Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Peace Room

As I begin to resuscitate my blog from its long dormancy I have found a draft that I feel is worth publishing.  This has nothing (and yet everything?) to do with studio work. Read on....

My dear friend, Karen,  a wonderful therapist living in LA, wrote a self-care tip about the concept of a "Peace Room":

The Peace Room  

I once heard a story on NPR's Morning Edition about how one of Chicago's public high schools is trying to change its culture of violence. It has established a Peace Room. Students are instructed to go to the room when they are feeling angry or frustrated. There is an aide present to help the student with his or her anger. Ideally, students who are fighting would go together and the aide would help mediate a solution and teach fair fighting techniques.
Peace Room
This gave me the idea that we all should have a Peace Room in our home. Even if we can't designate a particular room, we could find a corner to be our Peace Corner. Adults and children could use this space to work out their own anger and conflicts, individually or together.

The area could be decorated with relaxing details and supplies:

  • tabletop fountain
  • tranquil artwork
  • calming music
  • a couple of comfortable chairs
  • affirmations and appropriate quotes written on cards posted on the walls
  • a notebook with reminders of how to fight fairly, instructions on relaxation techniques, and even poems or short essays on anger, forgiveness, and practicing mutual acceptance and respect
  • writing and art materials available for expressing feelings
I see the Peace Room as a time-out, a no yelling or fighting zone, a place of negotiation and respectful disagreements. It would be a haven of self care for all members of the family to seek and practice peace.  

I think of my studio as a Peace Room.  My only rule for the studio space is that if you want to come in and play with me, you have to be nice to me.  While this idea was invented during the era of adolescent children still living at home, it is a theme that I continue to embrace.  For me, and I hope for anyone else who is in my studio, it is a place of joy.  Sometimes it is a place of internal struggle and challenge, but it is a place for great creative effort.
Everyone should have a place like this, even if it is just in your imagination.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Improv HST workshop, and then a Design Project!

I took a workshop on using half-square triangle solids to create an improvisational composition with Nydia Kehnle when I was at QuiltCon 2019 in Nashville.  You may recognize Nydia's name as a pattern designer.  She designs the beautiful patterns seen on Alison Glass' website.

Initially, I was using pieces of solid fabric (both commercial and hand-dyed) that were scraps left over from other design projects.
Here is Nydia, showing how she simply "dives in" and gets a color story started.

She had a system that she used to separate her colors.
Eventually, I developed my own strategy (that had more to do with value than color, 
to be honest).
I used the 6.5" "Bloc Loc" ruler which made the trimming 100% easier.
Also:  I had a rotating square cutting mat which minimized moving the block around while trimming.
A quick web search of the Bloc Loc brand will take you to a variety of sellers.  These come in several sizes.  I recommend this tool!

Here is my first, and rather "under-whelming", effort.
I took this down and stacked the blocks for another day.

Weeks later at home I cleared a portion of my design walls
and started again.  It was clear that I needed a bunch more colors for making the 
transitions, with both color and value in mind.

I find it helpful, no matter the project, to use my mono setting on my phone camera to
check value.

Here is part of the development in the early stages....

More progress.
What I didn't document very well was how often I took things down and 
started over!

Closer... (sorry about the stack of fabric in the foreground.

Even at this stage I was taking blocks down and exchanging them, or sewing a new
color set to make a better color/value transition.

Piecing strategy:  I pieced each horizontal row, from left to right.
I put a safety pin in the upper left corner of the leftmost block.
I created a "stack" beginning at the right edge, on on top of the next,
for the entire row.
I took the stack to my sewing machine and sewed them together.
I pressed each set of seams for that row in alternating directions
(row one, all seams to the left, row two all seams to the right, etc.)

Once all the rows were pieced I joined two sets of rows at a time.
Then, two of those rows, then the two halves.
It was easier to minimize bulk and handling of the entire construction 
until that last seam (above)!

Here is the finished construction:  91 inches wide, 85 inches long.
I debated if I should add one more horizontal row but decided I was satisfied with how it looks.

It is off to the longarm quilter soon.
My plan is to use a low-loft wool bat for this quilt as it will most-likely be a useful one.

I'm calling this quilt "Prismatic Labyrinth".