Monday, July 11, 2016

Continuing my attempt

I was pretty happy with my work. Copying the technique of of Merle Axelrad, after cutting out the pieces of fabric I took them over to the sewing machine and tried to stitch them to the background material. Piece started falling off and pretty soon I had lost the design that I had made. Too bad it didn't work. I am going to have to find some sort of adhesive backing to use next time such as Wonder Under. Oh well, live and learn! Nothing to get upset about. Just part of the creative process!

Giving it a second try

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert's new book called 'The Big Magic". Her book addresses the fears and pressures of creativity. She had so many wonderful pieces of advice that inspired me to try creating small quilt based on quilt artist Merle Axelrad. We were able to visit Merle Axelrad in her studio Sacramento when we were up in the area after the Sano Reunion. I found a wonderful picture that I wanted to try to make into a quilt. I then set about cutting up small pieces of fabric and placing them just so that you could actually see the shadings etc.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Finally, I have a Quilt !!

When I first started dreaming of becoming a quilt artist, I fantasized about creating a quilt that captured a slice of the Japanese American experience. I have finally finished the quilt, after months of working on it. While creating the quilt I experienced many highs and my share of lows. Although I had a vision in mind of what I wanted it to look like, when I actually started creating the quilt, it turned out to be much harder than I thought. I have learned a great deal in the process. Some of the things I have learned are as follows: 1) start small. Starting with a project that was as big as this one was a bit crazy. I would have been much better off, with something that was smaller and more manageable. 2) it's important to enjoy the process and not be so worried about the result 3) choose the background first, then make pieces go with it it. 4) use fusible web  to prevent frayed edges. 5) to aid color selection, pick colors from existing swatches of fabric that you like.

Here is the finished quilt:

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Practice Quilt

Second, more complicated art quilt. LOVE THE RESULTS!

To help learn the skills of creating a photo inspired quilt, I decided to re-create a quilt from the book "Photo Inspired Quilts", by Leni Weiner. The quilt I chose to make was called "The Girl With the Pearl Earring". The quilt is based on a painting by artist Johann Vermeer.

Making the quilt involved creating a pattern, selecting the fabric, cutting out the fabric, gluing the fabric to a background, stitching the pieces in place and finishing with a batting and backing. The entire process was a lot of fun and very relaxing. It made me feel very creative and helped me to build my sewing skills. One thing I will have to be careful with in the future is not to pull the fabric. The other thing I will do is to choose my topstich fabrics carefully. I can't wait to design my original art quilt. 

While designing I will keep in mind that perfectionism kills creativity and that everything is a remix (heard on TED). 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fine Tuning My Project

Very first photo inspired art quilt

Over the last week, with the input from my Landmark classmates, I have fine tuned my intended project. Mostly what I have done was narrowed in on what I think is possible for me in the area of creativity and what my project is really about. 

What is possible is that through this project? What I have identified to be possible is a development of courage and freedom around the area of creativity. What I intend to do for my project is to be an extraordinary quilt artist that leaves people touched, moved and inspired. The name that I am giving to my project is: Daring to Create.

Now that I have the basics defined, my next step is to identify measurable results that will fulfill the project and fulfill either all or part of my intention. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Past the Roadblocks

My dream is to create an art quilt that honors my Japanese American Heritage and have it publicly displayed. WOW! What an dream, but how to make it come true. What might stand in my way?

When I though about what I might stand in my way I thought of my very real insecurities about creativity. What has happened in the past is that when I try to create art and it doesn't look the way that I think it should look, I have gotten discouraged. What I will do often is just play it "safe" and copy other people's work. I want to get past this. So, starting from today, I WILL JOYFULLY CREATE WITH FREEDOM AND CONFIDENCE!

Here are the things that I have come to realize about creativity:

1) Comparing myself to others is not a fair comparison because everyone started out somewhere and worked at getting better. Putting in the time to practice and get better will pay off in the long run.
2) Creativity is individual - there are no rights and wrongs.
3) The work I admire most, is work that is straight from the heart. I need to just listed to my heart.
4) When kids first start out creating art, they are naturally creative. It is only when they start comparing themselves to others that they become to afraid to trust their creativity. Comparing yourself to others is TOXIC to creativity!
5) I recognize that I have been very creative in other areas of my life, such as in creating reunions, birthday parties, technology projects. I got there by taking risks and building on my successes.
6) I have the ability to create in art if I let myself experiment and know that it is a process which takes time to develop.
7) I can take classes to improve my artistic skills and quilting. There is a community out there to help me.
8) I need to be my own best friend in the area of creativity and give myself credit for taking risks and for my efforts to create. I must treat myself in the same way that I would treat my daughters or a friend.
9) I admire creative people. I want to be one of them. I admire musicians and people who honor and build community.
10) There are plenty of quilt artists that are self-taught and started out in the same way that I am. I plan to contact at least one of them and tell them about my dream.
11) When I look for a greater purpose to fulfill, I am motivated to forge ahead and be creative (example: Motivated by the goal cheering up a friend fighting cancer, I easily created a quilt).

I can do it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Re-inventing Myself as a Narrative Quilt Artist

Along my re-invention journey I discovered that I love narrative quilts! When I see narrative quilts,  I am in awe of their beauty and the stories behind them. Last Christmas,  I made this quilt for Dad & Barb. It depicts the two of them at home, with a view of the backyard, having an enjoyable afternoon.

Quilt I made for my Dad & Barb for Christmas 2012

My fascination for narrative quilts along with a close look at what I value prompted me to create a new vision for my life. Here is my new vision.......

My Vision (6/7/13)
I am a narrative quilt artist. I tell stories of people’s lives through beautiful quilts. I make quilts that hang in galleries. I have workshops in which I teach others how to tell stories through quilts. I am working on a children’s book that uses quilts as illustrations. I do library programs that include storytelling and quilts. I go to schools to help students build quilts about what they are studying. I have started a non-profit to help troubled youth to tell their stories through quilts. I have a loving family who is supportive of my work. I travel and love to look at fabrics from the places that I visit. I am an avid cell player and also a gardener and cook.
I tell about the Japanese American experience. I am mindful, healthy and kind. I have strong ties to the community and encourage others to create the life of their dreams. I serve as a model to others to grow and take risks. I am grateful for each day.
I can make a difference using my quilting in the following ways:
-give quilts to help non-profits with fundraising
-celebrate a person or organization by creating a commissioned quilt
-tell the stories of a community
-bring a community together by helping them make a group quilt
-teach quilting to incarcerated youth
-help adults to learn a new skill and grow
-teach kids quilting as an extension of their curriculum
I want to be the Nikki McClure of Narrative Quilting

I want my life to be about: creating, helping to improve the lives of others, learning about people’s lives, telling the Japanese American experience, less rush, a simpler life, being mindful, a healthy lifestyle, less reliance on technology, relationships, making the world a better place, appreciation of nature, art & music, organizing others, gratitude, kindness, community, encouraging others to create the life of their dreams, personal growth, self help, taking risks.