The problem with a cliff hanger is that if you don’t DELIVER, as in bring it on home, the final result can be–wahwah–disappointing. I’ve been thinking about that ever since I posted Evolution of a Circle.

So, we should all keep in mind that this was an assignment–an opportunity for me to learn. I am going to stop the on ramping and just put it out there.

This is the quilt I began in Nancy Crow’s workshop Lines/Curves/Circles & Figure/Ground: Part I.

FLOAT by Maria ShellI started with circles and curves.

FLOAT by Maria ShellAnd then I arranged them.

FLOAT by Maria ShellAnd I arranged them again.

FLOAT by Maria ShellYou get the idea. It’s called the Quilter’s Workout–that’s when you climb up and down your step ladder all day long moving things around on your design wall. Last spring, when I was building the community quilt HOME, I walked three miles WITHOUT leaving my studio.

FLOAT by Maria ShellI like building my circles by stitching around the center in segments. This is similar to building a log cabin block. This approach to the circle makes for slightly off-kilter–not totally round–shapes. I like them.

FLOAT by Maria ShellI pieced a lot curves that did not make it into the final composition. They will go into the bit bin where they will patiently wait, maybe years, until they find their way into a another composition.

FLOAT by Maria ShellFor example, bits from Spinda waited a long time to make their way into the sky space of the McCarthy Solstice community quilt. Here is Spinda.

Spend by Maria ShellAnd here are the left over bits.

McCarthy SolsticeI love it when bits from one quilt make an appearance in another quilt. It’s part of the story of my work and of the quilts themselves.

McCarthy Solstice by Maria ShellI worked on this quilt in three different locations–at the Crow Barn,

FLOAT by Maria ShellAt my little solar studio in McCarthy, Alaska,

Maria Shell Sewing Studio- McCarthy Styleand finally back here in Anchorage.

FLOAT by Maria ShellConstruction was complicated. The palette was difficult and not my own.

FLOAT by Maria ShellNo one in my family knows what to make of it, but they are in consensus on one thing–this section of the quilt

FLOAT by Maria ShellLooks like a Stewie eye ball.

I don’t know what they are talking about.

FLOAT by Maria ShellI think the piece has some redeeming qualities.

FLOAT by Maria ShellStill, when you first finish work that is really new to you, sometimes you just can’t get a clear read–is it good? Is it a start to something? What is it?

FLOAT by Maria ShellWell, it is large–76 inches by 54 inches–that is true.

FLOAT by Maria Shell I have been calling it FLOAT.

FLOAT by Maria ShellAnd there you have it.

Just about an hour after this post went live, my dear friend Barb Mortell emailed me suggesting that if I got rid of that little blue worm on the right edge it would dramatically improve the piece. So I lobbed it off in my photo editor. (I also took a smidgen off the left side too.)

FLOAT by Maria ShellBy Golly, I do believe she is right. The proportions are so much better now. I am eternally grateful to friends with good critical eyes! AMAZING.

This entry was published on August 18, 2015 at 3:00 PM. It’s filed under Quilt Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

27 thoughts on “FLOAT

  1. Brilliant and inspiring. Thanks for such a fun post

  2. barbmort on said:

    Whose palette, if not yours? i like it.

    • Barb, the assignment required particular colors in center areas. I’m sure I didn’t do it EXACTLY right, but I tried. I am not a huge user of pastels, but similar to the concept of flat and glowing, they can do real work when trying to create complex figure and ground compositions. I’m not totally there, but I am going to keep working at it.

  3. I’m really glad you showed this: It was a new technique, not your palette and you’re not sure what to make of it. The lesson for me is that it’s O.K to fool around and try new stuff and not to worry if the final product isn’t necessarily “good.” But I like it!

    • Nancy, I think we have to push outselves out of our comfort zones and Nancy Crow does an excellent job of making that happen in her classes. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  4. vivienzf on said:

    I agree; the tail without the dog didn’t look right. Great decision to crop the piece; it looks tighter now, while still being float-y. I like the palette, too; it goes well with the title (or is it the other way around?).

  5. barbmort on said:

    Yay! I think this piece is really fun, and I love that it has such spontaneity. Often circles are too perfect, but yours are juuust right!

  6. Fresh and exciting! I like the oddball colors. I hope you continue to play with circles like this.

  7. I like the cropped version better, too, and the way the circles go “off the page” on the right. My favorite portion contains the three circles which touch in the top middle section. Thanks for sharing a bit of your process and your reflections on your work. Sometimes I learn the most when I struggle with a concept and stretch those personal boundaries and preconceived ideas.

  8. Fabulous. Pushing in a new direction is a great way to exercise the artist muscle.

  9. madmslottie on said:

    I was discussing voice, intent, and bodies of work today with my SAQA mentor. I like that your blog post fits right in with some of the stuff we were talking about. I still see your voice in this piece, even if it’s a bit new and evolved.

  10. Kudos for you in doing something with this very difficult assignment! I didn’t complete it, and I didn’t work on it post workshop. When we had this Ellsworth Kelly assignment, none of the darker / brightly colored shapes could touch. It was really hard to make those shapes relate to each other in any way. And at that time I didn’t have a clue about flat and glowing colors, so that part of the assignment didn’t appear in my piece either. Glad you were able to salvage something workable from this exercise.

    • Thank you Connie! I know that I didn’t follow the assignment exactly. In fact, my first version had everything touching. Which of course, had to be taken down. You are so GOOD at this type of composition I’m surprised to hear you didn’t finish it. That gives me HOPE.

  11. Pam Rocco on said:

    I like how one circle (the red-orange and bright turquoise one) in the upper left-hand corner looks like it’s floating on a transparent veil that covers up part of the circle next to it. It’s intriguing to look at how those two circles interact. I’m sure everyone will find something different to look at and enjoy. Good save, Maria. You did a great job finishing it up. I’m glad, too, that you’re willing to share something that you’re not sure about. We can all learn from each other, even if we’re not perfect.

  12. I love this, Maria! And I agree with cropping the right side, much better. There must be something in the air right now because you are the third person I’ve seen switching things up by venturing into circles. I myself have an idea for one, a little relief from all my horizontal lines!

  13. kathleenprobst on said:

    Great post. It is always interesting to see what is going on in your studio and to hear what is floating around your mind. These shapes are thought provoking. This challenging process is cool to watch as it unfolds. Cropping was the ticket in the end. I’m inspired. 🙂

  14. pmgarrett2 on said:

    stuffed olives and swizzled sticked martinis… fun

    Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:00:09 +0000 To: pmgarrett@hotmail.com

  15. I just got back from vacation to Yellowstone, and now I’m catching up. Sorry for all the late comments.

    Those colors are not my color scheme either, but I can see how pushing out of the comfort zone would make things interesting. I’m not sure I like it, but I admire you for diving into something different like that.

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