Friday, July 29, 2011

What is Important?

I have been reading and reflecting on Jane Dunnewold's post of her talk, "What Matters", given at the recent SDA conference in Minneapolis.  I found the richly packed article very thought provoking...relevant on many levels, not just as an artist, but as a human being.  Within it were thoughts I have ruminated on... as have others, I am sure.  I welcomed the reminder to personally assess what is important, pursue it and share it.  In this time of so many distractions that needs constant reassessing, don't you think?

Quotes from Jane that struck me in particular.  About community-
"If we see the good in cultivating community, sharing our gifts, being with people who love what we love, then there are qualities we can foster that will make the experience richer:
These properties create a fertile environment where certain capacities can grow -
Generosity, which is making an offer for its own sake, not for its exchange value
Cooperation - For me to win, you must win.
Statesmanship - setting aside person preferences for the group good.
Forgiveness, which signals a new beginning, and choosing to stay in present time.
An acceptance of imperfection - recognizing that our gifts are intertwined with our limitations and being willing to deal with it, without passing judgment.
Mystery - which creates space for what is unknowable in life, and honors it."

Life happens-
"You can be intentional about your choices, you can be thoughtful. This is all good. However, the most basic lesson is recognizing that after having become intentional, you will allow life to unfold as it is going to unfold, and there is nothing your intentions can do to change that reality."

And finally-
"So what matters comes down to these questions:
Will you choose intentional creation?
Will you choose to share your gifts with the community?
Will you cherish yourself as artist and original being? "

Creative life, and life in general, is about a balance of energy.  How we each find that in this complex world is personal. When is the time for sharing, or the time for solitude?  Questions like these constantly arise that require us to be open and present, to begin to know ourselves and develop some clarity.  It is a learning process.  It is a journey I have chosen to take. 

Thanks to Jane for her thoughtful presentation, and to my SAQA friend, Margaret Blank , for bringing my attention to this post in the first place.  I highly recommend reading it.  Print it out, take your time, reflect for yourself.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Striations

Striations 2  © 2011 Linda A. Miller

I would like to share another quilting process that I have been experimenting over the past year.  The Striations series are a variation in my continuing "flow" theme.  Trying a different approach with Striations 2, I started with two squares (roughly 14"), one black and one lavender, which were backed with wool felt, and free motion quilted.  After quilting, both are washed in hot water and dried in the dryer.  This produces shrinkage which adds to textural interest to the surface.  Once dried, the two colors are stacked together and a curving line is cut across the middle. (Note: What shows in the photo below are the remaining halves, due to deciding to document  this process after the fact.) 

Detail: Cut sections with oil stick embellishment
Foiling and applique completed

Each section receives linear designs of foiling and oil sticks.  Top and bottom sections are appliqued with satin stitch on turquoise cotton, leaving a revealing turquoise gap.  This gap of "water" was threadpainted.  The vertical flame pieces were fused on ( I prefer Wonder Under). More machine quilting is added, with hand embroidery and hand couching yarn.  Once the backing was on, a few finishing details of machine quilting were added prior to binding the 12" square quilt.

Detail: Foiling, applique, couching embroidery

Detail: Foiling, applique, couching embroidery

More to come in the future as I continue to explore.  A note about this technique...I first learned about it through Karen Rips.  Check out her fantastic work!  I would love to hear about some of the techniques that you find intriguing...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prayer Flags Emerge

Now that my big project is complete, I have time to post the latest photographs of my recent additions to the Prayer Flag Project that Vivika DeNegre began last month. I have added four to the set to join "Trust". 

My inspiration for these come out of meditation practice, and are reminders that I have been working with in my own life lately.  Seemed timely to share them.

Flag#2 reads: "Life expectancy is uncertain, Death can come at any time, Keeping this in mind, What is important?"    A reminder to live fully in each moment.  What are your priorities??

The last 3 flags really belong together as unit.  Recognize is beginning to see who we are and what we do.  Refrain is staying and noticing what comes up, without judgement or jumping into the usual habit pattern.  Being kinder to ourselves and others we can begin to Relax.  Wouldn't that make a difference in our world?
May everyone find some peace in their lives.

I am happy to have the opportunity to participate in this project, as a means to share these wishes,  to see what others are bringing to the project, and to play with new materials in creative process.  Thanks again, Vivika! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Disappearing 9 Patch

As mentioned in a recent post, I have been working on gift bed quilt.  Since it has been several years since I have taken on such a large project, it seemed a good opportunity to share the process with you.  Log Cabin is a long time favorite pattern of mine, but this time I chose something new,  using Disappearing Nine Patch for the flexibility of design and colors.  In researching the pattern, I found Popular Patchwork's site very helpful, especially for calculation of square sizes, by offering a downloadable instruction PDF.  Once my nephew made his color choices, I could go ahead with buying fabric...and I had a great time looking at all the fabulous batiks out there.  With a good variety of darks and lights, I was ready to begin.

I chose to make 5" squares and assembled them into Nine Patch blocks with a central accent square in black.  The blocks were then cut into four equal pieces as shown below.

I went with a symmetrical arrangement of the 7" blocks, but there are many choices you could make.  I have to say I enjoyed the rhythm of piecing again, as it is not something I use in my artwork these days.  Once the blocks were sewn together and borders on, the quilting could begin.  I used a basic grid pattern for the central block area, with free motion on the border, and was happy with the results.  Not having a long arm, this worked out well on my machine, along with changing the configuration of my workspace to accommodate the large quilt.

