There is a long tradition of learning by copying. My journey in creativity has been no different. I started quilting several years ago by making quilts by Kaffe Fasset and Malka Dubrowsky using their patterns and their fabrics to make almost identical replicas of their work. Attracted to the aesthetic of the Modern Art Movement and buoyed by my improved skills I soon started designing quilts using artwork seen on Pinterest as guides in my making.
Why is this germaine you ask? Last year I had two quilts accepted and displayed in the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival. It was the first Quilt show I submitted anything to. I was so naive to the whole process, as a quilt show virgin I think even Jacquie Gering weighed in on IG and helped direct me to a tutorial on making quilt sleeves. Of the two pieces that were accepted and shown, one piece I call “Life in the ER” was a fairly direct copy of a 1958 poster I reinterpreted in fabric. The other piece “5/325” was highly inspired by the work of Cecil Touchon but certainly not a direct copy of any of his work.
Fast Forward to this month when I have another piece hanging in the Modern Quilt Guild showcase in Houston. This piece, “Bloberella” is a work inspired by many but designed soley by me. In it I see the color inspiration of Gwen Marston, improv piecing techniques of Sherri Lynn Wood and needle turn appliqué learned from Carolyn Friedlander. It is unequivocally improved by the quilting art of Krista Withers.
There has been significant unease over the Modern Quilt Guild’s recent blog post and discussion about “Derivative works”. As one who has been pretty derivative in the past I welcome the discussion. Clearly everything we make is to some extent “derivative” and I don’t envy the task force of the MQG who will need to parce out what is “too derivative” for consideration in future quilt shows. For perspective, these copyright topics are not isolated to the MQG and have been evolving in the rest of the world too. I know in day job, I now need to get permission now to use photos by others for lectures. Speaking to my brother who is a photographer if he wants to gain profit from pictures that even display public art he has to get permission from the artist.
To be clear, I have not profited one cent from any of the derivative pieces I have made. In some ways though I have benefitted from standing on the shoulders of the design work of others though also likely have gained the disdain of purists.
This year of making has been one of significant evolution as I have directly steered away from trolling Pinterest and instead have been experimenting, designing, drawing, painting and sewing, sewing, sewing. Designing work from scratch is hard but oh so satisfying.
In all of this I am not suggesting that derivative work will ever go away (indeed there are several directly derivative pieces again on display this year at the International Quilt Festival from what I have seen of pictures). We all should be allowed to grow as quilters and artists and again the normal evolution of that process for most means being derivative. For me however it has become important to move forward and discover my own voice. I am finding that much more satisfying. In my opinion if I want quilting to be considered the art form it is, I owe it that.
Thanks for listening and keep making.
Hi there! Missed you my friends. Clearly I have been hanging out on IG (you can find me there @entropyalwayswins) but life has recently gotten a bit busy for blogging somehow. In any case I wanted to introduce you all to a new quilt I have been working on.
About a year ago, I was in SF and noticed a building with wonderful long thin windows. Though I didn’t take a picture, they were similar to these windows here I saw with Stephanie Ruyle and Christine Perrigo in Austin at Quiltcon 2014.
Fast forward to the last couple months when I pulled out some shot cottons, woven striped fabric and left over bits of yellow fabric and started making some blocks with these windows as inspiration. I made up a new (at least new to me) piecing technique that I call Tethered Y Seams and intentionally changed the grain orientation on the tops and sides so as to add visual interest.
The blocks started to get especially fun when using the striped fabric and different angles, giving a fun 3 dimensional effect.
As I was sharing these on Instagram, someone introduced me to The Chapel of Notre Dame de Haut in Ronchamp by architect Le Corbusier. Proving that there are few truly new ideas, I had been unintentionally channeling the lovely windows from this amazing building. And as I was sewing up the last seam on my quilt top, I started to realize how different this quilt top was for me. SO MUCH PURPLE! I never use purple. Absorbed in my pondering, the amazing quilts of Molly Upton featured at Quiltcon 2016 came to mind. Somehow this quilt top (though clearly much more humble in execution) reminds me of her work in color and style. We are subliminally absorbing so much I believe.
