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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Portraits in fabric

I had some time for a ME project so I loaded this cheater panel on the machine yesterday.  It was given to me in a bunch of fabric a couple of years ago.  It's now ready to become a charity quilt for next Christmas. 

A simple feather around the outside.

Meandering stars in the background.

Color threads on the back.

This is the next quilt to go on the machine.  It will just barely fit and has several issues.  The most visual issue is the friendly borders.  You can see in the bottom of the photo that one side is larger than the other.  This is from not measuring and cutting the borders before putting them on.  I do so many quilts like this that it's no longer a problem.  It's just something I must work with carefully to make the quilt come out square.  When this one is finished I'm going to put it on my helpful hints blog as a step by step tutorial.  I already have one or two posts about friendly borders but one more won't hurt.

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a long while will know how much I want to be a portrait artist.  I don't really care if I ever, ever earn money from it.  I simply want to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning how to do people.  For me, art is more about the creation than about the selling.  Learning to do realistic people is on my bucket list.

  I've bought DVDs and taken classes but I still am not doing what I want to do.  I've written about my desire several times but I can't find those posts right now to make links.  I've taken classes at an art school but I wasn't able to continue.  It cost more than I could afford.

About four or five years ago I saw some portraits done with fabric.  Fantastic!  I wouldn't have to learn to draw people.  I could use the computer to help me create portraits using what I have in my stash.  I bought books of several different artists trying to learn the techniques.  I bought DVDs too but found both books and DVDs didn't teach what I needed to know.   

I bought photoshop element software and tried my best to learn it.  I have difficulty with comprehension and remembering.  I often have to do things backward just to learn.  I remember how things are done by repeatedly doing the steps over and over again.  When I stop doing those steps, I forget.  I buy DVDs so that when my memory fades I need only to rewatch them to remember.  With books I can go back and read again.

I took a class at a local fabric store to learn to do a portrait with fabric.  I had to leave before the class was over because I didn't want to be riding a bus home after dark in my neighborhood.  It was a class about using the fabric but not about creating the pattern.  I've long since forgotten what I did learn in that class. 

Then I found Margaret Bucklew of Chiseled in Cloth.  Check out her site.  She's fantastic!  Anyway, she had online classes.  I tried to sign up only to find out my computer couldn't handle the videos.  So I waited until I could get the right stuff for my computer and tried signing up again.  Oops!  Before I could click the "pay" button to confirm.... the empty class suddenly filled up.  A guild someplace had signed up as a group.  I was just seconds away from being in the class.  They clicked pay before I did.  So, I waited again.  Several months.  I tried signing up again and found it full once more.  I waited a few more months.  Next time I wanted to sign up, Margaret was taking a teaching break.  I waited a few more months. 

Well, I finally got signed up for a class yesterday.  It's only taken a little over three years.  What's great about Margaret's class is that she teaches how to create the pattern as well as use the fabric.  This is what I need to learn if I'm going to create grand kid portraits.  The class starts February 5th providing there are two more people to join the class.  If the class is not full she won't teach it.  I'm praying someone signs up because I'm not sure I will try again.  It may be something that will never happen and be time to let go of that dream.

What I'm worried about is.... will I be able to remember what I learn if I'm not able to create portraits regularly.  Will I have a problem remembering how to create the patterns a few weeks, months, or years from now?  As I said, I only remember how to do things by continually doing them over and over again.  I worry that problems such as dealing with my mother or a busy quilting schedule will prevent me from creating regular enough to remember the steps.  I keep asking Margaret if she will be selling the classes on DVD but so far she's not planning on it. 

I guess if I actually do forget the steps later; then, it would be the time finally to let go of that dream..... sigh.  

Even if you aren't interested in doing portraits or want to take a class please go check out Margaret's site.  She has free stuff for quilters and pantograph designs too.  She has really nice video poetry on her site.   The poetry will bring tears to your eyes and provoke you to deep thoughts.  I especially loved a video poem about old falling down barns. 

Ok, time to get started on that quilt.  It's going to take several days to finish it. 


Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Sometimes it is just so darned hard to realize our dreams. And none of us are getting any younger. Maybe it's time to put your dream FIRST. Before the quilting for others, before your mother's problems. Take your class & totally immerse yourself in your dream. The more you can work at it before you let other things intrude the more likely you are to remember what you learned. My opinion anyway, for what it's worth.

Laurie said...

Hey, Why not create a book while you are taking the class. Take notes then illustrate it with samples of the steps, then you can look at it later.