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Self Employed Designer Maker – Quilter, Textiles, Art

Self Employed Designer Maker – Quilter, Textiles, Art and the effect of lockdown. The Not So Merry Month of May Or the Not So Merry Year of 2020??? For me lockdown is a continuation of my somewhat solitary self-employed ‘lifestyle’ working as an artist in paint and fabric. I have no desire to break lockdown because I want to stay safe, but I do miss my forays into the real world. Just this morning I was reminiscing about my trip to Marseille in February, thank heavens I fitted that in. Only just over two months ago, it seems like a lifetime! Read the book here

Marseille
Marseille

Self Employed Quilter

As a Self Employed Designer Maker – Quilter, Textiles, Art, life has to go on. It is only work that keeps me sane. I finished a quilt that started life some time ago when I made blocks playing with striped fabrics, then put them away because I was not sure what else to do with them. The fabrics are from 2008. This week it came out of the box and is a finished project and a big hit over on Instagram. Maybe I’ll call it ‘Summertime And The Living Is Easy’.

Self Employed Designer Maker
Karen Platt quilt design

So what next? I have a joined together strip to quilt but no thread. I’ll get back to that soon.

Self employed designer maker
Joined up strips

I moved on to another project. Scrap quilts seems to be the overriding theme of 2020. I didn’t want to do blue again just yet and everyone loved the hot colours, that I thought I would still with orange and use up my yellows too. I had two butterfly fat quarters that had been around for a year or more.

scrap quilts
The beginning of a new quilt

Art

My art has taken a nose dive in the last couple of years. It’s mainly a twofold problem, affording more canvases and the space to keep them. I promised myself that I would create several pieces based on my time in Corfu in 2018. So I made a start at last. One finished, and one midway. I think I am capturing the mood at last.

Corfu art
Painting inspired by Corfu

Writing

Tunisia Part two is well underway. If you missed Part One, it is on the website with all the other ebooks. If you missed it, take a look at last week’s blog post, which was a retrospective of all work so far this year. I have done quite a lot.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Textile and Art Inspiration Work Completed

Textile and art inspiration is still to be found in lockdown. Some of us are more housebound than others. Yet others have been housebound for many years through illness. Still in our surroundings or photos we can find inspiration in so much. Using your home or surroundings as inspiration is a very good place to start.

What Has Inspired Me This Week?

I am often housebound, through illness and even lack of money. How these things impact upon me and others is poorly understood. I use my artistic tendencies to stay occupied and inform my textile and art inspiration. This last few weeks I have been following a free online course with Future Learn. I also use my travels in the past to inform my work. This is not only an abundant source of inspiration but also lifts my spirit immensely and gives me hope to travel again.

Tunisia

I was fortunate enough to live in Tunisia for a time. Not only did I research Tunisian carpets and shawls to write a book, Textiles of Tunisia, but I also wrote about travels in the Sahara. Now I am happy to be launching Tunisia, the travel guide. This is only Part One, Part Two will follow shortly. As with all my inspiration ebooks, this one also includes exclusive artwork that is for sale. So my travels inspire my art. You can see one example on the front cover. This ebook is now available on the website , your purchase makes the world of difference to me as an independent artist.

textile and art inspiration

Quilting

Having a long term project that I can work on each day helps enormously. Quilting the scrap quilt was fun. I can procrastinate over quilting, torn between straight line, free motion and so on. I thought hearts were very appropriate to this quilt, given the situation with Covid19 and the increasing number of deaths worldwide. This won’t go on sale until I feel it is safe to go out and post it, but if you do want to purchase, please contact me. It is a two-sided quilt.

textile and art inspiration

Leftover threads

With my leftover threads and tiniest scraps of fabric, I made another thread bowl. These are an inspiration in themselves, a way to use every last bit of waste and turn it into something useful. Waste not want not.

textile and art inspiration

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Quilting and Knitting This Week’s Makes

