Thursday, January 12, 2012

Full Speed Ahead

Since last we spoke, the holidays came and went, the new year slipped in on little cat's feet (maybe not my cat, cause he usually enters howling), and the whirlwind of my plans and expectations for continuing at the "University of Cheryl and Her Internet" became a new semester.

We're paddling as fast as we can, fueled by enthusiasm and caffeine.

 In December I celebrated the shortest days by frequently photographing the night in it colorful raiment from the perspective of my cozy living room. I especially loved the beautiful sunsets framed by the icicle lights around my living room window. Sometimes I painted with the blur of their movement and I was sad to see them go back to storage so soon.

Dispensed with a tree this year and just added enough
 twinkly lights to warm the night.

White icicle lights are so passe!
Intentional blur is fun to do.

Let's not forget the most meaningful lights of the season.

 The weather has been unnaturally warm and clear to end and start the years, and it seems a sign that winter expects us to just continue with whatever we were doing before the distraction of spending and eating disturbed the creative flow. The last of these wreaked havoc all through 2011, as I quite forgot in the midst of my studies and practice of drawing and stitching that eating was not one of the skills I needed to learn anymore. In fact, moving enough and eating properly became my first refresher course of the New Year. Let's hope I get an "A" in that one.

Most of what drives me from waking to sleeping these days is ongoing from all I started in 2011. Once experienced it is hard to say "no!" to an interesting challenge. I may not be an athlete, but I am a team player in my Internet world of art, and so I've been completing some races, prepping for others, and standing in great expectation of the starting gun of the new challenges.

One of my long time real world commitments is to my local quilt guild. While I haven't been active with the monthly goings on for some time now, every two years I become immersed in the group show. I am working to finish quilts that may have been started last summer or as long ago as 1999!

Last summer I was still completing the embroidered ribbon.

Perseverance payed off. After a mere 12 years, the quilt is finished and hanging, and ready to be my star entry at the quilt show in March.

My association with Australian embroidery teacher extraordinaire, Sharon Boggon, has led me to join many hundreds of other fans worldwide to participate in a weekly lesson/challenge to learn or practice 52 different stitches and their variations this year. Everyone involved comes from a different background of skill and interest, so we are all completing our projects to suit our own needs. I am following the lead of a small group blog where members are doing color themed monthly pages to contain all the stitches from that month. At the end of the year, my pages will be sewn into a (hopefully) beautiful fabric reference book.

Two facing pages ready for the first week's challenge stitch. The completed size of each will be 9x12.

On the Aida cloth side I will be practicing a row of the four or five stitches in basic forms.

On the right side will be a collage of interesting fabrics to encourage stitch variation and exploration.

I am a newbie to any kind of drawn and painted art, but last year I was especially taken by the fun of mixed media explorations. I took a class with Jane LaFazio in mixed media for textile arts, and I also participated in two of the Strathmore Online Workshops. Currently we are in week two of the four free lessons with artist, Traci Bautista. Having spent last year collecting many drawing and painting supplies, I am having a ball learning to actually use them effectively. What I am loving about this workshop is that there is no pressure to do anything but have fun, and that is why I am in this game at all!

The first layer of media set up basic lines and forms to work with by using liquid acrylics sprayed over stencils and other resists.

This is the left side of the page as seen above. I stopped layering the media and designs after the paint layers.

This is the right side. Here I continued with several more layers of markers and inks.

In my ongoing lessons with fiber artist, Jude Hill, I am currently playing catch up with a course she taught in 2010, before I knew how wonderful it was to learn this way. So I am working at my own pace to learn to develop story with characters of my own design in her Patchwork Beasts class.

This photo collage (not to scale) shows the various bases I made in my first two lessons to use for the development of the beasts.

Finally, I am spending some time adding to my "Frankenstitch" class samplers from the fall, so that I will be up to speed when the advanced class begins this weekend. Can't wait to begin, since we will have the opportunity to create textile art for three dimensional formats.
In this photo of the buttonhole sampler you can see I have concentrated on the upper left quadrant, adding padding and woven stitches.

A closeup of the plain weave and raised buttonhole.

Encasing the padded ridges in buttonhole lace and a woven cap.
Have I tired you out yet? Not me. I'm just getting going. Let's see: which pile is calling me with the loudest voice this afternoon? Maybe lesson two of the mixed media (we're doing watercolor backgrounds this week), or my week two stitch for the January page? No, I think it's that hunky Beto Perez and my Zumba DVDs. After all, we have our priorities.


  1. Exciting must be a bundle of pent up energy being able to participate in all of these classes. What a body of work you have been creating.
    Loving your enthusiasm and seeing all these wonderful pics.
    Zumba...havent tried that yet, but it looks like a lot of fun and a good way to stay in shape. I've been doing some boring sit ups (trying the reign in my expanding girth after the holiday season). Might have to look at the Zumba DVD's....

    Jacky xox

    1. Thanks, Jackie. I don't know where all this energy is coming from, but I'm taking advantage while I've got it. Actually at the moment I'm about ready to crash, but I'm already looking foreword to tomorrow! Do check out the Zumba. I took classes in a gym for a year and a half, but right now it fits me better to do it at home.

  2. Happy New Year, Cheryl! Thanks for sharing...what productive season for you. Love your "star quilt"...I am sure it will be praised by all who see it during the quilt show. Great photos!

    1. Hi, Linda. Hope your year is good to you, too. I guess I'm on a roll and I'm going to keep on rolling. I'm really looking foreword to showing off the quilt. So far only the registration chair has seen the photo. I prefer not to do show and tell right before a show. Maybe someday I'll get into the big leagues with you and enter professional shows. Just now I'm going to be satisfied with the Internet.

  3. It is all one step at a time for us all, Cheryl!

  4. Lovely hand work... linked from arlee's bog.

  5. Hi, Cheryl. All your work is beautiful (and congrats on finishing your art quilt), but I particularly like the Frankenstitch piece. Very interesting forms and stitching. It will be interesting to see it's further development. I wanted to do the TAST, but too many projects are piled up so I'll enjoy your adventures with it!
    best, nadia

  6. Hi Cheryl, Your blog is beautiful!! I love it! Thanks for the nice comments about my blog. I love your painted pieces - especially the last one you show. I just want to get a hold of it and start stitching!! How is your Frankenstitch piece coming? Arlee is so clever! I really learn alot from her!

  7. Wow, what a post! Love your quilt. Like your idea of the TAST 2012 sampler book. The right side - fabric collage for stitching - is a grat idea. And I love what you did for the Frankenstitch class. (When do you do all this?)

    1. Hi Raphaela! Thanks for visiting! I guess I have the time to do so much because I am retired from teaching, but I never got over being the self starter that teachers must be. I like to keep very busy and my projects are in piles everywhere.