Summer Projects

Find out where joy resides,
and give it a voice far beyond singing.
For to miss the joy is to miss all.
Robert Louis Stevenson

SAQA’s 100 Days of Creativity on Facebook, which I mentioned in my last two posts, became a wonderful vehicle for keeping me focused for over 40 days on sewing projects. It was a particularly hectic time in my life but the simple task of doing enough on a piece to post a photo each day to the group with just the right incentive to keep going. And, I discovered by simply putting the proverbial “one step in front of the other” that I could create art in the craziest of times.

I have backed off the SAQA challenge now as travel will take up more of my time and I feel I have learned sufficiently from participating in the challenge. What did I accomplish? Have a look. ūüôā

This is the smaller of the two art quilts that I mentioned in my last blog. I am extremely pleased with how cloth and paper blended to create this scene. I do hope to explore the larger size version but not until fall or perhaps winter when my travel schedule is lighter.

This is the front of a very special cloth pouch that I made for one of my cousins. The “E” is from a hankerchief of her Mom’s that she gave me. Most of the other materials I used in the creating the pouch were also from her Mom.

Pouch inside

To create the inside of the pouch I created a pocket with a smaller hanky and embellished it with lace trim of her Mom’s. I added three mini pockets created out of unused corners of the hanky that formed the main pocket.

Back of pouch

My third project was a mini-cushion that I might use as a pin cushion or else a place to lay my glasses. It was done for sheer fun which suggests just how successful my summer of creativity has been. From paper piecing to french knots to prairie points to art quilts with paper and stitch, I have been following my heart all summer. ūüôā

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall blog so you can follow other artists as well.¬†

Sacred Threads and Creativity

Everything you can imagine is real.
Pablo Picasso

I am pleased to let everyone know that my quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, is on display with the Sacred Threads Exhibit in Herndon, VA from July 11-28. It is always an honor to be included in this exhibition and this quilt is very special to me as the Wall St area of NYC was very much a part of my childhood. I am always grateful that my parents were not alive to witness the tragedy of 9/11.

Sacred Threads allows artists to share pivotal moments in their lives through art quilts. If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, the quilts you will experience are amazing and moving. I hope you can visit.The exhibition is at the Floris United Methodist Church and full details on the exhibit can be found on the Sacred Threads website.

Ground Zero Reborn

In my previous post, I wrote that I had decided to participate in SAQA’s “100 Days of Creativity on Facebook” challenge. After ten days, I am amazed and delighted to report that I love the challenge. Much to my surprise, the simple concept of making enough progress on an idea to be able to take a daily photo capturing the progress has turned out to be exactly the incentive I needed to create. There is so much freedom in how each participant chooses to use the 100 days that I feel totally comfortable sharing whatever I have done and I am finding looking at everyone else’s photos both inspiring and instructive. My experience is that simply persisting every day to do a little and then contemplating the next day’s step for the reminder of the day has allowed me to make concrete progress.

In the first ten days, I have moved from creating templates for two different size art quilts based on the same photo

to a roughed out version of the smaller of the two projected art quilts.

I have enjoyed the process so much that I have decided to expand upon my original plan for the 100 days. For the second ten days, I am developing a hand embroidery from some vintage fabrics recently given me. While I am embroidering I will be contemplating how I will stitch the small art work which I will resume working on for the third block of ten days. I hope to continue flipping back and forth in blocks of ten days between the two projects until mid-September. 

Wish me luck!

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall to share with other artists.

Getting Motivated

Genius is one percent inspiration
and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas Edison

My trip to Paris in May was so inspirational. A break from the routines of life and an opportunity to immerse myself in the works of so many artists. I took many photos and in the ensuing weeks one continued to intrigue me as a possible base for some art/paper work.

