Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Improv Piecing - channelling Lu

Dan Piece and Press asked us to make a block (in Free Bee) inspired by Lu Summers' incredible mini quilt (see picture further down in the post).  He asked us to take out the mauves and pinks and replace them with pale neutrals.  I don't like what I've done.  Looking at it, I think it's ugly and crude.  I don't like improv piecing, I'm no good at it, I have no instinct for it and I just don't enjoy it.  I started this bee as an attempt to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to enjoy this kind of piecing and approach more.  The rest of the bee are all natural artists and if you take five minutes to look around the pictures in that bee, you'll see what I mean.  This is my final block in this bee and I'm breathing a sigh of relief.

Channelling Lu

And now take a minute to look at what Lu made.  To me that looks pretty easy to do.  But I tell you, it's not.  The balance of shapes and colours in Lu's mini feels right to me.  I could stare at this quilt for hours.  I wish I had it hanging in my house.  I wish I'd made it myself.  When I look from my block to hers, I think "kindergarten collage" (mine) and then "art" (Lu's).  I'm not sitting here crying into my coffee feeling like a failure.  I'm just chalking this one up to experience.  Some stuff I'm good at.  Some stuff I'm not.  As my mother-in-law would say "there we are then". 
finished!

32 comments:

  1. I'm no artist either, can't draw to save my life and just don't have that vision to see something and then make it. I can work a pattern changing colours and fabric to suit what I want but I need something to start from (i.e. got some fabric, thought 'triangles', looked for triangle tutorial or pattern instead of trying to work it out myself, did same with log cabin idea I had). You're brave to try something so far out of your comfort zone and push yourself, maybe one day I'll give something like that a go, but for now I'll stick to what someone else has worked out for me and concentrate on the things that I am ok at! I love your colour combination!

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  2. You are definitely channelling Lu, I absolutely adore her quilt. When I saw your block I had to run over here to get another look, I love it, it is perfect! I love the colours, love the blacks, love the shapes. That is in my humble opinion, heehee! xo

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  3. You might not be Lu, but your block grabbed me enough to click out of my Reader to your page-- so There then! I like it!

    However...whatever You feel about it, I can relate. We had a quilt in my household, found abandoned in an apartment we moved into in the 70's-- that I can't get out of my head, and I am Sure I'll never be able to replicate or come close too. It was free form and looked Gee's Bendy-y, with solids and ticking, some dots and some shirting. It was falling apart then, but was kept carefully for years. Looked so simple, but not at all. We all have our own vision and way of seeing the world. Good on you on you to try to stretch your comfort zone. It may pop up in your work months form now!

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  4. Ohhh Lynne, that block is gorgeous, perfect, colours, piecing. The only thing I see is that is could use some adjustment in a Photo programme to give it the light it deserves.
    I think you are trying hard to convince yourself that you made the right decision to leave the Free Bee. You don’t lack free piecing skills, and you have a great sense of colours. You don’t need to explain your choice, you obviously feel better about making other quilts.
    I don’t consider myself to be an artist and the Free Bee group has been quite a challenge for me as well, but I’m very grateful that you asked me to become a member, as I‘ve made quilt blocks that I never would have and I’ve met some lovely talented people.
    So, go make yourself a cuppa and start working on something where your heart is!

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  5. well if you are chucking it out.....

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  6. Yes, I'm with rolleiflex. I don't think it's ugly and crude. It's certainly less "pretty" than Lu Summer's lovely one - it's a completely different piece and it does it for me - I absolutely love it. All the bee blocks are amazing, but to me this stands out.

    I suppose the question is whether an artwork has a validity of its own outside of its creator's feelings about it (sorry, pretentious or what?)

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  7. I think you are looking at your block in isolation and so it looks very balanced compared to Lu's which isn't a block but a quilt. Your block is part of a bigger improv. quilt and so once it is with the other blocks, together they will look much more improvisational. You haven't made a mini - you have made a block so a smaller part of something bigger. Don't compare because it's like comparing apples with pears. So there we are then.

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  8. You are being too hard on yourself.
    So maybe improv piecing isn't for you, but your block is a pretty awesome block for someone who thinks they are no good at improv piecing! I am sure lots of your followers (including me!) would love to come up with something this good :)

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  9. Honestly your block isn't ugly at all! I'm not a big fan of improv either, I don't think I can let go of measuring and seam allowances, etc.

