Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Japan (Part 1)

Brian's brother often travels to Japan.  And he has often invited us to join him.  There is a great advantage to visiting a place with someone who is familiar with such things as public transportation and local etiquette and who has a smattering of the language. So, right before Christmas, the three of us went to Japan.

Japan at Christmas is a wonderful place.  It seems that the Japanese have embraced the concept of Christmas decorations.  Everywhere we went, we saw Christmas lights, decorated Christmas trees and Santas.  It was magical!
Christmas tree in Hida-Furakawa
We stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel near Ikebukuro station in Tokyo.  The view outside our hotel window was pretty magnificent.  
The view
Public transportation in Tokyo was amazingly convenient.  We could hop on a train, subway or trolley and end up a block or two from our destination.  The first day in Tokyo, we did a lot of the "touristy" things.  First up, a stop at the Imperial Palace.  But we were disappointed -- when we arrived, we found that police had cordoned off the Palace grounds and we couldn't get in.  Twenty minutes later we found out why:  the emperor was on the move.
The emperor's coach
We then headed to the Meiji Shrine.   Along with hundreds of other tourists, we walked around the grounds and enjoyed the crisp, clear weather.  And ogled their sake supply.
Sake barrels at the Meiji Shrine
Our second day, we boarded the shinkansen (bullet train) and headed to Hida-Furukawa.  Hida-Furukawa is a very small town way up in the mountains north of Nagoya.  The shinkansen was fun -- we zoomed through the Japanese countryside at 170 mph.  We had purchased first class rail passes, so we traveled in style.
The shinkansen moves fast -- hard to get a good picture!
The countryside was beautiful, especially near Mount Fuji.  A mix of industrial areas and fields of rice and tea.
Mt Fuji
We were traveling to Hida-Furukawa to stay the night at a Ryokan, a traditional inn.  Bruce had stayed there several times.  It was cold and snowy, and thoroughly charming.
Yatsusankan Ryokan
Our room had tatami on the floor, and a Japanese table.  Our sleeping futons were not laid out until bedtime.

 That evening, we were served a traditional meal in 8 courses.  This is the first course.  It was all beautifully presented and very tasty -- even the fugu (puffer fish).

The three of us in front of the Ryokan
Back in Tokyo that next evening, we wandered around Sunshine City.

 There were a few (thousand) people around......

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Announcing my first solo show!

I'm very proud to announce my first solo show, opening January 6th at Elm Street Studio in Keller, Texas.  The reception will be January 16 at 6 pm.  I'd love to see you all there!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Minimalist Christmas at the Pregger House

Our little tree, the one we cut in Colorado the day after Thanksgiving, is up and decorated.  Very small, but we think it's lovely....
We've decided to keep the Christmas decorations at a minimum this year.  In an attempt to keep the stress at a minimum.  In part, it's because I'm devoting all of my time to making new pieces for my upcoming solo show.  In part, because my father-in-law is not spending the holidays with us this year.  And in part because, well, I'm just too tired.  

I do miss the festive decorations a bit, I have to admit.  But there is always next year.....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Busy Day in the Studio

I had a very long and productive day in the studio yesterday.  Brian is out of town, and unfettered by the demands of making lunch, dinner or even getting fully dressed (i.e. makeup and coordinating outfit), I spent a full 10 hours sewing.  And I made these:
I had visited Elm Street Studio on Friday to check out the space.  My first solo show will open there on January 6.  I wanted to see the current show hanging, an exhibition of oil paintings by Marie Maines, and to try to decide which pieces of mine would be best for the show.

Marie Maines had some small pieces, approximately 10" x 10", hanging in stacks of three, that looked very nice.  I decided to make a few.  The 6 pieces above are approximately 12" x 12" before quilting.  The small blue piece on the right is 13" x 16".

So today I will be quilting.  The deadline is looming.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Subdivisions #9 and #10 are quilted!

Worked hard all day and finished the quilting on these pieces.  Subdivisions #9 is 21"x19":
Subdivisions #10 is 25" x 34":
In my next post, I'll tell you all why I've been working so hard!

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Work

Two new Subdivisions quilts pieced and ready to quilt.  The first is Subdivisions #9, approximately 22" x 20":
 The second is Sub #10, approximately 27" x 35":
Tomorrow, I start quilting.  Hopefully I can finish them both this week!

The Annual Christmas Tree Hunt

B and I spent Thanksgiving as we always do -- up in Evergreen, Colorado.   And as always, we had a fabulous time.

We spent a day in Denver, wandering around LoDo and visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art.  We hadn't been to the MCA before, but found an interesting exhibit of art by Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer of DEVO.  Pretty fascinating stuff!
A highlight of our Thanksgiving week is the annual hike along Buffalo Creek in the South Platte Ranger District to find the perfect Christmas tree.  In the first picture, we are trying to decide if this spruce is tall enough:
 We decided that it was, indeed, tall enough (about 17 feet), and Erik cut it down:
 B and I always bring home a tree.  Ours is a wee bit smaller:
The hike out with the big tree is always fun:
We got it in the house and into the stand.  We must have measured the tree incorrectly in the forest.  It was a teeny bit tall:
We had some gorgeous sunsets during our time in Evergreen.  Unfortunately, it was very chilly and we didn't spent much time sitting on the deck.
 Our last day there, Sunday, we took another hike.
Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!  We did!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SAQA North Texas Circle meeting

Yesterday the North Texas SAQA circle met in Dallas, at the studio of Petit Atelier in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas.  We had a wonderful meeting!

