September 29, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Thanks to Cindy of Live a Colorful Life, it's now my turn on the Around the World Blog Hop.
Cindy and I will be roomies at QuiltCon and I'm looking forward to meeting her in person for the first time after spending the last couple of years getting to know her as part of the Mid Century Modern quilt bee. I'm ever so grateful that she invited me to be a part of the MCM bee because I have gotten to know so many wonderful quilters not to mention make some great blocks.

What am I working on?
Seems like an easy enough question doesn't it? Yet I find it hard to put into words since I'm working on lots of ideas and designs with little to show for it in terms of sewing. My studio cabinet doors are covered with sketches as I contemplate which quilt(s) I can get done in time to enter in the QuiltCon show. I was lucky enough to have two quilts in the 2013 QuiltCon show (you can see them here) but I didn't get go. This time I am going (yea!!!) and would really like to enter something. The deadline looms so I need to make progress from sketches to real sewing very very soon. Are you going to QuiltCon? Do you plan to enter a quilt?


How does my work differ from others?
The main thing I bring to my work is my sense of design. I almost always make a quilt from my own original idea and believe they have a strong graphic quality to them even when they are block based. As a matter of fact, I love designing a block and then exploring all the possibilities for how it can be used. Another aspect of my style is color which is usually bright and saturated. The final thing I might mention is my love of large scale prints . . . especially from the Kaffe Fassett collective. I love the color and the riot of activity a large scale print offers. Many of my more graphic concepts are well suited for solid fabrics and I do love the look of an all solid quilts. But once I've worked with solids for awhile, I'm drawn right back in and need a strong fix of prints to feed my addiction. One last thing about my style is an interest in sometimes using traditional prints like batiks and florals in more modern, unusual ways. I've got to find some way to use up my older stash.

Here's a glimpse at some of my work both old and new.

All solids make for great bold, graphic compositions.



All prints make for a riot of visual activity. This is where I'm most at home. And the second quilt shows the variety within a single pattern design which is another thing I love about designing. Same design, same arrangement, just a different fabric application.



Here are some traditional fabrics used in a bold new ways. 





Why do I create?
It's who I am at my very core . . . a designer first and foremost. I have a graphic design degree and over the years felt drawn toward quilting which provided the opportunity to combine color with printed pattern to create designs in fabric. My husband and I recently went to Taos, NM to visit the galleries and get a little art fix. During one conversation I commented on how I love to photograph nature and yet those photos don't necessarily translate directly into my quilting. In other words, I don't make art quilts from my photos. But nature is very inspiring to me so I found myself wondering why it doesn't make a more direct correlation to my quilt designs? Later in the trip I finally made the connection  . . . it's a matter of composition and it does impact my quilting. I'm always composing when I take pictures. I love the details, the line and shape, the color of what I see. I do the same thing when I design a quilt. I play with a composition using line, shape, pattern and color. Sometimes that inspiration might come from my photos other times another source like fine art. I guess that makes me a composer which is certainly ironic because I know nothing about music.

Here's one such composition from our trip . . . do you know anyone who photographs a garden hose?


How does my creative process work?
You could sum up my process this way.

  • I play. I play on the computer way too much designing and manipulating to see all that's possible. This exploration is also part of what I include in my patterns because I really want you to explore the options that a given design might hold. I also play with fabrics to see how they speak to me. I'm trying to spend more time with the fabrics and less time on the computer but it's hard. Guess I'm addicted to both. The computer is my sketchbook and I could seriously play all day.
  • I consume a healthy dose of dark chocolate on hand at all times.
  • I consult with my colleagues.


This is me playing with fabrics . . . this concept will hopefully become a new pattern next year.



This is me playing with the design possibilities of an idea on the computer.





These are my design colleagues. I am fortunate to have several . . . 




Sometimes one of them has a strong opinion . . . 


Other times they just don't pay attention . . . 


But I can always count on these artistic consultants and am grateful for their input and support . . . 


I hope you've enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. It's been fun thinking about these questions and has given me a chance to reflect on what I do and why I love it.


To continue the fun of going Around the World, I'm nominating Stephanie of Venus de Hilo. Stephanie was one of my earliest followers and blogs from the lovely Hawaiian tropics. We share a love of color and Kaffe Fassett. In her bio she says; "I like intense prints (the kind with 18 different color dots on the selvedge), bright colors, bold design, and in-your-face color and pattern combinations. I get a kick out of exploring new possibilities with traditional blocks and methods, combining them with current fabrics and bold colors in unexpected ways."  I couldn't have said it better myself. Can't wait to meet Stephanie for real at QuiltCon.

I am also nominating someone very very close to home, my daughter Emily of Emily Claire Studio who just started blogging this year about her jewelry and living the creative life. I'm hoping she can spread the blogging fun into another creative area beyond quilting.

