Looking for my Art with Fabric Blog Hop post?

Due to the bugginess of the internet, my post for May 16, “Time for Tea!”, is appearing two posts below.

So, if you are looking for the post for the Art with Fabric Blog Hop, or just want to see my latest news, please scroll down or click on this“Time for Tea!” link.

Thanks!

To Fill a Design Wall!

With the completion of Ground Zero Reborn, my design wall looked quite blank. My plans for my next art quilt were uncertain so I wondered if perhaps I would be staring at a blank wall for a bit. Not to worry! Quilts Beyond Borders NW Regional Coordinator Susan Schmidt mailed me a collection of odds and ends that had potential for some nautical themed quilts if there was someone to pick up the challenge.

I can’t say that I would ever have purchased most of the prints but, hey, a challenge is a challenge. So, over the past weeks my design wall has been busy.  This first top used a number of blocks that had already been pieced. I was able to sort through the miscellaneous strips and odd remnants and come up with what I considered an acceptable layout:

The next top that I sent Susan used some of the fabrics that appealed a bit more to me. Once again, I received a few blocks and miscellaneous strips. These were accompanied by a large amount of that mini-anchor fabric. I instinctively would have preferred the border to have been some of the darker blue fabric but I needed to work with what was before me.

The next group of fabrics that I tackled were quite strange and I have not yet actually completed a top. However, I have a plan! 🙂

I have purchased some blue fabric that matches the blue in those mini blocks quite well and plan to fill in blue so those pictorials are surrounded by blue strips with those mini-blocks interspersed. I haven’t quite found the energy yet to tackle the math for cutting the needed pieces so this group is now sitting in a pile on my floor while I play a bit with Karen Ruane on a project called Artist Books (more about that in another post). There will be one more top at least, I expect, for Quilts Beyond Borders, using up the remaining fabric. It has been a good use of my time. I find the quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi to be quite true: “For it is in giving that we receive.” I find great comfort in the thought that these functional quilts may bring comfort to children who are in difficult times.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists!

 

Return to Center

There is no true path without center
With center, the mind, body, and spirit –

Passion and commitment unleash
A force that cannot be contained.
Thomas Crum

A visit to the island of Maui a few weeks ago reminded me of the importance of ‘recharge’ breaks in life for staying centered and nurturing my artistic spirit. Maui had been an annual stopping point for my husband and I for many years. A little condo complex perched on the western shore offered an easy resting spot for us where we could quickly slip into a laid back routine. However, life has a way of intervening and it had been three years since our last visit.

It did not take long after our arrival for me to remember just why we had spent so many years trekking out to the spot annually. It felt as though the crashing waves outside our lanai were washing away tensions in my body. As I sat watching whales frolicking in the ocean, I realized the inspiration for many of my art quilts had emerged in similar moments sitting on a Maui lanai. The setting was a vehicle for me to nurture my own centered state akin to recharging a battery.

Back home on the mainland, I continued to play with the concept of recharging center. I began to identify and more fully appreciate the places in my travels where that feeling of ‘recharging’ was strongest and that I intuitively longed to return. I found each conveyed a deep feeling of peace that nurtured my creativity even though the locations varied significantly in landmark characteristics. High on my list were two sites in busy Paris – the sculpture gallery of the Louvre and the restored home of Rodin that displays many of his works.

Louvre Museum

Rodin Museum

Other ‘recharging stations’ for me were in more remote destinations: a beach on the west coast of Ireland, the ice in Antarctica, a mountain top perch in western Colorado.

County Mayo, Ireland

County Mayo, Ireland

Rocky Mountains

Fortunately, these places are not the only way for me to recharge. Daily meditation is my ‘at home’ go to for starting off a day in a balanced and inspired state, and sites such as the Seattle Art Museum, much more accessible than Antarctica, are guaranteed to recharge and inspire me. However, my Maui trip has reminded me of the importance of scheduling visits to some of those more distant magical places as often as possible. In fact, next year is already booked!

 

 

Time for Tea!

