Blog Hop Around the World
A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in the Blog Hop Around the World. I said yes, but at the time I was deep into research on Bronze Age textiles, and I wanted to complete those posts before I forgot everything I had learned. Now that they’re done, it is time to join the Blog Hop!
I was asked by Barbro at Barbro’s Threads. She shares inspirational photos of Nordic textile displays, and I am always amazed by at the variety of colorful patterns on utilitarian objects like socks and caps. But Barbro is very modest about her own work and I actually learned the most about her skills from another author. She recently got a loom and I can’t wait to see what she produces with it.
Barbro was asked by Mazzaus at Local & Bespoke in Australia, whom I also follow. I want to try so many of her ideas about using plants to print on cloth, (she even prints bed sheets) and her tips on repurposing. She has also been raising silkworms, but that is one area where I think I will just follow along virtually!
Mazzaus was asked by Leah of Seattle Spinner who was asked by Valerie of Intricate Knits. I don’t know where this blog hop originated, but there are a lot of threads from it going around, and if you search “Blog Hop Around the World”, you will find lots more inspiring creative people out there who are part of it!
So for this blog hop, there are four questions:
1) What are you working on?
I have just finished up some projects – blue and white handwoven towels, and two pirate shirts from vintage linen and raw silk. I only have a few works-in-progress, and I think this one best portrays my interests.
I love the abstract qualities of natural objects. I take pictures of the things around me, and then use Photoshop Elements to increase the contrast and saturation. Then I print them on fabric, and use them in wall quilts, like the one in my header image. I take these quilts along when I volunteer at nature festivals, and they draw all kinds of people over and give good starting points to conversations about nature.
In this one, I zoomed in and cropped the photos where I saw interesting compositions.
In the piece above I have framed the photos with other fabrics. So far they are in 4 narrow panels with 4 blocks in each. I am not wild about this piece, so I am going to use it for practicing techniques that I have been wanting to try. I’m not sure if I will put all the panels together into one rectangle, or leave them as separate panels.
The image that’s really calling to me right now is the one in the bottom right of the separate photos – I would like to do something with that image on its own.
2) How does my work differ from others?
I don’t think I have a unique voice or way of working. I know that I what I like is random, unpredictable combinations. I will pick originality over technical expertise – I love Gee’s Bend quilts more than Baltimore Album quilts.
This is my favorite out of the quilts I own.
When I weave I usually end up changing the color or the treadling (or both) every few inches. I can weave yards and yards consistently, but I usually don’t.
3) Why do I create what I do?
I love to give people things that capture the comfort and inspiration of the human touch.
I make textiles because they’re a warm soft way to play with ideas.
4) How does my creative process work?
Usually I start from the materials – donated fabric, or some vintage blocks I got at an auction, or something I bought at the International Quilt Show. I gather up the ones that I think go together, and make a general plan, but it always changes as I go.
I don’t piece tops separately and then quilt; I do big blocks with minimal quilting-as-I-go. The most I can fit in my sewing machine is crib-quilt size, so if I’m doing a crib quilt, I do the whole thing at once. I start in the middle and then see “what the quilt wants” as far as adding borders, or strips of blocks. When these sections of blocks are sewn to the batting and backing, I go over all of it again with free motion quilting. To make bigger quilts I join three or four of the crib-size ones.
Most of my projects are done for other people, so I consider what they would want. I try to tone down my natural “design exuberance” because it might be a little overwhelming, but I can’t create a quilt with only three or four fabrics – my “calmer” quilts have at least a dozen.
I want every textile I make to be visually richer and better-crafted than the one before, but I view each one as just a step towards gaining expertise. I haven’t made any showcase textiles and I don’t know if I ever will – I just enjoy experimenting and seeing what comes out next!
Bonus Question (my own addition) – Where do I need to go next?
I need to work on having each element of a quilt contribute to the overall image – I am comfortable with my sense of color and composition, but I need to put more consideration into layers of surface design, quilting stitch patterns, embellishments, and binding, to create a richer total.
