A Case for Buying Things You Have No Plans for at the Time

Have you ever purchased something for a future art/crafting project and you had absolutely no idea of what you were going to do with it at the time you purchased it?

It was just something you just knew you needed to have in your collection?

If you are an artist, crafter, quilter or any type of creative person, I am guessing the answer is “Yes” (at least for 95% of you – perhaps 5% of you only buy things for planned projects…)!

In previous posts I have shared My Minimalism Journey and my ongoing mission to curate my life. This curation involved not buying things I do not have a purpose for at the time. A recent experience is making me rethink some of the rules I have placed upon myself as I tried to embrace minimalism.

The perfect thing I needed for a recent craft project I purchased 16 – 17 years ago when I had not yet embraced minimalism and if I liked it, I bought it!

Cannon Beach Oregon

In the early 2000s, when Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I lived in Seattle, WA, we discovered the beautiful Oregon coast. We had no idea that someday we would be living in Oregon, but we knew the coast was beautiful and wanted to see the whole thing.

It took three vacation trips (the Oregon coast is long and there is much to see).  The first one focused on the northern Oregon coast (starting at the Washington State coast board); the second on the central Oregon coast; and the third was to see the southern Oregon coast (to the Northern California coast border).

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Image credit: Oregon Coast postcard

There are many beautiful places along the Oregon coast. I have so many wonderful memories from those Oregon coast road trips which we made with our two miniature schnauzer at the time – Fritz & Snickers:

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Fritz and Snickers on the Oregon Coast, 2000

Of all the Oregon coastal towns we visited, Cannon Beach, Oregon captured our hearts the most and remains our favorite place on the Oregon coast.

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Image credit: www.cannonbeachyogafestival.com

Cannon Beach has a charming downtown (we love to stroll it with the miniature schnauzers in their backpacks) with many quaint shops.

My favorite shop is of course the Center Diamond Fabrics Quilt Shop in Cannon Beach.

Our first trip to Cannon Beach was in 2000 and I was a new very new quilter. During my first visit to the amazing Center Diamond Fabrics quilt shop I purchased a Cannon Beach panel that I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 17 years later I figured out what to do with it – make a wallhanging for a friend of mine who loves Cannon Beach as much as I do!

By the way, my Central Oregon blogging buddy, Anna of the Woolie Mammoth blog, posted a recent video on her Quilt Roadies YouTube channel about this awesome quilt shop if you would like to get a first hand peek inside this shop:

The Wallhanging

Here is how I used the panel, 16 – 17 years later, I made a small quilted wall hanging for my friend Nancy who loves Cannon Beach. I used a folded log cabin technique to make the wallhanging, sewing folded strips of fabric in colors coordinating with the center panel.

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Cannon Beach wallhanging with a painted center panel featuring Haystack Rock

My friend Nancy likes blues and green so I tried to include as much blue and green as I could in the piece. Put a hanging sleeve on back for a hanging rod.

She received it yesterday in the mail as a surprise and she is quite pleased with her gift! She plans to use a piece of beach driftwood to hang it it on.

I am so thankful I was not a minimalist 16 – 17 years ago when I bought it and put it away with no clue on what I was going to make with it!


Postscript

I am very excited. I am treating myself to something special sometime after the holidays. I have ordered a custom tierneycreates CrawCrafts Beastie from my Ireland based blogging buddy Helen of CrawCraft Beasties: Adventurous Little Monsters Born in the Heart of Dublin City.

She knits these amazing creatures with adorable hand knitted sweaters and other paraphernalia. You should check out her blog and read some of her charming posts about the monster’s adventures or follow her on Instagram @crawcraftbeasties and see the sweet images of her creations and their adventures!

I cannot wait for my tierneycreates Beastie! I left it up to her to design what she thought a tierneycreates little knitted monster would look like 🙂

Pajama Sale and Finished Pieces

Annual “Pajama Sale” at the Stitchin’ Post

Saturday November 11th was the annual PJ Sale at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon. Each year I attend with quilting friends and last year I started bring Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) to the sale (as a bonus he drives there in the cold, dark and sometimes snowy weather as the sale starts early).

Each of our wonderful quilt shops in Central Oregon has their own special focus when it comes to fabric collection.  The Stitchin’ Post has the best selection of unique art quilter focused fabrics in the region. It also carries fabrics that would appeal to traditional quilters.

During the Pajama Sale, if you get there before 8:30 am (doors open at 6:30 am) AND you are in your PJs, you get 35% off nearly everything in the store!

I did not buy that much – a couple books and notions. My favorite part of the PJ Sale is hanging out with fellow quilters all in our PJs wandering around a quilt shop and then going out to breakfast afterwards – in our PJs! It is like the morning after a huge sleepover, ha!

I figured no one wanted to be on my blog photographed in their PJs so the photos below give you a feel but do not have any faces:

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One lady had an over the top robe from the 1970s. I asked her if I could take a photo and suggested she turn around unless she wanted to have herself in her robe featured on my blog, ha!

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The photo does not quite capture the brightness of the 1970s robe – it was over the top and of course made of some type of synthetic material

We went to the Gallery Restaurant in Sisters for breakfast after an hour wandering around the sale. It very quite fun with a group of us gathered around a large table in a restaurant, all in our PJs (except for my friend’s 96 year old Dad who lives in town and another husband who joined us in their regular clothes).

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Breakfast after early morning quilt shop shopping! (This was actually TTQH’s breakfast as I only like my eggs scrambled)

One of my friends had a spectacular set of PJs with the words “Queen Bee” all over them:

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I wore my traditional schnauzer themed PJs (they are actually Scotties in gray and black and I pretend like the gray ones are schnauzers).

Finished Pieces

Cozy Cobblestones came back from the long-arm quilter, Cindy of inastitchquilting.com   and this weekend I added the binding.

It is now hung in the living room above the TV:

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Cindy did wonderful job quilting the piece and here are some photos of her beautiful work:

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Her quilting really compliments the blocks made from Northcott Fabrics’ Stonehenge line! I am so glad I met her through blogging!

This weekend I also finished one of the table runners I discussed in posts such as “What’s on the Design…Ironing Board?” and “Can We Talk About Table Runners?. Here it is freshly ironed after I quilted and put on the binding:

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It measures 16.5″ x 44″ which seems to fall into a fairly standard table runner length.

I’ve not decided if I am going to quilt the other four (4) table runner tops I made or stick them away for now (oh no they will become “UFOs”!!!). I do not think I will re-open the tierneycreates Etsy shop at this time. I’ve had some recent art quilting related exciting news, that I will share at a later date, that makes me want to focus on my efforts on building my art quilt portfolio rather than trying to make stuff to sell on an Etsy shop.

There are only so many hours in the day!


Postscript

In my previous post, A Good Mess, I shared some statistics from a recent national survey (The Quilting in America 2017 survey) on how much money the average quilter spends a year on quilting related supplies and activities. The two numbers were $442 and $500 per year depending on how “dedicated” the quilter is.

I really enjoyed the comments some of you made on these figures; and wanted to share how I nearly FAR EXCEEDED this number during the Stitchin’ Post’s Pajama Sale on Saturday!

There was glitch in their cash register and my total came to $730,000! The Stitchin’s Post staff behind the register, a couple other customers and I had a huge laugh over this! I asked if my purchase also came with a new luxury home, a car, and an outfitted sewing studio with a stocked fabric closet?

They re-rang my purchase and with my 35% off discount (we arrived at 6:50 am and I was in my PJs) my purchase came to $73 instead of $730,000.

 

A Good Mess

My studio/sewing area is currently very messy, but it is a “good mess”!

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Here is what I have going on in the room:

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In addition to the recently quilted quilt and the table runner, also adding to the clutter is an awesome Sari a friend of my just sent me. I just laundered it and it is on the floor awaiting pressing (as the ironing board is currently busy as are the other surfaces…but the floor is relatively clean…)

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She got it second hand for a very good deal and originally I was thinking about using it in a future recycled clothing art quilt. It is however a lot of nice fabric and it coordinates with colors in my living room, so I am mulling over the idea of making it a valance for my front window.

Well I better start working on my mess!