I was very excited to be asked by Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting to join the Spring 2017 edition of the “Art With Fabric Blog Hop!”   If you are not familiar with the Art with Fabric Blog Hop, contributors are asked to create an art work inspired by a ‘conventional’ piece of art – it could be a painting, a carving, a sculpture from any era – that leaves choices pretty open for the contributor I would say. The ‘theme’ for the spring 2017 hop was women. We could choose an inspiration piece made by a woman artist… or a piece that displays a woman… or a piece that represents some kind of women related theme… How we were to include or interpret the theme was left completely up to us.

The invitation to participate came in a few days after the inauguration of a new U.S. president – a time where tensions in the U.S. were running high you might say. Hundreds of thousands of women had just marched to express concern about the future of women’s issues and rights.

As I accepted the invitation to participate in the blog hop, my mind went immediately to a sculpture that sits in a park in Rochester NY near the National Susan B Anthony House – the home of the legendary American women’s rights leader during the most politically active period of her life, from 1866 until her death in 1906. It is now a permanent memorial to Anthony and the cause of women’s rights.

The bronzed sculpture called “Let’s Have Tea,” created by Rochester sculptor Pepsy Kettavong, was erected in 2001 — at the behest of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. It portrays Ms. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, two early local champions of civil rights sharing a cup of tea. The famous suffragist and abolitionist were close friends who shared the common goals of social justice and civil rights.

I loved the sculpture the moment I laid eyes upon it. A cup of tea has special symbolism in so many cultures. In my Irish homeland, a cup of tea is often the first thing you are offered upon visiting someone’s home. In Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson wrote that in the high tension areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan any meetings of substance always began with sharing tea.

And, so, I chose Pepsy Kettavong’s sculpture for my inspirational piece. I created an art quilt, using the silouhette of Susan B. Anthony and called it “It’s time for Tea!” I can definitely visualize Ms. Anthony taking to task those who are attempting to govern the U.S. now, reminding them it is time to sit down, discuss, and begin to work together.

Please do check out the other artists in the Spring 2017 Art With Fabric Blog Hop who are posting their creations today:

Linking as well to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday………

Ground Zero Reborn

I spent much of my studio time in the early months of 2017 working on a new art quilt that I have titled Ground Zero Reborn. The idea for the piece came directly from a visit that I made to the Ground Zero site in Manhattan in early November 2016.

The financial district of Manhattan has always been important in my life as my parents met while working on Wall St. and my father worked for an investment firm for his entire career. After 9/11, I visited the Ground Zero site whenever I was near New York City. I remember peering through plywood walls in the early weeks, years later standing in line for hours to gain admittance to the reflecting ponds and finally on this last visit walking down into the Memorial museum.

In the weeks after my November visit, I realized that something had definitely shifted for me. I had gained some perspective and perhaps some reassurance that whatever was thrown at us as a country, healing was possible with time. I have no doubt that my feelings of hopefulness were due in part to the choice of white marble for the interior of the massive Occulus transportation hub which lies on part of the Ground Zero site as well as it’s amazing roof design that reminded me of a bird taking flight into the future.

Photo of the Occulus building taken in November 2016 from the memorial ponds.

My new art quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, reflects my perspective now, in 2017, on the Ground Zero site and the journey of the site since that fateful day. It does this through three separate but joined art quilts.

The lowest quilt in the grouping, Remember, speaks to the horrible carnage and destruction of that fateful day when the towers came down. It is essential in my world view that we never forget horrific world events caused by mankind and that we learn from them so hopefully they will never be repeated.

The middle quilt in the sequence, Respect, honors the nearly 3000 victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 and 2/26/1993 as well as all those who risked their lives to help save others. It underscores the important place of respectfulness in modern society. It is my fervent hope that in paying homage to those who lost their lives, we will be inspired to commit to living our own lives at a higher level as we have the privilege of life.

The top quilt in the group, Rebirth, acknowledges the steps forward that Manhattan has taken to rebuild and revitalize its damaged community and population. I see in the image the spirits of those lost on the site soaring to the heavens. The piece truly embodies my hope that we will learn from the past and work towards a future without violence.

The three art quilts that are Ground Zero Reborn were created using multiple fiber techniques as appropriate to each quilt. Much of the stitching was done by hand with care and loving thoughts for those that lost their lives on the site.

