Friday, December 17, 2010

Double Take: Photo and Fiber

My art quilt group, Sisters in Cloth, has been invited to exhibit our latest project Double Take: Photo and Fiber at Yale University's Haskins Lab in New Haven beginning February 1.

Our project was a collaboration with photographer Rose DeLucco-Alpert whose gorgeous work will be hung along side our interpretations. We chose 15 of her botanicals to interpret in fiber. (Three of us have chosen two of her works.)

This is my Roses, along with a detail (below).

I painted the fabrics and machine stitched, using free-motion zig-zag in one rose to create more texture in the nearer flower.

The second photograph I selected was Water Lilies. In this one I free-motion stitched koi swimming beneath the lilies which were not actually in Rose's photo but I imagined that they should have been. I know she won't mind...she is looking forward to the "interpretation" part of the challenge.

Check out Sisters in Cloth and Martha Wolfe's blogs for more great images and information.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another oldie

Godwits at Hammonassett

This is another art quilt that is in my son's collection. The godwits are thread painted on a piece of batik. I liked this one too and thought that maybe I should return to sketching and to doing a bit more thread work.

This little trip through time via my past art work has been very helpful in nudging me back into the studio. The studio that has not been worked in for a very long time. With all the guests and travel during the past 2 1/2 months, it's little wonder. I loved hosting and our trips...but I VERY much need to get back to work.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Many Moons

I made Many Moons several years ago as a gift to my son (and his then wife....don't you hate it when you get blindsided?). I'm pretty sure it was inspired by something that I'd seen that Ruth McDowell had done. At least that's the picture that's in my memory...if I'm wrong, I'm sorry to whom ever I SHOULD have credited.

DH and I drove to Raleigh NC to help him relocate into his new townhouse. It was a fun, very busy weekend. We selected window treatments, bought rugs, hung artwork and organized the kitchen. Phew! One of the really nice things that happened was that I was reacquainted with some of his artwork that had been in storage....reminding me of all his artistic abilities that showed early on.

His relocation included moving all the artwork I had given him over the years too. Many Moons is now hanging in his new dining room and looks smashing (I say very immodestly). I like it so much I may make another....similar but never the same, of course. This one has tie silks, kimono cottons and silks, taffeta and some pieces that I treasured from long forgotten projects.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


This first photo is a shot of my friend Yvette Howard's Connections, her interpretation of our group's most recent challenge to create a piece inspired by "word". She always does crisp, sharp work...and in this case...a bunch of fun. You can't help but smile when you see this. The base fabric was designed by Jean Ray Lawry whom Yvette and I were lucky enough to meet and hear speak a few years ago. If you want to see some happy work check her out.

Twelve present and past members of our group Sisters in Cloth participated. This time we decided to mount our work on stretcher bars. It certainly made for a very easy to hang exhibit!

The thing that strikes me about this collection is how broad the subject matters are. Granted two relate to the judiciary: Gail Kotowski's Justice and Evelyn Judson's Testimony, but the rest span from my rant on the demise of newspapers, to the beauty of nature, to the passing of people in our lives. It is very interesting.

So, if you are in the area stop by the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St., Guilford CT on Thursday, December 9, 5-8pm for our Opening Reception. We will be joined by the friends and patron of two other artists, Mark Janke and Mary Ann Flick, photographers whose work will be on display in the libraries outer galleries. The exhibit will be up through December.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What a weekend

Open Studios was a success from all of our points of view. The four of us (three fiber folk and a potter) were very busy on Saturday and just a bit busy on Sunday. We sold work, we renewed relationships with friends and patrons, we networked, we met a new audience for our work, we spread the word about fiber art AND we had a grand time with each other.

It's lovely working with friends/colleagues that can seamlessly cover for each other when one or the other is occupied.

This little piece Zen Garden, roughly 18" x 22", has been hanging in my home for a couple of years and this year I decided to include it in the work that I would offer for sale. To my complete surprise, my buddy Robin had never seen it...I thought all my friends had seen absolutely everything I'd ever done...but apparently not. She loved it. Bought it. And, clutching it to her, told me I was welcome to visit it any time I liked. That was a very nice sale indeed. It's such a comfort to have a sentimental piece be appreciated by someone else...especially someone dear to me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More good news

I am absolutely over the moon. "Promised Land" has been juried into the latest SAQA New Frontiers series Beyond Comfort. "This exhibit challenges each artist to venture into uncharted territories of creative expression by turning away from the comfort zones of their established body of work. It provides a 'permission slip' to experiment fearlessly with radically new conceptual and narrative agendas; to employ techniques, technologies, or materials new to the artist. The artistic goal of the exhibition is to encourage reaching beyond comfort to make new and unexpected works of art"

The juror was Marci Rae McDade, a fiber artist, curator and the editor of Fiberarts magazine. My 'fat' email revealed that there were 30 works selected from 209 entries for this exhibit curated by Eileen Doughty. And the even MORE good news? buddies Kate Themal and Martha Wolfe were also among the 30!

