Sheryl Eggleston

A Journey of Words and Stitches

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winds of Change

I'm sure you've seen the t-shirts and other kitch that one can bring back from a trip that say "I went to San Francisco and this is all I brought back". Well, this is all I brought back (we won't mention the 3 dyed silk scarves from a conference vendor!).

This little twig was on the ground on our way to the car on the last day and it just said 'pick me up'. And I'm so glad I brought it back with me. It will help me reflect and meditate on all that I learned and absorbed over the 3 days of information pertaining to the art quilt and how the art world perceives them.

I'm not quite sure, yet, how it will all affect me and my art, but I believe I'm in for a profound change.

The twig's branch is smooth and mellow, the wood is bent a bit and it looks to be perpetually blowing in the wind. It has already weathered quite a bit and its greenery is struggling to have its spot in the sun.

Isn't that what we are all trying for?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Painting the Sky

For years I have been amassing a collection of books pertaining to fabric dying and painting. Just a few weeks ago, I finally jumped right in, bought some egyptian cotton and started painting. What all the books failed to mention was just how much FUN it is to paint on fabric and I've only just begun!

I've always wondered why so many fabrics in art quilts are hand-dyed. Now I think I know; it is just so cool to see how a piece of fabric wiil react. A few weeks ago I painted my first background for a large wall piece and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. What is even cooler is that I use muslin or other fabrics underneath the main piece since I get the fabric really wet. The residual soaks in and I get secondary pieces. Over time they will become amazing pieces of saturated color that will spark all manner of ideas.

These pieces were what happened yesterday. I needed sky for a new piece and after auditioning a dozen or more commercial fabrics, decided to just paint it. I think it will work, but I have to wait until next week to see. The top smaller rectangle of aqua/blues were the 'leftovers' and the blue paint water. I see a pond with maybe some water lilies, fishies and froggies.

This section was created from leftovers after painting the large background. I have plenty of ideas for this. Environmentally, it could speak to the fact that things are going to get alot hotter. It also makes a stunning reflection of the sun on the water.

This was my first trial at painting. I then cut it into strips and I'll sew it together with the black strips then add something over the top. This will actually end up being 2 pieces approximately 12 inches each.

Next week I'll list some of my favorite books and paints. Since I'm just beginning, I'm keeping supplies and techniques very simple.

I'm gathering food for the troops and clothes for me today. Tomorrow it is San Francisco and the SAQA Reinvention Conference!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wading throught the Mist

This is part of piece entitled "Flowers in the Mist". Even though it will be a beautiful day worthy of Spring, I feel like I am walking through a mist. I blame it on the time change. I feel like my clock and day are not in sync. I slept in accidentaly and that always throws me off.

So now, because I've lost a couple hours, I'm feeling confused and undecisive about my work today, like I really shouldn't spend the time to be creative. This happens to coincide with what I just read in "The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women": "Many women fear appearing or actually being selfish if they commit to their creative work" p. 77 lists many of the excuses we use to keep from exploring our true, creative selves. See 'A Portable Mentor' March 8th for more on this book.

In honor of daylight savings, I analysed and made a new weekly schedule yesterday and before I even got to doing what I feel compelled to do and create, I was into 50 hours! Then add in 10 hours a day to eat and sleep and the week is almost over.
Now I did include my blog, Irish Dance and exercise, family, friends and church, the garden work (only 10 hours) the dogs (two labs and one a puppy that needs training) reading and research (only 10 hours) Laundry, cleaning, and eating really only got 12hours, so I can't cut that down, dang it!

It was amazing to see where my time goes and how quickly. Some people have too much time on their hands and others never seem to have enough. Like land, they just arent' making more of it.

I love a challenge so I will continue to ponder this time/scheduling conondrum. I have to accept that some days will just be confusing and I'll do what I can. That is when I need to sit and just stitch with no real purpose.

To that end I will put in my mind a new challenge from SAQA called "Beyond Comfort". If you've never heard of SAQA, click on the button on the side bar. It is a fabulous professional art quilt organization with amazing resources available to members.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Few Good Books

It would seem that dancing feet and a book list have very little in common, but beginning tomorrow, March 13th and running through March 18th, if you buy anything in a Barnes and Noble store or cafe, or online and give them the code #10141984, you can support our Irish dance school - An Daire Academy of Irish Dance - Boise.

