07 October, 2009

In the Workshop Today

Have you been following along with the Workshop in Progress participants?  There are some really interesting projects out there. I'll admit that I've been behind on my blog reading so I missed the initial posts, but I encourage you to still visit the blogs and gain some insight into the personal creative process of these artists.
Yes, I said artists.  Those who create are artists, even if you sew on the dining room table after the kids got to bed. Even if you never share a piece of your work.  I truly believe that process is integral to the notion of art.  I was never able to answer the debate in my History of Art class as an undergrad on whether art is about the artist and their process, the finished piece, or the audience. All I know is that there is no art without some combination of the three.  With an on-line presence you are choosing to share both yourself and your process, in addition to the finished work.  Would you still create without the blog audience?  Most likely, right?  But you must get something out of sharing the work and bits of yourself, hence the third aspect of art, the audience.
I hope you take the time to participate in the Workshop as a poster and as an commenter.  We aren't trying to replace the energy of a whole bunch of people standing in front of a design board, but we can foster the community of creativity and a supportive environment for trying out new ideas.  So please, take a look at what our fellow artists are doing.
Over at Katie's Korner she is showcasing the finished Frenchy bag.  She is ever so thankful for your tips and opinions on choosing fabric. And I love the end results. I'm not generally one for fabric bags (please don't hate me for that) but this is such a fabulous pattern.  I might be tempted to try one myself.

Cristin at Sew This is My Life is playing around with half square triangles. A few posts back she'stried out a few layouts and your comments helped her decide where she wanted to take the quilt.  Personally, I think she may have had a specific one in mind, but the feedback to confirm can be just as important as the feedback to challenge.  She's now squared up her blocks and is on to sewing.  Keep checking back with her to see the finished project.  I hope she knows how to quilt it. 

Have you seen the wonderful quilt Sue has been sharing with us at Share the Love? The lovely progress on her Snippets quilt, now finished, was insightful and showed how we quilters often fiddle over the smallest decisions. And then you do something and it just works.  And then you applique ateeny bird and the whole thing is perfect.  I can't wait to see what she does next. 

What KT Made Next has been very honest with every step along the way of designing and completing her Roses for Rosa quilt. I've really enjoyed helping her work through fabric shortages and layout options.  And because she's been teasing us by posting without pictures I can't wait to see what the finished product looks like!

Now, on to my next Workshop project. I haven't shared with you yet that I am participating in an on-line course hosted by Marisa Anne from Creative Thursday. It's been a personal challenge to not only accept the creativity inside me but to find a way to express it and share it with others, all while staying true to my family and myself. Taking the In the Fish-Bowl course is one of those things that forces you to be quietly reflective while slapping yourself across the face a la Airplane.  What's the equivalent of a man-crush for women, because that's what I have for Marisa?
This week's class was about our on-line identity. To be honest, I feel a bit schizophrenic about my on-line identity because I have all my quilting, then all my food writing. In my head they mesh together well most of the time, but as an on-line brand I struggle.  As part of my own challenges I am taking another look at both blogs.  To start, with the overall look and layout.  At the same time I am going to examine some of those larger identity issues, but that requires a lot more reflection and perhaps and shot of non-existent lottery winnings.
So, I am asking you for your opinions on what works and doesn't work on blogs.  Mine, yes, but others too.  What bugs you that people do no naming names)?  What features do you love?  How do you search through a blog?  What do you want out of a quilting blog? And anything else you want to share. Updates and changes will likely be ongoing for now.
Oh, and the pictures?  Just because I have a hard time posting without a picture, that's all. Besides Marisa encouraged us to think of our on-line space as a home or office, or even a specific room.  Immediately I thought of my dining room, where so much of my creative process gets realized, in food, in writing, in family dinners, pajama painting, tea with friends, and conversation.

(PS I am fully aware of the irony of a post about on-line presence where my formatting is completely messed up.  I'm trying, but I don't know how to fix it.)


Cristin Wilson said...

Hi Cheryl :-) Good to see you back!
Thanks for commenting on my blog and mentioning it in this post... I also checked out the other WIP quilters, and now follow them.

You mentioned that you hope I know how to quilt my Half Square Triangle Quilt... once its finished. There will probably be a decent amount of sashing, as the squares alone probably will not make the lap-size quilt I wanted. Were you referring to outlining the diamonds with stitching? I've been pondering that... as I usually go with classic stippling, as I just recently (in the last 6 months) mastered free-motion quilting, so I try to use it whenever possible. I may have to get everyone's opinions on that ;-)As I think either quilting method would suit me.

ALSO - to answer some of your questions posed at the end of this post: I usually search blogs by "category" and I'm always a sucker for the "finished quilts" section. Although I have yet to create that on my blog. I don't care for busy backgrounds, MUSIC!, or tons of adds. I guess I'm simplistic, and like clutter free blogs ;-) I do love photos, and RARELY post without atleast one. Not sure why, but it just seems that photos are interesting to people, as I don't want to bore them with 'only words.' Cheers!

jacquie said...

i have lots of catching up to do too...haven't gotten pictures of my project up yet, but i will. as for blogs...i shy away from ones that are simply ads for their shops...i get frustrated with blogs that post everyday or even more...i can't keep up. i enjoy most blogs that reveal their process, their misteps, their inspirations as well as their successes. i enjoy good writing and humor seems to draw me in. i also love to learn something new...keeps me coming back.

