Friday, December 11, 2020

I Thought It Was Only Two Weeks...

 But aaack!  It's been almost a month since my last post!  

How'd that happen?

Actually, I know how.  I've been caught up in a market, a coupla mysteries and Xmas making, that's how!

First, about the Market: the Second (Annual?) Lacombe Under $100 Art Market was to be in person in a huge ballroom space in downtown Lacombe, with all the art and fine craft put out on display in advance -- no booths.  It was to be held over November 26 and 27, from late afternoon into the evening on the Thursday and from 10 a.m. to late afternoon on the Friday.  Strict traffic control.  Masks mandatory. Entrance at one end; exit at the other.  Hand sanitizer everywhere.

And on November 24th the province's COVID report was abysmal, and stricter health measures came into force.  So...the market was cancelled.  Cue the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  

And then...Lacombe Regional Tourism came to the rescue!  On Dec. 1 we got word we could join the Town of Bentley's Online Christmas Market and Craft Sale...and so several of us did.

"Mug Shots I"

I filled out my online application, attached photos of seven small artworks, and e-mailed it off.  Then I posted the link to the market (which didn't have our contributions yet) on my FB pages -- and was promptly contacted by a friend in Calgary.  She was interested in one of the pieces. Details please!  

"Mug Shots I" was one of four in a series -- all of which I'd listed in my application for the Market.

Here's where it got a bit tricky.  The deal with the Market was that it was a local event, so the pieces had to be picked up or delivered within a week of purchase -- and mailing/shipping was not on.

Meanwhile, my friend had expressed an interest in the other 3 pieces and yes, please, she wanted all four of them!

Well!  I dashed off an e-mail to the coordinator, pulled the 4 pieces from my submission, sent an invoice and was paid by e-transfer, then boxed them up and sent them off to Calgary.   It happened so fast it's a wonder my head isn't still spinning!

Meanwhile, the other three pieces are still available in the online Market...till December 19, when it closes.  I'd post the link, but most of you, Gentle Readers, don't live within driving!

Also meanwhile, Bonnie Hunter's 2020 Mystery has begun -- on the day after U.S. Thanksgiving, per usual.  This year it's entitled "Grassy Creek" and is inspired by the landscape around Bonnie's cabin and retreat house in Virginia.  (Full info HERE.)  

I decided it would be a good opportunity to use up some of my recent "inheritance" and if all goes well, I'll give the resulting quilt to the daughter of my benefactor, as she doesn't quilt or knit or any of that sort of thing.  I've decided, too, to make it about 2/3 the estimated finished size, so I can manage to quilt it myself.

That said, I haven't yet finished the 2019 Mystery, "Frolic!"  I'm at the stage of assembly, and have the first half put together now.  In order to ensure I get t the second half assembled correctly, I've actually laid the components on top of  those in the first half, and so far it's working well.  I've got the "kitty corner" blocks plus the next row of three all together with sashing; I've assembled the next row of five, and laid them out, ready to join up with those.  Onward!

First half of "Frolic!" laid out with the corner against the wall.

To ensure I don't get too far behind on "Grassy Creek", I've been constructing the units required as "leaders and enders" to the "Frolic!" project.  So far I've finished Clue 1 (except for trimming) and I've completed three sets of units for Clue 2.  Clue 3 came out today, so I'd best get a bit of a move on!

Clue 1 units all in a row!

Clue 2 units under construction

I have a terrible habit of reversing things, meaning that I can often assemble the sections of these sorts of units backwards, so they don't match up when I come to put the entire unit together.  The only remedy is to take my time and to put a pin in the side of the section down which I'm going to sew.  Saves me a lot of 'reverse sewing'!

Concurrently, I've managed to finish all but one of my hand-made Christmas gifts now -- and that last one requires only a dozen rounds of knitting, before it's washed, blocked and wrapped.  All the ones for out of town have been mailed!