I've only just begun to learn Irish dance and I have to tell you, it looks easier than it is! It is a thrilling style of dance and I love the history that goes along with it. It is also something I get to share with my daughter and grandchildren. I'm a bit slower to learn it and I'll never perform, but that is okay. Learning a new jig or reel makes my brain explode with new pathways.

So I'm posting a smal list of some of my favorite self-help/find your creativity books, beginning with "The Creative Entrepreneur" by Lisa Sonora Beam. This is a treasure trove of questions and exercises for anyone who wants to be more creative.
The books on my side bar are also some of my favorite memoirs and always a good read. If I'm not sewing, I'm reading or dancing or cooking and seasonally I'm gardening.

"A Weekend to Change Your Life" by Joan Anderson
"Digging Deep" by Fran Sorin
"What's Next" by Rena Pederson
"A Trip to the Beach" by Melinda and Robert Blanchard
"Life is a Verb" by Patti Digh
"The Artist's Way" "The Vein of Gold" "Finding Water" by Julia Cameron
"The New Creative Arist" by Nita Leland
"The Power of Intention" by Dr. Wayne Dyer
"What's Really Holding You Back?" by Valorie Burton
"Loving What Is" by Byron Katie
"Ask and It Shall Be Given" by Esther and Jerry Hicks
"Winning Every Day" by Lou Holtz
"Thank You Power" by Deborah Norville
"On Becoming an Artist" by Ellen J. Langer
"How to Think like Leanardo da Vinci" by Micheal J. Gelb

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last night I collected bits and pieces with the intent to make a random pieced and embroidered banner for this blog. This is what came out of those meanderings. It isn't done and may not make it into the banner, but I really like it.

Looking around my house, I easily count 10 pictures with houses in them. It is a theme I've only recently become consciously aware of. When I think about all the cross stitch and quilting patterns I have, most include houses. A UK acquaintence told me several years ago that I was a 'home bird'. I wasn't ready to accept that judgement then, but now I am, because it is true and always has been.

I was at the point where to try new challenges, I thought I needed a studio away from my home. In some ways, it was very helpful as it gave me the courage to become the type of artist I want to be. It has been a long process and I've made some great strides on who I want to be and what I want to create in this next part of my life.

I don't think I would have done it if I had initially tried this at home. Home was a nurturing center for my family but not necessarily for me. The circle of life continues on as children grow up and find their own center. My home can now become a creative, nurturing center for me that I can share with my family.

Now, with new courage and confidence, I'm ready to move my studio home. I know I have the focus and determination and some of the skills. Luckily, my lease is over about the time I plan to move everything!

"My angels prompt me to remember that courage is always more rewarding than cowardice" Janet Hagberg, from "The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin

I am a self-help/creative studies book junkie, so tomorrow I'll have a list of them you may enjoy and want to order. I'll also have the Barnes and Noble Book Fair number that can be used from March 13-18th in store or online. Our Irish Dance school "An Daire" gets part of all sales, even in the cafe!, if you mention the school and give them the number.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Walk On

This in one of my favorite small art quilts. It is rich and vibrant, filled with a bit of mystery. Now that could apply to alot of things! But today it applies to having the courage to walk on.

I am just loving the book "The 12 Secrets of Creative Women". One sentence I underlined yesterday,
"It takes courage to admit we are on the wrong train and risk disapproval or possibly look foolish". That has been my journey of the last 2 1/2 years as I've tried to find the right creative balance. And I feel like I am almost there.

I have literally kept walking through that door everyday, trying new opportunities. I especially liked the quote by Mary Pickford:
"When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power."

Another one by Oprah in the same vein:
"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness."

Failure is only failure if we let it rule us, if we don't move forward. I love moving forward, trying new things. We only have one life and there are so many incredible opportunities just waiting for us to explore. Even small steps make up the miles. Again today, I will drive by the bakeries and eat my apples and celery instead. Again today, I will go to the studio and create not knowing if my project will be accepted when it is done. Today I will be happy in just the joy of creating.
Just showing up at the open door is a step in the right direction.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Portable Mentor

It's no secret around here - I love books! And I have alot of them. They talk to me of places near and far, their words paint pictures in my head inspiring me to find a way to turn those words into art.

