Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What goes around comes around....

A year ago, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer asked me to write a guest post for her blog on how I combine quilting and art journaling (you can read it here).  I wrote that moving from quilting to mixed media felt like the next logical step in my self-directed art education.  What I didn't realize then was that passions ebb and flow in cycles, and those cycles inform and move the subsequent ones.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I've been moving back to an obsession with fabric and quilting, with less emphasis on the mixed media and photography than I've had in recent months.  But this time around, I sense a difference:  now I'm fascinated with composition and color, not just color alone.  This quilt-in-progress gives you an idea of what I mean:

Free-form piecing inspired by the work of Nancy Crow
I don't think I could have made a quilt like this before.  I wasn't able to see beyond the block, or grid, orientation that most quilts have -- but since I've taken classes in collage and have begun to work in mixed media, this is beginning to change.

One thing that I think is unique to patchwork, as compared with art journaling -- the fact that you can easily change your style just by changing fabrics and construction techniques!  These 6" blocks are also current projects of mine.  While I am artistically inspired by free-form, intuitive piecing, I'm equally fascinated by precision work, especially if it involves applique or hand-piecing.   

By staying open to whatever inspires me in the moment, I avoid boxing myself in to any one identity.  I can be a free spirit!  And that includes art journaling, too.  Lately I have also been feeling like drawing faces, so why not?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I have been thoroughly enjoying our odd, warm winter, and now, our balmy 70 degree days of spring.  After our out-of-cycle blizzard back in October, I'm sure we'll get ten inches of snow in April -- but what can you do other than just go along for the ride?

So that's what I'm doing right now, going along for the ride, trying to balance my every-day "stuff" with my creative life.  I am deep in the midst of several big sewing projects, which don't really lend themselves to blog posts (it's kind of like watching the grass grow....), but I've got some travel plans coming up soon, so my camera is getting warmed up for action.  In the meantime, here's a shot I took in Thailand over Christmas:

Textured with Kim Klassen's "Thursday" (overlay @100%)

linking with Texture Tuesday

Monday, March 5, 2012

All work and no play......

I have decided to stop fighting it.

I have too many passions, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything.  So rather than feeling frustrated because I can't spend every waking moment taking photographs.. or quilting... or making mixed media art.... I've decided to follow what Julie Fei-Fan Balzer calls the "shiny ball" -- that is, whatever intrigues me in the moment, without the burden of expectations.  My creative interests tend to move in cycles, and what I find fascinating is that when I come back to something after being away from it for awhile, the other creative things I've been doing in the meantime add a dimension that was missing before.  You really lose nothing by being peripatetic!

The point of all this is that the great wheel is moving now, back in the direction of my more.... well, nerdy interests.  My brain is whirling as I wrestle with a structure for a genealogical research database I am trying to create -- one that doesn't easily fit into existing commercial database models.  The frustration comes because I have just enough knowledge to know what I want and how to get it, but not quite enough to design it easily.

So, for a study break (and as my submission to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday), I am offering more images from our trip to Thailand over Christmas.  These shots were taken at a rice mill near the town of Wiang Papao in the northern part of the country, and were textured with Kim's freebie texture, Happy Heart.
"Happy Heart" (soft light @49%, multiply @82%)

"Happy Heart" (soft light @100%, color burn @15%)

"Happy Heart" (soft light @70%, color burn @19%)

Try as I would, this image of drying rice just didn't look good with added textures!