Gridster Bee Blocks & Catch-Ups

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Gridster_Septemeber Teton

Simone, the Queen Bee for September, visited Grand Teton National Park over the summer and wanted a block to commemorate her visit.  I can hardly wait to see this one.

Gridster_October African QueenLeisa’s mother used to live in Ghana, a missionary for the LDS church.  While she was there, she sent Leisa a box of fabrics that she’s turned into African Queen blocks.  In case you want one, here’s the info on the pattern by Anne Batiste.

I also saw Leisa’s block in my latest Quiltfolk Magazine, issue #4:

Quiltfolk Issue 4Quiltfolk Issue 4aI have to admit, even though it’s a bit more than I’d usually pay for a single issue, I do enjoy this publication, as it generally focuses on the regular people of quilting, not the big Brand Names of Quilt Stardom.  A nice change, which exposes me to a wider range of our quilt world (and lets me find an African Queen pattern!).

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Here’s another I really enjoy–Uppercase Magazine.  This issue hit it out of the park, in my view, so if you decide to subscribe, make sure you start with #35.  Neither of these publications have advertisements, they are subscription based only, which is why they cost a bit more: the advertisers aren’t subsidizing the costs.  I like advertisements okay; it helps me know what my favorite companies are doing.  But I also like not having advertisements, too.

If you join up with Jeanine’s mailing list, she’ll give you a deal on a new subscription, plus you get her cool little missives.  Never heavy, only intriguing and fun, filled with art and creativity everywhere.  I’m sure you can sign up to get those all by themselves, if you want.  (And no, Uppercase doesn’t pay me.)

Okay, as long as we are in the panting-over-something-but-don’t-know-if-I’ll-get-it phase, look what came in my mailbox this morning:

QuiltMania box set Di Ford

You get one box at a time, filled with stuff to make two Di Ford blocks.  I’m not even a Di Ford aficionado (although you might persuade me) and I’m tempted.  They are only making 400.

This news comes from someone who has the complete set of Frivols, yes, boxes 1-12.  It was my retirement gift to myself.  I still haven’t made ONE of those quilts, although I still like seeing the boxes.  Soon.

My box fetish comes honestly from my mother, who always had a cupboard full of empty boxes for gift-giving, and a stack of them outside in the garage next to the freezer, just in case we needed one.  I’m sure there are other box-hoarders out there, besides me, right?

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Coming November 1st: my final quilt in the Four-in-Art experience.  Although I’ll not be a part of it, the art quilt group still continues on, however, as Endeavourers, with Janine and Catherine at the helm.

 

Endeavourer

They had such a nice response that their slots are full, but having run a few groups, I know that the line-ups change all the time.  If you are interested in joining them, drop either one of them a note and ask to be added to their waiting list.  It has been a wonderful experience to make art quilts these past five years, and being a part of a group is wonderful.

See you November 1st!

 

Uppercase Fabrics, Kevin Umana, and Creativity Breakout

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This post is the story of two creatives, well, maybe three.  One is an artist living and working in Los Angeles.  That’s Kevin Umaña, up there.Vangool

Another is Janine Vangool, a graphic artist and editor-in-chief of Uppercase Magazine in Canada, who recently released a line of fabric through Windham Fabrics (photo of Janine from *here*).

And then there’s me, but you know what I look like.

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And it’s also the tale of two quilts and a quilt block (which is at the end, by the giveaway from Uppercase and Janine, so keep reading).KevinUmanaIGfeed1

Some time ago, my nephew linked me over to Kevin’s Instagram feed, as he knew I am slightly passionate about quilts and designs, and I’m especially in love the the “grid.”  Apparently Kevin loves it too, as well as color and shape and repeated lines. (All these images are posted with his permission.)
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I had sort of been in a creative slump, slightly burned out, not really knowing what to do next besides bee blocks and the Same Old. Idly scrolling through Kevin’s feed one afternoon, I found a few designs that interested me; he and I began to correspond, and then collaborate.

Stitch-IlloAbout the same time, Uppercase Magazine‘s Janine Vangool announced that they were producing an Encyclopedia (images from Uppercase’s website), and the one that interested me was her Stitch-Illo, one of three that was launching the Encyclopedia series.  Since I’d missed submitting to her Compendium (which is always on my nightstand), I went right to her website and started choosing pictures to submit, planning on getting the submission in early. Everything was going along swimmingly until I hit this question: “What makes your work unique?”

Unique?

No matter what I wrote, it sounded trite and useless and idiotic and banal and cliched, and believe I re-wrote the answer to that question about 50 times. I felt dead in the water.  (I’m sure Kevin wondered what happened to me.)  It was like coming up to a mirror and instead of seeing a reflection of my image, it was like seeing past me into an empty sewing room, forty million quilts stacked to the ceiling, but they were all somebody else’s vision or creation or idea.  Nothing unique anywhere.

That question rattled around in my head while on a trip with my husband, and where it rained nearly every day, giving me lots of time to think.  I slowly reviewed all the quilts I had pictures for while sitting in my hotel room, wondering; do we all make the same quilt, over and over?  Not our own same quilt, but the One of the Moment, currently seen on everyone’s Instagram feed, or splashed all over the quilty magazines?  Where was my unique?  If someone saw one of my quilts, would they say, “Oh, yes–that’s Elizabeth’s!”  And if I really had a unique, what was it?  What did it look like?  How could I tell it from someone else’s?

And in my more cynical moments, I’d say, “Well who cares, if it’s unique?  Doesn’t matter enough that I’m a maker, that I express myself with cloth and sewing and cutting and stitching?” Really helpful, right?

