Always in Stitches

Location: Algonquin, Illinois, United States

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It’s a Wrap

Here we are in the final hours of the year, and I am anxiously awaiting the New Year. There is nothing like the feeling that I get at this time of the year, a whole new vista lies before me, and anything is possible. All that I have to do is set my mind to it. After all that is how I managed to get through the last couple of weeks of pre-holiday madness. Now I just need to apply the same fortitude and dogged determination towards getting a couple of pieces finished for some looming deadlines that I hope to meet. The hope is to close out the year and begin the new one with a clean slate.

Along those lines I would like to attempt an answer to Karoda’s question “How did you develop the idea for the women in the quilts to be looking away from the viewer of the quilts?” The initial idea came from this journal quilt that I created for May 2005. This started out life as I was drawing a nude in my journal from one of my drawing books or magazines. As I was drawing the back of this woman I began to think of some of the old movies where the leading lady always wore these sumptuous gowns. Since I was looking for something to make for that month for my journal quilts, she came into existence. Unfortunately, she did not make my cut to be included with the other journals that were submitted to Houston, but there was something about her that I really liked.

And so the series was born. What I have discovered along the way is that doing the subject from the back really forces you to concentrate on the composition and on telling some sort of story. Doing the back of a person has the potential of being boring. It is not at all like doing a face, which immediately captures the viewer’s attention. Yet when you are done with a face you are left with nothing more than a portrait that may remind the viewer of Aunt Betty or Cousin Ann. In the end the work is subject to or at the very least colored by the viewer’s relationship with the individual that comes to mind or worse some perceived stereotype.

In working with the backs, the subject almost becomes anonymous. Some of the comments that I have gotten about this series are that the viewer feels like they could almost step into the scene, and that in some way they become actively involved in the piece. That was a side effect that I had not anticipated, but upon reflection is something I believe that all artists strive for on some level. From a technical standpoint these pieces have been some of the most difficult that I have done to date. As I have said I have found that I am forced to focus on things like composition, line, color, where and how my eye moves when I look at the piece, and the story.

Working in this series has spawned a long list of “backs” that I want to attempt. Some of them are fully developed in my mind’s eye and the challenge will be on the execution and a faithful reproduction of the image the muse has provided me. Along those lines there is a “back” that is beckoning and demanding to be made.

Best wishes for a joyous and prosperous New Year to all.

"Where there is a will there is a way," is an old and true saying. He who resolves upon doing a thing, by that very resolution often scales the barriers to it, and secures its achievement. To think we are able, is almost to be so - to determine upon attainment is frequently attainment itself. —Samuel Smiles

Thursday, December 14, 2006

City Scape

Please tell me that today is Friday! Well it feels like it ought to be. This has turned out to be a long week and even though I have been busy, I haven’t been able to pursue the things that I really wanted to. Perhaps I will get that chance over the weekend. I have my fingers crossed.

I have been dreaming a lot lately about living in a loft downtown. I used to work downtown and I miss the hustle and bustle and the myriad of things to do. Suburbia stinks. So when I did this piece it was to serve two purposes… the first as a sort of look back to the time that I had once spent there and secondly as a look forward towards the hope of being able to enjoy the city once more.

If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; If you would know, and not be known, live in a city. —Charles Caleb Colton

Saturday, December 09, 2006


We have been hit with an Artic blast and it has gotten a bit chilly out. That is good news because that means that it is wonderful weather to stay inside and create, and on Thursday I put the last stitches in the binding of a new piece. I would love to show you pictures of it, but I have discovered that the cord on my digital camera has a short and won’t work. So now I have to venture out and see if I can find a replacement.

The combination of the cold, the recent full moon and a good coating of snow has provided me with an idea for a quilt, which I am anxious to get started on. If it were not for a looming deadline, which I need to address, I would have that project slated for this weekend. Instead I will be a good girl and work on first things first. Besides, knowing I have a project that I really want to work on will propel me forward and get me to finish the one that is languishing on the drawing board.

So as to not disappoint you I have included an image to help remind those of us in the north that we were just a few short months ago complaining about the heat. This was my less than successful image for my August Journal quilt.

Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation. —Kin Hubbard

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Reality Surpassing the Dream

The Universe is trying to tell me something. Lately I keep running into the phrase “Dream Big”. This morning reality hit me with something that got me thinking that perhaps my “big dreams” are not big enough.

One of my emails this morning mentioned that Bonnie McCaffery had posted a new Vidcast with scenes from the International Quilt Festival in Houston. So I dutifully surfed on over to check it out. In the Vidcast she does an interview with Karey Bresenhan about the new book “Creative Quilting: The Journal Quilt Project”, and they show some of the 2006 Journal Quilts. Imagine my surprise when one of they artists that Bonnie showcases has my name!!!! Oh, wait a minute, those quilts ARE mine!

Here is my view for July. This one is called “Wimbledon”.

An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. —George Santayana