Thursday, November 22, 2007

Another Place I Create

The kitchen where I cook, creating meals that are
"good enough to eat"

Today it was back to work..... cooking in a truck stop restaurant. I try to be consistent with the quality and I'm finally getting the timing down so the things that need to be done together end up done together, not always an easy task.

The range on the right is the meat range and the one on the left is the egg/pancake one. They are NEVER turned off. We also have a charcoal grill to the right of the meat range where we cook burgers and steaks.

I take pride in making the meal look as attractive as it can, given the time and other constraints I work under. I guess we use our creativity where we can.

It can get pretty hectic at times, especially when there are 8 or 10 order slips up....sometimes each with several meals on it. It doesn't looks so tidy then.

I spent some time downloading an upgrade for my camera software so Vista now does recognize my camera. As well, I can upload photos from it to blogger, which I couldn't do before. Happy days!!!! I am working on getting my photos organized and into albums so things are easier to find when I need them. Not all the artist's creating is in the studio. It seems more and more time needs to be spent on keeping good records that are useful.

To all my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So Much for Making Plans!

Stanza with her first snowfall this year - she's not impressed

I, on the other hand, was glad to take a walk down by the creek and see how the snow looked, my first snow shots this year. There's something about a dusting of snow that puts one in the the Christmas mood............ Stanza decided a block was about all the walk she wanted to take this am, so I took the camera instead.

A dusting of snow turns everthing into a winter wonderland
After a nice, invigorating walk I went into the library to set up to work and discovered that the space I had booked was full of a cabinet being put together, so I went to do some photo editing in the library. When I came back later to set up, I found that one of the gallery staff was painting frames (probably for the next exhibit setting up next week). Since paint and I really do not get along due to my environmental sensitivities, it meant that my sewing plans for the day were put on hold.
This is the area I usually sew sewing items are on the cupboards to the left
That's where they stayed till I put them in the car to go back in the storage unit
Instead, I finished editing the photos from the Swing Dance Ball and "played" with my 4x6 photo printer. Learned lots about what it can do as a stand alone device. I had fun with it and printed off a number of photos for the CAP interns (Community Access Program) who organized the Swing Dance lessons and Swing Dance Ball last Friday nite.

My set up for working on the computer today

If the location looks familar, it's where I was set up to sew yesterday. My new little Epson photoprinter is to the right of the puter. Just put your memory car in and print off photos. I also printed directly from my camera. All good practice things to do. Although you cant see them, I treated the library staff to Tim Tams (an Australian cookie). They are the first folks I've offered them to who actually knew what they were. One of the interns had done some schooling in Australia and brought some back. It was a nice treat to have on a cold snowy day.

I'm back at work cooking tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sewing as "Performance Art"

Today was another day I was off to the library to work on the tote bags. It was "handle day". I spent the day making handles and attaching them to the already made bags. This time I was set up right in the middle of the library. Manisha, the librarian, said since I was making them for the library I could sew right in the library. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.
This morning they had a guest author in and lots of school children to hear him. I came after that, but there were still Grade 6 students doing a scavenger or other hunt through the library looking for clues. Some were from Gull Lake where I used to live, so I got to visit for a few minutes with some of the parent helpers along for the trip.
I got to hear storytime with the children in the afternoon, and they read one of my favourite Sheree Fitch books....... the one that has Monkees in the Kitchen. I just love the way her prose flows. Sheree went back to school in Wolfville , NS at Acadia University a number of years ago. Her son and my daughter were in the same class in grade 6 and had a "thing" for each other. We were reminiscing about that when I met her a few years ago at the Two Planks and a Passion "PassionArt" Art Auction, where she was the guest performer. It was a real treat to hear her read her own work. Some of you may remember hearing Sheree on Peter Gzoski's show on CBC.
In the evening there were a number of folks who stopped by to ask what I was doing. Many wanted to know if the bags were for sale. I just said they were a project for the library.
In all, I managed to make handles and get them attached to 24/30 bags I had made. There is still a fair size box of fabric samples. I'd like to get 50 bags made if there are enough samples. It seems like a nice round number.
Tomorrow, I get to spend the day sewing for me! YEAH!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Wonderful Surprise Came Today

Quiltchat love quilt delivered to me today and photographed on the piano at the Swift Current Library
For a number of years, I have been part of a wonderful chatroom online, the QuiltChat room. I can't even remember how many years I've been chatting with folks there. They are a wonderful support, no matter what you are going thru, or what you need advice on. Your turn to give support or advice comes along as well. Today while cooking at work, I was asked to come to the restaurant doors... this is always done with a bit of trepidation as you never know if it is a happy or disgruntled customer. Imagine my surprise when Biff Potter, Dale Anne's husband handed me a parcel. I had to wait to open it as I had several orders on the go. The name on the parcel was a slight giveaway as I only know one Irene in Surrey..... Jemo (as she is known on Quiltchat.) I thought perhaps she was sending me a blanket to keep warm as she's been worrying about me since I left Gull Lake. Once I saw it was a quilt, I knew that tears would be involved, so I waited until my orders were all caught up before going to the staff room and opening the card and quilt. One of the other staff was in there and asked if I was ok when they saw my tears........I said yes. I was the lucky recipient of a love quilt from my wonderful roomies on Quilt Chat. I showed her the names of the folks who'd sent blocks and told her where they were from. Through the day, most of the staff who were working managed to sneak a peak at the quilt. They all thought it was wonderful that I had so many friends who would do this for me to honour my parents' passing. I will certainly treasure this wonderful gift.........Thanks roomies,you sure brightened up my day!

Stanza, determined to go for a LONG walk!

