Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lessons in Art

I haven't had anything to say here for a while.  I've been busy with an online class I'm taking with Lesley Riley, called Compose Yourself.  She's covering the basics of composition, but with an emphasis on placing yourself into your work.  I'm learning a lot and stretching myself to try and keep up.

Ever since I began making art quilts, I have felt that I needed to stand back in the corner and keep my mouth shut, so that the "real" artists in the room would not know that I didn't belong.  After all, many of them had degrees in art or graphic design and they knew all the rules about what constitutes art.  Many of them worked in other media.  They were painters, sculptors, potters, etc.  All I knew how to do was operate a sewing machine. 

Over the years, I've taken numerous online classes from other fiber artists to try and learn as many techniques as I could.  I wanted to know all the secrets.  But, despite all that, I was still uncomfortable and unsure of my work.

It helped me gain confidence to enter and win recognition in a few art shows, but I still feel that the majority of the art world does not really accept textiles (a quilt?) as genuine art.  My other disadvantage is that my work is, for the most part, realistic.  Everyone expects or assumes that it will be abstract.  I don't know why. 

Earlier this year, I received an award at the Columbus Artists' Guild show.  The judge was a gallery owner, so I worked up my courage and approached her about having some of my work in her gallery.  While she said she loved my work (she did recognize it with an award), she did not think there was a market for it in her gallery.  She gave me the name of another gallery that might have some interest, and, by the way, did I do anything abstract?

That's one of the reasons I decided to take Lesley's class.  If I can learn the rules of good composition, maybe, just maybe, I can get a grip on how to go about making abstract art.  Don't get me wrong, I will continue to do realistic work--it's what I understand and I think it's where my talent lies--but, I would like to know enough to be able to try abstract to see if it's something I enjoy. 

There are some abstract pieces that I like and some that just leave me shaking my head, but I don't feel I have the knowledge to understand which piece is good artistically, and which is not.  Of course, that won't change my mind as to whether I like it .  I think people's reaction to art is almost totally subjective.  You either like it or you don't--it holds your attention and speaks to you, or not.  If you have to analyze it before you decide you like it, then  obviously you don't.

I also find it fascinating that people seem to purchase art, not based so much on their own likes or dislikes, but on whether other people think an artist is good.  My theory is that they are afraid to purchase and display something in their home unless they think it is acceptable to others.  Conformity and social acceptance are strongly ingrained in most people, and that's unfortunate.

And so, no photos today--just my thoughts. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

One More Show

Last Friday, I attended the Georgia Quilt Show north of Atlanta.  I had never been to this show and was impressed by the quality of entries and by the fact that they were from all over the country, as well as a few international entries.  It's not a huge show, but it was well done and well attended.

I had entered my "Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun" and was pleased that she received a third place award in the Small Wall Quilts category.  They don't have a separate category for art quilts, so there were lots of different types of quilts in the group--some pieced (a gorgeous miniature that took 1st place), some applique from patterns, and a good number of what I would call art quilts (original designs, realistic, representational, and abstract).

This is my entry--from a photo of Sarah, my youngest granddaughter.  The big brown UPS truck brought her home to me today--that's always a relief when they come home safely.

I was able to enjoy the show with my daughter, Marla, who had never been to a real quilt show before.  I think she was rather impressed with the amazing work on display.

Another highlight was a regional meeting of SAQA, which allowed me to meet several fellow art quilters from around Georgia.  That was a treat and I hope it won't be our last get-together.

I've just completed a Quilt of Valor, which I'll ship out in a few days (as soon as I get an assignment destination).  This is the only one I've made this year--wish I'd done more.  I still have to do the hardest part, which is to write something to the recipient.  That's always tough because you have no idea who you're writing to--man or woman, young or not so young.  But I think it's important to put some kind of message with the quilt to make it more personal.

I'm taking a class online with Lesley Riley on composition.  I hope it will help me have a bit more confidence in what I'm doing, especially when I do a piece and I know there's something not quite right about it, but I'm not sure what that something is--very frustrating. 

I received my copy of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine this week with the photo of my "Smoky Mountain High" included in a piece about mountain-related art quilts.  It was a thrill to see my work published. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ga National Fair Results

After my wipeout at the Asheville Quilt Show, it was nice to go to Perry, GA last week and see the results of the Fine Art and Quilt Competitions. 

