them up on the design wall and then figure out a dominant color. Apparently, I’ve used a lot of red lately because that was the color that jumped out at me this time and thus was the color I chose for the sashing.
So far, I am really enjoying having a new creative challenge. I’ve already got three more possible quilts in mind just because my wheels have been turning on scraps. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
My scrap basket runneth over and you know what that means? It’s time to make some scrap quilts! Earlier in the week, I told you I was planning something light for summer. Well, this is it, the Summer of Scraps! I’m going to focus on easy sewing this summer and make some scrap quilts. I am challenging myself to make one top a week in July and August. (Yes, it’s probably going to be lap quilt sized.) I’m also challenging myself to do something different each week. And, I would love to have your help. Share photos of scrap quilts you’ve made using the hashtag #summerofscraps or email me a photo that you give me permission to post). If you share a photo, I will enter your name into a drawing at the end of the summer. The winner will be able to choose the scrap top that she or he wants and I’ll put it in the mail to you. (The rest most likely become UFOs for next year’s American Patchwork & Quilting challenge.)
If you don’t have a photo but still want to join in, I’d also love your comments here on the blog or on the Facebook page. Let me know what you think of the scrap tops, offer suggestions of things to try, share your stories about scraps or scrap quilts and I will enter your name into a drawing too. Winners of the comment drawing will get a scrap bag. If I don’t have any scraps left at the end of the summer (wouldn’t that be nice?), then I’ll make some new ones to send you.
Who’s in for a summer of scraps?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- New Focus – I’m doing some planning for a series of Creative Play workshops. More on that to come too.
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:
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?
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.
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.