We met in the newly opened "Tissu", a boutique fabric store Michael and Mario have opened next door to Petit Atelier.  Not only were we surrounded by beautiful fabrics (including some mouthwatering duping silks), we had a new assistant to help us with our show and tell.  

I didn't actually get to take any pictures.  These were taken by Carolyn Skei.  

It was a very inspiring meeting.  For more information about the North Dallas SAQA circle, go to our Facebook page.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Busy Week!

I've had an incredibly productive week.  Nothing gets me going like a deadline...
I have my first solo show, at an art gallery in Keller, Texas, coming up in January.  And I felt that I should make some smaller pieces to show.  Most of my tuning fork quilts are large -- 50" by 70" or larger.  I wanted a mix of sizes for the show.

So this week, I spent many many hours in the studio.  And I made these:
Six pieces in one week.  I'm pretty happy.  And exhausted.  I logged 35 studio hours in 4 days.

Subdivision #4, 20" x 29"
Sub #7, 22" x 19"
Sub #8, 25" x 34"
Sub #5, 21" x 27"
Sub #6, 15" x 16"
Sub #9, 22" x 20"
I made this top the week before I went to Houston.  I liked it, and it sparked the other 6:
Sub #3, 30" x 40"
Next week I plan to quilt and finish at least a couple of these, and to start a couple of small tuning fork quilts.  Another busy week!

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

Report from International Quilt Festival

I've been back from Houston for a couple of days, and I'm still recovering from the long hours in the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) booth and the visual stimulation of all of the beautiful quilts hanging in the show.  And from spending time with some very good friends, as well as making some new ones.  Altogether, a fabulous experience!

Our booth was on the exhibit side of the quilt show, directly in front of the two exhibits SAQA was debuting at IQF, "Celebrating Silver" and "Redirecting the Ordinary."  Information about the new exhibits can be found at  We were selling catalogs of the exhibits and our yearly "Portfolio" of member's work, and we also had the quilts from Phase 4 of the SAQA benefit auction.  Each year, members are asked to donate a 12" x 12" piece for the auction to raise money for our exhibition program.  Not only did they make a nice display, we sold lots of them!
Tuning Fork #13 looked wonderful hanging in the "Art: Abstract - Large" section.  It was beautifully lit, and it glowed.
One of the best things about working in an exhibit booth at Festival is getting in early.  Every morning I arrived an hour before opening, and wandered around taking pictures of quilts that caught my eye.  Hundreds of pictures.  It was blissfully quiet and no one was in the way -- vastly different from the noisy throngs in the hall during the open hours.  I wanted to share pictures of a few pieces I enjoyed, mostly pieces by friends of mine (because I didn't make notes about the artist for every quilt I snapped, and I don't want to post pictures of unattributed art).

This piece is by Maria Shell from Anchorage.  Not only is Maria a talented artist, she's also a friend and I was happy to have a chance to spend time with her:
 This is by Robin Williamson, a fellow member of the SAQA North Texas Circle:
 This piece, which won an award, is by my fellow Texas SAQA regional representative Suzan Engler:
This beautiful quilt is by Andrea Brokenshire:
Marianne Williamson had quite a few quilts in the show, two in the judged portion and at least three in special exhibits.  At least, I saw three of them.  This is one of her judged show pieces:
 Colleen Kole had two pieces in "Tactile Architecture."  Both, I believe, are in her Rooflines series:
 This piece is by eight members of DAFA: Connie Akers, Flo Barry, Michelle Knoerzer, Sara Miller, Lu Peters, Carolyn Skei, Brenda Wyatt, and Gay Young. It was in the "Life Begins at 40" exhibit:
 This piece is by Kathy York, and was also a prizewinner:
I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Richard and Tanya's Quilts Link a Finish FridayFriday Fabric FrenzyConfessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth

I am very proud to be part of Quilts=Art=Quilts, a beautiful show at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, New York.  I wasn't able to attend the opening, but I saw this video this morning and wanted to share the beautiful work in the show with all of you:
My quilt, "Tuning Fork #11", appears at 1:48.

If you can't play the video, the original link is here. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On my way to International Quilt Festival!

I leave today for Houston, to work at the SAQA booth and to enjoy all of the delights of International Quilt Festival.  I have a quilt in the show, Tuning Fork #13, and I have this small quilt in the IQF Silent Auction.  
Bad picture, taken with my iPad right before I sent it to Houston, but it is a nice little piece.  If you're in Houston, come by and see it.  The auction is for a good cause!

Yesterday, Wendy and I led a workshop for studioQ.  We're starting a new motif challenge.
I'm looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends in Houston, and to making some new ones.  It's always a wonderful experience!

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