Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Artist Block

Sue Bleiweiss

Has this ever happened to you:  you walk into your studio, turn on the light, look around and are struck with an overwhelming feeling of never going to have another creative idea again.  Well you’re not the only one!  It happens to every artist at some point for one reason or another.  There are a lot of reasons this happens from lack of inspiration, fear, burnout and yes even having too many ideas which can be just as stifling as not having any.   The trick in this situation is to identify what is holding you back so you can deal with it and move past it.

Lack of inspiration

I have found that when I am just flat out stuck for an idea of what my next quilt should be it can be very helpful to find a theme to work with.  Once I focus in on a theme then rest of the creative process begins to flow and I am off and running.  But how do you find a theme to work with especially when you are not feeling particularly inspired?
 

Ideas for a theme can come from anywhere.  Look out the window: do you see trees, birds, bugs, flowers, a vegetable garden, leaves, animals or a snowy landscape?  What colors and textures do you see?  Do you see surfaces changed by their exposure to the elements leaving rust, decay and layers of exposed paint?  Do you collect of teapots, figurines, stamps, vintage textiles or something else?  Is there a shape that you’re drawn too - a circle, square, triangle?  Use the exploration of a shape as a theme.  Maybe you are attracted to a more abstract theme - childhood memories, motherhood, sisterhood or a social injustice or triumph.  Is there something happening in current events that you feel you want to make a statement about with your art? 

What about a technique?  My series of house and building quilts began with my desire to be able to dye fabric with consistent results and to be able to reproduce them without relying on serendipity.  You could explore texture, real or implied, created with fabric or stitch, found objects, mixed media etc…

If none of those spark an idea cut out some phrases from old magazines or newspapers.  Toss them in a bag and pull one out randomly.  Paste it in your sketchbook and make a list of ideas from that phrase.
There’s no right or wrong way to pick a theme but the most important thing when picking one is to choose one that speaks to you.  If it’s not a theme that you feel passionate or excited by then it will be a struggle to work with and life is too short to work with a theme that doesn’t resonate with you.

If your theme is too broad it can be overwhelming so explore it on paper first with a mind map or a list.  Write your theme on a piece of paper and then make a list of all the different ways to explore that theme under it.  You might find it helpful to give yourself a few parameters to work within so that you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by too many possibilities.   Size limits can be helpful if you want to be able to produce several pieces work in a shorter period of time.  It will take you less time to create 12” x 12” pieces of work than it will if you are working with really large pieces.

You could also set some parameters for your color palette - will you work with brights, pastels, muted tones, gray tones, batiks, prints.  Will you work with many colors or will you restrict yourself to just a few?

Will you use several techniques or just one or two?  Will you dye your own fabric and use fusing as your construction method?  will you paint your fabric, screen print and stamp it, will you create a whole cloth quilt or will you piece it?

If you decide not to set any parameters that’s just fine - remember there are no rules other than the ones you set for yourself BUT I absolutely recommend you explore the theme in your sketchbook first.  You might make a series of sketches or you may simply make pages of notes.  Work however is comfortable for you but don’t avoid this step.  It will save you a lot of wasted time and effort later and it gives you the opportunity to make sure that you’re connected with the theme you’ve chosen before committing to it.

Too much inspiration

How can too many ideas be a problem?  Doesn’t that just make it easier to know what to work on next?  In theory too many ideas sounds like a gift but the flip side of that is that having too many ideas can becoming overwhelming and suddenly you find yourself frozen and unsure of what you
should work on next.  This is one of those moments that your sketchbook can help you  manage.   Make a list of the ideas you have, group them into categories, and if they need further exploration then mind map them.  Spend some time prioritizing them in the order that you find them most exciting to work with and then begin to work your way through them. 