The exhibit debuts at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, August 2011.

Oh, DH, I have the perfect suggestion for that "big" birthday gift next year! (Imagine someone saying that sweetly.... candles lit, favorite dinner on the table)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Open Studio Weekend!

So much to do! So little time! This weekend I will be participating in the annual Open Studios of Shoreline Arts Trail, a juried group of 37 artists living in 3 towns along the Connecticut shoreline. The group covers the range, from cut paper, to jewelry, to calligraphy, painting in all its forms, sculpture in all its form, to three hearty art quilters. Vivika DeNegre, Linda Zimmerman and I will not be in our home studios this year, but instead, we are camping out at the Guilford Art Center. It's central and we will be "bigger" by virtue of our association.

The weather is suppose to cooperate. So with high hopes we dive into a busy and, hopefully, productive weekend. At the very least I will get to re-connect with some of my friends and patrons that I only see once or twice a year.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This month Fiberactions challenge word was transformation. I wasn't inspired until one of the group's members completed hers a full month ahead of the deadline. Doesn't seem fair that there are those overachievers.

That was the push I needed to start playing in my fabric with transformation in mind. I discovered 8-9 paper-pieced Lone Star Block parts, leftovers from a long-ago completed fundraiser. Fodder for transforming I thought.

The Lone Star just naturally lead to my thinking about my life in Texas.... and other locales... I remembered the effect/affect those locales had on our family. I thought about all those people I knew who had adapted to their new surrounds and cultures.....and those who had gone a step farther and adopted these new identities. Really transforming their lives.

Case in point: I have two brothers, a sister adopted from Japan and several friends who also not from Texas. In fact, they may have spent decades in various other places. But that doesn't diminish the degree to which they would identify themselves as Texans. Maybe it's a "cowboy" thing.

I do know that place and culture can have truly transforming effects.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Needle and Brush

Needle and Brush is the newest exhibit at local Madison CT restaurant Friends and Co. It combines my art quilts with the artwork of Branford artist Maureen Squires. She is a formally trained painting major with an affinity for the alphabet. Calligraphy and the gestural line have become her primary subject matter, sometimes with text and sometimes without.

The work will be up until January 4th. I'm very happy with the exhibit. I always enjoy mounting artwork in exhibition and this time was also interesting in that I had no idea which of my pieces would work with hers until the morning that we met at the restaurant with the pieces that she had chosen and the mountain of work I brought with me.

One of the owners of the restaurant, Dick Evarts has for years featured the artwork of local artists. My own art quilt group Sisters in Cloth has been fortunate to display our work there in the past. He is a wonderful advocate for "local". He collects a 20% commission on sales that is entirely donated to the local charities of the buyers' choice. Another of those win-win situations.

Sightlines: SAQA Exhibit

Sightlines Catalogue

There were other art quilt exhibits at IQF in Houston besides Creative Force ;^) The one that literally wrapped itself around the outside of Creative Force was Sightlines, curated by Virginia Spiegel. It was her vision to invite artists (14) who created "...a collection of artwork that was so strong and meaningful that the required continuous sightline would be subverted and assume secondary importance." The installation is VERY strong...and beautiful.

SAQA President Sandra Sider lead a gallery walk through Sightlines with many of the artists in attendance, offering their unique viewpoints about their work. Those attending were Sue Dennis Shelley Brenner Baird, Jayne Willoughby Scott, Kathy Nida, Pat Owoc, and Annie Helmericks-Louder.

An absolutely beautiful hardcover catalogue is a must in my opinion. It is available at the SAQA online store.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Creative Force

The Creative Force catalogue is are all of those published by Studio Art Quilters Associates.