IllusionofColorsQuilt

Back home, I began looking at Kevin’s designs again.  In college we were encouraged to do “imitations” of writers, using their form in order to get the meter and the words under our creative nails, as a way of training up a writer. It was a form of limiting, giving us structure, but not letting us off the rails, so to speak.  So I decided to allow Kevin’s form to give me structure. And I chose to limit my fabrics to a (delightful) bundle of Janine’s Uppercase fabrics, which I’d purchased at Market.

The first experiment (above) with Kevin’s work was almost an exact copy.

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Umana Cross Quilt 2

But the second quilt took off on its own.

Crossroads Center Block

The center cross morphed.
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Somewhere in here, the experiment sparked an original idea.  And when I quilted, I kept seeing more.Crossroads_3 Crossroads_2 Crossroads_1

Crossroads, after Umaña • Quilt #165

Until finally, I’m here.

I won’t tell you what I wrote for Uppercase, because in a way, it’s really irrelevant to the idea of this particular story.  What resonates is that challenge laid down in those words of the application, one that I think about to this day.  I’m incredibly grateful to Kevin for allowing me to collaborate with him, and to borrow a little from his light when I needed it.

I’m also grateful to creatives who make fabrics for me to use, such as the excellent line shown in this post.  All fabrics, with the exception of the solid white, are from Janine Vangool’s Uppercase Fabrics line.  Yes, even the wee metallic letters in the sunglasses below, an echo of Kevin’s at the top of the post.

UppercaseFabricSunglasses

 (Chuck Nohara block #345. Pattern for the Crossroads quilt coming soon to Craftsy.)

And finally, the cheesy way to close out a conundrum: let somebody else do the talking for you.

I narrow-mindedly outlawed the word ‘unique.’ Practically every press release contains it. Practically nothing ever is. (Fred Hechinger)

Every person born in this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique and every man or woman’s foremost task is the actualization of his or her unique, unprecedented and never recurring possibilities. (Martin Buber)

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. (Margaret Mead)

Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it. (Tallulah Bankhead)

Giveaway Banner

Uppercase Giveaway

When I saw Janine at Quilt Market, her booth was handing out free Uppercase Magazines.  Since I’ve been a subscriber for several years, I mentioned to Janine that with the free magazine I could instead do a Giveaway on my blog, and she handed me another magazine, her fabric catalogue and the charm pack of her fabrics to sweeten the pot.  To enter, please leave a comment.  Blog followers get double their chances (shameless promotion), but it’s not necessary to follow to win. 

NOTE: Giveaway now closed.  Thanks to all who entered.

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And finally…

Giveaway Step 6_OCT

…congratulations to the winner of the Dresden Carnival book, Beth T, who wrote about making a squared Dresden plate block for her niece’s quilt.  I’ve sent you an email and I’ll get that off to you this week.  Thank you to all who entered.  You have lovely Dresden Plate Memories!

Working on My Stuff

Magazine

My first issue of Uppercase magazine arrived.  It’s on my nightstand and I can hardly wait.

Center Colors

I also took a trip to Purl Soho-West Coast (in Orange County, California) where I picked up some more solid fabrics for the inner petals on that soon-to-be-renamed Rainbow Petals quilt.  I appliquéd on three of the petals the other night while my husband and I watched the latest Star Trek movie, and added another petal during the our local quilt guild meeting.

Now that Downton Abbey’s over, I need to make time to sew.  Maybe I should rewatch parts of it, so I can get this finished?

Inspiration Strikes Everywhere

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On this, National Quilting Day, I thought I’d share two videos from the magazine Uppercase, which recently published work from Bari J. (The above picture is from the magazine’s website.)  They apparently are having a Spring Sale on subscriptions, if you want to be inspired monthly by their magazine.

Uppercase Screen Shot

Why do I mention this?  Inspiration for our quilts can strike anywhere and everywhere, and why not a gorgeously produced publication to give us a little inspiration?  I’ve been ripping out magazine pages for years, and clipping interesting photos from the newspaper for my files.  That Old Time Method parallels my Pinterest pinning, as well as the file of digital images from quilt shows, blogs and screenshots from Instagram.  I say, grab your inspiration where you can find it.

Here’s a vimeo about 10 surface design tips.

And here’s a little bit of what their magazine is about–fun for us to look at–a little eye candy!

Lastly, another source of inspiration for me has been other blogs.

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That’s where I found out about this (now-deceased) quilt artist Edrica Huws. (Address of the blog is in the picture.)  Apparently nearly 51 years old when she began her mosaic-like patchworks, she sometimes took a year to create just one.  Here is an excerpt from an article in the Guardian newspaper:

“Edrica Huws, born in 1907, spent two years at the Chelsea School of Art, gained a diploma from the Royal College of Art, and worked as an artist until she married the Welsh sculptor Richard Huws in 1931. Five children later, and living in rural Anglesey with neither electricity nor running water, she turned her hand to poetry and began collecting fabrics for her patchwork. She was 51 when she began her first patchwork picture of a greenhouse. It took her a year. The challenge was in getting the assemblage of differently figured pieces to look like a representation of her subject, but not too like it. The scraps had to be treated like scraps, not like paint, or mosaic. Edrica said herself in a lecture in 1982 that to her ‘the essence of an aesthetic experience’ was ‘the control just winning’.”

Back to the blog:

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Edrica Huws_4

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I did a search on her name, and while I never found a way to purchase her book, I did find many photos of her quilts, apparently from an exhibition she had (and mentioned in the Guardian article).

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And in a comment on the Guardian article, someone wrote: “Quoting from the book Edrica Huws Patchworks she says: ‘It was pleasant to have some recognition, but even without it, I would have carried on… When I had reached a time when I could have started painting again – I had more money, more time and more space, the three things that I lacked earlier – I no longer had the inclination. In a strange way, it seemed too easy.’ ”

Edrica Huws_1

Happy National Quilting Day!