Solids and Semisolids

Having recently created a great portfolio based motifs with an Indian theme, I found myself in need of a single color all over print. These prints help support and draw out the multicolor prints, they allow the eye a resting place within a quilt block. And needless to say,  if you want to make a quilt, you need a bunch of these.The above photo shows the single color design in-progress. I ended up blacking out the entire background of this print before burning it as a Thermofax screen. Now, I seek to print many, many, single color designs.
And although I think single color prints are boring to print…. I still need many of them… So I choose to put my reservations on hold until I print enough to make some pretty quilts! I just need to get past this part. Wish me luck.

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A post shared by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on

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A year of returning.

Last year I was given a glimpse into identifying too closely with yourself through the making of art. I had not previously been forced to assess the role that making art had in my life or that it was so closely identified with how I think of myself as a person. 

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I lost my ability to connect with and do my art for months at a time, I have never been as blocked as this and I hope never to become blocked like this again. There were a few days when I threw my arms up and asked myself, ‘what and who are you without the ability to make?’ All my normal jogs and pushes didn’t work, trying out new media, going to museums, hanging out with friends, I did these things, but they did not lead me back into the making!

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So, rather than to look at my art as a means to connect to self, I have decided that making is a fun thing I do. One of the many things I like to do. And sometimes, you just have to do those other things.

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Buying Dragon, my Thermofax machine, sure did help. That gave some extra luster to wanting to make the plunge and delve deeply into printing enough cloth to make something with.

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Rather than create new motifs, I looked to my collection of woodblock stamps for inspiration. These motif have the effect of being even more exciting to me because they are nothing like what I would design otherwise.

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This week, I hope to print some semisolids, some cloth that will allow for visual relief, a break from all the colorful clutter and motifs that you see here.

All, while I revel in the fact that my creative drought has broken and I am able to return to doing the creative work that makes me happy. I may yet become blocked again. I may suffer a creative drought, where I wonder who I am without the ability to access my creative center, I hope not. But at least I will know, it does come back! Even if I just have to let it run its course.


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I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

One stitch and one day at a time.

I am happy to say, I have found my creative verve again. This year has been a challenge for me artistically. One where I totally lost my ability to create for a few months. This is not normal for me. Usually, when I become blocked and find myself unable to create, I will stop using the media I am focused on and start using a different media all together. This year, this did not work, at all. Instead, I stopped seriously making anything for a few months and did other work. 

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I did many things to try and lift the block. I Gathered my Sew-plies!! and sewed around the city, I made a quilt after printing all the fabric for the top, I posed for breast cancer awareness articles, and traveled to Germany for an exciting photoshooting. I know it sounds like I was super engaged creatively. And I was.

But what really gets up my gander is challenging myself to try new things. Like printing a series, which I have never done before. And while working with the same image multiples of time might sound boring, I don’t find it that way at all! Actually, quite the opposite. With each printing, I see differences in print quality, different color combinations, with each stitch I see the work individuate from its fellows. I guess sometimes, creative blocks really just need time. 

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I have just uploaded and completed 5 of the embroidered Breastless Beauties. Breastless Beauty 5, Breastless Beauty 6, Breastless Beauty 9, Breastless Beauty 10, Breastless Beauty 11. I hope you might like one! 


 

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I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

Wow, a whirlwind.

These last few weeks have been amazing. Hectic crazy, fun, well worth it.

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My creative stand still came to an end, thank goodness.

I went to quilt market while visiting my Bestie. I learned a lot.

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And the Play Out (click this link to see a sexy, hip commercial for the undies) and Flattopper Pride underwear photoshoot went viral. It started with HuffPo, then it shifted and became a sprinkling of articles, then I started seeing my photograph under Japanese characters, in Norwegian online magazines, BuzzFeed, Mashable, People. I was interviewed for an article in Women’s Health (apologies to my husband, it just popped out.). I don’t know what, ‘in association with the New York Times means but, I think it got very close to being in the New York Times, if not officially in it.

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I was able to meet Barbara Rosenblat, the actress who played Ms. Rose in Orange is the New Black, a favorite show of mine. In season two she was in cancer treatment. I won’t tell the story, I just loved the character she played. Rain Dove, the androgynous model I am pictured beside in a few of the ad campaign and on the red carpet event at the New York Women in Film and Television, where I met Ms. Rosenblat.

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I was thrilled. I love the above scene. Just love it.

I experienced vile and bullying comments. That wasn’t a treat. But my self esteem is not tied to other people’s opinions of me, so that is that. I am thinking up a post about this, having to do with allowing love in, opening your heart to all body types, breasted, reconstructed, flat, fat, thin and differently abled.

Let me know if you are interested in this.

OH! And, I am printing the border for my next quilt top! Next up, green!! Photos to follow. Let me just say, I want this quilt top done by Saturday, Quilt Guild! I am very excited about it.

And, hey wait!! Brave? Well, yeah. Determined. Willing. Beautiful. Brave is the least of it.

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Please comment. I miss you all. It has been a good few weeks and better to get back into the flow of creative living.

 

 

A little of this, some of that.

I have been happily printing away over here. I am now even piecing a simple quite made of the printed samples like you see above. I adore printing in repeat, creating repeats, seeing the pieces of cloth come to life. And now, they are becoming a quilt! I am simply sewing these squares together, photos will be forthcoming.

Peach is a complete wonder. We are learning to communicate. We love each other and the three of us, the Man, Peach and I are a happy family. We finally found Peach’s favorite food. She asks for three feeings a day when we feed her Wellness Select in the chicken flavors. She has put on a little bit of weight and I love her little plump.

I have been playing with the idea of commemorative cloth. I took an image of Repose, the one that inspired my 2007 entry into Quilt National, and made a mirror image of it without breasts, but with scars instead. I will be coloring this image soon. The ribbons that circle the image are as close as I will get to acknowledging ‘pink ribbon culture’. I despise the commercialization of breast cancer awareness, we have enough awareness, we need a cure. Beside which, there are other cancers that need a leg up.
But enough of that.
I am unsure weather I am commemorating my breasts or my lack of breasts. I do know that I want to offer beautiful imagery of non-reconstruction, of flatness, for flatties, I want to help normalize this decision for women around the world.
I daydream of having these bandanas printed and offered for sale to raise money for a pamphlet campaign. It was so tough to decided against reconstruction at my care facility that I daydream of having pamphlets in oncologist offices across the nation that show the beauty and viability of this simple option. These pamphlets would discuss how to go about talking with doctors, how to get beautiful results and offer support to women, so that if they choose to opt out, they know they are not alone.
For now though, if you have found my blog by searching bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, check out the Flat and Fabulous group on facebook.

(P.S. You can click on the images to make them bigger.)