I mean that quite literally. My husband has proposed some lighting upgrades to make it easier for me to see what I’m doing in my studio. It is a former bedroom with the obligatory middle of the ceiling dim light. New energy efficient bulbs haven’t helped much. The two windows are on the same wall and either bring in too little or too much light from their western exposure.
So far I’ve done online searches, which have given me general guidelines but not enough specifics as to products to use/avoid and costs. Some of the studios pictured have tons of ceiling lights, but visions of large price tags for fixtures and electricians dance through my head when I look at them.
I have task lights at my work table and on my sewing machine, but there are dark areas by the ironing board and design wall. I know changes are needed, but I’m befuddled about where to begin. This is where you come in.
What lighting solutions have worked for you? What kind of budget did you have? Are there resources I haven’t yet tapped to help guide me?
Quilts often seek to evoke warm, cozy feelings associated with rainbows, puppies, and holidays; but some are deliberately different. They are meant to make the viewer question assumptions and possibly feel uncomfortable.
Most recently the Threads of Resistance show has been exciting reactions, but quilters were making social and political statements in the 19th century about topics like war, temperance, and women’s suffrage. The tradition has continued through civil rights, environmental issues, AIDs, refugees, gun control and other contemporary concerns.
I addressed the social commentary quilts shown at 2018’s QuiltCon earlier. Here’s my favorite one, a tribute to Heather Heyer, the activist killed during the white supremacist march in Charlottesville last August.
I viewed the Threads of Resistance exhibit at the 2018 Sewing Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, after reading the printed warning about the graphic nature of some of the work. The exhibit was cordoned off, with only one entry point. I took photos of ones I thought combined a message and artistry. See all the entries here.
The societal/political aspects of quilts are stronger than you’d think if you went only by what’s exhibited at many quilt shows. Part of the International Quilt Study Center’s website, World Quilts: The American Story, is devoted to engagement. Thomas Knauer posted an impassioned editorial about what he calls the whitewashing of quilts’ context
I looked over my work and found almost no topical subjects. I just don’t do what I call message quilts. But maybe I should. Let me end with a quilt I think, and others agree, epitomizes the use of quilting skills in service of a message.
I love having boring but necessary finish work to fall back on when I get stuck on new stuff. My deep purple project (no, you haven’t seen it) needs wall time, so I turned to binding two projects.
Neither is especially original, though I like to think I’ve put my own spin on them. “Church Windows” is a smaller version of a Victoria Findlay Wolfe project, and “Twinkle, Twinkle” is my riff on the “Rock Star” quilt I spotted on Pinterest.
I wrote about “Church Windows” before I quilted it. The quilting was a bit tricky as I went with a wool batting. My reasoning was it would make for a warmer, lighter lap quilt. The batting became an issue after I washed it half way through the quilting process and the quilt puffed up like a startled cat.
Oh, why did I wash it? I sprayed what I assumed were water erasable blue pen marks with water after I did part of the quilting. Turns out I assumed wrong. I used many kinds of pens to trace around templates for the pieces in order to see my lines, and one/some of those bled horribly with water. The bleeding came out with a wash, but the batting really fluffed up in the dryer. Then I had to tamp it down for the second round of quilting.
Luckily, quilting “Twinkle, Twinkle” went smoothly, however boring a one inch diagonal grid is to quilt.
I used up many, many scraps on this one, but I fear my scrap boxes are gearing up for the winter breeding season.
If you’re a fan of the movie “Blade Runner” you’ll love the neon colored photography of Liam Wong. Wong is a Scottish (I didn’t see that coming) graphic designer who works for a video game company in Canada. On a trip to Tokyo he set out to capture the city in all its nighttime neon glory.
I’m drawn especially to the rainy night scenes. Wong has an Instagram feed for his work, @liamwon9. You can also buy merch printed with his photos. See his website for details.
I hereby declare this is drunkards path week. First, I featured the paintings of Luiz Zerbini. Now, I want to show you two small quilts, let’s call them quiltlets, I’ve been working on. They use the modern drunkards path block.
What makes this block modern? As the photo below shows, the larger, traditional orange and yellow blocks have at least a half inch between the outer edge and the pie piece, while in the smaller modern blocks the distance between the pie and the curved piece is just 1/4 inch. When the modern blocks are sewn together, the pies touch each other. At least that’s the theory.
The 20.5 by 24.5 inch quiltlet reverses the light and dark colors from the pillow cover.
