Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fair Time

The Georgia National Fair ran from October 2-12th this year.  Once again, I entered 3 pieces in the Fine Art competition.  That's the maximum number you can enter in one category.  I always enjoy going to the fair and seeing the art show, with all the different mediums represented.

There seem to be fewer and fewer entries in the Textile division each year and that's a shame.  Over 400,000 people come to the fair each year, and while they don't all visit the Fine Art show, enough of them do, so it's great exposure for any artist's work.  I even sold one of my pieces there last year.

My 3 entries this year were:

 "End of Day" 1st place

 "Simple Pleasures"  2nd place

"Downtown" 3rd place

I really wish there was more competition in the category.  I only saw 3 or 4 other entries--there may have been more, but there needs to be a lot more.  Having a large showing in a venue like this, where there are a lot of people who have never seen an art quilt, can only help make fiber art more accepted by a wider audience.  Of course, I won't hesitate to cash the check for the prize money.  But, come on, fellow art quilters, enter your work next year and let's crowd out some of those oil and watercolor paintings.

I have an upcoming trunk show for the Spirited Quilters Guild in Duluth, GA on the 28th of this month.  I'm looking forward to a good evening with them.  That will be my last trunk show for this year.  I'm debating whether to continue doing them.  It's a lot of fun, but, also a lot of work, and it usually involves a pretty long drive and a late night getting back home.

I submitted an entry to ArtFields this week.  That's the fantastic art show in Lake City, SC, that I attended earlier this year with my daughter-in-law.  We had a great time and plan on going again in 2015.  If you want to know more about it, I did a post with photos earlier this year.  Or, you can visit the website at .  I highly recommend it.  I won't know if my work has been accepted until Jan1, 2015.  The show is in late April- early May.   

Friday, September 19, 2014

On a personal note

I love dogs--big, long-haired, floppy dogs.  I'm not a fan of cats.  I've just never been able to make much of a connection with them.  But dogs are so easy to love.  They don't judge you, they're always glad to see you, and they love you even when you don't deserve it.

I've always had dogs in my life, but most of them primarily belonged to someone else.  Sometimes that was the choice of the person and sometimes it was the choice of the dog.  I remember we had a beautiful cocker spaniel once that we took in because its owners could no longer keep it.  I thought that dog was amazing and I wanted it to choose me as its person.  Instead, it trailed around after my mother, who didn't care for it at all.  It would cry when she left for work in the morning and bring her his toy to play with when she came home in the evening.  She was way too busy taking care of a family to have time for a dog.  I had lots of time and I tried and tried to make a connection with him, but he had given his heart to my mother and that was that.

When I was 11 years old, we got a border collie puppy.  Her name was Princess and she was beautiful.  Best of all, she chose me, and she was my best friend until she died when I was 18.  After that, I got busy being a grownup and, like my mother, I didn't have time to spend with a dog.  My husband had several Brittany Spaniels over the years, but he was their person.  I was busy with work and children.

When we moved to the country in 1997, we had a miniature poodle.  I had purchased him to keep my husband company after he retired and I was still working.  He was our first indoor dog and I loved him, but he was pretty high maintenance and my idea of a great dog was one who lived outside and didn't need to be taken to a groomer every couple of months.

Then, one morning Sasha came into our lives.  My husband discovered her on the doorstep, scared and alone.  It was love at first sight.  The vet estimated she was about 8 weeks old and she was the most adorable puppy I'd ever seen.  She looked like a little teddy bear and I almost named her Bear, but decided that she deserved a more sophisticated name.

We could tell by the feet that she was going to be a big girl.  She was so soft and cuddly with a curled up tail.  Who could have resisted that face?

Well, she absolutely took over our lives and seemed to love both of us equally, though, I think she always really cared more for my husband.  I was the one who nursed her through a cracked pelvis that she got when she ran into a tree while chasing a squirrel, a snake bite that, luckily, was not severe, though it was delivered by a copperhead, and a severe cut to her head, which we never did figure out how that happened. 

She was adventurous and very protective of us.  She hated snakes, squirrels, cats, and armadillos.  She was afraid of thunder and never liked loud noises.  One of us would usually sit with her during a thunderstorm.  She loved cold weather and snow made her deliriously happy.

Sasha died last night.  She was almost 14 years old.  She devoted her whole life to loving and taking care of us.  We will miss her terribly.  Wherever she is, I hope it's snowing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I haven't posted in a while.  I don't know why, but every time I come to the computer with the intention of writing something, I find a million excuses not to.  Where has my Motivation gone?  It has been a stressful Spring and Summer personally and I have come up with every possible excuse not to blog.  Similarly, I have produced little fiber art over the past couple of months.  I need a swift kick in the rear, so hopefully, this post is a start.