It was a real privilege to have been juried into this show, one that includes some of my favorite artists: Pamela Allen from Canada; Elizabeth Barton, Georgia; Eszter Bornemisza, Hungary; Paula Chung, Nevada; Fenella Davies, UK; Ruth deVos, Australia; Valerie Goodwin, Florida; Jude Larzelere, Rhode Island; Barb McKie, CT; Dominie Nash, Maryland; Katie Pasquini Masopust, New Mexico; Pat Pauly, NY; Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Netherlands; Lura Schwarz Smith, California; Virginia Spiegel, Illinois; and Barbara Watler, Florida. These are just the ones whose work I was familiar with!

There were several others that I got the chance to see for the first time.....up close and personal ;^).... Linda Abrams NY; Genevieve Attinger, France; Roberta Baker, California; Katya Bessmertnaya, MA; Eliza Brewster, PA; Peggy Brown, Indiana; Grace Errea, California; Monique Gilbert, Belgium; Ann Harwell, NC; Patty Hawkins, Colorado; Annie Helmericks-Louder (whom I met there!), Michigan; Jean Herman, Colorado; Leslie Tucker Jenison, TX (also met!); Paula Kovarik, TN (also met!); Pat Kroth, Wisconsin (also met!); Susan Krueger, Ohio; Salli McQuaid, WA; Kathy Nida (also met!), CA; Julia Pfaff, VA; C.J. Pressma, KY; Melody Randol, Colorado; Dianah Sargeant, CA; Averill Stuart-Head, Italy; Catherine Timm, Canada; Karen Tunnell, Georgia; Valentyna Roenka Simpson, CA; and Marianne Williamson, FL whom I also bonded with during the course of the show.

It was an amazing experience!

SO guess what my kids are also getting for Christmas!?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Home from Houston

This is the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, one of the ten largest such centers in the US with 1,800,000 square feet (11 city blocks)! My friend Yvette Howard and I walked each and every one of those spaces ;^) Well, at night our feet thought we had!

We were joined at our hotel by our FL sister Martha Wolfe for two days. She, in turn, introduced us to her friend Betty Busby, whose work we had both long admired. Just a wonderful confluence of art and artists.

Apparently IQF is the biggest convention annually in Houston with 55,000 attendees. However, we quilters are not the biggest and best spenders (outside the convention) in the area restaurants and shops. No, we share hotels, cabs, desserts and the like, saving our coin for more important purchases. I know that there are several convention center vendors who are particularly glad Yvette and I made the trip. LOL

We were there five days: two travel days and three days to cover the exhibitions and the vendors booths. We also participated in a few of the events.

The biggest thrill was the Artist Talk that I was invited to participate as one of the exhibitors in SAQA's Creative Force 2010. It was quite an honor to be included with so many of my favorite artists!

Another event we went to was lunch with Kaffe Fassett AND 900 of his closest friends. Pictured here is the line which we joined about 30 minutes prior to the event. There was a like number behind us by the time the designated time rolled around. I have to say it was amazing that the 90 tables of guests could be served in such a timely fashion...seamlessly.

It's lovely coming home even though we were greeted with snow on the ground this morning. Now we await the arrival of our packages of fabric, etc that we had shipped from the show. They offered this wonderful idea: you can rent a box and stow your purchases periodically so you don't have to lug so much...then when you are ready, you can opt to ship it home avoiding excess luggage fees. Win/win!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's that time again. I like the Blogger's Quilt Fest. I find blogs that I might not's interesting and entertaining.

I'm posting a detail of "Crow" which was juried into a Members' Exhibit for Connecticut Women Artists, opening this weekend at 53 Gallery, Meriden CT.

This little piece started out life as a "doodle" exercise with several layers of fabric then cutting away almost randomly to expose different layers. It laid around the studio for ages before it called for the addition of the crow....and stenciled footprints and application of small stones.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Connecticut Women Artists Exhibit

This news just in: Selected for Connecticut Women Artists' "2010 Members Juried Show"
are "Abstraction 1" and "Crow"!!

Gallery 53, home of the Arts and Crafts Association of Meriden at 53 Colony St., Meriden CT has hosted this exhibit in years past supported with a wonderful opening reception. Saturday, Nov 6, 2-4, this year, if you can attend it's always a treat. The exhibit will be up until Dec. 3.

Unfortunately I won't be able to be there. And, that's not the only reception in CT that day where my work will on
exhibit...and that I will miss...(it doesn't rain, that it pours). That day is also the Opening Reception at the Guilford Art Center for its annual Artistry Show (Nov 4-Jan 9 2011) which, this year, includes an exhibition of the members of Shoreline Arts Trail. This is the kickoff for the holiday season and promotes the Open Studio event on Nov 20-21. While I will miss the opening reception, I won't miss that weekend!

