Well, month three class of Color & Design is just passed. A week ago already actually.... yikes.
Our projects were on Monochromatic. We could use neutrals and one color- but all the shades, tones, and tints of that color too- which gives a surprising amount of variety.
One thing I have really learned is that colors are not what I thought. For instance- olive green is not green at all, but a shade of yellow. Things like that!
Anyway, we were asked to use a color that we don't "know" well, and when I looked through my stash, the violet pile had a measly three pieces of fabric in it. I figured that was a good place to start. Now, what to do with it?
I finally decided to use another book this time around, Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond (Heather was a co-author on this one too). It's a great book for those of us who wish to learn more about adding extras to our fiber art. I highly recommend it.
Violet was my sister Heather's favourite color, and I decided to make a fabric scrapbook about sisters as my project.
I used almost 40 different violet fabrics and embellishments, and I played with the photos in Photoshop Elements, colorizing them violet, then lowering the saturation so they pretty much look black & white.
The photos were printed on TAP (transfer artist paper). What a fabulous product! My photos are old and blurry, so not the best test for this stuff- but I will be using more of it, it's so great!
I learned that making fabric books is NOT nearly as easy as it seems it should be, and also that I need to learn when enough is enough- because now that I look at it again, I see that I went overboard.
But that's what this class is about, right? Learning how to do things, learning new skills, and learning how to stop when you should!
Here is the book- front cover showing with the whole book first, then each page, starting with the inside of the front cover.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Posted by Christa Irell at 7:40 AM
Friday, November 18, 2011
Okay, this is downright embarrassing to admit but I will anyway.
I finished a bed quilt yesterday. Guess when I pieced the top? More than FOUR years ago. Yep, that's right. I took Nellie Holmes' class "Pumpkin Pie" way back when I worked at Taylor's Sewing Center in Brockville. That's before I moved here to Colorado. That seems like a whole lifetime ago!
Hubby doesn't like the duvet because he finds it too warm. So we only pull it out in the very coldest nights of the winter. The rest of the time we manage with one quilt and whatever little extra things I can find to throw over myself. That just doesn't cut it. The cold fall and winter nights are just perfect for two quilts, yet I dragged my feet and dragged my feet to finish this one. Why? Who knows.
As I mentioned, taking this Color & Design class has really gotten me into gear about getting things done in my studio. Not only am I enjoying my work more, but I give it more value. I MAKE time to create and do the work that makes me happy in here.
Posted by Christa Irell at 10:54 AM
I just realized that I forgot to post my first project from my Color & Design class! It was a nerve-wracking class- for everyone. Everyone was clamoring to present first and get it out of the way! As a result, my presentation was third from the last of 16 people and we were getting short on time. That meant I didn't have to be up there long, which is good.
To remind you, the project was on Neutrals. Heather prefers that we either design our own project or put our own twist on an existing pattern, and she also prefers that we come to class with our project finished.
I happen to agree strongly with both of those things, as I know Heather is right. It's only by finishing a project that we learn everything it has to teach us. And how am I to learn good design if I never try?
So, without further adieu, here is my project. It was finished, right down to the label on the back, for class :)
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:05 AM
Friday, October 21, 2011
A few weeks ago we went to Grand Junction, both to watch the girls compete in a marching band competition and parade, and to see our beautiful little granddaughter (6 months old) because she happens to live there!
I had to bring some things for her that her Nan (me) made for her, of course!
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:19 PM
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
That's right: if you live in Colorado, and you want to make better art, The Language of Color and Design class, created and taught by Heather Thomas, is THE class to take. That is a well-known fact around here!
If you don't live close by, you can buy a copy of Heather's book, and work the lessons on your own- they are all in there!
I have been immersed in my first assignment and I think I am finally starting to pull it all together. Heather said she prefers if we do our own thing to demonstrate our understanding of the lesson, rather than using a pattern. And she prefers it if we do things that are a little out of our comfort zone, choosing to do things in a way we wouldn't normally. That makes sense to me.
From time to time, I have gone a little off the pattern path, and designed something on my own. Most of those times have resulted in me learning a LOT, because I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I am okay with that. There is a saying I like: Fail faster, succeed sooner.
HOWEVER, I have never been in the position that I not only have to make something that shows my grasp of a concept, but I have to show it and explain it in front of everyone in the class. That's a whole different thing!
Heather suggested we might want to take notes or keep a journal along the way, and I decided that is a great idea. I made some rough sketches and jotted down some ideas. And what is appearing in front of me is pretty different than what I first envisioned.
I will show you my finished project and my process after I have taken it to class and received my critique.
If you are interested in learning more about this class, this book, machine quilting, and a host of other things, you really should start following Heather's blog:
That's all for today, but I will be back this week to show you a couple of other things I have made in between.
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:11 AM
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Well, I am back, much later than I meant to be. The fall is such a great, but busy school time around here still and I have to be more careful with my time.
I HAVE been working in my studio, rather more diligently and regularly than I have in the past, but I haven't taken the time to post what's been going on. I will have a number of projects completed soon, and will show you lots of photos!
The reason I am writing now though, is because I have just started on a very exciting, somewhat scary art journey, and in addition to keeping an art journal about it, making my projects, and attending my classes, I thought it would be fun to share my experience with my online artist friends as well.
I finally took the leap and signed up for a class that is very... well, famous around here actually. I personally know many people who have taken this class and have heard them speak in hushed tones about how intense it can be, how challenging, how thought-provoking. These same people have also exclaimed loudly, in no uncertain terms, that this class was a life and art changing experience for them.
According to the teacher, my friend and a fiber artist who is well-known in the art quilting world, Heather Thomas, friendships have been made in this class that have lasted as long as she has taught this class to others: 13 years! That's a lot of pressure going into it!
