Thursday, November 04, 2010

Back to work

I haven't had a chance to do any work in my studio for several weeks now, so I am enjoying having some time alone to work this week.This is what is on my work table today. It doesn't look like much yet, but I am experimenting. I am working on trying to evoke a view of a rainy day outside a window. This is a start. I am trying to decide what more it needs. Do I need to actually paint some rain on it? Can I get an effect of rain with stitching? If so, what kind of stitching? Not beads. Don't suggest beads.

Our next High Fiber Diet show theme is "Northwest Vibes."  First off, let me just say that I hate that theme. Not that I hate the Northwest part, though having done a lot of NW themed quilts lately, I am a little tired of it.. I think it is the word "vibes" that kind of puts my teeth on edge and dredges up visions of the '60s that I just don't want to think about right now. I could make a Jimmy Hendrix quilt—he was from Seattle—but I'm not going to go in that direction.

Rain is the cliche image for the Northwest. It may be a cliche, but it really is something that shapes the culture here to some degree. Not that I want to perpetuate the myth that it rains all the time here. It doesn't. But I think the amount of rainy weather has contributed to the way we structure our time here. To me a rainy day is an invitation to really revel in indoor pursuits—reading, writing, drawing, planning, stitching and surrounding myself with colors that deny the outside weather. There is a texture and quality to a rainy day that is calm and comforting and satisfying. How to evoke that visually—that's the challenge.


  1. I know how it is - I'm working on several challenge quilts and am not AT ALL inspired by the themes. It is a real challenge to find a new direction and a unique angle to those kinds of quilts. Sometimes you just need to "get over it" and do your best to remove your bias from the picture. Your artwork is "distinctly" northwest in flavor, and everything you share on your blog just sings. So sing a new rainy day song while you work on this latest creation, and you can laugh when you think of the rain in Connecticut and how it is putting a real damper (no pun intended) on my lack of creativity!!!

  2. Well, I love a rainy night
    It's such a beautiful sight
    I love to feel the rain
    On my face
    Taste the rain on my lips
    In the moonlight shadow

    Eddie Rabbit had it right, cuz I too, love a rainy night. Cozy quilts, cats and either a book or a movie with the husband.

  3. I saw a quilt today with loose threads hanging from an image of a bridge to represent the rain. I loved it, but I don't think you want to go there! I think stitching will do it.

    And you know that I hate that theme, too. Oh, well. I will think of something with good vibrations.

  4. Anonymous4:38 PM

    I moved from Southern California to the Northwest. The rain is different here- some say it is "female" rain rather than "male" rain. With that in mind, to me it seems nurturing rather than destructive.

  5. We've had what I imagine is a "Northwest-style" rainy day today. Nothing too extreme, but unrelenting. I'm gearing up for that indoor mindset before I fly out in January, just in case I am met with raindrops.

    I can't imagine how to depict rain on your new project, but I trust that you will come up with a way to do it!

  6. My image/memory of the Pacific Northwest is moss, ferns, dark green trees. Rain is, of course, part of that but it is what I think of as water than wanders around in the air, looking for a place to rest. Growing up in Oregon I thought I knew rain until I went to New Mexico and found that raindrops can be 1/4 cup of water that makes explosions in the dust, like little volcanoes. Skip the rain - try for GREEN!

  7. My thought was to emphasize the gray sky and all the greens. It amazes me how the various greens become more distinctive when it rains.

  8. I'm a hand stitcher from way back, so I'm thinking that way for rain. So, I suggest on the surface only, before or after quilting, you could work a number of small/med/large running stitches in a line - 8? 9? 10? or less- and then a french knot - and after a small gap continue moving along the line in that fashion, dash dash, curving, diagonal, whatever way you think the rain is 'going'. Depending on the thread size and degree of contrast, as against the size of the work, this may or may not be a quick process :-) but I think could be worth it.

  9. I have the same reaction the word "vibes" -- adds a tone to the challenge theme in a funny way. The concept of how to create rain is definite challenge -- I'll be interested to see how you solve it. In fact, I can see a "rain" challenge all on its own as being very interesting!

  10. Just rows of stitching, on a slight angle. That's all it needs. if you really want to go wild, try a metallic thread.