And there it is, a quilt inspired by a local building, a crazy cool church in France and a gifted, now gone Modern Quilter : “Molly’s Windows”. Now I’m hoping Molly will inspire me how to quilt it.
Last Year our county was awarded one of twelve grants by the California Opioid Safety Commission to help educate the public and medical community on the increasing use and danger of both prescription and street narcotics. The Commission got wind of my 5/325 quilt and invited me for an interview. The results of that interview can be found here (you can find the link below my picture): Placer Nevada County Medical Society – Just another WordPress site
The fact that this statement piece is getting recognition in the medical community is pretty satisfying. Even more exciting is the fact that it is getting the word out about the narcotic dependence and addiction issues in the general community. (It was on display in Houston at the International Quilt Festival, will be shown next month at Quiltcon in LA and will be featured in the Quiltcon Magazine). I am scheduled to speak (with my quilt if it is available) in April at our hospital medical staff meeting and there are some other venues pending. Who knew that my crazy idea would get so much play?
2015 has come to a screeching close leaving me breathless and a little bewildered. In effort to spend some concentrated time with my family I always work Dayjob a lot over the holidays. Now with some precious time off and much needed sleep under my belt I feel like I can reflect and make plans.
In some respects on my creative journey, 2015 was fairly momentous. I participated in my first quilting bee (Bee Sewcial). The monthly prompts expanded my maker’s bag of tricks exponentially and forced me out of my creative comfort zone-so good. I have no clue how these talented people picked me to join them but I am forever grateful and look forward to another year of the same.
I both visited and participated in my first Quilt shows. My quilts were featured in a magazine for the first time. With the help of my friend Robin, we won our first sewing contest with Umbrella Prints Trimmings and my quilts were featured for the first time in a gallery. To my amazement some fabric designers/companies sent me fabric without expectation to play and create (I hope to find some time soon to show more the results of those gifts). I was involved in some meaningful collaborative work with talented people. And of course I made a gazillion bags and several quilts.
In other respects however the year was similar to most, making and exploring. In 2016 there is important work to be done. Most notably my “Nude is Not a Dress Color Project” which was set back by collaborative side steps is calling to me.
In looking toward the new year a common theme comes up for me: Care More :: Care Less.
:: Care more about the process and less about the end result.
:: Care more about the message in my makes and less about whether other people understand it.
:: Care more about the art and less about the shows. (As a side note I was fortunate to have 4 quilts chosen to show at Quiltcon 2016 and am part of one Bee Sewcial quilt that will be showing-yay Debbie. Even with this I struggle to see myself as a Quiltshow person. Despite the fact that everyone I have met participating in the process is talented and worthy and that these show are gorgeous displays of art, I can’t shake the “beauty queen” image in my mind. Does that make any sense?)
:: Care more about the whole community and less about the stars. I love this sewing community and hope to give more back in the way of some free blocks/patterns I have planned. It is nice to get attention and adulation from the “superstars” of the industry but we are all worthy and on the same journey. I hope to concentrate more on that. I know I am remiss in responding to comments here (did I mention my Dayjob and momjob?) but I hope to be better.
Thank you for being part of my 2015 and I look forward to traveling the road together in 2016.
P.S. The block featured at top is a new design concept I am exploring. More to come.
Happy New Year
Last month Kristin and Beth of Sew Mama Sew sweetly asked me to share details of a tile block I made up while creating this quilt top as a commission for one of my oldest friend’s. Go see their intro about me here: Introducing Hillary Goodwin from Entropy Always Wins | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005 and my Tile Block tutorial here: Tile Blocks Tutorial | Sew Mama Sew | Outstanding sewing, quilting, and needlework tutorials since 2005. I’m thrilled to get this quilt finished and enlisted the help of long arm quilter Jessie Ziegler (threaded quilting studio) for a quilt collaboration. That negative white space is going to look yummy with her quilting.