Saturday Nov 6, I will be in Houston at IQF participating in a Gallery Talk in support of SAQA's "Creative Force" which premieres then. A real bounty of riches!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not exactly lemonade

but better.

On September 15 I revealed my contribution to Fiberaction's challenge inspired by the word stretch. I never was happy with the result...I stretched, yes, but was unsatisfied.

I probably should have filed "Time to Go?" away but it gnawed at me. Today I framed it with rick-rack (which always makes me smile) and mounted it on foam-core.

It might still be filed away...but I like it incrementally better and I'm smiling.

And that brings me to this current Fiberaction challenge, due on November 15. I finished it yesterday. And it makes me smile too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beyond Comfort

Yesterday, six days before the deadline (!), I posted my two entries for Beyond Comfort, a SAQA exhibit that calls for entries that push ones own personal artistic envelope. It sounded like a huge leap of members' faith to enter real experiments. It turns out that it is a very interesting that I actually enjoyed.

This first photo is a detail of my first entry "Looking Forward/Looking Back". I was trying to challenge the definition of a quilt. Granted art quilts ARE a challenge in that they are not usually intended to be functional, but rather artful.

So. If you define a quilt as three layers held together by stitches, the implication is that the inside layer is insignificant, however useful a function it might serve. I started with the inside layer, the batting, being the star. I dyed wool batting in a freehand style that, not surprising to me, seemed to yield a landscape form. I layered the batt with cheesecloth, that I had dyed in the same way, on the front and tulle on the back. The whole was machine and hand stitched together. Then later embellished with felted wool, shells, and a few weathered sticks.

This second entry was an experiment several months ago. With a piece of white cotton I rubbed with crayon over the cracks in the cement floor of one of the Guilford Art Center's classrooms. That too yielded a landscape which I dyed by simply pouring dye pots over while holding the cotton in the air. It was later machine stitched.

Postscript added in the middle here: The title of this piece is "Promised Land". I'm not a formally religious person even though I studied religions at length in the long distant past. This Promised Land reference is to a more current place. The landscape that emerged on the cloth reminded me of the foothills of northern California where I was born and my mother's previous three generations hailed from. It was called the Promised Land quite seriously by many of the settlers coming to farm, pan for gold, build railroads and raise their families. I have fond memories there.

I really enjoyed both experiments and was bemused that my subconscious created landscapes. A nice break. I seem to be stuck in the "leaves and trees as metaphors for life" stage. So the bigger picture landscapes is a nice change for me. I guess the challenge to stretch worked....I left the leaves (for the moment) and used cracks in the floor to crawl out of a rut.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

"Leaps and Bounds" (detail)

Finished! First seen in my August 5 post "Between Inspirations" this little (roughly 40" square) quilt is ready for my Open Studio event in November. I think that an assortment of work is necessary to have on hand: small matted pieces, printed cards, smaller utilitarian pieces like this one, along with the larger more artful work.

By the looks of things one would surmise that I'm well organized...this piece is well ahead of schedule.

EXCEPT November is also the Sisters' exhibit in New Haven at Bru, my two-person show with Maureen Squires (mixed-media) at Friends & Co in Madison and my going to Houston to see "Creative Force", the SAQA exhibit that I was lucky
enough to get into (it'd be a cold day in Hell before I did not get to see it UP).

THEN I can kick back (as if) and participate in the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio the third weekend in November. That's just before American Thanksgiving when traditionally our home is the gathering point for family from Maine, DC and Winnipeg.

But I've got that horse WAY before the cart. Next week our little Friendship Force of Southern Connecticut is hosting an exchange from Varel, Germany and guess who is the Exchange Director? This next week is going to be such fun. We have events scheduled for each day ranging from tours of Yale, pizza parties, cookouts on the beach, a trip to a wonderful museum (Pequot Museum), to dinner parties. I have even arranged for the Good Humor Man to call on our Welcome Dinner. Nothing more Americana than the Good Humor Man!

