Four-in-Art

Six Ways to Blue, Deconstructed

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This is a further discussion of the quilt I recently made for the quarterly challenge in our Four-in-Art group. I let this theme of “I’ve Got the Blues” simmer in my mind, thinking about all the blue connections, from mental health to water to ice to music and then just decided I wanted to explore that hue–just wanted to play with the shifting and changing of blues.

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I went to Nicole Dacksiewicz’ site, Modern Handcraft, to catch her tutorial for how to make this.  I’d seen the original quilt at QuiltCon and always always wanted to play with this.  She even shows you how to baste your hexies, so you can’t get it wrong.

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I used a 1″ hexagon, which yields a 2 1/4″ measurement across (we measure one flat side of the hexagon to get the name).  I searched for a free printing pattern, and found these tips for cutting out hexagons.  I used Geta’s hexagon sheet (had to give up my email to do it) and she was right.  Cutting out all those hexies did go quickly! (Sorry for the pink nighttime photo.)

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Then I started playing by pinning them up on my design wall so I could get perspective.

six-ways-to-blue_construction6I moved it to my work table and kept playing.six-ways-to-blue_construction7

When I was happy with it, I glued them down, following Nicole’s hints, and later went and purchased her pattern, as I like to donate to the talented designers who share their ideas with me.  One major tip from me is not to do it on your cutting mat, or you’ll have little bits of glue that don’t really scrub off, but doesn’t impact the use of the mat.  Maybe lay it down on some wax paper?   Guess how I know this.

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When the glue was dry, I layered the top up in a quilt sandwich, put a few pins here and there and drew in quilting lines with my Hera marker.  Another major tip I’ll pass along —  and why I want to re-do this — is I put the hexies too close together. I only discovered this when I started stitching. She suggests 1/4″ apart and mine are about 1/8″ apart.  Not all the hexies are perfect (because I am Not.A.Machine, she says, in her best robot voice), and by putting them so close together, and “outlining” them with stitching, it really plays up their imperfections.  I did, however, have fun stitching the straight lines, over and over, catching the corners and stitching in between all the hexagons.

I loved playing with the theme of the blues, and love my new quilt.  I made this one larger than the ones I’ve done in the past, and it measures about 21″ wide and almost 20″ high.

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Sunset in Kansas City, September 2016

Our next overall yearly theme is Light, and Catherine, of Knotted Cotton came up with our first quarterly challenge of Shimmer.  I already have an idea (I’m not telling) and am excited for this new year.

Happy Quilting!

[Note: The cute clothespins are from a shop in Copenhagen, called Notre Dame.  Link to the clothespins is *here.*  I wanted to carry home buckets of these, but alas, I travel with a small suitcase these days and could only bring a few.]

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200 Quilts · Four-in-Art · Quilts

Six Ways to Blue, a Four-in-Art quilt for November 2016

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Six Ways to Blue
Quilt #169, November 2016
19 1/2″ high by 21″ wide
#4 in the Color Series: I’ve Got the Blues

Blues can mean too many things, all at once.  Peacefulness, depression, sadness, the thrill of a line of music (a wailing saxophone), my favorite crayon in the box and the color of my husband’s eyes.  I could think of references to blues six ways to Sunday and never run out of things to link that color to: ocean, sky, geysers, crystals, ice, flowers.

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Blue also has a powerful connotation to mood.  The other day when I was feeling a bit blue, my blue-eyed son surprised me with a FaceTime call from London, just before he was calling it a day (having traveled through the blue skies and over the big blue ocean to get there). We chatted about his recent travels to Madrid, our travels to Lisbon last year, where we together with my blue-eyed husband saw the azulejos (blue and white tiles) of that country.  It lifted my spirits, and I was thankful for his true-blue devotion and caring.

The only ancient people who had the word blue in their vocabulary were the Egyptians, largely because they had developed a blue dye.  In 1858 a scholar named William Gladstone, who later became the prime minister of Great Britain studied Icelandic sagas, the Koran, ancient Chinese stories, and an ancient Hebrew version of the Bible. Of Hindu Vedic hymns, he wrote: “These hymns, of more than ten thousand lines, are brimming with descriptions of the heavens. Scarcely any subject is evoked more frequently. The sun and reddening dawn’s play of color, day and night, cloud and lightning, the air and ether, all these are unfolded before us, again and again … but there is one thing no one would ever learn from these ancient songs … and that is that the sky is blue.” (from here)

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Wikipedia notes that the clear sky and the deep sea appear blue because of an optical effect known as Rayleigh scattering. When sunlight passes through the atmosphere, the blue wavelengths are scattered more widely by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules, and more blue comes to our eyes. Rayleigh scattering also explains blue eyes; there is no blue pigment in blue eyes.

