The creative and spiritual journey of a (textile) recycler. . .

I have thought about starting a blog for a long time now. I just couldn’t seem to get started. I thought. . what would I say, what would I do and really . . . . . who would care.

Last year I had the great fortune to witness a ‘happening’. As a spouse at a reunion (I know, groan) I was both an observer and participant. This reunion was attended by some of the most creative and talented people on the face of the planet. Really, no exaggeration! But many were holding onto life long insecurities. They didn’t think they were talented enough and embarrassed to perform in front of each other for fear of . . who knows . . . finger pointing, whispers, laughter, ridicule of some sort for sure. Once it was revealed that many shared the same feelings, the healing began. And I was the lucky one. I got to witness it all and benefit as well.

So, the message is that we all think we are not good enough compared to someone else, but we are. Don’t let your fears and insecurities stop you. We can’t measure our own success by someone else’s talents.

This revelation and the kindness / support of strangers has propelled my creative journey to a place I had given up ever getting to. Tho I thought my creative juices were dried up forever, they have merely been reawakened. Many thanks to all involved in my process, including in-part . . Victoria B, Mrs. W., Charles Mc., Claudia H, Mary B, Cindy G, Sandy B, Traci B., Kat C, and my IAA family. So, thank you. I dedicate this blog to all of you!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Twelve by Twelve Art Quilts

Image my surprise! Quilters are making small quilts and writing books about it too! I've been making quilts that size for years now! Sometime last year I learned that a group of quilters got together and focused their attention on making 12 x 12 art quilts. Then a book had been published to chronicle their journey and show some how-tos! Nice. I got there by crazy evolution. I wonder how it happened for them.

Decades ago I started making bed quilts, just like the rest of us. I finished a bunch and gave them away. As I continued making the tops I ended up with tons of tops, but no bottoms. They never seemed to get finished. Why? I don't or didn't know at the time. I guess it was too overwhelming. And let's face it, unless you can dedicate time on a regular basis, it's going to take forever. At least in my world. Oh, yah, did I mention that every inch, every stitch was done by hand. So you see the problem.

I left quilt making for a few decades. Not enough quick gratification. And, when I went outside the box and made up my own patterns and used crazy wild color combinations, well, people looked ascance at me. Back then it mattered. Tho I did press on, I didn't show anyone what I was doing. Then eventually stopped altogether. When I started again, the thought of bed quilts made me want to gag. I knew deep down they'd never get done but again, pressed forward. I was drawn to work with fabric, so there I was again right back in it. And of course, my 'stash' and unfinished quilts moved with me everytime I moved. It all just seemed to stare at me and draw me closer like the devil beckoning.

Itching to start up again, I thought, well lap quilts may have a better shot at finding homes and less likely to be stashed with the larger unfinished tops. So, I began making tons of lap quilts. . . tops that is. Why didn't they get finished. Well, I had trouble getting them under the harp of the machine and all hand sewing was now off the table. Age was creeping up on me and eyesight and time was becoming a factor. So it was sewing machine only and the opening of my machine was just too small. Geez, now what do I do. I'll keep making tops till I figure it out.

Well the answer finally came to me. . and in my usual fashion . . . by accident. I began making smalllish practice pieces late at night when I couldn't sleep. I found that the size was so much easier and it was becoming a pleasure to do it. So I began officially making 12 x 12 inch quilts. They actually got done. .  every single time! I began to really enjoy the process from start to finish. Prior to that I liked the piecing and design that went into creating the top, but shuttered at the thought of actually quilting it. 

So 12 x 12 inches was perfect. I guess the ladies from the "Twelve by Twelve, The International Art Quilt Challenge" thought so too. If you make small art quilts or want to get started, you must get this book.   

* * *

Twelve by Twelve examines the two-year-long international collaboration between twelve art quilters, during which they created a total of 144 quilts based on twelve different themes. Not only does the book showcase the quilts themselves--a feature quilt from each theme receives an in-depth chapter, written by one of the quilters--it also examines the dynamics of developing a vibrant online community of artists. The result is a very personal and unique blend of technique-based text and discussions on challenge, collaboration, and inspiration.
For more inspiration, check out their blog:

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