Too serious

Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.  Einstein

This is so true but honestly I have gotten too serious in the last couple of posts. Thus I will say I met with a close group of friends last weekend for what we call crafty days. Two were working on traditional “saine”quilts, two including myself working on crazy quilts and the last working on Zentangles. 

We are a diverse group but know each other well enough to enjoy our sameness along with our differences. I have to say we talk about anything and everything. A lot of this time is shared in laughter too. Just what the doctor ordered to dust out the seriousness of life. 

I took an idea from a book that was shared from one of my cohorts to embroider a spider web that was further embellished with a vine and leaves. It is not an exact copy from the book, it is my interpretation of that idea. This is what I believe Enstien meant, that my creativity is seeing what everyone else sees but then thinking or showing what no one else has seen. 

I do believe this is natural to me but honestly most quilters do the same. In fact one of my buddies makes it a joke that she can’t seem to follow the rules in a pattern for a quilt. Yet her interpretation of that pattern is fabulous! 

Here is the crazy quilt block I worked on with the web and vine on the right. I do love how this color range is working with the center picture. I also wanted to share this mostly naked block and will share updates as I work on this block. 


“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”
Mary Lou Cook

When I saw this on another blog I wondered if this could be applied to life in general. How do we find a new way of doing something? Do we try new methods, read different books, take a different drive back home?

A good proof reader reads a page from the bottom paragraph up. This is simply because it forces the brain to see each paragraph separate from the whole so that the errors are easy to pick out.

This different way, different path forces your mind to see things that your mind has glossed over. I do this with my art by turning the picture upside down. The brain forces the viewer to see things that it did not before. So the glaring color red that is somehow bothering me as “wrong” can be changed with a splash of blue. Experimentation is the lifeblood of creativity. Yet prior experience also comes into play. Do I always need to make that purple? Is it okay to always use bright colors?

I know that risk taking and mistakes in art are a way to find new paths but I also want others to see my vision. To recognize my style, my brand. This is an on going issue with all artists. To keep your work “yours” but also make it fresh and new. A kind of push and pull challenge that keeps me going.

My usual pallet is bright and bold but as you can see from this crazy quilt block I do use subtle colors. I titled the completed quilt French Curves to go with the dusty rose and gray French Provincial color theme. These colors were challenging but also exciting, adding a change of pace but also breaking my own rules. The curves are from the sweeping movement of the pieces placed around the center photo.

Now compare it to this bold and bright block I did to represent the month of July last year. There are some of the same ideas of using color on top of each other. Using the bright blue ribbon on the left on top of the blue background. The blue stitches seem to shimmer on top of the background. Yet there is some of the same subtle use of color with the orange ribbon on the right that then reaches on top of the blue for contrast. As I write this I see that there is a continuous style, the use of light and color along with movement.

These are some of the things that run around inside my head as I am creating. I wonder do you have this too?

Winds they are a blowing

Spring has come to my neck of the woods with trees flowering and a strong gusty wind today. Makes me think of sweeping out the cobwebs lurking in the corners of my mind.  

Sweeping thoughts of new projects, new fabrics, new methods to use in my art. I am always looking for ways to express my art to others. Maybe the explorer in my soul, thanks dad. Yet I also wonder if always looking for something new is good. I want someone to look at my art and recognize it as mine.  However there is an excitement of trying something new that can recharge my creativity.  Even if I don’t use that new technique it recharges me, blows out the cobwebs and gets me going again. 

I joined some friends a couple of weeks ago to learn how to do Shibori dying of silk. This is a Japanese manual resist dyeing method that produces patterns on fabric usually by folding the fabric like an accordian. We tied the fabric to a tube, wrapped it with string, pushed it up the tube to make the folds, continuing until it was all wrapped. 

My silk was already dyed so I dipped my tube in a bleach like solution then went to town with a range of dyes on the now white areas. This was then sprayed with vinegar, heated in the microwave to set the colors and allowed to drip dry. Lastly it was pressed flat on a very high setting, pressing out all the pleats. Here is the finished project.   

I enjoyed learning this method but totally appreciate those that do this full time. 

Seeing the fruits of labor

I attended the opening of the show I am part of last night with awe and pride. The depth of work, the quality, the variety of artistic expression inspired me to no ends. It also confirmed the quality of my work is hitting the mark.  Seeing the fruits of my labor, of meeting that goal of quality fills my artistic soul. 

It feels like the brightness of a beautiful sunrise. I know that this is just the beginning. There will be days of solitude creating the next piece, that there will be days of thunderous rejection but today it is bright and sunny. 

It is all the more encouraging that the plan I had of creating art daily after retirement last year is coming to fruition. I believe that as I move forward in this path I am growing closer to my true calling in life. I have known since childhood that I was meant to create art. 

Family and other life responsibilities came into play before I could create art full time. I don’t regret these responsibilities. I had time to seek out styles and methods to express my true artist soul. It gave me time to practice that expression, to reach that level of craftsmanship that I expect of myself. 

So here I am in front of my art hanging in the show, Art at the Center.  It is at the Tomahawk Ridge Community center in Overkand Park, Ks. The show will be up from April 1 through June 12. 


If you are in the area come by and check it out along with the rest of the fabulous art in this show.