In other news, some mini quilts for an art show in Seattle beginning next month are in process. I am honored and excited to be sharing space with many gifted artists. A big bonus is that Seattle is where i went to undergrad and Medical School and many friends and family still are Seattle residents. It will be fun to share my work there. For details of the show (and an introduction to an inspiring maker) see Anna’s post here: It’s Official! I Left My Job to Become a Quiltmaker | Quilting Queerly.
This weekend I finished my quilt tribute to the justice of marriage equality. For the backstory see my previous post here: All Things Being Equal | Entropy Always Wins.
I used my Triangle in a Triangle block to piece striped Goodwill shirts into equilateral triangles that carried more of the same in a secondary pattern. To further reinforce the meaning, I quilted echoing equilateral triangles that extend into the denim border. The combination of these three sets of equilateral triangles (pieced, secondary pattern and quilting) all at different angles soothes that over the top urge to put meaning in my making.
Carolyn Friedlander’s Ledger fabric for the back helps keep score and the iconic equal sign was the cherry on top of my creation.
To add some humanity and a little imperfection (I don’t like things too perfect honestly) I pieced the binding in alternating red and blue striped shirt fabric from the Goodwill.
Blessings to all marriages and families who will enjoy the benefits of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling. Now off to make something in a color other then blue.
The summer sun shone round me
The folded valley lay
In a stream of sun and odor
The sultry summer day.
The tall trees stood in the sunlight
As still as still could be
But the deep grass sighed and rustled
And bowed and beckoned me.
The deep grass moved and whispered
And bowed and brushed my face.
It whispered in the sunshine:
“The winter comes apace.”
The Summer Sun Shone Round Me by Robert Louis Stevenson
Summer is flying by in a fit of travel, work and creativity. We were lucky as a family to travel to Iceland and Banff/Yoho National Park over the last couple of months. Interspersed with travel I have been working at my day job harder then ever in my career (the ACA has resulted in more people being insured which is a good thing but with a real shortage of primary care doctors our ERs, indeed those across the country, have been overwhelmed). I digress. In any case, despite all this busyness I have found time to create though no time to blog or follow blogs. I look forward to catching up with many of you Included in the pictures above are some blocks I made for our July Bee Sewcial assignment by Karen (CapitolaQuilter: Bee Sewcial July – REFLECTION) . They are intended to show REFLECTION and I think are inspired by my travels. I am excited as well to share that two of my quilts have been accepted to the Modern Exhibit at the International Quilt Show in Houston and Quiltcon 2016. This is my first foray into the Quilt Show world and I am both nervous and excited.
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated 1000 followers on Instagram by giving away a custom made bag of their liking to a follower and a friend they tagged. I picked by random two delightful and talented sewists Valerie (Between Quilts) and Nicole (Mama Love Quilts). Go check them out they are lovely!
In any case, I wanted to make something extra special for them that reflected their friendship with some connection using designs of my own. By lucky coincidence, a pack of beautiful Marimekko fabric I bought on sale and some new leather I picked up were available and sent me easily into creative mode.
Nicole had highlighted a previous bag I made out of recycled orange and white leather so I ran with that idea, this time using new white and blue leather with a bit of the Marimekko Pink Unikko print. I hadn’t written down the dimensions of my previous bag so I winged it (wung it?) as I tend to do. The leather this go around, probably because it was new, was a little stiffer then my previous attempt but I am pretty pleased with the results.
For the second design, I chose the same Unikko print but this time on the outside of the bag along with some dark blue suede in what I call my Mini Museum pattern.
I made inset zippers for both bags and had fun fancying both up with metal feet and pull tabs for the zippers.
