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I am a sketchy fabric artist

February 10, 2010

No more, “Oh, I wish I…”

NO MORE! The time for wishing is over. It’s time to make things HAPPEN. No more excuses.

I finally decided to tackle an idea I’ve had roaming around my thought forests for quite some time. I discovered the world of art quilting, oh, on Sunday. Sunday!! My new idea for how I can make things to sell or just enjoy is to be a thread painter. I can stitch drawings using my sewing machine! DUHHH. Why didn’t I think of this idea before? I can practice my free-motion quilting while doing something I LOVE to do.

I have amassed a collection of completely free, public domain images since I don’t want the Copyright Police to show up and haul me away as I clutch my raggedy piece of scrap fabric tightly in my fist.

dog shadow

Not bad for my first attempt! The fingers are a bit wonky, but aren't we all wonky somehow?

If I want to be a Fabric Artist for realz, I need to follow a few rules for myself:

  • Even though I may be temporarily stressed, like if a needle breaks or I get birds’ nests, thread painting’s main purpose in my life will be to experience the sheer joy of manipulating fabric by using a machine to repeatedly and rapidly punch holes. Yes, sewing is fast, loud, violent, and fun.
  • Wall hangings must contain materials I currently have from my stash–primarily. I am allowed to cheat here and there if I do see new fabric (come on, who is NOT a fabric hoarder here?), but most of the materials will be from repurposed garments. I think the fancy way to say it is to call them “upcycled.” I just call them “too small” or “has a stain on it” or “what was I thinking when I bought this?”
  • Ain’t skeered. I will not be ruled by fear or allow it to hold me back from creating, making mistakes, and taking risks. I will not think, “Is this good enough?” I mean, good enough for whom? Seriously.
  • I am giving myself permission to do whatever I want artistically. If I want to stitch plastic to fabric, then I will do that. If I want to cut up an old shirt that has seen better days, then I will. Silk ties? They fray in a really interesting way, like a bird’s feathers or some other embellishment.
  • I will not compare myself to the slew of amazing talent in the art quilting sphere, especially since I haven’t even really known of its existence prior to this weekend! HOW DID I NOT KNOW!?! What rock have I been hiding under?
  • My lack of technique is okay. Maybe my art will be like the Gees Bend pieces of the Stay at Home Mom world or something. I will just do my own thing and absorb tips and techniques from others. I will have a spirit of learning and a fearless attitude.
  • I will schedule sewing time into my day, much like I would schedule classes I teach. That way, I won’t feel guilty, rushed, or weird about sewing when I could be doing something else. I will get xx amount of minutes to allow myself undivided attention–well, as much as one can have while also tending this hot mess here:

I am SO full of ideas…next order of business is to try the bunny hand shadow sketch!

Please leave a comment with links to your site if you are an art quilter, or if you have an insight that might help people starting out. I did pick up a Quilting Arts magazine at the bookstore, and I am completely in love and overwhelmed (but in a good way) about being on a flight path to Planet Art Quilt. Seriously, I feel like I am on the edge of something super big and important for me as a fabric artist.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 26, 2010 12:35 am

    Oooooooh! I like!!!! Well done you. I haven’t documented much more of my sketchery, kind of backed off for a bit (I go through phases, like most people!).

    I love the amazing work of Tara Badcock, an Australian textile artist whose work you can see here:

    I want to be just like her when I grow up!

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