Making Do

When I first unpacked my studio, I quickly realized that I could either take a couple of days to do it, or a couple of months if I fiddled with every little detail. I went with the quick and dirty method of just getting stuff out of the boxes and into some kind of order.

Now as I work, I'm fine tuning the space, making a few minor adjustments, and maybe actually getting rid of some of the stuff.

But as I thought about how to make the space work for me, I bought the current issue of Studios, from the Cloth, Paper Scissors people. There are some really fine spaces in there. But they're full of "perfect" things like just the right antique, or thousands of dollars worth of cabinetry. I'm not in that place, either financially or mentally. I want to make do.

So I'm working with what I have as much as I can. I have spent probably $150 all together, on some new plastic storage boxes and on two sturdy shelving units. And I did have some good bones--a sewing table my husband built for me, as well as a cutting table.

But here are some cobbled together things that cost me nothing and it works:

This started life as a stereo cabinet. Since we didn't need it for that anymore, we put in some extra shelves and now I have a place to store paint and lots of little stuff.

This cheap trunk was one my husband took to college 35 years ago. It now holds rolled up old work of mine. One of the handles is missing, so I tend to set it on end like this. It was sitting right next to my ironing board, and I noticed that it was the perfect place to put my distilled water for my iron, spray bottle, sometimes a pair of scissors.

Last week I finally set up a stereo in the space--using stuff we already had. So now my MP3 player is hooked into a 30 year old amp, chugging away through equally old speakers. There's something kind of cool about all my music being on that itsy thing, and being played through old equipment.

And the table it is sitting on is made by adding a pair of fold up legs to a hollow core door we replaced in our former house--the paint streaks you see on it are because it's where I used to finish furniture. And the wire stand around the stereo? An extra one from previous cabinets.

So I'm making do as best I can. I'm trying not to buy much to make new art; it's working in general, although I am pining for a few things...

If you've read this far, I should mention that Blogger tells me this is my 100th post. Woohoo.


following the rules...or not

The principles of design include something about repetition with variation. This I take to mean it's good to repeat a shape or a line in a piece of art, but don't repeat it exactly--change the color or the size. And odd numbers are a good thing.

So I'm hand stitching these horizontal lines (in various sets of odd numbers--3, 5, 7, and 1), trying to space them a little randomly, varying the exact start and stop.

For some reason (ha), it's not hard to make the actual stitches different sizes. But every time I place the needle to start a new line, it automatically wants to be the exact same distance as between the last two lines. I have to specifically think every time: Vary this line. I can't do it without thinking.

Is that because the brain wants order and regularity? Then why do the art mavens want otherwise? Is repetitiveness more soothing? Why is irregularity interesting?

Such are the boring trains of thought brought about by hand stitching--mind you, I like the look of these stitches well enough to keep doing it, but the actual doing is kind of boring.


SAQA One Square Foot Auction

Monday, November 10, marks the beginning of the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Reverse Auction of one square foot pieces of art. My donation, shown above, will be in the first set auctioned off.

The piece is called Bryce Canyon, and was inspired by the national park of the same name. The peachy background was hand dyed and stamped with hand carved stamps, the 'hoodoo' shapes are painted fusible webbing, the blue sky marks the vivid contrast between sky and land in the low humidity southwest. The y shaped dark piece is taken from a photograph we took of a pine tree with exposed roots that stands on the edge of the canyon--a striking enough sight that we later found postcards made of the same view.

I've belonged to SAQA for a few years, in fact have been juried into their PAM (Professional Artist Member) group. They do a lot to promote art quilts as art, as well as offering lots of exhibit opportunities. Please check them out.

This piece, now entitled Lake Cooper 2, has been juried into Form, Not Function. This show occurs at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, IN, from January 9-March 7, 2009. Although I've never been in person, from what I have heard and seen it is a show well worth going to see if you're anywhere near southeastern Indiana.

That is all.