Around the World Blog Hop

For the past several months, there has been an Around the World Blog Hop making its way town to town across the waters and back. To participate in the Hop each artist must answer four questions and then pass the Hop on to other artists. I was asked by Lisa Call to participate. Lisa shared her latest work–the start of a new series–called Seeking North. I’m a day late, but I did it. Here are the questions and my answers.

What am I working on?
Because there are no looming deadlines in my life right now, I am working on an assortment of things.

First of all, I have embarked on the Great Alaskan Quilt Out. Up here, we have a college basketball tournament called the Great Alaska Shoot Out. Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellWhen I embark on projects like this, I like to name them something silly to amuse myself. Some of the quilts just need bindings.

The Great Alaskan Quilt Out is really just me finishing up more than a dozen (14 is the goal) traditional quilts that have been in my queue for way too long.

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellThe end result will be Christmas presents for everyone and empty space in the studio for me. Several of the quilts are old quilt tops I purchased on Ebay to practice my quilting skills back in the day when I did quilting for hire.

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellI’m still continuing my quest to make all of my clothes. The going has been slow lately. I’ve set up some psychological obstacles for myself. Mainly, I’m afraid of cutting into fabric, sewing, and creating something that is disappointing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I try to be fearless when it comes to quilt making, but garment sewing is another story all together. This month, I am hoping to make some functional clothes for the cold weather. Here are the patterns I’m working with right now.

And finally, I’ve just begun to explore a new series idea. Actually, the idea for the series has been with me for several years, but the time to explore it has just presented itself. I am hoping to use the traditional quilt block Flowering Snowball as my inspiration.

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellI’ve been doing some sketching

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellAnd some stitching.

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellI am excited to see what will happen next. I wrote post last week about start this series, you can read it here.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would have to say that my desire to work within the classic patchwork tradition while also claiming to be an art quilter is unusual. I’ve had people say to my face and behind my back that these things do not go together. You cannot be both a traditional quilt maker and an artist. I hope my work says that you can–traditional patchwork quilts can be art. My love of color, pattern, and print and my ability to play with these things is also a big part of who I am as a maker and artist.

3. Why do I create what I do?
I want to be a bridge. Many art quilters use quilting techniques to make their art, but their art in no way resembles the patchwork tradition from which it came. Instead of running from that tradition, I want to stitch it, claim it, and put it on the wall for people to see. By continuing to create art using the symbols of traditional patchwork, I hope I can change people’s beliefs about this art form.

4. How does my creative process work?
If the world were perfect and time were of no consequence, I would simply go into my studio and start stitching bits together. This is my favorite thing to do. I would cut, stitch, press, and repeat until some sort of pattern or rhythm begins to emerge in the fabric. Those bits then make their way to the design–they are ideas with merit. I then begin to build new bits that work with those ideas on the wall. Sometimes the new bits work with the bits on the design wall, and sometimes they do not. They may actually be their own quilt, in which case they go on another design wall, and I begin to make bits for that quilt as well. I love to have as many quilts in process as I have design walls. When I run out of design wall, I know it is time to start thinking about closure on a quilt. This is my studio last week. Lots of this and that going on.

Around the World Blog Hop Maria ShellBecause I love my bits, they often travel from one quilt to another. If you look at the lower left corner of Boulevard closely

Boulevard by Maria Shell you will see that I multiplied into a square for Here is Way to Grace’s.

Way to Grace's by Maria ShellAnd then I multiplied out many times to create TRIBE.

TRIBE by Maria ShellIf you look at the upper right corner you of Boulevard, you will see a blue and black pattern which reappears in Force Field.

Force Field by Maria ShellI keep an on going journal of what is on my design walls, what I’m thinking about, ideas for future quilts, sketches, and so on. I also include photos of my family and friends, to do lists, resource information and so on. It’s really the sketchbook of my life.

Whew. I’ve answered the questions to the best of my ability, and now its time to play it forward.

I have tagged two blogging friends whose work I admire and whose friendship I cherish.

I would like to introduce you to Colleen Kole. Colleen and I met during a Nancy Crow Workshop at the Barn. Artist and fellow student Barb Mortell and I were carless (as in without transportation). Colleen willingly (I don’t know why….) drove us on all kinds of late night expeditions to buys wine and irons and snacks. Some of the best laughs ever were had in her car driving around late at night. I am sure you will enjoy Colleen, her art, and her blog.

A couple of years ago, Lois Cleal and I bonded over our love of orange cats. Although I live in Anchorage, Alaska and she lives in Sydney, Australia ,we met through my blog–isn’t that great? Lois is relatively new to quilting and is using her blog to document the experiences. Lois writes thoughtful posts and excellent books reviews.

I hope you visit their blogs now AND next Monday when it is their turn to answer the questions.

This entry was published on December 9, 2014 at 4:10 PM. It’s filed under News And Events, Thoughts and Opinions and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

9 thoughts on “Around the World Blog Hop

  1. You epitomise being a “traditional quilt maker” and artist as far as I can see: Skill, community, warmth, as well as expression and boundary morphing all in colour!

  2. Maria… here we are at your blog donation in this great worldwide Blog Hop and the storyline today is truly all about the real YOU! The Maria we all love to follow – TRADITIONAL ART QUILTER and doing it beautifully all the while make inroads into the ART world..
    Thanks for the sharing and particularly your mantra….and today your two friends that are so interesting and talented. Do your best to complete your 14 quilt challenge for the Great Alaskan Quilt Out and we all cannot wait to see what you do next. (Can;t wait for QN)
    Enjoy Christmas and Happiest of New Years to you and yours.
    SAQA Central Co-Rep

  3. Thanks Maria- I do remember the laughs. The 25$ Black and Decker iron is still working! What a great summary of who you are -right now. Love it. I will try to do it justice.

  4. Pingback: Around the World Blog Hop - Colleen Kole

  5. Hi, Maria. I came over from Lois’s blog post about the blog hop. I’ve enjoyed reading about you and seeing your work. Very lovely. Wishing you a happy Holiday Season. I bet your Christmas is white in Alaska!
    best from Tunisia,

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