The art of quilt making through time lapse photography

QUILTING IN THE FAST LANE

Let's  give 'em something  to talk about

It was fun while it lasted.

It was a fun, creative and stimulating year with Chip. We talked every Saturday morning for months and months. But in the end, it was all just too overwhelming for him, and he had to call it quits. I applaud him for being brave enough (foolhardy?) to take on such an ambitious project, especially for not having ever participated in a time lapse adventure of making a quilt. It's not for everyone! I wish him well on all his future endeavors. As for the quilt I created for the first challenge and all the footage I shot for that segment, not all is lost. It will return and make it's appearance in a different way . . . . . and yet, kind of the same. Is that even possible?

You'll find out in a bit.


I've been talking my head off . . . . . again!

If you have the time (30 minutes) and are interested, you can listen to all that yammering, on;

"The Curious Creatrix Podcast"

wherever you digest this kind of audio media.

You can find host Haden Starbuck and I on her show here at this link:

https://www.creatrixcompass.com/the-curious-creatrix-podcast

Or listen directly to our conversation here:

https://tinyurl.com/59p5j3kw


It's the same ol' story . . . . . just a different venue!

(and obviously recorded before recent events with Chip)



"Into the Woods" continues it's YEARS LONG journey as we wind up these Summer months out in the forests and lake around the backyard. I'm beyond happy to announce that the 'piecing sequence' is in the can as of this morning, when I recorded my LAST SHOT for this part of the production. And 10 days ahead of schedule! (that's a big deal for me!!). AND . . . . I'm just too excited to keep it to myself. So, my dear fellow Fast Laners, you get the very first sneak peek of this shot. It took me a couple days of recording and waiting for the 'perfect clouds', but I eventually nailed it!


And if you're keeping score, here's where we are in the production;


The border sequence begins tomorrow! And it goes something like this . . . .




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Megan gets it.


I get asked this a lot.


The easy (and honest) answer is that I do it for the pure "joy of quilting". I know it sounds cliché, but really, it's true! I'm one of those rare individuals that LOVES every step of the process. "From designing to binding" is my familiar battle cry. Yeah, in some weird way . . . even the seam ripping! (the sensation of those tiny little threads snapping under my seam ripper is akin to popping bubble wrap, if you know what I mean)


And after an unusually long, trying and exhausting day . . . . . I was starting to ask myself the very same same question. Why am I doing this? Why am I making these little time lapse videos about quilting? To what end? Do I want to keep doing this? (the simple answer was ultimately, 'YES' . . . . . but there was lot of self-reflection that day to get to that point.)


I went thru a lot of wishy-washyness with my own revelations that wasn't a great deal of help in seeking the answers to what I was looking for. But, it was the arrival of an email from my cousin Megan, at the end of the day, that finally helped me see the brightest, illuminating light. I don't know how it happened, but I firmly believe she was in my head that day (somehow) . . . listening to every word I was agonizing over. She may have thought that she was just simply replying to me in a conversation between us that was already under way, but boy, oh boy . . . . . she hit the nail right squarely on the head! I'll admit it . . . she knows me better than I know myself (or cared to admit out loud).


This blog entry is about me.

This blog entry IS me!

Warts and all . . . .



*We join the conversation about naming my last quilt, in my previous blog post, already in progress;



This quilt looks like a "Klimt Cuddle"--right? Because we cuddle in quilts, and this one looks like a Klimt painting! ~ Megan


"I just casually asked, “Your thoughts?” when considering a name change. I truly wasn’t expecting anyone to respond to that. Really! But just the opposite happened. It’s opened up a floodgate of responses and suggestions for new names. And ALL of them good!! Now I’m sort of thinking there’s something to that. I’m starting to play around with the idea of including ALL of these suggestions, with all these names . . . all on one label (or a series of labels), with each person’s contribution. A way of showcasing the whole community that’s behind this. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever done something like this. This is really appealing to me at the moment . . . ~ Todd "


"Ha! Of course you would find a way to make us all feel comforted, hopeful, happy, and “as if we are one,” which is what your idea does—love it! Leave it to the quilter to bring us together! Wasn’t this an art where people came together to make quilts together (talk, share, comfort one another, while in “quilting circles”)? Your quilts are not just amazing, they are pure love. Every stitch stitches us all together (as I said, like a big hug!). We are all wrapped in your loving, compassionate, quilt circle. You are in the fabric of our lives and our hearts. Your sweet stitches radiate out like concentric circles wider and wider and cover us all like we are all in your cuddle circle. How was someone as emotional and loving as you get born into this world?

