Thursday, June 26, 2014

My grandfather's laughter at this piece, once he figured out what it meant, was one of the highlights of the art show opening last Friday. Typically, those who don't already know what it means, tend not to appreciate its humor so I was totally entertained by his little-boy reaction.
We might even have gotten a little closer because of it :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Defining Success

My thinking of late seems to be maintaining a consistent theme: success. What does it mean to me and ... is it important?

A while back I made my frustrations apparent through a mostly negative blog post about, what I perceived to be, failed opportunities. Since then, I've been doing some soul-searching on where I'm going, what I really want, and I'm finding that I have a lot of preconceived notions on what "success" means. 
         For example, I thought that having people write about your work, buy your art, or even having lots of comments on your blog meant that you were successful. When you break that down, it means that I'm relying on justification from others to prove my worth. When I think about it, that doesn't seem to make sense. Only doing things for the approval of others? 

It reminds me of watching Project Runway (before I realized how much I couldn't stand that show) and how the designers that tended to fail were the ones who listened to the judges' advice maybe a little too much and changed their idea too frequently, to the point where it wasn't even their idea anymore. And then failing in the same ways, my senior year of college because of the same issues. That's why you hear so many people say 

trust your gut 
be true to yourself/your vision/your idea


so why am I not considering such sage advice when it comes to defining success?

Yesterday, I was watching a documentary on fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, and was so utterly struck by a comment the narrator made. It was talking about an earlier fashion show he did (if you know about his career, it was the grunge collection he did for Perry Ellis), he said, and I quote: 

"It was a critical success 
but a commercial failure."

What? So you're saying ... one of his most iconic lines, a show that I was taught in fashion school, the one that created a shift in the way modern women of the 90's dressed ... was a failure? I had to laugh at the dichotomy within this sentence. That's another point I've been coming back to this week       ..............       equating success with money.

I don't want money to have such a hold on me that it becomes the platform in which I make all my career decisions! Alas, I know too well that our society is built upon it but dammit! I don't want it to wholly dictate this part of my life; a career that I am attempting to build in the name of creative fulfillment!

So, I'm working on a new way to define success in my own career, in my own life, in my own heart.

My success is not determined by how many hours in a day I spend "working", or what kind of press I get for an art show, or how many people visited my website in the last month, or what OTHER PEOPLE are doing in their lives. 

From now on, I'm defining success by how excited I get to come up with an idea and see it through to execution, by the connections I make through my work, the observations I learn about myself that help me grow, my ability to keep a clean kitchen, exercising and eating healthy on a daily basis, staying positive and being a source of support for the ones I love.

My career is not my life, but it's a part of it, and I think I will be a whole lot more happy if I base my success on my own terms.


A quick snap of the art show as it was being installed in Durham last Monday. More photos coming soon of the completed space!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The second reincarnation of LOVE SIGNS is going up next week! Instead of last year, when Megan and I put up ever piece of art we had, we now have the luxury of picking and choosing from our fuller bodies of work. We're really excited not only to show in our hometown, but also to be at The Carrack - a phenomenal non-profit, community-funded art gallery where they are very open-minded in encouraging all types of creativity in the art world. Not to mention 100% of the money from sales goes straight to the artists! That means we can price our work more affordably because we don't have a middle man taking a commission. This is really an amazing resource from the local artist community.

It will only be up for 2 weeks so come out and see it when you can! We have some amazing events planned and we hope you will come celebrate with us!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Turtle Love in Appliqué

 The progress on my latest quilt commission has been minimally featured on this blog, so I'm giving it some attention now! But then I really need to get off the computer and get back to binding this guy. Guess what? Another t-shirt quilt! Surprise, surprise. It's nothing new that I wish for quilt projects that don't involve t-shirts but, dammit, it's just such a good way to clean out the closet and save all that clothing that we just can't get rid of. 

This quilt is of a more somber note -- it is a memorial quilt for a boy named Alex, who died too young from bone cancer. We are preserving all his clothing in this quilt, to live on the bed in his former room and be a comforting source of warmth for the family he left behind. I feel honored to be able to create a project like this for his loved ones. 

First thing first, I wanted it to be as happy as possible and be something that an 11-year old boy would find fun. I was so tickled when I found out that Alex loved turtles because turtles have always been my favorite animal. The one request that his mother had, was that she wanted a pouch somewhere on the quilt that she could put his blankie in. That triggered the idea for a big turtle in the middle with a zippered shell that she could use. I started by sketching my turtle on craft paper. When I finally was happy with that design, I took to the mind-bending task of breaking down sections into separate appliqué pieces and figuring out the order of how everything would be sewn.

 Starting with the shell, I cut a piece of fabric the full size and then broke down my kraft paper pattern into each shell segment, using them as cutting templates. Here I recruited the help of some fabric spray adhesive (I love fabric spray adhesive) to place each chunk. It helped that some pieces overlapped each other so that I had wiggle room for adjustments and knew that each edge would get well-secured.

 Then I powered through some intensive satin stitch work on my home machine. This was great fun because of the small scale. My biggest problem with quilting is how large everything gets, and wrangling foot after foot of fabric through the machine can get tiresome. Not to mention, I only have so much space in my studio. So it was nice to get to work on something little :)

 All the other pieces were treated in a similar manner, with the exception of the bottom of the shell, where the zipper went. Can you see it? I would've loved to hand-turn the body of the turtle with a traditional, invisible appliqué stitch, but time wouldn't allow for that. And it was pretty nice to get this whole project done within 2 days, especially since I've hardly any experience with appliqué, I kinda surprised myself with my ability to put this together! I used yarn french knots for the pupils and a sliver of Ariel's hair (from a Little Mermaid bedsheet) for the mouth. I'm totally thrilled with the results and feel like I achieved exactly the look I was going for.

Here I am, getting the quilt quilted on a long-arm quilting machine. And as soon as I finish the binding, I will get full shots of the completed quilt up in this blog! Can't wait to share this with Alex's family and all of you!