Upon re-reading my post I think I need to relax, close my eyes and get centered ;^) I REALLY want to enjoy the journey.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Terrific Find! Eva Zeisel

One of my hero(ine)s is Eva Zeisel. Here's a quote from Wikipedia:

Eva Striker Zeisel[1] (born Eva Amalia Striker,[2] November 13, 1906) is a Hungarian industrial designer known for her work with ceramics, primarily from the period after she immigrated to the United States. Her forms are often abstractions of the natural world and human relationships.[3] Work from throughout her prodigious career is included in important museum collections across the world. Zeisel declares herself a "maker of useful things."[3]. Zeisel currently resides in New York where she continues to design furniture as well as glass and ceramic objects.

The thing is that most useful, everyday glassware is not marked with the designer's name. Which,
from my selfish point of view, is a very good thing. Once you've held one of Zeisel's glasses in your hand you will never be interested in holding another...and you will always recognize it even when it's hiding among myriad knockoffs.

Today on my trip to a Goodwill Thrift Store ....because it was near where my art quilt group met today....VIOLA!!! I came across Twelve!!! small juice glasses, sometimes referred to as sherry glasses.

I think I have cornered the market on them here along the CT Shoreline.

I love them. All sizes, with the Federal Co. swirl or without. Each is a wonderful, useful piece of sculpture.

Bravo, Eva! You are an inspiration! Can you imagine: Approaching 104 years of age AND still creating beautiful objects!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The grunt work....

This first photo is of "Consider the Kelp", one of my last year's completions.

But this year I'm including it in my work for Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio in November. I took last year off because the Open Studio Tour in my own studio the previous years had placed a hardship on my family. (My husband and I share a home with my daughter and her family: two parents and two children and two dogs!) Those who have had or have youngsters at home know how busy a household can be!
This year I will camp out at the Guilford Art Center. There are casts of thousands who include the Center in their stopping points along the trail, so I have hopes of needing a supply, especially of the smaller work. I have decided to mount on foam core those under 24" in either direction.

This second piece is one of my submissions to Fiberactions' challenge for the word "communication". It's titled "Signs and Symbols".

I have decided just to whittle away the mountain of prep that needs to be done in order to get me situated at the Center in November. Today I got two mounted. Two down and umpteen to go.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fiberactions: September 15

Fiberactions time again! On the 15th of very other month, each member posts the results of her challenge to create a 16" x 20" piece inspired by a particular word. This month the word was 'stretch'.

Pictured here is a detail of "Time to Go?" my offering. I chose to stretch myself by creating limitations and, in so doing, challenge myself to stretch my imagination.

The limitations were: one piece of fabric, one color of paint, one embellishment and thread.

I cut a freezer paper stencil, painted with charcoal grey, painted the distant birds from an antique Japanese stencil with greatly darkened grey, machine stitched and embellished with antique, silk covered buttons.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Spunk" and Foam Core

This past January Fibercations, an online group that I belong to, posted its word challenge "initiative". I chose to interpret one of the word's literal definitions (dynamism, energy, originality, vigor, spunk, longing, love, passion, action.).

Now, months later, as I prepare for Open Studios I am mounting many of my smaller-to-mid sized pieces on archival foam core. In August I was asked by the Massachusetts SAQA group to give a mini-demo....which got me to thinking (oh, no! not thinking again!)

So far I think each of the pieces I've mounted has been elevated a little in its visual punch.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Like I'm not busy enough

When I signed up for Lyric Kinard's wonderful printing class at Quilt University I must have had my head up and locked.

I've been grandparenting all summer and hosting an even stream of house guests. I actually thought "What the Heck, summer will be at a close and I'll have time". WRONG!

Pictured here is Lesson One that I completed today. Just so you know, tomorrow Lesson Three is released!

The leaves were cut from newspaper to create a screen and the ferns were cut from freezer paper some time ago for a different project (Tide Pooling-After Audubon, see my August 15 post).

Both of these prints are on reclaimed linen napkins that I found in thrift stores...the blue one is damask and recently unsuccessfully sunprinted ;^) (see the last post!)

The yellow/green paint was a little too thick and began to dry too I rinsed it out of the screen. By the time I returned the napkin had dried so I, again, thought "what the heck?" and applied another layer of darker green.

I should have my head examined. Why I think I can get all this accomplished is bizarre. Aside from trying to ready for the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studios in November, I am also the volunteer Exchange Director for an incoming cultural exchange from Varel, Germany in October! Friendship Force International: wonderful organization, great goals, too much on my plate!

Just send the shrink over the next time you see me volunteer for something! Seriously.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Threat of Hurricane? Not in my backyard!