The trip to ArtFields that I wrote about in my last post was definitely the highlight of the year.  It was incredibly stimulating, but somehow that energy faded much too fast.

The piece I created for our regional SAQA exhibit at the Savannah Quilt Show, "Downtown", was my entry into the Columbus Artists Guild Member Show in July.  It was awarded a blue ribbon, which was a real surprise.  I'm the only fiber artist (art quilter) in the guild and I'm never quite sure how the other members view my work--is it art, or is it craft?  Everyone is very nice, but I don't go to many meetings, since they're held in the evenings and it's a 100 mile roundtrip.  So, it's a nice validation of my work when I receive recognition in that show.  There are some very, very talented people (almost all painters in one medium or another) who display their work every year.

I hate pictures of myself, but when they include my work with an award attached, I can deal with it.

I attended a 3 day class in Atlanta last month, taught by Esterita Austin.  If you're not familiar with her, check her out on google--she has a website.   There were about 15 of us in the class--all part of the GA/SC regional SAQA group.  It was a great experience.  We all had to bring large, close-up photos of ourselves to do a self-portrait.  It was really hard to look at that 11 x 17 view of just my face, but the class was very interesting and definitely took me outside my usual comfort zone. 

We were given a yard of multi-color, hand-dyed fabric (think purple, blue, orange, yellow) and told to use that to complete our portrait.  It was an exercise in looking at value and not color.  If you go to Esterita's website and look at the portrait section, you'll get the idea.  It was amazing that they all ended up looking like the person.  We did rely on fabric paint to do the eyes and highlight some areas and blend others.  I'm still working on mine.  We are supposed to finish our pieces by the first of February and put together an exhibit.

My 3 entries in the Fine Art Show at the GA Nat'l Fair were delivered to Perry last week.  They include "Downtown" (shown above), "End of Day", and "Simple Pleasures", which is my latest big project.

"End of Day"

"Simple Pleasures"

    I have a trunk show coming up October 28th, with the Spirited Quilters Guild in Duluth, GA.  I'm looking forward to that--it's always a fun time, and I'm looking forward to finding my Motivation.  I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to travel to Lake City, SC to experience ArtFields.  It's a ten-day art show that includes work by artists from several Southeastern states.  There were 400 pieces exhibited and one of them was mine.  It was quite a thrill to have my work juried into such a large show.  It makes me feel like maybe I am a "real" artist.

Lake City is a small town about halfway between Columbia and Myrtle Beach in an agricultural area that once produced a large percentage of the green beans in this country.  That crop changed over to tobacco and now I'm not sure what the major crop is.  There's a wonderful old downtown area with small stores and shops--everything from motorcycles to musical instruments to shoes and clothing.

The art was displayed all over town.  My piece was in the library.  There was one huge building--an old warehouse with brick walls that housed a large group of art works.  Everything was first-class.  The art was displayed professionally with great lighting.  The art itself included every kind of medium imaginable, from the sublime to the ridiculous.  It was wonderful to see the diversity and to think about the different ways people choose to express themselves.

The big draw for artists to enter this show is the possibility of significant prize money.  The awards are decided by a two-tier system.  There are 3 judges with some pretty prestigious credentials who choose the top prize winner--a cash prize of $50,000.  Then there are 2 prizes awarded that are a combination of the judges selections and a vote by viewers on their favorite--$25,000 each.  Finally, 2 prizes are awarded that are strictly viewers' choice--$12,500 each.  So, you can see, winning one of these prizes could be life-changing for an artist.

 An interesting installation in the warehouse.

 One of my favorites--love the rust.

 My piece, "Best Friends Forever" in the library.

 Beautiful tapestry--one of the $25,000 winners.

 An incredible painting--another $25,000 winner.

 Last year's top winner.  The artist uses denim from old jeans--very cool.  Somehow we missed this year's top piece.

 Street scene.

 The bike/motorcycle shop with art hanging on the walls.

Outdoor stagewhere we enjoyed live music.

One of the real bonuses of my trip was the fact that my favorite (and only) daughter-in-law, Robin, went with me.  We left on a Friday afternoon and took the scenic route, staying off the interstate as long as possible.  We saw some beautiful countryside and even stopped to take pictures at an old mill on the side of the highway.  Thankfully, Robin is an avid photographer, so she didn't think I was crazy when I pulled off the road and circled back to get some shots.  We were both busy with our cameras.  A lot of people I know would have been embarrassed by our behavior, but Robin is a kindred spirit.

After spending the night in Columbia, we arrived in Lake City on Saturday morning and spent the entire day walking and looking at the art.  Even though we worked hard at it, we didn't see everything.  Somehow we missed the big winner and I'm still not sure what it was about.  I can't tell much from the photo on the website, so we'll have to wait til next year to see it.  (Yes, we're already planning next year.)

