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The End of the Squares

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.

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Looking Forward with a Past Project

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.

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More Little Squares

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.

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Getting out of 2017 and into 2020

Yes!  I finished the 2017 ICAD challenge, and I am so far keeping up with the 2020 challenge.  Here is what I churned out in the past few weeks to close out 2017:

Week 7 prompts: lyrics, denim or blue, night sky, love, layers, intersection, charm bracelet.

Week 8: sun or moon, swim, adjective, mirror, greetings from…, sepia, ghost or zombie.

Week 9: spring, summer, autumn, winter, sunset.

On Tuesdays through the next two months, I will post my progress on the ICAD challenge.  My goals for this year are to try combining art media and truly explore mixed media more and to make an art quilt inspired by one of my index cards.  Of course, the quilt will happen after the challenge ends.  For my mixed media goal this week, I have combined stamping, collage and lettering; ink drawing and watercolor pencil; fabric, stitching and paint; iron-on thread and paint; collage and watercolor pencil.  The prompts for week one were hopscotch, marigold, album, sequins, 1980s, dreamcatcher and highway.  It is not too late to pick up the challenge, why not give it a try?

Finally, I’m still rolling along with my 4×4” squares.  Here are the ones from May:

Onward to something else on Thursday, see you then!

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Close to Finishing…

It looks like I am on track to finish the index card collages from 2017 by May 31, in time to immediately start the annual challenge for 2020 on June 1.  As I look around my sewing room, I am realizing that these side challenges get finished at the expense of other projects, but the important thing is that I am still making something, reinforcing a daily creative habit, and learning more about materials, composition and design along the way.  Those are all good things that will positively influence my bigger projects.

Here are the cards from 2017 Week 5, prompts were polka dots, gyroscope, faux wallpaper, desert or dessert, orange, Fourth of July, favorite type of apple.

Week 6, prompts were perfume, kaomoji or emoji, charcoal, ampersand, steampunk, roots, onomatopoeia.

Coming soon, I will have some more musings on music to visual art, thoughts on combining vastly different influences, of course the 2020 ICAD challenge, and so much more in the upcoming weeks.