My "Where the Pavement Ends" won 1st, "Black Hills September" won 2nd and "Top Gun" received an Award of Merit in the Fine Art show. 

The quilt I recently finished for my bed, "Perseverance", aka, "The Quilt From Hell" won a 1st place and an Award of Excellence for Best Piecing.  I was very pleased.

Next week is the Georgia Quilt Show.  I have one piece entered.  I'm really looking forward to it, as I've arranged to meet my daughter for lunch and the show.  She's never been to a quilt show, so I think it'll be fun to see her reaction to all the wonderful quilts.  My entry into the show is my portrait of her youngest daughter, Sarah (Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun).  Then, there's a regional SAQA meeting where I'll have an opportunity to meet other art quilters from GA and SC.

I'm currently working on a Quilt of Valor.  It's pieced and ready for quilting, so I will get busy on that next week.   

Monday, October 1, 2012

Show Time

We're back from the Asheville Quilt Show.  I entered two pieces--no awards...sigh...It was a nice show--over 300 quilts and numerous vendors.  We drove up on Saturday--it's about a 5 hour drive--and made a stop in Hendersonville for apples.  They're the best.

We went to the show on Sunday morning, then drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Folk Art Center.  It's a great collection of arts and crafts from the Southern Appalachian area.  There were lots of quilts and art quilts, pottery, wood carving, weaving, etc.  If you're ever in the area, be sure to visit.  And, of course, the parkway is wonderful--except the traffic was pretty heavy--but then, it was Sunday afternoon and close to a large city, so I guess that's to be expected.  The trees have just begun to show the fall colors, so the next couple of weeks should be peak time. 

We had a miserable, rainy drive home.  We do need the rain badly, but I hate driving in the dark when it's raining. 

The GA Nat'l Fair opens on Thursday of this week (Oct 4th) and runs through the 14th in Perry, GA.  I'll be going down at some point to see how my entries fared (no pun intended).  I have 3 art pieces in the Fine Art competition and 1 quilt in the quilt competition.

I'm so glad to see Fall arrive with cool mornings and warm (but not too warm) afternoons.  It's the perfect time of year, in my opinion, and then, there's the color.

Speaking of color, I took some of my hand-dyed fabric to my favorite local quilt shop (Sunday Best Quiltworks in Ellerslie) to see if Linda was interested in trying to sell some of them in the shop.  We had no sooner worked out an arrangement for her to take them on consignment when a lady came in and immediately bought a piece.  Then, a few minutes later, a second shopper came in and grabbed 2 pieces.  That left 5, so we hung them on a quilt rack to display them to their best advantage.  The next morning, Linda called to say that 2 more had sold--woohoo!  That means I can make some more--and that was the whole point of selling them.  I had to be able to justify doing more.

By the way, if you're interested, I'm making generous half yards (20" x width of fabric) and we're offering them at $15 each.  They are unique, one of a kind pieces--really suitable for framing, as is, but they present all kinds of possibilities for making your own art.  E-mail me if you'd like to know more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New art quilt and hand dyed fabric

I got the letter yesterday from the Schweinfurth Art Center.  They declined both my entries for this year's "Quilts = Art = Quilts" exhibit.  The letter said they had 331 entries from 191 artists--they chose 77 for the show.  I guess that means I've got lots of company.  It's always disappointing to get a rejection letter, but you just have to chalk it up to experience and move on.  Speaking of...

On a more positive note, I finished the piece I've been working on that is made from my hand-dyed fabric.  I call it "Sanctuary".  It was primarily made from one piece of my ice-dyed fabric.  I used a hand dyed piece that I had in my stash for the sky.  All the details (grass,trees) are thread painting.

I also have to share some of the other pieces that I dyed.  These are 3 examples.  They were all done using the same 3 dyes (1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow).  I told you it was cool! 

Each of the pieces is just over a half yard.  I started with about 20 inches x the width of the fabric.  I wanted to be sure I had a full half-yard of fabric in each piece.  I hate it when I buy a yard of fabric and, after it's washed and dried, it ends up being 33 or 34" long.

As promised a while back, I'm also posting a photo of the final "Black Hills September" after some tweaking.  It's currently at the GA National Fair, waiting to be judged in the Fine Arts competition, along with "Top Gun" and "Where the Pavement Ends".  The fair opens October 4th, so we'll see how it goes.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Waiting Game

It's the time of year when all the quilt/art shows seem to be taking place.  I've entered my work in 4 venues.  So far, I've shipped out or delivered 6 of my babies--two to the Asheville Quilt Show, which is the last weekend in September, and four to the GA National Fair.

