Compaction & Drift, although geological terms, can also be used to describe periods in life. Sometimes our days are packed full with things to do, attempts to be efficient and effective. Sometimes we are aimlessly drifting through our days without purpose. Anyway, however it may be, in the following images I'm going to show some stages of the artwork, Compaction & Drift, as well as another piece which ended up getting cut up and reworked into 9 smaller pieces.
As with Yellow Gulch, described in the previous post, this piece was also first hand-stitched. Here you can see it as a single piece of cloth, without the "quilt-sandwich". The stitching is not finished yet.
Here is the finished piece, complete with machine quilting and binding. You can see that I rotated the work 180 degrees from my original plan. I think I agonized over the decision for a little while first, but I'm sure it was the right decision.
This piece was awarded two prizes: The Cream Award, 2016 Quilt Visions at the Visions Art Museum and the Catherine Hastedt Award for Hand Workmanship at Quilt=Art=Quilt, 2017.
If you're interested in purchasing this work, contact Shea.
Now, on to this next piece, which was eventually broken up into 9 smaller works of art. The story behind this quilt is that I was ready to finish this series and it was going to be the last piece. But I really dislike the period between the end of one series and the beginning of another, while I feel aimless and uncertain about what to jump into next. In an attempt to avoid this period, I decided to simply make this piece as daunting as possible in order to buy myself some time while in parallel, I figured out my next series. This piece took me a month, and it was just long enough to get myself ready for the next move. But, in the end, I decided that there were so many stitches, and not enough contrast, that it was actually a little painful for the eyes to look at it. And being to difficult to discern all the details, it also didn't have much of a visual impact. Therefore I decided to cut it up. I rarely ever do this....in fact, this may have been the only piece which I have dismembered in such a way. But, I think it was the right move and now there are many pieces of smaller, more affordable and accessible works of art.
In this image, you can see cotton threads which I had recently dyed. For this particular series, I dyed the thread using Dyna-flo. I like it because it's easy to blend the colors and you don't need much. It's pretty fast and effective. I am steaming and heat-setting before use.
This artwork was one of the ones which was first machine stitched and then hand-stitched. Although I had a bigger and more professional Brother straight-stitch sewing machine, I very often used my smaller, older Brothers because of their ability to zig-zag stitch. I like the brothers from the 70's and 80's because they're strong, durable, easy to tweak and repair, can use all generic parts, and in general are very reliable.
Part of the work is finished. The top half, which will not have hand-stitching, is quilted in a bit more decorative way. The areas which are intended to have maps lines are quilted in a more utilitarian way, simply to get it done more quickly, since it will be covered anyway.
Already there is some more progress!
A close up of the stitching.
The finished pieces. They can be purchased from Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.
In this post, I would like to share the process of how I created these landscape pieces. They are based on the hand-drawn maps of Lewis and Clark. As you can see in the picture below, I was looking to break up the landscapes to make interesting, individual compositions.
I first dyed white perle cotton thread. Here, I have begun the hand stitching. Sometimes I quilted the entire quilt by machine before stitching by hand, because otherwise I had to quilt around all of the individual stitches, which was more challenging. But sometimes the effect was worth the effort, as it caused the hand stitching to pop out even more from the surface. You'll see this effect in a following close-up.
Now I have most of the hand-stitching completed. The extra fabric on the sides of the silk cloth were basted (loosely stitched) onto the silk in order to make it more convenient for the embroidery hoop. The yellow strip at the bottom was there for such a purpose, but in the end I decided that in fact it was a great design element and kept it. That was one of those accidental results which can happen in art making and which can be very fun and exciting.
The piece has now been machine quilted. If you look closely, you can see how there are no machine stitches crossing the embroidery, they go around and among it.
Below is a view of the finished piece. You can see the variations in color from hand-dying the silk fabric and cotton threads. I personally really like this effect, as it's more interesting and adds overall depth.
If you'd like to purchase this work, visit Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery.
When I first began making art 9 years ago, I had no idea what the job was about. I simply liked to quilt. It was that passion which got me started, but it wasn't the only skill needed to reach some level of "success". Little did I know how many hats an artist has to wear. And I took it for granted as simply something which one needed to do - period. But now that I'm in my period of reflection and preparation, I'm thinking a lot about the multifaceted set of talents an artist needs to have, completely beyond the scope of the artwork itself. Considering that their pockets usually aren't overflowing with money, rather than hiring other people, they are required to constantly educate themselves in so many different areas, in order to effectively share their art with others.
Spectators see the artwork and marvel at the skill and time needed to create it, but rarely do they understand all that needs to happen behind the scenes so that they can know about and see the work. This is not a complaint - in fact I'm writing this essay because I realized recently how much I love this aspect of being an artist - needing to be everything in one - a photographer, photo editor, website specialist, social media master, writer, videographer, bookkeeper, archivist, etc, etc. It keeps life interesting, it keeps one on their feet. Aside from never ever completely mastering one's skills in the making of art, one is also always developing these other skills, never running out of ways to progress and perfect their approach, make improvements.
This room for continual advancement of my abilities, this is my motivation. Do I love taking photos? No. Do I like figuring out how to take better photos? Yes! Do I have a passion for websites? No. Do I enjoy improving my own website and seeing the results? Yes! Do I find myself craving to write biographies and statements? No. Do I think it's an important way to help people understand my work? Yes! Do I have a passion for maintaining spreadsheets? No. Does it make my life as an artist easier? Yes! In fact, I think of my 7 year inventory spreadsheet as a work of art in itself!
The list goes on and on in this fashion.
When I stopped making art two years ago, I thought at the time that I wasn't using my brain enough, as if I was only using some imagination and my hands. It's only after my return that I see in fact how much of one's mental capacities are needed to progress in this field. I had simply taken it for granted at the time. So next time you go to an art exhibition and speak to the artist, in addition to congratulating them on the art itself, don't forget to appreciate all the work which happens behind the "work"! It's a constant, never-ending process which is always happening in parallel with the making. It's really a pretty amazing thing!