Postscript

Recently I received a complimentary download of the publication – AMERICAN QUILT RETAILER fall market 2017. (While running my tierneycreates Etsy shop I had a wholesale license and I was on the mailing list to receive these types of promotions.)

Inside the issue was an interesting profile (for quilt shop owners) on the results of The Quilting in America 2017 survey (pg 48).

Those of you who are quilters might find these excerpts from the article on this survey interesting:

  • “There are an estimated 7 to 10 million quilters in the U.S. The total number of households with a quilter is 6 to 8.3 million, and that each quilting household spends an average of $442 annually – that’s a 48% increase since 2014.”
  • “Within that total group of U.S. quilters are “Dedicated Quilters” who spend $500 or more a year on their art form and hobby.”
  • “The average Dedicated Quilter is female, 63 years old, down by a year in age since 2014, and has been quilting for 19 years. She is well educated (70% attended college), affluent (average household income of $95,900), and leans toward a preference of traditional quilting styles (85%) over modern (37%) and art (20%).”

Interesting! Any demographics sound familiar (especially the spending $500 or more per year on our art form…)?

The $8 Quilt

Perhaps I should not let you in on a little secret: Occasionally one of our beloved Central Oregon quilt shops has spectacular Scrap Bags for sale for $8. I promised a couple quilting friends I would not reveal which shop (so that everyone does not suddenly get in their car or jump on a plane to rush to Central Oregon to get some of our Scrap Bags!).

A couple weeks ago, while wandering about a certain Central Oregon quilt shop with quilting friends, I found this bag of scraps for sale:

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I have plenty of fabric scraps (most are from my own quilt making or were donated by friends) and normally I do not buy these bags – but it was one of those deals not to be passed up!

The bag was jammed packed with coordinated scraps, apparently from the same fabric line:

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Each scrap was folded/pressed in half. I was curious how wide and long the scraps would be once opened.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) helped me unfold, press and organize the coordinate scrap collection. Here are the photos of MY HAUL from the $8 scrap bag:

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TTQH was so patient as we sorted the scraps by color/pattern. They took up my entire cutting table and spilled onto my ironing board!

The average size scrap unfolded and pressed measured around 2.5″ x 5″:

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What to do with these scraps? (By the way: Does anyone know what fabric line for these scraps? I am guessing Cotton + Steel or Tula Pink)

Well on my Kindle is a copy of Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks:

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I flipped through this book to get a feel for the dimensions of the pieces requires to complete the blocks for this sampler and in general they were within the dimensions of the scraps from my $8 bag. I just need a coordinating fabric to fill in when large pieces are needed.

Well I pulled out yardage of “Saffron” Peppered Cotton from my stash that I think will coordinate well with the palette of the scraps:

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It could also serve as a very bold setting fabric for the blocks!

I have so many projects in queue, I am not ready to start this one (for example I still need to finish up my Farm Girl Vintage sampler!). So I sorted the scraps into color stacks and packaged up the scraps and put them away in my Project Queue!

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It may be difficult to gauge by the photos but I think there are enough scraps to become a full sampler quilt with the Saffron Peppered Cotton fabric added to the pile! So it would be an $8 quilt (okay I am stretching this idea as I also paid for the Peppered Cotton but just play along, okay?)

Where did these scraps come from? My best guesses are they are either leftovers from a sampler quilt created for the quilt shop; or from cutting kits for the shop. I do not care where they came from, I am just so grateful for them!

(And thanks in advance if any of you recognize the fabric line and can share with the rest of us!)


Postscript

Look at these adorable socks one of my Quilting Sisters gave me.

Hopefully the salty word in the socks does not offend anyone, if so then my sincere apologies.

Additional on “Additional Conversations”

Follow up to yesterday’s post, What’s on the Design Wall.

Better Photos

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) and I did an outside photo shoot with Additional Conversations, the improvisational art quilt from recycled materials I completed yesterday.

Here are some better photos of the piece (as opposed to those from yesterday where I squished myself to the hallway wall to take photos…):

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Now the quilt sit on the ironing board awaiting batting, backing, and quilting.

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The Recycled Materials

In case you are curious, here is a list of the recycled materials used in this piece:

  1. Denim duvet cover
  2. Old jeans
  3. Curtain (valence scarf)
  4. Tweed jumper
  5. Old sweat pants
  6. Corduroy Shirt
  7. Gold home decorating fabric scraps (given to me by an interior decorator from her sample collection)
  8. The world’s ugliest orange corduroy pants

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All these items were destined for the landfill but instead they became this quilt!


Postscript

Tomorrow is the last day of October (and Halloween) and the end my month long 4th blog anniversary celebration (see post Blog Anniversary Celebration & Giveaway).

To close out the 4th anniversary I am putting together a post called “Random Follow-ups“. I am going to randomly follow up on posts over the past four years that are hopefully deserving of follow up!

 

 

What’s on the Design Wall

This post is a continuation of my ongoing series “What’s on the Design Wall”, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

I spent this weekend working on a new improvisational art quilt made with recycle clothing and recycled home decor fabric – Additional Conversations.

On Instagram I shared a couple previews/peeks over the past week, like the example below:

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Well here are several initial images of the completed quilt top:

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Better photos to come – I was challenged with taking photos of my large design wall, at an angle, in our narrow hallway. Note: My enthusiasm to get the finally sewn together quilt top up on the design wall exceeded my enthusiasm to do a quality job of final pressing on the ironing board.

I am thinking of hand quilting this piece like I did The Recycled Road (made from many of the same fabrics).

Now what to do with the left over scraps from the piece – perhaps a smaller companion piece called “Additional Small Conversations“!

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Additional Conversations is the fourth piece in my series Recycled Denim Stories (see my Tierney Davis Hogan page on the Improvisational Textiles website).

 

Artists Statements, Part III (Telling Stories)

The Struggle to Make a “Statement”

In these two previous posts Artist Statements and Artist Statements, Part II, I shared my struggles with writing Artist Statements for a specific art quilt and the huge and intimidating challenge of writing an overall Artist Statement for my body of work as (a wannabe) an art quilter.

Here is an excerpt from the post Artist Statements, Part II, about my struggle:

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You can see above, underlined in red, my big concern: That I had not yet established what I felt was a solid and cohesive body of work. This is what I felt was keeping me from creating my overall/general Artist Statement.

A couple weeks ago I realized I now have a body of work in regards to art quilts (maybe it is imaginary but it seems like a body of work) – 16 “art quilts”. 15 of these art quilts are “improvisational” and one (1) is a combination of pictorial and improvisational. Now I had to determine what I am trying to “say” with my current body of work and where I want to go with it (i.e. make it COHESIVE).

Telling Stories

Above the front entrance to my beloved public library are quotes by authors and my favorite quote, by author Barry Lopez, is shown in the image below:

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It may be difficult to read from the photo, so here is the quote:

“The storyteller is the person who creates an atmosphere in which wisdom reveals itself” – Barry Lopez

I smile every time I visit the library and see that quote.

Thinking about that quote and where I want to go with my art quilting, I realized I want to be a storyteller.

So I’ve spent the past couple of weeks, as time allows, revisiting the Artist Statements on 15 of my 16 existing art quilts (1 of the quilts is part of an upcoming exhibit and the Artist Statement is already solid and cohesive with the them of the exhibit).

Out of this work (revisiting the specific Artist Statements for each piece), came a reorganization of my work into Six (6) Series of Stories:

  1. Color Stories
  2. Recycled Denim Stories
  3. Stories My Father Told Me
  4. Reinvented Stories
  5. Library Stories
  6. Other Stories

On the Tierney Davis Hogan page of the Improvisational Textiles website (the art quilting website I share with my friend Betty Anne Guadalupe) I’ve organized my art quilts into these six series and I provide an introductory paragraph/overview on each series.

Now that I organized my work into these series and decided where I want to go with my art quilting, I was able to finally write a general/overall Artist Statement.

My overall Artist Statement (which is also found on the Tierney Davis Hogan page) is:

“The storyteller is the person who creates an atmosphere in which wisdom reveals itself”, storyteller Barry Lopez noted.