 I decided, after some arm twisting by the ladies at Sunday Best Quiltworks to enter my newest and largest bed quilt, "Perseverance", aka,  "The Quilt From Hell" in the quilt competition, along with 3 of my art quilts in the Fine Arts Textile Division.  The fair takes place Oct 4 - 14th.  I'll be attending both events.

Next week I'll send "Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun" to the Georgia Quilt Show, show dates Oct 18 - 20th.  I've already planned my day at that show on Friday, Oct 19th.  My daughter will meet me for lunch and the show, then there's a reception for the GA/SC members of SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates).  I'm looking forward to meeting some fellow art quilters there.  After that reception, there's a Meet the Makers event for those with quilts in the show, so it will be a long day.

I'm watching the mailbox with fingers crossed, as I've submitted two entries for consideration to the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY, for their "Quilts = Art = Quilts" exhibit.  That one is a long shot, but I figured, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  They were to mail out notices of acceptance last Friday.  I should get something from them tomorrow.

I have a new piece almost finished.  It's a real experiment.  I have been toying with the idea of hand dyeing fabric for a long time, but since I'm the world's messiest painter, I just didn't want to deal with all the hoopla of trying to dye my own fabric.  Then I saw an article on ice dyeing in Quilting Arts Magazine.  It sounded pretty uncomplicated, so I tried it.  I'm afraid a new addiction has been added to my list of things I can't resist.  The results are wonderful--I don't think you can mess it up--and the most fun part is that you don't know what you've got until you're done.  You can begin to see beautiful results when you rinse the excess dye out of the fabric, but the real "Christmas morning" moment comes when you take it out of the dryer and stand amazed at what you've created.

I must confess that I've bought numerous pieces of hand dyed fabric over the years.  I have a neat, beautiful stack of it.  The only problem is that every time I decide to use it in a project, I end up putting it back on the shelf.  Why?  Because I always feel like I might be "wasting" it on the current project and I should "save" it for just the right thing.  Trouble is--how do I know when the right thing comes along?  So, I get it out and look through it and stroke it and admire it and then put it back on the shelf.

Well, I decided that since I had created this beautiful fabric myself, it was okay to use it--even if I messed it up, I could make more!  That was a very liberating discovery.  Sooo, I took a piece of my new creation and looked at it, until I began to see something in it.  Then, horrors, I actually cut it and rearranged pieces of it and made an art quilt.  Imagine.  And I even took a piece of the stack I've been saving and used it, too.  I'm really living dangerously. 

I don't have photos yet, as I'm about to hand stitch the binding on it tonight, but I'll post some soon, along with shots of some of the other pieces I dyed. 

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012 last

I should take out an ad in the newspaper (am I the only one who still reads a newspaper?) but since I'm a 21st century kind of gal, I'll use this forum to announce that I have finally finished the "quilt from hell".

 I can't remember exactly when I started this beast, but I know it's been several months.  I decided I would make a new quilt for my bed--one that actually covered up the sheets so they didn't hang out on the sides.  Then I came up with the bright idea that it should be something really special--not "quick and easy" or "down and dirty", but something that might someday be considered an heirloom.  Of course that would mean that I was dead and gone, but that's okay, too.

I had seen a beautiful quilt at Sunday Best Quiltworks in Ellerslie, GA, made by Teresa Singleton.  The patterns were based on Italian floor tiles--gorgeous.  She assured me it was not that difficult, so I bought the book.  My first mistake was to choose a quilt pattern from the book that was not the one Teresa had made.  I hadn't taken into account that patterns published by reputable companies sometimes contain errors and/or omissions.  Let's just say my life with this quilt got a lot easier once I found the "corrections" page of the author's website.

The center of the quilt is a mariner's compass, which had to be paper pieced.  Not a problem, I've done that before.  Unfortunately the pattern gave me a 20.5" square and the quilt required 22.625".  Once I had found a "fix" for that problem, I discovered that the borders I had already cut to pattern specs were too long.  It was during that stage of ripping my hair out that I found the above-mentioned website with the corrections--big relief.  