In my own personal observation (since I'm really always learning about you), you are a deeply flawed, frustrated, stressed person who has anger and tantrums, like all of us—and then, feels bad about that, and quilts his heart out until he feels he has made amends and been forgiven—all the while having his dogs watching, and talking to his beloved dogs, about his feelings throughout the projects. I literally have no idea, but something is driving this level of exhaustive work—so detailed, so time consuming, so monk-like, on resulting works that are more symbolic and beautiful than they are functional/practical—but that is the “why” part! Like your email signature below, from the Big Bang Theory . . .

This is not the easy way to make a blanket—It is the hardest way—so why then? Because it shows the love! How much does a person have to love you, or your baby, or whatever, to give and give hundreds of hours to you? The thought behind it alone would be enough if a machine made it! So, all that effort is because…it brings huge wealth? Appreciation? [My guess is there is drastic under-appreciation. It must be soul crushing whenever you give these quilts away, and there's not even so much as a simple thank you in return.] Is it a 'satisfaction at the end' result? [My guess is they never satisfy you, never turn out exactly as you wanted, are never really good enough in your eyes, and you immediately, insatiably, look to the next one to possibly “scratch that itch”(?).] Ha—I think too much and am just guessing—but whatever drives you to do these, drives you to send out these masterpieces, feels like I imagine all artists feel, which is really a compulsion, a “trying to do something, say something, express something” that is just past your conscious understanding.


Artists have said, throughout time, they do art “because they have to,” and not because they want to or choose to.


Every overachiever has something burning inside. Sometimes I laugh that I am just too content to really be great at anything (but there is a truth to that). Only when we have something to prove, or something to work out, do any of us seriously overachieve (artists/musicians, Olympians, Valedictorians, famous people, political leaders, etc.). But, perhaps, with too much “contentment” there would be just a soup of lazy people—yuck. The Big Bang Theory is about overachievers. We have to laugh at ourselves, even while we are taking ourselves too seriously! That may be the true art of surviving ourselves, and surviving this world.


I am not an artist. No talent in any category (at least not much), but I am fairly good at one unusual talent: I am a great audience person. I love art—music, quilts, paintings, movies, stand-up comedy, photographs, the art of nature, storytelling, etc.—and I have had performers come up to me after (and sometimes even during!) and comment on how attentive I am and what a connection they felt with me. Someone has to be in the audience with all this art and performance, right? That’s me then! So, no matter what you are “really like,” the result is that your art speaks volumes! The love from it is wonderfully overwhelming! I feel it! I feel you making it! I feel you wanting to make the world a loving, kind, connected place! Your home is called Big Eden, right? You want your “Eden bubble” to expand to your town, and then your state, and then your country, and then out and out to the whole world—to bring the whole planet “back to the garden” (to quote Crosby, Stills & Nash, whom I adore). Well, I am on the same mission Todd. And I am as flawed and fucked up as the next person (ha!), but my heart feels deeply and I want to connect the love dots and form a huge cuddling quilt around all the pain and take it away. Maybe audience people keep artists in the creative zone. I hope so! The energy is around us all, and you are radiating out lots of love light!


Keep laughing, and yelling, and “quilting” (you literally, the rest of us figuratively with whatever we do). Big hugs to you my sweet, talented, disciplined, diligent, driven, crazy good friend! Love you Todd! ~ Megan

Megan's getting a quilt.


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Jeeeeesh . . .

It's been a long time since we

last connected with each other!