Monet’s Giverny gardens

Of course, it would be amazing if my life then allowed me to simply devote myself to a new art quilt. ūüôā However, in the real world I have many wonderful commitments tugging for my time…….to add to the mix, in June we added a new member to our household:

River, 9 weeks old

I think you can easily see how my ‘time for art’ was going to be seriously challenged! Enter the wonderful organization, Studio Art Quilt Associates, that I have belonged to for many years and played a tremendous role in getting me started in the field of art quilts. Their ‘Weekly Eblast’ for the last week in June mentioned an intriguing idea: “100 Days of Creativity on Facebook”.¬†

Beginning July 1, they were sponsoring a challenging to spend 100 days creating and reporting a photo each day to a private member Facebook site. Their guidelines were amazingly simple – post progress each day, the 100 days are divided into 10 blocks so one could define purposes for each of the 10 blocks or one purpose for the entire period, or design your own process.

The serendipity of ¬†this challenge is amazing. River has now been with us for one week and a commitment to make a little progress each day on my “Japanese Maple Tree Project,’ as I have labeled it, is just what I need.¬†

While the Facebook posts are for challenge members only, I will also be sharing my photos on my Instagram account using #SAQA100days (a requirement of the challenge). So, if you want to check in on my success in sticking with the challenge, check my Instagram account (my username is judywar). I think you might also be able to access it by this link.¬† I expect this will turn out to be a fun challenge if I stay centered and appreciate that I might have to miss a day or two occasionally (allowed in the rules). I will try to also report in here on my blog from time to time. ūüôā

Linking here to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.


Time Flies

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

The month of September seemed to fly by as I followed through on my new classes. Combined with a quick trip to New York, I have most definitely been busy.

My “Stitch Along” class with Karen Ruane thankfully has a 12 month timeline. I used the class as an excuse to wander the Garment District while in New York City to gather some materials to use in the class. In my spare time, I have been playing with some samples of lace and stitch and slowly developing a theme for the year.

The Visual Design workshop with SAQA is a much shorter commitment. I am in the second component of the workshop, Principles of Design, the first two weeks being devoted to Elements of Design. Each week is rich with resources through video interviews, some video chats, and links to many articles. There are no assignments as such. I have enjoyed the review of design principles. One immediate application has been in reviewing my photos from our Alaska trip. I have appreciated a bit more why my eye is drawn to particular scenes and why in culling through hundreds of photos, I have selected a few to print and perhaps use eventually in some art works.

Here are two examples where line and shape were important.

Zodiacs along the cliffs near the Dawes glacier.

Early morn view from our boat approaching LeConte Bay.

Looking forward to learning more as I continue exploring the wonderful world of fiber.

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog for more inspiration from other fiber artists.

Looking Towards Fall

To every season there is a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The temperatures are dropping at bit and there is even the mention of showers in our forecasts…..stores are stocking Halloween decorations (at least it is not Christmas). Hints of fall are everywhere.

This summer has been a time of enjoying grandkids, recharging energy and nurturing spirit. Earlier this month, I spent a week in the glaciers and forests of southeastern Alaska (photos will follow as I am still sorting!) but even before that trip, I knew my self-imposed sabbatical from “serious” art projects was working. When I returned from Alaska, there on my design wall was ¬†a quilt top with batting and backing ready for quilting…… the first art quilt I have created in quite a bit with an eye to entering in some Calls for Entry.¬†Refreshed and inspired from my travels, I set to free motion quilting my work. With my Bernina newly tuned up, the quilting went amazingly smoothly. For most of the stitching time, I listened to my favorite cellist, Zuill Bailey, on my new Sonos system and just enjoyed being back in the interpretative process that free motion quilting is for me.

Since the quilt will be submitted to a call this fall, I can’t share the results of my efforts in full, but here is a tiny peak.¬† ūüôā¬†

Now with fall approaching, I have enrolled in several exciting opportunities to continue to feed my creative spirit :

My friend, Karen Ruane, is offering ¬†a new 12 month “Stitch Along.” ¬†I have so enjoyed my studies with Karen and the community of ‘stitchers’ around the world who participate in her sessions. This “Stitch Along” is paced in a way that I can easily work on more art quilts that I am sure will emerge for my Ice Worlds series.

