Power Builders 02.27.15

Melanie McNeil:

Not just for quilters!

Originally posted on Catbird Quilt Studio:

This is Week #4 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) This story tells of one woman who developed her power through an outreach program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Yes, women’s prison. The women had the opportunity to create quilts, expressing…

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Venus-Mars | 2015 Conjunction

Originally posted on JAR Blog:

Early in February I suggested you watch bright Venus in the evening sky as it passed very close to Mars in a beautiful conjunction. Venus came within a lunar diameter of Mars on February 21st. For those fortunate to have clear skies, you could watch from night to night as the event played out. Here in Iowa we had a mix of clouds, some clear days, and some single digit temperatures with wind. That is typical winter weather for the midwest.

I hoped for clear skies so I could photograph the pairing each evening and then combine them into one image showing the movements of each planet. Nature cooperated some of the time.

Overall Perspective

This graphic from an online orrery shows the locations of the planets on February 17th. In this oblique view, each planet is moving counter-clockwise around the Sun. Venus moves faster than Mars and passes it by from…

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Astro-Images | Dwarfs-Eskimos-Collisions

Originally posted on JAR Blog:

Three examples of the combination of red, green, and blue filtered grayscale images into one of color using the technique I described previously.


NGC 2440

When a star similar to our sun reaches the end of its life, it blows off the material near the surface in a colorful “last hurrah” nebula. The grayscale images I used for this picture were taken on Feb. 6, 2007, by the Hubble Space Telescope. See their color image. The outer layers of gas had formed a cocoon around the star core. Ultraviolet light from the star now makes the debris glow. Different colors indicate elements of hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. The white dot burned-out star in the center is called a white dwarf. Our sun will do the same in about 5 billion years. Follow this link to a short video describing the location in Puppis southeast of Sirius and Orion. Click images to embiggen.

NGC2440 From original grayscales |…

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Pay for Quilters (and other Crafters and Artists)

Melanie McNeil:

How much do crafters earn in the US? How much should they earn? More than overseas textile workers? Take a look.

Originally posted on Catbird Quilt Studio:

I was curious this morning about how well crafters are paid. What should we plug in to that wage figure, when we calculate cost of labor? Well, guess what, folks — there is a way to find out! In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps records of wages in thousands of labor categories.

The most recent statistic for 2012 shows a median hourly wage of $21.34 per hour. “Median” means it is the middle, with half of workers making more than that and half making less. Federal minimum wage is $7.25, so the median is approximately three times minimum wage. Below is a screen shot of the page I viewed. Click through here to see it for yourself and read more detail.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 4.02.36 PM

Let’s go a little farther with this look. Suppose we want to compare the textile crafter or artist in the U.S. to a textile laborer in…

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You Should Sell Those: A Play in Three Short Scenes, with Commentary

Melanie McNeil:

For any artist or crafter to consider…

Originally posted on Catbird Quilt Studio:

Scene 1
[Setting: small town library reading room. Characters: paint artist and quilter.]
Artist: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

Scene 2
[Setting: quilt shop. Characters: quilt shop clerk and quilter.]
Clerk: For the women who make the quilts we sell, it’s really a labor of love.
Quilter: If I’m going to put that much love into a quilt, I’ll give it to someone I love.

Scene 3
[Setting: quilter’s living room. Characters: professional musician and quilter.]
Musician: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

The End


All three of these scenes have happened to me in the last few weeks. I relate these to you because there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the value of hand-made crafts. I’ll use quilting as my frame of reference, but the discussion surely applies just as well to…

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