Failure & rejection

Failure is part of the process and you can’t avoid it.  You submit a piece of your work to an exhibit and it doesn’t get in.  You spend weeks working on a piece of art and you don’t like it. You submit an idea for an article to a magazine and they reject it, your book proposal gets returned and so on and so on…

Fear of rejection and failure is one of the toughest challenges for an artist to overcome and the bad news is that rejection and failure are part of the artistic process that every artist will have to deal with at some point.  The good news is that you can learn a lot from both of them and turn them into positives that will help you grow as an artist but only if you don’t allow them to stop you from moving forward. Rejection and failure is not an endpoint – it’s a midpoint along the journey.  Think of them as a bridge you have to cross to get to where you want to go and each bridge you cross makes you smarter and gives you an opportunity to learn and grow.  Don’t let fear of rejection or failure define you and keep you from being in the studio.  Accept the fact that both are an inevitable part of the process and use them as a stepping stone instead of a roadblock on your journey.

Not enough no’s
You have to be careful not to overcommit yourself.  You can’t get into a creative flow if you’re only allowing yourself quick short bursts of time in the studio.  I know that not everyone has the luxury of being able to be in the studio all day every day but if all your getting for studio time is 15 minutes here and there then it may be time to take a look at and prioritize what other projects your involved with.  Be picky about the projects you say yes to.  Don’t get caught into the trap of thinking that if you don’t say yes to whatever the current opportunity is that there will never be another one if you decline.



Too many no’s
Isolating yourself in the studio without a break can be just as much of a problem as not getting enough studio time.  Suddenly you find yourself at a loss for what to work on or what direction to go in because you’re feeling isolated and uninspired.  When this happens you need to get outside of the studio and refill the creative well.  Meet up with friends, go to a museum or art exhibit, browse the library or bookstore, grab your camera and go on a walk around the neighborhood or for a hike.  Take a class in another medium - this is one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling like I need a break from the studio.  I’ve taken workshops in glass blowing, pottery, jewelry making and bead making.  I wasn’t very good at any of them but the point of taking the classes was not to find a new artistic direction, it was just to stimulate my creative muse and have some fun.

Burnout
At some point you may find yourself in a situation when you are just feeling a lack of motivation to work on anything.  You’ve had your nose to the grindstone for so long, been churning out one piece of art after another and suddenly you just don’t feel like making anything.  You go into the studio but all you can muster the energy to do is sit and stare at the pile of materials.  The desire to actually do anything with them just isn’t there. Or maybe you’ve just finished a piece of work that is so fantastic that you think you’ll never make another piece of work that’s anywhere near as good.  It happens and you need to give yourself a break.  Take some time off, catch up on your reading, visit the library and take out some books on an artist that you want to learn more about, clean up the studio, spend some time outside gardening or pursuing some other hobby.  Break out the crayons, watercolors or markers and play in your sketchbook. 

The important thing is not to panic! Trust me when I say that it will pass and your motivation will return. Don’t try to force it, let it run it’s course. It may take a few days or it may take a few weeks but it will pass.

Need help with your studio practice?  Book a coaching session with me or take one of my online classes!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Art of Setting Goals



Sue Bleiweiss


I am a firm believer that goal setting plays a critical role in an artists studio practice. A clearly defined set of goals can help you stay focused, provide direction, keep you motivated and make the decision of whether or not to take on new projects easier.  While writing down your goals is an important first step you’ll increase your odds of actually achieving that goal if you take it two steps further by prioritizing it and creating a roadmap for it.  I approach goal setting as a four step system:


1: Write them down

Start with writing down a list of all the goals you’d like to accomplish. Don’t worry about how reasonable they are, how you’re going to achieve them or how they fit with the other goals on your list. Just get a list down on paper. Take your time with this, you don’t have to get it all done in one sitting. Keep the list handy and add to it over the course of a few days.  Once you have a list break it down into categories if appropriate. For instance your categories might include: art, publishing, marketing, social media etc.

2: Prioritize

Break your goals down into short and long term goals within each category. Short term goals are the ones that you want to work on over the next year and anything beyond that is a long term goal.  Starting with the short term goals put them in order of priority. Which ones are the most important to you and are the ones that you want to achieve first?

Now create a new short term goal list from your prioritized list and list them order of priority. This is your new working goal list.  Do this for your long term goal list too.