Exhibiting with a Good Friend

I was honored to receive word a week ago that my art quilt, After the Storm, has been accepted into the 2017 Sacred Threads exhibit.

I have always loved the Sacred Threads exhibit. It is held bi-annually in Herndon, VA. The website for the exhibit describes its purpose as “a positive influence on the human spirit, giving joy as well as addressing concerns of the soul and mind.”  In my journey as an art quilter, I immediately flagged the exhibit as one that I would love to be part of. I have been fortunate to have been previously accepted into the 2013 and 2015 exhibits. My 2015 contribution, JOY!, has been part of the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit.

After the Storm depicts a scene on the Hana coastline of Maui in Hawaii. It had been a day of torrential rains. We had been on a day long tour of the coastline and had pulled over near a viewing point. The remnants of some branches that had blown against some rocks caught my eye. The sun was just beginning to break through the clouds.

I entered After The Storm into the exhibition under the category of grief. For me, the broken branches reaching out and seeming to pierce the skyline represented emotions of angst and pain that I have felt in my life as friends and family have passed on. The sky, beginning to clear, served as a reminder that life goes on.

The 2017 exhibition will be July 7-23 at the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon. If you are in the area this summer, it is an exhibit definitely worth seeing. In the meantime, I am linking to Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday blog so you can see what other artists have been up to this week.

A Feeling of Closure

Closure:
A sense of resolution or closure at the end of an artisitic work.
Definition in Google.

I have been working fairly intensely on a project for the past two months that revolves around the Ground Zero site in Manhattan. I revisited the site last November and wrote about it in a post on this blog. As I wrote in that post, it was not my first visit to the area but this last visit was meaningful in that I began to see past the horrors and the sadness  and to recognize new life or rebirth in the area. It was that experience that prompted me to create an art quilt that captured my perception of this transformation.

I am still in process on that work and documenting the steps in its development on my Facebook artist page. I realized though this past week that I had reached a turning point in my process – from design to mainly execution.   It created a true feeling of closure that I promptly celebrated by cleaning my studio whose floor was covered with fabrics and sketches. I will save you from what my studio looked like ‘before’ but here is a peak at the after. You may not think this is very ‘open’ so just imagine every place where there is carpeting filled with piles of paper and fabric. 🙂

That large case that you see is for my new Bernina 765 machine that I purchased a month ago to celebrate my birthday. I had decided that 2017 would have a mantra of ‘simplify, simplify’. I have owned an 830 for many years, along with the embroidery attachment that I simply could never get excited over. My 830 was finicky…….it did a beautiful job of free motion quilting once I had the tension just right. But, I had come to realize that my needs were simpler than an 830. My 765 sews for me instantly, whenever I need a straight seam. And, when I want to quilt with it, it does so without any objection. I am in love with it and wondering why it took me so long to change.

Getting closure on projects has proved quite simple with my 765. And so, I retrieved my UFO Aspen III that I wrote about last year and finally faced and labeled it. As a result, I am pleased to be an early bird for the 2017 SAQA Auction.

                                                         Aspen III

I am looking forward to finishing my Ground Zero quilt and moving on to other projects. Hope that you are all moving forward too!

 

 

 

 

Wrapping Up Dreams

One of my projects towards the end of last year was to create a wrapping cloth. Many of the participants in my stitching group with Karen Ruane were creating cloths and so there was a lot of camaraderie.  Much of the written history that I could find traces the origins of wrapping cloths to the Japanese as early as the Nara period (710-784). The custom has spread world wide with cloths used to wrap precious items or hold precious thoughts, tiny pockets can metaphorically hold loving wishes for a recipient – the interpretations and applications are endless.

My wrapping cloth is relatively small (21″ x 15″) and I focused upon a theme of joy and playfulness in creating it. Since I was concurrently formulating a design for an art quilt on Ground Zero in Manhattan, it was a good contrasting focus for me! The cloth is quite detailed with many hidden pockets and embroideries. I am quite pleased with the results and happy to share with you.

Detail photos:

Hidden pocket and cutwork insert

surface pocket with hidden embroidery behind it (pictured below)

 

 

 

Linking with Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other artists have been up to.