One of the most interesting things we saw was the portrait contest.  Apparently they started with about 2 dozen portrait artists and some volunteer "subjects" from there in the community.  The artists had 1 hour to complete a portrait of this person (everyone was working with the same model).  Then the judges chose who would move on to the next round, where they would start again with another model.  We didn't get there until the last round.  There were 6 artists remaining in the contest and the model was a 90 year old man from the area who had been a tobacco farmer.  It was fascinating to see each artist's vision and the way they worked.  They each used their different mediums and methods (oil, acrylic, pastels, etc.) and each captured the subject, but their end results were so different.  I could have watched that all day, but then we wouldn't have seen nearly as much of the other art.

The evening ended with a champagne reception for the artists, then live music at the outdoor stage and the announcement of the winners.  We were exhausted, but both agreed it was a great time.  We spent Saturday night in Sumter, SC and drove home Sunday. 

If you have any interest in the show, you can get all the info and subscribe to the newsletter at  I would encourage everyone to consider a trip to the show next year.

Some shots from the portrait contest.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Catching Up

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted anything here, so, for those of you who sometimes follow this blog, my apologies.  Spring has slipped into early summer and I realize I haven't made much art this year.
I took a class at Quilt Academy on Fractals.  It looked really interesting and I'm sure it could have been a lot more enlightening if I had been able to master the software program I downloaded.  The instructor recommended it as a way to experiment with fractals and see all the possibilities of working with them in making an art quilt.  Quite honestly, I'm still not sure how to define or explain what a fractal is.  I don't fault the instructor, but I think the class assumes you are a lot more computer literate than I happen to be.

I did complete one piece as a result of the class.  It is based on a spiral and I played with some new techniques.  I made ragged strips of fabric and placed them on batting that had Mistyfuse over it.  When I had all the batting covered, I ironed everything down, then stitched over the raw edges.  Then I placed the pieces I had cut to form the spiral (each piece was an identical shape but each piece was a bit bigger than the one before).  Once I had them placed the way I wanted, I sewed around all the edges.  I used a sparkly thread (Glitter by Superior Threads) and a satin stitch.

I decided to play with some gauzy fabric (organza) that was the perfect color and had beads attached randomly across it.  I placed that on top of the piece and quilted through all the layers.  I like that you can move around the piece as it hangs on the wall and the light catches the beads in a way that makes them look as though they're twinkling.  Is it great art?  I doubt it, but it was a lot of fun to play with and it didn't take up a great deal of time.

It really doesn't photograph very well--the organza is a bit too opaque, so the color underneath in the spiral is very muted.  I didn't mention that I had some ribbon on hand that was the perfect color, so I cut small pieces of it and randomly scattered them around under the organza.  They are anchored down with some of the quilting stitches.  Unfortunately, the glittery beads and thread don't show in the photo.  I call it "Spin Cycle".

A lot of what I've done recently has been an exercise in procrastination.  I had a photo I wanted to work into an art quilt and I have found many reasons to delay.  I don't know why I do that, but it happens more than I'd like.  I spend days and sometimes weeks thinking about a piece and it seems the hardest thing to do is just begin.  Once I start, I'm totally absorbed and loving every minute of it.  What makes me hesitate?  That's the $64,000 question.  I think the feeling must be similar to what painters feel when they face a blank canvas.  The hardest part is to just begin.

This is my progress so far.  It is based on a photo I took of a small boy, playing in a fountain.  I loved his head full of blond curls and the bare feet.  I have a long way to go--lots of challenges in making the wet sidewalk and all the water, but I like where he is right now.

This post is getting much too long, but I have to mention my trip to ArtFields in Lake City, SC.  My daughter-in-law, Robin went with me and we had a great time.  This was the second year for the show and there were 400 pieces on display, including my "Best Friends Forever".  The art is shown in various venues around the old part of the town--everything from a huge warehouse with great brick walls, to a barber shop, a cycle shop, even a mattress store.  It has to be a massive undertaking just to organize and hang all the work. 

Robin and I walked and looked all day, but didn't see everything.  The exciting part was the announcement of the awards on Saturday evening.  They gave two $12,500 prizes, three $25,000, and the grand prize was $50,000.  Now, that's pretty impressive.  Of course, I had no expectations of winning anything, but it was a thrill just to have my work accepted into such a spectacular art show.  We were already planning our trip for next year on the way home.  I'll try to post some of my photos next time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is it Spring yet?

I am so ready for consistently warm weather.  We're in that period where it's 70 one day and 50 the next.  Today, it's in the 50's, and our second full day of rain.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day...

This has been a great year for these early bloomers.  I guess where you grew up determines what you call them.  My Mother called them buttercups, my husband calls them jonquils because that's what his grandmother called them, and most people call them daffodils.  Whatever your preference, they are always a welcome sight.  We have thousands of them on our property, thanks to long-ago former residents, who planted them, and lots of cows who fertilized them over the years.  The Bradford Pear trees and the redbud trees are also coming to life. 