It was also necessary that I enlarge the original pattern by adding about 30 inches to both the width and length.  That meant making an additional 250+ paper-pieced, square in a square blocks (2" finished) to go with the 240+ I had already made.  Oh joy!  At this point I did seriously consider scrapping the whole project and maybe converting it to a wall hanging, but I am a very stubborn person (my Mom could tell you stories about that).

I finished piecing the top and lay it on my bed.  I wasn't sure I even liked it, but by this time, it had become a struggle between me and this demon quilt.  I began to quilt.  At 102" square, that was no small feat.  I have an HQ Sweet Sixteen quilting machine, which is a sit-down machine like my regular sewing machine, just with a wider throat to fit the quilt through.  I went back and forth between it and my Bernina machine and completed the quilting in about 3 weeks.  Sewing the binding on was a cinch and I was absolutely thrilled to put the final stitch in that baby on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at about 6 p.m.

At the suggestion of my friend, Maryanne, I named it "Perseverance".  That's a bit nicer than "The Quilt From Hell", which was the working title.  And, oh yeah, I LIKE IT.   


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Inspiring Day

This was a fun and inspiring day.  I spent the morning with a great group of ladies in Smyrna, GA at the Georgia Friendship Quilt Guild meeting.  First, let me say, they do some beautiful work.  I thoroughly enjoyed their "show and tell" where members brought some awesome quilts to share.  Then, it was my turn to show my art quilts to them.  Sometimes people who do mostly traditional quilting are a little put-off by the kind of work I do.  There was none of that today.  Everyone was so receptive and enthusiastic. 

It's always a treat to hear the oohs and aahs, and I love to answer questions about my work and get the feedback from a group of fellow quilters.  I hope I inspired just one to try her hand at art quilting.

I also got some exciting news via e-mail.  I had responded to a "call for entries" at Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine.  They are doing an article on quilts depicting mountains, so I sent photos of "Smoky Mountain High" to see if they'd be interested in including it.  Even though it doesn't depict a mountain, it is a mountain stream.  I got word from them that they do want to include it in their article, so I'm doing a happy dance.  I can't wait to see it in the pages of a real magazine--too cool.

I've decided to do some editing to my most recent piece--"Black Hills September"--that I posted here last week.  I knew there was something not quite right about it, so I took it to show my good friend,Linda, because she has a great eye and she's always totally honest with me--she calls it like she sees it.  Friends like that are rare and to be treasured.  Now I just have to do some tweaking.  When I'm done, I'll post another photo and see if you can see the difference.

Thanks for reading my ramblings.  Talk to you soon. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Submission Season

I've been busy the past couple of weeks getting submissions in the mail for upcoming shows and exhibits.  Fall is "showtime" and I've decided to enter some of my pieces in various places.  I haven't participated in anything outside the GA Nat'l Fair and the Columbus Artists' Guild show in several years, so it took some logistical thinking to decide which pieces to submit to which venues.  The dates often overlap and I didn't want to have two pieces committed to different events at the same time.  I'll post the info on these shows as I receive confirmation of acceptance of my work.

My "Smoky Mountain High" will be on display for the month of August at the Rankin Gallery in Columbus, GA, along with the other Patron Award winners from the Artists' Guild show in June.

I will be presenting a trunk show of my art quilts to the Georgia Friendship Quilt Guild on Wednesday, August 1st at 10:30 a.m.  They meet at the Freeman Poole Multipurpose Center at 4025 South Hurt Road, Smyrna, GA.  If you're in the area, I'm sure you'd be welcome to stop by.  I hope Louise (my GPS) will be on top of her game, since I've only been to Smyrna once in my life.

I finished another landscape, titled "Black Hills September", this past month.  It's based on a photo I took many years ago on a visit to South Dakota.  The trunk show will be the first time it's been out in public.  Here's a sneak preview for you. 

In the meantime, I'm plodding away on quilting my latest bed quilt.  This one's for my bed and it seems to be taking forever.  I'll be glad to finish it and get back to my art work.  

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Random Thoughts

It's been a busy few weeks and June is over.  With temps over 100 degrees today, I'm not looking forward to July and August.  And, could we please have a little rain?  My whole world has gone from green to brown and it's not a pretty shade.

The garden has ruled my world this week.  I've put corn and peas in the freezer that we'll certainly enjoy this winter.  My biggest chore, however, involved peaches--lots and lots of peaches.  We live close to a peach orchard and Robin and I try to make peach preserves every year.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I bought way too many and ended up spending two full days and one evening making peach preserves.  They are delicious.  If you're ever in the area near Woodbury, GA in the summer, you owe it to yourself to find the Carroll Farm Peach Orchard.  They have different varieties that ripen throughout the summer and they're all wonderful.

