Monday, May 26, 2014

3 years and counting

 this last week was my third wedding anniversary. which sounds weird to say out loud. i kind of feel like D and i hve been married forever, but we haven't. for our anniversary, i bought myself a pretty new wedding band to wear, with his and the kid's first initials on the inside.  it sounds weird that i bought myself a gift (it probably is) but it was actually kind of just a coincidence.  i wanted a band i could wear without my engagement ring, that was a bit thicker than my wedding band.  i just happened to get it a week before our anniversary.
we went to my niece's last weekend and spent time with her and her boyfriend and the baby. it was so nice. we had a barbeque and drank beers and spent some quality time together.  being with them reminds me of how fun bellingham can be! they live close to a sweet little park, and an awesome place to buy beer.  there is something so satisfying about walking around town!  we had a really nice time.  i've been looking forward to summer all spring, but this really made it feel like it was just around the corner.

i'm participating in a round robin quilt with the ladies at work.  the short explanation of a round robin is this; you make a center square, and then pass it on to the next quilter.  they adds a border, and then passes it on. more borders are added, until at the end, everyone has made part of every quilt.  this is my center square! not too wonky or weird, but definitely colorful. i didn't put any restrictions or guidelines on my sheet.  i said i like color and shapes, and if nothing matches, i'll still be super stoked.  that food truck fabric i used as the middle just kills me. i want to make a billion things out of it! 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

braids and baby and britain

i figured out how to do my hair up in milk maid braids. by "figure out" i mean, of course, youtube. hooray youtube!

the best thing about this hairstyle is that while it keeps my hair up and out of the way, it doesn't tire my scalp out. you know how if you wear a ponytail all day, or a bun, by the end of the day your head is like, "shit man, take this thing DOWN?" for whatever reason, these braids don't do that. i love that.  i love it so much. i've been doing my hair like this a lot lately, and i don't see it slowing down any time soon.  for one thing: summer is coming and when it's hot, i hate my hair. for another thing, i'm definitely going through a i-want-to-cut-it-all-off phase.  up and out of the way is just what the hair doctor ordered.
i have already bought like three different fabrics for my sister's new baby quilt.  this is the one i think is winning, though. those little red riding hoods just kill me. plus, the tiny bees match the fabric my sister picked out with my mom for the quilt mom is going to make her. this will come as a huge surprise, but this is an improvised quilt.  i started with some stacks of wonky squares and filler fabric, and am just going to town. i've been listening to a lot of elliott smith while working on it, because it's one of my and my sister's favorite singers.

Friday, May 02, 2014

guild time!

some ladies where i work have a quilting group.  they call it a quilting guild, although there aren't any dues, so i don't know if it's "official." although, to be frank, i don't care if it is or isn't. it's fun to be around people who like to quilt and are making things.  we meet once a month at work and bring things to show or talk about the latest charity quilt.  that's one of the very cool things about the group; they make a charity quilt or two a year, and either give it away or auction it off and donate the proceeds to a group.  i think the next one they are working on is going to be a quilt that is donated to a hospice house.

i keep saying "they" because i'm not so sure about joining.  on one hand, yay, quilters! on the other hand, some of them are kind of uptight.  i really like my weirdo quilts. i like to work without a pattern. i like modern quilts, and improvising as i go. i like to buy fabric with no idea of what it will or won't become. a few of the ladies take very expensive classes and only make quilts with fabrics from the same line and designer, and are very serious about the art and technique of it.  i think all creative people face this; you have painters who prefer realism, and painters who prefer abstract forms and color.

one of the ladies has a physical reaction to my work. a "back up in my chair" reaction.  she spends all of her time looking at my stuff and saying, "no, no, no, i couldn't do this." which is fine, i get it. abstract isn't her thing, heirlooms are. at the same time, i like suggesting she try to loosen up.  she might like it. the same way i might like doing something more traditional. right now i'm just really into color and weirdness, but that doesn't mean that i think the work she does is any lesser than my own. traditional designs are gorgeous, and her quilts are really very beautiful.

there's a snobbery in quilting, though, that i can't get into. it's so hard for me to want to be a part of this thing and wanting to roll my eyes when someone goes on and on about juried shows.  i know that as women our art is often considered "craft," and that things that are useful are often relegated to less than art status. pottery made by men for no reason is art, a lovely water jug made by a woman who uses it daily is craft, for example. what i want is for the quilts i create to be BOTH. useful and beautiful and art.  abstract and homey and make-do. i want it all. i don't want to have to fight to be considered art, and i don't want to argue about why craft is important.  at the same time, i'm probably not carrying as many years of discrimination and disregard as this lady in my group. her work is considered frivolous and in the way, her partner rolls his eyes at the time and expense it costs her.  i have a family and partner who think what i do is amazing. who are supportive and open to new ideas.  i don't have to justify the fabric i buy or the room i use or the time i spend doing what i refer to as "work." i don't have to carve out time for it, i expect it and am given it. it helps that my kids are older and my husband is a hippie. i know not everyone is as lucky. i also think that as women, we internalize what society tells us. that our desires are too much, that our crafts are too distracting from our work, that the way we express our artistic selves is just a hobby. there isn't a lot of value given to women having alone time, to just create without purpose. to play. to explore and make and try new things.

to which i say, as my mother said before me, fuck that noise. let's make quilts and afghans and paintings and design bathrooms that feel like underwater grottoes and gardens that are home for fairies and gnomes. let's not feel bad about taking time to do what we want. let's be kind to ourselves. let's support other women and not make everything into a goddamn competition. life is short. make good stuff.