Monday, 2 May 2016

Four in Art- Second Quarter

Time for the second quarter reveal for the Four in Art group. This quarter's theme was Colour: Music, an easy theme I thought... I had an idea right away but in the end I really struggled to bring it to life.

As soon as the theme was revealed, I thought of a quote I had heard years ago, about how the colour purple might be described to a blind person as the deep notes of a trumpet. I searched for the quote and couldn't find it but the image was quite visual to me, with purple sound waves emanating from a trumpet in profile. (I had a hard time getting the colour to show up as the purple it is so you'll have to take my word for that. After weeks of sunshine today is grey and dark so hard to photograph true colours).

I made three different attempts to realise my idea and am still not at all happy with the result. In fact I'm feeling quite embarrassed having to publish my effort... but the idea of the group, for me at least, is to stretch my creative muscles in making something to a theme within a timeframe and to try to identify what makes something work or not. So I'm trying to hold it lightly as a learning experience. Maybe you can help me identify what would have made it work?

I like my profile trumpet which I cut out and fused to the background. I like the idea of the sound waves, but they're not quite right. I tried ribbon on another one and I've tried different colours and shapes. Perhaps the wave form is not right across the space? I quite like how they're fading out, but maybe the zigzag needed to be denser?

Or they needed to be altogether fatter? Or the waves all needed to match and echo one another?  I tried different waveforms but couldn't decide what worked. Perhaps the problem is with the negative space? Definitely the quilting is a problem. My initial idea was to echo quilt the waves and I tried more colour with lines in a lightly variegated purple thread- lots of unpicking after that...

In the end I ran out of time- there's learning in that; but don't seem to have had much success on trying to start earlier- spent plenty of time reading this and this and now I'm all sorted!

My daughter has it worked out, she said sometimes creative projects just don't work and you probably should just scrap it and try a new idea- yeah- that one! But I would actually be interested to read your comments as to what would have improved this one, coz I feel like success must be in there somewhere trying to get out.

You can see how the others in our group interpreted the theme; we have a blog, Four-in-Art Quilts, but you can also visit the rest of us here:



  1. Camilla, I also struggled with this theme, even though it was ME who set it! I use the whole thing as a learning experience, and also feel less than worthy when I see others' wonderful artistic interpretations. Having said that I like the graphic nature of your trumpet. Perhaps, if you would be welcome to my suggestion, a variety of purple-coloured fabrics could have been pieced into the background somehow? I never start early enough and always end up stressing about my piece being good enough! I tend to overuse circles and appliqué! Next time I want to try some piecing. I'm looking forward to seeing the next theme....

  2. I think what your daughter said has merit. But in scrapping a project the desire is to try something else that might make the idea work to satisfaction. My first thought was as Susan said, fabric waves of different deep purples. I think I like fabric because I can manipulate it easier than thread. Then the idea of Thread Play as Libby Lehman's book details might have given more dimension. Perhaps that is what you find might be lacking. What I like about these challenges is that I have ideas to work on a series for the one theme and see where it takes me.

    I struggle with the creative process. Many ideas run through my mind and thinking of more ideas only adds overload. I went through 3 ideas before deciding. Of course, I was running short on time. I can't seem to get working on the deadlines early enough. I tend to look at what others have done and think about how mine could have matched someone else's in a certain quality. We are our own worst critics?

    So on to the next quarter project! My, I will have to see if it has been posted.

  3. I think that this is a really lovely image! The composition is perfect. I love the trumpet and I think that the waves pouring out of it are actually just right in the width and in the shape they make - they give such a strong feeling that the music is pouring out, and then flowing on, it's fantastic. There's a way of cutting thin strips on the bias and appliqueing them which might work for the waves, but it would be difficult to achieve that tapering off you have which is spot on. I know from experience that zigzag stitch is hard to control.

    I often feel quite despondent after finishing a quilt – 'quilter's decline', a bit like 'buyer's remorse'?! Sometimes it's disappointment with the gulf between the finished quilt and the glorious quilt in my head, sometimes it's the 'I'm not worthy' feeling and sometimes it's the depressing knowledge that it would have been better if I hadn't left it until the last minute – those articles are brilliant! It's reassuring to know from what you say, and what Suz and Nancy say in their comments that we all feel a bit like that. Your daughter is very sensible - if an idea is important enough we could always come back to it with the knowledge we gained from the first run through, and if not then on to the next thing!

  4. I love the idea of the colour purple being described as the deep notes of a trumpet and I think your trumpet in profile looks great. I think another sound wave or two coming out above the ones you've done already might work well as I feel it would balance that side against the trumpet and give the impression of a big sound. I am, however, an over embellisher. I say to myself that 'less is more' but then I just keep on sewing! I enjoyed your first procrastination link. I know that monkey well. I'm going to read the next two now :D

  5. Camilla,
    Others have said everything I would say, but let me add these: I love the shape and form of your "waves"--don't change it a bit. I have better success in doing zig-zag satin stitch when I back the fabric with two sheets of computer paper. I don't think our machines today allow for the complete laying in of thread, and for me, the paper backing allows me to control how tightly the stitch is laid down. Try that tip. It peels off afterwards. Yep--I know what you mean about variegated thread: it just looks like little blocks of different colors. I've ripped out lots of those too. I think your design is strong, your waves are fun, and I think Susan's and Catherine's comments about sometimes being dissatisfied with art pieces is not unusual. I HATE all my pieces from last year--they are stuck in a bottom drawer in the guest room. But last year was also a really hard year for me personally (surgery, medical issues) so perhaps that was also part of it? I'll never know, but this year--my fourth in this group--I'm happier with what I've tried and how things have worked out. This time I used some "non-quilting fabrics" and thought, why don't I try this some more? That's really what we are about--trying new things, failing at some, keeping going, having successes along the way.

    So, bottom line: I love your piece, even with it's technical difficulties. You've got the knack of it, and I, for one, am thrilled you are in our group! Carry on!

  6. I was out of town on our big reveal day and just this week realized I had not seen everyone's work, so apologies for my "lateness to the ball". So, I've read and re-read your post and understand completely. After, what, 16 of these little gems, there have been plenty of times I was totally disappointed with mine and then there's the time I made 2 because it was just fun. What I have learned (for me) is once I've decided on a design, I stop there, let it cogitate for a few weeks and on D-Day, just start it. The "what if's" and "oh, no's" creep in, but I just keep reminding myself the only measure that counts is my own - it's MY journey. Or as a friend re-quoted recently "overthinking will destroy your mood; breathe and let go".

    Yep, your satin stitch lines could be a bit fatter (coloring aside because only you can really see that), but you truly captured the movement and wasn't that your goal? Don't be so hard on yourself and enjoy the journey!


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