Quilting and Knitting this week has been rather slow going again owing to health, but I am slowly making progress with both machine and hand quilting as well as hand knitting. Yesterday evening I started painting for the first time in quite a while.

quilting and knitting
scrap quilting

Quilting The Scrap Quilt

I have been continuing with the scrap quilt. At the moment I have all the vertical strips on for the sashing, on the front and back. I have just put the fourth horizontal sashing strip across the front. I hope to get the top quilted this week. In the evenings when able, I am making another Cathedral Windows panel. I am enjoying this much more than the machine sewing. I have one more to do and then three panels will be sewn together for a wall quilt.

quilting and knitting
sashing
Cathedral Window quilting
Cathedral Window quilting

Knitting

Thoroughly enjoying the hand knitting. I am really pleased with this design I created and it is knitting up quite quickly. I have finished the back and one front. This time next week, it should be nearing completion. No time to be bored during lockdown.

quilting and knitting
knitwear design

Writing

When I am not quilting and knitting, anyone who knows me, knows that I am writing books or ecourses. This week I have finished my sixth Travel Inspiration ebook. You can see them all here. The latest one is all about Athens and is based on my trip there in 2016. Virtual travel is becoming my thing! looking back at the images is a joy. As usual, I have created a number of artworks that are included in the ebook, inspired by my trip. So, what’s number seven? It’s Tunisia. I am also writing something that I am keeping under my hat for now. That’s all from my quilting and knitting blog this week.

Travel ebook six Athens
Travel Book Six Athens

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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The Only Inspiration You Need For Creative Work

Yes, I have read a blog ‘headlines that get clicked’ post! So click me now. The basis of any creative work is inspiration. It’s the one thing everyone wants to know about. Where does it come from and how do you get from that initial spark to the end product?

It’s Almost Magic

Yes, there is definitely something magical about it. As artists we see things differently. We see shapes instead of objects and so on. Sometimes even for creatives, getting to that end project can be difficult. That’s why we have unfinished work. The reasons are many – it did not work out as it did inside my head, I got waylaid, interrupted, lost my flow, could not find the product I needed. Much of my work these days is digitally manipulated using multiple photos for effect and therefore very personal in its source.

the only inspiration you need
digital manipulation of two of my own images

The Beginning Is the Same or Similar

Something always catches my eye. It can be something very ordinary or unusual. It does not matter. I do not spend my time thinking ‘must find something today’. I look until I see and a little spark is set alight. This might happen several times a month, week or even day. Often in the middle of the night, curse it. However, I am extremely grateful that there is a constant source, like a tap of water.

New Work

I have two stunning and rather different inspiration ebooks for you this week. They will get your creative juices going, so do click and make that purchase.

Domes are exquisite architectural features along with cupolas, turrets and towers. I have included 580 images plus twenty of my work created with these images. The ebook, a pdf sent to your email, can be found here

The only inspiration you need

I also finished my Madeira ebook this week, which consists of two halves – a travel diary of where I went and the gardens visited with over 800 photos plus a directory of plants growing on the island. It is the second inspiration travel ebook and is available as a pdf here

The only inspiration you need

Join me next Monday to find more inspiration and what I am working on, until then

Words, work and copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Old Textile Work and New

Old textile work was found in my drawer last week. I had discovered a few unfinished projects. This week I had planned new art quilts I had mentioned in last week’s blog. However, having been ill all week, I could not manage much at all.

Friday saw me scramble to get something done and I started my second project with the pink and green fabric. However it is feeling a bit like the other project and I want it to be different. I have an idea for it now.

art quilt
New project
art quilt
new project

Old Textile Work

First though I went back to the old textile work. In my drawer was a four year old project (does not feel that long ago). Based on a photo in Tunisia, and a subsequent drawing as well as an altered image idea. I had gathered all my fabrics only to shove it all in a drawer owing to the death of a loved one. Yesterday I managed to finish it. Not strictly a quilt as it has no wadding, this stitched picture is now complete. I think my object here was to use as many fabrics as I could and this packs in at least eight. Is that a record for a tiny piece?

