This N That #31 – Comic Con Edition

This is a sneak peek of a work I am making for an upcoming show…  Sorry for the blurry pic, it’s a crop of a cell phone photo.  But I love it so far!
Not much is getting done around here between the quilt deadlines and prepping for San Diego Comic Con.  The “nerd prom” is one of our tent pole events of the year, and I do look forward to going (even if it’s a crazy time). 
My blog is powered by Blogger, part of the Google family or programs, and I like it very much. With Google + just launching, if you like my posts, you can now “+1” them to your Google + feed.  Check it out at the bottom…Neat, right?
Speaking of social media, don’t forget that I have a Facebook Page for my website, and you can get my post updates in your FB feed as well!
More after the Comic-con!

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Back to Basics – Take a Class

It’s Tuesday and hat means it’s time to think about “Back to Basics” when we look at going back to how we began to quilt to get us over a creative block!
One of the methods I use to get out of a slump is to take a quilt class.  I attend classes at most of the quilt shows I go to, and I also take classes that my local shop and local guild offers.
Most quilters have taken a class at least once, especially beginners.  Everyone had to start somewhere, right?  
There’s some thought about taking classes that say that if you want to make it as an artist, you should not take classes so you are not influenced in your work.  I have taken a number of classes from people whose work I like.  I usually aim to learn a new technique.  I also like to see how quilt teachers teach, so that when I teach I am a better teacher.  Everyone who sees art is influenced in some way, so I don’t worry so much about that, especially in a slump!
I have taken some classes that I knew the technique and method before I signed up, but took the class anyway.  These classes are to either refresh my memory or to get my creative juices going.  
Some of my favorite classes were ones where the teacher told stories while we worked, and that ended up being enjoyable for a whole secondary reason. 
Did you ever take a class that helped spark your creativity?

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Technique of the Week #36 – Batik Wax Resist

Project Hours: 6 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 5 hours
Ok.  I threw in the towel on this one because I am really, really bad at this technique.   I did 4 different batik designs, and this is the only one that came out remotely decent, and I still don’t care for it.
I used real batik wax that I got a year ago at one of the IQF shows.  I got a melter pot just for the wax.  I used a tjanting tool.  I practiced. The wax was smelly and I was very patient.
I did not use PFD fabric, which may be problem #1.  I did not let the wax soak into the fabric well, which was definitely problem #2.  I also tried what someone recommended and very lightly ironed the back of one of the pieces (not pictured) that just ran my design into a giant puddle of wax onto the fabric.  Into the trash that one went. (Note:I normally never condone throwing attempts into the garbage… sometimes you can save a bad piece, but these could not be saved, they were that bad)
I used Setacolor paints instead of dyes, but I don’t think that was any issue here.  You can see that it ran underneath my batik lines, so that would have happened either way.    
I am NOT good at batiking.  I really suck at it.   So, you know, I guess it’s good to know that right?
Right after I chucked (literally) 3 of the other pieces in the garbage, I signed up for a Soy Wax Class at CREATE, which is coming here to Chicago in August.  I hope to be a LOT better with soy wax than this crazy wax I have.

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Back to Basics – The Go-To Book

***Welcome to my Back to Basics topic which I will blog about on Tuesdays on how I go back to the basics of art quilting to get through creative blocks or slumps***

Most people have that “go to” book that they refer to many many times over their art career.  For me, it’s this one:

When I am in a creative slump, I reach for this book.  I try one of the many fabric manipulations out of it.  A sample on a scrap piece of fabric.  
For you it may be a familiar pattern that you have made many times. 
Maybe it’s a book that just inspires you with pictures?  The book Creative Quilting: The Journal Quilt Project is one that always inspires me.  Look at these with “new” eyes.  Try to see a detail you never noticed before.  Think about the techniques used and see if it’s one you haven’t tried before.   
If seeing someone else’s work isn’t for you, you could try the book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp.  It’s got great motivators to keep you on track to stay out of a slump.
What do you reach for when you have a creative block?  Any books you like to read or patterns you make over and over?

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This N That #30

First, some bloggy housekeeping issues:  I’m planning to do my “Back to Basics” posts on Tuesdays.  I really hope you enjoy them.  They are my tips on how I bust through slumps and creative blocks.
I’m also doing a few more “Technique of the Week” posts through July.  
I’m not forgetting my own weekly quilts for 2011, and have some major catch up to do on that front, so you will not only see bunches of those, but you will see some posts on why I do them, how to start your own, etc.  These are notes from a lecture that I offer called “What will you do with it?“.  I don’t have a schedule for those posts just yet, but they are coming! 
A few upcoming deadlines means I’m working hard getting things ready to go out the door.  The “PowerSuit” challenge is coming up and I dutifully emptied my challenge packet and have been working hard to incorporate them into my piece. I’m nearly done executing the design and quilting is next. Can’t wait!  They don’t want to have them revealed until the show in August, so I’m being good about that, but I can’t wait for you to see it.
I am a SAQA member and our local chapter has a show coming called “Art and Science: Stitched Together”.  I hurried to finish my piece and sent off my photos and entry form and now am waiting patiently to hear.  Notifications are Sept 15th.  There is no issue on disclosing the piece, so I plan to do so on a different post to give it it’s due spotlight! 

There’s been a momma and daddy duck outside all summer, and these babies are all grown, but I could not resist posting them for you to see.  She had nine little ducklings and they all made it to adulthood.  I called the momma and daddy duck “George and Gracie”.  

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