I think these gals who I now consider friends genuinely liked their bags and honestly I LOVED making them. This whole virtual world can feel like a weird online dating game sometimes and I hate that some people know me more by what I make and my tagline rather then by face and up close interaction but I guess this is the new world and no question I have made some amazing friends here. If you are interested in seeing even MORE of my pictures and are not already tired of me, you can find me on Instagram here: Hillary (@entropyalwayswinsblog) • Instagram photos and videos
My May Bee Sewcial Block came together last week as well. When Marci gave us our assignment (Bee Sewcial | Flickr – Photo Sharing!) for the month to work on a village block, I kept thinking of San Francisco from Marin County looking across the Bay. That image informed my weird shaped block. It is fairly literal though totally improv. I hope it works for her quilt.
I love the Goodwill. How fun is it to find treasures among cast off and used clothing? These items for the most part are lovingly dropped off with the hopes that they can be used and they represent to me the beautiful mixture of our society. Young people, old people, people of every color under the sun, big and small people, gay and straight, rich and poor-their cast offs all show up and are equally treasured.
I purposely try to limit my exposure to “the news” and it’s 24 hour stream directed my way but the Indiana’s recent anti-gay law and the current case being argued at the Supreme Court have riled me. How can we deny many of my friends and their families the same rights guaranteed other couples and families just because of their sexual orientation?
So of course, I made a quilt as that is how my emotions are often best expressed. My Triangle in a Triangle block uses the stripes strategically to make two equilateral triangles (TWO EQUALS) and how better to show them off using all varieties of striped shirts from the Goodwill (where people of all sorts are represented)? All different and yet all the same. They remind me somewhat of Kaffe Fassett’s shirt quilts. I purposefully surrounded the crazy pieces in a solid denim border to ground them a bit and hope to show off some special quilting I have planned.
Love is Love. Let’s hope the Supreme Court agrees.
Boy oh Boy, April has been a productive month thus far! Not only did I tackle and succeed (after some missteps) in making some challenging curved blocks for Diane (random thoughts…do or “di”: Me Bee-ing Sewcial) in our Bee Sewcial group, I made something with my new serger for the first time and as we speak I am in the process of dying some fabrics (a first for me and next time I need to remember to keep the gloves on the whole time. Call me Ms. Blue Hands.), I started the month off finishing some gifts for a dear quilting friend and her gorgeous daughters. I made a dress up using some linen, vintage lace and even used my serger to make finished edges. I knit together a sweater from FrogTree Bamboo/Wool yarn in the Wallaby 10 ply pattern (Ravelry: Wallaby 10ply pattern by Georgie Hallam) and made up a sweatshirt using a washcloth and fabric scraps in a combined machine and hand appliquéd technique. The book, Sew Adorable (Sew Adorable: Classic Clothes for Boys and Girls: Vanessa Mooncie: 9781861089311: Amazon.com: Books) from which the dress pattern came was the gift for Mama. When I see people, I often see them in terms of colors and my friend is all about blues so I channeled the turquoise variety in her gifts. They were very fun projects. I am gratefully in the middle of some collaborations with artist friends. One of my friends gave me a vinyl copy of one of her mixed media paintings to play with. I combined pieces from it with some donated repurposed leather and made them into a folded clutch of my design with another topstitched Lonestar. In the repurposing arena I also transformed a painted canvas left over from a Musical Chairs Painting Party into a simple clutch. You guys, this was soooo easy and easily done on a traditional machine. I think a tutorial may be coming up for a few of these techniques in the future. And of course, I had to work on my Bee Sewcial blocks for the month. I was actually feeling a little cocky about the mission we were given. Diane asked us to incorporate curves into our blocks with a fun color palate that asked for a sliver of black. I have done so much curved piecing over the last year, I thought this would be an easy month but man it took me several attempts to get the blocks I wanted. In the end, I think they will go well with the other pieces made by my stellar bedmates. (I came back to edit when I almost choked on my coffee reading my typo but had to keep the original for giggles. I meant BEEMATES not BEDMATES. Yikes. Haha) Cheers, Hillary