What is the class? It's a 13 month long journey, called "The Language of Color and Design", and it's very title always sparks discussion around these parts! My first class was this past Monday morning.
I have taken a number of classes with Heather since moving here to Colorado and I love her teaching style. She is witty, funny, intelligent and down-to-earth. She encourages without being condescending and she guides her students honestly with her candid humour. I know that this class is a huge step for anyone wishing to take their work to the next level. I also know that Heather is the only teacher I could imagine taking the leap with!
I have wanted to take this class ever since I heard about it, at least a couple of years ago. That's saying something, since I have only been in Colorado a little over three years. I really had to be ready though. Thanks to Heather's blog where she has generously shared an incredible number of machine quilting tips and tutorials (http://heatherthomasblog.blogspot.com/), and her series of articles in Quilting Arts magazine this year, I feel like I am ready. As ready as I can be, that is!
I have been practicing my machine quilting and working on projects to hang on the still-mostly-bare walls of our home. I have dabbled in this and that, but the first thing I made and hung with intention is in the dining room. I used some design elements from things in the room and used colours that were similar to the paint colours. I used some of the leftover curtain silk. I used symbolism. And I made a LOT of mistakes. It's hanging and will stay there, at least for now. I like this piece for what it is.
I had a time in my life where I had to be brave and really live outside of my comfort zone. I had no choice. What it brought me was a world full of wonderful at the end of all the scary. It was SO worth the terrifying moments along the way.
Since moving here, I realized I have put myself into a comfort zone and have found myself reverting back to my bad old habits of not putting myself out there and making excuses for it. I let myself forget how much reward there can be in stretching yourself, being vulnerable, in taking chances.
So this is me: stretching myself. Being vulnerable. Taking chances. Wish me luck!
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:51 AM
Friday, August 12, 2011
Posted by Christa Irell at 7:27 AM
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I see I have a LOT of catching up to do! lol
I have been busy in my studio with a variety of things on my own, in addition to the 21 Secrets and the Sketchbook Challenge.
I just haven't had time- nor a dependable computer to do the catching up!
My computer finally had to go in and get a new hard drive- something that has been giving me issues for a few months now.
Our last (known) summer company is coming this weekend, and then we are hoping for some quiet summer time- hubby wants to sit in his swing and read, and I want to get my blogging up to date and work on the half-done projects in my studio.
So I will definitely be back... stay tuned! xo
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:24 PM
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Are you starting to get the feeling, while coming to my blog periodically, that I am not getting a lot of art-time lately? Me too!!! I am seriously in withdrawal! Tomorrow I am dedicating a good portion of my day to letting loose in my studio!
I do have some pretty good reasons, though- the new baby in our family and the trips involved with that, spring- and the work that our lawns and gardens demand, kids (need I say more?), a daughter having oral surgery, and of course the event I have been working towards and preparing for for months:
I became an American citizen yesterday!!!
I am very fortunate that being married to an American meant that my wait was shorter than some others have to go through.
Still, we have been at this since January 2007- four and half years! I have been fingerprinted and photographed (passport-style) more often in that time, than most people are in their entire lifetimes!
Mountains of paperwork, many interviews, lawyer's meetings, and endless submitting documents- it's all done!
And being in the Denver area means that everything is done the same day- I had my test and interview yesterday morning and was sworn in after lunch!
This is a very happy event for my me and my DH- who can now stop worrying that I will be deported.
What he thought I might be deported FOR- well, that's never actually been clear...
I learned a lesson a long time ago from my Grama- and I was thinking of her too, yesterday when I took my Oath of Allegiance to my newly adopted country.
My grandparents emigrated to Canada from Holland in 1952. They had six sons and Europe was still war-torn and struggling to get back on it's feet. They wanted their sons to have opportunities and lives that they knew wouldn't be possible in their home country.
They left all of their family behind, they were not able to speak English, and literally had almost nothing when they arrived in Ontario.
What they did have was love, a desire for a better life, and a determination to learn what it meant to be a Canadian.
Grama said they believed right down to their soul that choosing a different country to live in meant you had to truly love your new country and make it your own- that the "old country" ways were meant for the old country.
Both of my grandparents learned read, write, and speak English in a relatively short time, and they didn't spend any time sitting around saying "things aren't done this way in Holland...". They became Canadians in every sense of the word.
They were required to renounce their Dutch citizenship to become Canadians and they did. I bet it wasn't easy, but they wanted to be true Canadians and were willing to do whatever it took.
I am fortunate in that I am able to retain both Canadian and US citizenship. On the way to my test and interview yesterday morning, I thought about what I would say if I was asked to give up my Canadian citizenship.
I moved here for a better life- a life filled with love and joy and peace and contentment, shared with the man I want to be with for the rest of our lives.
I have always been proud to be a Canadian girl, and that won't ever change. But I am thrilled to be an American now, to be able to fully enjoy- and give back- to a country has been lovely and welcoming to me since I crossed the border!
Posted by Christa Irell at 3:15 PM
Friday, April 29, 2011
It bears repeating- we need less hate and violence and much more love in our world.
Today is the Day Without Hate here in Littleton, Colorado. The kids are all wearing white t-shirts to show solidarity and remembrance for the victims of school shootings. This is a county-wide project now, started a few years back Standley Lake HS in Westminster, CO, and was then adopted by Columbine HS and the rest of the county.
Here are some past photos, to show you an example of what the high school looks like leading up to today. I am hoping to have a chance to get up to the high school today to take some photos of this year's event.
You can- and should- click on any photo to see it larger- then you can read what it says. This first one is a list of school shootings. There are so many... it just makes me cry.
Posted by Christa Irell at 8:17 AM