More Houston: Artist's Altar

Well. I didn't win the tiara parade. I don't think my garden glove, yarn, shredded fabic, needles and pins entry was quite tiaraesque enough. But I had a great time all day. I did a "Meet the Teachers" session early in the day -- 10:30 am and believe it or not, people, a few, showed up to hear me (or the person who was next on the list). So I continue to learn a lot. and continue to meet wonderful teachers, quilters, artists, all. Here's the basic outline of my presentation, I hope you can follow along:

An Art Quilt Artist’s Altar

By Susie Monday, artist, coach and teacher
3532 Timbercreek Rd.
El Cielo Studios, Pipe Creek, Texas

Making an artist’s altar is one of the creative exercises suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I’ve adapted her practice by combining it with the process of art quilt journaling. Art quilt Artist’s Altars start with an acknowledgement of our human heritage of creativity. Episcopal priest and radical theologian Matthew Fox has written, “We are creators at our very core. Only creating can make us happy, for in creating we tap into the deepest powers of self and universe and the Divine Self. We become co-creators, that is, we create with the other forces of society, universe and the God-self when we commit to creativity.” The act of creating an artist altar honors this deep connection to the Source.

Here are some prompts, suggestions and techniques that will help you make your own art quilt artist’s altar. First construct or purchase a simple box or altar shaped frame that will determine the size of your art quilt work. I build simple 1 by 3” frames in a “house” shape for the ones I make, but you can use a pre-made gallery canvas as the structure.

1. Start with your favorite colors. Pull fabrics from your stash that represent your most beloved hues and shades. You can use one or 50 different prints. No rules, here. Combine a rainbow or stick to the subtlest shades of white you can find.

2. What symbolizes creativity for you – is it a person, a goddess or mythological figure, a place, a shape, a sound, an image from nature or from art history? Is it all of the above. Collect, draw, cut, photo transfer or collage a central image for your art quilt artist altar by starting with what speaks the name of creativity the loudest.

3. Use your favorite quilting techniques to assemble the top of your art quilt. I use fusing, piecing, machine quilting and hand embroidery for the ones I make, but you should honor your own favorite techniques. Assemble with batting, but a back layer of fabric is usually not needed.

4. Make the top of your art quilt large enough to wrap completely around the frame, whatever its size. Wrap and staple the top around the frame, fitting and folding the corners neatly. If desired, stitch fabric to the back

Good news of the day: when I went to pick up my art materials for the demo, I found a note from Leslie Riley (she organized the mixed media classes). Pokey Bolten of Quilting Arts magazines. (Cloth, Paper, Scissors, etc.) wanted to talk to me about writing for the mags. That's incentive to get my proposals in to the editors. Hold me to it.

On other quilting fronts: check out Ragged Cloth Cafe's last month post by Kate Themal,  food for thought as we look at the amazing variety of quilts here in this venue: traditional, antique, contemporary, cutting edge, stange and digital.