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11.03.2011

I WANTED TO MAKE AN ART QUILT

Venice Beach, FL
Lots of the pictures shown don't have a thing to do with my post, but I think words are easier to swallow when you have something exciting to look at beside them. And there are a lot of words in this post.
A window in Cloppenburg, Germany.
It's long, but I hope you'll take time to read on.
Pix taken in Detmold, Germany
Art Every Day Month is on my priority list for November...but then again, it's always at the top of my list. 
Another window in Germany but I can't remember which city I was in.
Making art that is.
Pretty sure this is the bridge connecting Matlacha to Pine Island in Florida
Back in 2k4 and 2k5 I wanted to make an art quilt.
Pine Island Sound
I spent 2 or 3 years checking out books at the library and going to quilt meetings and oohhhing and ahhing over all the beautiful work I was seeing. I also collected bits and pieces for those imagined and hoped for art quilts during this time. I was a major wanna-be. 
This one lives on the Pine Island Sound side of Sanibel Island. (Say that fast three times).
Then, one of the ladies whose books I'd borrowed from the library, Mary Lou Weidman, came to my quilt guild to teach a class - and that was the beginning of me being physically involved. In art.
A piece of glass I wish I hadn't sold.
She was teaching a workshop about making a 'Story Quilt' and I struggled for weeks ahead of time to figure out which story I wanted to represent. What I really wanted to do was make an art quilt. But I didn't know much-a-nut-n-honey about how to go about it.
Bokeelia, FL...looking North.
I carefully went through my stash - choosing fabrics for the upcoming workshop with Mary Lou - finally, with a specific story in mind - 
My first little landscape quilt - inspired by all those trips out in our little boat in the fabulous waters of SW Florida
and when she came to my personal space and looked at what I had, she gently suggested, I not use this piece, or that one, and those won't work so well either....etc., etc., etc. until I had about 1/3 of what I needed. She generously shared some of her fabric with me that afternoon.
View to the West out of my Cape Coral, FL kitchen
She then encouraged me to give myself permission to purchase fabrics that night so that I could make the blocks she was teaching. 
This bag, a gift that went to Germany with me, is what got me started attempting to create my own thing.
I worriedly went to the fabric shop and had NO idea who, what, when, where or how to put together what I needed...but came out with fabrics in colors that made my heart sing. (And they also went with those that Mary Lou left in the 'save' pile).

I WAS making things during my 'era of fear' just didn't have much invested so not so worried about results. (It has a penis made out of pantyhose sewn inside the zipper...which I only showed to a few select friends).
But...My Story changed, because the colors for the original idea would no longer work...in my mind. And anyway, I wanted to make an art quilt.
This is the back side of the above bohemiannie! bag.
I plunged in and made blocks which turned out delightfully beautiful and left me with a big, blank, black, fabric canvas in the center. 
I had completed my first ever workshop and was a happy camper.
Watching the sun set from my friend's dock on the Caloosahatchee River in Cape Coral, FL.
Then...
My sister's view from her old house in Moon, VA
I had NO idea what to put on that big, blank, black, fabric canvas. But I knew I wanted to make an art quilt.

Taken from an air boat in the wild of the Florida Everglades.
So it hung on my closet door for two years. Yep...2 YEARS because I didn't know what story to put on it...and I was afraid of it.
Camels came to a charity function on Pine Island, FL. The one on the left actually kissed me...then spit on the little boy next to me.
FEAR had me hesitating to do ANYTHING because of the money and time I'd invested in it and it was so pretty as it was. Well except for that big, blank, black, fabric canvas in the middle.
Pine Island Sound on the way to Burnt Store Marina.
Then one day...after talking to my mentor and dear friend Carol Holsopple, I charged that big, blank, black, fabric canvas with determination to make an art quilt and sewed fabric down all over it!
Taken from our little boat in Charlotte Harbor.
And another year went by because my free motion sewing skills were nil and I was afraid I'd mess it up.
Miss Kitty helping me overcome my fear of working on the quilt.
Then one day...I decided...I'm over the investment...even if it did take me three years to get there...and I chose to treat that quilt as though it were a practice piece.
So, with Miss Kitty's help, I free motion stitched like there was no tomorrow.
I'm thrilled with the way it turned out.
See how much my hair grew before i was brave enough to show it to my group at AQU. Or was it that it took me that long to bind it?!?!? Hmmmm
It's been juried in to several exhibits, the first one at Harborside Convention Center in Fort Myers, FL where my daughter and brand new, fresh from God, Sophia, attended the opening with many friends.
It was featured for that exhibit in the newspaper...
 and now hangs on my best friend's bedroom wall.
I named it..."That's My Story and I'm Stickin To It". 
(Insert smiley face here).
Now...I said all that to say this...