My fiber/textile art is created with a single or ongoing story in mind. These stories originate from my life experiences, observations, struggles, dreams and hopes. The earth and its inhabitants are very precious to me and I want to do work that contributes to environmental conservation efforts. I primarily use recycled textiles in my art to include recycled clothing, textile manufacturing samples and scraps, and discards from others quilt-making. My focus on improvisational design: The fabric itself and creative inspiration guide me to allow the piece to evolve organically and become what it wants to become.

I am sure I will continue to refine this statement in the future, however I feel now like I have a map for the direction of where I want to go with my art quilting instead of just wandering aimlessly creating one new piece and wandering onto the next piece.

And Something Else

One more thing on Artist Statements – when you blog and post publicly, you never know who is reading. Well in the THOUGHTS (Comments) section of the Artist Statements, Part II post I was surprised and quite pleased to see a detailed comments/advice from someone who professionally works with and mentors artists.

In case you did not catch this comment from that post, I am sharing a screen shot of this helpful advice a professional posted:

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Postscript

I am currently working on a new piece for my “Recycled Denim Stories” series and here is a little peek at “What’s on the Ironing Board” (pulled from the Design Wall temporarily as I work out the layout):

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Here is a little section of one of the blocks I shared on Instagram:

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The recycled denim, recycled various clothing and recycled home decor fabric in this piece is the same fabric used in my other pieces The Recycled Door and The Recycled Road. 

Trust me you will never guess where I am going with this piece, it is going to have quite a bit of whimsy! Watch for more on this piece in a future What’s on the Design Wall series of posts…


Featured Image credit: Meredith B., free images.com

Can We Talk About Table Runners?

I might ramble a bit in this post, bear with me. I am trying to figure out standard lengths for table runners. I know, I know, this is a shocking and controversial topic to take on in a blog post. If you can stay awake while reading this post, I will try not to bring up too many sensitive issues about table runners, ha!

Table Runners Running Around in My Mind

Why am I thinking about table runner lengths – have I simply run out of things to think about?

Let’s back up a moment…

Recently I sold the last of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop, to a work colleague. She remembered the table runners I had offered in my shop and wanted one. I explained I only had one left and I had laundered it as I had used it on my table. She still wanted it.

So we worked out a deal, I mailed it to her, and here is a photo of it on her table:

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The photo made me smile. I love the idea of something I made being useful in someone else’s home and making them smile. This is aligned with the tierneycreates tagline of “a fusion of textiles and smiles”.

Here is the original style of table runner (quilted) I made for my Etsy shop that I could not keep in stock:

Here is one in green ombre that is not quilted that sold out in my shop also:

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The one in the photo above is does not look very exciting, so you will have to just trust me that it looks better in person (and the women who bought it gave it a 5-star review on Etsy).

So this leads us back to why I am thinking about table runners lengths – because I am thinking about making up a new batch of quilted table runners (and maybe selling them on Etsy); and I am not sure what length to make them!

Do I just make up a couple in different standard lengths?!?!?

What Length, Oh What Length?

I did a lot of “googling” to try and find a guide to standard table runner lengths. I found several pages which listed info on standard table runner sizes.

Then I came across this webpage – Table Runner Dimensions

What I liked about this webpage was this statement:

“A table runner should be long enough to overhang the end of your table by approximately 6 to 10 inches on each end.”

Why did this statement appeal to me? Because it means there is no way to anticipate all the different table sizes potential customers will have and that I just need to decide one standard length I will offer as well as offer a custom table size option. I am going to aim around 42″ as my standard length.

Table Runner-ing

I have spent the last couple of days working on creating the strata for my scrappy table runners from a bag of Kaffe Fassett-type of fabric scraps from my collection of Challenge Bags (see post Basket of Challenges ):

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I welcome your thoughts on this oh so controversial topic – table runner lengths>

If you were going to make up table runners for unknown tables, what length would you make? 


Postscript

One of my miniature schnauzers, Mike, was trying to take a nap with the book I was reading and I thought it was a very sweet photo:

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Little Wallet Madness

As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.

Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.

58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.

First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):

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An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:

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I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:

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Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:

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I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.

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What’s on the Design Wall: Cozy Cobblestones

This morning’s post is a follow up What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

Yesterday I worked to turn the “hot mess” and former unfinished object (UFO) into something resembling a quilt top. I’ve named the quilt “Cozy Cobblestones” as the fabric is the Northcott Stonehenge Cobblestones line.

I promised better photos, however I was unable to keep my promise. Still struggling with the narrowness of my hallway, I had to take entire layout photos at an angle. Alas, this is one of the “cons” of having a design wall in a narrow hallway!

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From the right side

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From the left side

Here is one “head on” photo taken by smooshing myself against the opposite wall:

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“Smooshed” against the wall!

You are probably wincing at the lighting on the photos. Once I sew the blocks together, I am going to take the quilt outside for a proper photo!

I am likely going to “float” the quilt top in additional Stonehenge fabric (I think I have enough yardage to put a “float” border around it). Here is the fabric I might use (it is my only choice unless I go out and try to find some more):

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Next to a section of the blocks layout:

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Try and use your imagination of how cool this will look…

I might use the same fabric for the binding too as I am trying to use what I have in my stash. A contrasting binding might be nice but I would have to purchase it new (and I am taking a hiatus from buying fabric right now).

Speaking of my “stash”, I put the scraps and the two remaining fat quarters that I did not use up, in a future “Challenge Bag” (see post Basket of Challenges):

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I’m gonna be a future “Challenge Bag” – yay!

Inside the scrap bag you will see the blue scraps that I loved (from another Stonehenge line that a quilting friend donated) but could not work into the piece. We’ll see what I make in the future with this small bag of scraps.

The remaining scraps are fairly small as I worked hard to harvest any piece I could turn into a 2.5″ x 2.5″ block:

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Little squares, cutting so many little squares! (42 x 9 = 378)

Quilters reading this may wince, but I did not have enough length of any of the scraps from piecing the original 12″ blocks to make the 6′ nine-patch blocks using the quick “strip-piecing” method. Instead I had to cut out individual 2.5″ x 2.5″ pieces and sew them together to make 42 6-inch nine-patch blocks!  I did “chain-piece” the heck out the pieces after a while became a nine-patch block factory!

It was definitely an old school traditional piecing!

I am feeling pleased with my progress on the “UFOs” in this photo, this quilt top is the #4 in the photo below:

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Once I get it all sewn together, I guess I need to work on the only remaining “UFO” – #3 (Medallion quilt) – but I am not feeling inspiration on that one yet!


Postscript

In addition to a push to complete my unfinished projects, I’ve recently experimented with a couple paper-crafting/card making projects in the paper-crafting/beading area I set up in my sunroom:

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Here are the two cards I made:

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I am not sure if the recipients of these cards actually liked them, but I had fun making them. I listened to a classical radio station on my new(ish) thrift shop radio and found card making very meditative.

Card making was actually my first official crafting hobby that I did with others.

My friend Michele got me started in the late 1990s. I think it opened my mind to starting quilting, which I learned shortly after. I still have many of my card making supplies from the late 1990s and early 2000s. I donated about 1/2 of those supplies to charity organizations but I still have some wonderful supplies to make more handmade cards (whether people want them or not – ha!)

What’s on the Design Wall…a “Hot Mess”?

On the large design wall in my hallway is something that resembles a “hot mess“.

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The hallway is narrow – it works great as a design wall, but is challenging for photography.

This “hot mess” actually represents quite a bit of progress. I struggled with what to do with the 20 blocks I made during a “traditional piecing” binge I went on October to November 2016 and discussed in the following series of posts:

A little background:

Prior to working these blocks, it seems like the last couple of years I was primarily focused on improvisational quilting. I was craving structure (and a break from designing my own quilts) and pulled out my old Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool by Connie Chunn (2007) and started making blocks using a jelly roll I found in my stash of Northcott Cobblestone Stonehenge; and some Stonehenge scraps another quilter gave me.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough of the blue Stonehenge scraps to use them in more than just one block so I had to return those to the fabric scrap basket.

(Now I could have titled this post “Revisiting Traditional Piecing…Part IV” but this binge of working on “traditional pieced blocks” has intermittently continued while I sporadically work on Farm Girl Vintage blocks.)