Hurricane Earl was scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon...after our long-planned Sun Printing with The Sisters. We figured that if there was no sun there might be sufficient light to print and, if not, we'd just end up with painted fabric. Not so bad. We soldiered on.

Pictured is one of my pre-block printed pieces of linen that I didn't like. The jury is still out.

Several of my new-passion-for-brown/mud fabric are interesting. I have in my head the color and mood for a new work and I'm still gathering the fabric. Actually I have a sizable hoard...oops...stash of earthy fabric of all ilk and I should move into action mode. If there were not SO many things on my overloaded plate...soon. At least that's a goal.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

100th Post

This beautiful smile belongs to Takuya Takenaka, our guest visiting with us, along with my son, from Japan. As is the custom both of them came bearing omiyage (gifts).

I wanted to send a gift in return that would be something Takuya's mom Kumiko would enjoy. The boys thought something "useful" rather than decorative would be most appropriate.

Takuya is proudly displaying a lap quilt I made in 2002 after I had found and rescued a bag of vintage, hand-pieced nine patches made by an anonymous Branford CT quiltmaker. There are 1930's/1940's/1950's textiles from shirts, flour sacks, pajamas and the like, pieced into nine patches. The lot cried to be completed.

I found reproduction fabric for the solid squares, inner border and backing. The few remaining patches that didn't make it into the body of the piece were appliqued on the outer border and the whole thing hand quilted. I like to think that the spirit of that anonymous quiltmaker is smiling somewhere. I am very happy to think that this piece has found a "real" home after languishing in my studio.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lowell Quilt Festival

The thrill of the weekend was seeing my two pieces on exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art. Not that demonstrating how to mount small pieces on foam core for the SAQA/MA meeting wasn't fun ;^). It really was, as was seeing all my "peeps" that reinforce, nurture and otherwise abet my passion.

The thing that makes the weekend of "Images", the annual quilt exhibit sponsored by the New England Quilt Museum, a very necessary event in many of our lives is that Lowell is a wonderful, artful town making a supreme effort to pull itself up by it's bootstraps...or in this's shirt tails. Once a textile producing mill(s) town it became a veritable ghost town in free-fall. Fast forward a decade or so and, while, the effects of the recent recession are evident, there still are many committed souls who are determined to make Lowell work...literally.

Lowell is full of character...and characters...but that's another story.

It is defined for me by cobblestone streets, good to great restaurants and pubs, and more than its share of museums and wonderful old buildings that are slowly being renewed in use, but preserved in beauty.

This pic was taken from the front steps of the New England Quilt Museum. The red brick building in the foreground formerly housed the Revolving Museum which has relocated to the warehouse/artists' lofts on Western Avenue (Never to be missed stop! Check out Friends Fabric Art).

My little entourage arrived Friday and "did" the quilt show along with its coterie of vendors before we checked into our digs, chosen because of its middle-of-the-town/walk-to-absolutely-everything location. Months before I had made reservations for dinner at our very favorite restaurant. (A sad side note: good friends ran into a very unfortunate server there. I say unfortunate because she was so bad she received zip/nada/nothing as a tip. Unheard of. I hate to say this... but I'm glad it wasn't our group that had this inept would have really burst my bubble!)

Saturday was my favorite day by far! Starting with The New England Quilt Museum where the SAQA/MA held it's meeting. We were delighted that our Pres. Lisa Chipetine was able to join us...always witty, informative, funny, engaging and irreverent. Gotta love her!

It's a chance to catch up with friends new and old too: Sandy Donabed, Sandy Gregg, Jeanne Marklin, Valerie Pratt-Portie, Debbie Bein....Betty Warner, Judy Ross, Aurelle Locke, Mary's a huge group hug every time.

I'll close with this last pic. My "Tidepooling--after Audubon" was paired by the Whistler with a member of the Lowell Garden Club who was challenged to create a piece for the exhibit. It was brilliant! I had a chance to speak with the creator. She had searched for square frames to hold the aqua fabric...she had placed the lilies imitating the egret's shape, clear glass reflected the water, the red made an impression of the crab. A real inspiration!

Can't close without mentioning the other "must see" whilst one is in Lowell: The Brush Gallery. This is the second year that I was not juried into it's Quilt Fest Week exhibit....but I was twice before so I should be happy.... Which, of course, is not the point. The point is that it is a wonderful venue, an artists' cooperative that embodies what I envision a really thoughtful, successful collection of artists do. Support the art, theirs in particular and others in general. And they do it well. It is one of my destinations. I never leave without buying jewelry, a weaving, or two dimensional piece of art. Their juried exhibits are always at the leading edge of what's happening.

