Tag Archives: 100 week day challenge

Is this textile art?

I have now completed 80 days of my 100 week day challenge and have created 52 small pieces of art. (Go Leah!!). They range in size from 8 x 8 inches to 12 x 30 inches and all can be described as quilts. Each has 2 layers held together by stitch (and bondaweb). They can definitely be called ‘textile’ art.

I am going to spend the last 20 days of the challenge creating small pieces using the breakdown / monoprint process that I have been experimenting with. I’m not sure about the size yet or how I will present the finished pieces. Nor have I decided whether to add stitch yet. I’ve been sampling different ideas and I am not sure if the individual prints look better with or without stitch.

Not adding stitch is pretty radical for me. And it makes me wonder whether ‘just’ printing onto textile is enough to call it textile art? Artists who paint onto canvas are not called textile artists even though canvas is a textile. So if I don’t add stitch to some of my work what should I call myself?

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I should be cleaning the bathroom but ….

Sometimes you just get into something and you don’t want to quit! On Wednesday I spent 5 hours cutting things out – which is very calming but hard on the hands. Yesterday I spent 7 hours working on a large Ruins piece (4 hours machine stitching and 3 hours sewing in ends, which is also very calming but hard on the shoulders). And today, day 65 of my 100 (week) day challenge I have spent 3.5 hours collaging and sticking things down. Which wasn’t hard on anything – it was just great fun!

Life’s bumpy road

Canal Street 1
(20 x 20cm)

It is 4 weeks since I restarted my 100 (week) day challenge and time for an update. After completing 40 days I decided to take a two week break – family stuff plus Festival of Quilts made it pretty impossible to hit my target of spending two hours every week day evening working on small art.  I was, and still am, absolutely determined to keep going however it has not been an easy 4 weeks.

Life has thrown the Higgins family a couple of curve balls. On Day 41 I left my day job. There was always a risk that it wouldn’t work out but it was still disappointing and frustrating. Having been made redundant the previous year I had made sure that I could afford to be out of work again. But the thought of looking for another job was depressing and left me feeling very sorry for myself. Then on Day 44 we learnt that my mother-in-law was seriously ill. Which put the lack of day job into perspective. Now being ‘between jobs’ is a good thing – we are able to visit nearly every day and support my father-in-law as he cares for Joan at home. People who know me will know that I don’t do ‘nursing’ but I can bake cakes, make brews, hold hands and taxi people around. And help my husband spend as much time as possible with his mum.

Being ‘between jobs’ (so much nicer than being ‘unemployed’) means more time in the studio, at least in theory. In practice, it has been really hard some days to drag myself the 30 feet from our back door to the studio but my 100 (week) day challenge is a good motivator. I will admit that some sessions have been in the morning rather than the evening but getting into the studio is good for me. It is my space, it calms me. And I am incredibly lucky to have it. So here is my update:

  • Day 41: 2 hours – started to stretch the Canal Street pieces over canvas.
  • Day 42: 2 hours
  • Day 43: 2 hours
  • Day 44: 3 hours … all spent finishing and photographing the 20 Canal Street pieces.
  • Day 45: 2 hours – stitching Kilns 5.
  • Day 46: 3 hours – finished Kilns 5 and fused the background for Kilns 6
  • Day 47: 2 hours – stitched Kilns 6.
  • Day 48: 2 hours – trimmed and added facing strips to the 6 Kilns pieces.
  • Day 49: nope, just too sad.
  • Day 50: 2.5 hours – stretched the 6 Kilns pieces over canvas and photographed.
  • Day 51: 3 hours – added accent stitching to the Bold Colliery pieces.
  • Day 52: 1.75 hours – finished and photographed the 8 Bold Colliery pieces. These will be put in conventional frames at a later date.
  • Day 53: 2 hours – getting fabrics ready to make a series of 12 x 12 inch pieces based on the Gas Works in Salford.
  • Day 54: 2 hours – adding bondaweb to fabrics and cutting into lots and lots of 1 x 3 inch ‘brickettes’.
  • Day 55: 1 hour – preparing the backings ready to build my background ‘walls’.
  • Day 56: 1.25 hours – started fusing my walls.
  • Day 57: 1.5 hours
  • Day 58: 1.5 hours … both spent fusing walls.
  • Day 59: nope, emergency taxi service instead.
  • Day 60: 3.5 hours – finished building walls, I have enough for 18 pieces of small art.

Kilns 5
(30 x 75cm)

Quilt-Art-Quilt

Ruins 1
180cm x 60cm

It has been a quiet year for submitting work as everything I do is focussed on my two exhibitions in 2018 so it was very nice to be able to submit an older piece to Quilt-Art-Quilt. And even nicer to be selected! Ruins 1 will be travelling to Auburn, New York for the exhibition at the Schweinfurth Art Centre. Exhibition dates are 28th October to 7th January.

I wish there were more opportunities to show pieces in more than one exhibition. Like every artist I would like to sell more of my work but the reality is that a lot of pieces just get stored away indefinitely after one public outing. Which seems a shame.

This week I have also resumed my 100 (week) day challenge working on small art for 2 hours each week day evening. It has been a good first week back – I managed 2 hours every evening except on Thursday where I managed 3 hours. I spent most of that time finishing the 20 small Canal Street pieces. Each is 8 x 8 inches and stretched over canvas. I’m now working on the 12 x 30 inch Kilns pieces. Busy, busy, busy!

100 (week) day challenge update

Fragments – work in progress

I’ve completed 35 days / 7 weeks of my challenge and I’m really happy with my output but it still feels like hard work making myself go to the studio some evenings.

Today I have spent 6 hours at my sewing machine sewing hundreds of parallel lines on my latest large scale Ruins piece. And I have enjoyed every minute of it. Tomorrow evening I will be stitching parallel lines on the last of the small Canal Street pieces for next years exhibition and it will feel like a chore. Same process but on very different scales. I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me that my heart still wants to work BIG. But those small scale pieces are necessary – if only because they are more affordable. So I will keep going. Maybe when I get to 100 hundred days I will have fallen in love with working small ….

  • Day 26 – 1 1/4 hours making thermofax screens.
  • Day 27 – 2 1/2 hours finishing thermofax screens and starting Fragments pieces.
  • Day 28 – 2 3/4 hours spent collaging 6 Fragments pieces ready for stitch.
  • Day 29 – was out in the evening with the day job but still managed 1 1/2 hours – go Leah!
  • Day 30 – Oops, had to spend two hours labelling and packing quilts to send to Festival of Quilts.
  • Day 31 – 1 hour spent on layouts for the exhibition at World of Glass (I have more than enough small pieces, yes!) and 1 hour spent stitching.
  • Day 32 – 2 hours stitchin’
  • Day 33 – didn’t happen, hot and stuff day so gave in to the temptation that is ice cream and a good book.
  • Day 34 – 2 1/2 hours stitch’
  • Day 35 – 2 1/2 hours stitching and adding little red accents to the Fragments pieces.