A Trio of Memories

Those that touch our lives
stay in our hearts forever

My Aunt Eleanor was blessed to live a long and amazing life. Her three children are all special cousins to me. After her passing at the age of 100, my cousin Kate was kind enough to share with me some vintage French lace doilies that her Mom had tucked away. The doilies had never been used and were still held together by a single stitch and a tag of origin.  I decided to create a trio of small wrapping cloths for my cousins from them.

For a contrasting fabric to the white lace doilies, I used a fat quarter of an aboriginal design cloth that I had run across while I was visiting the La Conner Quilt Museum last fall. Using some spun silk broadcloth as a base, I created three unique cloths for my three cousins and saved them for holiday giving. The wrapping cloths have now been distributed so I thought I would share some photos on this blog. I am particularly pleased with how they turned out.

I was able to draw upon many of the stitches and techniques from my studies with Karen Ruane in creating these pieces.

In the detail photo below, you catch a glimpse of some gimp anchored with bullion knots and stab stitches. Karen is using gimp in her own compositions in the most amazing ways. I chose here to simply create a line echoing the triangular prairie points and highlighting three pieces of the lace. You can really appreciate the beauty of the lace in this close up.

In the composition detailed below, I used some covered cording to create a design line and then added some appliqué circles outlined with chain stitches and yo-yos as a background to the lace doilies.

My third piece used the largest doily in the group. I used French knots, gimp, and chain stitching as well as some small appliqué circles to offset the larger lace piece.

All three pieces were backed with white cotton fabric and given a finishing touch of an edging of small running stitches.

I had many fond moments remembering time with my Aunt as I was stitching these mementos for her children. My hope is that the pieces I created will bring back many similar memories for each of my cousins when they happen upon them in their own homes.

New Facebook Page

With the start of the new year, I have begun an artist page on Facebook. I am slowly developing a gallery there which eventually will highlight my hand stitchery as well as my art quilts. I will also use the page to share posts as I create new works. I intend to still blog here several times a month but if you would like to also follow my new page, here is the link.

 

Joy about JOY

Joy in looking and comprehending
is nature’s most beautiful gift.
Albert Einstein

JOY

“JOY” is a work that I entered in the Sacred Threads 2015 show. It was accepted both for the main show in Herndon, VA and for the following traveling exhibit. For the past 18 months, it has been traveling to different venues across the US. About a week ago, I received word that the traveling exhibit would be featured at the Texas Quilt Museum this winter and that “JOY” had been selected as one of the quilts on display. Last night I learned that “JOY” was featured in the Texas Quilt Museum newsletter announcing their exhibits opening in January.

I am delighted that so many people are getting to enjoy my art quilt. The photo behind the quilt was taken on a ski trip to Aspen Colorado where my granddaughter had one of her first experiences of snow. Her enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and I could not resist sharing her true expression of joy through an art quilt.

I am truly honored to have my art quilt as part of the Sacred Threads exhibit. The bi-annual exhibit is a forum for fiber artists to share their works and stories on themes of Joy, Spirituality, Inspiration, Grief, Healing and Peace/Brotherhood. The exhibit is accompanied by audio recordings of the artists explaining their motivations behind their works. The combination of visual and audio create a powerful experience for the observer.

You can learn more about Sacred Threads at this link. The next main exhibit, Sacred Threads 2017, will be in July in Herndon, VA.

Goodbye 2016!

The last day of the year! Perhaps, more than ever, I am grateful to have 2016 fade into memory. Looking back over my blog, it has been a good year. Perhaps my eagerness to let it go stems from the fact that the post-Thanksgiving weeks of 2016 seem to have been filled with family illness and stress. Who would not want to have that fade away!

But, when I step back and glance through my posts for the past year, I have to admit that it has been a pretty productive year.  I completed a number of art quilts that I am pleased with, donated a number of quilts and tops to Quilts Beyond Borders, entered a few shows and was pleased to be accepted, took the time to take two classes with Elizabeth Barton, and continued throughout the year to be part of Karen Ruane‘s hand stitching groups.