The dilemma – designing the final quilt layout

The reason why the 20 blocks pictured below got put aside after my “piecing binge” was that I could not find a pleasing way to lay them out. I auditioned many different ways of setting the blocks to include traditional ways such as lattice, putting them on pointing, floating them, and various ideas suggested by my readers (much appreciated!)

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I even thought about the unique and spectacular block layout that Martha Ginn shared in her Martha’s Blog post: Shapely Challenge Revealed.

(Martha and met through this quilt: She bought the green ombre setting fabric for this exquisite sampler quilt through my tierneycreates Etsy shop…glad I met her before I closed the shop!)

Alas, none of the numerous options I explored appealed to me.

Farm Girl Vintage Strikes!

My next venture into traditional-block-piecing-binging was with Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage. In this book I discovered the perfect setting for my blocks! It is called the “Picnic Setting”

For copyright reasons I did not want to photograph the page in Farm Girl Vintage showing the setting, but I did find this photo on Pinterest, pinned by Deborah Thomas, of a quilt in the Picnic Setting:

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Photo credit: Deborah Thomas, Pinterest

The setting is a mixture of 12″ (finished) and 6″ (finished) blocks. The 6″ blocks are the setting for the 12″ blocks!

At first I thought of returning to the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool and creating a bunch of different 6 inch pieced blocks. Thinking through this idea, I realized the quilt top would NEVER get done if headed down this path. How daunting to make 36 different 6″ blocks to set my 12″ blocks! I needed at least 36 of them to make the block setting work, and it would be 2020 before I posted about this quilt in progress again!.

Nine-Patch, an old stand-by

Finally I settled on making “old school” 6″ (finished) nine-patch blocks using up the scraps from the original jelly roll from piecing the 12″ blocks.

Here is the beginning of playing with the layout as I make the nine-patch blocks:

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There will not be a lot of contrast, and that is intentional. I want the quilt top to have the feel of looking at a stone floor and the patterns and the colors of the stones flowing into one another.

More to come as I progress on the quilt top (perhaps even better photos, but do not get your hopes up!)


Postscript

Decorating with Pillows

A quick follow up to my previous post – Petite Pillow Power! – here is a little vignette in my living room with one of the new pillow, a batik basket I made (the top one),  a lidded store bought basket, and a Longaberger basket someone gave me as a gift 20 years ago:

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Quilting Meets Couture

In case you’d like to learn more about the project that got me started on my art quilting journey, check out this post on the collaborative website I have with Betty Anne Guadalupe, Improvisational Textiles:  

Quilting Meets Couture

You can also check out the new page on Improvisational Textiles that showcases the entire Quilting Meets Couture collection:

QUILTING MEETS COUTURE


Check out the Improvisational Textiles blog if you would like to follow our collaborative improvisational art quilting journey.

Petite Pillow Power!

Last post I shared this photo of semi-simultaneous unfinished crafting project work:

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I recently finished #2 (see post I hurried); and this weekend I finished up #1 – little pillows made from scrap shot cottons, previously discussed in these posts:

Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

Originally I had planned to hand quilt all the little pillows tops:

In reality, I only ended up hand quilting the paper pieced one (I finished this up a couple weeks ago while watching TV in the evening):

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Hand quilted (basic, basic, basic hand quilting!)

The rest of the little pillows I machine quilted this weekend:

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Petite Pillow Power Photoshoot!

When I remembered, I added in a tierneycreates label which I shared in post Embracing Orange. My tierneycreates Etsy shop is closed but I still have all these labels I might as well use them!

Except for the paper pieced pillow which has a solid light tan back, here is the fabric I used on the back of the pillows:

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This petite pillow for some reason is my favorite –  I stuck it in my bookcase:

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Tierney loves me best

Petite Pillow Power!

What’s next? Well I am going to start on #4 (Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III) – I finally…9 months later…figured out the layout/setting for the blocks!


Postscript

Thank you so much for all the suggestions on my post  The Photoshoot Shed: Please Give Me Your Ideas– so many of you came through with some fantastic ideas!

It has been very warm in Central Oregon, and once it drops below skin-searing temperatures, I am going to fiddle around the back of the shed and decide which idea to implement.

I have a bunch of these from a failed small curtain hanging experiment and I am thinking of using these with some type of rod or heavy tension wire:

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Photo credit – Home Depot

Additionally, I appreciate the great photo tips provided in the comments!

I hurried.

No the feature photo is not of anyone I know, it is courtesy of freeimages.com and the photographer is Alex LA. 

Today I have a shocking update to my previous post on 07/31/17, Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall) .

I actually finished (quilted, binding done and hung on the wall) the wallhanging I started in an appliqué class in May 2016, inspired by Lao Tzu’s quote:

“NATURE DOES NOT HURRY, YET EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED.” ~LAO TZU

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Finished, quilted, hanging on the wall!

I am not sure what came over me, as I really was going to continue following Nature’s example and not hurry – ha! I figured in another year or so I would get it finished. Instead I finished it under a week.

Shocking.


Postscript

A couple of days ago I snapped this photo in my studio. I was laughing to myself at how many projects I had in progress, at the same time, in the same area.

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I assigned numbers and below is a link to the most recent blog posts on each ongoing project. I am on a push to complete open projects!

  1. Decorative small pillows – Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons
  2. Applique Project (this post)
  3. Medallion wallhanging – What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion
  4. Traditional quilt block piecing with non traditional fabrics – Revisiting Traditional Piecing: The Blocks Part III

Well, as of today I am one down!

Everything is Accomplished (What’s On the Design Wall)

Yesterday I completed the quilt top for a wallhanging based on the following quote:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~Lao Tzu

And like Nature, I did not hurry on completing this piece! It was started in May 2016 during a class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon with the lovely Janet Shorten (see post Adventures in Appliqué ). I picked the piece back up again in June 2017 (see post Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects). I wrangled tangled floss and learned to backstitch (see post The Backstitch and the End of Tangled Floss) and finally completed the quilt top yesterday…July 2017!

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At first I was only going to stitch the Lao Tzu quote going around the tree. However the right side did not seem balanced, with the left side having the acorn. Also I thought at first glance it might not be apparent what the odd thing on the left was (my loose interpretation of an acorn), so I decided to risk becoming “Captain Obvious” and stated that “The tiny acorn becomes the mighty oak tree”.

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I am not going to win any “stitching words on quilts” awards, but I really enjoyed slow stitching the backstitching of the words on the piece and learned a lot as I progressed. I wimped out at the end and did not do the letter “i”s french knot top dots (or whatever the official word is for the dot/period on the top of the letter “i”), but maybe next time.

You may be curious about my fabric choices but let’s just say the whole piece is “multicultural”:

  • The saying/quote is from an ancient Chinese philosopher.
  • The piece was inspired by an African Bible Verses quilt and the original fabric for the acorn and the tree were from the teacher’s stash of African themed fabrics.
  • The border fabric is an Aboriginal style print.

Here is the fabric I have planned for the binding – it reminded me of a tree branch:

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I plan to do a combination of machine and hand quilting on the piece, so by 2018 I should have it done (smile).

But then I am only following Nature’s example…and eventually the piece will be accomplished!


Postscript

My blogging buddy Melanie at Catbird Studios, asked her readers in a recent post how they choose their next quilting project to work on. I responded that for me it is random, which is usually true, however I realize that lately I appear to be focused on working on unfinished projects (which is a very good thing) instead of starting something new when it catches my attention.

Tiny Studio Tips

I love seeing where people to create and in case you would like to see where I create, I have added a page to my blog tierneycreates Studio Tour where I will post photos of the latest version of my tiny little tierneycreates studio. More on this later in this post.

As part of my ongoing journey to curate my life (see post category: My Minimalism Journey ), I am working on letting go of more of my crafting related magazines.

Studios Magazine

I have a stash of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine from 2008 – 2014 (magazine is no longer in publication). This publication featured “artist studio porn”: essays and articles about professional and hobby artists’ studios, tips on designing and organizing your studio, and endless photos of studio layouts. The tagline for the magazine was “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space”.

There are so many online resources (aka Pinterest) on studio organization ideas, I do not need these magazines. I can let them go, donate them to my beloved local Humane Society Thrift Shop and let them go to someone else to enjoy.

