Friday, July 8, 2016

What Do You Do When You Need To Sooth Your Soul?

     Do you have an art activity that helps sooth your soul? I've found two things that give me some relief when things are bothering me. One is to repair torn or old cloth items and put them back into good use. The other is to sit down, listen to natural sounds of birds and wind rustling leaves or turn on music while I hand sew free-style embroidery stitches. I learned this peaceful type of meditation when I took an online class with Jude Hill. Until then I only did machine sewing. Now I love doing both. I find that each has its place in my artwork.
     Awhile back I posted here about how one of my favorite shirts got ruined by bleach.
My "boyfriend" shirt
In that post, I showed how I put some patches of cotton fabrics on it and started to boro stitch to give it character. I've been so busy working on my dyeing projects, that I haven't had time to work on the shirt much. But this week, I needed some calm time and I sat down with it and stitched away and it's finished.
Better than Ever
     Now I like it better than before. It actually belonged to my husband and I borrowed it to wear it.
detail of the stitches
I stitched a floral motif in the upper right because that was on the fabric and it was fun. I chose not to cover all the bleach  with fabric because when I auditioned fabric in those places, it looked too much like a bib. So now, I have to wait until at least late October to wear it. The temperatures here are in the high 90's (Fahrenheit) and will be until then. I doubt my husband will want to wear the shirt anymore with its new style. 
     There are things we can all do to get involved in fixing ills of our ailing society and we should, but  we also need to take care of our own mental well being while all this craziness is going on. When I can fix one small thing in an artful way, it is soothing and satisfying. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts to let the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Are Creative Prompts Actually Useful?

     Have you wondered if creative prompts are actually helpful or just a temporary entertainment? These past two weeks I participated in Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training Summer Camp. It's an ongoing summer activity to promote her marvelous book, Creative Strength Training and her  Creative Strength Training Prompt Cards.
     For the first prompt, we were basically supposed to collect sticks and do something with them. I painted mine black and then dropped them onto a dyed cloth to see if I could get a nice arrangement of black lines. I did that because I often like to sew black lines onto my art quilts.
sticks thrown on cloth
While I like the zen-like feel of this arrangement, I may or may not ever use this particular design. But I can see that this method is a good one. I chose sticks with similar curves and I chose one that was much longer than the others and when I dropped them, I dropped them in groups. So the design isn't completely random. The other thing I noticed is the shadows produced by the sticks also contribute to the design. So if I'm looking to add prominent stitching lines to an artwork, this could work as a starting point for designing them. 
     The second prompt involved choosing a page from a book and highlighting at least eight words and writing a poem using those words. Right now, I'm liking the concept of life working in cycles and people's lives getting caught up in eddies of the rivers of life. So I got out my gigantic old dictionary and looked up the word "eddy". The words on that page that I used were: eddy, edge, fringe, golden, Eden, balance, mystical, and spiritual. (Some of those words were in the definition of Ecuador.) 
     After I wrote my poem, I pulled out a watercolor painting I did about a year ago that fit the poem and digitally put my poem on top. 
Eddy of Life
     And I think this method is a way to explore a concept more deeply. To help get more images for your artwork. Another way to mind map. So I will definitely do this again, too. 
     To answer the original question then... for me, the creative prompts can be incredibly useful in creating my art if I use them with my art in mind. (They are also entertaining.)
I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that the artists know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.