Ghost_Trees

Ghost Trees appeared in exhibits in Taiwan and Washington State

After_The_Storm

After the Storm made its debut at the La Conner Museum Annual Quilt Fest

In my personal life, it was my first complete year living out west and the most memorable event undoubtedly was the birth of my second grandchild, Miriam, in March. Her arrival certainly dominated my life for the remainder of the year. Of that, I have no regrets.

img_0697My beautiful grandkids

2017 holds so much potential…….I am still sorting my goals and projects for the coming year. For now, I am content to say good bye to 2016 and wish everyone:

Happy New Year!

‘Tis the season

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy.
I woke and I saw that life is all service.
I served and I saw that service is joy.” 

― Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran’s words have been one of my favorite mantras for years. I first heard it in a workshop I took with author Tom Crum many, many years ago. It was probably one of the spurs that drove me to work with Tom for twenty-five years facilitating getting his work out in the world.

As the holiday season descended upon us, it felt only appropriate to me that one of my goals should be to complete another quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders.  I mentioned in a post last October that Susan Schmidt, my region’s coordinator, had given me a huge bag of fabric cuttings, all from one manufacturer, and asked if I would like to try to ‘design’ a few quilts out of them. I had already sent Susan two quilts and what was left was an assortment of strips of varying widths and lengths that looked as though they were mainly selvedge strips, perhaps from backings that long-arm volunteers used in quilting tops. I emptied out the bag, cleared my design wall and started pinning up random pieces to confirm if there were enough for an actual quilt.

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I could see that there were just enough if I was really careful in how I pieced the strips. So, for a few days, as I worked on other projects in my studio, I gradually rearranged my ‘raw material’ into a more pleasing layout.

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I gave the project a working title of “Waste not, want not” as I stitched pieces together. There was a certain amount of pleasure in knowing that even the remnants of other donations were being sewn together to give someone a gift of warmth in this holiday season. Hats off to this wonderful organization that provides comfort and support to those in need throughout the year.

Simplicity in line – Yves Saint Laurent

This fall I have had the opportunity to visit the Yves St Laurent exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum twice! The museum has really created a breath-taking exhibit of his work. Each time I visited the experience was uplifting and I learned a little more about the genius that was Yves St. Laurent.

There is a simplicity of line in all of Saint Laurent’s designs. You can see it both in these sketches included in the exhibit and in this display of his dresses.

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One particular design element that attracted me were the gentle wraps of fabric that are present in many of his designs.

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After Saint Laurent moved to Marrakesh, he incorporated more and more color into his designs. Here is one of my favorites that was on display:

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And, then there were those designs that just held your attention for their astounding creativity.

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The exhibit is at the museum through the holidays so if your travels take you to Seattle, I hope you will be able to check it out. There is so much more on exhibit. If you can’t, here is a link to a brief slide show on Sant Laurent and the exhibit created by the museum that you can enjoy.

 

Rebirth happens

No day shall erase you
from the memory of time.
Virgil

virgil

Quote greeting you as you descend to the floor of the museum.

I spent the weekend after the U.S. election immersed in the Ground Zero neighborhood. In the end, it was an uplifting trip. The events of September 11, 2001 are etched in the beings of most Americans who were alive on that day. Having grown up in New York City with parents whose lives revolved around the New York financial district, the horror of that day pierced me deeply. St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center, which waited on alert that fateful day for the injured that never came, was a mere block from my grandmother’s apartment.

Over the years, I have visited the site many times…….weeks after the attack, I peered through fencing at the wreckage. As years passed, I followed the debates over moving forward with what was surely hallowed ground. Eight of the sixteen acres were used to create a park where the footprints of the destroyed buildings hold reflecting ponds with waterfalls that are lined with the names of those who died either on that day or in the earlier attack on the trade center.  I visted those ponds when they opened to the public.

This time I had tickets for the 9/11 Memorial Museum which now stands on the site. I confess that as I traveled down into the museum proper I grew increasingly nervous. As images of the two towers still standing abounded, I needed to stop and breathe a bit. There were tears in my eyes for over half of the time I spent in the museum – I think after that I was numb to the sorrow of what I was revisiting.

And then, for me, it was over. Back above ground with thankfully beautiful fall weather, I spent the rest of my weekend wandering the neighborhood that now surrounds the site.

