Sunday, August 26, 2012

The other thing I do

Some of you I know think that because I'm retired that I sew nonstop. In my fantasy life, that's what I do. But in my real life I juggle several things along with my sewing - my parents' financial and medical affairs, my Chicago Modern Quilt Guild involvement, attention to physical matters, a lackluster attempt at cooking and laundry (John really does it all). Last February when my guild became involved with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, the door opened for a volunteering opportunity. Fellow guild member Eileen (yes, she who made my Modern Art Quilt Challenge and she whose AAQI art quilt I bought) are scanning the Priority Quilts that are donated to AAQI. Those scans are then uploaded to the AAQI website, and we ship the scanned quilts to Ami Simms in Flint, MI, where she and her volunteer staff there auction and sell them.
I'm proud to be a part of this grass-roots initiative that has raised over $700,000. Like so many others who see the toll Alzheimer's takes on an individual and the family, I know there must be research. To think that these little quilts - no bigger than 9" x 12" - have collectively raised so much money is truly remarkable. Even though I've only been involved with this project for two months, I think it's growing in geometric proportions. It's a privilege to touch the quilts of so many who have all been impacted by Alzheimer's. And I know from personal experience that making quilts like these is an emotional expression that provides some catharsis.

Here's tomorrow's work lined up on the studio stairs. Quilts from Washington and from New Hampshire. From Texas to Minnesota. I may not be sewing as much, but in some ways that's ok.  To be selective about what quilting projects I work on is a good thing. 

Next up? A quilt for Brandon - he just got a new big bed.  And on the subject of grandchildren, John and I went to Brookfield Zoo today because granddaughter Natalie (yes, the one who helped me reoganize my fabrics in July) was a part of the Dolphin Show!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Modern Art Challenge from Eileen

Isn't this beautiful?  It's 9.5" by 19", and I must find the perfect place in my house to hang this.  What I gave Eileen was a postcard of VanGogh who was imitating an Asian artist (see picture at the end of this post).  And this is what she created.  Can you see the piecing detail in the back at the top and bottom?  I love how she isolated some of Kanji elemnts.  What I love about the original work is its lines and color.  And did Eileen ever capture both of those!

Not only am I thrilled with what I received at the Modern Art Challenge swap at yesterday's Chicago Modern Quilt Guild
meeting, so was every other recipient.  In fact, it was a huge love fest!  It was obvious how each quilter gave full thought to the development and execution of these fabulous quilted works of art.  Some of us were literal - some of us were abstract.  All I know is that with each piece presented, my jaw dropped. 

I think this might have been the most fun I have ever had at a guild meeting.  We must do this again!  And again!

This image is a scanned one and shows off the detail and fabrics better.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cutting Mat Bag

Just when you think you have it all, you see something you NEED. Guildster Melissa came over for a playday and brought in her own cutting mat in a fabulous bag she made. And she had loaned me the magazine in which she found the pattern (Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts, Summer 2008). This bag carries an 18" x 24" cutting mat and requires a bit of yardage. So I hit my pile of Too Ugly/Old to Live fabrics and found a vintage Jinny Beyer border print and coordinating fabric. Then I began to tailor the bag to what I know I need by changing the orientation to portrait rather than landscape, enlarging the outer pockets so that the big one can hold a book, and adding an inner pockets with the center one being open so that it can stabilize the 6.5" by 24" ruler.

Cutting mats are hard to transport, just because of their size. And I have broken two rulers. Going to sew-ins, retreats, and workshops has just become a lot easier with this ready-to-go bag in which all items are secure. One of the interior pockets has my spare rotary cutter and even an extra blade. The last adaptation I made to this bag was to use Soft and Stable for the tote straps.  This batting provides a nice stability that a bag of this size needs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's a Tote AND a Duffel!

This little tote bag is pretty sturdy. It could carry at least 10 quilting books comfortably. Instead of being quilted and lined with batting, both the outer and inner bag have interfacing fused to them. So the bag is foldable but strong.On the left side of the bag, you can see the strap for the duffel bag conversion.
Here is the bag now turned into the duffel. Notice the pocket on the right is now horizontal. The lining matches the pocket.
Both the bag and the fabrics are from Jinny Beyer
Of course I have to make another one and have hit my batik stash. The construction of this bag is pretty simple. The zipper goes into the sides, and then the raw edges are seamed together. Once the four corners are boxed and the duffel strap sewn in, it's complete. Pretty nifty! Do you think this qualifies as transformational quilting?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Modern Art Challenge

My piece for Terri Karls is finished. The interior monologues I have with her while doing this have ranged from frustration to gratitude. This exercise was truly a fun one and worth the emotional turmoil to be stretched outside of my safe zone. Terri's chosen artist is Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000), an Austrian who eventually moved to New Zealand. From the Eycyclopedia Britannica: He incorporated bright, contrasting colours, elaborate ornamentation, asymmetrical, organic forms, and natural vegetation in both his artwork and his buildings." This piece is 19" x 19" and part of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's Modern Art Challenge, Summer 2012. Ok, going back into my safe zone now!
 Here's the picture Terri gave me - the quality is not terrific (my fault).  Just ramp up all the colors, and you have a pretty good picture for your mind!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Antithesis of a personal philosophy

Less is more. That's my philosophy. Simplify when possible. With art, help the eye figure out what it's seeing. The piece of art by Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000) which I received for the Modern Art Challenge does not represent Less is More. It clearly screams, "More is More. My piece is now constructed. And it's time for quilting - no easy task when one is trying to channel her inner "More is More". Despite frustrations with this piece and not liking how this is turning out because of not responding to the original piece, what a fun challenge this is. I love the mental and artistic stretching. Face it: if you always do what you've always done, then you always get what you already have.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wanting to be at the End Point

See the picture in the middle?  That's my starting point for the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's Modern Art Challenge.  Kind of a wild picture, eh?  After days of studying the picture and studying the fabrics, I decided that I would take themes from this picture, put them into "Attic Windows" of varying sizes, and be pretty happy about it.  Until...  AAQI partner Eileen asked, "Did you google the artist?"  Uh, no...   Then I showed this picture to QFF Wayne who said,  "Hundertwasser?  We just saw some of his stuff in Vienna.  Lots of spirals, uneven lines.  He is to Vienna what Gaudi is to Barcelona." 

So there went to attic windows idea.  Here's what I have so far.  And this is no where near the final stage.  But a beginning?  and a middle?  Progress - of a sort.

 To be continued...and fretted over...