Some of my earliest memories involve sitting with my mother, aunts, and female cousins on our front porch on summer evenings and working together to shell peas, peel tomatoes, shuck corn, or work to prepare whatever was in season for canning.  We didn't have a freezer in those days, so everything went into jars and had to be heated in a pressure cooker to seal.  We also didn't have air conditioning--thus the evening work time.  Those were  our groceries through the winter.  I don't remember my mother ever buying canned goods at the store.

Funny thing is, it didn't seem like work because we were all involved and we shared lots of fun and a bit of gossip during those sessions.  My time with Robin and the peaches was like that.  The day went by in a flash and we got so much done.  I accomplished half the production on the day I worked alone.  Face time is so much nicer than Facebook.     

I picked up my art quilt from the Artists' Guild show in Columbus.  I'm still very pleased to have received recognition from a show that was strictly about art.  I will return the piece to hang in the Rankin Gallery on Broadway in Columbus for the month of August, along with the other patron award winners.

I've recently joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Assoc) and I am considering entering some of my work for consideration in the exhibits the group puts together.  I don't know how well accepted my realistic works will be--there are a lot of abstract artists in the group, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I have my newest piece (tentatively named "Black Hills September") ready to be quilted.  I've used several different techniques and I'm anxious to see how it develops.  I also have a quilt ready to quilt for my bed, but I want to do the smaller piece first.  I haven't had much time in the studio this week and next week may not be much better.

Can't have a post without a photo, so I thought I'd put up a couple of my smaller pieces.  They're mostly just for fun.  The first one is called "Distortion" and it's an attempt at something abstract--way outside my comfort zone.  The second piece, "Into the Woods" was practice for using the little cut up pieces of fabric that I've now done in two larger works.  It's kind of like occupational therapy, so I should feel right at home when I move to the institution. 


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Award Winner!

I'm home from the Columbus Artists' Guild Member Show and I'm excited.  "Smoky Mountain High" won a patron's award at the show.  I'm reminded of Sally Field's speech many years ago when she won an Oscar.  She said, "You like me!  You really like me!"  That kinda sums up my reaction to winning an award at an art show that includes some pretty impressive artists. 

Sometimes, as an art quilter, you feel as though you have your face pressed up to the glass and you can see all the "real" artists on the other side, but you don't think there's a place for you there.  Well, somebody opened the door.

By the way, if you're in Columbus, GA between now and June 23rd, the show is open Mon-Sat at the Illges Gallery in the Corn Center, Columbus State University--corner of Front Ave. & Dillingham St.

I know you've already seen her, but I couldn't resist--"Smoky Mountain High".

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flowers and Mushrooms and Bonsai--Oh My!

I love color.  As I recently told someone, I couldn't live in a white or beige world.  My walls are red, navy blue, dark green--and most of them have an art quilt hanging on them.  That way, I get a double dose of color in my world.

A couple of days after Robin and I went to the plantation house to take photos, she sent me an e-mail with a few shots attached.  One of them made my mouth drop open.  She had placed my "Just One Day" among some day lilies and taken what I thought was a perfect photo.  Is she good, or what?

Sunflowers are just about my favorite flower, so, a couple of years ago when my husband had some extra room in the garden, he planted some for me.  I took lots of photos, knowing there was an art quilt in there somewhere.  "Summer's Gold" was the result.  It was entered in the Fine Arts show at the GA Nat'l Fair last Fall and won a blue ribbon.  It hangs in my guest bathroom, against that dark blue wall.  My close-up doesn't show the true color--it was taken indoors.  The full shot was done in natural light and is a better look at the color.

I've already posted "Dos Amigos", but thought I'd add it here, with a detail shot.

You've seen "Bonsai", too, but not the detail. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Landscapes and My Love Affair With Trees

I take pictures--lots of pictures--pictures of animals, flowers, mushrooms, insects, birds, pond scum--you name it and I'll point a camera at it.  I especially like to zoom in and get the details that aren't evident at first glance.  Digital cameras are one of the world's greatest inventions.  They have saved me a fortune in film and developing and being able to download them to my computer and edit--well that's just the icing on the cake.

