Music music music

Images of music are swirling through my head these days. I've got so many I want to piece! Keyboards, whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, the staff, treble clef, bass clef, guitars, sheet music, etc. 

I sketched this recently and have been piecing it bit by bit -- It's tricky because the keys require "set-in seams."  I've had to discipline myself to learn more difficult methods to get the results I want -- not easy!  My inclination is to "go with the flow" and improvise when I come up against a piecing dilemma.

First I figured out the shapes which must be pieced together to make one "key" in the keyboard, and I chose the values (colors) that would give it depth and perspective. However, after looking at them laid out nicely on my cutting board, I realized I didn't really know how to piece this thing together!!!

FORTUNATELY, I was in the middle of an online class with Lisa Call, titled "Intentional Piecing."  I SOS-ed for help and Lisa had the answer right away -- I needed to learn how to piece a "Le Moyne Star."

If you are interested in learning this technique for set-in seams yourself, you can find instructions online. Lisa sent me to this one:




WORK IN PROGRESS -- Here it is on my wall today in rough form. I will post the completed piece once I have it done. In my imagination, I'm seeing a series of big quilts filled with music images, from multi-colored keyboards to expressive quarter-notes moving up and down on a wavy black and white staff, and a variety of music symbols. In the process of making these, I hope to "loosen up" the piecing so it becomes more abstract. Ultimately I would like to make art that makes you think of music, without actually showing recognizable images of music symbols or instruments. This could take a while, but I'm eager to give it a go!

Finding your "voice"


Sometimes my voice is LEGATO (smooth, flowing) and other times it is STACCATO (sharp, rhythmic)


Developing a clear "voice" that identifies your work is the journey of every artist. We each have to go through the process to create a look and style that is uniquely our own. Some of us seem to find it right away, while for others it takes time.

I was in the second group. It wasn't that I had trouble "finding" my voice, it was that I was finding too many voices! I was naturally drawn to a variety of styles and had to experiment before I found my home. 

Voice and technique

The development of technique has been a large part of developing my own voice. Now I know that I am primarily a machine piecer, and especially enjoy the challenge of sewing curves. However, before I knew I preferred machine-piecing, I tried - and enjoyed - many other ways of creating fabric art (which will be the topic of a future post; stay tuned)! 

Two sides of the same voice

In my younger years I made my living as a performer, singing in clubs and touring overseas with different bands, including a USO tour to Korea, Okinawa, the Philippines and Guam. Before that, I was a music major in college and earned a degree in classical voice. So when I heard the word "voice" to describe visual art, I felt right at home.

The smooth flowing lines of the Serenity Series.

The smooth flowing lines of the Serenity Series.

As I was trying to define my own visual voice, however, I became torn between two styles that I loved equally. I had begun developing the "Serenity Series," with smooth, flowing lines. It was delicious slicing curves into fabric and sewing it together so that it appeared to "bend," even though it actually lay flat. (It better!)

The black and white energy of the Rhythm Series.

The black and white energy of the Rhythm Series.

Then there was another, almost opposite, side to my voice -- the sharp, contrasting linear shapes of the "Rhythm Series."  The predominantly black and white patterns seemed to pop and scatter across the surface, which was a counterpoint to the flowing, peaceful sense of the "Serenity Series."

I was torn about this dual presentation of my work, because I know how important it is to have just one style with which people can identify (Marketing 101). However, as I settled into both series, I began to realize that, just as voices in music could be alternately loud and quiet, sharp and smooth, rhythmic and flowing, my voice could do the same. 

If I put it in music terms -- sometimes my voice is LEGATO (smooth, flowing) and other times it is STACCATO (sharp, rhythmic).

Together they make up the whole of my voice.

The treble clef -- a page from my sketchbook

Treble clef symbol taking form on my studio wall.

Treble clef symbol taking form on my studio wall.

I've always loved the curved lines of the treble clef. I remember drawing it over and over again when I was in high school. My binders and notebooks were covered with them. I was a music major in college, and studied music notation as part of my curriculum, so I got pretty good at drawing a treble clef. 

It's been a long time since then, but now that I am creating art it is natural that I return to one of my favorite symbols, the treble clef. I create abstract art, so you can see here that I was working on a way to use the familiar symbol in an unfamiliar way.

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I took the photo of this page in my sketchbook a few months ago, when I was actively working on the idea of a music series.

I've let the idea rest for now, because it needs to percolate more in my left artist brain. When it is ready to reappear, it will...