Nightmare Snot Monster, 2.25″, watercolors, Sakura Graphic marker.
This is Slick’s favorite so far. It is based on one of the first nightmares I had as a child. It wasn’t a dog, but this is the best visual representation of it. Also, those are red galoshes. Because of the snot. At that age I was already able to force lucidity in dreams and I woke myself from it. That (and the adrenaline from fear) is one of the reasons I remember it so well, even 30+ years later. Now this nightmare can continue on in a humorous button.
Some people call them badges, others buttons, some button badges, some pin-back buttons. There is no single consistent definition, so I’m going with button badges. Personally, pin-back buttons make more sense to me, but the last time I used the term the people I was talking to were baffled. I don’t know if they were unfamiliar with words, or that term is generally baffling, so I give up. Button badges is in Wikipedia, so I’ll use that. For now!
Surely by now everyone has heard of 30 day challenges. They are most common in the form of fitness activities or habit forming/breaking efforts, but many artists (and others) use them for other themes. In October, there is something called Inktober, during which one creates a piece of art using ink as the only or main medium. I plan on participating in this since I’d like to move my sketches and drawings into the ink world. I lean that way anyhow since I’m using watercolors more and more, so this will be a good method of getting some practice in. As October is still a bit in the future, I thought I’d prepare my work habits by giving myself a different 30 day challenge before then. Thus, 30 Days of Button Badges.
Seem like an unexpected jump? Lately I’ve been trying to maximize my creative productivity time. If I only have 20 minutes, that is still plenty of time to do something useful in the workshop. The other day I went down with only 20 minutes to spare and used some markers already laying out on my desk to make a button design. It was sickeningly cute and I’ll share it sometime, but it got me thinking about how few buttons I’ve made compared to how fun, quick and easy they are to make. You see how this all came together.
I started my 30 days yesterday and here is the first button:
Sugar skull, 1.25″. Random various markers, Copic multiliner. I’ve been getting a little excited as the shops put out their initial Halloween items already. Halloween is my favorite shopping time, especially right after Halloween has passed and all the goodies are on clearance.
Each day, for 30 days starting 22 August and ending 20 September, I’ll make a single button badge of any of the three size presses I posses which are .875″, 1.25″ and 2.25″. I’d like to vary the media, since I have and use so many, but that is not a requirement. I’ll be posting the pictures here on my blog, and on Instagram, since that seems like a good place for this sort of thing. I’ll make sure to scan them so I can print off multiples and press a couple extras for my Etsy shop, or general stock, or prize bag filler, you know – reasons yet unknown.
There was an active breeze this morning, so I had to be patient while taking photos. Now you can really see what I meant about the plum blocks being the header and footer of the quilt. This whole quilt came together easily. The idea was there quickly, the colors presented themselves in a serene fashion, the construction went smoothly. For being a partly improvisational / partly planned quilt, the whole process from beginning to end was harmonious. The hardest part was starting another quilt after trying so hard to convince myself I wouldn’t, that I needed to do other things. Things work out best when I listen to the Muse. Don’t fuck with her and she’ll be good to you. Or for me, anyway.
Side view. This crazy bunny fabric is one of my favorites and perfect for this quilt. The spiral quilting for these blocks is in a matching light gray variant thread (which you might see if you click to view larger). It echos their bugged out eyes.
The back. I wasn’t in the mood to do intricate piecing, so I kept it simple, which suits it. It is attractive enough that you could flip it over and leave the back visible, if you wanted. Like, if the bunny stare was getting to you.
The inspiration behind this quilt it very strong and on my mind a lot lately, but I’m not going to lay it out for you here. I am equally interested in what you, the viewer of the finished object thinks about the quilt. Maybe you plainly see a pretty quilt, which is fine. Maybe you see some deep and complex symbolism, which is fine. Your interpretation and perception as the viewer and interpreter here is as relevant and significant as mine as the artist and creator. So say what you think.
Long live the quilt dragon.
In the meantime, my workshop progress has traversed sideways instead of forward. The photo session failed – they are so shiny! I must pop out the box. My first print run was a messy, messy, sticky disaster (new ink) and my second was merely full of rejects. Couldn’t even work on the quilt because I was out of batting. I know, how does that happen?! Apparently, I’ve been making a few quilts lately and used it up.
This weekend will set me right.
Yes, I continued to ignore my blocks that are freshly carved and awaiting printing. The sculpted creatures and their completely finished paint – waiting on their photo session. The beading project, it sits. I only wanted to sew, and I did.
Sometimes, such as yesterday, I have long, dull, meaningless work days that slog past slowly, but it is okay, because the evening is to be mine! I focus on the evening when I think I’m going to get a full four hours of workshop time. Four hours! So much productivity! Real progress! Looking forward to workshop time! I will quilt! I will draw! I will build a cabinet! I will be creatively productive and efficient! Everything will be blissfully awesome.
Instead, I had a vicious, monster headache and could only recline in the dark, not moving, trying to be patient, trying not to whine or whimper. That sucked. No sewing, no drawing, no cleaning, no workshop building, nothing. That also sucked.