Trees are so interesting--the effects of the changes of the seasons, the intricacies of patterns on the bark and the variety of bark from the rough, somewhat spongy pine to the hard, tough oak, the peeling paper bark of the birch and sycamore.  I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  I have a thing for trees.  That's why they appear so often in my work.  I'm not good at taking people pictures--it seems awkward and intrusive, so I'm much more comfortable with scenery and inanimate objects.

I've done a number of landscape pieces and I'd like to share some of those.  My first landscape was "Peggy's Cove", based on a photo I took before digital cameras came along.  It's the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.  It was awarded 3rd place in Fine Arts at the 2007 GA National Fair and 1st place at the 2008 Southern Quilt Show in Warm Springs, GA.  It was also juried into the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Virginia.  This piece was sold to a private collector.

My next landscape was based on a photo I took many years ago in New England.  "The Road Not Taken" has been donated to the planned Southeast Quilt Museum in Carrollton, GA.  It will be part of their first exhibit when the museum opens and then will be auctioned off to raise funds for the museum.  It was awarded 1st place in Fine Arts at the 2007 GA National Fair and 2nd place overall at the 2009 Southern Quilt Show.  It was also juried into the 2008 Denver Nat'l Quilt Festival and the AQS Nashville Quilt Show.

"Smoky Mountain High" is based on another photo from many years ago in the Smoky Mountains.  It received an Award of Merit at the 2010 GA Nat'l Fair Fine Arts competition.  I've entered it in the upcoming Columbus Artists Guild show in Columbus, GA.  The show opens Sunday, June 10th and runs through June 23rd at the Illges Gallery at the Columbus State University Corn Center.  I'm usually the only fiber artist in the show.  I'm really in some great company with many very talented painters, sculptors, and potters.

"Still Standing" came about because I made this totally cool puff paint tree when I was working on my "Bonsai" piece.  It didn't work for that piece, so I kept it, knowing it would eventually tell me where it needed to go.  After a couple of years, I finally got around to making a home for it.  This piece is not based on a photo.  I just put it together based on the tree.  It was awarded 2nd place in Fine Arts at the 2011 GA Nat'l Fair.

"Where The Pavement Ends" is my latest work.  It is also based on a photo I took near my home--one of many, many photos I took of this spot.  I snapped it in all four seasons and at different times of day.  I must have at least 50 shots.  The scene intrigued me and I love the play of light and shadows on the road.  I think this is my best work, thus far.

 I used a technique that is somewhat like the confetti landscapes by Noriko Endo, but in order to keep control of all the little bits of fabric (generally about 1/4 inch) I applied a fusible to the back of the fabric, then cut it into itty bitty pieces and placed each one individually.  I was very pleased that it really does look like leaves, grass, etc.  Of course, the tree trunks, road, and sign are made from larger pieces of fabric.

My husband has a room reserved for me at a nice institution, but I think as long as I continue to cook something now and again, he won't send me away.  Although, he did discover this morning that I'm working on another piece using this same technique--oops!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grandma's Brag Book

Today I'd like to share with you pictures of my grandchildren--well, most of my grandchildren.  I have five (2 boys and 3 girls), but only 4 have been immortalized in fabric, so far.  Oddly enough, the only one that hasn't been done yet is the oldest.  I know what I want to do with him and I will get to it--just don't rush me, okay?

The first is titled "A Boy, A Rock, and A Puddle".  It was based on a photo of Mitch at about age 2.  This was the second art quilt I made and I'm very proud of it.  It was chosen to be included in an exhibit, curated by Ricky Tims (famous art quilter) called "Expressions:  The Art Quilt".  There were entries from around the world and those chosen for the exhibit toured the country for 2 years, ending with an exhibit at The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, aka "Quilter's Heaven".  I actually got to make the trip to Paducah and see it hanging in the museum.  That was a very cool experience.

My "Portrait of Olivia" is based on one of Robin's great photos of oldest granddaughter, Olivia, at about age 1 1/2.  It has won several awards, including a 1st place and Theme Award at the 2010 North Carolina Quilt Symposium show.  The eyes are painted, but everything else is either fabric or thread.  Her hair was so much fun to do.

"Josie" is my middle granddaughter.  I took the photo this piece is based on when she was about 2 years old.  I made a lot of changes to the background.  Finding the John Deere green fabric for the tractor was my biggest challenge, but I really enjoyed "building" it.  This one is all fabric and thread.    It was awarded a Best of Show at a local quilt show.  She was also juried into the Denver Nat'l Quilt Festival and the AQS (American Quilt Society) show in Nashville.