Here is Karen’s description of the class:

Join me for 12 months of creativity, a unique fly on the wall experience. Observe my process, my day to day, my working practice over a full year. Who knows what will crop up, what will inspire and develop over this programme. We begin with a blank page of time and fill that page, that time developing embroidered works on paper and fabric. There may be artist books, there may be delicately embroidered laces along with decorative silk surfaces. There will definitely be buttons, ribbons, sequins, beads and all manner of added titivation.

Isn’t that enticing? If you are interested in joining me in a fun experience, you can sign up ¬†on Karen’s website.

I have also signed up for the SAQA Seminar ¬†2018: Visual Design. ¬†The seminar will cover four units: elements, principles, process, and evaluation with new material released every two ¬†weeks. You have to be a SAQA member to participate, but there is no added fee for the course which promises “access to articles, tutorials, book reviews, links to inspirational resources as well as video conversations with leading artists in the art quilt field.” There will also be a Facebook group for participants with opportunities to participate in weekly live video chats.If you are a SAQA member, or thinking of joining, the seminar begins September 10. Registration information can be found on the SAQA website.

So, it looks like I am set for the coming months stitch-wise. And, now, I must get back to sorting through all those photographs I took in Alaska! If you would like to take a peek at what other quilters are up to, here is a link to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

Having a Good Summer

Good things come to those who wait.

I have had a lot to be grateful for this summer in my art. Besides being blessed with time, good ideas, and sheer enjoyment in stitching, I have also been acknowledged by my peers. As mentioned in my previous post, I have had After the Storm in the Sacred Threads exhibit which just closed last week.

While After the Storm was on view, I received word that Oasis was accepted into the first show of the SAQA WA Region: The State of WA(ter) which will be on exhibit at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in La Conner, Wa from August 2 РOctober 29.

Applique of Japanese Gardens, Spokane, WA

I am quite excited about this. The exhibit recognizes the complexity of the state of Washington when it comes to water. To quote from the Call for Entry:

Although nearly 5,000 square miles of our state are covered in water, the landscapes of the western and eastern regions could hardly be more different. Washington is a state shaped by extremes of water: the cool, rainy West contrasts vividly with the dry, more climatically severe East. Dividing the East from the West is the dramatic Cascade mountain range, itself a setting for a plethora of lakes, rivers, and glaciers.

SAQA members residing in Washington were invited to interpret these extremes of waters, either by representing the character of water in the east, west or mountainous region of the state.

I offered the following explanation for my entry:

The dryer climate of the eastern part of Washington State has created a deep respect for the role of water in our community. Why? Years with low seasonal rain/snow mean ideal conditions for summer forest fires. Spokane has historically demonstrated its appreciation of water through its planned use of water in the county. An example is the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden which was created in 1974 in partnership with Spokane’s sister city, Nishinomiya, in Japan. The garden, with waterfall and pond, continues to this day as an oasis of peace in the heart of this eastern population center. I chose to highlight the respect for water and its careful usage in the eastern side of the state through my depiction of the pond in my art quilt, “Oasis”.

I hope that my readers will have the opportunity to see the entire SAQA exhibit at the museum.

And, my good news does not end there! I was also thrilled to learn that my art quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, has been juried into the Global Murmurs exhibit which will be on exhibit in Rochester, NY this fall. I will be writing more details on this exhibit in a later post.

Hope that everyone is having a fulfilling summer too!

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.

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.


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’.


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:


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


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


My oldest granddaughter turned five!


My littlest granddaughter turned six months.

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


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.


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.


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.


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:








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.


Memories from Houston

Last week was the International Quilt Association meeting in Houston. I am so glad that I went! I used the excuse that my quilt, Imagine, was in the show. It was indeed fun to see it on display but my greatest enjoyment was getting to see the other works in the show. I feel as though, in some ways, I had forgotten the breadth of the quilt world. It was totally uplifting to see the quality and imagery of so many artists from all over the world whose works were displayed.

