Saturday, February 13, 2010

Color Challenge & kidney stones

I am part of an ongoing workshop-series facilitated by Hollis Chatelain.  The first 2 years were drawing, last year was color theory in February and Portraiture in the fall, and this year was Color Challenge.  Color challenge is the first of two workshops utilizing the information from the color theory course using fabric & quilting.  Students are challenged to create one quilt per day.

We brought our sewing machines and supplies, & a selection of fabric.  We learned upon arrival that we would not be able to trade or borrow cloth from anyone else in the workshop.  Bummer.
The first 2 days we were required to use a "feature fabric", selected by Hollis.  Most of us developed a love/hate relationship with the fabric, but most of us had to admit that the stuff was quite versatile, if ugly.
The first day we were challenged to create a quilt at least 18 inches, but no larger than 24 inches on any side that would "stop you at the door", either through color, design, or a combination thereof.

This task was quite difficult for me.  The instructor told me at least once to "start over".  Without being unkind about it, she was very interested in pulling us out of our comfort zone(s), to simplify.
While I'm pretty sure my quilt didn't quite accomplish what it was supposed to, I finished it.  If I had kept the background quilting simpler it would have been more effective.  I think it will actually look pretty good if I mount it on black felt-covered canvas.

"feature fabric" is heavily quilted with flourescent pink thread in center-left

Day 2:  The Challenge:  create a quilt, same dimensions, using color/design to draw the viewer into the piece.  The feature fabric must be used again.  This one wasn't as difficult for me, for some strange reason.  I used value to recede the piece inward, using large section of light value and moving progressively darker and thinner bands toward the center.  Then, I did the opposite with the stepstones, using the beloved "feature fabric", moving from large dark pieces in the foreground to small, thin, light pieces toward the horizon line.  I thread-painted the stone in the lower left portion of the foreground:

Day 3:  We were shown a photograph of an urban landscape:  freeway pillars, graffitti, some vegetation in the distance, and a rather surreal light cast upon the scene.  We were asked to create a piece based on the impressions or feelings the photo brought forth, without actually repeating a likeness of the photo.

I put the photo away and wrote some words describing my impressions of it.  I started thinking about how, when I drive over a freeway viaduct, I often catch glimpses of things such as signage, graffitti, shapes of buildings and windows, and occasionally a person can be glimpsed inside a window.  I thought about how the roadways often crisscross over and under one another.  Here is my piece, although it is not completely quilted yet:

While I was working on the quilting of this piece, my cell phone rang:  a friend called to tell me that my husband was in the ER having severe abdominal pain.  The consensus was that it might be a kidney stone.  I dropped everything and drove back to San Antonio from New Braunfels.  A CT-scan showed that he has a 4mm kidney stone.  They gave him pain medication and something to help encourage the stone to vacate the premises, and I took him home.  He had a rough night.  

The following day, while my daughter took him to the urologist, I drove back to New Braunfels to pack my bag, clean up my stuff, and bring Hollis back to San Antonio.

My homework for next year is to create a quilt that I missed out on for Day 4.  I couldn't tell you, at this point, what I'm supposed to do.  I hope I still have my paperwork!

Tim is feeling better.  We both wish the kidney stone would send him a postcard from its new location outside his body.  Where the heck is it?  Inquiring minds want to know.......


  1. glad your friend is recovering! And you study with Hollis Chatelain and Jane Dunnewold? holy cow, girl! you've got good teachers!

  2. No doubt! Both are very inspiring, wonderful teachers. I have learned so much from both of them.


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