But, I wanted to read through each one, one more time, before donating them.

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Working though re-reading the pile with my tea each morning

When I got to the Winter 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors STUDIOS magazine I noticed it featured a collection of tips by various crafters/artists on small space tips.

Recently I re-organized by studio to try and make the best of the small space. I thought I would share some of my favorite tips from this issue from the various studio tours in case my readers find them useful.

Small Studio Tips

In Her Shoes by Catherine Thursby

  1. Get a space of your own, even if it has to be small
  2. Make it personal to encourage your creativity
  3. Have a place “off-site” to keep bulky or seldom used materials

Snowman Season by Sue Pelletier

  1. In a narrow space, set up tables end to end so you can have several projects going at once
  2. A dartboard makes a graphic yet compact inspiration board
  3. Remember that if you want studio space badly enough, you will find a way

The Glitter Fairy by Laurie Davis

  1. Use shelves with cubbies to hold and display rubber stamps
  2. Use under-the-counter space as much as possible
  3. Use stackable containers to hold small items

In a Nutshell – A small space dedicated to creativity by Janice Avellana

  1. Keep supplies out in the open so the work is ready when you are
  2. Disguise a small, open studio behind a tall bookcase
  3. For flexible organization, use painted pegboard

Room of Requirement by Liza Julien

  1. Maximize small space by going vertical with ladder-style shelving
  2. Store papers suspended from pant hangers on a wooden dowel
  3. Install hooks on table legs, the sides of shelving – anywhere that’s handy and out of the way

Studio in the Sky by Victoria Grobels

  1. Store supplies in baskets hung from the ceiling
  2. Make your worktable an inspiration board, too, by slipping photos under a clear, plastic mat
  3. Make a small space seem bigger by positioning it near a beautiful view

The Love Shack by Roberta Philbrick

  1. Use “regular” furniture to hold art supplies
  2. Color-coordinated caddies keep small items organized, portable, and attractive
  3. A glass-topped table cleans up easily and looks polished in a small living/creating space

Strategic Design by Michelle Spaw

  1. For an eclectic approach to organizing, try using non-conventional items such as stackable trays, bento boxes, and takeout-style containers
  2. Removing the doors to your closet is as strong incentive to keep it tidy. Because the contents are always visible, you will be motivated to maintain order and curb the clutter
  3. When purchasing storage boxes, think of color and pattern as a way to identify what you’re storing

Beaddazzled by Linda Dolack

  1. Glue a sample of what’s in a drawer to the front so you can find and retrieve the object quickly
  2. Use simple skirting to hide clutter stored below counters
  3. Install shelving above windows to hold books and display art work out of the way

Where Whimsy Reigns by Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko

  1. Use collectibles as storage containers that can be displayed
  2. Attach a folding table to the wall: pull it up to work, down to put it out of the way
  3. No matter how small your space, make room for pets!

As you will see on my page tierneycreates Studio Tour I followed Ms. Fedorko’s tip #3 and made room for pets (well actually my manager Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer):

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Sassy hanging out in “cave”

If you have a small studio like I do (or a dream larger studio) I hope you find some of these tips useful!

 

Update: Terry the Quilting Husband

So unless you live in Barrow, Alaska (1300 miles south of the North Pole/320 miles north of the Arctic Circle), you are probably not thinking about flannel, much less daydreaming of wrapping yourself in a flannel quilt right now.

We are currently sweltering in Central Oregon right but I am still going to share an update on Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH)’s latest quilt top: A flannel fishing themed quilt:

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He actually finished it a couple weeks ago but I am just now getting around to posting about it.

If you check out my 04/30/17 post  Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop 2017 you will see the fabric TTQH purchased during shop hop.

He finished the quilt top in late May when we happened to have some cool days, and I found him and our miniature schnauzers taking a nap under his new quilt top (the “cuteness factor” was very high when I walked into the room and I had to tip toe out and grab my camera!):

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He has not worked on the back for the quilt as it is kind of warm right now to even think about looking at flannel in our fabric stash much less touching it. We might just put the top away for now until the weather gets out of the 90s and we can start to think about flannel quilts again.


Postscript

With the warmer weather TTQH is working on other things in his spare time besides flannel quilts – like taking Mike, one of our rescued miniature schnauzers on a bike ride. We have two doggy backpacks and Sassy rides with me (the girls together) and Mike rides with Terry. The photo below is from a week ago when we had a break from the heat as Terry and Mike head out on their bike ride:

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If you would like to see more photos of Mike (and Sassy) bike riding, see these posts on Sassy’s Schnauzer Snips blog:

What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion

This post is actually a continuation of my ongoing series What’s on the Design Wall, featuring my latest project up on either the small design wall in my studio or the large design wall my hallway.

Got Medallion?

Obviously I have been influenced by my quilting mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe (see post Improvisational Medallion Quilt) or by my fellow blogger buddy Melanie at Catbird Studio (see post The Six-Pointed Star and per page Medallion Lessons) but I have a burning need to make a Medallion Quilt.

I am also influenced by this page I tore from a Keepsake Quilting catalog for a medallion style Block of the Month (BOM) sampler. The only problem is that monthly participation in this BOM is $42.99 plus shipping! As lovely as this quilt is that would not be in my budget, so I just added the image to my magnet inspiration board on my studio closet door:

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Rummaging Through the “Challenge Bags”

For the 4th of July, we were “bunkered” in our house with loud movies or music playing in the background, all the windows shut and the air conditioner (actually we have 2 evaporative or “swamp” coolers) to try to keep our extremely fireworks terrified dogs calm. Each year we plan to get from the vet some anti-anxiety medications for them but we forget, so instead we distract them with other sounds. This works most of 4th while neighborhood kids are playing with their fireworks. It only stops working in the evening when there is a VERY LOUD fireworks display at local attraction near our house.

Since I was “bunkering” on the 4th, I decided to spend some time in my studio looking through my collection of “Challenge Bags” (see post Basket of Challenges). Inside one of the bags I found an old felt and tweed Schoolhouse block pillow top I had purchased 14 years ago for $1 in a clearance sale at the back of a quilt shop. Tucked in with the Schoolhouse block were several strips of “Pyramid” borders that my friend Betty Anne gave me either from an old project of hers, or an old project of another quilter.

With Medallion Quilts floating around in the back of my mind, I started playing with the pieces on the design wall:

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I had just enough of the Pyramid pieced strips to border the Schoolhouse block twice on each side and ended up with the beginning of a scrappy improvisational medallion quilt!

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My very first Medallion Quilt in progress. I plan to make it using only fabric scraps and recycled pieced items from my challenge bags. I am going to read through Melanie at Catbird Studio’s lessons on for making Medallion quilts as inspiration and then let myself get all improvisational once I understand any helpful concepts.

What Comes Next?

I pulled from my “Basket of Challenges” (my stash of challenge bags) a bag of scrap squares and a bag of scrap triangles.  I am going to just keep this piece up on my design wall and slowly add to it as I am inspired.

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I had fun “bunkering” on the 4th!

The Backstitch and the End of Tangled Floss

Inviting the Backstitch into my Repertoire

Continuing my theme of cleaning out the old UFOs (unfinished projects) from yesterday’s post, this weekend I also worked on an appliqué project that I began in a wonderful class a over year ago (Adventures in Appliqué). 

I made progress on this piece while attending the annual retreat with my Quilting Sisters in May 2017 (Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects):

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To finish this wallhanging size quilt top, I needed to embroider the words that go with the image using a “backstitch”:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

Hopefully it is obvious (fingers crossed) that my wallhanging contains an acorn which eventually becomes a large oak tree in time.

The concept of the wallhanging is based on the African Themed Bible Verses appliqué quilt that students had the option of making in the class.

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Bible Verses Quilt by Ugandan Women, Sisters of the Heart Foundation, Sisters Coffee House during the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

I being the rebel, decided to use the words of an ancient Chinese philosopher as inspiration for my piece (also a rebel, I decided to make a smaller wallhanging with one block instead of a quilt with multiple blocks).

