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!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Studio Art Quilt Associates' annual fundraising auction begins today with a "Diamond Day" kickoff.  At 2 pm EDT ALL of the 12 x 12" art quilts will be available online at a flat price of $1,000. The regular online, reverse auction of group one starts on Sept 19 at 2 PM. My piece is in the second group, which will start on September 26.
All money goes to fund SAQA's exhibitions, publications and education outreach.  So buy a beautiful small quilt and increase the recognition for art quilts and the artists who make them.  
The quilts available are AMAZING!  See them all HERE.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

BBB Part 2

After several nights on the Keweenah, it was time for the real birthday celebration to begin.  We drove to Spread Eagle, Wisconsin, to meet our closest friends at their lake cottage.
Brian's birthday began with a little decorating.  Janet had gone all out on the decorations -- we had balloons, banners and a lovely sash for B to wear.
Everyone was in the spirit
The day included all of the traditional trappings -- B's favorite dinner, champagne, presents, birthday cake -- as well as a sunset cruise on Long Lake.  Even the boat was decorated.
And the sunset was AMAZING.
The next day was the University of Wisconsin's first game of the season.  Erik is a Wisconsin grad and has turned us all into fans.  We got in the spirit.
The Badgers won!
We were in the cottage for 5 days.  It is a beautiful place. And even more beautiful when it's filled with wonderful friends.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Brian's Birthday Bash, Part 1

Brian had a big birthday two weeks ago.  A very big birthday, the kind that needs to be marked as a momentous occasion with a very special trip or a huge party.  I asked him nearly a year ago what he wanted to do to celebrate and his answer, surprising me greatly, was that he wanted to go to the Keweenaw peninsula in Northern Michigan and visit a few copper mines.

Not really what I had in mind, but after all it was his big birthday, not mine. For my big birthday (next year) I have been thinking about asking for a trip to Scotland.  But it was his choice, so we headed to Michigan.

I had been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as an undergraduate geology student.  Our professors packed us into a bus every spring break and took us on a weeklong camping trip to study geology in situ.  One year we visited a zinc mine in Virginia, one year we went to Mammoth Cave and hunted quartz crystals in Arkansas, one year we studied dunal deposition in Florida (full disclosure, not much studying done on that trip) and during my senior year we went to the UP and visited several iron mines.  Brian, being a year ahead of me, had already graduated and did not get to go on that trip.  Apparently he has always regretted it.

So we headed to Michigan.  We had booked into a really wonderful B & B, Sheridan on the Lake, in Houghton, MI. Our room had a fabulous view of Portage Lake.
Bill and Barbara are lovely hosts.  And Barbara is a wonderful cook.  Like many natives of the Keweenaw she is of Finnish descent. We told her we had been to Finland, and she surprised us with a Finnish breakfast one morning.  Homemade cheese (LeipƤjuusto), a Finnish pancake (pannu kakku) and a breakfast bread.  Delicious!

Houghton is the home of Michigan Tech, and Michigan Tech has a world-class mineral museum.  So our first day was spent at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum.  We hadn't really planned on spending a full day there, but when you get two people with degrees in geology in a mineral museum, you cannot get them out.  Here is Brian with a gigantic piece of native copper.
They truly have a wonderful collection.  Many minerals from the Great Lakes states and tons of native silver and copper from the Keweenaw.

We headed toward the tip of the peninsula, searching for agates on the beach at Eagle River, touring a lighthouse at Eagle Harbor and exploring Calumet.  And ended up at Copper Harbor for dinner in a great German restaurant with a view of Lake Superior.  Enjoying schnitzel and watching the freighters go by.
Pebbly beach on Lake Superior.  Good place to look for agates.
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse 
We ended the day by sitting on the dock at Sheridan on the Lake, looking for bald eagles (we saw several) and enjoying the sunset.
It was raining across the lake, and we could see a rainbow as well as the sunset. 

The next day we headed to the Quincy Mine for a tour.  The mine operated from 1846 until the 1970s.  They offer underground tours.
Number 2 Shaft House
The mine shaft we hiked into was originally 5 feet high and 3 feet wide.  Luckily, it was widened as part of a mining study by students of Michigan Tech.
Underground (7th level), examining the old mining tools and the copper stope. 
After the mine, we headed back towards Calumet, for a walk along the shore and lunch in a brewpub.

The Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing Co.

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