The last of the knits was a pair of  "reading mitts" for my nephew's lady-love.  It's the first time I've made something for her, and I've never met her, so I can only hope she likes them:

Pattern: Susie Roger's Reading Mitts 
Designer (you guessed it!): Susie Rogers
Yarn: KnitPicks "City Tweed DK" from my stash
Colour-way: "Romance" -- fitting, don't you think? 😉

I made them a bit longer than the pattern called for, so they're really more like "reading gauntlets".  I think that adds an extra measure of elegance to them, don't you?

This week I took "Man Cave" to the framer.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo taken once it was finished -- after all the ##@@!!** outlining was done.  I guess I was just eager to get it out of the house!   I should have it back next week, and will try to remember to photograph it, framed and in its glory!

All that finishing has given me time not only to work on the mysteries but also to play with art work.
December 3-5 I "went" to Houston -- to the Virtual Internatonal Quilt Festival!  I don't think I'll ever go to the in person version of this huge event -- too big, too many people! -- but to do so online, well!  I checked out the instructors and speakers and found that for less than $100 CAD I could enjoy several -- taught by stars in the art quilting world and elsewhere, and so I did.

I signed up for a short class with Katie Pasquini Masopust, a lecture from Cindy Grisdela and one from Susie Monday, and the Mixed Media Forum with several surface design practitioners -- and enjoyed the Friday evening 'keynote' from my friend, Jenny Lyon.  

Katie PM's topic was "Composition with Line", and included a bit of colour theory as well.  Now, I've studied both of these things before -- more than once -- but she was using them as a way to "jump-start your creativity".  When you're stuck, just start playing.  While she spoke she worked on samples using 12" square backgrounds that she'd constructed in log-cabin formation -- in monochromatic colours. She showed a horizontal orientation of lines, a vanishing perspective, radiating lines and spirals.  She illustrated a symmetrical and an asymmetrical orientation -- all this in 90 minutes, with questions.

In advance I found a pdf handout was provided and thought I actually needed to prepare.  I found out later that that wasn't really necessary, but by then I'd cut 4 twelve-inch square pieces of muslin, and applied fusible web to several shades of two complementary colours: yellow and purple.  So...while she talked I started cutting strips and laying them out in a horizontal orientation.  By the end of her talk, I realized I didn't like it much, and added vertical strips to make a grid (one of the compositions not really referenced in the talk but on the hand-out).  After the session ended, I put it up on the design wall and decided it needed something more.  I found a lovely piece of fabric -- mainly purple -- that I'd purchased some years ago, just as inspiration.  I put one on top of the other and there they sit for now:

Playing with Katie PM

My thought: to quilt the small piece and the background separately, and apply one to the other, and prepare for hanging.

Cindy Grisdela is another artist I've never met, but I "know" her online from SAQA; we're colleagues and acquaintances on Facebook.  In my never-ending quest to "loosen up" enough to move more into abstraction, her work is a shining light. She had no hand-out for her 50-minute lecture, but I took notes and these are the things that struck a chord with me (some of which you and I have heard before from her and from others, but which bear repeating):
  • Ask "what if?"
  • Use multiples of three;
  • Use coping strips (I have);
  • Slice if needed;
  • Be willing to give [a piece] time;
  • Listen to your instincts.
Thanks, Cindy.  😊

The two-hour "Mixed Media Forum" on the Friday was jam-packed and moved along quickly.  There were topics I noted but for which I have very little interest (using shibori when ice/snow dyeing; soy wax batik -- or any kind of batik; I'll buy mine already done, thanks!; playing with Tyvek and/or Angelina fibre; monoprinting with stamps and stencils).  That said, I learned a tidbit from pretty much every speaker.

The one of the five whose work really intrigued me was Esterita Austin and her work with paint and layers of sheers -- mainly organza.  I'm not a talented painter, but I think I could cotton on to this looser, freer style that's a bit like the water-colour technique I learned years ago from my friend and former teacher, Sharon Lynn Williams of Calgary, Alberta (some of you NetFlix fans might know of her son, actor Evan Williams...who has a romantic Xmas movie out just now... 😉).  I think I'm going to play with Esterita's technique for a very impressionistic sort of way...