3: Create a roadmap

This is probably the most important step and the one that is the most critical for success. In order to achieve a goal you have to know what steps you need to take and in what order to do them. For each of the goals on your prioritized list write out the set of steps you will need to take in the order you need to do them to achieve the goal.  For instance, let’s say that one of your goals is “get published in a magazine” or “build a website”?  These are great goals but what steps do you need to take to make them happen?   Write those steps down in the order they need to be done.



4: Evaluate, assess and adjust

The best laid plans and systems can fail you if you aren’t continually monitoring them to make sure they are helping you to stick with your plans and work towards your goals.  If you find that you are not being as productive as you think you should be or you find that you are continually pushing your goals further and further out then it’s time to step back and assess what is going on.  You may have to adjust the way you’re working, change the systems you have in place, let go of a project or re-evaluate and reprioritize your lists.   Don’t be afraid to try out new approaches when it comes to managing your time.  What works for one artist doesn’t necessarily work for another and you have to find what works for you. You may find that depending on what your home life schedule is (kids, school vacations, family events etc.) may make it necessary for you use one system for part of the year and another for the rest.  If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like nothing is working and you just can’t get on top of it all then reach out for help from a fellow artist or mentor.  Sometimes a fresh perspective or just talking it through someone can help you come up with solutions that you couldn’t find on your own.






Need help with your studio practice?  Book a coaching session with me or take one of my online classes!

Monday, November 19, 2018

a little bit about me...


Hi Everyone!  My name is Sue Bleiweiss and I will be your host here on the 52 Quilters blog for the next week.  I thought I would begin my time here by telling you a little bit about myself and my work.

Working with my own hand dyed fabrics, my goal is to create vibrant colorful and whimsical quilted fiber art collages that delight the eye of the viewer, draw them in for a closer look and make them smile.  Buildings and houses are one of my favorite subjects to work with because they’re easily distorted to create a feeling of whimsy and fantasy while still appearing recognizable.  My use of whimsy combined with imagery that is so closely associated with home, family and love serves two purposes; it triggers a feeling of joyful memories to those with a positive family upbringing while also creating a sense of freedom and escape for those who did not.  Giving them a moment to create an alternative reality to the one they experienced.

City Skyline 72” x 33”
2nd place Art Whimsical IQF 2014

Each piece I create begins in the pages of my sketchbook where I make several small rough sketches of the imagery that I want to work with.  Beginning with a small sketch gives me the freedom to explore combinations of the images and colors before cutting into any fabrics.  I start with black and white pencil sketches and fill in with colored pencils once I feel I am close to a final sketch.





My small sketches are re-drawn into full size cartoons that allow me to adjust the scale of the images before the actual construction of the piece in fabric begins.  These full sized drawings are transferred to tracing paper which are used for my cutting templates and then I begin building the collage.  This process can take anywhere from several days to several weeks.





 I work with professional fiber dyes combined with a process that uses a minimal amount of water to add color to the cloth I use in my fiber art collages.  



I prefer dyeing my own fabric as opposed to working with commercially dyed fabric because it allows me to maintain a consistent color palette from quilt to quilt which creates a sense of cohesion and unity across the body of my work.  It’s also a very satisfying full circle process for me to start with plain white cloth, dye it and turn it into a vibrantly colored art quilt.

I’ve authored several books and I am a regular contributor to Quilting Arts Magazine.



For the next week I thought I would cover a range of topics that those of you who are on your own art quilting journey might find helpful including dealing with the creative slump, critique,  goal setting and working in a series.  I welcome comments and feedback on these topics as well as suggestions for others so either leave a comment here on the blog or feel free to email me directly at sue@suebleiweiss.com



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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Saying Good-bye

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

Introduction:

Little Lake Butte
des Morts in Fall
by Gwyned Trefethen
Private Collection
It is that bittersweet time when I must relinquish my role as author of the 52 Quilters blog posts. It has been a delight sharing what I have gleaned over my 30 years of quilting, especially those years devoted to art quilting. One lesson I seemed destined to learn repeatedly is the emotional arch of creating art. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride every time I make a new work of my own design. It begins filled with promise. I am blown away by my genius and can't wait to get started on this latest germ of an idea. This usually means doing research and test driving various vague design concepts on paper or using EQ8. The euphoria continues as I select the fabrics/palette I will use. My mind drifts over the various approaches and techniques most appropriate to achieve my vision. Then the frenetic pace slows and I begin work in earnest. Perhaps I have pieced a few blocks, or created a cartoon as a guide to place appliqué pieces. The excitement  diminishes, as the gap between my vision and my work widen. It isn't unusual for self doubt and negative internal dialogue to start up and continue for the next period as my work comes together, but feels less than satisfactory. I have learned to focus, preserver, and trust my original instinct to make the work, very, very rarely giving in to the disillusionment. When the work is done, I see those tiny flaws, imperceptible to others.  I am shocked, months later, when those flaws have miraculously disappeared. 
Facade
by Esterita Austin

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

The design element I struggle with most is space. Perhaps this is why I was blown away the first time I saw work by Esterita Austin. In 2001 she was working on a series based on ancient stone buildings, paths, and wells. She is one of the early pioneers of Misty Fuse, a spider web like fusible that led to many fiber artists leaving needle turn appliqué behind in favor of the much faster, simpler method of fusing any shape piece to fabric.

Lets Look At Space:

Space is what gives a 2D artwork a sense of depth. This can be done in several ways, often used together, to create the illusion of depth. How objects are positioned in the work, shading, and use of a one or two point perspective all help give the illusion of depth.


Minot Beach, N. Scituate, Massachusetts
Photo taken by Dana B. Eagles
Tip of the Day:

Don't let insecurity, self doubt, fear, needing to be perfect, or not knowing how to do something, hold you back from making new work. The more work you make, the more confidence you will develop, especially to push through the difficult parts. Making art is a journey, sometimes arduous, but always worth it.

Final Words:
Thank you for joining me in a week immersed in the world of art quilts. It has been a pleasure to host 52 Quilters.

Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

How to Add Texture to Your Work

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.
Introduction:
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

What is it that draws people to quilts and quilting? One answer to that question is their tactile nature. You just can't resist touching a quilt. Quilters often refer to petting their fabric. There is something very soothing about laying fabric out on the cutting or ironing table, and smoothing it into place, much the way you stroke a cat, dog, or infant's hair. When I first started quilting in the late '80s the fabric being used, by the vast majority of quilters, was 100% cotton. That was what I used and it is still my go to fabric. The difference between now and then is what the fabric looks like. In the '80s most of the fabric was tiny prints and calicos. Now batiks, hand dyed fabrics, fabrics created through a multitude of surface design techniques, and non cottons, such as dupioni silk, recycled vintage linen, upholstery samples, and vinyl are just some of the fabrics frequenting contemporary work. Each fabric has a different hand (what it feels like when you run your hand over the cloth ) or texture.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

Mudflats
by Margaret Ramsay
One quilt artist, whom I have long admired for her strong textural work and whimsical style, is Jane Sassaman. She has been creating imaginative gardens and detailed aspects from these gardens, in art quilts for decades. Her workmanship is impeccable. I love the curves of her vegetation in contrast to the thorns which feature in most of her work either as supporting elements or as the lead character. Sassaman is a master when it comes to creating visual texture in her art quilts.

Lets Look At Texture:

Detail from Star Bright
by Gwyned Trefethen
Today's featured element of design is texture. Some common ways texture is featured in art quilts is through quilting. This allows some areas of the work to recede and others to come to forward, like a bas-relief. Another form of texture in quilts is the fabric itself. Texture can also be part of the design. Sassaman does this through her gentle smooth curves and sharp pointed thorns. You can imagine running your hands through her gardens and feeling the soft petals, or getting pricked by the thorns.

Tip of the Day:

I struggled with free motion quilting for years. I feared ruining a quilt top with my quilting, not choosing an appropriate pattern, and detracting from the quilt due to inadequate work. Now, I think my ability to confidently free motion quilt is one of my strengths. How did I go from fear to confident? Practice. Once again, I give credit to Leah Day. In August of 2009 she announced she was going to create 365 free motion motifs, share them via video, and develope a forum where others could share their results or ask her questions. I decided rather than simply watch her videos, I would try all the patterns. The patterns and videos are still available. If you want to learn free motion quilting, or improve your free motion quilting, working your way through Leah's videos is a great way to practice.


Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Creating 3D in a 2D Medium

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

Introduction:

M C Escher - Drawing Hands
In my previous post I paid homage to Katie Pasquini Masopust and her early work with 3 dimensional designs. She was my first introduction to creating the appearance of 3D using quilting as her medium. It was M C Escher who first got me thinking about ways to fool the eye. I was especially intrigued by his infinite staircases and the image hands drawing  hands. One traditional quilt that does a superb job of appearing 3D, is the tumbling block.


Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

If you, like me, can't get enough optical illusions, but aren't sure where to start, I recommend Karen Coombs. I can imagine Modern Quilters expanding on Karen's work with a Modern aesthetic. Caryl Bryer Fallert is another quilt artist who is an expert at creating a sense of space and illusion in her work. Three favorite artists of mine, making very different, amazing 3D fabric art are Regina Benson,  Betty Busby, and Susan Else.

Ariana's Building Blocks
by Gwyned Trefethen
Lets Look At Form:

The difference between shape and form is that shape is an image represented by two dimensions (height by width) and form is an image represented by three dimensions (height, width and depth). Forms created in art may be through optical illusion. In other words tricking the eye to believe the form has depth when technically it does not. It may also be a sculpture. Dimensional Cloth by Andra Stanton is a book not to be missed if you are intrigued by 3D fabric art.

Tip of the Day:

If you are tempted to make a tumbling block quilt, but are held back because of the difficulty in piecing smooth, accurate Y seams, there is a simple solution. There are tutorials available on the internet, both written and video. When it comes to breaking down a technique, no one does it better, in my opinion, than Leah Day. Here is her video for everything you need to know to make the perfect tumbling block quilt.


Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.


Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why Study Value?

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.



Introduction:

Bearded Iris
by Gwyned Trefethen
12.5" H x 15" W
By the early '90s I joined my local quilt guild, the Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild, in Walpole, MA. We were very fortunate to have the budget and the support of our members to bring in several nationally renowned quilters , especially those who stretched tradition and/or made art quilts, annually. When it was my turn to put together RNQG's schedule, I knew I wanted to contract Katie Pasquini Masopust. At the time Masopust was exploring a new series she called Ghost Layers. It was quite a departure from her very early work, made when she was Katie Pasquini, that focused on isometrics. Everyone wanted to learn how to create their own ghost layer style quilt. Not me. I asked her to teach her color theory class. I'm so glad I did.


Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

3 Dimensional Design, by Katie Pasquini, is the first book I purchased featuring art quilts versus traditional patterns and the techniques needed to make them. I was mesmerized by Pasquini's ability to create a sense of dimension using a 2 dimensional medium. I learned two things from this book. First, was the importance of a grid based on perspective lines to create the sense of a third dimension. Second, was why a light source is necessary to really bump out that third dimension.

Lets Look At Value:

Bargello Blessings
by Gwyned Trefethen
Made for my sister when she was
undergoing treatment for colon cancer.
Anyone who has studied a musical instrument knows the importance of practicing scales. I think of value levels as a color scale. Each color begins with its palest version and works its way towards its darkest version by gradual increments. Hence the term gradation. Creating gradations is like practicing scales. Understanding the intervals, or steps to get from one note to another or one color to another is key. Why? Because this understanding will help the artist achieve their vision. Value is necessary to show a light source. Areas infused with light are the palest colors, while those areas blocked from the light are in shadow or the darkest colors. Mid values are used for those areas neither in direct light or shadow. Value is relative. One color may read as dark, say royal blue next to a sunflower yellow, but that same royal blue will read as light when placed beside an eggplant/aubergine.

Tip of the Day:

One is so used to seeing color versus value, that it is easy not to have sufficient contrast in one's work. The result is key elements of design may blend into the background or neighboring elements. If you want to make sure you have enough contrast take a picture of your piece and convert it to black and white. Some cameras will do this. Photo apps often has this feature, as well.

Comments and Questions:

I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Importance of Friends

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.