I’m still working up a quilting design for “Flower Power” but have managed to start two new projects, so I’ve shoved all the boring (to me) finishing chores to the bottom of the heap. I have a month and a half until the close of 2018, plenty of time for all the facings/bindings/quilting/hanging sleeves needed.
According to the Stephen Friedman Gallery writeup of his work, “Zerbini uses a rich and luminous palette on a range of different subject matter from landscapes, cityscapes, and domestic scenes to those with a more obscure or even abstract intention. By juxtaposing styles and techniques, organic and geometric patterns, fields of light and shadow, he creates optical effects that beckon for contemplation. He is an artist that constantly multiplies the formal possibilities related to his painting and rejects any potential stagnation of established formula, making it difficult to define any linearity in his production.”
I take that to mean you can’t really pin down his style. But, no matter, here’s some of his work that appealed to me.
I find an intriguing combination of grids and curves in Zerbini’s work, and some of his painterly effects, like the lower right corner of the last work shown above, look like they could be hand dyed fabric.
About a month ago I featured my adventures in an online class called Abstract-A-Licious, run by Lyric Kinard. The class ended in mid-October, so I want to show you my responses to the last class exercises. We were to take some of our abstractions and develop them further into a design in fabric.
I used my drawings from earlier lessons, though there was no requirement to do so. Lyric encouraged us to “go rogue” if that’s what worked for us.
I began with my Degas dancer abstraction. First, though, I played with my tracing paper drawings just for fun.
For my final class project I cut a window in a sheet of paper and selected part of a drawing for a paper collage design. I think this design was to be in fabric and more finished than mine is, but I had the colors I wanted in paper only. I hope to make it in fabric, though the translation will be tricky.
One side benefit I got from the class came from Lyric’s push to articulate why I made my design decisions. Many I thought were intuitive actually were rational. I’ve begun to see that it’s important for an artist to be able to talk another person through her work.
Each online class I’ve taken has had varied student participation and interactions. I think Lyric’s class began with about 15 students. Just two of us completed all the units. I know at least one student was preoccupied with Hurricane Florence, and had very limited internet access. Still, I wonder why so many of the others never posted beyond the introductory unit. Lyric was very supportive in her comments so I hope students didn’t fear criticism. While you can read and benefit from the class materials, you really learn by doing the work.
As if last week’s Library of Congress’s digital holdings weren’t enough, this week I’m featuring the newly organized Chicago Art Institute’s digital collection. Not only is the collection more accessible, you can enjoy the Institute’s blog as well.
As this blog post notes, the Institute recognizes that our digital experience has changed since the 2012 redesign.
“…we’ve released thousands of images in the public domain on the new website in an open-access format (52,438 to be exact, and growing regularly). Made available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, these images can be downloaded for free on the artwork pages.”
The level of detail available for the resources is greater, and a recommendations engine has been added.
The Executive Creative Director of Experience Design has more to say about the redesign’s wonders, but let’s get to the goodies. Just under the search box are several topics that make for intriguing browsing. There’s essentials, which are the museum’s greatest hits like American Gothic; mythology, armor, woodblock print, modernism, furniture, and many others. Sadly, textiles and fabric aren’t given their own billing.
A check under animals reveals several different kinds of art – paintings, sculpture, stained glass, furniture, etc. Sometimes the animal is central to the piece and sometimes more peripheral, like this drawing of a young lady with a parrot.
Then, there’s this magnificent feathered tunic from Peru, circa AD1500.
To continue with the eclectic entries under the animal theme, ancient Greeks could drink from a donkey’s head that apparently couldn’t be set down without spilling.
I have no idea what to make of this enigmatic watercolor by Rene Magritte called Homesickness. Does the figure have dark wings? Is that a tame lion?
It’s interesting to slice a museum’s deep collection across a subject rather than a format. I found it led to unexpected discoveries.
A word of warning, despite all the press about the redesign, I didn’t find the site especially easy to use. It’s great if you want to link an object to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.; but to see the details of individual objects it seems you need to disable popup blockers.
I can now say this UFO is a FO, since I just finished tucking in the yarn ends of my ancient crocheted afghan. It’s no accident the afghan is the same age as my son. In my naive ignorance I thought I could crochet an afghan while my infant slept or cooed at me. Guess what didn’t happen?
My version is smaller than the pattern called for, and lacks fringe, but I was going for the finish so details were dropped.
As the gods are my witness, I’ll never crochet anything big again.
The crocheting was simple, except for the yarn overs which had tension issues. It’s a good thing I used acrylic yarn as I had to wash the finished product to get the accumulated dust off it.