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Workshop prep

I’m putting the final touches on workshop kits and workshop prep for a one-day class to be taught on Saturday. Today and tomorrow are more or less straight organisation, although I do have to make one additional class sample to bring along. The workshop is my basic Landscape Design workshop, but the folks for whom I’m putting it off have added the minor curve-ball of making it an Attic Windows workshop as well. To that end, I’m adding an instruction leaflet for the Attic Window block and am hoping to have finished a few samples that show the versatility of the block when used for framing landscape views. My only real concern is time; I have the landscape design workshop spaced for six hours. Adding another element may cause more rushing than is suitable. We’ll see how it goes.

This flipping back and forth between organising and creating is one that has always been tricky for me. I can do both, with great ease, but I find that organising blocks me from working intuitively. Knowing this about myself, I try to get paperwork, kit-making, planning and the like over with in blocks of time and I segregate creativity from them. I suspect the Clean Studio Syndrome or White Canvas Block are related to this impediment. While studio tidying is a necessity and most canvases start out as white, it is often the juxtaposition of the unusual that results in creative euphoria. I have had more “eureka!” moments from seeing fabrics haphazardly piled on the table in random-but-perfect order than I have from staring at the cleaned-off table and neatly ordered materials.

But the workshop prep will not take long and the sample to be done requires more perfunctory necessity than creative genius. Off I go….

One of the hard truths about life is that whatever time off you want or need must be paid for somehow. Bills keep rolling in, the mortgage doesn’t stop and food is still a necessity even when the income wanes.

After a show and a massive amount of work in 2006, I was beyond burnt out, creatively, mentally and financially. I decided to take a year off and not sew, not draw, not create. I took a job where someone else signed the pay cheque and rejoiced in stability for a time. It was no small measure of how exhausted I was that this felt right and did me a world of good. The bank account stopped gasping, I stopped worrying, my husband stopped stressing and I stopped trying to squeeze creative juice out of a chunk of granite. There was relief all round.

This past spring, I taught a workshop at Quilt Canada about landscape quilting, creating textile and elements of landscape design and it was fabulous. For the first time in a year, I felt like I was ready to get back at it.

So here I am, back again, armed with a new sense of perspective and some fresh creative ideas. My daughter is in school now, so that pressure is somewhat relieved as well.

It’s good to be back!

Birches

Update: these pieces are sold, but I have others here that are similar. Please contact me using the contact form below if you are interested.

These are among the batch that is foiled and ready to go off to shops (on consignment). They also come in golden, wintry light blue and autumnal russet backgrounds. If you are interested in one of the above, or any other colour variation, please fill out the contact form below (careful not to confuse it with the comment form!).

blue birches

dk blue& grn birches

5.5″ x 9″
Hand-dyed cotton background with commercial fabric for the trees.
Details are hand-inked and the leaves are gold, silver and copper foils.
Price: $38 CDN

a quickr pickr post

I am, in the spirit of spring, clearing out some stock from my studio. You can see the first lot posted here.

All of the stock is of good quality. There is nothing wrong with it other than I simply need the space (both physical and creative) more than the stock at present.

It’s funny how sometimes you take the same photographs of the same places and, without even realising it, track the seasons of time through those pictures.

One of the views that always strikes me as particularly dramatic is that of Whaleback Rock here in Torbay. I walk over the crest of the hill on our street and the ocean is before me. Another five minutes by foot and I am engulfed in the visually stunning combination of blue ocean, craggy cliffs and sweeping hillsides.

The photos don’t really do it justice, of course, which is one of the reasons I’m translating my visual chronology into art pieces. Still working on layouts, but the series is in progress.

The hardest part of this process is deciding whether to simply do a four-season series, whether to vary the structure and composition of the pieces from each other or whether to simply use this vista as a jumping point and do spontaneously whatever comes to mind.

The artist in me says, “be free! create!”. The businessperson in me is tempering that with, “yes, but make a saleable series and for heavens’ sake stretch it out a good bit and make some money.” I have decided that will listen to both. The first thing that came to mind was the four seasons aspect, so I’ll start with that. Complete the seasons and work in a smaller, less expensive series that mirrors the larger gallery pieces. The next step would be to play with the structure and composition, trying different media (i.e. watercolour or pen and ink drawings), perhaps working the horizontal view into four vertical tiles hung side-by-side…. You get the picture.

Here are a select few of the many photos that I’ve taken from roughly this same point of view, to give you an idea of the landscape of my world and the focus of this series :
April 26, 2006

Whaleback Rock

Feb 12, 2006

Church Cove, Torbay, Newfoundland

Oct 21, 2005

Whaleback rock close-up

Oct 21, 2005

A dog's-eye view

Oct 21,2005

Whaleback Rock

And for a bit of a twist:

Oct 3, 2005 (taken from the other side of the bight)

Gallows Cove
Starting the Gallows Cove portion of the East Coast Trail.

a quickr pickr post

Reboot

I’m still not sure exactly what happened to me this winter. A part of me would like to slough what I perceive as my lack of professional progress off on some variation on seasonal affective disorder. Another part of  me would be happy to chaulk it up to creative and emotional collapse that follows a year that was hard personally, emotionally, professionally, physically and financially. I’m sure sleep-deprivation was in there somewhere, too. When all is said and done, though, I’m not sure that any of these reasons paints the whole picture, nor does it really matter any more other than as something from which to learn for next time. Suffice it to say that I slacked off more than I intended and let myself wallow in failure for a goodly time, despite having plans and goals set for myself and having determined the means of achieving them.

I have recently been doing a great deal of soul searching and thinking, as well as picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego and flabby creativity.  For those who find themselves either simply falling out of doing the work they have committed themselves to, I provide the following links from Christine Kane’s wonderful blog (which has helped me no-end):

Sabotage and Persistence

How to Get Anything Done

So I am now working again, this time at reasonable hours. I am renewing my commitment, ignoring self-doubt and following through. I have been going through my studio and sorting out projects, finishing off orders for shops for the summer, finishing off workshop plans, writing up stuff that needs writing and doing inventory. One step at a time and off we go…

Quilt Canada

Someone wrote to me some time ago asking if I had any information about Quilt Canada. I spent some time researching the questions asked and writing up the results, only to find that I had, inadvertently, deleted the email sent to me.

If you are still out there, whoever you are, and still need that information, please drop me a line. I’ve been searching through all my messages, junk folders and weird squirrelly places on my hardrives and can’t seem to find your email.

Apologies.