Although I have allegedly been quilting for 17+ years, sometimes I feel like a brand new quilter when I discover something else I do not know how to do: in order to stitch on the words, I needed to learn how to do the backstitch.

The wonderful instructor, Janet Storten (who is the Director of Sisters of the Heart Foundation) kindly offered to give me a refresher on the backstitch as she did cover it in her class (and I swear I did pay attention in class). I was tempted but I thought I would take a chance and try to learn the backstitch from YouTube.

YouTube is filled with awesome instructional crafting videos (and I have lost hours of time watching one right after the other). I discovered one by the talented crafter Lauren Fairweather:

As Janet had instructed in her appliqué class, I first lightly drew words in pencil on my fabric (see I did remember something). Following the video above, I slowly did my first backstitch letters!

This is another hand sewing meditative experience (slowing down and focusing appears good for the soul!)

In time I know I will get better, but here are photos of my progress so far (I had to put my work in a hoop to stabilize it until I get more experienced):

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So Tierney, you stitch on TWO letters and then post photos? Why yes, I am very proud of those two letters – ha! Of course when the whole top is finished I will post an updated photo.

A Tale of Tangled Threads

Actually a tale of tangled embroidery floss, but the words “embroidery floss” did not not provide the alliteration that “threads” did in the header to this section!

Last May when I took Janet’s class on Appliqué I discovered embroidery floss cards (Tierney – have you been quilting under a rock all these years, why do you not know about basic crafting items?!?!) Janet was kind enough to share some of her huge collection of embroidery floss cards with her students. She gave me this one that coordinated with my piece:

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I did not know such magical cards existed! I thought that she had discovered a mysterious and secret fountain of embroidery floss!

You see I have always purchased embroidery floss this way:

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Photo credit: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts

And turned these nice little packages of embroidery floss into TANGLED MESSES.

Prior to learning to stitch with them, I used embroidery floss in various colors as the “string” to hold the chopstick on the miniature kimonos I make so they can become a wallhanging.

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Miniature Kimono by tierneycreates with red embroidery floss

Other crafters will likely cringe at this but I would just cut in the middle of a new package of embroidery floss in order to access a length of it for hanging the kimono. Then I would put the rest of the floss away in a small bag and it would turn into a tangled mess.

I would untangle the mess to try and cut more floss out for another kimono as needed.

Are you cringing, I mean really cringing? Do you want my “Crafter Card” revoked at this point?

Not able to find embroidery floss on these mysterious spool like cards, I just kept doing what I was doing until I discovered a large package of embroidery cards with floss and some EMPTY CARDS for $1.50 a couple of weeks ago at a thrift shop.

(Lightbulb)

So…you buy the cards and then you wind your embroidery floss onto the cards!

This weekend I sorted my thrift shop find into an old small plastic container with dividers and wound all my floss packages onto their own spool cards!

I went from this (note the tangled floss in small packages):

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To this:

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When I ran out of the cards I got from the thrift store bag, I used one of them as a template and created my own with some recycled cardboard.

Just think how much more basic quilting/crafting stuff I will learn in my next 17 years of quilting!

…let loose and HOWL

“Once in a while, you just have to let loose and HOWL” is one of the dog themed sayings on the wallhanging sized quilt I just finished on Saturday and hung in Terry the Quilting Husband’s (TTQH) studio (aka the Guest Room).

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No More Just Gathering Dust

My friend Lisa gave me dog themed wallhanging sized quilt top (unfinished quilt) a couple years ago. Since then it has in my closet (after sitting in hers) as an un-finished object (UFO), just gathering dust (yes quilters like to transfer their UFOs from one quilter to another to keep in storage at someone else’s house!).

Saturday I was rummaging through my UFOs and came across this quilt top; and spur of the moment decided to JUST FINISH IT.

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Lisa was very generous to give me this completed wallhanging quilt top. All I had to do in order to finish the quilt was to prepare the backing; machine quilt it; and bind it.

Recycled Batting

My friend Betty Anne who is a professional long-arm quilter has quilting batting leftovers from her customers’ quilts that the customers do not want. She saves some of the pieces for me to use for table runners or small projects. (I rarely buy package batting as for smaller pieces I have her discards and for larger quilts I get them professionally quilted which include the batting in the cost)

She also taught me how to piece smaller batting together to make a larger batting for a project – either by zig zagging the batting together or using a special tape to join them.

I did not have pieces of scrap batting to finish the dog themed wallhanging quilt. So I zig zagged two smaller pieces together:

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Favorite Saying?

Not only did I make the batting, quilt it and bind it all in one day, I also got it hung in TTQH’s sewing area (the entire Guest Room is dog…primarily schnauzer…themed)!

Summoning TTQH to the Guest Room…I mean his “studio”, to reveal the latest addition, I asked him which saying on the wallhanging was his favorite. He selected this one:

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Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer would be very pleased with this choice of sayings!

My favorite quote on the quilt is this one I already shared:

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I am feeling fairly pleased I got a craft project finished and hung in a day (okay, okay the quilt top was already made by another quilter, ha!).

Happy Howling!

 

Fundraiser Quilt and Good Omens

Quilting Sisters’ Charity Quilt

One of my Quilting Sisters (see posts Quilting Sisters, Part II and Quilting Sisters, Part I) is a breast cancer survivor and asked at this year’s annual Quilting Sister Retreat, if each of us would make two blocks for a fundraising charity quilt to raise money for breast cancer research.

The plan is to make different “star” blocks in blues and whites. This past weekend I worked on my blocks, made from the same block pattern from the Ladies’ Art Company Block Tool – Four X Star:

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Here are the completed blocks, I used the same “white on white” background fabric and different blues for the blocks:

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The blocks are “nothing to write home about” but I needed to get them done (because I had procrastinated working on the blocks) in time for the quilt to get assembled by my Quilting Sister who is pulling all together and having it quilted for the charity fundraising event.

I like the blocks better turned on point and I do not how the quilt will be set. I will try and remember to share a photo of the completed quilt in the future.

Good Omens

I just finished an exceptionally funny and irreverent audiobook – Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

The book is about heaven and hell screwing up the Apocalypse. It has two absolutely endearing characters, who are actually best friends, a bumbling angel Aziraphale and a demon Crowley (who actually secretly quite fond of humanity) who try to sabotage the Apocalypse.

The book is brilliantly narrated by Martin Jarvis who does an exceptional job with all the voices of the characters.

Filled with delightful bits and parodies of modern culture (well as modern as 1990 when it was published), I laughed so hard while trying to go on my daily walks that one time I actually stumbled! The authors obviously dislike telephone salespeople, tax accountants, and the fast food industry!

In addition it the awesome British humor and endless silly bits (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are actually “Hell’s Angels” bikers!), some of them with “Monty Pythonesque” humor, the book has some wonderful insight on humanity’s foibles and how we should try and be better to each other. It also is filled with heart warming sweetness of how much goodness there actually is in the world.

There are many wonderful quotes in the book. Here is one I found on QuoteAddicts.com:

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Postscript

The kale in my garden is ready to use!

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Hello Kale, I would like to invite you into my belly

Even though summer has started, I made my one of my favorite stews for supper: Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew .

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Used fresh tomatoes instead of canned

With some crusty bread, we had a very tasty supper last night! Check out my repost from  November 2016, A Girl’s Gotta Eat (repost), if you would like links to some of other favorite recipes.

All the topics on this post seem rather random, so I will continue to be random, and share the cover of a blank journal my friend Susan recently gave me as a gift. It makes me smile:

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Rosettes! (Adventures in EPP Continued)

This blog is about a Quilter’s Life and there is more in my life than just quilting. I have so many non-quilting blog post ideas floating in my head, but today is another quilting related post. I so appreciate my non-quilter readers in addition to my quilter/crafter readers!

Making Rosettes

So is an activity equally or perhaps more addicting than making little English Paper Pieced (EPP) hexagons (hexies) – making rosettes with the hexies!