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We’re not the only artists inspired by the blues.

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Untitled Blue Monochrome (1960)

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was a French artist who worked with a chemist to create a startling Ultramarine Blue when he mixed powder with synthetic resin.  He patented this as IKB: International Klein Blue, and became known for his use of this color.

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When Klein came to California to work as a visiting artist, Edward Kienholz “gave him this kit as a welcome gift, providing Klein with tools to create…while away from his home studio.”  The valise, which has a tag that reads “resident of the universe,” includes “such things as a spray can of IKB paint, a page of instructions, [and] a jar labeled GRIT” (text taken from National Gallery of Art label next to painting).

“Klein’s attraction to blue was rooted in his belief that it was the least material color: ‘All colors bring forth associations of concrete ideas, while blue evokes all the more the sea and the sky, which are what is most abstract in tangible and visible nature.”

I love blue in all its variants, and enjoyed bringing the abstract to the tangible in cloth and thread.

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We will begin again next year with a new challenge, going on our fifth year.  We have people who join us, leave us, but a few of us keep going on.  Please visit the other members of our group and see how they interpreted this challenge:

Betty         on Flickr

Camilla         faffling.blogspot.co.nz

Catherine       www.knottedcotton.com

Janine      www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone         quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         patchworknplay.blogspot.com

We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

FYI: The next post talks about the construction, the pattern I used, and the next challenges,
and why I want to make this all over again (because some parts really bug me).

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I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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200 Quilts · Four-in-Art · Quilts

Jill in the Pulpit: Four-in-Art Challenge • Aug 2016

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Jill in the Pulpit
Quilt No. 166, August 2016
#3 in the Color Series: Purple Passion

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I have no serious thoughts about the color purple even though there’s a novel with that title, and even though it has so many interesting connections (which were explored in my last post and which seems like it was written about a year ago, but really it’s only been several days).  Where do summer days go to?  To family picnics, visiting relatives, long interstate drives, trips, lounging around in hot weather cleaning house. . . the usual.  And then I had to ponder what I’m passionate about?  Quilting, for sure, so in the end, the reality is to Get The Thing Done, diving into my passion of quilting, but hampered by. . .

only a flesh wound

. . . my shoulder going rogue, rendering me only a bit less helpless than the Black Knight in Monty Python, which is the standard by which we judged all injuries when raising the children.  Yes, “tis only a flesh wound,” became our rallying cry for getting up and going, and so I did, and got the quilt done. Cause? Pretty sure it was the cheap-o yoga class I signed up for early this spring, and couldn’t finish because of the pain. I’m sticking to walking.  Or sword-fighting.

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All the purples in my stash (with the exception of the Kaffes) were purchased about the time of the Knights of the Round Table — all plummy and grayish and dated — so while in Utah, I visited *this* shop and *this* shop, acquiring a few new fat quarters.

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Just before sleep one night, I sketched out an idea (top).  The next day I proceeded to massacre my idea (the rest of the photos).  Finally I decided that I should just slash it where it had problems and insert other fabrics, so I did, using *this video* for help in sewing curves.

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I line up fabric underneath the slash, position it, then move it about 1/4″ back from my imaginary positioning line, then rotary cut along the shape.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam. Press.

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Repeat with other side.

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Keeping the bag of frozen peas balanced on my “flesh wound,” I quilted this, stopping often to rest and ponder the state of the universe. . . or what I was doing.  I hate that I have a new quilting machine, and haven’t really been able to use it much.  “Soon,” my husband says, as he rubs my shoulder nightly and soothes my worries.  “Soon.”JillinPulpit_10

I whacked it here a little, there a little, turned it and whacked it again, until I got this ungainly flower-like thing quilt in a sort-of balance.
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Now you know why I named it Jill in the Pulpit.  It’s irrelevant whether you like the candidate or not, as the Big Deal is that we have come far enough to nominate a woman, and I thought that deserved some recognition.JillinPulpit_9

So there you go–my Purple Passion Challenge.