Detail from 2001 A Floral Fantasy
by Gwyned Trefethen
Block pattern design from
Jacobean Applique
by Patricia Campbell and Mimi Ayers


Introduction

Before I started quilting I dabbled in other crafts. I had made several needlepoint and crewel pillows, knitted a few items, sewed clothing and Halloween outfits from patterns, and played with crochet. I enjoyed doing handwork, especially as a way to relax. However, nothing grabbed me sufficiently to plan my day around my craft or want to find out everything I could about it. Then I started quilting and found my passion. Addiction might be a better word choice. I couldn't get enough of it. I had left my career to stay home and raise our children. Quilting was my me time, my lifeline, my sanity. When my children were in school or napping, it was likely I was cutting fabric and sewing it back together. It could be a lonely endeavor. I wanted to hang out with like minded people. It was the early 90s. PCs were novel, but quickly becoming a must have item. We got one for our home. I discovered Compuserve. This was an email server and it had discussion boards. One of them was on quilting. I joined. Soon I was connected with people all over the US.

Lone Yellow
By Alexander Calder
Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

One Compuserve project I participated in was to read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and share observations with other Artist Way participants. What an eye opener. One practice I began, due to this experience, is to begin each day with morning pages. Cameron recommends this to all artists. It is simple. Before you do anything else, sit down and write three pages of stream of consciousness. The premise is that everyone is more open during that time between dreaming and fully awake, to make connections and problem solve. I've been doing this religiously for over 25 years. I have found it is a great way to purge inner demons and anxieties. Some how just writing the less savory down gets it out of the system and allows one to have a more harmonious day. Many of the titles for my work have come to me while writing my morning pages, as have solutions to creative problems. I've even been known to sketch an idea or two. I'm not much of a doodler, but when I do sketch or doodle I lean towards shapes, especially hexagons.


Cutouts
by Henri Matisse
Lets Look At Shape:

A shape is defined by its contour or outline. Shapes are categorized as being either geometric or organic. Common geometric shapes are circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Organic shapes may represent objects, such as pears or leaves. They may also be more abstract, or amoeba like. Henri Matisse is an artist who is known for his use of shapes. He used paper cut outs to create both stencils and shapes.



Nestling Oysters
by Gwyned Trefethen
38" H x 39" W
Tip of the Day:

A fun artist play date is to create positive and negative shapes from a folded piece of paper. A positive shape is the shape filled in. It is a solid. The negative space is the void left behind when a shape is cut out.

Comments and Questions:

I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.

Social Media Addresses:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

First Steps Towards Becoming An Art Quilter

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.

First Snow Revisited
by Gwyned Trefethen
48" H x 42" W
Private Collection

An example of a monochromatic color scheme
Introduction

Some art quilters come to the medium through art. They may have formal art school training. Others, like me, come to art quilting through the quilting side. I began by making traditional, popular quilts, starting with Eleanor Burns book, Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin Pattern. It was through making multiple log cabin quilts I learned how to press my seams so they would nest together at a join, cut straight strips of fabric, how design is enhanced through fabric selected for its value,  the importance of an accurate 1/4" seam, and how layout can significantly alter the overall appearance of a quilt. Gradually, very gradually I took baby steps towards tweaking patterns and eventually doing my own thing from start to finish. Representational quilts terrified, and therefore, eluded me. I needed someone to help me break through from making contemporary traditional quilts to making art quilts. I was told Sandy Donabed did just that. I enrolled in her next class. It was just what I needed.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists

Sandy taught out of her home. My memory is fuzzy as to the exact details. I took the class approximately 30 years ago. What I do recall is having an assignment for each class, even the very first one. Students were asked to bring in an object or two they found aesthetically intriguing to the opening class. My object was an egg beater. Seems even then I was captivated by clean, simple lines. We met for eight weeks. Each week Sandy would focus on a topic, often related to the elements of design. She may even have stated that was what she was doing and named each element she covered. I was so new to art, I had never heard of them, although I certainly could recognize line, color, shape, texture and more in art when I saw it. After several weeks we began making our art quilts. We would bring them to class to be critiqued. By week six we were thoroughly vested in our design and work had begun in earnest. It was then that Sandy asked us to "make a radical change" to our piece. That is the lesson I have never forgotten. It taught me it is never too late change direction and often that crazy idea turns out to be just what is needed.
One of Claude Monet's Water Lillies
an example of an analogous color scheme