EVERYthing I do is a practice piece. There are no mistakes. Only learning experiences. There is no right or wrong way...only my way. There is no fear...only un-abandoned FUN and JOY in creating the next piece.


And I've been making art every day ever since and Love, L-O-V-E, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE every minute OF it.


So...while this post isn't about what I've done yesterday...or today...it IS about what got me making art every day...


and I hope it will encourage you to do the same.

PS...I'm also linking to Pink Saturday, Paint Party Friday (because I paint with fabric and thread),Blog Link Love, My Romantic Home, Sneak Peak Friday and Artists In Blogland. Some of my favorite spots to visit.

54 comments:

  1. beautiful post. don't think there is an artist alive that couldn't relate. i've had a beautiful canvas that i hand stitched a seam down the middle of hanging on my studio wall for more than 3 years now! maybe i should rename it "practice canvas" :)

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  2. Lovely post Annie my dear, with you every step of the way. Art is just a reflection of life in terms of learning & evolving I think - it will never stop till the day you die. I'm so pleased your finished quilt so much (well deserved) attention, it's a beautiful piece. Still need to get some free stitching playing going but it's just one in my 'big pile of things I want to do list'. Thanks for all the pictures, much love J xx

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  3. Hi! Great story! And something we all have to learn if we are to get off the anxiety that somehow stops us from continuing with our art! Yes, I agree, there is no wrong or right way, we just have to enjoy the journey! Your quilt turned out a.w.e.s.o.m.e.! And you actually were able to give it away! That must be some close friend indeed! Patsy from
    HeARTworks

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  4. What a great post!! You are so right....
    even so called mistakes are learning experiences. Now I better go make something!!

    x's

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  5. Thanks so much Julie. (At least I think that's your name jaeartworks). :)I know it was a lot to say but like art...I had to get it out!

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  6. Thank you Jennibellie! :) You're so right. Art is a reflection of where we are now in our lives. I need to use up those cereal boxes, etc. that I've been saving since your very cool video, but like you, it's on the list and will have to wait at least a few more minutes!

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  7. Thanks Patsy! I'm amazed and happy that you (and others) are actually taking the time to read this wordy blog posting. I so appreciate your encouragement and words and know from the beauty of your art that you're enjoying the journey! And yes...she is a very dear long time friend. :) The best.

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  8. Thank you Gayle! Me too!!! I'd better get busy arting and off this computer chair!!! Happy, Happy to you!

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  9. Lovely blog, and congratulations on that quilt! Found you via your mixedmedia site posting. I wanted to follow you here but don't see a follow button?

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  10. Thanks so much Sandra! It's history but still an important part of mine! :) I THINK...not positive...but think there should be a menu bar that shows up at the very top of the window which gives an option to follow. I'm honored that you'd like to do that! Thanks again!

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  11. Oh what a quilt!!!!! Wow! I love your name for it!!!

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  12. Great story! Beautiful quilt! It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles. (I know intellectually I’m not but it’s nice to hear from others!)

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  13. this may be your best post ever so far! thanks so much for sharing your story and your first art quilt. I love the title you gave it too. Beautiful quilt, beautiful story! Your friend is lucky to have it on her wall. Keep making art! (I know you will).

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  14. What a wonderful story and that is a great quilt and you are so right about the fear of failing keeping us from doing anything at all, this is a super inspirational post. thanks.

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  15. Thanks so much Robin! I try to put only positive thoughts in writing...and in my head for that matter...but I definitely struggle on a regular basis!!!

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  16. Thanks a ton Caatje! I hesitate to get too wordy because I know people are busy and don't want to read such a long post, but you and the others that have commented have encouraged me & put another fear to rest.

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  17. Thank you, thank you Linda. I'm so glad that others are receiving inspiration from ME!!! I tend to get preachy so hold a lot of "it" in...but this Story just had to be told.

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  18. A simple Thank You for this wonderful and so meaningful post !

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  19. A heart felt you're welcome to you Gio.

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  20. what a fabulous story and fabulous quilt. i love all the colors you used and your title of it. i'm so glad you finally came to the right place to make it.

