Sunday, August 26, 2012

Making of a Maverick

If you thought that the person choosing the challenge theme would know exactly how to proceed, think again. Here we are, half way through the challenge period, and I am still consolidating my ideas.

I did flirt with the biographical slant. Perhaps a purple, green and white homage to the suffragettes who were instrumental in making New Zealand women the first in the world with the right to vote. However, I think I will take a different tack. "Different" being the operative word.

Mavericks often defy the rules. They are non-conformists; they are unconventional; they are different. As the Sesame Street refrain goes, "one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong..."

There are maverick people; there is maverick behaviour; there are maverick moments in nature. I have several ideas. In the meantime, the original meaning of maverick goes back to in in unbranded cattle. As it happens, I have an affinity with brands. After all, the name "Brenda" is Teutonic for firebrand or flaming sword. Here is my improvisational, firebrand quilt:

Friday, August 24, 2012


I have a confession to make. I am not motivated to work on our current challenge. I have several other projects which I am much more excited about and I'd much rather be working on.

However, I'm committed to my Twelve by Twelve compatriots so every now and then I make sure I give our theme a little attention. Last night I even drew a cartoon for it n(and by cartoon, I mean a drawing which I'll be working from as a sort of pattern, not a comic interpretation). 

My process is not unlike the one Helen so eloquently laid out a few posts back. I start with thoughts and words and associations drawn. Could I create a work that is maverick? That is "outside the box?" No, that would be pretty cocky for me to assume I could do. How about an homage to a maverick in the quilt world (since our medium is quilts after all)? I'm thinking in particular, people like Nancy Crow, Michael James, Gwen Marston, Joe Cunningham, and Susan Shie. I consider all these creators to be mavericks because of the ways their work veered away from quilting customs and paved the way for those of us who are following. But in my opinion, doing a portrait or a piece in the style of any of these people would be derivative, and that is in my mind neither free thinking or outside convention (definitions of maverick).

So, I'll have to approach a maverick in a different way. I'm looking to the original meaning and drawing  from the meaning of branding and herds. I'm also using my previous work as a jumping off point. I often find that part of my process is to wait until the muse hits, and while I don't want to put this off until the last minute, I'm not rushing to force it. I'm pleased with the groundwork I've laid, and can envision a satisfying solution. There's some room though along the way to wander off the path I've beaten.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


 Guess what poster I saw at the movie theater this week?!

Isn't that wild... after just reading Karen's post about maverick waves. Hmmm. Well, apparently we are not the only ones exploring the concept of mavericks. We're in synch with Hollywood!

Here's an alternate poster I found online. 
Isn't it always the case that when you are introduced to a new word, concept or theme, suddenly it pops ups everywhere you look?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Maverick Methodology

In a private email to the Twelves, Deborah suggested that we post about how we get to our end design, especially as Maverick is not the most obvious of subjects. At first I was resistant because my work is always linked to a story and I like to reveal the two as a linked suprise. But then I realised that as part of my process usually involves some dead ends, I can show you my methodolgy and still give you a treat on reveal day.

So, for  the current Maverick theme, my warped mind thought like this:
  1. Go to Google. I first search for the theme word, but with my own twist. Because I am already working in a series I can add to the word Maverick any number of words that I have pre-defined as being relevant to my series. So I might Google 'Maverick Africa'.
  2. Know what you are looking for but keep an open mind. Again, because I have set parameters in my series I know I want to link Maverick to a human rights or human issue story. So discovering a company called Maverick which is the largest manufacturer of manhole covers in South Africa was not really exciting me. But finding that there is an African made military vehicle used in peacekeeping operations known as a Maverick had possibilty.
  3. Follow through. I take a possibilty and reserach it further looking for the nugget of story that makes me excited. Excitement usually comes from a story that combines a lot of issues or themes I am personally interested in, or is maybe a compelling story in its own right and which invokes an emotional reaction I want to replicate in the art. So I will re- google combinations like Maverick Peacekeeping or Maverick Soldiers until I have a fuller picture. This actually did not tell me a lot as information was scarce. The vehicle was used for crowd control at the African Soccer World Cup but thats not exciting me. So as I say this was another deadend but let's imagine I really was excited about those controlled crowds and go with it for now.
  4. Consider images. At this stage I leave Google and start to think about associations and images. carry this around for a short while making connections between key words and thinking of symbols that fit. Sometimes this is easy. So for Urban Myth the urban theme and orevious work made me alight on a map background very quickly. Peacekeeping though is harder. I thought about doves and guns and the like. The obvious comes first but sometimes you need to get more obscure. Well, I like obscure anyway!
  5. Combine themes Dead ends can be useful in suprising ways by forcing unexpected connections in your brain. The manhole covers reminded me of a quilter who would take Markel Oil Sticks on holiday and make fabric rubbings of ornate manhole covers. Which made me think about the tires of the Maverick vehicle and the possibility of rubbing the tyres on my car to get a background pattern.
  6. Cheat ( just a little and only if necessary) Sometimes I will allow myself to 'flash browse' Google images. By this I mean a maximum of one minute flicking through images on a search of my key words. No longer because I want only a subliminal inspiration not a formed image I then have to avoid copying or having my work be derivative of.
  7. Think. Now I have a range of ideas, key words and images or symbols. I find a moment when I am relaxed ( bed, bath or walking are good times) and I sort of shake them together in my brain. Without fail some fall away and some coalesce into an idea that pleases me.
  8. Make it Them I go to the studio and make the thing.
For me steps 1 -7 can be very quick. Couple of days max. It did tend to be a little longer before I had a series in mind as the scope was wider and there was more to explore and then shake away. Then once I know what I am doing I am happy to let the idea sit on a to do list until I have scheduled time to work on that project.

If when I am working or while I am waiting for the scheduled time to arrive the idea changes then thats fine with me.
So, I am interested. What is your methodology for working to a theme? Have I given enough away that you can guess what my Maverick theme is?!

Maverick Moments

I don't ever remember giving the word maverick much thought until Brenda introduced it as our next theme.  When I think about it the only thing that comes to my mind is a person, although Carol Soderlund pointed out to me the original meaning was in rancher terms, where a maverick is a renegade bull.
When Terry and her husband Ray were here a few weeks ago, we got into a discussion of what comes to mind when you say a person is "a maverick", and it was easy to come up with who is not a maverick, for instance, being a genius, or a great athlete, or creative in some way does not qualify you.  One of the definitions I found for the word is dissenter, someone who goes their own way and isn't influenced by others opinions.  It doesn't have to be someone who's done good, it could be just as easily a troublemaker, in fact I'm pretty sure a lot of mavericks are also labeled troublemakers.
As more wine was being consumed, we moved into more abstract ideas.  Is there such a thing as a "maverick moment"?  I was pretty sure I'd heard this phrase before but when I googled it I couldn't find anything.  I mentioned this to a few people at the quilt show and at Carol's class the next week, and before you know it we were having maverick moments several times a day!  The only thing google had listed in it's first four pages for maverick moment was this

Up at Half Moon Bay in northern CA, there are some very large waves, which of course gets some daredevils out for a Maverick Wave contest each year.
I'm pretty sure I've settled on a person I think of as maverick, now I have to decide how to capture that maverickness.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sharing the Creative Spirit.

At the beginning of August, I attended the AGM of Eastwood Quilters in Sydney to give a presentation about the Twelve by Twelve project. With more than 50 quilts in tow (admittedly most were 12x12in), I made quite a sight as I travelled to the city by train.  Then I found out that the group was also sharing quilts from their very own group challenge.  Inspired by our example and after visiting the exhibition of our Theme series at Gosford in 2010, the Tuesday group of Eastwood Quilters set up 12x12 project and announced the following challenges upfront:
  1. Bird, 
  2. Flower, 
  3. Music
  4. Window
  5. Re-cycle
  6. Lighthouse
  7. In the Cupboard
  8. Lost & Found
  9. Tree
  10. Smells from the Kitchen
  11. Everything Old is New Again
  12. Butterflies
12x12 Challenge Quilts by Carmel Issacs and Kay Murray
Kay Murray created her own personal series incorporating storybook themes

12x12 quilts by Mayke Waddell and Susan Lindsay
Susan Rowe has completed all 12 challenges
More quilts by Susan Rows
Thank you to Eastwood Quilters for sharing their creative spirit and inviting me to share my work. Thank you too for these beautiful pink cyclamen that survived the train trip home.
If your group is has been inspired by the Twelve by Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge and has an online presence, contact us and we will add your group to the list of Friends & Followers in our blog sidebar..

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Postcard for Our Twelve by Twelve Angel

I often send fiber postcards as a thank you. After our fabulous time in Long Beach with Del Thomas and her friends, I made a couple of postcards. We call Del our angel, she always says she is no angel. Whatever - she is a very special person and supporter of this group. I decided to turn her into an angel. Of course, Del does not have a golden halo, she has a golden hat!!

Here is the card that I made for Corky's parents.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 SAQA Benefit Auction

Congratulations to Helen . Her distinctive African figures feature on the promotional materials for the forthcoming Studio Art Quilts Associates 2012 Benefit auction.  Bidding begins on 10 September and Helen, Terri and Karen have works in the first tranche (pieces by other Twelves follow).  In the meantime, check out the "Dream Collections".