Some of the buildings were present in 2001. St. Paul’s Chapel stands across the street from site. Only one window pane was broken during the attack and for nine months the church served as an oasis with services for those working at the site. These days tourists wander in and out of the chapel. The Bell of Hope rests in the chapel grounds. It was gift to NYC from the city of London  and has been rung every year on the anniversary of 9/11. It is a peaceful place.

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“Bell of Hope’ on the grounds of St. Paul’s Chapel with Freedom Tower in background.

This was my first visit to the area since the Occulus has been completed. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, the hub not only is an embarcation point for over 250,000 daily commuters but a tourist mecca of shops and restaurants, all in a massive white open space. However, it is the roof design that is magical. It reminds of wings of a dove, rising from the depth of ground zero, carrying hope for our future.

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Inside the Occulus

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Oculus roof rising from the reflection ponds of Ground Zero.

The theme of openness is carried into other complexes being built in the neighborhood. Brookfield Place is a complex office, restaurants, and high end stores that complements the WTC site. Outside the complex, one can see in the distance,  Ellis Island, where so many of our ancestors first set foot on U.S. soil. It is a good reminder of how our country has always been built upon diversity.

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View towards WTC from inside Brookfield Place

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View of Ellis Island from harbor edge

By the end of my visit, my spirit did feel uplifted. What happened on 9/11 will forever remind us of the horrors that human beings are capable of; what has been created in the years since in the area reminds us both of the goodness that was manifested that day by victims and survivors and the courage and commitment to moving forward positively that is the bedrock of this nation’s being. That bears remembering after this election season!!

What ever happened to World Peace?

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‘World Peace’ was the working working title for the art quilt I blogged about in early September. The irony of that title often had me chuckling this fall. It was a great idea – combining the old Irish language of Ogham with popular symbols of peace to create a vertical wall hanging. The 3 inch square blocks containing the symbols offered an opportunity to spotlight my hand stitching. A technique I had used years ago to reverse appliqué blocks using some of my Bernina’s decorative stitches felt like just the right touch. I had the perfect piece of hand dyed fabric for the background.

For six weeks I sampled and played. All seemed to be going well. But then I began to pull it all together. The thought ‘world peace is never easy’ went through my mind repeatedly. The best laid plans just didn’t come together just right. I found myself thinking ‘ well, that doesn’t look too bad’. There came a point where I stepped back and realized that I was thinking that thought just too many times.

And so, ‘World Peace’ was put to rest. I withdrew from the challenge and redirected my energy to other projects. I have been busy with Quilts Beyond Borders and my class Wrapped and Bound in Stitch with Karen Ruane. It has been a few weeks now. I think it is the first time I have actually stopped creating a piece so far into the process. It definitely felt strange at first – particularly because no other art quilt project replaced it. It was the last piece that I had planned to make in 2016.

And, world peace? Well, it certainly doesn’t look like the world is embracing it just now……..the past few days I have wondered about cutting up those less than perfect elements of my abandoned quilt and reconstructing a more chaotic portrayal, perhaps with lots of question marks… After all, ‘world peace’ would be messy and certainly not simple. The bottom line though is that, really, it is not a concept to be given up on.  We will see what 2017 brings. For now, I will leave you with a song that speaks to the need far better than any words I can write. How sad that this performance was 26 years ago and we are still waiting.

Making Choices

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven!
Ecclesiastes

It’s been a month since I last wrote. For my own sanity, I needed to take a break. I hold that life is good and can always find the silver lining in every cloud. But, even for me, the optimist, there are times when life can get pretty overwhelming and lots of deep breaths are called for. 🙂 And so, about a month ago, I realized that I was going to have to make some choices and one choice was to let my blog rest for a few weeks so I could put my energy to other purposes.

I will say that while I haven’t been blogging, I have been sewing. Unfortunately, I can’t share my major hand stitching work just yet as it involves some gifts. But, I can share a photo of my latest quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders. I had the pleasure a week or so ago to have lunch with the regional coordinator for my area, Susan Schmidt. She is totally dedicated to getting as many quilts made as is possible for the refugees in this world. At our lunch, she handed me a huge bag of fabric cuttings, all from one manufacturer, and asked if I would like to try to ‘design’ a few quilts out of them. Always up for a challenge, I took the bag home with me. My cousin and I sorted the pieces and there were enough for me to piece what I call my ‘string quilt.’