I arrived in Houston early enough to attend the unveiling of the grand prize winners. All were impressive but one tugged at my heart strings more than any other……

Eager_to_learnEager to Learn by Gillian Shearer was drawn from a photo taken by a photographer in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan of 2 young girls eager to learn in one of the Taliban targeted new girls school. The plight of education for girls in that region is close to my heart РI have long supported the work of the Central Asia Institute that happened to have built the school these girls were attending.

All of the winning quilts were amazing and you can see them listed on the International Quilt Association’s website. It can at least give you a glimpse into the quality of the work displayed in the main exhibit.

Of course, the show had many additional exhibits beyond the main exhibit, Quilts:  A World of Beauty. SAQA had two exhibits, Wild Fabrications and Balancing Act. I enjoyed getting to volunteer at the SAQA booth and meet some other members. And, there were the vendors! I spent some time going over the list of vendors before the show opened and was delighted to find some of my favorites.

The Bohin company produces my favorite needles, marking pencil and also iron cleaner. It was total joy to go through their wares and, of course, come home with a collection.


I also stopped by the Mistyfuse booth and left with a supply of my favorite fusing. In addition, I brought home ultraviolet Mistyfuse and some Bunny paper to play with. Will let you know what I think of the Bunny paper as I experiment in the coming weeks.

Finally, I found a booth with Tsukineko Inks. I had intended to search online for these inks eventually so finding them in Houston was a real bonus. I was able to watch a demo by Thomas Teng of TSC Designs and then take advantage of a show special that sent me home with plenty of ink and tools to keep me busy.

My hope was to get energized in Houston. Mission accomplished! Now we will see what evolves from the seeds that were planted!

PS. Nina Marie is back so I am linking to her Off the Wall Friday blog. Please check out the artists and note her discussion on controversy at this year’s IQA show. ūüôā

Plenty of Inspiration

While I am immersed in the final stage of building a second home, I am keeping my creative juices flowing by admiring the process of other fiber artists. Every year SAQA has an annual fund raising auction where members donate 12 inch square original art quilts.

The actual auction begins September 18 and you can read about it here. What excites me this year is that SAQA has been featuring various contributors on its blog with interviews about their process.

I am finding it fascinating to read these posts and have a peek into the creative process of these artists. Each is completely different. I am in awe at what each achieves in a 12 inch square. It excites me to think that soon I will once again be back creating in my own studio!

Here are links to a few of my favorite recent posts:



Joan Dyer


Lois Wilby Hooper


Joy About Joy!

In 2014 I made a trip to Aspen, Colorado with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. It was¬†my granddaughter’s¬†first trip to real snow¬†and 2014 was a banner year for snow in Colorado.¬†While her parents skied, I got to play with granddaughter. One of the photos that I took during that trip became the basis for¬†one of my favorite art quilts, “JOY!”. ¬†After applying some filters for special effects in Photoshop, the image was digitally printed on cotton for me by Red Dog Enterprises. I then used appliqu√©, hand stitching, and machine quilting to complete my project.


“JOY!” has been creating quite a bit of joy for me recently. It was included in the Spring 2015 issue of the SAQA Journal. A few weeks ago I was notified that “JOY!” had been juried into the upcoming Sacred Threads exhibit in the Washington, DC area in July. Finally, this ¬†week I learned that “JOY!” has also been selected to be part of the Sacred Threads Traveling Exhibit.

Needless to say, I feel as joyful as my granddaughter pictured in the art quilt. I hope that you will have the opportunity to see “JOY!” during its travels over the next two years.

Hopping Around the World

This week I am delighted to be participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I was invited by Deborah Lynn Stanley and you can read her blog hop post here. The theme of the hop is to answer some questions about our creative process. I found it  a great opportunity to stop and consider my own artistic journey so here goes!

What am I working on?

I have been working on art quilts for about seven years. Late last year I began to study hand stitching with Karen Ruane. I am currently taking a class entitled¬†Simply Stitch 5 with Karen. It is a free form class via the internet where the student is a ‘fly on the wall’ in Karen’s studio while she works. You have a choice of working on what Karen is working on or doing your own thing with feedback from Karen and other students. We use Flickr for posting photos of our process and receiving comments. I have found that this approach to learning works wonderfully for me. I travel back and forth between upstate New York and Spokane Washington regularly so I need a flexible learning arrangement.