Please visit the rest of our group, to see how they interpreted Color: Purple Passion.  We also have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, where you can find us all.

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla         http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine         http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simon         http://quiltalicious.blogspot.com

Susan         http://patchworknplay.blogspot.com

Four-in-Art

Purple Passion

(Please note the updated directions on the final Oh Christmas Tree post (highlighted in pink).  Thanks. Okay back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

What is Purple Passion?

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A drink from the 1980s?PurplePassion6

A variety of potato?PurplePassion3

Asparagus?PurplePassion8

Hair color?PurplePassion2

Muppet’s Collection Nail Polish?PurplePassion4

Floral Arrangement?PurplePassion7

Eulogy for Prince?purple passion chick

A purple-clad seductress?  (FYI: I always hang out in feathers and beads when I’m not quilting.)

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Worshippers in Peru during the month of October?  (called Mes Morado, and yes, they really do wear a lot of purple)PurplePassion5

A unique flower?

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A quilt made from the image of that flower? (I think it was the pipe cleaners that sent me over the edge.)

Nope, none of those, at least not this time.

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It’s the theme of this quarter’s Four-in-Art Challenge.  This will really be a challenge, for unlike some people, I don’t tend to use purple in my quilts.

Spectrum_detailWell, maybe here and there.

Rainbow GardensOkay. . .at least twice.

Purple embodies the balance of red’s stimulation and blue’s calm. This dichotomy can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined, at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. With a sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.  (from here)

I laser-beamed in on the words “well liked by. . creative. . types.” Couple that with the image of the purple chick above, and I’m totally down with this theme.  It’s due in about a week, on August 1st.  Guess I’d better get going (as the voice in her head starts shrieking, It’s August already???!!!??).

According to the leaders of IDEO, a design and innovation firm, one way to become more creative is to practice being creative.  They often use creative exercises to push into new ways of thinking about a task, or an idea.  They note that “exercising your mind can sometimes feel more daunting than exercising your muscles.” So they’ve “developed ten creativity challenges to jump-start your practice.”  Note the word “challenge.”  That’s one reason why joining a group with challenges can help you practice your creativity.

David Brooks, in an article titled “The Creative Climate” says that creativity is “the joining of the unlike to create harmony. Creativity rarely flows out of an act of complete originality. It is rarely a virgin birth. It is usually the clash of two value systems or traditions, which, in collision, create a transcendent third thing.”

I’m definitely working on clashing here, having culled a few photos from my photo stash for inspiration (you don’t have a photo stash?  I recommend it), and working towards that transcendent third thing.

That transcendent third thing.  In purple.

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Reveal date: August 1, 2016

Four-in-Art

Good Friday: Four-in-Art Challenge • May 2016

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Good Friday
Quilt No. 164, May 2016
#2 in the Color Series: MusicFourinArtMay16_2 FourinArtMay16_3

This quilt was inspired by time spent in Antonio Gaudi’s magnificent creation of La Sagrada Familia, a basilica in Barcelona, Spain.  We visited there in March of 2016, on Good Friday of their Santa Semana (Holy Week).  It was a fitting capstone to our visit to Spain, and to other of Gaudi’s architectural buildings, and from the moment we walked in, we were overwhelmed.  Gaudi based a lot of his structures on natural elements, curves inherent in draped forms, local mountains, rock and nature.  So I took my cue from the same, as well as trying to weave in a representation of my experience there with color, music and the Spirit.FourinArtMay16_SagradaChristIn most of the Catholic churches we visited on our trip, the center crucifix of Christ was based on what we perceived as physical pain: the suffering that Jesus as a mortal man endured on the cross for all those many hours of the crucifixion, his head bowed, the expression on his face, agony. Yet in Gaudi’s church, Christ was under a canopy that appeared almost like upside-down blossom of a trumpet flower, surrounded by a vine laden with clusters of grapes, the expression on his face transcendent, his eyes focused upward.FourinArtMay16_La Sagrada FamiliaAnd high above him, nearly 200 feet in the air, is a golden arrow or tree that points to a further high point, a representation of his ascension to heaven.  The symbolism is rich and layered for those who are familiar with the story of Good Friday.  I sat down in the chairs in the nave to think and to let myself fall into what I was seeing, and surprisingly, hearing.  As I sat there I became aware of music, just below the level of hum of the crowd.  It was hard to decide what the score was, whether it was some oratorio like the Messiah, or a choral rendition, such as Ave Maria (which was later played at noon).  The beauty of the stained glass, the unique and thoughtful Christ in the unusual baldacchin, the representation of the Resurrection by this golden motif pointing upward and the music were a fitting celebration of the events of Good Friday.