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But first let’s recap (full stories in the series of posts Adventures in English Paper Piecing):

Here is what I started with (a collection of free 1/8th quarters from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop):

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Here is the book I used to teach myself EPP (All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland):

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I turned the fabric into 250+ hexies:

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In order to make something like this:

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Photo credit: Quiltfolk.com

And, so far I have made 18 of these – rosettes:

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But, now the (sort of) bad news

I counted and I only have enough hexies to make 36 rosettes and the quilt I want to make has 99 rosettes (9 x 11 row quilt). I used all the free fabric from the 2016 Central Oregon Quilt Shop Hop and I wanted the hexies to only be made from that coordinated fabric (I will have to use other fabric from my stash for the background/setting fabrics).

So either I change my rules, or I accept that I am making a 36 block (6 x 6 row) quilt with my rosettes. I think that is what I am going to do, as it would be a huge commitment to make a zillion more hexies to turn into 63 more blocks!

Sometimes you got to be flexible and change your original plan…

Closing this post with my favorite rosette so far (I have 18 more rosettes to make so we’ll see if this one wins the Rosette Beauty Contest (soon to be an annual event held in Atlantic City, ha!):

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But I love all of them!

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Finishing out the Challenge Bag of shot cottons

This post is a continuation of the recent posts – Basket of Challenges and Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing.

Mondays am I off from work so last night I decided to do a “Late Night Sewing Session”. I sent Terry the Quilting Husband, Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer, and her adopted brother Mike off to bed; put on a Nova documentary on YouTube; and settled in for a late night sewing marathon.

I decided to just finish out the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps from my friend Dana (see post Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing) and continue making little pillow tops that I plan to hand quilt.

Here is what I started with from the “challenge bag” of shot cotton scraps:

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So here was the first piece I had made the other day with the scraps, experimenting with foundation piecing:

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And here are the improvisational pieces I made with the rest of the scraps last night during my Late Night Sew:

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Here is all I have left from the “challenge bag”:

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These are fairly small scraps, so those that were larger than 2″ x 2″ I put into general circulation, by color, in my fabric scrap collection. The rest (not very many) had to unfortunately head for the landfill…sigh…can’t save them all!

So what am I going to do with the little pillows I make? Well I am thinking about participating in my first Craft Fair in late Fall 2017. My employer has an annual Holiday Craft Fair in the Portland, Oregon office. I am thinking about taking my leftover items from my former tierneycreates Etsy shop and new items I have made and selling them at the craft fair. More to come on that in the future, still mulling it over.


Postscript

I think Smart Cars/mini electric cars are adorable! I enjoyed looking at them when I was in Europe years ago and I have sighted several when visiting Portland, Oregon. Yesterday on our dog walk, we came across an adorable Smart Car in one of the neighborhoods next to ours. I was so cute I wanted to put it in my pocket – ha! (They are like toy cars!)

So I will close out this post with the photo of this darling eco-vehicle:

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Experimenting with Foundation Paper Piecing

A series of words I never thought I would write in a blog post: “Foundation Paper Piecing”.

If you are not a quilter, foundation piecing is using pre-printed paper/specialty papers to sew precise shapes using a sort of “flip and stitch” method. Foundation piecing allows you to work with tiny pieces of fabric to get precise shapes.

Yes that sounds kind of complicated and I have avoided it for years for this reason. Of course I never thought I would attempted English Paper Piecing (EPP) but as you can see from my series of posts – Adventures in English Paper Piecing – I am addicted to it.

I had one previous experience with foundation piecing and I keep it in a tiny frame in my studio.

My extremely talented quilter sister-in-law Sue attempted in the early 2000s to teach me to foundation piece while visiting us when we lived in Seattle, WA.

We made a little sailboat block:

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Tiny little sailboat block in a tiny frame in my studio

She was a very patient teacher and I keep the framed block as a special memory of our time together working on a project. However it is now 2017 and I am returning (like 15 years later?!??!) to trying foundation paper piecing again!

As a crafter, you learn through experimentation (sometimes it feels everything I work on is an experiment, ha!) and if you don’t push yourself to take risks you will not grow as a crafter. So experiment I did and here is the story.

Foundation Paper Piecing Experimentation

A couple blog posts ago (Basket of Challenges) I wrote about my “challenge bags” – collections of coordinate scraps given to me by other crafters. Since taking them out of closed storage containers and putting them into a large basket in my studio, I am inspired to open them up and do another “challenge” (see what I can make with them).

My friend and quilting-sister Dana made me the lovely bag for my yarn/portable knitting:

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Photo does not do it justice, it is lovely!

The picture does not do it justice. She reverse engineered a bag she saw on Pinterest (she is a crafting-goddess) to make this bag from a collection of shot cottons.

In addition to the bag, she also gave me her scraps from making the bag:

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Fresh out of the challenge bag

I had them of course sitting in a “challenge bag” and decided they would be perfect for my experimentation with foundation paper piecing.

Looking through my archives of patterns of “projects-I-am-really-going-to-make-someday”, I found this pattern with pre-printed pattern paper (sort of the texture of tissue paper but stronger, like used for clothing patterns):

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The copyright is 2001 on this pattern

You can tell how dated the pattern is  – how many of us read small paperback books anymore (you could convert this pattern into a cute kindle cover though)? I think I bought it in the very early 2000s. The pattern comes with enough tissue foundation paper to make twenty-four 3″ blocks.

I began with cutting a bunch of the little foundation papers from the pattern; and ironing the scraps:

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There are 6 different patterns: Odd Fellow’s Star, Mosaic, Pinwheel, Starry Path, Square on Square, and Dutchman’s Puzzle

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All nicely pressed and ready for experimentation!

The next step was to watch several foundation piecing videos I found on YouTube. My favorite, and the one that really made things click in my mind, was Paper Piecing Made Easy Tutorial by the CraftyGemini.

I decided to work on the “Square on Square” pattern, so it was time to start the experiment. I am happy to report it worked, though I struggled a little with removing the paper from the back of the piece when I was done foundation piecing:

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I used tiny stitches as the videos instructed in order to perforated the template paper to make it easier to remove, but still it took a while to get all those tiny pieces off the back

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The completed block – I added a little border to it as I was not too sure about the stability of the edges of the paper pieced block

You can see just how small this little block is in this photo, imagine trying to traditionally piece (via sewing very tiny little pieces together) this block:

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I bordered it with more of the scrap shot cottons from the challenge bag:

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With a 1.5″ border added

I plan to make a little pillow out of it, like the little pillows on this post – More Creating – More Art Pillows. I plan to hand quilt it and I am trying to decide between two quilting threads, but I am leaning towards the very light and thin DMC embroidery thread in brown:

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Likely going with the DMC thread on the left instead of the Aurifil

Am I going to do another one (I do have 23 more blocks I can foundation piece with this pattern set)?

Not right now, I need to emotionally recover as honestly it was kind of stressful to make the tiny little block via foundation piecing. Also shot cotton might not have been the best fabric to work with for foundation piecing as it is thin and friable. I might make the rest of the blocks with batik scraps.

I think foundation piecing will be a great skill to have in my “quilting toolbelt” but for now I am happy to have made just one!

Basket of Challenges

My friend and quilter mentor Betty Anne taught me to appreciate fabric scraps, especially coordinated fabrics scraps shared from other quilters’ projects.

Like her I have gathered a collection of coordinated fabric scraps donated by quilting friends such as herself, my original quilting mentor Judy, my quilting sister Barb or my friend Susan.

Each collection of scraps is organized in a plastic bag, which I call a “challenge bag“. Each bag is a challenge to create something from a fabric scrap collection otherwise destined for the trash.

I had these challenge bags stored in two storage containers:

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I decided to move them into a large basket in my studio where I could see them all the time and be reminded of the fun challenges to work on:

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While going through the challenge bags to move them from the storage containers to the open basket, I figured it was time to work on one of them.

My friend Susan gave me a collection of brown batik scraps and partial fat quarters that she had started making little wallets out of – she also gave me the pattern and the templates she had cut. I think she thought I would just use the fabrics/scraps as part of a scrappy quilt. Instead I used nearly all the fabric/scraps she gave me to make a collection of little wallets:

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Little Wallets, pattern by Valori Wells

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Perfect size to hold business cards

I am looking forward in the future playing with another “challenge bag”. We’ll see what I make next…


Postscript

Yesterday I hiked Pilot Butte (miniature mountain with 360 degree views of Central Oregon and surrounding region) and nearing the summit I took a photo of a controlled burn off in the distance. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service has to do controlled burns in the Deschutes National Forest to control forest fires.

Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

I used the zoom on my iPhone and although it is not the clearest photo it gives you a sense of the scope of the controlled burn:

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If you are new to my blog and wanted to read more about my Pilot Butte adventures, check out this link: Pilot Butte Adventures.

For those of you who have followed me for a while – yes, on my hike yesterday, another Senior Citizen dusted me on Pilot Butte. At least the 80+ year old (maybe even 90) was kind enough to wish me a “good day” as he effortlessly walked around me on the hike back down the Butte!

Artist Statements, Part II

In my 08/25/16 post, Artist Statements, I shared my struggle with writing Artist Statements for art quilts. In my more recent (03/30/17) post, What’s on My Lap, I again mentioned my struggle with writing Artist Statements, and  Mary of Zippy Quilts shared the following:

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I could not turn down a suggestion for a blog post!

In my first post in August 2016 on Artist Statements I only whined about having to write an Artist Statement and then shared my completed statement for a piece that was being shown at the 2016 Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).

This time I thought I would do something more than whining!

So I spent time researching information about writing Artist Statements and used that information to write the Artist Statement for this piece below – The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan

Here are the basic details on The Recycled Road, I will use these later in the post to write my Artist Statement for this piece:

  • It is made from recycled materials: denim jeans, corduroy pants, corduroy shirt, curtains, sweat pants, home decor fabric scraps, and a tweed jumper
  • The art quilt is the second in quilt in my series The Recyclings (yesterday I decided the name of my series)
  • I hand quilted this quilt to give it an organic feel
  • This quilt was inspired by the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group annual exhibit theme “Pathways”.
  • The piece measures 18″ x 40″
  • I hand quilted the quilt to give it an organic feel

General Artist Statement vs. Artist Statement About A Work

A bit of research reinforced what I heard in the art quilting community  – that there are basically two types of Artist Statements: 1) A general statement about you as an Artist; or 2) a statement about a specific piece of artwork.

General Artist Statement

A couple of years ago at one of our Central Oregon SAQA group meetings, we broke into small groups to do an exercise to work on our (General) Artist Statements, the about our art and ourselves as an artist.

I was overwhelmed by this exercise for several reasons: 1) Our Central Oregon SAQA group contains many real textile artists and art quilters – I mean nationally and internationally known artists – I was completely intimidated; 2) I was a new art quilter, recently transitioned from traditional quilting to dabbling in improvisational art; and 3) I was not sure if I could really consider myself an “Artist”.

Several experienced art quilters in the group shared with me examples of their professional artist Artist Statements, which I politely accepted and graciously thanked them for sharing, but it only intimidated me more (it was a “deer in headlights” experience).

A couple months later, I realized I was just not ready to write my General Artist Statement, and that was okay. I had not established what I feel is a solid and cohesive body of textile art. Currently I am working towards this and in the near future I hope to write my General Artist Statement.

I found some great resources online for writing General Artist Statements that I will use in the future, here are the links:

ArtStudy.org Sample Artist Statement

Creativity in Action Art League Blog – 8 Artist Statement We Love

ArtBusiness.com – Your Artist Statement: Explaining the Unexplainable

Agora Gallery – How to Write An Artist Statement: Tips From The Art Experts

“How To Write An Artist’s Statement”, Contemporary Quilt Art Association

10 tips for writing your artist statement, TextileArtist.org

One of my favorite discoveries on advice on writing General Artist Statements was the article “The Artist Statement & Why They Mostly Suck” on the website bmoreart.com. I loved this quote:

“A good artist statement should enhance what a viewer sees in your work and provide a concise handle to approach a visual piece. It should be accurate, well-written, and correctly punctuated. It also should be specific to your work and offer unique insight into your process.”

Jean Wells Keenan, textile artist, has a wonderful example of a General Artist Statement on her website jeanwellsquilts.com:

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Artist Statement About A Specific Work

It is my goal/dream someday to write a well-crafted General Statement about my body of work and how I approach my art, someday. For now I am just trying to write an Artist Statement about a specific art quilt.

So I searched online for inspiration on writing Artist Statements specific to a piece of work. At ArtsyShark.com I found these helpful tips in the article: “How to Write an Amazing Artist Statement” that could be applied to either General Artist Statements or an Artist Statement on a specific piece of art:

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your artist statement:

  • The ideal length is one to three paragraphs.
  • It should be in first-person.
  • You should not tell your audience how to feel or what to look at.
  • You want to inform your viewer but not overly explain things – leave room for the viewer to make his or her own connections.
  • Ask yourself: Is this writing specific to my work or can it be about anyone’s?
  • Don’t use phrases like: I hope, My work aspires to, My goal is, The Viewer will, These paintings (do something).

Remember: The key to an amazing statement is to write A LOT, then edit, edit, edit. You should go through at least 3 drafts. This is not something you can do in an evening – it’s going to take time, so find the best time of day that works for you to write, such as over morning coffee. Write in a way that feels comfortable – type or write long hand.

My favorite guideline I discovered online for writing an artist statement for a specific piece of art, was from the website hysterically named – Getting Your Sh*t Together: making life better for artists (gyst-ink.com). Here are highlights from this websites had the following Artist Statement Guidelines:

  • An Artist Statement is a general introduction to your work, a body of work, or a specific project.
  • It should open with the work’s basic ideas in an overview of two or three sentences or a short paragraph and then go into detail about how these issues or ideas are presented in the work.
  • You can include some of the following points:
    • Why you have created the work and its history.
    • Your overall vision.
    • What you expect from your audience and how they will react.
    • How your current work relates to your previous work.
    • Where your work fits in with current contemporary art.
    • How your work fits in with the history of art practice.
    • How your work fits into a group exhibition, or a series of projects you have done.
    • Sources and inspiration for your images.
    • Artists you have been influenced by or how your work relates to other artists’ work. Other influences.
    • How this work fits into a series or longer body of work.
    • How a certain technique is important to the work.
    • Your philosophy of art making or of the work’s origin.
  • The final paragraph should recapitulate the most important points in the statement.
  • Ask yourself “What are you trying to say in the work?” “What influences my work?” “How do my methods of working (techniques, style, formal decisions) support the content of my work?” “What are specific examples of this in my work” “Does this statement conjure up any images?”
  • Consider – Who is your audience? What level are you writing for? What will your statement be used for? What does your statement say about you as an artist and a professional?

Okay, Ready, Write (The Draft)

I could have spent all day online looking at examples of Artist Statements, but now it is time to write my draft statement for the piece The Recycled Road:

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The Recycled Road (2017)

18″ W x 40″ L

Recycled denim, corduroy, cotton jersey, wool and rayon.

Designed, pieced and hand quilted by Tierney Davis Hogan

Artist Statement (draft)

The Recycled Road is the second piece in my series The Recyclings, small art quilts from recycled materials.

Inspired by the theme of “Pathways” for the 2017 Central Oregon SAQA group annual art quilt exhibit, this “pathway” begins at the orange corduroy boundary between the multicolor “road” and the plain gray “road”. This “road” continues beyond the top edge of the quilt; as it has no boundaries beyond the limits we set on our own imagination.  The pathway in this quilt represents one of many roads traveled by our creative spirit.

Using improvisational piecing techniques, I created this piece from all recycled materials (denim jeans, corduroy shirt, corduroy pants, tweed jumper, sweat pants, curtains and home decor fabric scraps. Seeking a bit of adventure in working with recycled clothing, I used an old pair of faded and threadbare gray sweat pants to create the edges of the road. I hand quilted the piece to give it an organic feel. Hand quilting the recycled fabrics was an unique multilayered and meditative tactile experience.

Most of the fabrics were not reusable as clothing or home decor and were destined to end up in a landfill. Reimagining recycled clothing and other materials into art quilts satisfies my desire to honor the environment and make art that is eco-conscious. Ending up in an art quilt is a better outcome than ending up in a landfill.

Okay, so now that I have written my draft Artist Statement for The Recycled Road, I am going to let it simmer overnight and see how I feel about it in the morning.


Feature image credit: BSK, free images.com