Emily and Stephanie will be posting next Monday, October 6. I hope you'll visit their blogs and keep the journey Around the World alive. And thanks again Cindy for inviting me on this blog hop.

If you've read this far, thanks. I know you've probably already read plenty of these posts and no doubt may have participated in it yourself. I don't know the background of this hop other than it's been going on for awhile. It's a really fun way to share a little about yourself plus meet and get to know more about other like minded bloggers . . . so enjoy the journey.


September 26, 2014

Emily Claire Studio

Just popping in to let you know my lovely daughter has another local jewelry show this weekend.
The Firefly Handmade Market is Sat Sept 27 from 10 - 5:00 and Sun Sept 28 from 11- 4:00 at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall in Boulder. Her booth will be on the west side of the street in front of the Apple store. They have a little write up about her on their blog . . . see the Sept 16th post.



I know I've said it before, but I'm so proud of her for pursuing her dreams of designing jewelry. It's not an easy life to be an artist but she is making inroads on lots of levels. Two shops now carry her work. The Artisan Center on 3rd Ave in Cherry Creek, CO and Aspen & Evergreen on Elkhorn Ave. in Estes Park, CO. Plus she has several more markets lined up for the rest of the year. Go Emily!




Of course for those of you not local, you can always see her latest work on her website
Emily Claire Studio and her Etsy shop. She would also like to invite you to follow her blog.
Just visit her blog and click on the Bloglovin button. You can also follow via email if you prefer.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and don't forget to stop by the Firefly Handmade Market.

September 23, 2014

Taos

This past week my husband and I got away for a little relaxation and inspiration. Of course quilts were involved just a little . . .    : )


We went to Taos NM. Years ago we used to visit 2 or 3 times a year when my husband's folks lived there but haven't been back since they left about 18 years ago. Taos hasn't changed much . . . still dusty, arty, very low key. . . just more traffic and more stop lights. Our main goal was to see as many galleries as we could for a some fine art inspiration. Seeing all the great landscape paintings makes both of us want to pick up a brush and start painting. I have an art background but painting is not my main area of expertise. I'm more the designer than the fine artist.

We also spent more time exploring little side streets and just driving around. Something we didn't get to do as much of when we had toddlers in tow. One thing that struck me this time was all the gates. Most homes are surrounded by a wall of some type and the streets are more like one lane alleys so everyone has a gate. They are so charming and expressive I couldn't resist taking several gate photos.


This was one of the first gates we came across and such a perfect spot to photograph my Square Dance quilt. Just what I had in mind. I brought a couple of other quilts along too, but never quite found the right spot with the right lighting at the right time.  Oh well . . . another trip. We definitely won't wait so long to go back next time.


Taos and the southwest also have an abundance of old churches.  The first church in my mosaic is San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos which was started in 1772 and finished in 1815. Artists like Georgia O'Keeffe and photographers like Ansel Adams found inspiration in this church and it's bulbous adobe buttresses. The second structure is the mission church on the reservation where Justin taught school many years ago.


In addition to Taos, we also visited the Jicarilla Apache reservation in Dulce NM to attend their annual fall harvest festival called Go-Jii-Ya. We got to see their traditional relay foot race between the two clans and then watched a powwow with traditional dancing and music. The drums are especially powerful heard in person and the dancing was fun to see. Many years ago Justin volunteered at the local mission church where he taught school, drove the bus and did just about anything else they needed. He has many fond memories of his time there including attending Go-Jii-Ya and took along a few photos of some of his former students in hopes of finding one or two. After showing the photos around to a few people, he was able to locate one of the students and talk with her. Wish I had pictures to share but photography is not allowed by outsiders.

Taos and northern New Mexico are beautiful and magical in their own special ways. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. Just be forewarned that the Chimisa blooms in the fall and both of us were extremely allergic to it. It's all those yellow plants in the photo below and believe me . . . it grows everywhere. We spent most afternoons sneezing.


In parting, here is the house my in-laws used to live in. We sure miss going their to visit them.


Hope you enjoyed my travelogue. I'm busy making a baby quilt this week and must decide on my block for the guild bee and my online bee. I'm queen bee for October.




September 13, 2014

Addicted

Hi, my name is Anne and I'm a quiltaholic . . . and a fabricholic . . . with a heavy dose of computer addiction thrown in for balance. Ha!

This past week, my daughter and I were both going to go computer free for most of each day in an attempt to get more done. Once a day email check for business purposes only. What was I thinking?


I really do need to go computer free for most of each day so I can actually get more sewing done.
But . . .  this week I had quilt instructions and illustrations to write up for a magazine deadline so I couldn't go without the computer. Honest. It's done and sent off so that excuse is off the list now.

Tomorrow my husband and I are leaving for a few days away. We haven't been to Taos since his folks moved away about 18 years ago so we're heading back to see the art and soak up a little southwest attitude. We both really need a break from the day to day routine. Sadly vacations are not a regular part of our lives so this trip for just the two of us will be wonderful.

