It’s that time of year again, when SAQA members start donating 12×12 work for the annual benefit auction. It is great fun to see the variety of work from fellow members. Some years i donate artwork, some years I just donate money. This year I’m donating artwork as part of my quest to get my work out from under my bed and into the open where it can be enjoyed. My donation this year is Americana V, part of my series created from an older quilt that wasn’t working and is now transformed into smaller, more attractive, and easier to incorporate into one’s decor, pieces.
Thinking about yesterday’s post and what to write about, it dawned on me that now might be a good time to remind readers that I do post shorter, but more regular, images and thoughts on my professional Facebook page, and even more so, on my Instagram feed. So, between sporadic blog posts, I encourage you to follow me:
Follow me on Facebook! This is my professional page where I post information about what I’m working on and where to see my work. No cat or food photos here — just art.
Follow me on Instagram! Here are my creative endeavors and what inspires me. It’s mostly art, but there’s a good amount of knitting and home renovation as well. Plus the occasional pretty flower, cat, or food pic.
I hate it when the first thing I read on a blog post is, “I can’t believe it’s been x months since I last posted,” or “I know I’ve been away for a while but this is where I renew my commitment to my blog.” Just blog or don’t blog — no need to explain or apologize. But I find myself in exactly these shoes. I have the best intentions of blogging, and then other things take precedence, or more likely, I can’t think of anything to blog about.
I was wondering the other day what has changed in my life that I no longer have anything to write about. The obvious is that I’m not going to cool German fests, or exploring exotic Hawai’i, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about my new locale. There’s certainly a lot going on in Portland. No, I think my biggest stumbling block has more to do with expectations. My expectations. I am constantly influenced by what I see on social media — mostly Facebook and Instagram — and most of it is beautiful and curated. I get that it’s branding. Consistency is good. I get that the people posting are known for the kinds of things they post. And I have to admit that I like the way pretty scenery or carefully staged projects look. They are putting their best foot forward and I admire that.
I think that subconsciously (or maybe pretty consciously), I’m not blogging because I don’t have anything finished or aesthetically pleasing to post about. I can’t post weekly if I’m not completing things weekly. The home renovation projects are inching forward, but who wants to see a new light fixture next to the same old sink with no faucet? The embroidery progresses, but who wants to see another word in condensed san serif type when the last thing I posted was a word in san serif type. I’m working on a commission, but it’s in it’s ugly experimental phase and not ready for prime time. I’m making samples for work, but they’re not complete yet.
So bear with me while I sort out how to tell stories on my blog in an era of quick (but seductive) glimpses on social media. I feel like this space deserves better than just copying my Instagram photos, but at the moment I don’t have anything cohesive.
So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.
There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.
I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.
I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…
… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!
Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.
I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.
Along with Home Fires going to Rhode Island, I am honored to also have had my newest artwork, Home is Where The Army Sends Us accepted into the ground breaking exhibition at The George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum, Stories of Migration.
Housed in the new George Washington University museum, The Textile Museum is hosting a juried exhibition in collaboration with SAQA, Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora. Works will include 3-D pieces, large installations, and video.
This textile sculpture is a mobile village reflecting a military family’s canny ability, or heartfelt desire, to bring their communities with them when they relocate. The houses are created from old Army uniforms, an Army issue blanket, and bits and pieces of previous quilted projects in order to convey the lives lived in them. They also have crocheted roots, searching for purchase, but ultimately being dragged along wherever the mobile piece goes. I sent stickers along with the piece to be placed on the floor to encourage visitors to randomly move the village. Military moves are often last minute, and not always of the family’s choice, and are always on the horizon, so I wanted my artwork to reflect that instability. I can’t wait to hear from visitors if this aspect of the sculpture is realized.
Before I sent it off I tried to create a quick video of the village in various settings. I’d like there to be more locations and smoother transitions, but that will be a task when the piece comes back. For now, here’s a fun, quick, video we’ll call a rough sketch.
Stories of Migration
April 16th – September 4th, 2016
The Textile Museum
701 21st Street, NW
I’ve had a lot of rejections lately, and when compared to the job satisfaction I have working at the quilt shop, I’ve lately been pretty un-motivated to create any art or to look for places to show what I have. But then I get an opportunity, and I realize I can’t throw in the towel.
The Army Wife: Home Fires (my very favorite of my apron series) has been chosen to be part of Support and Defend at The Art League of Rhode Island.
The exhibit is all about providing a way for U.S. Armed Forces veteran artists, currently serving or separated, and their immediate families, to share their military or veteran experiences through their own art, and to express its meaning to them in their own words. Every member of the U.S. Armed Forces takes an oath that includes the phrase “support and defend.” For veterans and their family members, the experiences that follow that oath are specific to each individual and may be hard to grasp for those outside the Armed Forces community. Many of those experiences are complex and enduring–perhaps lifelong. This exhibition of 2D and 3D artworks, accompanied by the artists’ written words, will reflect the military experiences of veterans or their family members and create an opportunity and forum for artists to share a personal expression of that experience. Many veterans and their families want to tell their stories, but those conversations can be difficult to start. Often, art can be the starting place.
I submitted three aprons and Home Fires was chosen. If you are in Rhode Island in April or May, please take the time to see this important exhibit.
Support and Defend: Art Relevant to the Veteran Experience
The VETS Gallery, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI 02906
Sponsored by Art League of Rhode Island
April 1 – May 29, 2016 Open Thursday and Friday afternoons
Opening reception April 14, 5:30 – 8:00 pm
After all the girlfriend scarves, I forgot to blog about one last Christmas knit.
My sister came to visit last October and we hit a few fun shops, to include Close Knit. She saw a sample there and immediately said “I want this.” Hint taken.
However, when I returned to the shop they didn’t have any more of the colors in the sample. I chose two skeins I thought looked like my sister and started knitting. However, I wash’t getting the same effect of the colors alternating lights and darks and moving in and out from each other. Also, there was a green that seemed like it was bringing everything down.
So, I ripped it all out and started over. This time I made sure that when I added the second yarn it wasn’t in the same spot on the value scale as the first yarn and when I got to the green I took it out. I also learned how to do an icord bind-off—very cool!
In the end, it wasn’t quite what I had hoped for, but I think it did turn out quite nicely, and my sister likes it. Ravelry specs are here.
Who needs a baby quilt?
I made a simple, happy, baby quilt for a friend and since I was teaching basic patchwork at my local Parks and Rec in Hawaii at the time, thought it might make a good class quilt so I made a few samples. Star Baby Indigo is one of those samples. It’s a mix of printed, hand dyed, and batik cottons. Machine quilted, and very gently used. The backing is cream colored muslin. The quilt is 35″ x 50.”
I’m offering Star Baby Indigo for $100, anywhere in the US. Paypal only. Email me at umzavi(at)hotmail.com if you are interested. DONATED to Cares Northwest