I will be attending the Savannah Quiltfest later this month.  I've entered two art quilts in the competition and I have a new piece I made for the GA/SC Retional SAQA exhibit.  I call it "Downtown" and I told you about it in the last post.
I'm also entering 3 art quilts in an art show in Perry, GA in April, called "Arts in the Armory".  It's being held in conjunction with their Dogwood Festival the weekend of April 11-13th. 

I learned a good, but difficult lesson recently that I will share with you so that, if you, too, are an art quilter, maybe you can avoid my mistake.  I was making a small art quilt to submit for possible consideration to be published in a book.  My piece was supposed to illustrate a quote, and so, I thought about it for a long time and finally decided on a subject. 

I usually use either my own, or a family member's photo as a basis for my quilts, but this time, I didn't have one of the subject I wanted to portray, so I searched online for copyright-free photos.  In looking at one site, I was led to another, where I found just the right shot.  I was only using the human figure in the photo--the rest of the quilt was my design.  Long story short, I made the piece, which I liked very much, but I decided that, before I submitted it for consideration, I would just double-check that I wasn't infringing on anyone's copyright.

You guessed it--I had wandered onto a site that included copyrighted photos and I had picked one of them.  At that point, with a deadline looming, I decided to contact the photographer and ask permission to use her image.  I sent a friendly, chatty e-mail and asked if I could use a portion of her photo as a guide for my art quilt.  I thought she might want some compensation, but I never dreamed she would just say no.  She just said no.

I felt a little sick to my stomach when I got her reply, but no is no, so I knew I had to come up with a plan B.  So, I revamped my idea a bit and took my husband out to pose for me (bless his heart), and I made another piece.  I don't think it's as good as the first one, but I submitted it anyway and decided it was a good lesson learned.  I will never use anyone else's photographs (with the exception of a family member) in my work again.

I understand how difficult it is to protect your rights to your work in today's world of everything being on the internet.  I didn't want to infringe on the photographer in any way, even though she probably would've never known about it.  I would have known, and that's enough.  Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy New Year

I hope it's not too late to wish everyone a happy new year.  Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  I don't.  I figure I put enough pressure on myself every day without some list hanging over my head.  I like lists--the kind you make when you have a specific task to complete and it involves several steps.
What I really like is checking things off my list, giving me that feeling of accomplishment.  But then, we all know I'm borderline OCD and pretty neurotic.

I was thinking the other day about 2013 and what a good year it was with regards to my artistic endeavors.  The solo exhibit at the museum, the trunk shows, the awards, and the sale of my work were all feel-good moments.  I hope 2014 can keep up.  But, even with all the positive things, I'm still subject to tremendous self-doubt.

 I recently submitted an entry to ArtFields, which is a big art show in South Carolina coming later in the Spring.  I procrastinated and debated with myself about even entering.  Then, after reminding myself that they could say "no", but they couldn't lock me in a room and beat me, I sent my entry via the internet.  As soon as I pressed the send button, I felt a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach--why hadn't I given more thought to which piece to enter?  Was my submission really the best fit?  This is a "real" art show and they were probably going to get a good chuckle over my entry.  I did remind myself that they are receptive to fiber art and the grand prize winner last year was a fiber piece, but it was huge and innovative, not like my work.  Of course, I had no misconceptions about winning an award, I was just hoping to be invited to the party.  Well, today I received the e-mail, congratulating me on having my entry accepted--wow!  I'm thrilled and excited and making plans to visit South Carolina.

All this just illustrates my point about why I don't make resolutions--I can give myself ulcers with just the day-to-day stuff.  Anyway, here's the piece that will be at ArtFields.
I just completed a piece that will be part of the Regional SAQA Exhibit at the upcoming Mancuso national quilt show in Savannah in March.  This will be the first time they've held a show in Savannah, so hopefully lots of Georgia/SC quilters will enter.  Our exhibit is titled "Southern Exposure" and is to illustrate things that make the South unique.  I had a hard time deciding on a subject, but finally used a picture by that famous photographer, Robin Camp.  It's a photo of downtown Haralson, GA, which, like so many small towns in the South, has seen progress pass by and leave it in the dust. 

This is the first time I've tried anything architectural and there was a bit of a learning curve.  I found the lessons learned in my drawing class last Fall were very helpful.  Thank you, Annie Cicale. 

I haven't made a label yet, but I think I'm going to call it "Downtown".  I think I should wait until the show opens to post a photo of it.

I'll be in Duluth, GA on January 28th at 7 p.m. with my trunk show for the Spirited Quilters' Guild.  Hope to see you there.