Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Week in Arkansas

Last week I went with Janet to northwestern Arkansas.  We had several reasons for going.  Janet's parents live in Bentonville, and I had not seen them for several years.  And it was Craft Fair week, with a dozen or so craft fairs in the area, and we were hoping to do a lot of Christmas shopping.  And, most enticing of all, Bentonville is the home of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  I have wanted to see Crystal Bridges since it opened in 2011.

First up were the craft fairs.  War Eagle Mill is a beautiful place, and the craft fair is wonderful. 
War Eagle Mill
I got quite a bit of Christmas shopping done.  My annual goal is to be through by November, and I'm darned close.  I may make it!

We spent an afternoon at Crystal Bridges.  I love the spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in the entrance courtyard.
Janet and LaVerne in front of "Maman" by Louise Bourgeois
The museum is built over Crystal Spring.  A beautiful building in a beautiful setting.
"Big Red Lens" by Frederick Eversley
Janet's father is a founding director of the Veterans Wall of Honor in Bentonville.  It hadn't been finished last time I visited, so of course we had to go see it.  Very impressive!
Leonard and Janet at the Wall
I'm home again and hard at work reorganizing my studio.  A couple of quick "before" pictures (or more accurately, "in progress" pictures).  Hopefully the "after" pictures will follow soon.  I've been at this 2 weeks (minus the 5 days spent in Bentonville) and am heartily sick of the mess!
My sewing machine is under there somewhere.
Can't use the Gammill either


Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fall Art With Fabric Blog Hop is Here!

I was very excited to be asked once again by Alida of Tweety Loves Quilting to join the fall version of the "Art With Fabric Blog Hop!"   I've been having a lot of fun this year using existing art pieces to inspire my work.  And it's always fun to share my process with you!

My inspiration piece for this challenge was chosen by a friend of mine, Beth G.  She had seen the work of Aaron Karp in a gallery in Santa Fe and was struck by the colors, shapes and textures of his work.  So she challenged my fiber art group to use one his paintings, Granada, to use as our starting  point for a piece of original fiber art.
Granada by Aaron Karp
I will admit I stared at this painting for a while.  Several things grabbed my attention:  the circles imposed over the grid, the texture of the cross-hatched lines, the colors.  After a bit of thought I decided to focus on a small section of the picture.  I enlarged a section and printed it out.
Now that I had a vague idea about what I was going to make, I pulled fabric.

And cut some strips.  Some were slightly curved, all were cut without using a ruler.  I like my strips and pieces to be "organic."
I placed strips on my design wall and, when I was happy with the combinations, I started to sew the strips together:
I used both solids and textured fabrics, mostly tone-on-tone:
 When I got a group together, I cut into the piece to insert the "cross-hatched" lines:
I pieced the quilt in three sections, each one slashed with lines:
And then I sewed them together.  The final piece, before quilting, is 18" x 22".
Strat Study #1
At this point, I realized that the quilt had somehow morphed into a geological study.  And coincidentally, my latest series is based on rocks and minerals.  How did that happen?

At studioQ, my fiber art group, we all shared our pieces based on Aaron Karp's painting.  I love our different interpretations!

Be sure to visit the other Blog Hop participants this week.  The other blog hop participants for Monday are:

Bea @ beaquilter (

Check them out and see some FABULOUS work!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I Just Added a Small Piece to my Collection

Every year the Studio Art Quilt Associates hold an auction of 12" x 12" quilts to support their exhibition, publications and education programs.  The quilts are made and donated by our members.  And every year I can't resist, I buy several.  I've amassed a lovely collection of pieces by quilt artists I admire.

My latest piece is by Heather Dubreuil.   Heather is a Canadian artist, and her cityscapes are created using her hand dyed fabric, enhanced by machine stitched lines.  I find her work fascinating. 
I'm so pleased that I was able to buy this beautiful quilt AND to help a wonderful organization!

Friday, September 30, 2016

A Couple of New Challenge Quilts (in progress)

The challenge due in October for studioQ, chosen by Andrea, is a painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, "Autumn Trees - the Maple", painted in 1924.
My interpretation got away from me.  I had two fuchsia and black pieces that I had painted with thickened dye several years ago. I had used bits of them in other pieces, but I decided to feature them in this piece.  So I started with strips of solid blue and the dye-painted pieces, and it just went on from there.  Fun to do, but the result is a bit chaotic.
Maples run amok!  15" x 20"
I've really enjoyed the Masterpiece challenge.  And Jay and I have been showing off our pieces at the North Texas SAQA meetings.  And now our SAQA group has started a similar challenge.  For our first month, Shelley chose "Harran II" by Frank Stella, painted in 1967.
I loved the little white line separating the colors.  So I decided to feature it in my interpretation.  
Stella's House,  18" x 18"
Neither of these pieces are quilted yet.  I've become obsessed with my latest quilt, based on a thin section of banded quartz and hematite.  More about that later.