Here I sit however, getting quilts ready to take along for photo ops and wondering if I could design in the car on my computer. Seriously. I need to rebalance my life.

I will take a sketchbook instead of the computer to record a jolt of inspiration here and there. A camera to record even more inspiration. And a head full of ideas. I will enjoy the time with the hubby. Time to talk about our individual art aspirations and where the next year might take us with the right plans and commitment.

Hopefully next week I'll have a couple of good photos to post of quilts in Taos. I'm sure I'll have plenty of other inspiring images to share as well. Maybe even a leaf photo or two if you know my other addiction . . .   : )

I did manage to play with some of these fabrics during the week. Nothing definite yet but I'm liking the possibilities.





Hope you played a little too.



September 5, 2014

Wildlife Alert

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with quilting but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway. Nature is always inspiring to me even if my quilts don't directly reflect it, so today I just wanted to share some nature photography in the form of wildlife sightings with you.

To start off, I must say this is not what we normally see in the backyard in the morning . . .


Yes, I know cows aren't wildlife, but when we found thirty plus cows grazing in the open space and four of them right behind our fence yesterday, it was kind of wild and crazy. Turns out the gate to the field was left open and they just found the grass a little greener on our side of the fence. Wish they could have stayed and eaten even more of the weeds.

The last few nights, we've also awoken to the sound of climbing on the tree just a few feet from our bedroom window. Peering out the window with a flashlight I came face to face with a raccoon looking back at me. She went on up the tree and then another . . . and another . . . and another. Mama coon and her three young ones all scampering up the tree. And each taking a turn to stop and look at me. They seem to be coming and going most nights shortly after we go to bed. Its not the first time we've had a family come round and they are so cute when they are little. Much better than the skunks that also like to wander across the deck at times. I could do without them.

Three Raccoons in a Tree by garyjwood - flickr

In addition to the raccoons, skunks and an occasional deer, it's also very common to hear coyotes during the night. They roam the field hunting and when they all start howling in the middle of the night it's pretty unnerving. We sometimes see them trotting along the trail behind the house but thankfully they haven't come up too close. Some neighborhoods have trouble with coyotes and small pets.

There is also a domestic bunny gone rogue roaming the neighborhood. His name is Mustache and he escaped from a backyard across the street. They tried to catch him a few times and then gave up and now refer to him as a "free range" bunny. I think several people along the street are looking out for him with water and food. And for the first time we have several wild bunnies roaming around too. The little ones are so cute and tiny but destructive to the gardens and flower beds.


Of course we have lots of birds and it's always fun to watch the babies being fed. One year we had robins, bluejays and Downey Woodpeckers all nesting within a very small proximity to each other. This year there's been mostly baby bluejays and robins. A sweet little hummingbird has also been visiting the flowers on our deck from time to time. I feel tired watching how fast her wings go.




We usually have lots of squirrels too which are fun to watch but hard on the landscape and our cushions and umbrella. These pics are from a few years ago when we had three babies in the yard in the early fall-winter. We made a ledge right outside the kitchen window to feed and watch them. Our kitty Shadow found them quite entertaining even if she couldn't quite figure out how to get at them.





But probably the most fun wildlife sightings I've had over the summer have been the frogs. Yes, I said frogs. Every morning my daughter and I go walking and often take a loop around the city park near our house. The little pond there is THICK with American Bullfrogs. We have been able to see all stages of frog development over the summer. Early on there were lots and lots of tiny tiny tadpoles. Now the pond is full of froglets. Many with tails still fully visible. At one point earlier there were several males making their deep croaking calls. We even saw a couple of them wrestling. They looked like little Sumo wrestlers . . . chest to chest up out of the water trying to push each other over. Too bad I didn't have the camera with me. We recently got a new camera with a great zoom and I went a little overboard taking frog photos, so I'll end my wildlife post with a few froggie pics. Enjoy.




  





I'll be back soon with a more quilty post. Thanks for stopping by.






August 29, 2014

Fabric Play

The end of summer . . . I used to think that by the time my kids were done with school the end of summer wouldn't be so full of angst. You know the feeling. How can it be over already? What about all those summer plans? Even with grown kids I still feel the same way. How can it be over? I had lots of plans and ideas and didn't get half of them done. All the more reason to refocus and get busy.

Entry deadlines are coming up for QuiltCon and since I'm actually going this time I thought it would be fun to enter a couple of quilts. Now to get them done. The main problem is making up my mind which ideas to pursue. Never a shortage of ideas in my studio.  : )  Just an inability to narrow down the choices and get started. Here's a glimpse of the fabrics I've pulled and played with this week.





I did cut and sew several HSTs for an idea I've had for ages. It's so nice seeing it begin to take shape for real. This is just a peek.


I guess it's rather obvious I love cool colors. What are you playing with this week?