Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Changes, and ...

In the beginning of October some parts of my life changed. Since then I have had considerably less time for quilting. And it will remain like that. In fact, I was the one who intentionally changed these parts, and it's not that I was not aware of the consequences for my quilting. Little did I know, however, that now that time is more limited, ideas would start floating at me like clouds in the sky. So here I am, with very little time at hand, and many many ideas buzzing in my head. They might never get out of there, who knows.
But I did manage to work on - and finish! - the quilt I want to enter in the SAQA 'forced to flee' exhibition. It was a design I had contemplating for a while, and this call for entry gave me a good opportunity to work it out. I am not going to show many pictures here, as I haven't sent my entry yet. I can pick up the professional photo in a couple of days, and then will have to wait for the notification.

text messages 19 - as a work in progress

It wasn't always easy because the topic, of course, has been so intensively with me for the last few years. And in a way I was making the quilt for my refugee friends because I could not do a single stitch without having their stories in mind as I was working on the various parts of the quilt, and waiting for the ideas that kept coming in. The days when I could not spend much, sometime not even any time on it these past few weeks were sometimes disconcerting as I kept fearing I might not get finished in time. But it seems it needed those days of additional ripening time, because some more ideas could how up and get incorporated. I am very pleased with the result, and not matter whether it gets into the show or not, it was very good to make this particular piece.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How to deal with your yellow scraps, or progress report....

1. Look at your collection of yellow scraps in the box of bags with scraps assorted by colors.
2. Realize that you have quite a few of yellow scraps.
3. Decide that you are going to do something about it – a whole year’s worth of a project using up yellow scraps. Set yourself a few rules – such as ‘use as they are’, ‘don’t cut additional ones’, ‘embroider them to a foundation, only using a machine in extremely dire situations’, ‘at least one a day’…
4. Start attaching them to some other fabric for which it was hard to find a suitable use.
5. Happily stitch along for a few weeks, thinking the numbers are dwindling, until you reach a minor moment of panic thinking there might not be enough yellow scraps to last you through the year.  This is the critical moment – because then you start searching for other projects that will produce additional scraps that fit the rules. Of course, not only yellow ones, but you will find that you will be particularly pleased to see yellow ones turning up.
6. Find interesting things such as ties from presents that have a tinge of yellow in them.
7. When given the slightest chance, grab anything textile that is yellow.
8. On the occasion of a heap of textile remnants being dismantled, spend a good half an hour searching for anything yellow in that heap…

And by about two thirds of the year over you will realize: despite the fact that you have been using scraps diligently, 

that you have made progress on the project, 

that you even have decided on a venue where you want to enter the result (i.e. adding a strong urge to keep working on the thing to get it finished) you will realize that your stash of yellow scraps seems to have multiplied instead of dwindled. 

You can start sorting out those scraps that are 'too straight', 'too strippy', for some other project.


Still - your supply of yellow scraps will have increased over time.

Not only that. Other color scraps have increased as well. Which will make you look at your collection of blue or red scraps for next year …

Monday, October 1, 2018

Getting them out there...

Over the past two or three years my approach to quilting has slightly changed.
For one thing, due to the fact that I was teaching there wasn't quite as much time to make quilts as I'd had before.
On the other hand, getting in touch with the refugees and finding out about their lives and problems gave me a totally different perspective. I still dearly love making quilts. I just like sitting at the sewing machine (or hand-stitching), feeling the fabric, handling different colors and patterns and touching tiny bits and sorting them by shade and size and potential partners... it is a perfect way to stay out of the world. And I still want to enter calls for entry, perhaps sell a quilt every once in a while, if possible. It was a really nice feeling to be working during the textile art symposium in May and know that the result of that week's work would be paid for, and displayed at a prominet place in town. So making quilts is still a  favorite activity of mine. But I may not be making as many art quilts any more as I have been. Yes, they are fun to make. Yet I have very much enjoyed making the 'traditional' blanket (traditional as in functional, something to snuggle up and stay warm with) as well, and when I gave them as presents the appreciation sometimes seemed much higher than when I put something on the wall. So somehow it has become more important to me to get my quilts out there, to have them seen AND used rather than trying to sell them because they are art. A different kind of self-evaluation, I guess.
For several years I have been donating small quilts for the SAQA Benefit auction - this year's is currently still on in its third section - and I also had donated one this year. However, I was so early in sending it off, and then so many other things happened, that I did not get around to participating in the "Dream Collections", and I completely missed out on advertising for the auction. When a few days after the auction opened I finally started looking for my quilt to find out in which section it was up for auction I couldn't even remember what it looked like and didn't find it at first. I had to search by my name, I am embarassed to say. And then it sold pretty quickly, the highest price my donated quilt has so far sold for.

All my donated quilts have sold - but of course that is money that I never get to see myself because it is meant as support for SAQA. It means getting my pieces out there, and perhaps it means that I am getting more 'known'. But I am not receiving any immediate 'revenue'. And I have found that my feelings about knowing that quilts are out there, and they are being seen, is more important to me now than that I actually got paid for them.
Which has led to the fact that I already know how the small quilt for next year's donation is going to look like.
And I have decided to donate other quilts. When I read about Rachel Biel's efforts in Paducah I decided, because I could not donate money for the cause, that I would donate quilts for her to try and sell in that shop. I have picked one bigger and two small ones and will ship them as soon as I have attached sleeves to the tow small ones.
And I have offered one of my text message quilts to my brother-in-law and his wife as a 'loan', because all the time I was making it I had always imagined that it would be on display over their red sofa in their living room. I know they can't afford to pay for it, as they are planning to buy a house, and after all it was I who offered it to them, can't expect to be paid when you say, hey, would you like to put up this quilt over your sofa?

text mesages 10

But I would rather have it out there than it being rolled up on the shelf for years and years to come.
I don't know where this is going to lead me. But it has been an interesting development. Especially in a time when I am working on the quilt that I want to enter in SAQA's 'Forced to Flee' call for entry, and I think this is one of the best quilts that I have made so far...