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  10. I know just where you're coming from, I don't enjoy improv either. But I really don't think you've got anything to worry about, your block is fabulous, seriously. Now stop being a silly sausage and be proud of it. I'm sure Dan will love it.

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  11. You've gotten some great feedback here and I can only add that it's never a mistake to try something new! Both your block and the inspiration quilt are graphic, fun, awesome!

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  12. I think your block looks great and will look even better when it is surrounded by its blocky friends in the final quilt :)

    I also think it is wonderful that you stretched yourself via this bee and tried some new things. It is OK not to like them all :) Do what you love.

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  13. Well, I like the style of your block and I agree with everyone that it will look good in a whole quilt. I like your colours less than Lu's and I wonder if that is just because of the juxtaposition of the two - if I don't look at hers, then I like yours so much more. So I am with you, improv is complicated - but I really love doing it and want to do more. This is supposed to be fun, there is no need to do something that is not fun for you, even if you clearly are, in my view, very good at it.

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  14. Great block Lynne
    When it comes to my blocks for Dan I'm thinking more along the lines of the 'humps' and maybe some pieced 'humps' - time will tell

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  15. Well I love your block, and would be chuffed to bits if it were for me. But I get what you mean, looking at Lu's mini, its proper ART... its breathtaking.

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  16. Lynn, don't be so hard on yourself ~ I think your block is wonderful and so very different than Lu's. It's going to look great along with all the other blocks being made!

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  17. I've been looking at your block for a while now, and I'm not sure why you think there's anything wrong with it. Maybe because it didn't turn out like you were envisioning in your head? But that doesn't make it ugly. I think it looks wonderful. I also have a hard time with improv piecing. I'm too type A to have a true improv piece!

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  18. I like it. It is very pretty. I think you are too close to it. I was the same about something similar I did, but after time completely away from it, it grew on me, and I love it now. Something I have discovered is that if I take some photographs of it and look at them, then I can see what other people see, and not what I have made. Try it!!

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  19. Your block is absolutely fine, Lynne, with a good balance of colours and shapes and well sewn. Why not make another one in your choice of patterned fabric or in paler fabrics and go even wilder and do it just for fun, not for someone else which is always far more difficult, and you might enjoy it more.

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  20. Nonsense crazy lady. I love your colors and composition. And I would agree with Laura that you are too close to it. One of the things that happens in Lu's quilt is the blocking of the different geometries forces you to step back, then in, then back out again. The movement doesn't happen within a single block, but in the juxtaposition of blocks.

    Your block will make a wonderful addition to the bee quilt. I'm so excited and so grateful for it!

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  21. I really like what you've done Lynne, and quilting will make it look amazing! Lu's quilt is total genius though, should be hanging in the Tate.

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  22. I like what you've done - it's not identical to Lu's but then that was only meant to be inspiration, yours has gone off in it's own very manly diection

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  23. I saw the block on your blog, and it's right there demanding a second look, then another...I really like it. It stands on its own, but will be interesting to see how it fits with others.
    Wendy :)

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  24. I am hoping for an improv 'teacher' at Retreat, maybe Lu!

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  26. I wish I could make an improv block, or any block for that matter, as good as what you have made. You are truly inspirational and maybe in another lifetime if I start quilting real early - like maybe at 40 instead of so much older, I'd be half as good as you.

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  27. I know that you weren't fishing for a compliment, but I like your block. You are right, no one's great at everything.

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  28. If you want to see an ugly, crude improv quilt, I'll make one for you! I am incapable of letting my mind run free for this sort of thing. Mind you Lu's is something else

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  29. Poor little thing... it needs company... All on its own it looks lost and you are comparing it to a whole quilt where the blocks have neighbours... Give it some friends... even if it only has 2 it won't look so lonely.

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  30. I think that once it's surrounded by the other blocks it will fit in perfectly - you've made one piece of a jigsaw and you're trying to see the whole picture in that one piece. I also think that the quilting in Lu's (stunning!) work makes a big difference to how we see the shapes and colours and enables us to appreciate the different textures that are created by the placing of colour/shape combinations, as well as the directional flow of each section within the overall piece. Improv is so much harder than it first appears and I'm completely useless at it!

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