Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Color class Lesson 4- Complex Complements

Our assignment for January was Complex Complements and we could choose from the following:
double complement, double split complement, split complement, and analogous complement.

I chose the analogous complement, using blue with orange, yellow orange, and red orange. I read through the assignment, the lesson, and knew that the visual temperature of mine was going to be warm, with a little coolness from the blue.

I knew what to do too. YAY! I chose my word for the year, "Practice", and wanted to make a wall hanging for my studio that said that.

I started by drawing each of the letters and a shadow on paper, and cutting them out. Then I went about choosing the orange-based fabrics to form the main body of the letters with various shades, tints, and tones of blue for the shadows.

I put all the pieces for each letter on batting and backing and used the satin stitch to put them together and then trimmed the excess off when I was finished.

I made the background out of two pieces of silk, and quilted the main portion by "writing" quotes about practice, and in the smaller border strips, I quilted some flowers then did small stippling around them. I attached loops at the top for hanging and set the letters on.

I debated about how to attach the letters to the background and finally settled on some small brads that I had on hand in my scrapbooking supplies.

The piece still looked like it needed something and so I stamped a bunch of small butterflies onto some Lutrador, colored them in with my Inktense pencils and applied water. This makes the pencil virtually turn into watercolor paints, if you haven't tried them. They are so much fun!

When they were dry, I cut them out and glued them on the piece, and used glue & glitter for the bodies and antennae.

Lastly, I added a flower I made out of silk cocoon strippings. I bought them already dyed yellow orange from Heather's studio. I shaped the flower and glued some beads in the middle and when that was all dry, added it to the piece.

Here's the finished project:

It's good advice and something I continually need to be reminded of. If you haven't read "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell, you should. It's all about success and it might make you re-think the way you do some things!

Color Class Lesson 3- Complementary

Time to show you my next project for my Color Class.

Our December class took place the day after Christmas and I wasn't able to attend.

December's assignment was direct complements and I chose red & green.

The biggest challenge I am facing each month is deciding what to do. As I had a great number of both red and green, about 20 of each (but in small quantities), I settled on trying to make a Bargello.

I have never made one nor seen a Bargello made before, so I had to look up some basic construction rules before getting started.

I have to say, the construction is cool, using tubes and setting the layout. Of course, because all of my tubes were identical, I wasn't able to do any fancy pattern, but that's okay. I did vary the strip widths and just put everything together rather randomly.

In order to use the 40 fabrics, the project came out much bigger than I had planned, but now I suppose I can hang it up and fill some of the empty wall space I still have here! The finished project measures 48"wide by 28"tall.

I chose to use silks to make the borders from, a lovely rich red and a green, which when you look at the weft and weave, is actually red and green woven together. It reads as a rich, dark green, and suits my piece just beautifully.

I made a wooden frame for it from 1x2 pine strips I got at the lumber store. I actually got the wood cut and put together all square! But don't be too impressed yet...

You know that saying "measure twice, cut once"? Well, I should have remembered that BEFORE I made the frame, because once my great frame was done, I discovered that my quilt was too short!

So my only option was to head back to the fabric store and get some more of the border fabric, and I made the borders bigger and then was able to staple-gun it to the frame. It took some doing to get it straight too, but overall I think it turned out well.

When I took it to the January class yesterday, everyone was in agreement that displaying it horizontally was much more pleasing to the eye, and that I should hang it this way:

Heather said looking at it this way, it starts with a BANG! and finishes with a whimper, which is what we want. I need to write that down so I don't forget for future projects. Now to figure out where to put it.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy New Year to all of my online friends who encourage and support me! I love you all and I hope that this coming year is your best yet, in every way!

As you all know, I am taking Heather Thomas' Color & Design class, and LOVING every minute of it! In our November class, Heather encouraged us to dispose with our traditional new year's resolutions and instead find a word to focus on for the year.

Without really thinking about it, when I recalled her saying that, the word "PRACTICE" jumped out at me- and it's something I really need to be reminded of.

All too often I get impatient with myself or feel discouraged that I am not better at something. Realistically, I know that the only way to improve on anything is to keep practicing- so why do I expect to be better when I haven't put the work in? It's so unrealistic and also so easy to remedy.

I love to draw and don't do it enough to really love what I produce.
I love to machine quilt and my designs are still not anywhere near as smooth and intricate as I want them to be.
I love to do yoga and still am not very flexible nor do I "flow"the way I want to.
I love the thought of hanging my art everywhere in our home and don't have the ability yet to pull it off.

Why? Because I don't practice any of it enough.

I have great intentions and then I let other, less-important things in and take my time.

I let myself get bogged down with the little things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

I put too much importance on organizing my studio instead of actively working on things.

It's time to change those unproductive habits and put into practice my practice! I am hoping that sharing my intentions with others will help remind me to stay on track.

Already I am completing more work/art overall since starting Heather's class, and that's a great thing. But now it's time to take it a step further and put some effort in on a regular basis.

I have heard Heather respond both in person and on her blog to those who say they wish they could do things as well as she does: she tells them she wasn't born knowing how to do these things, she has put in hours and hours of time. She learns or teaches herself how to do something and then works at it continually.

It's very similar to something our teacher Nellie Holmes said to us in our beginning quilt class: "Once you learn HOW to do something, the rest is just mileage."

Words to live by.