Marielle said...

Just a quick comment as I have to go do something but didn't want to forget.

About blogs and what I like. Looking at my blog list I've realized I have see nothing wrong with blogs that have aren't just limited to one topic - just look at mine LOL. What draws me in is the writing and the ability of the blogger to use their photos, their life and their words to spin a new tale each day. That keeps me coming back. I can't say anything more exact than that but I can definitely tell when I like what I see.

Katie B. said...

Thanks for hosting the Workshop! I really like getting feedback and checking out the other blogs.

As for your questions...I find simple blogs to be most appealing--ones with backgrounds that are fairly plain, not too many bells and whistles. I think navigational tools like categories and archives are really helpful. With quilting blogs in particular, I love to see finished products. I'm new to sewing and quilting, so I also really benefit from seeing tutorials, works-in-progress, and different techniques. And fabric!

Lesly (aka Shadrach Meshach and Abednego) said...

I missed the start of the workshop in progress, dang it, but will be watching for the next one. I wanted to comment on your question about what people like about blogs. I like blogs where the creativity is made apparent, where people talk about their choices and mistakes. Like Jacquie said, I'm not so keen when the blogs are just ads for the shops. I myself have come back to quilting after a 15-year hiatus, and boy, has the quilting world ever changed! It's so rich now with so many styles, and so I like blogs where the writer/quilter is open to a variety of traditions and styles, and thinks about what she is doing in the larger context of women's work with textiles over the years. I enjoy seeing a glimpse into bloggers' everyday lives, as well. I like blogs that have a lot of words, as well as pictures, because I am interested in people and what they think. As a sidebar, I am amazed at how many prolific quilters/bloggers are raising young children! As for the technical details that I like: archives, list of finished quilts and tutorials, up-to-date buttons that link to current blogosphere activities. I don't like it when blogs have background music or all kinds of out of date or random clutter. I have been enjoying yours!

Rene' said...

Cheryl, it is good to see a new post from you. I have you on my list and was missing you ;-)) I am new to blogland, but checked out the workshop in progress when I first got on. I didn't realize anyone could make a comment so I didn't. However, I did enjoy reading the posts and checking out the progress. I will revisit them.

I would be interested in hearing more about the workshop you participated in. Sounds very interesting.

As far as your questions about likes and dislikes, I have to again say I'm new to this, but in my limited time checking blogs, I agree with a lot of what Cristin said. I'm not crazy about music on blogs, busy backgrounds that detract from the pictures, or tons of ads. I do enjoy seeing photos of what everyone is working on ... the more, the better. I like the simple, clutter free, clean lines of many blogs I see. I do like the unusual, unique buttons and design work I've seen in some blogs. So, I'd say it is a balance. I enjoy when bloggers put a list/link of favorite blogs ... it helps with discovering new sites ... same with linking and mentioning others within the posts. I also like when bloggers have archive, tutorials and labels so you can search within their site.

Hope this helps. I do enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.

Victoria said...

I have some catching up to do, but in answer to your question about blogs... I look at a good blog the way that I look at a good magazine... Is it visually appealing? Is it written well? Is it entertaining, informative and/or creatively inspiring? Do the posts continuely strive to offer something new while still maintaining a main subject/target focus? And last but not least, is it presented in a friendly welcoming manner? (Great question by the way!)

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, thanks so much for hosting WIP. It's a fab idea and it's been great to have people helping me out with suggestions and comments, plus it's introduced me to some blogs that I maybe wouldn't have found otherwise!

So blog design. I'm another fan of the simple approach. I like plain backgrounds because patterned ones often make the text hard to read. Patterned ones for me also make a blog feel dated as they were often used on early websites where people realised they could play around with HTML. Just because the code allows you to have an orange background with pink and yellow flashing text, doesn't mean it's a good idea :)

I love pics (and the comments here have made me realise I should post more of them) and love seeing quilts progress from a bunch of fabric through to something finished. I also like links to other people's blogs because I figure that if I enjoy reading a blog, I will probably enjoy the linked ones as well and it's always fun to find new blogs to read.

Another thing I like is a list of completed projects but it works best when there's a link to a pic or post. I've often come across lists of completed quilts and the names sound fantastic but then there's no link to the quilt so you never know what it looks like!

I tend to search by tag rather than anything else although I'll use the search bar if there's something particular I'm looking for, however, everyone's different! I'm a GUI designer so have to ensure my software works for a range of people. If something is accessible from a menu, then it should be possible to do it via drag-drop, a button or a keyboard shortcut as well because everyone has different ways of working. So search via tag, category and search bar are all important as each will appeal to different people.

Anyway, I hope I didn't go on too long! GUI design takes up a fair bit of my life so I found your questions really interesting. Right, essay over :)

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