FourinArtMay16_SagradamotifLaSagradaFamilia_13 LaSagradaFamilia_12On a more practical level, during our entire trip I had been puzzling what I would make for our May Four-in-Art art quilt, with its dual themes of color and music; I knew that day that I wanted to attempt to recreate some portion of what I had experienced, however puny my attempt might be.FourinArtMay16_5

This is my third try at this structure.  I had started out with the swirly pink, yellow and blue batik, but first used a yellow solid.  Then when we went to visit my son in San Diego, I found a fabric store that sold silk shantung, and a bit of the glistening crisp fabric came home with me.

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I worked those diamonds multiple ways, but finally had to settle for a tepid reference to the intricacies of Gaudi’s design.  I’m not too happy with the blue pieces, wishing I had instead something more grayed to bridge the swirling pastel batik to the outer gray, but again, I was aiming for a representation of the experience.
FourinArtMay16_7 FourinArtMay16_8Because of the lattice shape, the dimensions of this quilt are quite different than the usual 12 inch square quilts I’ve been making in this series.

FourinArtMay16_9I backed it with more of the batik, quilted it up on my new quilting machine, and bound it in more batik, wishing to let the edges flow, not constrain, the design.
FourinArtMay16_10 FourinArtMay16_11 FourinArtMay16_12 FourinArtMay16_13 FourinArtMay16_14I was surprised when I laid it out on my flagstone for a photograph in the sun, how the sheen of the silk echoed the glinting bits in the rock underneath it.  The label reads: “The intense spiritual experience of Good Friday in Barcelona, as I sat in the nave, with color, sound and Spirit blending around me, prompted this quilt: an attempt to recreate one of Gaudi’s motifs.”

Perhaps to someone who wasn’t there, it may seem puny or very far from that design motif high above the nave.  I agree.
But it will do.

tiny nine patches

Please visit the other quilters in the Four-in-Art group, so named because we work towards quarterly challenges (next challenge will be August 2016):

Betty         https://www.flickr.com/photos/toot2

Camilla     http://faffling.blogspot.co.nz/

Catherine    http://www.knottedcotton.com

Janine         http://www.rainbowhare.com

Nancy         http://www.patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Rachel         http://www.rachel-thelifeofriley.blogspot.com

Simone       (sitting out this round–her daughter’s getting married)

Please also visit our blog: Four-in-Art Quilts.

tiny nine patches

5XmasTreeMaySee you tomorrow for STEP FOUR of the Oh Christmas Tree QAL.

Four-in-Art

Song and Color • Prepping for Four-in-Art Quilt

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It’s hard to believe that just over two weeks ago, I was sitting in La Sagrada Familia in the center of the nave (they’d roped off the center section to protect it from the crowds), seated quietly, soaking up the colors and sights and sounds that were swirling around me.  Aside from the two gorgeous choir lofts shown here, there are all kinds of stained glass windows, interesting sculptural features, an inspiring Christ under a unique baldacchino.  As I sat there, just under the hub-bub of the tourists milling all around me,  I became aware of choral music.  Strains of it reminded me of Faure’s Requiem.  At other times I thought I could float along on the melody of Ave Maria.  Then I was sure Handel’s Messiah was the melody I was hearing.  It was all very ethereal, a peak Easter experience for me.

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The reason why I’m writing about this now, is that our yearly theme for Four-in-Art is Color, and this quarter’s challenge is music.  At first I’d played around with representing a musical score in colors, sort of a sing your way through the rainbow sort of thing.  Or pick out visual elements of music, say a treble clef or bass clef or some sturdy quarter notes, and arrange them, in colorful fabrics, in a composition.

But once I was in La Sagrada Familia, I knew I had to interpret that experience somehow, for it truly was an immersion in color and music.  I’m still working on it, but here are some more photos from that place for you to enjoy.  Our reveal is coming up in three weeks, so I’m actively thinking about it, trying out ideas, trying even harder not to work on a deadline, in order to create something I’m happy with.  See you May 1st for the reveal of our quilts.

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P.S.  TravelMind.com is my travel blog; it takes me months to write up my trips, so nothing from Spain is over there yet.