I'm already planning next August in Lowell!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Between Inspirations

"Hanging the Stars and Moon" is roughly 40" square and what's been occupying my time between inspirations.

I wouldn't call it artist's block....exactly...just not inspired. Heck, I must just be kidding myself.

So, when I am in an artistic funk I try to keep busy with something in the studio...usually I retreat to the thing that captured my imagination with quilting in the first place: piecing. I find it very meditative.

This time I dug out my New York Beauty templates for paper piecing and made a block or two for several days. Yesterday it looked just like that...several disjointed, unorganized blocks.

I remember seeing a wonky set that I thought was interesting somewhere so I started with that thought in hopes of organizing the lot.

It's hot off the machine. Not squared, not batted, not quilted, not blocked....and I haven't a clue on how I will quilt it. Ideas, anyone?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More dyeing in the yard

Okay, I think I found another artful, beautiful technique that I'm not good at and will be very happy to support those who are: dyeing.

Yesterday I "batched" some linen, silk and cotton in the leftover dyes from last week. I'm from that part of the country that is very thrifty (the west...even though I live in New England now which is purported to be thrifty...I don't think they "own" the virtue.)

The piece that I MIGHT be happy with is the cotton shirt that I decided to dunk into the very last sloshes of dye. There's that thrift again. Heck I might even wear it.
The rest of the pieces include silk sleeves from a long ago disassembled dress (yellow and red) which I am intrigued with...we'll see.

So this kind of dyeing is not my cup of tea. But shibori and dispersing are techniques that I do enjoy and have had some success with...think I'll stick to that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dyeing in the Yard

My art quilt group Sisters in Cloth planned a dye date for the group this past Friday. Unfortunately it was one of the most hot and humid days of the summer....and we've had more than our fair share this year.

There were only five us who were able to participate. Summers are always a bit tricky to plan for full membership.

Carol Ludington, who had taken a couple of classes with Frieda Anderson, prepared the dyes to facilitate the event and lead the group using Frieda's instructions and formulas. We were all extremely happy with our work. In fact we are planning another dye day for this summer. We can only hope that the weather will be better and more of the sisters can get in on the fun.

This is the team that showed up in my yard. Because we worked in teams, the process went very smoothly and quickly...which was a godsend, saving us from totally melting in the heat.

Pictured: l/r Gail Kotowski, Linda Zimmerman, Carol Ludington and Barb Adams

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally! Success....sort of

After many days of frustration with uncooperative printed fabric (bleeding), interrupted studio time, breaking all the needles in my felt tool at onset of new project and...the real hardship...working on two projects that are not supposed to be shared until their reveal (or judged) dates. I never before appreciated what the loss of freedom to share and brainstorm might mean.

This weekend I took a class from a friend who is a jewelry maker, primarily using the beach glass that she and her sons collect together. Eileen was very generous in sharing all her "secrets" and everyone was successful in creating a unique piece that she (in this case we were all women) could be proud of. I know I certainly am.

I'll keep this as a model so I will remember all the steps whilst I make more...but this particular piece reminds me of one of my sisters-in-law and should be hers.

I had intended to use the skills that I'd hopefully gain in the class to wrap stones, shells and, perhaps rusted found objects onto my art quilts. I still expect to do that...what I didn't expect was to enjoy the process so much that I'd like to make more. Serendipity, again!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's been a long time

This is the unblocked BACK of my piece that I certainly hope will be completed by July 15 the reveal date for Fabrications. The word to be translated is "memory" and one would think, with as many as I have, that this would be a breeze for me. Not!

I've created what I thought would be's not. Now what? The only choice I feel I have is to take it with me to a mini-meeting of my art quilt group (there doesn't seem to be any rules about that sort of reveal) and see it I can get come constructive criticism. Desperately needed.

The other reason that it's been so long since I've posted is that the other "big" piece I'm working on is also banned from being posted on blog or internet until judged by the committee to which I will present it. I never realized what a hardship it could be to work without wide ranging interaction. It feels very much like working in a vacuum and I've come to enjoy affirmation/criticism from others whom I trust.

BTW The memory quilt will be squared up and blocked before the 15th...and finished. The last bit is a little wishful thinking, but I'll give it a go.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Baby Boy! (somewhere in Germany)

Named Richard Alfred Something and born somewhere in Germany in March 2010, there's a lucky little guy. His mother's cousin commissioned me to create a wall quilt for him. Such a nice gesture!

