Exploring Skies

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My current interest in a series of art quilts on seas and coastlines has created an opportunity to play a bit with skies.

I have been dyeing cloth to create different moods of skies. If you remember, my last art quilt ,which I have decided to call After the Storm, used some cloth I dyed in Elizabeth Barton’s class earlier this year to portray that sky.


                                                    After the Storm

For this latest dyeing adventure, I worked from the formula I used in Elizabeth’s class. For one piece, I overdyed a blue with a black (upper piece) and then reversed the process to overdye black with blue (lower piece).


My next step will be to play with ‘cooling down’ the blue by adding a touch of green.

While I was working through that dyeing process, I also continued to assemble the pieces for the art quilt that I mentioned in this blog back in April, based on Kerstin Hellman’s photo of  the Irish coastline. What I have  decided is to create two separate art quilts from Kerstin’s photo as the sky and most distant rock formation in my ‘draft’ totally captivated my attention.


Initial work

Version 2

Focus of first of two art quilts

This week’s project then was to develop that first piece. Using another piece of fabric from Elizabeth’s class for that sky, part of my process this week was to sample quilting for the sky. I created a mini-landscape to test out quilting for the rocks, sea, and sky.


I wasn’t satisfied with the quilting technique for the sky in the mini.  So I tried an echo technique similar to what I used in After the Storm to highlight the branches against that sky.


Using that approach to highlight the ‘storm clouds’ in the sky felt much better in the sample so it is what I used for my actual piece which is now in process.


I think you will agree that the echo quilting was the way to go!

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so please check out what other artists have been up to this week.




Gathering Inspiration

One of the highlights of the past week was attending the Contemporary Quiltart Symposium  in Tacoma, WA. I was able to hear Sandra Sider, Cathy Izzo, and Kris Sazaki each speak about the future of art quilts and the role that each quilt artist can play in furthering both the marketing of their works and the general acceptance of art quilts within the art world. In addition, we were all able to tour the CQA Cutting Edge Art Quilts exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. I am sorry that I have no photos to share but none were allowed in the exhibit. All I can say is that the quilts were most impressive in terms of artistry and diversity. They will be on display until August 21 if you happen to be in the area.

The time spent driving over the the western side of Washington for the conference also allowed me to stop in at my favorite quilt store, Undercover Quilts, to see what new fabric Linda Hitchcock in carrying. She never disappoints and I brought home some yardage which I quickly put to use.

I mentioned a photo of the Irish Coast in my post last week. It was taken by Kerstin Hellmann of Irish Coast Photography. Kirstin graciously has allowed me to use the perspective of one of her photos of the Irish coast for my next art quilt. She captured the scene at sunset – I shall be creating a scene for a different time of day, but using the rock formations in her photo as a base.

Kerstin Hellmann – Irish Coast Photography

I have just started playing with some ideas for the art quilt but, as you can see in this photo from my design wall, I am exploring how I might use some yardage that I just bought at Undercover Quilts.


I will be on the road for the next week so you will have to wait a bit to see how I decided to handle the sea, but you can be sure I will be contemplating it while I am away!


Outstanding Louisburgh Ireland Artists

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Marcus Garvey

Last month I had the opportunity to spend a week in the town near where my grandmother, Alice, was born. Louisburgh, Ireland remains today a town with one crossroad. This belies the fact that new homes abound in the surrounding area and the town bustles with tourists during the summer months. Not only is it close to Croagh Patrick, it’s beaches offer some excellent surfing and there is always the opportunity to fish.

Crossroads in Lousiburgh, Ireland

Town centre, Lousiburgh, Ireland

I met two wonderful artists while I was there and I would love to share their work with you.

Kerstin Hellmann is a photographer whose photos of Ireland take your breath away. She is also a gracious friend, ever willing to offer advice and info on the town she resides in. I met her in the Louisburgh HQ where she had a display of her photos. She quickly suggested that I place a few of my notecards of my art quilt, Rootsin the local gift shop. (I did and if you ever stop by, please buy one!). You can learn more about Kerstin on her website. Here is a sample of just one of her beautiful photos of a beach near Lousiburgh that was on a notecard that I purchased from her:

Carramore Strand

I actually met Desmond Downes in my favorite Lousiburgh pub, Ah Bhun Abhainn. He graciously returned to his gallery for some postcard gifts for my cousin and me. Desmond is a truly gifted artist. From his home in Louisburgh he works on Film/Annimation with companies across the globe as well as graphic and web design. However, it was his oil paintings that caught my attention. You can learn more about all his many talents on his website.  Here is a glimpse at one of his paintings:

Sam Hire Sligo

Sam Hire Sligo

I hope you enjoy browsing their works as much as I did!