What Do You Love and What Are You Good At?
Part 1: Skills
Make a list of your skills. Evaluate each one in terms of how you are at it.
Machine Piecing – this is the skill I am most comfortable with in my fiber art, probably because I have had the most practice doing this (Advanced)
Machine Quilting – love the texture that quilting creates (Intermediate)
Hand Stitching - adding texture to my fiber art (Intermediate)
English PaperPiecing (Intermediate)
Applique – lots of practice (Intermediate)
Color Sense (Intermediate)
Technical writer – I can describe things accurately and can master “to-do” lists with the best of them, but can’t say that writing down my most intimate thoughts and feelings is my cup of tea (Intermediate)
Machine Sewing – used to sew clothes using commercial patterns in my early days but abandoned it for a rotary cutter and some quilting classes in the mid 1980’s and never looked back(Intermediate)
Surface Design – starting to explore this area(Beginner)
Hand Dyeing – have completed about three sessions with friends and on my own (Beginner)
Painting – no formal art skills in painting but I love to hold a brush in my hand and use acrylic paint to highlight details in my fiber art (Beginner)
Part 2: Heart’s Desire
Desert Island Test - rate each of the skills based on whether you enjoy using them or not
Skills that I enjoy the most:
Part 3: Wannabe Skills
Write a new list of skills you want or need to learn, and then another of skills you want to strengthen.
Skills to Learn
Expand my repertoire of surface design techniques and materials to include:
Monoprinting – multicolor, fabric, paper
Rusting fabric – have never tried this, would like to experiment
Metal leaf lamination
Discharging fabrics using bleach and discharge paste
Stenciling with Shiva paint sticks
Create my own stamps with blue foam printing blocks and experiment with their use
Transfer paints – experiment on paper, then move on to fabric
Acrylic ink – experiment with its use in my work
Shearfabrics – think this could be an interesting way to add layers to my surface design
Dyeing fabric using natural dyes – could add some interesting hues to my color palette
Other related skills that I would like to learn include:
Sketchbook and journal use and discipline
Use of drawing to explore themes in my work
I-Pad drawing and painting skills – introduced to a few interesting “apps” but haven’t yet taken the opportunity to experiment and build skills
Skills to strengthen
Developing my artistic “eye” – knowing the right elements to include in a piece
Hand dyeing fabric with Procion dyes
Machine quilting – always room for improvement here
Screen printing – have dabbled a little, but need much more practice to become adept at it. Would like to explore breakdown screen printing further
Paper lamination – have done the workshop experience, andhave included some elements in my work, but need much more practice
Using Inktense pencils to intensify color
Painting with thickened dyes- stencils, lines, scraping
Incorporating text – would like to improve my ability to write text using squeeze bottles and thickened dyes
Part 4: Perfection
Can you quantify what it would take in order to be completely satisfied and IN LOVE with something you made?
I would mount my completed piece on my studio wall and really look at it, then ask myself: “Is there anything I would do differently or change?” If the answer is no, then I have come pretty close.
Themes and Variations
Analyze a piece you like – based on alignment, strengths, weaknesses, and perfection. Acknowledge what really worked and what you would do differently if you had it to do again.
First in a series of quilts inspired by tree rings (36” x 36”). This piece was juried into our local SAQA exhibition in Burlington, Ontario, Canada in 2014
Machine quilting that supports the theme
Hand work – multitude of stitched “marks” within quilted tree ring motif provide wonderful texture to the piece when viewed up close
Maple tree vignette imbedded within the pieced section
Layers of tree ring motifs within this piece – tree rings in printed fabric, tree form in the inset space, machine quilting motif
Asymmetry of the color block section within the piece
Different fabric textures - use of linen, silk and cotton
Restrained use of color – most of quilt is a neutral linen and commercial cotton with pops of color provided by the silk bars
Use of variegated thread to machine quilt tree rings “blurs” the banding of each ring section where used (although the variegated thread used in the linen background area adds a quiet texture to the piece)
Love the hand stitching in this piece. Borders on the obsessive, I know, but it provides the texture that I love in the quilted medium. Not a single one of the hand stitched marks shows through on the back of the piece.
Like the tree vignette within the piece. Draws in the viewer.
What I Would Do Differently
Would add a ring of outer bark to the exterior of the quilted tree ring – perhaps using a strip of hand-dyed cheesecloth crinkled and stitched in place to suggest the roughness of the outer bark
Adjust thread selection in machine quilting to provide more pronounced color banding of the rings when viewed from a distance – color choices and thread weight
Would have made the quilted tree ring shape a little more asymmetrical to replicate what you actually see in nature