Oops!  I don't know why the close-up is sideways.  I warned you I'm not good with technology.  I'll try to figure it out and fix it later.

Last, but certainly not least, is "Cowgirls Just Wanna Have Fun".  This is Sarah, the youngest, based on a photo by her Mom, Marla.  This is my latest portrait and I used a bit of paint and crayons to help with the shading on her arms and legs.  I love the bare feet and this really captures the real Sarah.

My apologies to Devin, who's still waiting to become a quilt.  I just don't have the right photo yet.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I can't seem to stop making changes to the format here.  I'm still not completely satisfied, so you can expect even more different looks.  But, it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind. 

I wanted to alert everyone to an event coming up next Friday, June 1st, 2012.  I recently donated 3 pieces to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI).  The website is  Art quilters from all over the world donate their work (nothing larger than 9 x 12 ") to be either sold or auctioned to raise money for Alzheimer's research.  Since 2006, they have raised $722,000.  One of the ladies in my art quilt group (Art Tarts) coordinated our donations and took care of all the logistics of collecting the pieces and getting them to the right place.  Thanks, Edmae. 

One of my pieces, "Reminders of You", above, has already sold (woohoo!) and another is currently for sale (#9810).  The really cool thing is that the third piece was chosen to be included in this month's auction.  The auction opens on June 1st, so I encourage everyone to visit the site and either buy a piece from the group for sale or bid on one in the auction.  It doesn't have to be mine--there are lots of great works to choose from and it's for a great cause.  Look around the site.  I'm sure you'll be impressed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Some of my photos

I've been through the photos I took on Wednesday and done a bit of cropping, etc.  I will post a few of them as a preview of better shots to come from Robin's work.  The first one is "Bonsai", based on a photo I took in the bonsai garden at the NC Arboretum in Asheville when we were up there for the quilt show a few years back.  I found the background fabric in my stash, which made it even better.
The second is "Dos Amigos".  I took this shot of some mushrooms growing in my front yard.  I thought they looked like two little guys in sombreros, just hanging out.  I did lots of thread-painting to blend the colors.

"Just One Day" was based on a photo I took in my back yard.  Since the blooms of day lilies only last one day, I thought the name was appropriate.  I did some beading (yellow beads for the bits of pollen on the petals and some clear beads for dew drops on the little spider web I quilted into the corner).  This one uses thread to blend the different fabrics.

"Top Gun" came from a photo my brother-in-law sent me.  I usually do raw-edge, machine applique for all my pieces, but I had taken a class with David Taylor and decided to make this one turned-edge, hand applique.  I did enjoy the process, as I like to do hand work, but I haven't done another piece this way yet.

I'll post more photos later.  Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Learning, but slowly

I know I've only posted one comment so far, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on this site.  I'm still trying to figure out how to set this up the way I want it, including lots of photos of my art quilts.

Yesterday was both exciting and exhausting.  My daughter (in-law) Robin, and I met at an 1830's plantation house not far from me to take photos of my art quilts.  We wanted to use the grounds and outbuildings as a backdrop, so we could take advantage of the natural light.  It's a gorgeous place that's been restored and includes an outdoor kitchen (under renovation), a small rock building, which we were told was used to imprison slaves (it really looks a lot like my granddaddy's smokehouse), a playhouse, complete with fireplace, and several barns.  Vicky, who is the caretaker, along with her husband, has the grounds and flowers looking fabulous and she was incredibly gracious to us. 

We started about 9 a.m. and finished up around 1 p.m., just in time to share lunch at the local cafe.  I'm anxious to see all of Robin's photos.  I took some, but my camera malfunctioned, so I'll have to wait til I get a disc from her.  She's the expert photographer in the family--I'm strictly into the PHD (push here, dummy) type of camera, though, it doesn't take much to be a good photographer with a digital camera and a computer these days.  Robin actually knows how to use the manual buttons and knobs on her camera, so she doesn't have to rely on a computer program to make her pictures shine.

My goal is to publish a book of photographs of my art quilts that I can use as a marketing tool to sell my work, and, sell a few books in the process, as well.

The photo above is my "Portrait of Olivia" hanging on the front of the playhouse.  It hasn't been edited yet, but I thought I'd give a small preview of what we did yesterday.  I'll add more pics later.