Monday, October 31, 2005

Artist's Way: Monsters

How appropriate to be writing about monsters on Halloween . . .

I sometimes don’t recognize someone as a monster, as Julia Cameron describes them in TAW, until I'm thinking about the origins of a negative or limiting belief that pops into my awareness. This summer I came face to face with a fear about myself that I’ve carried around for most my adult life and realized that it originated with my ex-husband, someone whom I have identified in the past as a hero for all his support and confidence in me. Despite all the good he did for me, a single, negative parting shot managed to work its way into my subconscious and limit my life choices for more than 20 years. I think this summer’s aha! moment is the biggest reason I jumped at the opportunity to join the Artist’s Way Quilters group. I need to do this work again.

The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities. - Sophocles

I’m not sure I totally agree with Sophocles, quoted today on google, but I do know that a seemingly innocent comment—from a loved one, guild member or, even, posted on an online forum--can insidiously work its magic, slow me down or completely block me from making certain choices and I do believe that the one thing over which I always have control is my attitude toward those subtle monsters and their ideas.

But first, of course, I have to recognize them.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fuzzy Feet Knit-A-Long

One BIG foot down, one foot to go . . .

I planned to make at least three pairs of fuzzy feet, a couple for gifts and one for me, me me. To start, I decided to knit them as written, from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in Red Baron, for my red-loving mother. The timing for the fuzzy feet a-long is perfect for me. I'm in.

Stash Sunday 10/30

Yarn Stash 10/30
Originally uploaded by jeansophie.
This mostly wool yarn has been in my stash for years, so why, last week, did I become obsessed with making a decision about what to do with it?

I can't say why I flipped through books and magazines; surfed the web and bought a couple new pattern books; swatched and swatched and swatched, until I found something I liked that I could make from the available yarn (this one is so old, Classic Elite hasn't made it for a while).

And the answer is Samus. I think it's gonna be great and can't wait to get started.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hats & Boots

Hilda asked to see some of the hats I've made (mentioned in my 20 Things) ... here are some oldie-but-goodies. Click for larger images. For each of these, I dyed the straw (except for the white hat), and blocked and sewed the hats entirely by hand, using traditional millinery technique.

And here are my custom made western boots--they fit me perfectly--sitting in the sun drying just after I finished them. Mine are the short ones, closes to the camera.

Sewing on the industrial machines used to make boots and shoes was an adventure. As you can see, years of sewing didn't help much when it came time to do the fancy stitching . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

20 Things

Hilda responded to Debra's request for an introduction from the Artist's Way Quilters with 20 things and tagged the rest of us. Here are mine.
  1. I was born and raised in Michigan and attended Michigan State University. I completed my BS degree at 20--I was in such a hurry to get on with my life.
  2. After graduation, I moved to Houston where I met my future ex-husband.
  3. In addition to Michigan, I have lived and worked in Houston, Austin, Boston, assorted small towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, on the Riviera in the south of France, and around the San Francisco Bay: Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, La Honda (home of Ken Kesey's psychadelic redwoods), San Francisco, Oakland (again) and Sonoma Valley.
  4. I was married in a beautiful small chapel in New Hampshire . . . and divorced some years later in a cold, impersonal courthouse in Massachusetts.
  5. My mother always talked about quilting, but the only quilt she has ever made was a cathedral window quilt--a wedding gift for me. It is one of only a few things I still have from my marriage.
  6. I learned to sail in Massachusetts, to fly in New Hampshire, to ski in France, to quilt in California.
  7. When I was on sabbatical from a silicon valley start-up, I bought a 4WD truck, headed toward the snow (there was none in the Sierras that year) and skiied in New Mexico and Utah for a month. In the mountains, I first decided I didn't want to go back to that sili-valley startup, then I realized that I didn't want to go back to hi-tech at all.
  8. During my break from high-tech, I interned or worked for several non-profit performing arts organizations in San Francisco, started a hat business and, for one season, made hats in the costume shop for the SF Opera. I also had a long string of interesting day jobs. When I returned to high-tech, I felt I was better equipped to maintain a better balanced life. (I still tell myself that I balance my high-tech career with high-touch interests.)
  9. In early February, 2001, I drove my little pickup truck 2400 miles cross-country from California to Michigan through blizzards and ice storms and had to stop 4 times because of closed highways in Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. What I thought was going to be a 3 or 4 day trip took 9 days. I planned a 3 month leave of absence to spend time with my family when my dad was ill. I decided to stay in Michigan when the winery I worked for in California was sold and I got a voicemail message telling me that I no longer had a job.
  10. Before that trip, I mailed some Jacob's Ladder swap blocks to the hostess from Calfornia; she returned them to me in Michigan; I put them together in an arrangement known as Road to California, but my quilt is named Road from California. It was a gift to my mom.
  11. My father died at the end of 2001. I still miss him, especially at the end of the year.
  12. I love kids, but have no children. Being close to my nieces and nephews is one of the reasons I decided to stay in Michigan.
  13. Now I live in Lansing, Michigan.
  14. 30 years after graduating from Michigan State University, I find I still have my student number committed to memory . . . but ask me for my month-old cell number and I'll have to look it up.
  15. I have also studied at Boston University, Harvard University, Golden Gate University and San Francisco State. I love to learn.
  16. I am fascinated by how things are made and once spent a 2 week vacation in western Utah learning to make custom western boots and hiking boots.
  17. I will be 51 years old on November 8.
  18. I believe there is one more love-of-my-life in my future.
  19. Although I learned to quilt 6 or 7 years ago, I made my first quilt block, from a library book, as a teenager. It was a drunkards path, made from solid blue and orange fabrics. It became a pillow.
  20. This will be my third trip through The Artist Way. The first time led me to making hats. The second time led to my move to the Wine Country. I'm a little afraid of where this time will lead.
Ok, who's next?

