Friday, July 25, 2008

Space and Light

There's only a week to go until the "reveal" of our illumination themed quilts. For further inspiration, check out the Space & Light exhibition at the Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery in Sydney until 23 August that you can also view online. This exhibition was inspired curatorially by James Turell, Claude Monet and Walter De Maria, The Chicho Museum, Naoshima, Japan and features works by Emily Kngwarreye, Regina Wilson, Dorothy Napangarti, Lilly Kelly Napangarti and Ngoia Pollard Napaljarri.
There is no object in this work. There never was. There is no image within it. It demonstrates the play of light and the manifestation of movement. Light is material in space and reflects nature. This space is made for Indigenous Art. The space allows you to comprehend its size, the depth of it, without being overwhelmed. When you are ready, its own space draws you in. Colour? Colour is manufactured perceptually!

And doesn't Sandhills look like a thread drawing?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Abandoned Efforts

In the spirit of shedding some light on the creative process, here is one of my abandoned efforts. You can read more about it on my blog. What do you see?

A Tease

This is a somewhat altered and cropped out detail of what I am doing for the next challenge. I am off on Sunday for a week at the Coupeville Arts Center on Whidby Island, WA. I will have 5 days to finish it. I think I can manage that. I am taking a Japanese technique class — color rice paste on silk.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

2 weeks to go

Yay! I'm done!

Here are some scraps from my Illumination piece. You can see that I stuck to my usual subdued palette.

And I'm really happy with my result, which is a good feeling.

I have this other idea that has been haunting me, so I may even try to work a bit with that... But I'm happy that an image I had in my head translated well to fabric. That's not always how it works for me...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Light Works

I once read that New Zealanders have a heightened awareness of the letter "z" and I know that a Z in a bunch of text will often catch my eye. I find the same thing happening with our Twelve by Twelve challenge themes as anything vaguely related to a particular theme grabs my attention. I spotted a small article in a magazine about Western Australian artist Brian McKay whose light works display the effects of light and ambient colour on specially prepared aluminium panels. My illumination quilt will not be so polished but it is slowly taking form...

Woo Hoo

I've made a start!

My goal is to finish it by the end of this weekend. I can do it...I can do it.....

On another it cheating if I have the next theme chosen and already know what I want to create?

Monday, July 14, 2008


I have nothing to show and no significant thought processes to share.
Just a whole lot of nothing.

I know I'm not the only one who has struggled with this challenge, but Oh My Goodness. There is only the tiniest glimmering of an idea there. I have long loved the way Impressionism records light and I kind of fancy doing something that references those paintings. But it's not coming...

It's like being a week overdue with a baby.

grumble grumble

Me Too!


I am so pleased with my progress. I had a really rough start... like many of us. I did some mono-printing with less than stellar results, but I salvaged some potential. I'm going to be out of town for awhile, so I've planned lots of hand work and embellishment that I can do on the road. You can see a peek above. I ended up using black... which totally surprised me!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Almost done

My "Illumination" piece is done except for trimming it to size and finishing the outside edge.

I think everyone has struggled with this theme. I know I did. Two false starts, one nearly finished, before I really got into an idea that worked for me. And it is a simple idea. That's just a little teaser at the left. For all the angst and struggle, from what I am seeing I think this is going to be a spectacular reveal. I can hardly wait!

Will we then be able to say we have achieved illumination?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Done, but not done

I've done it. I finished my illumination quilt. Now that I still have time though, I'm considering trying to do another with the idea I was originally going to use before I got side tracked with the hokey idea that turned out not to be so cheesy after all.


I kept the same idea, carved another printing block, changed the stencil shape a bit... It's not Buddha anymore. It could be anybody sitting and meditating. It could be you, it could be me...
I'm very very far from reaching illumination... But, now, I've got a 12x12 quilt top!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Finished ( bar the title)

Considering my initial inspiration tends to be verbal rather than visual, I struggle with quilt titles. Still. I have a while to consider this one - I just wanted to be be sure I had this finished, and time for a back up if it didn't become less dire with the quilting, before I go on holiday. In fact I now like it a lot. It makes me smile. Here is another teaser.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Budda Badness

I was this close to being done. Some of the interfacing came loose and I tried to iron it down, forgetting I was ironing a sheer on a cotton setting. Ffzzzt, there it went, into thin air. I said some unzenlike words for several minutes, then I put it down and walked away, to pissed off to even look at it. I know I should refer to my previous post to get back into the zone, and I even went to yoga this morning, hoping my inner calm would shine thru and everything would look brighter. I'm still waiting.

I am sure this is salvageble and I'm sure I will grow from this experience, but I'm not feeling the love right now

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Photographing Light

This site: Lightmark, a German project, has some phenomenal photographs of light — definite inspiration for illumination. Be sure to check out the site for more photos.

I am finally very inspired and am working on my piece - there may be more than one. And you will all be surprised!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Illumination Shibori?

My latest bright idea was to try to capture lit windows or lanterns in shibori. This piece is dramatic but not quite what I had in mind:
Other illumination shibori efforts are posted on my blog.

Happy Fourth of July!

Five years ago, I was beading this "illuminated" journal quilt while we were driving to and from Portland. There are probably still beads lurking in crevices of the Lexus. Perhaps, fireworks will show up again in my work. If so, I hope I can do a better job, and there will be no binding!!

An Idea

I have an idea, finally, on my illumination piece. I have a rough sketch done and now I'm in the stage of planning how to execute it.

I actually had a couple other ideas, one of which was at the top of my thoughts from the first and with me the longest. The other idea was much too difficult to create (in my mind) so I have mostly dismissed it.

I will say that this theme has been the most challenging for me so far. I am tempted to come up with a fantastically simple idea for the next theme. Which by the way, is proving to be hard for me also......coming up with a theme idea.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Illumination Inspiration

I have so many ideas but nothing to show for it. My latest inspiration comes from Diane's quilt Snowy Night...

A Teaser from Helen

I am working on the illumination quilt. Here is a teaser of how the unfinished top looks so far. ( I suspect a tiny view may be better than the full one!)


It sounds as if many of the group are having the same kinds of problems with the "illumination" theme that I am having. My ideas rocket back and forth from literary and complex to stupidly simple. I decided last week I was thinking too hard and I needed to go simple and just start playing and see what developed. This is what developed.

I don't need to tell you, I'm sure, that it is a stylized sun, so it definitely fits the theme. But as I worked away on it I kept thinking how trite it seemed. So I offset it. Then I started hand-stitching on it. Of course nothing helped. It just looks like a sun that any 6th grade art student would come up with. It is cheerful and not awful, I guess, but without meaning or originality. I could make it even more trite and generic by putting a face on it!

So I started over. Perhaps the value of this false start was that along the way I went back to an idea I had earlier rejected and began to see the possibilities in it. I like it so much better. In fact I may even love it.

I might finish this sun and sew it on the side of a beach tote for my granddaughter. I think it would be just about right in that context.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Recycled Water

In exploring the water theme, I experimented with shibori dyeing and created several batches of "water" fabrics. Although none of these fabrics were used in Coriolis, I am pleased to report that Tudibaring - Place where the waves pound like a beating heart was selected to be part of the forthcoming My Place exhibition travelling to South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Europe:
Tudibaring © 2008 Brenda Gael Smith