After work, Stanza (my 14 yr old Maine Coon Cat mix) and I went for a walk over along the creek, near the library and our new neighborhood. She is leash trained and has started actually wanting to go for walks like a dog in the past several weeks....... this is new behaviour. Today, she was determined to have quite a walk, I had to walk quickly to keep up with her. I kept wanting to stop and take pictures and she kept wanting to walk.

view along the creek, a skim of ice has formed in spots, giving a shimmer to the reflections
We ended up walking about a total of 10 or 12 blocks....... she was ready for more, but I wasn't, having just finished standing while working for the past 8 hours. I took a number of texture type photos during our walk, one old tree captured my interest due to the depth of the fissures in its bark.

The character in this tree bark just spoke to me today

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Temporary Working Space

A compact, but functional and portable workspace

I've been very lucky since I moved to Swift Current in September. The staff at The Art Gallery of Swift Current have very kindly allowed me to use space in a back hall to set up my sewing machine to work on my Fractured Quilt Challenge top to meet the deadline (which was fortunately extended). Even with it being in a back hall out of public view, I attract some attention when library staff are passing thru or other folks hear the sewing machine going. I have tried to book the space one day a week unless my work schedule prohibits it. After the first couple of times, I received permission to leave a "bare bones" ensemble with my sewing machine, small table, clamp lamp and iron tucked away there so I could pop over and sew when I had a bit of time.

View from the front entry door looking towards the back of the hallway

In addition, the Librarian has asked me to teach her how to use a sewing machine. When I asked her what she wanted to make with it, she informed me she wanted to make tote bags out of fabric samples that had been donated to the library. These bags were to be given to children to keep their library books in. You guessed it......... guess who is making the bags. I figure that since they are being very generous in giving me the space to use, I can do this for them. So far I've made 30 bags, without the handles. The fabric samples are gorgeous and all serged so easy to sew. I try to sew one day for myself plus a 3 hr shift on another day to make bags. Next day will be a handle day! Personally, I am wondering if the kids are gonna be able to keep the bags since they're so nice.
The next pic shows some of the bags I've made so far.
The librarian and I have had one sewing lesson so far. I taught her how to thread the machine and had her do her driving test on paper a number of times to get the feel of how the machine worked. She is very enthusiastic and practiced a lot on paper. We ended the lesson with her sewing a seam. She seemed quite pleased to have reached that stage.

They are having a musical event at the Gallery on Fri and Sat nights, so I packed everything up and put it in the storage unit for now. It's a pretty compact set up.
Sorry for the sideways view, I must have taken the pic with the camera turned so everything fit in.
So, I spent much of my second day off this week working on a piece (which I'll show another time). It was one I designed on graph paper. I had to spend a bit of time figuring out how best to piece it. I was feeling a bit tired today, probably due to the constant high winds we've had for the past couple of days, so I was very cautious about cutting and sewing. Usually on days like that I sew bags (vbg). Something mindless that keeps me in the studio. I'm trying to be disciplined about making time for my sewing. In two weeks I will have my new apt and have my own space to sew again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2007 Journal Quilt Artist Statement

Photo by Linda T. Minton, Houston TX

The Sky’s the Limit

Creative Quilting Techniques used: thread painting (p. 101), Caran, d’Arche watercolour crayons used for shading and detail( p. 14), and free motion quilting designs echoing shapes of quilt design (p. 237)

My participation in the 2007 Journal Quilt Project made me stop and think about my journey........from my beginnings as a “traditional” quilter to my current self-identification as a fibre artist who has learned to try whatever technique I think will suit the piece I am currently working on. Some pieces designed in the past only come to fruition as I learn the skills necessary to complete the image I have in my head (or even on paper).

This year, my journal quilt starts out “in the beginning” – a very traditional block in the centre. To honour my early work, I have carefully pieced the Snail’s Trail block.......... it spirals outward from the centre but comes back again. It is also a variation of Square in a Square block........... one of my favourites, but it also implies being bounded by traditional ideas. This centre block is also hand appliqu├ęd onto the JQ and hand quilted.

Gradually I “blossomed” as I started to experiment with new techniques. The petals all come out from the centre, yet leave space to return to my roots and come out again. With every new skill learned, work takes on a new depth/dimension. I pay tribute to my years in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia where the apple blossoms in the spring inspired me for years. As I continue to evolve and grow……….. THE SKY’S THE LIMIT. There are no borders or boundaries on my creativity anymore. This sky background is evocative of the endless Saskatchewan prairie skies of my youth, to which I’ve returned. The echoing, rippling outward quilting reminds me that one small ripple can lead to endless possibilities.

Entering Blogdom

I've known for a long time that I really need to have a blog. Wanting to put a picture of my 2007 Journal Quilt online plus recent changes in my life have prompted me to do so now.

The photo of my Journal Quilt on display in Houston this year is courtesy Linda T. Minton, Houston, TX, who was kind enough to take and send the above image of my JQ on display at Houston. This was a big deal for me, just to get it finished and to Houston this year (the final year of the Journal Quilt Project).

Finishing my sleeve in my tent studio at the campground where I lived for the first two weeks of my new job, with the sleeve instructions open on the laptop. I was determined to get this done and sent to Houston this year.

Since the end of August, after dealing with both my parents becoming ill and passing away within five weeks of each other this spring, dealing with a health crisis in in late July, immediately followed by ending the contract for my previous work position; I have changed jobs, packed and stored my belongings, moved to a new location for said job and will be soon moving into new accomodation where I plan to concentrate on working more on my art and developing Skyswept Designs into a viable business. Life is too short not to be doing what I need to do.

I hope to use this blog primarily to showcase my work as a mixed media and fibre artist, letting folks know what I am working on, seeking opinions as needed, and generally putting my journey along the way in creating my work online for others to see. My intentions are to be more serious about the work I do, the work I want to do and how I go about getting it done.

I hope you'll join me on my journey and visit often.