Monday, December 12, 2011

Alaskan Greetings From Judy W. (aka Jude)

Spring Fling (my SAQA 2011 Auction Piece)
Much appreciation to everyone for enthusiastically welcoming me into the fold, with a special thanks to Kathy, who knew nothing of my ongoing interest in joining the Mavens until she phoned me last week.  I’m extremely excited to journey artistically with each of you as we share our combined creative strengths.

Husband Kurt, our two daughters Kristen, Kari and Son-in-Law Joshua, and my parents all reside in Anchorage and have encouraged my art from day one.  Even my West Highland White Terrier Maggie Mae, who routinely fled from my studio when I machine sewed, now keeps me company in my basement studio since her hearing started failing this year.

My quilt journey began in a 1988 class which covered all the basics start to finish.  From that point on, I shelved most all other creative interests to pursue my quilt addiction.  I’ve taken and taught classes, had a few quilts published in magazines, developed four quilt patterns (retail) in the mid-90’s, offered my services as a consignment quilter/designer for four years, and worked in a local quilt store.  I also organized a local quilter’s (weekend) bazaar two years, with huge success. 

As an Anchorage Log Cabin Quilt Guild member since 1990, I have participated in several satellite groups through the years.  I’m currently completing a third year with a Round Robin Group.  A few years prior to Kathy’s move to Texas, she and I became SAQA members and ‘art quilt partners’ to seriously study fabric art techniques and surface design as they pertain to art quilting.  She and I produced three art quilt First Friday events.

I pursue art quilting for the creative challenge and a desire to combine the various fiber arts, beading, painting and sewing experience I've learned thus far, into mixed-media quilts. Bold colors, garden themes and texture frequently surface in my work,  and my personal goal is to try something new in everything I do.
This photo depicts one of my favorite, more recent art pieces.   The background fabric was a dyeing session with Kathy which I later doodled with fabric markers, machine free motion quilted and then heavily beaded - not my norm.  It is called Zentipede because it reminded my daughter and I of a centipede and the Zen comes from Zen art doodling which I'd been exploring.  I was glad to see Zentangle mentioned in a previous comment.  Zentangle and Zendoodle are the same thing.

I'm glad to announce the 'south' theme finally gelled in my mind this afternoon. I know the what, but have to work on executing the how.  This evening I completely caught up with reading ALL of the previous MM posts and comments.  So glad to be on board with all you Mavens!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Welcome to our Fourteenth Member!

Judy Wedemeyer, who has been a follower of our blog practically from the beginning, has now officially joined the Material Mavens.  She is a friend of one of our original group of 12, which then expanded to 13, and now has 14 members.  She will soon be posting for us to tell us more about herself and her art quilting.

Meanwhile, for Judy W. primarily, but also as a reminder to all of us, here are the guidelines that the "steering committee" of Judy S., Rita S., and I came up with originally.  These are still in place:

1.  The quilts will be 12"x12" finished.
2.  They will be "quilts" in the sense of being sandwiched with top, batting, and backing.
3.  The quilt's edges will be finished, but the sky's the limit here.  You can bind them conventionally, turn the backing to the front, turn the front to the back, zig zag or otherwise decoratively stitch the edges, or even be as "far out" as one of the original 12x12ers were and bind with flexible metal!  Whatever you choose is fine, just so that the edges aren't left raw.

Oh, and the quilts will be truly "quilted"--but again, how and how much is up to you!  Some of us will machine quilt, some will hand-quilt, some will do a combination.  Anything goes here as well!  Some may choose to add embellishments, others may not ever do this.  All of this is up to the individual quilter!

4.  The quilts will be based on themes, which might be either abstract or concrete, again as did the original 12x12 group.
5.  We drew names for the order in which the themes will be chosen originally.  New members have been added to the end of the list as they have joined the group.
6.  We will have two months to complete our small quilts after the theme is announced.
7.  Quilts will be "due" on the 15th day of a month.  Our first quilt was due on September 15; the next one, on Nov. 15; and the third ones will be "revealed" on Jan. 15, 2012.
8.  On the day we "reveal" our quilts (by posting on The Material Mavens blog), the quilter's whose turn it is to choose the theme will announce the next theme.