The last session I took was with Susie Monday, a long-time artist with whom I've only recently become acquainted through SAQA.  On the Saturday, she gave a lecture on "The Sensory Alphabet" -- taken from her work with Susan Marcus and Dr. Cynthia Herbert in the book, The Missing Alphabet: A Parent's Guide to Raising Creative Kids.  Alas, this came too late for me...but my DH and I had two very creative kids -- now 40 and 35 respectively. I've shared and written about my daughter's work as a photographer, how she shares her work with me for textile art pieces I've made inspired by her photos.  My son is an actor, a comedian, a self-taught musician and a video-game programmer/designer.

Me?  The one with the powerful left brain, who has a science degree (in nursing), and worked for decades in the business of number-crunching, credit/collections and financial planning?  Late to the party, I continue to explore the other side of me...the more free-form, creative side.  

Susie gave me (us) some things to think about, questions to ask ourselves:
  • What do you notice when you walk into a room (enter a space in nature)?
  • What do yTou remember from childhood -- favourite activities?
  • What sparked your impulse to create?
  • You feed your imagination with observation; take time to sit/imagine/dream/hope.
  • Pay attention!
  • Honour both the process and the product.
She walked us throught that 'sensory alphabet'.  She asked us to play, to explore various media*.  A process, she said, is "a particular way of thinking" that "turns imagination into creation".  Oh...there is much to mine from that rich vein.  Thank you, Susie!

And so...I continue to explore and play.  I've been constructing "Fence? What Fence?" and have discovered that four rows of five blocks isn't quite right:

So there will be a fifth row and...perhaps...something else to take it from "somewhat utilitarian" to "art".  Stay tuned...

In addition, tomorrow morning (10 a.m. Mountain Time) I'm "going to" another Quilt Freedom Workshop, (online) entitled "Motifs in Motion"with the wonderful Joe Cunningham -- the seventh in his series.  Yesterday, I was delighted to catch -- quite by surprise -- his live stream 'trunk show' and interview through Handi-quilter (he uses one of their machines in his work), but tomorrow (Dec. 12), he'll be in his own studio.  Joe takes his inspiration from vintage/antique quilts, and puts his own spin on them, which completely enthralls me.

And goes.  Making, giving, learning.  Hoping that in that giving there is comfort. And hope.  And maybe joy.

Blessings to you all for the week ahead, Gentle Readers.  

Especially right now, blessings to those who are celebrating Hanukkah...and those who observe Advent, waiting for the Incarnation.  My husband was Jewish, as is most of his family.  We celebrated both holidays...because Jesus, being a Jew (not a Christian) did so too.  

Back in the day, it was called "The Feast of the Dedication" or the "Feast of the Macabees" -- referring to the dedication of the new temple, restoring the one reconsecrated in 165 B.C. by Judas Maccabeus, after it had been desecrated by Antiochus and his followers in 168 B.C.  

My creche at the lighting of the first candle last night,
 celebrated by Mary, Joseph and a shepherd, 
all of whom -- to my knowledge -- were Jews who so observed that Feast,
 which we now call Hanukkah...
even as there were other mysteries about to happen...

I leave you with a link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday and wish you a quiet, safe, healthy, creative, loving weekend. 

May the Light bring you Life and Joy in these challenging times!

*Note: The singular is "medium"; the plural is "media".  "Mediums" is not a word. 😉


Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Margaret, I also attended some of the same courses as you in the Virtual Quilt show. I really like your purple and yellow mini. I haven't had a chance to watch that particular workshop but it's part of my weekend plans. I really like the Sashiko workshop and made quite a few samples. I also watched those mixed media sessions and will have to go back to write up some notes. Thanks for sharing. Take care.

elle said...

Wow! You have been busy! Seems we all have altered plans this month but you are filling your time profitably. I like that- Mug Shots!!!