Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Claiming Your Own Style

For most of my life I have avoided categorizing or labeling myself.

Probably because I never found one that seemed to properly fit. One-size-fits-all-never worked for me, and this has been very true in the years that I have been exploring the art of quilting and stitching.

It's all been a long and wonderful learning journey for me, trying a little of this, and a little of that, seeing what I liked and what I didn't...

until finally arriving at this point in time, where after many years of exploring I have developed my own personal style that fits me comfortably.

Yesterday I met my eldest daughter in the city for the day, and during lunch we got on the topic of what style my stitched work exactly fell under.

"Hmmm" I said. "I really don't know!"

"They certainly don't fall in the traditional category" I continued, "and they aren't something that you would likely see in a contemporary art quilting show..."

"I most strongly identify with the modern quilt movement, but most of my work really doesn't fit that category either."

"Truth is" I told my daughter, " I don't think there is a category that my work fully fits in."

And that got me to thinking...

After all these years of learning my craft, honing my skills and developing my own style, I am ready to define my work, even if that means creating my own term and definition.

So I looked at my work...

and the photos I take of the things that inspire me...

I thought about my attraction to old time, make-do sensibilities...

And the beauty of off kilter lines and shapes...

And I decided to name my style Rural Retro.

So, after many years of avoiding labels, I have now created one for myself... and this excites me!

Since I am creating a brand new category of quilting, I now get to explore more in depth my definition of it...

What it means to me, and how I wish to express it.

A sort of place to hang my hat, and call my home...

A clearer view of what I want to say and how I want to say it... from creating a stronger and more cohesive look, to choosing fabrics, (it even makes this solid loving girl think more closely about what type of prints would fall into this style) to various projects and collections.

Branding my artistic style will help me move forward in a more focused direction, and I am very excited to begin this new journey.

And if I may, I'd like to offer this... If you find yourself on the newer side to quilting, (which is where I felt I was for many years as there is soooo much to learn) I wouldn't at this point concern yourself with defining an absolute style for yourself. This is a time to learn from everything that inspires you. Don't be afraid to take a bit from one esthetic and a bit from another, and mix them up. Ask yourself a lot of questions as to what attracts you and why. Don't follow trends blindly. Eventually something uniquely yours will emerge, and when it does go ahead and name it, claim it, embrace it.

Happy stitching!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Throw Me Some Comfort!

With the nip of Fall finally in the air,
I am feeling inspired to make cozy, quilted throws.

I love a beautifully quilted throw, as they are so versatile.
Large enough to be functional, but small enough to be easily portable.

They keep you comfy while reading a book or watching the tube.
And provide a great play area for a little one, or for a fun picnic lunch.
Plus they travel great, adding comfort to a long car ride, and warmth at a chilly outdoor event.

They look great slung over a chair, a stair rail, or a table.

They can even be hung on the wall as art.
What's not to love?!

When designing this particular quilted throw, (which is reversible and which I have named "Army Blues") I consciously set out to design something that would appeal to a male. (That is not to say that this is a guy only quilt, as I personally love these colors and wear them all the time! It's just that I noticed most quilts on the market seem to have a more feminine aesthetic, and I wanted something that had a more inclusive esthetic. After all boys and men need quilts that offer them comfort, too!)

For more information on this throw, please visit my Etsy shop, where I have it listed here.

I also want to give a Thank You! to the Quilt Inspiration blog. Last Friday, they did a lovely post on some of my work which you can view here. Be sure to check out the rest of their blog, as it's full of lovely eye candy!!

Now I am off to make another throw! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

R.I.P. (until springtime comes)

Thanks so much for all of the great comments in my last post concerning what to do with the eco-dyed quilt top that I was less then thrilled about, I enjoyed reading each and every one.

Despite all of the good and tempting ideas, I decided to stick with my original plan and just simply bury the thing.

So it wouldn't be lonely during its winter slumber, I buried a few other fabric and patchwork bits with it.

I buried the cloth where the tomato plants had grown this summer, and left some of the dropped cherry size ones in the hole.

To mark this temporary grave site I added a few bundles of tied fabric that I had put out in the yard a few weeks ago... more erosion experiments... and properly placed some flowers on top out of respect. For good measure, I also circled it in stones in case a wind storm came and blew the fabric bundles away.

Now we just wait, and in 6 months or so, we will dig it all up and see what transformations to the cloth have occur. Hoping for some good discoloration and lovely decaying areas, that will inspire something interesting!