Here's our schedule, with Judy W. added:

(4)  Judy S.: theme #4 on Jan. 15, 2012, for Mar. 15, 2012's quilt.
(5) Rita:  theme #5 on Mar. 15, 2012, for May 15, 2012's quilt.
(6)  Patti:  theme #6 on May 15, 2012, for Jul. 15, 2012's quilt.
(7) Andrea: theme #7 on July 15, 2012, for Sept. 15, 2012's quilt.
(8)  Alice: theme #8 on Sept. 15, 2012, for Nov. 15, 2012's quilt.
(9)  Petra: theme #9 on Nov. 15, 2012, for Jan. 15, 2013's quilt.
(10) Barbara:  theme #10 on Jan. 15, 2013, for Mar. 15, 2013's quilt.
(11)  Kathy: theme #11 on Mar. 15, 2013, for May 15, 2013's quilt.
(12)  Sara: theme #12 on May 15, 2013, for Jul. 15, 2013's quilt.
(13)  Nedra:  theme #13 on July 15, 2013, for Sept. 15, 2013's quilt.
(14) Judy W:  theme #14 on Sept. 15, 2013, for Nov.15,  2013's quilt 

Happy holidays, happy quilting, and we'll look forward to hearing from our second Judy, Judy W!

Photographing Our Quilts

Friends and fellow Mavens, I hope you won't think me presumptuous, but I have some suggestions for how best to photograph our little quilts.  One of our number recently emailed me and asked me to post on this subject.  So, here it is!

1.  Try to take the photo of the quilt "straight on."  In other words, pin the quilt to a vertical surface and aim the camera right at the quilt, zooming in if possible to include only the quilt in the picture.

2.  Natural light is best!  Flash photography almost always distorts colors.  If weather permits, pin the quilt to something like foam board and take the picture outdoors.

3.  If it is too cold and windy to take a photo outside, if possible set up your "board" or whatever the quilt is pinned to and position it beside a window that lets in good natural light.  Disengage your flash and take a photo.  Take another with the flash.  Later you can compare which one is best, but almost always, the one taken without flash is more true, as far as colors are concerned.

4.  If you have photo editing software on your computer, once you have downloaded the picture, try cropping to eliminate extraneous background distractions from your quilt.

5.  When you are selecting the photos to put on the blog, be sure that you choose the "medium" size.  That way, the pictures look good on the blog, but they are "clickable," so that viewers can click on the photos to see an enlarged view.

I have two big pieces of insulation board, purchased at a Home Depot or similar store, which I use when I paint fabrics.  I can pin my quilts to that, take them outside, and take them in natural light.  Of course, I live in Texas, and we have more bright sunny days here than we do cold, wet, dark days!

So if you just have to use flash, then so be it.  But, please, do try the tactic of taking the photograph "straight on" and zooming in as close as possible.

Thanks and forgive me if I have offended anyone!

Here are some photos to show you how I set things up to take pictures of my little quilts:

Here my quilts are, pinned to the insulation board I use when painting fabric.  It is 36 degrees outside, but
sunny and not very windy.  Even so, I had to put the brick up to hold the light weight board in place
vertically--otherwise the board kept tipping over.  I could have tilted it a bit, with the bottom set
out a bit from the screen it's propped against, but I was afraid that would result in distortion.

This one was on the bottom, so I sat in a chair and took this photo
"straight on".  Of course, no cropping has been done here yet.

For the quilt on top, short Alice could stand up and shoot it from a standing position.
No cropping yet on this one, either, of course.

Now here are the two quilts, quickly cropped with some very simple editing software on my iMac:

I wasn't careful enough in pinning this quilt, as you can see when I cropped, since
the right side is higher than the left.  But at least the ugly background
is, for the most part, removed.

This one, too, not carefully pinned, so I can say the same thing about it!