At last I have a finished quilt - about 62" x 68".  A satisfying feeling.  Enjoy, Kevin!   
And now I can happily go back to smaller projects waiting in the wings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Auction Treasures

This year's SAQA Auction will begin on Monday, September 12th at 2:00 pm Eastern and conclude on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 pm Eastern. Price points will again be: $750, $550, $350, $250, $150 and $75.  The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs.  Of the 309 donated 12" quilts, there something for every taste from representational to abstract.  Here are some of my favorites:

Carol Ann Waugh,  Lines
Sherry Davis Kleinman, 2011 Year of the Rabbit
Carol Howard Donati, Bones of the Day II
Sally Gould Wright, Poppy Love
Madeleine Appell, Full Speed Ahead
Judy Warner,  Rice Fields
Deborah Langsam,  Heat Waves

Friday, July 15, 2011


"An inconvenience is an unrecognized opportunity." Confucius
This quote came out of Robert Genn's Painter's Keys Newletter today.  With many examples of what puts people off of doing artwork... relates so well to life in general...Genn writes that it takes internal drive to find a solution and move on.  How easy it can be to find an excuse not to do something, allowing oneself to get sidetracked, especially if that something seems challenging.  Been there, done that.  Yet equally simple to notice what comes up, and just do the thing that you were trying to avoid in the first place.  My goal is to learn to do that more.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unwinding and Staying Present

With the exhibit behind me, I am back to completing a gift bed quilt (which I have been be posted at a later date).  I am not used to working in such a large size anymore, and the challenge comes now that I am in the quilting phase since I do use a long arm machine.  I did consider taking it to a long arm quilter, but decided to do the work myself this time.  Mainly the challenge is how not to stress my body and reactivate upper back issues.  It has been a process of mindfulness.  And how interesting to observe....staying present, watching and correcting tense body positions, taking breaks, remembering to breathe, and doing a lot of yoga asana to counterbalance the sewing!  I found when I got in the mindset of "needing" to finish a section, that tension was mounting and it was time to get up from the machine for a while. Know the feeling??  I am enjoying the process more, now that I am not pushing to finish.  And my body appreciates the gentleness.

On another note, here are some photos for your enjoyment from a visit to the San Diego Botanical Garden on Sunday. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Festive Front Porch Gallery

SAQA's Sharing Stories exhibit opening on Saturday at the Front Porch Gallery turned out to be a lovely afternoon filled with art, friends, family, music, fun and food in sunny Carlsbad.  A large crowd attended to view the selection of exceptional quilts in varied styles and techniques, all with a story to tell.  The staff at the gallery were very welcoming and put on wonderful reception.  I am pleased to have "Fluid Fissure 2" be a part of this fine exhibit.

I journeyed down to Carlsbad on the train with fellow artists and friends, Sherry Kleinman, Andi Perejda, Ranell Hansen and Judy Rys.  The trip (on a route often taken to visit family) flew by with all the interesting conversations and laughter!  Enjoy the photos below to get a taste of the day.

Chez Moi with Fluid Fissure 2

Terry Waldron talks about her quilt Papyrus.
Andi Perejda with Musee d'Orsay

Deborah Weir with her quilt Harmattan 1
Ranell Hansen with Wild Women #1

Judy Rys with Inside Out Golgi Body
There is such a whirl of activity at openings.  I will have to revisit this show at a later
date when it is quieter to be able to spend more time with the artwork.

Sherry Kleinman, Terry Waldron and Sally Wright visit
Fiber Fanatics, the mini art critique group that I belong to, is well represented with four of us (Sally Wright, Sherry Keinman, Sandra Lauterbach and I) having work included.  
So if you are in the San Diego North County area, I highly recommend seeing this exhibit which runs through September 4.  There are restaurants, beach and shops all within walking distance of the gallery. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Photos from Minneapolis

Diedre Adams wrote a series of posts on her blog about the Surface Design Association's numerous exhibits at last month's "Confluence" conference in Minneapolis.  I was very pleased to be able to see more of the terrific member's "Merge and Flow" show from her photos...happily Fluid Fissure  is partially showing in one shot.  Truly an amazing array of creative ideas on those walls.  The space must be huge to have contained not only the member's show, but other fine exhibits as well...including India Flint, Barbara Lee Smith, Linda Gass, Mary Edna Fraser and Tim Harding.  Thank you, Diedre!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sharing Stories Opens Saturday

SAQA Artists' Sharing Stories: Expressions and Stitched Messages opens soon.  With my quilt delivered, I can now look forward to seeing this exhibit.  So if you are in the area, join me on Saturday!  ...Or drop by the gallery later in the summer.

July 9 - September 4, 2011
Opening reception Saturday, July 9, Noon - 2 pm
Front Porch Gallery
2903 Carlsbad Blvd. Carlsbad, CA 92008
(760) 795-6120

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thoughts About Community

Vivika DeNegre launched a blog for her prayer flag project (not to be confused with the ongoing Bhavana Project)...I am contributing as I can.  Check it out and see some participants to date, including Jane LaFazio Ileen Miller, Ruth Anne Olson and Martha Wolfe.   I find the synchronicity of such projects inspiring.  That we should set up these collaborations with similar intentions at different times all over the world is heartening.  There is the willingness to be open and to give of ourselves by sending out our prayers, hopes, and energy.  

Vivika has gone directly to artists with her project.  Seeing the Bhavana Project as meditation in action, I initially invited mostly yoga colleagues, many of whom did not consider themselves to have creative abilities.  As the BP continues, a large number of participants are from all walks of life outside the art community.  They have come to appreciate the process.  Recipients of gift flags have been deeply touched by the expressions of friends...all reminding me of the healing power of art.

 So if this moves you, I hope you will consider joining in one of these flag projects in the future, or create your own.  There is great value in simply sharing that positive energy.


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