Yeah, I know it is August. Technically, I made these in August, too, but it is summer and I only turn the oven on at night when I can survive the heat in the kitchen, so I am glad I made anything at all for the month. These are rolls of Brazilian Cheese Bread. They look excellent!
But the taste? Yuck. The main ingredient is tapioca flour (instead of the more common (in America) wheat flour) and I didn’t care for the end result. The taste, the texture, the viscosity – I was not pleased with anything except the appearance of these roll-biscuit-bread things. Now I know. Really, if I hadn’t sprinkled cheese on top of them before baking, they probably wouldn’t look that good either.
Your husband comes home and tells you about an internet troll who said something inane, but something that he finds terribly funny – he even snickers while relating it to you. You immediately go down to your workshop with a bottle of wine, watercolor some tacos, scan and shrink them to badge size, then ponder fonts for an hour, before pressing a couple custom buttons for the silly man.
Immensely satisfying evening project. The wine was not strictly needed – only used to help ignore all the other things I should have been doing, like sorting my fabric, or cleaning up the excess crap around everywhere.
And now with pictures and a blog post, I can count this quilt as done.
The front. These bold shapes and colors against the black background gave it a dramatic and graphic impact. Pretty cool. Different that the last one, definitely. The focus here is distinct, where the Summer Pinwheels for example, was an allover design, blending and working together. The shapes here all work together, but they’re specific, focused.
Effectively, I only quilted in the black areas, the background fabric. No color pieces have quilting. This makes them pop up, puff a bit. The interior is all FMQ of straight lines, at angles to form triangles, crosses, and such. The edges are lined on the negative space zigzag, to enhance it. I quite like this visual effect.
The backing is even simpler than I usually do. I was tired of piecing backs and I wanted flannel for this one. It is fluffy soft, and I wrapped the back around to the front to form the binding, which feels interesting – texturally. If you view this photo full size, you’ll see the quilting lines, and the crosses where there are none.
Another quilt done! Yea! This feels good, but I need to do other things for a while. I mean, I want to quilt NOW; I have two new ideas burning in my brain. But, I need to clean the workshop. I have piles of stuff displaced by my work. Thread, fabric, scraps, more fabric, boxes, other (non-quilt) projects, and even more fabric. I need to photograph, clean, store items away, find a home for my growing stack of quilts, build the second set of cabinets and just generally get my workshop shit together. Or really, organized. Technically, it is pretty together, but in a tangle.
You know what I mean.
It is time for another prize bag, I know. Perhaps getting all my workshop shit detangled and organized will produce a fortuitous gathering of items and a contest idea along with it.
I’m supposed to be sharing photos of the quilt I completed over the weekend, but they suck. My white balance was off, or I left a filter on my lens, or something. Again, I was in a hurry in the morning. I didn’t look at them, just uploaded and got in the car. They suck, so I will have to try again when I have time to be at home during daylight hours, which will be tomorrow at least.
After playing around sticking all my colorful scraps together for hours, I decided that I could do that anytime, as I worked on other projects, and pushed them back into their crumpled pile so I could start a new quilt. A long weekend calls for appropriately sized projects for the time allowed, after all.
The last quilt, Summer Pinwheels, did not top my favorite list. In that post, I detailed the places I felt the whole thing went wrong and the parts that were right. That quilt was built from the fabric, up. This time, I started off by playing with block shapes.
HSTs (Half Square Triangles) were something interesting I played with last year and wanted to dabble in again. Some solid black Kona cotton and a novelty print that I found on my ironing board (aqua and light red Paris) were the start. Where did this fabric come from? I don’t know. I don’t recall buying it, I don’t think it was given to me since it looks new. Maybe I buy fabric in my sleep. Anyhow, it began there and I grabbed some vaguely aqua and hot pink fabric along the way. I don’t have much in those colors, but it worked out. You can see my neat string of flag piecing here.
After all that small work, I wanted something bigger. Cross blocks were something I hadn’t tried yet and they turned out pretty fun. Those blocks clearly needed to be the center, so I stuck them all together with some black sashing. They’re not exactly kiss Xs, but they’re not straight on plus crosses either, and this is what helped inspire the name. That and the pink and hearts.
The HSTs fell right into place along the outside, since I’d made so many of them (a couple hundred). After playing with the alignment for a while, I decided on this color point facing shifted lineup to create that black zigzag inside them. Neat.
A plain black outside border will finish this one off. It is fairly simple which I think makes the design work, so I won’t do more to it. If work doesn’t blow up and I can get some good workshop time in this week, I should be done with it this weekend. After this one, I might take a week or two off from quilts. Maybe do some printing, perhaps some small sewing projects.
After the last few projects, I have more scraps than ever. I use up my leftover bits often, but so many of these were tiny pieces that wouldn’t hold their own in a project. I decided to start attaching all those little bitty pieces together, or to a larger scrap if they were awkwardly small.
New projects want to come into existence, old projects want to be finished, but sometimes you have to do mindless color matching and stitching to wipe away work irritations and become a good human again. At least, I do.