old textile work
My altered image
old textile work
old textile work finished at last

No sooner have you finished one, that another old textile work beckons. This is one I lost confidence with. It was my very first piece of free motion stitching on a painting. So wobbly, but I think I can pull it together now.

old textile work
old textile work

Looking Ahead

There are still lots of art quilts to get down into fabric and stitch. I am also about to launch my next Inspiration ebook – Domes, Towers and Turrets. It’s been very exciting to work on this one and it is the last of the themes for the moment. There are 14 of them and 3 art/travel ones. Next up in February or March will be the original themes I started doing before I got waylaid. These are not just photos but textile work. More about that next time. Visit the website to see all my work.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2020

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Six month retrospective – quilting, writing, inspiration

Six month retrospective – a look back at my textiles, quilting and writing work. A retrospective of all my work from 21 December 2018 to 21 June 2019.

It’s always good to look back over work and remind yourself of your achievements. I did this for the six previous months to 21 Dec 2018 also, and it popped up in my facebook feed. My immediate reaction was, I have not really done much since then. That is how it felt. So I checked. I am amazed. Here is my six month retrospective of all the work finished and completed in the last six months. Sit back and enjoy.

Quilts

It is odd that you can persuade yourself that the past six months have been a wilderness. I completed not one, not two, but five quilts. Yes five. That is a huge increase in production for me. After two years, I have obviously got the hang of things. Quilt patterns are Hydrangea and Sunflower wall hangings, Charm Quilt (recently featured in British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine – first feature in a quilting magazine), Snowflakes and my favourite Bells of St. Clements Quilt. All quilts are also for sale. Patterns and quilts are on sale on the website.

retrospective hydrangea quilt
Hydrangea quilt pattern
retrospective sunflower quilt
Sunflower Quilt Pattern
Retrospective Charm Quilt
Charm Quilt Pattern
Snowflakes Quilts
Snowflakes Quilt Pattern
quilt pattern
Bells of St Clements Quilt Pattern

Unique Quilting Fabrics

My work has given rise to the creation of digital fabrics for you to enjoy. I created original fabrics based on snowflakes, tiles and stained glass. They are all for sale on the website.

stained glass fabric

Quilting eCourses

Well I perhaps have been a bit slow on the introduction of new quilting ecourses, but the one that was launched is a whopper on the subject of Colour for Quilters (and any other artists). It was entirely written by me from hands on experience and study of the subject over many years.

quilting ecourses
Colour for Quilters ecourse

Inspiration ebooks

We all need inspiration from time to time and I have been building up a library of Inspiration ebooks from my own photos. The Inspiration ebooks are dedicated to themes, seasons or travel. Three new ones were launched in the past six months, bringing the total number to ten. Church Architecture, Spring and Summer are the new additions to the website.

Inspiration ebook churches
Inspiration for artists and quilters – churches
Inspirations ebook spring
Spring Inspiration ebook
Inspiration summer ebook
Summer Inspirations ebook

Finally, this period also saw the launch of a free brochure available for you to download for the ecourses and more. So all that remains is for me to tell you what is in the pipeline for the next six months. Many more quilts, I shall be concentrating on some pieced work as well as art quilts. The first BOM will be launched, more about that next week. I have a quilt going off to FOQ shortly. The Desert Inspirations ebook is almost ready to launch, as is the first travel inspiration book on Madeira. I think the next six months look very interesting. If nothing else it launches the talks at FOQ, another first. All my work is original.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Inspiration for Quilters Local Landscape

Inspiration for quilters can be found anywhere and everywhere. The local landscape is always an excellent place to start when looking for inspiration for quilters. Your local landscape (unless you live in this location) may be different to mine, but you’ll find the inspiration you need if you just look.

You’ll be looking for inspiring views but also concentrating on shapes. Absolutely anything from the banal to the extraordinary can spark off the imagination. Be prepared to look anew, with fresh eyes and open your mind. If you are stuck for inspiration, take a look at my series of ebooks to get you going.