This particular one I already had and was prompted to pull it off the shelf last Saturday. I randomly opened a page and it spoke to me. I'm already 1/3 of the way through with lots of underlining and notations.

The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin

p. 84 "I've had to learn to walk by the weeds, blank out the peeling paint, . . ."
p. 98 "Women have long had the self-destructive habit of discounting themselves and their natural abilities."

I'll be getting more into this gem in the coming days. But I'm off to the Doctor for an exam and I haven't had any coffee yet so I don't want to be late!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fresh Air

It's bonus days here in Southwest Idaho. We are being blessed with a window of fine Spring weather so instead of sewing I've been out cleaning up parts of the garden, and getting lots of fresh air. I'd rather be sewing, but I know how fast our weather can change and it may rain the whole month of April. So I'm taking advantage of sunny skies.

It is always amazing to me how all this brownness can quickly become green, lush and full of life. Right now the rasberries have to be cleaned out so they can get on with their first crop due in June. The old grape canes were cut earlier and they just have to be pulled out. Two raised beds are ready for early veggies. Rhubarb is popping up. Next will be to uncover the strawberries-but not today.

It is amazing to me, that as creative women and men, we can take bits and pieces and make something beautiful. I've had the privilege to sit in the Sistene Chapel and be stunned to silence. I could have laid on the floor in a total swoon while in the Art Institute of Chicago while seeing the originals of many favorite artists. A beautiful piece of music seemingly wrought from thin air can bring make my soul leap for sheer joy of the creation.

Because I'm easily swayed by a pretty picture and the potential of a packet of seeds, I'm going to do some early spring planting. I can just as easily be lost in the creation of my garden as when I take stuff I have laying around and make something beautiful.

These pieces I hope will find their way a new banner sometime this week. And on that happy note, I'm off.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Seeds of Goodness

"Scatter seeds of goodness to blossom in another's way"

Occasionally, when time allows, I like to make something from a pile of scraps. This little piece will eventually become part of something bigger, but it brings me joy looking at it just the way it is, so maybe it will get a small binding and be done.
I could spend all my days 'making something from nothing' and there is a lot of satisfaction in that.

The happiest people seem to be those that are helping others. Not long ago I was at an intersection and a car had broken down in a turn lane and was beginning to snarl things up a bit. 4 men had jumped out of different cars and were helping to push the vehicle out of the way, while the woman whose car it was, steered. The men were all laughing and smiling while they pushed. They were happy to be doing something helpful.

Often we forget the joy of these moments and ignore the inner promptings we get. Recently, I followed a prompting and helped make quilts for three little girls that were soon to be adopted. I was blessed with making many new friends and gained the joy of that moment. A couple women brought their scraps and before the afternoon was over we had made 3 twin size quilt tops. It was amazing.

When we all come together with our bits and pieces, magical things can happen: Stones become soup, scraps become blankets, seeds become food for many. Simple kindness' are a ripple on the water and will flow on long after we move on.

This small piece was cut and hand stitched without much of a plan. I like it when fabric and threads conspire on their own to create a story. Life is easiest when we let it unfold at its own pace and time.

Scatter some seeds of your own today and check out Rebecca Sower's site and her Hearts for Haiti project. She is also one of this week's guest curators at Crescendoh.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Worth the wait

There is a time for everything and a seaon for everything under heaven-Ecclesiastes

Very soon now the chives and the fresh eggs from my chickens will meet up in a delicious omelet getting about as fresh as one can get. I can wait because . . .

I know just how delicious they will taste. There is a dilemma I face at this time of year and it involves choosing to wait for my own fresh strawberries that are a solid two months away from the first sunwarmed bite. Or do I again succumb to the visual displays of fresh, red berries and pretty green asparagus that the stores taunt us with, knowing that the flavor just won't compare? It is almost too easy to justify since they are sitting there anyway and someone has to buy them. Right? But . . .

