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13 October 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Tag, I'm it!

Welcome to this installment of the "Around the World Blog Hop".

I was invited to join the hop by Jeanne Marklin.  I met Jeanne through SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  We have caught up with each other at various fiber art shows around New England and also at the annual SAQA Conference.  Take a look at her blog to see some of the beautiful work she's doing lately: http://jeannemarklin.blogspot.com/

So the basic format of the Around the World blog posts is a set of Questions & Answers. 

What am I working on?

At the moment I'm finishing a composition for the latest installment of Viewpoints 9 gallery. The challenge centers on the number 9 as described by Lin Hsin-Chen:

"In Chinese culture, the number “9” also means “lasting for a long time” (久)….  when we apply this word to natural environment, it means everlasting existence."

Each Viewpoints 9 member is challenged to make a quilt of 40 cm (width) x 80 cm (height) in portrait orientation, based on the theme of environment and ecology”.

Photo Oct 09, 11 15 20 AM(Work in progress, detail)

My piece was inspired by the sharp decline in bee and butterfly populations in North America.  The expansion of industrial farmland using powerful herbicides like Roundup is wiping out many species of plants that are essential to pollinating insects. It's a worrying trend, since these great swaths of farmland and orchards are dependent on pollinators to succeed and sustain themselves.

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I tend to use pretty traditional quilt materials in my work – cotton fabrics and batting, cut pieces of fabric and machine stitching.  I think what makes my work different than other art quilters' and fiber artists' work is my use of multiple layers of fabric to create the composition.  And I consider the free motion stitching as a drawn line.  I use it to blend colors, enhance contours and add details.

Why do I create what I do?

Why indeed. I guess I'll take this one to mean "why do I choose to work with textiles vs. other art media?".  I find the process entirely relaxing and transformative. The soft texture of the fabric, fuzzy batting, a warm iron, the humming white noise of the sewing machine – it is very comforting to me. The cloth scraps around my studio often pile up to form a giant colorful nest around me while I work. I just feel at home.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm a planner.  Usually I have a clear vision of the finished piece before I start "production".  So I spend a lot of time sketching, choosing fabrics and basically creating an overall game plan in my mind.

466821_373979565975780_1310589193_o (Pattern for Dandelion, detail)

Once I have a good handle on what I want to accomplish, I set about cutting pieces of fabric and layering them together. It's a very methodical process. 

However, after the fabrics are tacked into place, I change gears for the hand-guided machine stitching.  For me, the quilting (stitching) process is much more organic and spontaneous.  I don't plan out the quilting lines beforehand, unless I want to include something extremely precise and specific like text. I'm very comfortable with my sewing machine after all these years.  That allows me to let go of the mechanical worries and get into my drawing "zone".  I'm only thinking about the lines I want – sketchy, dynamic, smooth or rough, a small reflection or wisp of hair.  To me, the thread is as crucial to the finished piece as the fabric.

Photo Sep 20, 11 54 52 AM (finished, After the Wake)

As part of the blog hop, I get to invite other artists to join.  Look for these posts next week:

Carol R. Eaton – I love Carol's hand dyed fabrics! I use them all the time in my own work and for the past few years Carol and I have teamed up to create a workshop/kit project.  Using my instructions and patterns and Carol's fabrics, students create compositions of Magnolia flowers in various colors. Check out her stunning work at http://carolreatondesigns.blogspot.com/

Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki – Kris and Deb are members of SAQA as well as the dynamic duo and creative force behind "Pixeladies" http://www.pixeladies.com/blog/. I first met Deb and Kris at a SAQA conference.  I am also a happy customer – Pixeladies created a gorgeous custom-designed silk scarf for me a few years ago.  I gave it to my new sister-in-law as a wedding present.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are doing lately!

2 comments:

  1. Hi Kate! So glad to see you on the Blog Hop! Love your work and contributions to SAQA and the Arts!!! My Hop post was on September 22th here: http://deborahstanleyinspirations.blogspot.com/2014/09/around-world-blog-hop-sharing-our.html It's wonderful to watch the train travel from artist to artist around the world! best, deborah

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  2. Hi Deborah! Thanks for linking to your post. I really enjoyed reading more about your approach to portraits (my favorite, too!) and supporting other artists. I'm still hopping around reading the participating artists' stories. Fun and inspiring! :-)

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