Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Small Interlude

After the huge every-minute-of-every-day push to get the show finished and hung and opened, I've taken a small break, not from life or school, just from sewing. It's been relaxing to enjoy the quilt blocks taped to my walls without feeling pressure to get up early to sew and run back from dinner dates to sew some more.

Sundays are my art days, a sabbath devoted to creativity and allowing my right-brain out to play. Typically, that means sewing, but last Sunday, my friend Emma had the best idea. We spent an art sabbath afternoon chatting and painting at a paint-your-plate, surrounded by parents and small children quietly and carefully contemplating their designs and colors. It was lovely, so freeing and restful. Admittedly, I couldn't keep the quilts out of it, and I painted myself a Swoon mug to use when I'm quilting. Emma surprised me by picking it up and filling it with mints and encouraging notes and hiding it in the refrigerator at work where I store my lunch. Now I'm drinking my new Magic Moment TWG tea out of it. What wonderful blessings I have in my life.



My plan for the last weeks of the semester is to print fabrics so that I will have supplies for the summer. The orders of raw materials came in, and it's exciting to dream what the new sherbet and thundercloud fabrics will be transformed into this summer. I also ordered my own set of screens today. Eek! I will be able to overprint my own quilts this summer in my own studio. Just that sentence make my heart swell. Graduating really does feel like growing up, but instead of scary, it is ever so exciting.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Remnants of Summer

With little pieces of hydrangea fabric from the summer as well as an overprint of hydrangea design, this block brings me back to walking the hot streets of Florence with my sister at my side. Freckles and sandals and sketchbooks in backpacks. However, rather than settling into nostalgia, I like to remember the many things that have grown from that month: a deeper relationship with my sister, a year of studying fabric design, a beautiful quilt from the fabrics we purchased at the markets, this show. Dwelling on the past is not productive. Appreciating, instead, the unfolding of moments into long-lasting treasures keeps us thankful and grounded in the present and future.



Making it was a whirlwind of late nights and frantic stitching. The deadline for the juried exhibition was Friday before noon, and I began it Tuesday morning. Between every class and commitment, I would dash off to sew or print, pick up velcro or make frames. The final stitches zig-zagged around the edge of the ninth block at 3:30 in the morning Thursday night, and I fell contentedly into bed for several hours before bringing it to the gallery for the jury.



I think it's the layers in this one that make it my favorite, as well as the movement between the navy and coral pieces. After piecing each of the nine blocks, I laid them down on my printing board and over-printed two layers of the hydrangea design in a transparent white. At first, it felt like the white toned down the outside colors too much, but after adding a zing of color with coral straight-line quilting, the piece really came together. The free-motion quilted swath of the hydrangeas that overlaps from the grey blocks to the colorful ones is probably my favorite aspect of the design, and I look forward to figuring out how to make this design into a full-size bed quilt.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

She Can Laugh At the Days to Come

Transience and permanence. This collection anchors itself in the juxtaposition of beginnings and endings, expressing confidence in the face of uncertainty and joyful contentment in the present. As my sister began her college career and I finished mine, we seized the opportunity to spend a summer together studying textile design and photography in Florence. While there, I crafted a small line of fabrics inspired by her graduation party—hydrangeas, bunting, and striped paper straws. As I reminisced on our time together and began to sew summer fabrics into autumn projects, this show was born. It contrasts the deep constancy of family against the transience of growing up through a medium that has long accompanied those disparate pieces of life: quilts. From births to weddings to graduations, quilts commemorate transitions in life. Drawing on the tradition of the simple one-block quilts of the Amish, I utilized large flat planes and solids, bringing it to the modern quilting scene with fresh colors and straight-line stitching. Each quilt contains a printed snapshot of our summer together—laughing and exploring—as well as a look into the past and future through the meanings of the traditional quilt blocks.

The show title is taken from Proverbs 31, which describes a woman who is successful in her business endeavors as well as at home but grounds her strength and carefree nature in Christ. She can laugh, enjoying the present without fear of the future, just as I hope we can embrace the now and hold what might come with excited and open palms. I invite you to enter into these moments, feeling the tactile changes in direction our lives take as well as the unity of family and faith that undergirds each quilt and story.