Summer is here! and I've hit the ground running, and have been on the go ever since. It's not that I've been ignoring you, it's just simply that I'm in full production mode to complete this quilt, along with the accompanying quilt/lapse video, I've rarely had a free moment for anything else. And while I've put much of the rest of my life on hold to accomplish this, it hasn't allowed me to do much of anything else . . . like blog entries. On the flip side, it's one of the most productive periods of my life . . . and boy, oh boy . . . just wait till you see the results!


When we last spoke, I was just finishing up "Red, READY . . . Amber, SET . . . Green, LET'S GO!""

I've always liked this name for this quilt, based on some song lyrics from the 80's. But my Uncle provided me with a new perspective, when he said this quilt looks . . . . "Dangerous", and "Like an explosion!" I like that! I really like that!! So, it's possible I may consider a name change. I'm thinking something like, "KABOOM!" Your thoughts? Maybe something else? I've only recently started naming my quilts (within the last 4 years), and I'm totally open to someone else inspiring/suggesting a new moniker. The quilt/lapse production for this little baby has already been shot, edited and is in the can. But, if you'll remember, it's part of a much larger, 3-part production I'm collaborating on with Chip from Seattle, so I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit to see it, after Chip's contribution comes rolling in (when he's finished on his end). Not everything that I shoot makes it into the final production (I normally use only about 10 to 20% of the MANY HOURS I record). This is one of my favorite shots I recorded that didn't make it, but still wanted to share . . . and a blog entry seems like just that perfect opportunity;


Whazzat? A new camera angle? New motion? That can only mean one thing . . . A NEW PRODUCTION TOY! (one of several new 'toys' this year to create all kinds of new motion). It's been a blast to experiment, learn and play with all these new cameras (and such). A few more reasons my time has slipped away from me in recent months. And as much fun as it all has been, it hasn't always been a bed of roses. There's been a learning curve to all this (sometime, really steep ones). And it doesn't always go off as planned the first time around. But I eventually 'get it'!

Oh, I have plenty of other tricks up my sleeve this year as well, but I need to practice some judicial restraint and not reveal all my secrets just yet. There's some REALLY FUN shots being recorded for "Into the Woods" that I'm dying to share with you . . . but since they're pivotal to telling this particular quilt/lapse story, I just can't. I can only tease. But I think you're going to have just as much fun watching the final results as much as I have had fun making them!


THIS is a location shot of where I've recorded one of these recent scenes;

While it may not look like much at the moment (as this was taken a few weeks before I actually recorded), I promise you won't forget this one! Not only is it one of my most complicated and ambitious endeavors I've ever embarked on for a production . . . it's definitely my MOST EXPENSIVE shot I've ever produced! That's no hyperbole! And I have quite a story to tell about that! But it will have to wait until after the final production is released. To spill it now would reveal some great surprises I have in store for you . . . and this production is full of 'em! I'm amassing a great deal of video that will make for a great blooper/outtake reel. Proof positive that not everything I touch turns to gold . . . or works the first time around. When the time comes . . . you''ll KNOW this shot when you see it!


I'm also working on another quilt during this time. The plan all along this year, was to attempt something I've never done before . . . working on several quilts and quilt/lapse videos at the SAME TIME. ("Red, READY . . .Amber . . ." was one of them) I've always approached my quilt making one-at-a-time. And while I've been very productive working on all of this, all at the same time, it's made me realize (and finally and reluctantly accept), that this is going to be the year that I do all the work . . . and next year will be when I finally release all the results. Heavy sigh. Not exactly what I was planning for, so that's why I'm attempting to keep people up-to-date on a few social media outlets with little snippets on how the production is progressing. Trying to stay relevant during this watershed of activity this year, ya know? So, while I have challenge #1 finished with Chip (while I wait for him to catch up) . . . . he's just winding up creating quilt and quilt/lapse Challenge #2 . . . while I catch up with him! So, we're sort of on an even playing field. Our second Challenge is called "SPECTRUM" ~ creating a quilt using the whole color spectrum (Gee, I'll give you one guess who suggested that challenge, LOL). I'm really eager to get rolling on this one! It's a technique I've never attempted before called "Raw Edge Applique'". Normally, this is a technique that I've NEVER liked. I always thought it looked sloppy and unfinished. Never had any interest in it . . . until I ran across some pictures on the internet that allowed me to see the benefit of such a technique . . . and it totally changed my mind;


(*I don't know who this quilt or these images belong to, so I can't lay claim to them.)

