2015 was to be the year I put more thought into each piece I made. I hoped this would translate into fewer but better pieces. What did I mean by better? Work that was more thought out, more polished, appealing from a distance and close up, and reflective of my experimentation with different media.
I certainly achieved fewer pieces.
Other changes I can discern:
I’ve stopped buying a lot of printed fabric, but have collected more hand dyed looks. This means my local quilt shops haven’t seen my face. One jelly roll (the first I ever bought) of Caryl Bryer Fallert Radiant gradation fabric has seen me through at least two projects.
I’ve stepped up my thread purchases, especially for hand sewing. I now own at least 30 different colors of perle cotton.
I’ve tried to refrain from just sewing fabric scraps together. Some spontaneous sewing still crept in, but I rationalized it as a base for free motion quilting practice.
I’ve done more hand stitching (I hesitate to call it quilting) on pieces.
I’ve made peace (sort of) with free motion quilting. I’m never going to turn out gorgeously intricately quilted work, but I can do enough FMQ to fake it. Just don’t ask me to FMQ something big.
I’ve begun to back away from quilt show rules for how I finish work that’s meant to be hung. I still finish working quilts for durability.
I’ve gotten over the modern quilting movement. There are some practitioners who I admire greatly, but lately modern quilting seems to be more about commodification – patterns and fabrics, etc. – with a loss of focus. Modern traditionalism, anyone?
I’ve learned to let ideas gestate, often for months. Slabs of fabric I may use in a winter landscape quilt lived on my design wall for over a month. The design is drawn, but I’m now reconsidering whether I want to go a lot more abstract.
I’ve entered shows that aren’t quilt shows but are art focused. One of my pieces was accepted for a SAQA Concrete and Grasslands traveling exhibit. Two others are in a local fiber and pottery show. I’ve also entered a traditional quilt show where the judges liked my work more than the viewing public did. Judy Niemeyer ruled in popular opinion.
I’ve explored tissue paper fabric. Yes, spray inks and dyes are something else to spend money on. Luckily, you can over spray colors on the paper so you don’t need more than 6 or 7 little spray bottles.
On the social side of quilting, I now participate in two small art quilt groups and one traditional guild, and I’ve joined SAQA, a national art quilt organization. I think the modern quilt group I belong to is dead. We haven’t met for some months. Some friends got together for a fabric fun retreat in June and enjoyed it so much we’re repeating it next June. Akron experimental quilters will try to get a small group together in 2016 to try new techniques and learn from each other.
I don’t know if I’ll make specific quilting related resolutions for 2016. After all, I’m still working on the ones for 2015. So, in 2016 I’ll repeat paragraph one as needed.