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  21. Thank you SO very much! The colors are right up my alley and sometimes I wonder if that's the reason it all changed (because I started out with blues and greens). :)

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  22. Lol I dont know what it is girl but there is just something about you apart from the orange hair ofcourse!!! Great knowing you!
    ManonX

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  23. :) Thank you Manon. I feel the same way about you (and your girls). :) It's MY pleasure. Mucho Gusto!

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  24. It is a beautiful quilt and the story is good lesson to us all. Just dive in and do what makes us happy. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. Thanks a ton waggonswest! I'm 'preaching to the choir' because every one that has commented so far...including you, is a wonderful, prolific artist!

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  26. Such a great post and I loved all the Florida photos and snippets of your life... I most importantly, love that quilt... just what an art quilt should be.... bright, vibrant, full of life and movement... you are one clever and talented, photographing, sewing, creating person !!

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  27. Wonderful Post! The quilt is beautiful!

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  28. Thanks so much Tracey! Coming from your talented self...I feel a bit humble...and amazed. Well really, I feel that way about all of the comments. But proud and happy at the same time. :)

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  29. Well, I'm glad I read all the way to the end. What a terrific quilt you wound up with, and what a great way to look at every single thing we create.

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  30. thank you carlarey! I know - it's hard for me to read through sometimes - but I'm glad you did and really appreciate your compliment.

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  31. Terrific story and such a wonderful inspirational art quilt. Happy PPF, x

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  32. Thank you Netty! I appreciate you stopping by. Off to see your blog now!

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  33. This is such a great post. Thank you for sharing your art quilt journey with us. No matter how long it took, you did get the message and that's what's important. LOVE the quilt!!

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  34. Thanks Janet. :) I totally appreciate your stopping by!

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  35. Annie, I, too, have saved special pieces of handlace or a glass button or a silk scarf although damaged and said one day; it has taken me much time; to go ahead and use it; what good will it do you statched away. So thanks for the inspiration; Yes, I loved your story and I read every word. Blessings Terri www.morningdewdrops.typepad.com PS I know about that free motion thing too!

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  36. great story. i can totally relate to being a bit paralyzed by the blank 'canvas' whatever kind of canvas it is. i'm glad you got over your fear. your quilt is gorgeous. i particularly love the vibrant colors against the black. beautiful!

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  37. Thanks so much Terri. :) Although I produce LOTS of art these days, I still have those special items that I 'save for a rainy day'. I hadn't even thought about those things in relation to this blog...so you've taught me a good lesson.

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  38. Thanks MollyGirl! It's heartwarming to hear from so many artists that can "feel" what I do. Thanks for your lovely compliment!

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  39. Beautiful post. Sometimes we just need to get into something and before we know it, we've done something worth remembering. It's the courage to start and see it through that makes the difference.

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  40. Love that name...Pieces of Sunshine! Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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  41. And a lot of great art are those made from stories in our mind, refined by our heart and crafted by our loving hands.

    More, more, more!

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  42. Awwww...thank you Lui! What a beautiful compliment. Thank you.

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  43. Very nice post, you are a great artist too

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  44. I love how you were inspired by a book at the library! Your quilt is so beautiful. The story behind it is amazing and true and just plain wonderful! And the name... perfect! :) Thanks so much for sharing with us 'in the studio' this gorgeous work! :)

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  45. Thanks a ton Jennifer. I MISS the library so much since we've moved to Colombia!!! Now the web inspires me. :) I appreciate your lovely compliment and thank you from my heart. I've been visiting the blogs as time permits and look forward to hubby getting off the computer so I can get back on. (He's just letting me in for a few minutes right now). :)

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  46. Annie,
    I'm so tickled to award you the 10 Organic Fat Quarter Bundle from my shop, Good Earth Quilting. Thanks so much for sharing your joy with all of us, I chose your quilt first as its truly the best one.
    www.organicquiltcotton.com

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  47. Thank you so much Carli! What a beautiful compliment! I can't wait to see the fabrics!!!

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  48. What an inspirational story! Thank you o much for sharing the story and your art with us!

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  49. You know Annie, what you said at the bottom of that post is so very true!
    There are no mistakes - just learned experiences.
    No right or wrong - just my/our way.
    Such great advice for a newbie who has been influenced by work shown on the internet!
    Fear of the blank page/canvas and messing it up is stopping a myriad of artists out there.

    It is a magical quilt you made for your friend and just look at the smile on her face - that says it all!!!
    Shane ♥

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    1. Thank you Shane. It's so true for me! I hope you'll plunge ahead and just do what feels right and most of all...have FUN doing it!!! Love to you...

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