I don't look for commissions. But, it's so flattering to be asked that I seldom turn them down. (Okay, I'm easily flattered and I also like shiny things...that's how shallow I am.) Cousin A lives in CT. Cousin B lives in Germany. They share a family homestead and many happy childhood memories of Washington State.

Cousin A and I sat down and I took notes about what she hoped I could work into a quilt...she sort of free associated and I wrote: apple orchard, whale watching, salmon, a farm and Mt. Rainier in the background. After a rough sketch she approved the project, concluding that I had all the time I wanted. She thought a baby gift, like a wedding gift, had time to be delivered and, after all the baby was only a couple of months old.

I was delighted that I had the time to ponder and play. Today I have finished the hand appliqued apples and am affixing the hanging sleeve. I'm crossing my fingers that Cousin A's vision and mine coincide or at least have enough points in common that she will be happy with the outcome.

That's actually just to the point on why I don't seek commissions. I really prefer satisfying my own vision. Having another person in the picture just complicates things. IMHO

Oh, I SO hope she likes it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Season

Two baby quilts in a week! I think our extended family must be experiencing a mini baby boom. My nephew's wife is expecting their second child soon. I thought I should get the quilt completed before our summer calendar gets in action.

I will wait for the birth so the label will be accurate. We know big brother Hayden's sibling is a boy to be named Evan. At least that's the plan. Being an old experienced person, I like to wait. Then I'll have a birth date, weight and if the name Evan made it to the finish line.

Some of you will know what I mean. Heck, a couple of my own children's names were changed several times before they made their appearance. And, the last one didn't get named until Los Angeles County insisted. His father was in route from Viet Nam and didn't agree with my choice. Being a really good girl in those days, I waited for his return so we could decide together.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#6: Our Last Grandchild (we've heard this song before)

About 5 years ago "someone" told her Dad (and I quote) "I hate to say I don't know how this happened!" Yup, just when they had bought their 'forever' house, both parents were well employed, there was light at the end of the day-care tunnel, Little Mister Christopher made his mark, changing everything. What was the perfect house for four now became cramped (did I ever tell you about the two dogs, three cats, hamster, aquarium and hermit crabs?).

Fast forward, Christopher has begun pre-school, big sister is ready for middle school, big brother is guessed it!

I hope this hot-off-the-machine baby quilt is gender neutral. I know there is magenta in it but one can't just live in the blue corner of the spectrum. Apparently "we" will discover our November baby's gender next week, but I couldn't wait.

My favorite fabric in this little quilt is the magenta/green piece. It is Aboriginal Australian (ish) with a big ole jabaru (large tropical wading bird). Mr. Christopher's mother was our only child who was able to take a semester off and visit us when we lived in Australia. She loved it (of course) and has promised her husband and children that they will return someday. I'm sure she will like the reference in the very tropical, watery baby quilt. Oh, and they live in Florida so it's not like the quilt won't be in fashion.

So to our #6: WELCOME!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!!

Pictured left is "After Matisse"

I am SO excited! Today is my birthday (I'm not generally coy about it's a pretty big number) AND I received the "fat" email from the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, MA (
Two of my pieces were juried into "From Fine Art to Fiber: Reinterpreting the Masters" exhibit August 4 thru Sept 4. The Artists Reception is Saturday, August 14 (2-4 if you'd care to pop by and say "hi"). I will make every effort to be there I can tell you!

The second photo is "Tide Pooling-After Audubon"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dusk (unless you can suggest something better)

This just goes to show you the benefits of being a specialist on stash building. Some might characterize it as hoarding...but it's not. I share my stash and I use my stash. It's just that it takes a lot of building.

Case in point: Dusk {okay, I'm not in love with the title but it will do until someone suggests a better}. It is roughly 19" x 22". The background is a piece that I dispersed some time ago and have been hoping that it would inspire something. The larger gold piece and the silver piece are small bits from silk kimono. Then there's the totally commercial piece. I have painted the birds using acrylic textile paint and a Japanese katagami stencil that I purchased on my last trip. I also added five small, smooth stones from the shore.

I like the whole thing...largely because it satisfied the "picture in my head".

Any suggestions? Always welcomed.

Now that I'm looking at it on blogger I'm thinking about continuing the hand circle stitching over the whole and "under" the birds and trees. Whatcha think?