It's called "Hover Quilting". The end result is to achieve a look of fuzzy, frayed edges (after a few washings) to convey the idea that certain pieces of the design/fabric would be 'hovering' over the background. (the photos above show what it looks like before the wash) My version will be almost identical, but my colorful fabrics will all be brighter and the background will be many variations of a black & white, monochrome pallet. The beginning of this project looks something like this;

(*My Photoshop mock-up . . . an approximation of how I see the color layout )

I'll work on this project at the same time as "Into the Woods", but only on the days when the weather won't cooperate with me and I can't shoot outside (Dappled sunlight plays a HUGE part in this production while shooting in the woods, as the time lapse light and shadows create much of the motion. It's one of the main 'stars', really). This is my 'rainy day project'. And since today and tomorrow is the first time we haven't had any sun for 52 straight days (an anomaly for this part of the world . . . ), that quilt truly starts today! (right after this blog entry, of course)


And so it begins . . . .


*On a side note ~ A little silliness. While I had my initial fabric layout up on the design board, I took it as a perfect opportunity to show off the fabric that I was working with, and used it as my backdrop while I played "ZOOM BINGO" with Chip & Aaron, over at the Fiber Hustle podcast . . . during PRIDE MONTH!


And finally, back to the topic I wandered away from at the top of this page . . . . INTO THE WOODS.

As of this week, after a year and half (considering I've taken Autumn and Winter off from shooting), I've finally reached the halfway point of the production (well, a little more than half way). It's s-l-o-w going!!! But if you only understood the amount of work that goes into a time lapse production, you'd understand why this isn't something that happens overnight.

This easily is the biggest, most ambitious undertaking I've ever attempted for a single project. And every second shows! So much of the time that is spent making this particular quilt is just simply in preparing the fabric and getting it ready to piece. This part took 6 weeks last time, but this time I really put my nose to the grindstone, and was able to prepare and pump out 3,600 separate pieces in 15 days!


The 'Cast' of "Into the Woods"


(*admittedly, I did have some help during this part)


And it wasn't my first rodeo!


When the time finally arrived to piece it all together (just this week), the awaiting pile resembled a pan of brownies!


If you'll remember correctly, this is the 2nd time I'm making this very quilt. It's nearly the same copy of "Moon Prism Power Make Up" (but with a different color pallet, and slightly different fabric placement);


Honestly, MUCH of the production time during the video half of this project is spent just getting all my equipment to the location and setting up the camera rig(s).

The shoot itself is actually the shortest part of the whole process. On average, I record each shot for 1/2 hour, all the way up to a whole 60 minutes (and sometimes longer) And the end result is 15 - 30 seconds of recorded footage (which will eventually be sped up even more in post, to be even faster and shorter in the final product!) On average, I can record about 2 - 3 shots a day . . . which may help explain why this art form takes so long to produce. I would like to show you one shot I recorded a couple days ago that thrilled me to no end. It may appear, at first glance, to be pretty simple. It was supposed to be, anyway. But it was one of those very early mornings when my 'setting up' was going every which way but . . . right! It took me a good hour and a half to finally get it all together. My heart was racing, I was breaking a sweat and I was panicking to get it all set up before my window of the perfect golden light arrived to light the scene. And with only seconds to spare, the fog lifted, the heavens parted, and the angels sang! The Shooting Gods were with me once again!!


So, if all the conditions work in my favor, I should be recording the last 14 shots of this sequence in the coming week or two, and the body of the quilt will be finished!


And just wait till you see what I'm going to do with the border . . . I'm gonna have 'help'!!







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