Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New studio, empty canvas...

Welcome to my brand new studio, and with it my brand new life as an art quilter. I have done it! Today I finished putting everything in place and I am now ready to begin my new official life as a quilter. I signed the lease on this place 20 days ago and since then I've been toiling to turn this empty shell into something promising. Fortunately it only took a wall and a coat of white flat paint everywhere, including the dingy beige ceiling that was hogging up all the light.

With the able help of our friend John B. we knocked down the wall between two very small rooms and created a large space full of light. I call this my work room. The last tenant left behind a white desk with a corroded desk top, so I went to the lumber yard and bought a 4'X8' piece of "baboon" plywood, gave it a bunch of coats of paint, plopped it on top of the corroded desk and presto! I now have a generous work table. When things are meant to be, they have a way of converging in the right place at the right time. Just as I was in the thick of painting, our friends Kim and Larry decided to redo their office and happened to have an L-shaped formica desktop to give away. This became my sewing and ironing table. My new studio affords me the luxury of an extra room, and if you're like my husband Bob you're probably wondering, why would she need an extra room in her studio? This is what I call the Gallery. For starters, light in the tropics is quite bright, so this extra room is the perfect place to store my fabrics without the risk of discoloration. This is also a wonderful space full of empty walls on which to hang my soon-to-be creations. And what are those creations? I make art quilts. Most people I know don't actually know what an art quilt is, so I'll explain it to you. These are quilts made by combining centuries-old traditional quilting techniques plus new techniques being developed right now. These quilts can be quite large or very small, and they usually decorate walls instead of beds. The subject matter is no longer restricted to blocks as in traditional quilting. In art quilting anything goes! It's like painting with fabrics. Right now I am thoroughly inspired by the ocean (it's hard not to be when you live here!) and I'm creating a series of Poseidon quilts. I'm also inspired by the great ancient Saman, Mahogany and Baobob trees on this island, but I have yet to find a proper way for me to express their beauty in quilt form, so that's something to look forward to in the future.

There is so much to tell you about the island and quilting and the creative process! St. Croix is an island of breathtaking beauty, and living here is a great experience, and being an artist here is the epitome of creative opulence with inspiration found everywhere.

Today when all was in order and I was ready to begin my first quilt in my new studio, I looked around the empty, freshly painted white walls and I saw a blank canvas ready to be filled with my creations. A rush of ideas flooded my mind. So much to do. Where to begin? I took a deep breath and I told myself, one step at a time. Likewise here, one blog entry at a time.

Any journey is richer when it is shared. So come with me on my creative adventure and let's watch this empty canvas unfold as it is infused with turquoise sea and white sands and cool breezes and ancient trees and tiny lizards and flavored rums and fun calypso...

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