Thursday, April 12, 2018

Women at Work

I've been thinking lately about quilting retreats, and especially about the three night, four day retreat a group of us have at Honeymoon Bay every March. Before Honeymoon Bay it was at Tamagawa and before that is was at Montfort House. It's been a tradition for more than twenty years now, and although the configuration of people has changed over the years, it remains one of my favourite times. Each of us carts in enormous amounts of fabric and thread, and all the sewing machines and equipment we need to work on whatever project (or two or three) that we've brought with us. It's almost always more than we need, and some of us need help these days getting it from our vehicles to the classroom workspace, but then we begin.
 There's finishing of old projects and beginning of new projects. (Joyanne)
 There's machine sewing and hand-sewing and felting and painting. (June)
We share ideas and knowledge about techniques and stories of where we've been and what we've done over the past year, but there's lots of time for more light-hearted conversation and laughter too. (Margaret)
 Some people work on more traditional designs while others are venturing more into art quilting. (Elizabeth)
 Informal sharing of information is terrific. We don't have workshops as such, but we learn so much. (Gayle, Eileen)
We hear about new equipment that will help us in our creative pursuits, and watch in fascination as others in the group move in new and exciting directions. (Anne)
 Sometimes "works in progress" from some years back are brought out and completed. (Esther)
Sometimes astonishing new work is revealed. (Judy)
There's always a challenge to participate in and at least two evenings when we share our work. And throughout the day there are delicious meals served to us by the staff. And then at the end of the day there's a hot tub to soak in before falling into the comfiest of beds. I feel so, so fortunate to have each and every one of these women in my life - women who share the same passion for the making of things - and who choose to spend time together every year. And it just seemed the right thing to write about this week.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Almost There . . .

Today is Day 96 in the 100 Day Challenge I've been participating in since January 1st. So I'm almost there. I'm having to put all my energies into getting the last few pieces made, and to be firm with myself in not working on anything else until they is completed. For now I must content myself just thinking about and sketching other possible creative endeavours. So in that vein, I am choosing to share a few of my most recent compositions here.
When I have my solo exhibit at the end of July, I will be able to see all 100 of these small works together for the first time. I'm looking forward to that, and am hoping that the old adage that the sum is greater than the parts will hold true. But before that can happen, I must mount them all on canvases of the same size. (This is when I rather wish I'd worked on the mounting as I went, rather than leaving this job until the end!)
It will probably come as no surprise to those of you who know me, that I have used the bright coloured fabrics I have always enjoyed working throughout this project. Every once in awhile I tried to work with more subdued colours, but they never give me quite the same satisfaction. And I've considered using solids at times, but I realize that it's the texture provided by prints that I love.
A few of these daily pieces suggest expanding them in larger work, like this one with the yellow door. There is something about this one that really pleases me.

And the leaves will most certainly be making another appearance again. I do love their rounded shapes. And the trees too will reappear, of that I feel quite certain.
Adding hand-stitching to all my work has become part of my practice, and possibly the part I enjoy most. I so love holding it in my hands as I needle through the layers. And all of these small compositions include at least a little hand-stitching.
It's been a terrific experience taking part in this challenge, and I'm thankful to the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery for sponsoring it. What fun it's been to follow the Facebook page on which all the participants have been posting their own results, results that have encouraged me and prompted me in ways I had not anticipated. So good to be in the company of other artists, who are trying out new things and learning more about the work they want to make in the process. This is the life I want to lead and where I want to be and what I want to be doing, and I am overflowing with thankfulness that I'm able to do this very thing.