Week in Review 2024 – 05/31

Begin

Where to begin? This is a question I ask myself as I contemplate launching into the creation of my next artwork. Over time I have learned to trust my instinct. Something will grab my attention and feel compelling enough to explore. This can feel quite precarious when I have an actual hard stop deadline. Such is the case with the 2024 SAQA Benefit Auction.

It starts with a photo taken by my friend, Julia “Lia” Altshuler.

Inspiration strikes when I receive a picture of a robin’s nest taken by my friend, Lia Altshuler. Wouldn’t this make an intriguing thread painting, I think. So, I ponder the idea. I reject the thread painting aspect, but find myself clinging to the composition. What works – the nest. What isn’t working for me – the setting. And that is how I begin. I start with a photo. Next, I jump off the cliff and free fall into space as my mind races through possibilities. In order to slow down my brain I turn to the internet to answer the question, where would I like to set the nest?

A similar photo I found on the internet.

Begin with EQ 8

Now that makes more sense. A robin’s nest really should be in a tree. OK, that is settled, but how in the world will I translate what is my brain using fabric and thread? To answer that question I begin with EQ 8. I design a simple abstracted background with the nest positioned in such a way that the eggs will land according to the rule of threes (think tic tac board intersections).

A great thing about designing on EQ 8 is now I have instant templates at the exact size I need. One of the requirements of the SAQA Benefit Auction is that all the work submitted must be exactly 12″ x 12″. Hint, learned the hard way, always, and can’t emphasize that enough, expand the edges of your work to allow for a generous trim and squaring up.

I begin with an abstracted background.

Next week I’ll quilt the pine needles and bark. I also hope to start building the nest. The large beige oval is there as guide. It will disappear as the nest grows and the eggs are placed.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Pink is the color selected for May.

Before I began working on Anticipation, the working title for the bird nest, I wanted to finish May’s pink blocks. Done! Even better, June will be blue. While I was waiting for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to begin this year, I got a head start by making my dark blue blocks. Thus, I can concentrate on Anticipation. Sometimes the fates smile down on you.

A few early bird blue blocks for June.

I’m linking up to the following posts:

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.

18 comments

    1. That’s the goal, Jenny. Fingers crossed I am can make this piece work. I’m going out on a limb – pun intended.

      It’s always good to hear from you!

  1. What a terrific inspiration photo. I love the blue of robin’s eggs. Interesting how nature provides that color in an egg! Looks like a great start on your project!

    1. I’m blessed to have friends who share photos with me, just because. They are also generous about giving me permission to interpret them as I will. How can anyone resist that robin’s egg blue. I just happen to have the perfect hand dyed fabric for them. What is the reason for that blue, I wonder. Certainly the resulting bird is rather drab compared to its shell.

  2. just love this kind of post
    starting can be exciting, but not knowing what to do next makes for some anxiety. Anticipation is going to be good. AND it would be a fine prompt for a challenge… LeeAnna

    1. What a nice thing to say, LeeAnna. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I do try to vary the overarching method/topic weekly. Let’s hope Anticipation works. I agree the word makes for a great prompt.

    1. Thank you, Soma. I’m so excited that I have the exact shade of robin’s egg blue in my stash of hand dyed fabrics. Now if I can just pull off the 3 dimensionality. Thank you for the encouragement.

  3. I think that the real key for creative activity is the sudden inspiration that appears. Your new thread painting project will be beautiful.

    Every time I see those string blocks I tell myself to give them a try. So striking with the black and white.

    1. Personally, I believe that everyone gets inspired and has great ideas. The difference may be that some are dismiss their inspiration prematurely. It is easy to figure out how something will be difficult or not know what is required to make an inspiration come to fruition. The trick is agree with yourself to give it a go anyway.

      Sara I hope you give the string blocks a go for 2025. It would be fun to see two different interpretations on the theme.

  4. What an interesting start! These blue eggs are fun, and pretty. Thank you for sharing your process and all the steps, from the very beginning!

    1. One of the nail biting aspects of sharing a process from the beginning is the possibility that it might be a complete washout. Hopefully, if things get dicey, you and others will help me problem solve my way to completion.

    1. I spent some time this morning FMQ Anticipation. Once the nest and eggs are added FMQ would be problematic. I’ll be curious to know what you think. Glad you like the name.

  5. ohhh the nest will be pretty – i think the first thing I was drawn to was the colors! And yay for getting blue already done !! ( fate loved you this month!)

    1. The vibrance of the turquoise blue against the neutral background is what drew me to the subject, too, Alycia. I did opt to swap cedar green for the neutral background. However, I made sure it was muddied green vs a bright green. This should help keep the spotlight on the eggs. Yes, sometimes I fate shines down on me.

  6. Interesting post on how you begin a new project. The robin’s egg blue is a gorgeous blue color, glad you already have the fabric. It’s going to be a beauty. Love your RSC blocks, so pretty with the black border.

    1. A common question asked of me and other artists is what is your inspiration. This post was a different way of answering that question. Basically, something grabs my attention and I feel compelled to interpret/create it in fabric. Thank you for your confidence. I’m hoping my plan will prove both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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