Remnants of Summer

With little pieces of hydrangea fabric from the summer as well as an overprint of hydrangea design, this block brings me back to walking the hot streets of Florence with my sister at my side. Freckles and sandals and sketchbooks in backpacks. However, rather than settling into nostalgia, I like to remember the many things that have grown from that month: a deeper relationship with my sister, a year of studying fabric design, a beautiful quilt from the fabrics we purchased at the markets, this show. Dwelling on the past is not productive. Appreciating, instead, the unfolding of moments into long-lasting treasures keeps us thankful and grounded in the present and future.

Variations on a Bouquet of Tulips

Life doesn’t always happen as you expect, but often then it is better. My sophomore year, I was surprised with a bouquet of tulips after one of my dance performances from a friend who then asked me to dinner. I was flattered and excited, but the relationship didn’t take off and ended up rather awkward. This year, though, I was surprised again with a beautiful bouquet from two of my chemistry major friends. We all chatted and laughed and had breakfast together the next Friday as we had all semester. Great friends, good conversation, and lots of fun. Sometimes the best moments are subtle variations on what you would’ve picked for yourself.

Lovely & Enough

The title of my blog and this quilt encompasses a lifestyle to which I aspire. My life is so full of blessings: a loving family, a great group of friends, a burgeoning church, and my knitting and quilting. I want to live happily and contentedly in this and remember that my life is lovely and enough. Quilting through physical chemistry tests, documentary photography classes, friend drama, and stressful dance performances, I choose to work with my hands and lead a life that reflects the great wonder of life rather than the minutiae. This lone star block, with its classic pattern and single star represent the beauty in simplicity and the joy that can bring.





New Growth

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Coming & Going

Windmill Wings

I've grown up hearing the phrase, "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much." This, of course, isn't true, but I feel very connected to my Dutch roots and home church. Originally titled End of Day as a block in the Farmer's Wife Quilt, I am renaming this block Windmill Wings as an homage to my heritage and the Benjamin Moore color I painted my room as a little girl. It speaks of a solid foundation in my life—my Dutch church family and home—from which I can now springboard into a wider body of fellow scientists, artists, and Christians. The end of each day and phase of life is then not a conclusion but the groundwork for winging into the next adventures of life.


Little Pieces

This is our purpose: to love one another as He loved us. Being afraid of the unexpected turns life throws crushes faith and spontaneity. Rather than worrying, we can instead focus on the beauty of each moment so that any little pieces we leave in our past among close or lost friends, realized or broken dreams are beautiful and untainted with regret.

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Ties

Initially titled Ribbons in the Farmer’s Wife Quilt, I shifted the title to Ties to reflect family relationships. Our ties to family can at times feel like shackles and other times like an anchor amidst the storms of life. No matter the effort taken to cut them or the misguided attempts to bolster, these ties remain invisible and unbreakable.





Evening Star

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Fresh Starts

This is it. The show I've dreamed about since deciding to be an artist as well as a chemist. It brings such a lightness to my life to have both sides. Never during the senior show process did I wish I had just stuck to chemistry. (Well, perhaps once, but it was probably 3:30 in the morning or 3:30 the next afternoon as I feel asleep in my third class that day, or more likely 3:30 the following morning when my walking foot broke.) Finishing the show at last is an enormous sense of accomplishment, and it brings me such joy to sit in the gallery in the peace and quiet. Even better is having people come to me after visiting the gallery with stories of how it touched them. College is full of transitions in locale and in family, and I am so thankful to God for the ways He can speak to each individual person's situation through the things He put on my heart for the show.

A special thank you to Mary and Andie, my Mom, my Dad, my sister Taylor, my Grandma and Grandpa Bolt, my Aunt Lisa, and everyone else who was able to make it out for the reception on Friday. Celebrating with you was a wonderful culmination of my time at Wheaton. And to all who were unable to make it due to distance and previous commitments, extensive documenting of the show can be found over on Flickr.

PS Somehow I missed taking pictures of my favorite quilt, Remnants of Summer, and since it was the one finished at three in the morning the day it was due, it has never been posted on the blog either. I will make sure pictures are posted this week, so stop back by to see them.