Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’

An August “Dream” Quilt Becomes A Reality

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Hi Bev.

Here it is side A of my August “dream” quilt. (I’ll post about side B in my next post.) It’s a tad late, but it’s finished at long last.

I think I mentioned earlier that I decided to take this quilt in a new direction after opening the parcel of supplies you sent. When I unfolded all the fabric and started moving pieces around, I saw a landscape begin to form on my dining room table. And I got to thinking about the dream I inherited from my parents. As a child I would often hear my parents talking about how great it would be to have a little place on the water. Now I catch myself saying the same thing to my husband.

I decided to make a red kite the focal point of this piece and decided as the design progressed that I wanted this piece to be interactive. It’s my intention that viewers will come up and grab that kite string and take a moment to think about what it would be like to be flying that kite on the beach. I plan to get this quilt up on my wall soon because it reminds me of a happy dream from childhood.

This quilt is a combination of hand and machine sewing. The buttons you sent worked perfectly as kit string embellishments and the green swatches were just screaming for gardens of French knots in bloom. I used rough edged applique this month to build the scene and don’t regret it. It seems appropriate that the edges are frayed on this dream because I’ve dragged in around with me for most of my life.

The cool thing about this quilt is that in making it, I now have a little place on the water. I stitched a dream and made it real.

Life and work got in my way a bit, so I had to sneak in a few stitches whenever possible. August was a tough month for quilting on deadline, but we kept at it and stitched our “dream” quilts. I’m so glad we’re doing this project and sticking to our commitment to make art.

I’m on another work deadline, so I gotta go. I’ll be back soon with Side B of this quilt.

Cheers!

Jennifer

Stitchin’ Up A Dream

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It looks like you’re making some nice progress on your quilt and even finding time for illicit stitching, too. Good for you!

I skipped my usual pre-planning and child-like sketching this time around and decided to design my quilt by moving the fabric around and let it tell me where it wanted to go. I’m finding this is actually a more freeing approach for me because I’m no longer restricted by my inability to sketch the images I see in my head. I just cut shapes and move them around until something it looks right. I know this is a pretty random method, but it seems to work for me, so I’ll likely stick with it.

My first two quilts involved appliques with finished edges. This time I decided to include some embellishments with unfinished edges to achieve a different look I’m actually considering the possibility of not binding this quilt, but even as I type this sentence, I realize I’d never be able to consider the quilt completed if it didn’t have a binding. So, this quilt will very well end up with a binding when it’s all said and done.

I’m surprised at where this quilt has led me. I originally was planning to make a quilt based on a dream, as in the that R.E.M. state people experience while sleeping. But then, when I opened the parcel of fabric you sent I decided to go in a completely new direction. And I like this direction much better. This underscores once again the challenge and benefit of creating art with supplies selected by someone else. I have incorporated bits of fabric from my stash, but I think I will use at least a bit of all the fabrics this month.

And I have to tell you that I’m having a great time working the beads into the piece. A few of the beads you sent will have a very prominent role in this months quilt. What a kick it is to spread out all the materials and see where each element fits. But it’s challenging, too, like putting together a puzzle without the picture of how it’s supposed to look.
I’ve made more progress than what I’m revealing here, but I don’t want to give it all away before the big reveal. It will come as no surprise to you that I’m also working on what I thought was going to be the back of this quilt. However, I think I might have to let it stand alone. I can’t really decide on that yet. I’m just going to keep stitching and see what happens.

I think I’ll be happy with this month’s quilt, but for now I’m just enjoying the creative journey. Thanks again for agreeing to share in this experience.

Happy stitching!

Jennifer

What Dreams May Come

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Hi Bev.

It’s August 18 and I have yet to start work on this month’s quilt. I’m not too worried because I was on this same pace last month, too.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to stitch those crazy swatches I sent you into something fantastic. I’m not sure what approach I’m going to take this month. I can’t decide if I want to illustrate a dream, as in what happens during one’s sleep, or illustrate a dream goal. Both are appealing. I need to decide and commit to a plan very soon.

I’ll update you as soon as the verdict is in.

- Jennifer

Home: The Design Phase

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Hi Bev.

I brought my camera to the pool today and snapped some shots of my home away from home. This is where I go to burn calories and blow off steam. This is the place I’m going to try to represent in my next quilt. Wish me luck!

This is the drawing I’m working with:

I know, it’s looks like my daughter drew it, but I’m going with it. The proportions are off and I didn’t fuss with it because I’m not trying to make a realistic, perfectly proportioned fabric likeness. Instead, my goal is to achieve a whimsical likeness of a place I enjoy spending time.

We’ll see how it all shakes out.

- Jennifer

Going Home

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Hi Bev,

I hope you’re enjoying your travels and on the verge of discovering a great fabric store. The July package you sent is absolutely perfect. I really can’t believe how perfect, actually. Did I tell you my idea when we did our unveiling of the the June quilts on Skype? This month I’m going to do something a little unexpected with my interpretation of the “home” theme and the fabrics you sent will work very nicely into my plan.

When I think of “home,” the first thing I think of is the place I grew up, my parents house in suburban Detroit and what a relief it was to have a comfortable refuge from the nonsense of the world.

I’ve lived in several dorm rooms, apartments and houses since I left my childhood home. But there has been a constant substitute, a place I’ve gone quite regularly to feel “at home.” And that will be the subject of my quilt.

I can’t wait see how this month’s quilts turn out!

Cheers!

Jennifer

This Is Me… In Fabric And Thread

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Hi Bev.

Well, this is it. My first quilt is done. Can you believe we’re actually doing this?! I’m so glad you were willing to take me up on this challenge. If you had dismissed me as crazy, it’s doubtful that I would have went through with the project on my own.

My strategy for this first quilt was to do a lot of thinking. I mulled over my ideas until midway through the month. So I didn’t actually start stitching until about two weeks from our deadline. This was a little scary considering the fact that I’ve never made an art quilt before. Thankfully, once I started stitching it came together fast. It helped that I spent about two weeks leading up to that first stitch thinking about this project and what I was going to try to do. I find working this way so much better than trying to create something on the fly.

Here is the process that led me to my finished piece:

I started by taking a self-portrait using the camera on my MacBook. Then I used a light box to transfer the image to fabric.

I used a paper piecing technique to applique the hand.

Then I started stitching like mad. The hair was easy. The eyes were tough. The nose proved to be the most difficult.

I kept stitching and stitching, and when the front was done I decided to do the back, too. Here’s how that came out.

I made a paper template by tracing around my hand and used a piece of apple fabric from my stash to balance the “treat” fabric on the front of the quilt. I cut the butterfly from one of the swatches you sent.

This quilt could be interpreted a number of ways. Perhaps I’m saying “no” to sweets and “yes” to healthy eating.

I don’t know about you, Bev, but I surprised myself with this one. I wasn’t sure I’d be successful embroidering a likeness of myself and I’m delighted with the outcome. What a kick to have my first art quilt out of the way!

Cheers!

Jennifer