It is true that I have often wished to live somewhere more inspiring, but really my home city is proving to be full of inspiration, right on my doorstep. Take a look around and see what you can find.

I have already talked about one or two ideas I have had from the local landscape and that it is my wish to concentrate on the River Don. This week I walked further along the Don than ever before. I found the nearest ‘picturesque’ spot to the city centre.

I love all the bridges, most of them are from the 1800s. The ripples on the river. The plants along the riverside. The teams have been working hard to rid the river of invasive species. The trees on this part of the river are beautiful and there is a small nature reserve. Occasionally the route goes back to the road. In one spot, the brightly coloured Spiraea was aflame with orange.

What inspiration did I gather from my walk? I noted down patterns, shapes, reflections, a possible landscape quilt. Flora and fauna. I loved the fresh greens of the new leaves. Colours were gathered and recorded. I also made use of some of the photographs digitally, you can see below.

The wonderful thing about inspiration from a natural habitat such as a river or garden, is that it will change through the seasons. So you can keep returning and recording the changes. Until next time, keep quilting.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt

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On the 7th day of January 2019

January new ecourse

I keep reminding myself that we are still in the first week of January 2019 and this is not a race. January is not known for go-getters! I’m out of the starting blocks and winning the race.

Notwithstanding, I have so far designed over 20 new fabrics. 17 of them are snowflake designs. Not all quite uploaded yet but I am getting there. As if that is not enough for one week’s work, I have also designed the Winter Inspirations quilt and what I have done so far is looking fantastic. This quilt, following on from the Summer Inspirations and Autumn Inspirations quilts, consists of several techniques. It is part of my Quilt As You Learn patterns. There is little more inspiring or confidence building than learning as you quilt. The patterns are a mix of tutorial and step by step photographic and written instructions. I am aiming to have this new quilt finished by the end of the month.

The fabrics have been designed for this quilt, although I am not using every design. They are available to buy with or without the pattern. Earlier in the week I designed some new rust inspired fabrics. I am also designing other new fabrics for the quilt above.

Elsewhere I went out to an exhibition in Lincoln. The Land, Sea and Air exhibition, I found a little disappointing.

My own exhibition of mainly paintings with some small textile pieces that are framed is at The Montgomery 25th January – 21st February 2019. It is in the cafe, which is open to the public at all times the Montgomery is open, whether the actual cafe is serving drinks or not. All works on show are available for sale.

The Colour ecourse has been launched and is a fantastic course for anyone who wants to learn about colour for quilters and textile artists. Learn how colours go together, what is right and wrong and most importantly something that no course tackles to my knowledge, how to go beyond the colour wheel.

More next week, stay creative.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2019

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Blog Review of the Week

The blog is a review of my week. Sadly not only did I do something to my back but I am now struggling with energy levels. Despite that I have soldiered on a little and here is the blog with all the latest from your truly.

Where I hoped I would have had another quilt finished entirely – I am still sewing together 4 small strips of tiny half square triangles – not my best news of the week.

I have had better luck with knitting. Not only was I able to finish another hat and get the pattern uploaded to Ravelry but I have also started something that has been high on my list for a long time – a black lace sweater. I found that if I kept my arms as still as possible, I could knit for a while.

Otherwise it has been some writing, with ditto about keeping arms as still as possible! I just find it hard to rest, I have to be doing something. So I launched the fabulous Autumn Inspirations and started work on Winter Inspirations. If you are any kind of artist looking for inspiration or ideas, I am giving you oodles of that in the wonderful ebooks. All my own photos that you can use as you wish. They also contain some of my work.

Elsewhere, the Colour Confidence For Quilters ecourse is almost finished. I really hope quilters will take this to heart because people slavishly follow the colour wheel and I am here to show you that there is a better way to use colour.

One more ecourse almost ready is the Drawing For Textiles one. I am giving you a sneak peek of how you can begin to draw with my exciting new ecourse. So lots more still to come this month.

Meantime, I think I should lay down on a solid board! Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2018