I am happy to report that I finished my year of 4 x 4” squares on time! Here are the December squares:
Now, I must decide what to do with all of these crazy squares. My original intent was to keep some as prototypes for larger pieces. I like to think of these as sketches – throughout the project, I played with composition, color combinations and to a lesser degree, getting more creative with my stitching. While I made my way through the year, I thought the squares that I did not decide to keep would get mounted on small canvas panels to sell at art fairs.
On New Year’s Day, I laid out all of the squares, and they looked great all together. I am now considering making an art quilt of them, and making more squares for my original plan sometime in the future. I am thinking it would be best to wait and see when and how the art fair comeback trail will unfold before making huge plans.
Of course, seeing all the squares out together with the idea of making them into a single work raised a few questions. Not just the technical issues of putting them together, but more personal questions: Can I live without the squares that I love if the piece sells? Will I really want to keep the resulting piece – will I see it as a constant reminder of a year that I want to forget? Making four squares a week certainly helped to get me through having nearly everything that I was looking forward to in 2020 taken away. Now that I have let the first week of 2021 slip by, I need to get busy with my new year-long series.
Again, I have changed course from my intended plans. I’m being flexible! The pumpkin and autumn leaves that I promised in my last post will come some other time. Meanwhile, I have my 4 x 4” squares from November:
In the eleventh month of this project, I am finally pushing myself to get more creative with my stitching by filling the shapes created by the fabric pieces and jumping outside the edges.
Looking ahead to 2021 (and hoping that we get to go to art festivals, quilt shows and sewing industry expos again), I have decided on my yearlong project. I am going to revisit the book A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color and Design by Heather Thomas (Landauer Publishing, 2011), and complete all twelve workshops in the book. Back in 2011 when I bought my copy of the book, I completed the first workshop, and then never went on to the second. I am going to start over, since my skill level has improved since 2011, not to mention my creative vision changing over the years.
I will also investigate some new fabric collage techniques in this project, with the intent of making multiple small quilts for each workshop to test out all of the new things I want to try. Ambitious? Oh yes! I have already started cutting fabric. The first workshop focuses on value, texture and balance using a restricted neutral palette. I’ll start off with pieces of commercial print fabric cut to the intended finished size.
These first four collage quilts for Workshop 1 will be collaged with bits and pieces in much the same way that I have stitched my 4 x 4” squares. The bits and pieces will include assorted fabrics, trims and funky yarns.
Another set of collaged quilts will emerge from pieced backgrounds that will have more fabric pieces, lace, doilies, trims and stitching added to them.
How far will I get with this? I could work on the neutrals for an entire year! Keep checking back to see what happens in my latest creative adventure.
October was another successful month of churning out my funky little squares. I need to get all of them out and start looking at them with an eye to finding any possible trends that I developed in them. My main goal for the project was to make four squares each week this year, and I feel like I have the self-discipline to finish the year on target, and to keep that stitching habit going. After December 31, I don’t know if I will make many more of the little squares, instead I want to keep that time I have ingrained into my routine to finish older projects.
A couple of secondary goals for the 4 x4” square project was to play with composition and color and to work on making my hand stitching more interesting. The color and composition play has been mostly successful. I think that there were only a few squares that just don’t cut it visually, but that is all a part of creating. I will be able to judge myself better on this when I get all of the square out together at the end. The stitching goal hasn’t quite gone as planned. I am just now, in the eleventh month of the project, doing some truly unusual and creative things with my stitching. Part of my lack of growth in stitching comes from needing to complete each square quickly, and from the size constraint. These factors slowed stretching myself in this aspect, so moving forward I think I will be able be more innovative in my stitching.
Next week, some musings on projects involving pumpkins and autumn leaves.
Once again, I have wandered off course. I try to accept my habit of getting easily distracted as a side effect of being creative, but it does not do anything for those of you who might be eagerly anticipating some words of wisdom here. In a way, I have been searching for many things this month. Not only searching for canning jars (unsuccessful), but searching for unusual pumpkins (very successful).
There have been a few days where it has taken me a half an hour to get the mail because I simply must pick up so many interesting leaves that have fallen. I am watching a series of gigantic puffballs grow near my driveway. Creativity is all about observation. These little moments will somehow resurface in the collages that I stitch over the winter.
I have been keeping up with my 4 x 4” square challenge, here are the bits and pieces from September.
In a few days, I will reveal the squares from October. This time of year, have you ever stopped to listen to the leaves fall?
I just realized that I never posted my 4 X 4″ squares from July, and of course, August. So, here they are:
The squares are about the only stitching that I have been doing the past two months. My creativity has been channeled into canning the harvest from my vegetable garden and trying new and delicious recipes with fresh veggies. Take a look at these tomatoes:
The green ones are fully ripe, there are some varieties that stay green when ripe. Next week, I’ll share a story that happened at my local produce auction; yes it does have to do with creativity. Right now, I want to sample my new salsa.