Men's handkerchief




As part of Karen’s class, I have just started to create a cloth that will be comprised of men’s handkerchiefs embellished with feminine touches. I have just finished my first ‘block’ which added lace trim and french knots to a blue handkerchief. I love the color combination and the feel of working with these fibers and am going to be really curious to see how this develops as I embellish more handkerchiefs!


Ghost Tree









I always have an art quilt in process and have been working on a piece on deforestation for an upcoming Call for Entry. I don’t usually work on pieces for specific Calls but this was a topic that interested me and so I used the Call as an opportunity to make a statement through my art. Here is a peak at one of the ‘ghost trees’ that I have designed to wander through a devastated landscape. I have hand stitched mulberry paper backed with roving onto a hand dyed organza background.


How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Hmmm. My art quilts are reaching out more and more beyond the use of cloth fibers to get the effect I need. For example, in my art quilt, Roots, I use wire for the fencing near the cottage.


Why Do I Create What I Do?

That is simple: Рto make a statement. It may be about something I observe in the world. Often, I am capturing a moment in time either from my travels or my life that had significance to me. I hope that my art will touch others and invoke emotion in them. My art is my means of reaching out and communicating with others.

A trip to Antarctica a few years ago is a great example of how my travels have inspired my work. I was deeply touched by the beauty of ice in that intriguing world. To date, I have created a number of art quilts out of my Antarctic experience and I am sure more will surface. Journey is a good example and you can find others here on my website.


How Does My Wriitng/Creating Process Work?

Ideas for my art often come during meditation. I also take a lot of photographs as I travel. Something in a photo will capture my attention –¬†it may be the light, certain shapes, or the overall essence of a particular place. Over time, I get a clearer image in my mind of what a particular piece might look like.¬†From there I will either begin sketching with an idea of creating an art quilt from unique fibers, or I may decide to play with a photographic image in Photoshop with a goal of printing the image on cloth for stitching.

At some point along the way, the art work itself ‘takes over’ the creative process. I listen to it as I work and¬†follow the direction it dictates. Sounds crazy but if I don’t listen, I¬†grow intensely dissatisfied with the piece.

Linking to Talented Friends

As part of the hop, I get to invite some friends to join in next week. The three who will be posting next week are:

Jeanne Marklin – Jeanne and I both have a passion for travel. ¬†We¬†attended¬†SAQA’s annual conference in 2013 together¬†and I quickly appreciated the depth of her knowledge of the fiber art world. Her art quilts are stunning¬†and she is masterful dyer. Be sure to check out her blog and her website¬†today and again next week.

Diane Miller РDiane and I are members of RAFA, Rochester Area Fiber Artists. She is constantly exploring and creating amazing art quilts and jewelry. You can see examples on her blog.

Regina Dunn – Regina and I met over the internet as we participated in SAQA’s Vision Project. I love Regina’s enthusiasm to explore new methods and her talent¬†to¬†in writing about her process on her blog. She will be writing a post for the hop next week. In the meantime, you can see some of her work on her website.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you all enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are accomplishing.


Art quilt with appliqué and overlay

38″ x 32″

This art quilt toured with SAQA’s No Place to Call Home special exhibit.

Contemporary fiber art quilt: pieced and appliquéd hand dyed cotton with a hand stamped tulle overlay.

No one really knows how many children in this world do not have homes. UNICEF estimated 100 million street children in the world’s cities back in 1989 and continues to refer to that number. Using this limited estimate, each child in this quilt would represent one million children.

No one knows what happens to these children either. Some simply disappear, dying from malnutrition, disease, or worse. Others though endure and rise up from their bleak beginnings to live full and inspiring lives.

This quilt imagines the world through the eyes of these children ‚Äď vast, muted, empty of homes ‚Äď and honors them by bringing attention to their sheer numbers.

Detail image – click to view larger:

Homeless, detail