Lets Look At Color:

I was unable to discover who first stated, "Value does all the work, while color gets all the credit." This is so true. We look at works of the Madonna and Child from the Renaissance and note the rich, royal blue of her outfit in contrast to the gold leaf of her crown, and the creamy peach tones of the skin. We don't think, dark to mid value, light value, lightest value. When I begin a new work, after I have the concept worked out or blueprint prepared, I select a palette. Common palette choices are:

  • Monochromatic: Only one color is selected, but all values may be included from a mere whisper of the color to its darkest value.
  • Analogous: This is very similar to monochromatic, but colors on either side of the main color on the color wheel are included.
  • Complementary: The colors used are directly opposite on the color wheel.
  • Split Complementary: Is a combination of Analogous and Complementary. A focus color is chosen and the split colors added to the palette are the two analogous colors which surround the focus color.
  • Triadic: Three colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. Common examples of this are primary colors and secondary colors.
Adoration
by Gwyned Trefethen
35" H x 35" W

An example of a complementary color scheme
Rules are made to be interpreted. I think of the formal color palettes as guidelines. They are nice to refer to if as I select my fabric from my stash, the fabrics don't seem to be coming together. What could I add or subtract to achieve the effect I am after. I will often pull in other fabrics while working. It is not unusual for me to discover some fabrics I initially selected never made their way into the work they were selected for.

Tip of the Day:

I store my fabric by hue and stack it with the darkest fabrics of that hue at the bottom and the lightest at the top. This way it is easy for me to quickly locate fabric of  any hue or value.  I can easily identify areas of weakness and strength within my stash. For example, I can always use more of the lightest values of any hue. When I first started making quilts I would buy fabric for the project I was making. Now that is rare. Instead I buy fabric to replenish my stash, much the way you might shop for groceries, replenishing staples and buying perishables each week.

Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th. 

Social Media Addresses:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Becoming An Art Quilter

My name is Gwyned Trefethen.
I am the featured art quilter on 52Quilters.com
and @52quilters November 5 - 11, 2018.
Night Vision
by Gwyned Trefethen
50" H x 40" W 

Introduction:

I've been making quilts for 30 years as a passionate avocation. There are as many paths to becoming an art quilter as there are art quilters. Over the course of seven days I will share my path. It truly has been a journey, stopping along the way to explore this technique, that idea, or simply immerse myself in art in a variety of ways. I had and have no destination. This includes never setting out to become an art quilter. It simply happened several years into the journey. Now I think of myself as an artist whose medium is fiber and who is deeply rooted in the quilter tradition.

Influential Books and/or Quilt Artists
Each day I will share a book and/or quilt artist that captured my attention somewhere along my journey. Today it is Joen Wolfrom and her book Visual Dance. This is the first book I ever came across, which used actual quilts to explain and demonstrate the elements and principles of design. Reading this book was an ah ha moment for me. It gave me a guide on how to look at the work of others and how to problem solve when a piece of mine wasn't working out. Because I feel understanding the elements and principles of design is vital to every artist, and quilt artists are artists, my posts will include a closer look at each of the elements. Perhaps I will delve into the principles at a later date.

Bouquet of Peace
by Pablo Picasso
Elements and Principles of Design
Although I have known of the elements and principles for decades now, I never truly understood what the difference between them is. Then I discovered a great analogy on line. Artists are like chefs creating meals. The elements constitute the ingredients of a recipe, the principles are the recipe, and the artwork is the finished dish. In order to achieve a tasty dish (strong artwork) one needs to begin with the best ingredients, which are then combined through various techniques. Of course, one can make substitutions and each person performs techniques or combines techniques differently. This is why, even using the same ingredients and techniques, no dish made by two different people will taste the same. It is also why artworks made from the same paint, using the same techniques, of the same scene vary. It is the chef or artist who brings the work to life.