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I estimate that I should get at least two more tops out of the scraps. There are a number of larger rectangles which should easily yield one top. After that, I will have a collection of much smaller pieces. Any thoughts on creating a top from them are greatly appreciated.

I should mention, if you happen to be visiting the Houston Quilt Festival in early November, Quilts Beyond Borders will have a table in the Expo. It was just a year ago in Houston that I learned about the organization. I understand they will have 300 kits there for anyone to pick up and take home to piece a quilt. Do take home a few if you are there.

I do hope to share more of my activities over the past few weeks in time – just re-learning to pace my writings. In the meantime, you can go over to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday and draw some inspiration from some other artists.

Thought I would also share a rendition by Judy Collin’s of my opening quote. It is timeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been a Good Week

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.

Tagore

It is always nice to feel validated. I create to make my own statements and follow my heart in doing so. But, then it is always good to be acknowledged.

Earlier this week, I learned that one of my quilts, Ghost Trees, has been accepted into the exhibit, “Material Measurement – Magnitude, Meaning & Makers”. It will be on display from October 1 – November 26 at the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim – Dungeness Valley in Washington.

Ghost_Trees

No sooner than I had sent the piece off to Sequim, the latest copy of the SAQA Journal showed up on my computer. I was delighted to find that one of my favorite art quilts, Journey, is featured in the Member Gallery. The theme for the gallery is ‘adventure’.

Journey

While it feels good to have my work acknowledged, for me the best feelings come when I can be of service. Happily, while so much good news had been coming my way, I was able to create another quilt top for Quilts Beyond Borders. It is a very simple design of 5″ blocks that I found on the web, but I am really pleased with the results:

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With hope that you all have an equally good week in your futures!

Appreciation

The past seven days have had a number of milestones that remind the time is flying by:

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My oldest granddaughter turned five!

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My littlest granddaughter turned six months.

Even she seems amazed that she is able to sit up:

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Amidst all these delightful occurrences, I made a trip over to La Conner Washington for the first SAQA Regional Meeting held for Washington state. There were nearly 40 of us present, including some SAQA members from British Columbia, Idaho, and Oregon. It was a wonderful meeting.

Jane Dunnewold was the keynote speaker and spoke for an hour on the theme of her latest book, Creative Strength Training. I found her to be a warm and entertaining speaker. I have a copy of her book and hope to read it on an upcoming trip.

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Panel Discussion on Being a Professional Art Quilter

There was also an excellent panel discussion moderated by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts with panelists, Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Gail Harker and Bonnie Bucknam. Patricia is an extremely talented moderator who immediately engaged the audience and crafted her questions to bring out the distinctions in the paths that all three very successful artists have chosen.

We also were treated to a tour of the La Conner Quilt Museum which was across the street and had time to network and make plans for future gatherings.

I returned home with some special fabrics and laces from the museum as well as some inspirational coloring books I found in a shop in Seattle.

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The SAQA auction begins today so I hope that you will take a moment to visit the auction and plan your purchases/donations over the next few weeks. I have been a member of SAQA for many years and watched it grow as the popularity of the art quilt has expanded. The organization has worked hard to create venues where the public can view the amazing art achieved by these fiber artists. At the same time, I see the organization stepping up more and more to support the new art quilter. The auction is an opportunity to support their efforts and come away with a beautiful work of art as well.

 

One Step at a Time

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
Charles Spurgeon

Progress is made one tiny step at a time. So it was with this week. As I gaze over at my design wall while I write this, I see reminders of this week.

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No more progress on the ‘World Peace’ theme piece and that ‘Aspen 3’ art quilt is still waiting to be bound. However, the ‘Morning Walk’ art quilt is now completely quilted. Threads are hanging and binding remains but the basic quilting is complete. I am relieved. I am getting antsy to move on. ‘Morning Walk’ is the last of the major summer projects and fall is beckoning!

