Getting into the swing

Kilns 2
(30 x 75cm)
£195

Two weeks in and my 100 (week) day challenge is working. I am a lot more enthusiastic about making small works and the ideas are really flowing. Kilns 2 is finished, albeit needs stretching over canvas. And, in between working at my print bench this weekend, I have completed the background stitching on a third piece. I thought that committing to finishing at least one piece each week would be a stretch but already I’m finding that I am quicker and more decisive when building backgrounds.

I didn’t manage my goal of a steady 2 hours every evening this week because I had an evening out …. a fairly rare occurance as it has to be something special to drag me away from the studio. So here is my week:

  • Day 6 – 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Day 7 – 2 hours
  • Day 8 – 1 hour (squeezed in between getting home from work and going to see The Oh Sees who were loud, brilliant and just what this (non-medical) doctor needed!)
  • Day 9 – 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Day 10 – 2 hours

I was just too tired on Friday to do the extra 30 minutes needed to hit my 10 hour goal but I am making good progess so decided to be kind to myself. Next week however I have no outings and no excuses!

Topsy-turvy week

Kilns 1
(30 x 75cm)
£195

I have completed the first week of my 100 (week) day challenge. My goal is a steady 2 hours every weekday evening focussed on making small art with a commitment to finish at least one piece each week.

So I got one part right albeit the piece still needs stretching over canvas. Kiln 1 is a small piece in my Ruins series. I want to make art that has some relation to my upcoming exhibition at The World of Glass in St Helens. The museum has a dramatic entrance through a really large renovated kiln and St Helens is dotted with the remains of kilns, both glass kilns and brick kilns. The current Pilkington Glass factory in St Helens has some interesting buildings but brick built kilns are a thing of the past … which fits in nicely with my Ruins series.

My hours this week though were not exactly steady. I nearly delayed starting my challenge because I knew I had an overnight trip with my day job this week. But then I thought what the heck … I am never going to get a 20 week period without interuption. I’ll be lucky to get a two week period. The import thing is that I work around interuptions. So here is my week:

  • Day 1 – 2 hours.
  • Day 2 – 40 minutes (I actually got out of bed early to work in the studio before heading off on my trip! This is a first for me).
  • Day 3 – 2 hours 20 minutes.
  • Day 4 – 3 hours (keeping busy until the election coverage started)
  • Day 5 – 2 hours

I’ll admit to finding the 2 hours on Friday evening rather hard going as I had about three hours sleep before getting up for work at 6.30am. That coupled with the fact my husband joined me in the studio to carry one talking about the results meant that some of my stitched lines were not quite a uniform as I would like. Still I really like the result and am all fired up for next week!

My 100 (week) days of making (small) art

Small work inspired by the Pilkington Glass factory in St Helens

I have long admired those artist who publicly take up ‘100 days’ challenges or ’52 week’ challenges. Committing to do something, whether it is making a text collage (as per Kathleen Loomis), making a finished small work of art everyday (as per Lisa Call) or only wearing clothes you have made for a full year (as per Maria Shell) is rather brave. It is also a great way of motivating yourself. A bit like declaring to the world that you’re going on a diet or going to run a marathan.

Now some people who know me would say that I am pretty motivated / committed to making art. I set myself a target of spending 20 hours each week in the studio based on spending 2 hours each week day evening and 10 hours spread over the weekend. But when I spent some time recently assessing what I had, and had not achieved, over the last six months I realised that I am slacking during the week. I also realised that I had only finished one large piece of work during that 6 months and that I needed to be more productive if I am going to complete everything I want to over the coming 12 – 18 months.

So after much thought I have decided to declare to everybody who reads this that I am going to do the following starting tomorrow:

  • Spend a minimum of 2 hours in the studio every week day evening.
  • Spend those evenings creating small works of art only.
  • Complete at least one piece per week.
  • Post a photo everyday.
  • If the day job / family mean I miss an evening I will make up the hours within that week.
  • Spend my weekends doing ‘admin’, printing cloth and working on large scale pieces.

Here goes ……

As messy as it gets!

I recently posted that I can’t created in chaos. And that messy in my studio is when there are snippets of thread and fabric on the floor. Well I got really, really messy (for me) over the long weekend we have just enjoyed in the UK. I also got sore feet from standing for hours. And my rotary cutter needed a long lie down in a dark room afterwards. But look what I got in return – trays of cut ‘bricks’ and bondaweb backed ‘brickettes’ ready to build backgrounds in my Ruins and my View series.

I love printing and it is so tempting to just keep on printing, especially on sunny days when breakdown screens dry quickly. But it is only by cutting up the fabrics that I can see if I have the right balance of colour and pattern. I can see that I have enough fabric to start making backgrounds. I use the bricks to piece backgrounds for my large quilts and I use the brickettes to fuse backgrounds for smaller works. But I can also see that I will need more of the darker fabrics in both series to complete the work I am planning for the rest of this year. Which means more printing. Happy days!

Quilt National ’17

The 20th bienniel Quilt National opens today at the Dairy Barn Arts Centre in Ohio, US. And I am incredibly proud that one of my quilts – Ruins 7 – is amongst the 85 quilts selected this year.

Ruins 7
(180 x 250cm)

Ruins 7 is part of my series that explores what happens to buildings when we stop using them, when we leave them behind. We stop using buildings for many reasons. This piece references buildings and cities destroyed by war.

It is the first time I have entered Quilt National and really didn’t think I stood a chance so never even considered making the journey to the US for the opening. Which is a shame because I hadn’t realised just how many activities are organised for the selected artists; opportunities to see behind the scenes, to meet fellow artists, to give workshops and to sell other works through the Dairy Barn shop. So there is my challenge for future Quilt National – get selected again AND find the time / money to attend the opening!