Lets Look At Line:
Line is sited as the first element of design. It can have many characteristics. Here are just a few: thin, thick, long, short, heavy, faint, continuous, fractured, straight, curved, outline, filler, directional, and entangled. Understanding line, how to use it effectively and how to create it using one's chosen medium requires years of study. All the works depicted in this post were selected for their use of line.

Butternut Squash: A gesture drawing
by Gwyned Trefethen
Tip of the Day:
I believe it is just as important to study art as it is to study quilting in order to grow as a quilt artist. This is why I, along with others, recommend exploring media other than quilting to grow as a quilt artist. Drawing is a great medium to learn about line.

Comments and Questions:
I value your comments and questions. You may send them to me publicly by commenting at the end of the blog. If you prefer, you may address me privately via email. I will be hosting the 52 Quilters blog and Instagram accounts from November 5 - November 11, 2018. I will answer some of your questions in the final post on November 11th.


Social Media Addresses and Affiliations:

Website: www.gwynedtrefethen.com
Blog: gwynedtrefethen.blogspot.com
Instagram: gwynedtrefethen

Juried Artist Member (JAM) and Board Member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Till We Meet Again



Tonight is my last night hosting the site until the end of the month, so I wanted to leave you thinking about Art Quilts and motivate you to consider trying some mixed media techniques.  Below are some links to my blog and Youtube channel in which I cover a variety of techniques and show some of my quilts designed to inspire you!

I recently had some quilts displayed in the Runge Nature Center Art Show, in Jefferson City, MO.  Here is the video of the work that was displayed.




 Check out my quilts that were exhibited in a Technology and Quilting Quilt Show.



You can read about the show by using this link,


Here is a blog post on using textile paints to change the look of a Craftsy T-Shirt as part of a Craftsy Challenge.  Even though I am painting on a t-shirt, it works the same with cotton fabric.  Use this link to find out more.
 






Those of you who know me, understand my love and fascination with all things sparkly.  So it is only natural that I share this post on how to add glitter to your clothing and quilts.  Follow this link to the post about glitter.



I have just recently created a work shop on creating your own Faux Batik Fabric panel using a resist and textile paints.


You can see how others successfully used my patterns to create their own unique tote bags in a quilt retreat by using this link.

I also have live demonstrations in a Facebook Group that I host called Linda B Creative.  Please do a search and ask to join.  Then check out the "Live" posts for more inspiration!


I also have a free newsletter that you are welcome to subscribe to by using this link. There is a bonus for new subscribers!


It has been a great few days sharing my work and inspirations with you. I am excited for you to meet the other Art Quilters that will be featured this month, perhaps we can inspire you to branch out in a new direction!

May Your Bobbins be Full!

Linda Bratten
www.LindaBrattenCreations.com

Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Common Thread for the November Art Quilters

I am so excited to be working with a great team of Art Quilters to inspire you this month!  While our art quilts may vary in style, we have a unifying organization assisting us, we are all members of SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates. This is an international group that was organized to share, educate and promote studio art quilts.

You can find out more about SAQA by going to the website: http://www.saqa.com/

or by watching the following video at:  https://vimeo.com/209630346



All though I am a recent member to the group, I have benefited greatly. 


I have enjoyed participating and learning from the SAQA Seminars.  These interviews, webinars and articles are great sources of inspiration for me.  Not only do other artist generously share their knowledge and work, but they share tips and techniques.  It has inspired me in a variety of ways.

SAQA also gives me a great list of upcoming exhibits and call for entries that pertain to art quilts.  The struggle to find a venue has been one of the reasons I did not exhibit my work in the past.

This is my piece, The Promise of Spring.  It is currently in the SAQA Traveling Trunk Show.  It is a photo transferred piece that I use free-motion quilting techniques to enhance the motifs.

While I have yet to participate in a SAQA Conference or a Regional Meeting, I love that the opportunities exist and the information and newsletters that are shared about the events.

So I can't wait for you to meet the other members of the November Art Quilters team for 52 Quilters.  I am thankful for SAQA for bringing us together to work on this project to share our love for Art Quilts.

Linda Bratten
www.LindaBrattenCreations.com