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival: The Salt Marsh Near First Encounter Beach

For the last five years, I have been exploring the tuning fork motif.  I love to interlock them, elongate them, scrunch them up, flip them around, explode them....OK, I admit, I'm obsessed.  The latest finished product of my obsession is "The Salt Marsh Near First Encounter Beach," which will be on display in the Art:Abstract - Large category at International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.
The Salt Marsh at First Encounter Beach (Tuning Fork #29),  54"w x 64"h)
I usually start with a rather vague format in mind.  This time, I decided to start with a photograph.  I took this photo in September 2015 at the salt marsh near my father-in-law's house on Cape Cod.
I started by searching through my stash and pulling out fabrics for the sand, the grasses, the trees, the clouds and the sky.  I cut narrow strips, cut the strips into rectangles, and started making small "tuning fork" units.
Each tuning fork is crafted individually.  No strip piecing involved. Here is the basic unit.
I make literally thousands of these tiny little buggers, each approximately  2" x 4".  No exact measurements -- I don't use a ruler and I don't care if they are the same size.  And then I start placing them on the design wall.  Below, you can see the lower right hand corner of the photo coming together:
 I added some darker greens along the top edge of the dune:
 And started adding lighter, limier greens:
 And then a few golds and rusts:
 It grew and became the monster that took over my design wall:
I added the tree line on the other side of the marsh.  And it needed some sky.  It had to be moody -- it was a very gray day when I took the picture:
And then I started sewing it together.  I don't necessarily sew it together in straight lines.  I usually choose a section and start making it all fit together.  Like a jigsaw puzzle.  It's the part of quilt making that I like the best.  In this photo, I've put the lower right together:
I always have to make more tuning fork units as I go along.  And I do move things around a bit as I sew.  Creative editing.  Here it is almost together:
I quilted it in long vertical lines, less than 1/8" apart.  And I used lime green thread.  Here's a closeup of the quilting:
A closeup of the quilting
I've very proud to tell you all that this quilt has won a prize at Houston International Quilt Festival this year.  I won't know what I've won until the awards ceremony on November 1.

I'm sharing this post in the Blogger's Quilt Festival Art Quilt category.  Click HERE to see all the quilts and to vote for your favorite quilt!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Eastham Salt Marsh Quilt-- and Thoughts About Donating Art

Maria Shell, who blogs at "Tales of a Stitcher," wrote an interesting post last week about donating art.  You can read it here.  It really resonated with me, because this is the time of year that I am approached several times a month to donate.  

Several years ago, I was asked to donate a piece to a local animal shelter for a silent auction held during their annual fundraising banquet.  I said yes -- after all, I love animals and I wanted to help.  I sent an art quilt, roughly 2' x 3', hoping it would make some money for them.  It did, but not a lot, and to top it off, the buyer sent me a photo of her dog sleeping on it.  I found it highly distressing.

Obviously the wrong audience for my work.

So I have learned to say no.  And I, like Maria, only donate art to groups that I know will appreciate and value my work.  And groups that I have a personal connection with.

So who have I donated pieces to this fall?

International Quilt Association's annual fundraising silent auction, held during International Quilt Festival in Houston.  My quilt, Eastham Salt Marsh, will be available during the show, between November 2 and November 6.
Eastham Salt Marsh, 17"w x 22"h
This small piece is the second salt marsh quilt I have made.  The first, "The Marsh Near First Encounter Beach," will be hanging in the judged show in the "Art: Abstract - Large" category.

I also donate to the Studio Art Quilt Associates' reverse online auction.  This wonderful event raises money for an organization very dear to my heart. SAQA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation and publications.  The auction is an annual event and is really fun.  The 12" x 12" quilts are broken into three sections.  Each section is available for one week and the price, which starts at $750, drops daily.   Of course, if you wait too long to bid, you risk losing the piece you want to buy.  My piece is in Section 2, and will be auctioned off starting September 26.
I buy several of these small pieces every year.  I can't resist -- there are some amazing pieces in the auction!  I have most of them hanging in my studio, a few in the hallway.  Someday I'll write a blog post about my collection.  Right now, I have my eye on one of the quilts in Section 1, which will end this weekend.

Another cause I contributed a quilt to this year is "Live Your Brightest Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella", which debuts on September 24th at "Quilting in the Garden" at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, California.  Yvonne, who died earlier this year, was a pioneering art quilter and one of the founders of SAQA. Pokey Bolton, Alex Anderson and representatives from C&T Publishing will be at the opening.  Quilts will be sold to raise money for SAQA.   
JOY! 18"w x 26"h
There are other causes I believe in, of course, but it seems more appropriate to send money.  I still support my local animal shelter.

So Maria, I heartily agree with you.  Donate art where your heart is.  And someday I swear I will bid early enough to buy your SAQA auction quilt!

Monday, September 19, 2016

BBB Part 3

The second week of our vacation was spent at Pop's house on Cape Cod.  Brian's brother was already there.
Bruce, me, Pop
I LOVE Cape Cod.  One of my favorite places.  So here are a few quintessential Cape Cod pictures.
Salt Pond, Eastham
A trimaran at First Encounter Beach
The Salt Marsh near First Encounter Beach -- high tide
OK, I got that out of my system.  Notice that I even snuck in a picture of the salt marsh.  Those of you who read my blog know I have a salt marsh obsession.

This was the vacation of sunsets.  We saw a beautiful sunset at each of the three locations we visited.  The sunset we saw at Thumpertown Beach, looking west over Cape Cod bay, was one of the best I have seen.

As it dipped over the horizon
 We of course had to celebrate Brian's birthday one more time.  And I made his favorite birthday cake.
Bruce and Brian, birthday guys
My mother in law was an antique dealer, and the decor at the Cape Cod house is very early american.  Brian and I bought a very modern painting by S. P. Goodman at the Left Bank Gallery in Wellfleet.  And hung it in the living room.
We thought it looked great there.  And luckily, Pop agreed.
Wave Series #4 by S.P. Goodman
We had a great time on the Cape.  We managed to rest and relax, catch up on our reading, walk on the beach, spend time with Pop and do a few chores around the house.  And, yes, I took several walks to admire the salt marshes.
Brian and Pop.  Salut!

Sign up for my studio newsletter