Over on the right corner of my sewing table you can see two piles of fabric squares. They represent my next Quilt Beyond Borders top. I picked a very simple almost random block pattern and got those pieces cut this week. I hope to have it completed by next week.  🙂

My goals for fall obviously include the ‘World Peace’ piece but also a new class with Karen Ruane. This new venture is called ‘Wrapped and Bound in Stitch‘. The project for the class is what Karen calls a wrapping cloth. There is considerable leeway, as always, in what we create. Her emphasis will be on a pieced cloth with a child theme. However, I  think I am going to choose to work in primarily white-on-white with a circle theme. Back in June, I posted a photo of some lace cloth that I had made. Over the summer I gradually added on to that start and as I begin this new class, I hope to continue to grow those pieces into a fuller cloth. It will be an adventure and I am eager to begin now that my summer projects nearing finish.

This week also brought some pleasant news. My art quilt, Emergence, was selected to tour in Brazil for 2017 with Patchwork Design 2017. It will be part of a group of quilts representing the Contemporary QuiltArt Association that I joined this past year. I am delighted to have one of the 28 quilts that the Brazilian organization picked and will be shown in venues including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Final reminder!

The 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction that I wrote about in August will be starting on September 16. It is a wonderful opportunity to acquire some beautiful works while supporting a good organization. You can learn more here.

Linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Where did the week go?

“How did it get so late so soon?”
Dr. Seuss

It seems the last time I looked at the calendar, it was Monday. Where did this week go? All of a sudden, it is September! Fortunately I try to keep a photo journal of my days so I can look back and confirm that I have been involved in some productive activities.  😉

Along the way, I made an executive decision that I personally was dissatisfied with the quality of my finished quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders. The bindings must be machine stitched to guarantee they will stand up to wear and tear that one might envision in refugee camps, etc. And, my skills at machine stitched bindings have never been great. Rather than abandoning an organization that I truly want to support, I inquired more about doing simply quilt tops. For now, this seems a better path for me. So, I created my first top this past week.

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For several weeks, I also have been considering ideas for a quilt challenge that had drawn my attention. The challenge, entitled Dream On, is sponsored by Stretching Art and Tradition. If you would like to learn more about the group and their history, please check out their websiteDream On is their 18th year of challenges!

Of course, the first step was to decide on a theme for my piece. The description of the challenge suggests:

For Stretching Art and Tradition 18, Dream Big! Dream house, dream job, dream body, dream quilt – if dreams were reality, what dream would you have come true?  This year, complete a quilt 18″ wide by 36″ long using any technique you choose to represent your dream.

After meditating a bit on the words ‘dream on’, the persistent image that kept repeating in my mind was my daughter’s classic response when someone asks her what she wants: “World Peace”. 🙂  And so, I chose ‘Peace’ as my theme as since way back in the 60’s, peace has been a theme and value that has always resonated in my life.

Over my trip to Seattle, I contemplated how to create an art quilt on ‘peace’ in the size constraints of the challenge. About the same time, I was reminded both by a DNA test that I participated in and a note from a new-to-my-knowledge distant cousin that my heritage is strongly Irish. Coincidentally, a ring that I had purchased years ago with an inscription in the ‘old Irish’ language of Ogham resurfaced. Ogham is written with a series of lines running down a central line. It can run horizonally or vertically. With that knowledge, it was a natural jump to the gaelic word for peace, síocháin, and its depiction in Ogham along a vertical line.

And so, this week I began to draft out the beginnings of my challenge piece. The design is far from complete but a base plan  is hanging on my design wall – in paper and in cloth – for inspiration as I make further design decisions.

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Am I as far as I thought I would be with the design process at this point? Definitely not! Life does have a way of intervening. But, at least I have started!

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Creating texture with lines

Amazing how experiences tie together. Last weekend I was in Seattle briefly and visited the Seattle Art Museum. I wanted a chance to view their exhibit, Graphic Masters: Durer, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogwarth, Picasso and A. Crumb, before it closed this coming week. I loved studying the work of artists like Albrecht  Durer whose prints were amazingly detailed. Check out the complexity of this portion of The Crucifixion by Durer and how he accomplishes form and texture through simple lines.

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When I returned home, as I continued to work on  the cottage window, I remembered Durer’s use of lines and focused on both density of line and open space as I completed the quilting.

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I am quite pleased with the results and will be happy to include it in the Irish series that I am definitely creating.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists.