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.

img_0789

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.

img_0832

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.

img_0690

img_0421

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

img_0678 img_0682 img_0683

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:

img_0681

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

img_0684 img_0677 img_0679 img_0420

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.

img_0574-1

“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.

img_0552

Inside the Occulus

img_0564

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.

img_0559

View towards WTC from inside Brookfield Place

img_0562

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?

img_0212

‘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.’

qbb

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:

img_0196

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:

img_0198

My oldest granddaughter turned five!

img_0193

My littlest granddaughter turned six months.

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

img_0192

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.

img_0170

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.

img_0171

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.

img_0162

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.

IMG_0113

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.

IMG_0114

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.

IMG_0008

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.

IMG_0049

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.

 

 

Play time!

Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens.
It renews our natural sense of optimism
and opens us up to new possibilities.
Stuart Brown, MD

While back in upstate New York last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Strong National Museum of Play.

IMG_9889

Having spent an afternoon immersed in Sesame Street, Star Wars, train sets and a pretend grocery store, I found it difficult to return home and not remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” And so, I took some time to hike to a beautiful view not far from my new home.

IMG_9937

Inspired, I returned to my studio and got down to business. One of my first projects was to quilt Aspen III. I had written about  Aspen II a few weeks ago. Aspen III is a foot square version where I chose to highlight different aspects of the image with my FMQ. Here you can see the results even though I have yet to bind it. I am especially pleased with my treatment of snow in this version.

IMG_9984

I am really enjoying quilting with Hobbs wool batting and silk. It is allowing me to really play with texture options in my quilting. Currently, I am working on another piece which will become part of a series on the West Coast of Ireland. This is a window from the cottage that I quilted and wrote about several years ago and that I was able to photograph in detail on trip in late 2014. You can see from this photo of a section of the piece that creating texture through selective stitching is playing a large part in this composition.

IMG_9983

Can’t wait to play some more!

 

My Dream Collection

SAQA will be having their annual auction next month, beginning on September 16. It is always an opportunity to support this dedicated organization while acquiring a foot square art quilt by one of your favorite artists.

As a lead-in to the auction, members are invited to create their own dream collection of art quilts that will be available in the annual auction. I could not resist the invitation to do so.

My dream collection is entitled ‘Trees that Speak to Me’. I have always found silouhettes of trees catch my attention and cause me to stop, breathe, and contemplate. In this collection, some of the art quilts are simply stark branches while others still have leaves. All  caused me to pause, appreciate the artistry both of the fiber artist and mother nature.

Here are my six favorites:

BA16-SCHLIN

BA16-DAUANN

 

BA16-BROKAT

BA16-HIGCAR

BA16-ROGANN

BA16-ZELNAN

To view all of the art quilts in the auction, you can click this link. To understand how to bid on art quilts when the auction begins on September 16, you can click on this link.

 

Re-evaluating batting

Since I moved to the western side of the U.S., I have mainly been using cotton batting in my art and charity quilts. Most has been purchased at the local JoAnn Fabrics, primarily Warm & Natural  and Mountain Mist. While satisfactory, I found them a bit heavy to move around while quilting. I remembered using wool batting back in NY but could not remember the brand.

I put out a query on a Yahoo group I belong to and asked what people use. Some art quilters used cotton, others used wool, and a few mentioned a felted batting.  I did some research on the felted suggestion but found quite a few comments on the stiffness of the batting. Since I do not use a long arm and need to be able to easily compress my quilts as they pass under the arm of my machine, I was hesitant about how I would like it. In addition, I could not find it packaged in a small amount so auditioning it would have been a sizable investment.

Instead, I decided to revisit wool batting. I had one piece that I had brought out west and made myself a small cotton muslin quilt sandwich to free motion quilt upon. I had come across a Shamrock Design video by Lizzie Leonard a few weeks ago that I really wanted to try. So, I decided to use that on my sandwich.

IMG_9701

I found it quite difficult to move the sandwich as I quilted the design. The batting was quite thick – almost an inch – and I did try lessening the pressure of the foot to ease glide. However, the resistance was intense. While the texture created by the high loft was appealing, I couldn’t visualize quilting a larger piece with the same issues.

Instead, I ordered some of Hobb’s Tuscany Collection 100% wool batting which advertised a loft of 1/4 – 3/8″. It was available in a crib size package so, in contrast to the felt batting, I could sample without a large investment. I created a similar size sandwich and used the same shamrock design.

IMG_9702

With the lower loft, the sandwich glided through my machine without a problem. I could easily manipulate the fabric and liked the resulting surface texture.

My next step was to try the batting with one of my art quilts. Several weeks ago, I had asked my friend, Julie Brandon, at Red-Dog Enterprises to reprint the image I had used in my art quilt, Aspen. The piece sold so quickly I barely had time to enjoy it – a nice problem! Julie reprinted several of the image on silk habotai for me and I used one of those images with the Hobb’s batting and a cotton backing to play.

IMG_9751

The finished piece, Aspen II, is about 11″ x 13″ and went together like a dream. I think I have found my batting of choice. While not an issue since this is an art quilt and won’t be subject to washing, the packaging does say that the batting is washable. I probably will test that out before I use the batting in a lap quilt. I did use a steam iron on this quilt without a problem and fused the batting to the silk with MistyFuse before I quilted it. The batting held up fine through these processes.

I am looking forward to  next quilting my larger Morning Walk piece and a third quilt in the Aspen series using the Hobbs’ batting in the next few weeks .

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

Preserving Vintage Cloth

The past few months I have been working with a delicate piece of vintage cloth. It was most likely originally a table runner. I found it at an antique mall in upstate NY. The linen cloth was so soft to the touch. Often in the projects I work on during my time with Karen Ruanne, we cut apart vintage pieces and re-construct them into new uses in pouches, lace cloths, etc. However, I decided to preserve this piece of cloth in its entirety while re-purposing it.

I folded it in half with the intention of creating a pouch where one could store other laces, ribbons, etc. I then began a process of embellishing it, starting with the front which had an opening in the middle.

IMG_9730

I then carried part of the design onto the back and continued with embellishing, using part of a vintage hankie from my stash.

IMG_9731

The flowered fabric was a Japanese cotton I had found on one of my expeditions to the NYC garment district. I used it throughout the pouch, including the lining.

IMG_9732

The pouch retains the soft hand of the vintage linen fabric and now can continue its life in a way that it will be gently cared for and appreciated whenever used.

IMG_9734

 

 

The Creative Spark

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on”
 Albert Einstein

This week I discovered the documentary series, Chef’s Table. It is in its 4th season so perhaps many of you have been enjoying it for a number of years. I do not spend much of my time watching television so I make no claims to be up on all the latest shows. However, now that I have found this series on Netflix, I am in love with it and encourage you to seek it out and enjoy a few episodes. I think that it will send you back to your studio energized and eager to move forward with your current projects.

Each episode is about one renowned chef. It draws upon chefs from all over the world and interviews them at length about their lives, their philosophy, and how they cook. The artistry of each chef comes across to the viewer through not just their words but incredible photography of the dishes they create and the environment in which they choose to create.

I find myself inspired by both the beauty of what I am seeing and the fervor of the individuals that has driven them to create.

To give you a sense of the series, here is the promo video for the first season. Enjoy!