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Power Suit Challenge LogoHave you ever walked a quilt show, seen challenge quilts, and wondered how you could get in on the fun? Wonder no more! This is your official invitation to participate in Power Suits: An Art Quilt Challenge.

A few months ago, I received a call from a local tailor asking if I would like his outdated fabric swatches. When I said yes, I had no idea how many swatches he had! Let’s just say it’s a good thing we had a truck when we went to pick them up.

Initially, I wanted to share these treasures with my art quilt students. Once I saw the boxes (and boxes and boxes), I knew this was bigger than my classes. And so I teamed up with Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts to offer you this art quilt challenge.

Pallet of Boxes

Boxes of Swatch Books

Theme
What does “Power Suit” mean to you? Does it conjure images of smoke-filled rooms where deals are made? Is a Power Suit a garment or a person? Do you plug in a Power Suit? What if a Power Suit gave you Super Powers? Using Power Suits as your inspiration, create an art quilt that expresses your point of view.

Rules
1. Finished quilt size: 18” x 18”

2. The finished quilt must have a top, a middle, and a backing with some method of connecting the three layers.

3. The finished quilt must be labeled and have a hanging sleeve.

4. There may be no internal or external structure, rods, or hangers.

5. Just have fun.

Challenge Packet in Bag

Challenge Packet

Dates

August 31, 2011: Quilts are due. Ship to Artistic Artifacts, 4750 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304

Oct 22, 2011: Debut, Artistic Artifacts

Jan 2, 2012: Quilts shipped home

Questions
E-Mail: Cyndi@MoonlightingQuilts.com
Call: 703.407.0916

The Fine Print
You are responsible for providing your own insurance from the time the quilt leaves your hands to the time you get it back. We reserve the right to refuse quilts that we feel are inappropriate for the exhibition.

How to Participate
Ready to get started? Great!

To participate, you’ll need a packet of swatches. Your swatches will include suit fabric and shirting. To round things out, we’ve thrown in a tie and some random buttons. You may use all, some, or none of the materials we are giving you. The idea is to embrace the theme and express your opinions. What does “Power Suit” mean to you?

You can get your challenge packet from Artistic Artifacts or directly from me (if you’re local). If you plan to pick up your packet at Artistic Artifacts, visit their website for hours. If you’d rather receive your materials in the mail, click here to order your packet from Artistic Artifacts. If you order the packet alone, then a $5 shipping charge will apply. If your order includes other items, then you pay shipping only for the other items and Artistic Artifacts will throw in the swatch packet for free. If you have trouble, you can also order the packet through my website.

  

Contents of Challenge Packets
Challenge Packet – Contents Will Vary

Judy and I hope you will join us in the fun. Sign up now and get started!

Cyndi

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In Progress on my Design Wall

In Progress on my Design Wall

Here’s where I am with the piece this morning. I’m auditioning two background fabrics right now. I’m not in love with them, but more about that later.

I’m happy to say that I’ve rediscovered how valuable a digital camera can be in the design process. Because I’m blogging about the process of this piece, I’ve been taking scads of pictures. It’s funny what you can learn by taking a picture of a piece in progress. When I look at the work on the design wall, I see one thing. When I look at it though my camera’s viewfinder, I see a second perspective. It’s sort of like using a peephole to gain some distance from a piece. Then, when I download the images onto my computer and start to work with them, I see so much more.

When I look at this piece on my design wall, I see the individual fabrics more than how the fabrics work together. I also see the original photograph and I measure how well the quilt portrays it. At some point, I need to let go of the fact that I started with this photo and move on to making the quilt work on its own. That’s a lesson I hope to keep in mind as I move forward.

The View through my Camera

The View through my Camera

When I look through the viewfinder, I begin to see the piece as more cohesive. I see how the fabrics work (or don’t work) together and I get a better sense of proportion, balance, overall use of color. Here, I’m distracted by the motion in the green fabric at the top. I meant for that to suggest trees, but it doesn’t really work. I like the fabric, but I’m not sure I can use it for this piece.

The darker fabric at the bottom was meant to suggest the ground, but I’m finding it distracting. When I look at it on the wall without the camera, I’m happy with how pretty the fabric is. Through the camera, I realize this fabric isn’t helping me. In a simple piece, every element has to pull its weight and earn the right to be included. In the back of my head, I hear Heidi Klum telling this fabric that it’s out.

Cropping Makes a Difference

Cropping Makes a Difference

Cropped, this picture tells another story. The first thing that I noticed is how wrong the top green fabric is. Without the original photograph to distract me, I now realize that I need sky. There may have been trees there originally, but out of context, the viewer would never know that. This quilt needs sky in the background. I’m happy with this realization, since I have a lot of blue batiks that I now get to play with. I’m also looking forward to how well the blue sky will work with the orange hat.

A second immediate benefit of cropping the image is that I get to see how little of the two background fabrics will be visible in the finished quilt. Two paragraphs ago, I was distracted by how busy the fabric at the bottom is. Now I realize there isn’t that much of it. I’m still not convinced it’s a good choice, but it’ll be a placeholder until I find the sky fabric.

Once you have the digital image loaded onto your computer, you can work with it to make design decisions. If, for example, I didn’t like the proportions of this piece, I could use my cropping tool to experiment. How would this look if it were square? Or what if the rectangle were oriented horizontally rather than vertically? I’d need to add more elements to either side, but it’s possible. In this case, I think a vertical rectangle is just right.

I’m going to visit the Quilt Company East (a quilt guild in Pittsburgh) tomorrow to do a lecture and workshop. In the meantime, I’m going to ponder more background fabric choices and a question that my husband keeps asking: what about the spokes? Hmm. I’m open to suggestions…

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Hubby & His Bike

Hubby & His Bike

What was I thinking?! I love this shot, but I’m having heartburn trying to figure out how to get from a tired old green Grandma’s Flower Garden fragment to the quilt I have in my head that features this picture of my husband. This morning at 3:15, I had a few ideas and so I thought I would blog a little about the process and try to get your feedback.

Step 1
Rip the block apart. I still haven’t done that, but I have a meeting tomorrow and I’ll take the block with me.  I never have much mobile handwork and this should keep me busy and let me pay attention to the meeting.

Step 2
Plan the construction.  Okay, that’s my current speed bump. How do I construct this? Well, how would I do it if I were able to choose my own fabric and not be tied down to the vintage block? I’d probably blow up the photo, make a cartoon, and cut pieces to fuse together.

Okay, now how do I do it given that I have only bits that are about one and a half inches across? Do I sew them together to make a bigger piece? No, not the effect I’m going for. What if I put fusible on the back of each one and fused them all down? Okay, that’s faster and that’s good for this deadline. Do I fuse them all on a black fabric base, leaving a little bit around each piece for a stained glass effect?  Um, no.  What if I cut them into perfectly identical shapes and sizes? That’s what I did for Cheap Sunglasses, the quilt that’s in the header of my blog. Circles won’t work for this, though.  Maybe squares? Would it look too much like a counted cross stitch pattern on graph paper?

Oooo, how’s this?! What if I started in the orange corner with the little shapes intact and worked my way down to the bike wheel corner replacing the vintage fabric with my own fabric in shapes that work with the subject matter? I like that. To make the construction work, I could create the overall quilt top (Remember, it’s only 24″ square.) in my own fabrics and style and then fuse the little bits up in the corner.

This could work! Or, as a friend of a friend says, “It sounds like a P-L-N-A.” Yup, that’s a plan. Stay tuned for pictures and some process discussion about the next steps.

Oh, and I’m taking suggestions. I know you’re out there reading this.  I see you on my blog stats…

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