There is a lot to be said for waiting for anything, including seasonal food. We have lost the anticipation of waiting for the taste of that first berry, stalk of asparagus, and juicy peach. I can't tell you the delight in being the one who gets the first, fresh from the garden, strawberry in May. We become quite devious and selfish when the plants are ready to bear their first delights. We take sneaky trips out to see if the fruit we have spied has ripened so we can be the first to eat it. And in the last golden days of fall, it is every man for himself. I have no qualms about gobbling the last of the golden rasberries with no thought of sharing.

So in answer to my own question-this year I will anticipate and wait. Once upon a time this was the norm. It comes down to the fact that just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

There is a plethora of sites and information out there about local eating, gardening, local foods, etc. Container gardening means you can grow something just about anywhere. Local farmers markets abound everywhere and quite often they are speedier at local produce than me, so I will buy from them as well.
Today I'm finally ordering my garden seeds. One of the companies I will order from is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - They are family-run, non GMO, non-hybrid and their catalog is a visual feast.
For reading about adventures in local eating try:
"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
"Plenty:Eating Locally on the 100 Mile Diet" Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Waiting for Spring Part Two

We had a lovely rain last night and now it looks like it will be a beautiful morning. Just what all the growing things need. I may have to go out and tromp in the mud for just a bit and dig holes for the two new peach trees I bought yesterday.

It is driving me crazy staying focused on the one large project I'm working on, since there is a deadline attached to it. I hate it when I do that to myself. I have to remember that I will really like it when it is done! That is usually the path taken; always a love/hate thing with creative endeavors for me. I just want it to be done, but all the other important stuff (like birthday parties, Dr. appts, you know what I mean) needs to be done too, and enjoyed.

This picture detail is from the quilt I made 4 years ago called "Waiting for Spring". I was coming out of a bad period in my life and it was one of the first pieces I made. The flowers were hand appliqued over the pieced background. That is one of my favorite activities - hand applique. I especially like to add pieces over backgrounds and then embellish on top of that. I did a powerpoint presentation for a local quilt guild last year and spent quite a bit of time pondering the why of it. I like structure and from there I can add richness and depth as time allows.

This quilt symbolizes my walking out my door and going through new ones where I didn't know what was there. It was selected for an American Quilter show in Nashville that year. Of course I went and was able to visit with family, as well as enjoy the Opryland Resort. Fabulous!
Lots of things have happened since then, lots of doors have opened and I've closed some as well. One of the things I learned at Brave Girls Camp was I could close some rooms for restoration and have boundaries.

With Spring in the air, I hold out hope that many more doors will open when I'm ready.
Spend some time today opening doors. You just never know what will happen. At the very least, you'll get some fresh air.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Waiting for Spring Part One

I love this journal cover because it contains some of my favorite things: beads, buttons, vintage trims, silk ribbons, stamping on fabric, carved rubber stamps. The fabrics are a nice, mellow blend of soft turqouise, creams and browns.
This bird will soon be busy building a nest and the branches will fill up with tender new leaves and bountiful blossoms.

I can relate to her barely contained impatience to be off on the wing getting ready for spring. A quick perusal of my property yesterday yielded a glimpse of tender shoots of chives, the buds of rhubarb leaves ready to unfurl if this early spring weather continues (my apologies to all of you still under several feet of snow!)and the irises are popping leaves up everywhere. Unfortunately a reminder that I didn't seperate some major clumps last fall. But irises are forgiving and will bloom anyway. In Southwest Idaho we just may be blessed with an early spring.

Carving rubber stamps is quick and easy fix not to mention very meditative. Unless you want to nick your fingers, you have to pay attention for the few minutes it can take to carve. The soft carving material that is available is a dream to use and nowhere near as dangerous as linoleum block carving. It is great for small pieces. It will help pass the time until spring is really here.

Directions for this carved bird and journal cover can be found in "Ink, Stamp and Stitch" available on the web site.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Believe in Miracles

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles" - Willa Cather

Jenny Doh has launched her site! WWW.CRESCENDOH.COM

I have been very blessed to spend time with talented, FOCUSED women who have made their dreams reality. Jenny Doh has taken our passion for creating and sharing to a new level with the launch of "inspiring creative passion, authentic community, & focused compassion".

Art truly does Save, as one can read from the personal stories of the weekly guest curators. We all have our stories to share as well as our passion. Find someone to inspire and make a difference today.

You just might be their miracle.