Friday, April 20, 2012

Friendly Friday

Hello, dear friends. I'll update you soon on my happenings and non-happenings, but in the meantime I have another "Friendly Friday"  for you.

Terry is a dear family friend, a mentor in womanhood, who continues to inspire me with her intentional and artistic endeavors. This post has been long in coming, so I'll just give you what she sent me:

A luna moth quilt!

Terry writes:

For a long time (decades) I have wanted to make pictures out of fabric. Until three years ago, I had no idea there was such a medium as "art quilts." I began taking a class here and there to gain some basic skills and learn what others were doing. When I found a 4-day workshop on making pieced art quilts, and I knew this was how I wanted to work. The luna moth is the first art quilt I made with these new skills, following the instructions of my talented teacher, Sheri Alcorn.
It is based on a photograph, but the design, piecing, and quilting are all my own workfrom selecting fabrics to adding original appliqued "eyes" and antennae. How can I describe the fulfillment I experienced as I worked with hundreds of tiny pieces to create what had been latent in me for so long? I enjoyed the process of abstracting the photo, cutting and piecing original patterns to fit my design, adjusting color choices as the moth began to take shape on my sewing machine. The pieced design was finished in four intense days of class time, but the finishing (adding a back, quilting, binding, and applique) took me several months more. Each step was a little scary: What if I did something that "ruined" my work? Would I still like my quilt if my novice skills did not match my aspirations? The outcome has been a delight to me and to my family for years now, and I have made two more quilts since then.
The most valuable lessons I learned from making this first quilt are these: It's never too late to learn something new. (I'm 50-something!) Taking a class does not negate creativity; it empowers it. Learning by doing is the only way to master a skill, so just do it!

Thanks Terry!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Love's Labor

Way back in November, I had a rare weekend by myself. With the roommate and the boyfriend out of town, I went on a little "craftcation" and began what turned into the mother of all projects. Here is Photo #1:

Note the yawn-inducing factory honey oak finish.  I also had 6 chairs of the same style but different  in stains and paints, so I wanted to unify the whole set. 

After weekend # 1 I was left with a jaw dropping table. It was a sawdust and fume filled craftcation, but I really couldn't have been happier with the result.

And then the whole project sat for 3 months. I knew that refinishing chairs was an intensive process (my mom  was once quoted $100+ per chair for a refinish job), so I wanted to wait until I had reinforcements (aka boyfriend labor).

One fine February day, the stars aligned and we did this for two weeks.

I'm not kidding. We sanded six chairs for two full weekends. Three chairs had multiple layers of paint in addition to cracks and dings that had to be repaired. Fortunately, I love a good power sander and the boyfriend loves to sand by hand, so we tag teamed the whole process very smoothly.

Two more weekends of painting and staining (solo) and I have this stunning piece in my dining room:

I am so grateful to my boyfriend and roommate for enduring a grueling process, but all of the painstaking steps to do it right were highly rewarding. That being said, I don't necessarily recommend a similar project. This was difficult, I had to force myself to take breaks so I wouldn't ruin the project in my haste to just be finished already. Sanding is hard. Excruciating at points in time. And loud. And messy. And also weirdly rewarding. Labor of love? Absolutely. And that is what (to me at least) makes a house a home, the intentional touches and personal stories that surround those who are lucky enough to enter a home, to find a home, to make a home, or to share a home. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chainsaw Art: Part Two

The best art most be displayed well. To that end, I am thrilled that the boyfriend made this gorgeous stand for the aforementioned chainsaw painting.