And that’s probably why I chose to pass the torch on to Joanna at The Snarky Quilter, whom I find to be very talented but not at all snarky! 🙂 I love her work because it is varied from one project to the next, and she combines ideas from three or four sources into a beautiful unified and layered image.
Blog Hop Around the World, or Around the World Blog Hop? The questions are the same, so perhaps it is the same chain. 🙂
I’m with you on wanting to improve with each project. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I have focused on medallions lately. It was new territory to explore, and challenging. I feel like my design skills have gone leaps and bounds over the last couple of years.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Mine were in yesterday’s post. http://catbirdquilts.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/around-the-world-blog-hop/
Good question! Joanna asked me the same thing, but since I couldn’t find the origination of the hop, I don’t know! Maybe I mixed up the order of the words in the title all on my own! Oh well, it was good for me to think about these questions anyway. And I’m off to check out your post!
What I enjoy about your blog is the variety of subjects you write about with such enthusiasm. You provide me with windows into Texas wildlife, ancient cultures, home renovation, and lots more.
You say, “I will pick originality over technical expertise – I love Gee’s Bend quilts more than Baltimore Album quilts.” I am so with you there. And you really know how to write blurbs. I’m thinking I should have your description of my work done in calligraphy, framed, and put on my sewing room door.
By all means! I hadn’t really put into words what I especially like about your work, until it was time to write about it – and then I realized what it is – the elegant way you unify your works even though they are in a variety of styles. Something for me to aspire to.
And thanks for the nice description of my blog. It feels like WordPress is constantly advising us to find a tiny niche and stick to it, but I just can’t.
What beautiful works! I love the vivid colours and your focus on themes in nature… your weaving is amazing. Totally agree with what you say about Barbro’s modesty and skills, and about originality being more interesting than technical excellence–though technical excellence has its place too. Thanks for your kind comments on my blog!
You’re welcome! I always like to see what you are up to – you go in so many different directions that I haven’t gone into – yet! But I hope to some day. Except for raising the silkworms… 🙂
Textile and photo – two fascinating techniques getting married in such a beautiful and interesting way! And what a fascinating world we live in! I woke up to mazzaus’ silk moths, then came here and saw your quilts and weave 🙂 A fine start of the day. And thanks for your kind words about my work 🙂
Isn’t it great how someone else can quickly see a direction in your work? I never thought of my work as blending textiles and photos, but now that you say it, that would be a good direction for me to go further in!
I’m glad you liked the post – it was belated but I wanted to give it the effort it deserved!
Yes, you’re right! I often notice that also. It’s because you’re too close to your own work. You see the trees, not the wood.
Great Post!!! You’re Soooo into all you do. Blessings Always, Mtetar
Thank you! You’re right – my problem is choosing between all the great things there are to do! And you’re another one that goes in a lot of different directions with enthusiasm for all of them.
You’re so welcome for the truth. Blessings Always, Mtetar
This was fun to read–you gave us great insight to what motivates you. Add me to the list of people who enjoy the variety in your blog–I like that your interests are so varied and I love the serious, intelligent posts you write about serious, intelligent topics!
Oh good. That is what I like about your blog and so many others I follow too, the variety. You know that post you did about your two selves arguing over your handwoven towels – I could do one like that too –
WordPress superego: Make that post shorter! Stick to only one subject!
Me: I’m condensing 1000 pages of scholarly writing into 1000 words for goodness sake! How short can it possibly be?! WordPress superego (in an annoying mosquito-y sing-song): It’s too long…nobody will ever ever ever read it…. By the way your comments are too long too….
So thank you for helping me to hush up that voice! 🙂
I have the same internal tension when I write here. I know I am limiting the appeal of my posts when I write over 1000 words. I KNOW I can get more viewers if I post some pretty photos instead of a thoughtful, intelligent essay. But I’m trying to stay true to myself and to applaud others, like you, who do, too!
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