As Seen on TV – The Downton Abbey Quilts

Lady MaryI love Downton Abbey.  I make no secret of it and I adore the characters, both Upstairs and Down.  I was making sketches of the characters in my notebook and on the iPad using the Paper App, when I started posting them to Facebook to my friends.
Dowager Countess
Not soon after, my friend Pokey asked me if I wanted to be part of the PBS series Quilting Arts.
Lady EdithUm, YES!
Lady SybilSo here are the Upstairs Ladies of Downton, made for my segment on Quilting Arts.  How about you?  Are you a Downton fan?

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New Weekly Quilts This Year Are For Sale

So I am back to making Weekly Quilts again this year, and I decided that they are for sale!  I have a hard time parting with my art.   I find that if I made it for intentionally trading or selling, I didn’t have a problem with it finding a new home.  So this year, every weekly quilt I make will be for sale. 

© Cheryl Sleboda – Robot I – 2013

Ideally the goal will be to have them in themes so that if I want to offer them as a group to a gallery, they would go together and hang well.

If you are interested in what’s left, head on over to my Etsy Shop and check them out!  

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Grüß vom Krampus!

Greetings from Krampus, the mythical creature that is one of jolly St. Nick’s companions.  Far be it from me to exclude the guy who punishes the children who have been naughty!  If you weren’t the best behaved this year, Krampus would not only lock you in his chains, but also beat you with his switches!  I’m sure that was the 1800’s version of “Scared straight”.  But needless to say, when I heard of the Krampus, I had to make him into one of my weekly quilts.  This theme set is “mythic monsters”.

I hope you and your families have a wonderful Holiday season!

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About Weekly Quilts – Part 4 – Why work weekly

I’m continuing my “About Weekly Quilts” articles, this time discussing how working weekly keeps your mind active so you have fewer slumps.
The reason I started working weekly in the first place is to keep me in the studio working on something.  I had become a chronic “buyer”.  I bought magazines for inspiration, but never made anything out of them.  I bought fabric that I loved so much I could not cut up.  I bought tools, but rarely used them. I needed a way to get myself motivated enough to stop buying and start using this stuff!
I also started it to keep my mind sharp.  My doodles from office meetings were piling up.  I had ideas, but lacked the desire to start another humongous project. I work full time, and travel quite a bit.  How could I possibly quilt and still work and have a home life? I needed something small, something executable in a short period of time, and I wanted to have fun.
Next thing I knew, every doodle became a small quilt.  A painting on a friends wall was interpreted into something similar and now represents a memory of her kindness to me.  

They were autobiographical.  

During a week of packing to move to Chicago.

They were done on vacations in times of reflection.

There is something about working weekly that gets your design mind flowing, and this is when great things happen.  All during 2009, I planned, designed, and executed “Road to Home”, while simultaneously doing weekly quilts.  This quilt is tremendously successful for me ( so much so, I wonder if I can repeat it).
In 2010, I had a huge section of the summer where I was super busy.  My sister was getting married and I made her flowers out of fabric.  I traveled for work so much I felt I was never home.  I just had to suspend the weekly quilts until my life was back to normal.  This was the largest slump I was in, and because I was not working on my weekly deadline I could feel my creative juices sapping.  It took sheer force of will to get my ship righted.  I HAD to get back to weekly work.  Since that summer, I’ve published an article in a magazine, appeared on TV, demoed at Houston, given a lecture to 2 different groups, launched a shopping cart with merchandise, and have much more to come! And I still make weekly quilts. (And work full time)
I really hope these blog posts help you see how working small and often can help you as a designer and artist.  Some of these are going to be incorporated into my lecture about weekly quilting. Thanks!

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About Weekly Quilts – Part 3- Learning from the Masters

I’m continuing my “About Weekly Quilts” articles, this time discussing talking classes from other quilt artists and more.
Recently, there was a debate about why you should NOT take classes from other teachers/quilters, so that your style is not unduly influenced by those artists in an effort to strive to find your own.  Without going too much into that debate, I think that’s tough to do, and I have no reservations about taking classes from other teachers.  Besides learning how to be a better teacher myself, unless a visual arts artist is blind, they will see something that will influence their work.  In addition, the “masters” all studied from and copied their favorite artists regularly throughout history, so why shouldn’t we? 

So on this topic, when working weekly, it’s a perfect time to try out something new.  Whether it’s a magazine technique, a class sample that you never finished and cut down, or just “copying” a style of your favorite artist, using inspiration from other artists will definitely help you hone your skills.
Some examples are:

A quilt that was a magazine article that I adapted to a 6 inch size weekly quilt.

A weekly quilt that was part of my classwork in Judy Coates Perez‘s Fabric Painting class.

A quilt that I used to emulate Kathy York‘s dimensional work.

Each of these little quilts were done at various points in my weekly quilt career, and I learned from each of them.  Another benefit? Weekly and small quilts let you try a technique without a huge committment. My Technique of the Week series last year helped me try so many things without trying to slog through a wall sized piece knowing I hated the technique.  

My last installment “About Weekly Quilts” will take us back the the “Back to Basics” concepts of using them to keep your mind creatively sharp so you have fewer creative blocks!

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