WIPs and UFOs . . . and why I have them.

A couple months ago, I came away from a fun, free-wheeling day of drawing with my rotary cutter in a workshop with Mary Bajcz. I was very happy with my interpretation of a daisy and knew exactly what I was going to do with it . . . so why haven't I?

I have the fabric and the design for the stem and leaves and the center I want to add, but I've been obsessing between two ideas for borders and a question about using text, which may be copyrighted, as part of the quilting design. It's silly, I know and I thought that by saying it out loud and putting it out in the world, I'd have to let go of the irrational logic that's been holding me back.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Great Gift Bag Challenge

Last summer, a friend forwarded the guidelines for a swap from Pat Sloan's online group and lamented the fact that the timing wasn't good for her and she couldn't play with the sloanies. Being the swapaholic that I am, I told her that, when she was ready, I'd love to do the swap with her.

Here's how it works:
  1. Find a gift bag with a design that appeals to you, add 6 FQs and swap it for someone else's gift bag.
  2. Once exchanged, design and make the top for a small wall hanging or table runner. The gift bag suggests the design; once designed, the quilt is made from the fabrics received and any others you want to add.
The time is here. We've decided to make table-runners for one another. Our deadline is Thanksgiving. Here is the bag I sent and its contents:

I live in a small house--really more of a cottage--built during the arts & crafts era, so the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired bag was perfect. But the colors weren't really right for me, so my fabric choices were inspired, instead, by my china . . . I included a cup and saucer in the package I sent, along with some Ginger Peach tea (my favorite). What good are rules if you can't bend them a little?

And here is the cool gift bag I received . . . with perfectly matching FQs.

Now all that's left is to decide which way to go: traditional? artsy? whimsical? classic? I know I have to pick a direction soon and get busy.

Quilts as Art

I walked past this gallery today at noon and noticed the quilts displayed in the window. I went inside for a closer look.

These quilts in the window reminded me of all those discussions--you know the ones . . . Are quilts art (and quilters artists)? Are art quilts really quilts? And what is Art with a capital-A anyway and who decides? These quilts are quite traditional in their design and construction and simply quilted or tied and they were absolutely considered to be art by their maker (and the gallery).

My own personal definitions of art and artist and quilt, for that matter, are pretty liberal. If you tell me you are an artist, I accept it.

It seemed a nice bit of synchronicity when I noticed this card, expressing it's own opinion on the subject of art--I like it and of course I had to have it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stash Sunday: Re-embroidered Silk

Originally uploaded by jeansophie.
Several years ago in San Francisco, at the Columbus day sale at Britex Fabrics, I couldn't resist this gold re-embroidered silk. I had no idea how I might use it.

When I was moving last summer, I came across it and realized that I now had the perfect project: a tiara to where to the quilt festival (a quilt art list tradition). I decided against going to Houston, but I will be ready for Chicago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

So now you know

I'm a sucker for web quizes . . .

You Are a Daisy

You see the world with an artist's eye.
Finding beauty is easy for you - even in the dullest of moments.
You notice all of the colors of the world, from fresh grass to sunsets.
You are a total optimist and hedonist. You love to drink life in.

. . . how about you?

To blog or not to blog . . .

. . . that has been the question for me for some time. On one hand, I've wanted to play, to make the jump fom spectator to participant in things like Illustration Friday, Bags of Fun, Stash Sunday and Simply Still Life. But, on the other, I wondered whether or not, challenges aside, I had enough to say or enough time to say it.

When Debra organized some quilters interested in working through Julia Cameron's Artist Way and suggested we share our experiences through blogs, I knew the decision had finally been made . . . and here I am.
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