Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Picking a New Palette

Although I haven't quite finished the two quilts I'm working on at the moment, I'm in the process of organizing my fabrics for my next quilt.  Having it sitting and waiting for me to start gives me the momentum to finish up the projects I'm working on.  That pile of fabric is my carrot on a stick!
I'm not going to share the design with you, but I thought you might like to see the inspiration photo and the fabrics selected from that.  These fabrics are all batiks from my stash.  I need to add a couple more medium dark yellow-greens but otherwise I'm happy with the assortment.
When choosing fabrics for a quilt I like to think of the various fabrics as brush strokes in a painting.  In order to create depth in a quilt, it is necessary to have a minimum of 7 different values.  These values don't necessarily have to be in every colour you've chosen but as long as you have that minimum covered in the entire palette you can give your quilt foreground, middle ground and background......depth.
The photo is a painting entitled "Lumiere a la Riviere St-Maurice" by one of my favourite artists, Normand Boisvert.  Normand Boisvert is a French Canadian painter living in Quebec who is known for his landscape paintings.  The colours aren't showing well in the photo of this painting but the palette photo is better for colour.  The trees in the painting are all done in shades of teal.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Free Enterprise System RANT

Definition: A free enterprise system is when individuals and businesses are free to make their own economic choices; this system can be also called a market economy.

If you can offer a product or service of excellent quality at a lower price, the competitors are free to lower their prices or increase the quality of their product or service.  No where is it stated in the free enterprise system that anyone cannot change their prices or service. (With the exceptions limited by law with regard to monopolies etc.)

Over and over again I hear shop owners complaining that they can't compete with online businesses that have no "bricks and mortar".  Physical shops need to pay hydro, insurance, staff etc. etc.  On the up side is that these shops sell more product because it is visible and accessible.  Quilt shops also have the advantage of having workshops, block of the month sessions, demos etc. etc.  They become a destination.  Online shops are only available when a customer chooses to visit their website.  Also, online customers often are paying shipping on top of their order costs and have to wait a week or more for delivery.  Some so-called bricks and mortar shops are built into some shop owner's homes in the basement or converted garage so overhead is reduced.

Can't compete?  Business not doing well?  CHANGE IT!! Customers have evolved over the last decade to a price savvy, internet researching, informed group of people.

I recently had the experience where a shop owner wrote to one of my suppliers because I was providing a limited number of batts at a reduced price at my batting lectures.  The supplier was refusing to sell to me unless I promised to sell batting at the same price as the shop owner who complained.  When I brought out the "free enterprise system" argument, the supplier knew that what he was doing was wrong but felt he couldn't jeopardize his relationship with this shop.  I might sell 70 quilt batts a year and not all of those locally.  I don't sell online, I just bring the batting to the batting lectures so that when I get people excited about trying a new batt they don't have to search all over to find it.  My feeling is that if the person trying the new batt likes it, they will go to their local shop and buy more.  It  was never my intention to take food out of the mouths of local shop owners but to promote the batting that they MAY carry in their shops, SHOULD THEY DECIDE TO DO SO.


Cleaning up and Clearing out

There isn't much going on this week so I've been working on a few projects and trying to clear out a few things.  Paperwork is nearly caught up.  Just a few more contracts and descriptions to write.
I have a few teaching dates still available in November 2012 but otherwise I'm booking for 2013.

Here are two piles of hand dyed fabrics that I'm hoping to get rid of.  If you pay the postage or pick them up over the weekend, they're yours!
Just leave me a comment and I'll draw names if we get more than two people wanting the piles.
Back to work!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Back from Elora

As the title says, I'm back from teaching my 5 day workshop entitled "Designing Art Quilts the Easier Way".  This was my fourth year back teaching for the Wellington County Museum's Summer Art Workshops.
My wonderful students!

We started Monday morning at 9 talking about the design elements and principles.  It was important for everyone to understand all of the ingredients necessary to make a vibrant, visually interesting quilt before we began the process of designing.
One of the things I asked the students to do is to find an example of Balance and Composition in the pictures in the magazines they brought with them.  Each of the students had to find photos in the magazines that represented:
Symmetrical - Asymmetrical - Nearly Symmetrical - Radial - Vertical - Horizontal - Circular - Diagonal - Triangle - Grid - Framed
The next time you're cracking open that new issue of Martha Stewart Living you might like to try this.  It was a valuable exercise to see past the subject matter on the page and focus on the design itself.
Next we did colour studies with their inspiration photos.  Lots of fabric was being pulled out and much of it shared among the students.  What a great bonding exercise!  Sorry the photos are on theirs sides but you get the idea, I'm sure.

Next we went on to designing the background space for the pieced backgrounds then the foreground with the compositions we had selected.  I'm sure you'll agree that all of the students are well on their way to making some fabulous, original art quilts.  I was sooooooooo proud of all of the students for their enthusiasm and willingness to just try new things.  What a great week!

My photos of the other quilts didn't turn out but you can see how well everyone did by these examples.  
Hubby came with me this year and took the Digital Photography workshop while I was teaching.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canada Day!

Hubby and I attended the first ever Bacon Festival for Canada Day at the Arva Flour Mill.
It was a perfect summer day enjoyed by many adults, children and dogs.

Arva Flour Mill

Arva Flour Mills, in Arva, Ontario, on the banks of the Medway Creek, is Canada's oldest continuously operating water powered flour mill and perhaps the oldest in North America.
A visit to the mill, first established in 1819, will reveal grinders, belt- driven from beneath the floor, with wooden shutes extending up between the rafters. Built with barter and a little cash on what was then Martins Creek, Canada did not exist and Arva, then called St John at the time, was just a small gathering of settlers in the British colony of Upper Canada.

The festival was held to help generate restoration money to make some very necessary repairs to the mill.

We enjoyed bacon on a bun, music and watching the children and dogs enjoy the sunshine and park like setting of the mill.  The public was allowed to go through the mill so I was able to take some pictures of the works inside.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate Canada Day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baby Quilts

While I was at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph last week trying to buy freezer paper, some fabric jumped into my hands and followed me home.  Really!  I'm sure you all are familiar with this phenomenon.
These are the two quilts that I made with the fabrics purchased  that followed me home.
The patterns are from Bits n Pieces.  Both patterns use 8 fat quarters for the top and a half yard for binding.  The patterns make up very quickly because the fat quarters can be stacked and cut out all at once.  Both quilts are machine quilted with flannel backs.
Hopscotch Pattern

Crazy 8's pattern

July 1st is a holiday here in Canada.  There will be fireworks and special activities and events all over to enjoy.