Friday, September 4, 2009

September... already?

The big quilt event in June was a trip to Ohio, first to attend the Sacred Threads reception (this is my quilt,"Sue's BlueFish", at Sacred Threads), then to see Quilt National (the MOST amazing quilts I've ever seen!), and finally to spend a week at QSDS in class with CYNTHIA CORBIN.

Our class was called "Black Fabric Sketch", and here's a picture of Cynthia (a most gentle and kind teacher) in front of one of her pieces. We were asked to take a piece of black fabric and cut a line into it. Then another line. And so on, and then to move the pieces apart to see the shapes & the lines.

Here's my black fabric sketch, and then the first two pieces I made using each black piece as a template to construct each segment. My first effort has what Cynthia called a "yellow tornado" through the middle. Trying to tone down the tornado effect, I made the second one (to the left).

My final attempt was to make the last one with many highly patterned yet strangely similar fabric bits that I had brought with me. I called this one my "purple fantasy." By the time I had completed these three pieces, I wasn't sure I understood the black-fabric technique, but I was becoming more comfortable with curved seams. Then I made a new black-fabric square using only straight lines and trying to make a human image. I call him "The King."

And just to keep him company...and to take a break from piecing...I fused him a "Queen."

The last several days of the class we worked on our final project. Before I did my large piece, I made a small "study piece" (it's only about 6 x 8), and it's called "Lady Flower Study."

Here's a photo of my larger piece as it stood on the design wall the last day of class (now being quilted and finished).

Now let's see....what did I do after June? Well, I played with making quick little fabric pieces just fusing down in several colorways. I gave some of them away already, but here's one in gold/orange and another in reds. These make good pieces on which to practice free-motion quilting.

I cut up a quilt I'd made a while ago...two strawberries, so huge they looked goofy, and just saved a bit of the lovely silk to make "One Very Nice Strawberry" (below)

I took a terrific online course with Ellen Lindner and learned her reverse-applique-by -machine technique, and made "Ellen's Apple"~~

I finished my quilt "Memories of Japan"

I took an online course at Quilt University called Silk Dyeing with Marjie McWilliams; it's a 4 week course, but I still haven't managed to get back to the laundry room to do the last week's assignment. Here's some silks from week one:

I spent a happy day at my friend Barbara Svoboda's house taking my first taste of breaking dishes and putting them back together again as ceramic mosaics (doesn't that sound like a familiar process?). Here's one of Barbara's gorgeous stepping stones~~~

And finally, I began what I think will be a pile of goofy dolls for Baby Ami (one,unfortunately,already eaten by his puppy, Zephyr), and a beribboned little Minky snuggly-thing which he's really starting to reach for!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

spring update

Our newest grandchild arrived via emergency C-section, accompanied by a strep infection which he shared with his mom, but after a week in the hospital, they both came home and seem to be recovering nicely. His name is AMITAV DJANGO WALEN. Go figger. I'm madly in love!!!

But let's go back to quilting, since this is a trunk show...........

I took a one-day course on making a variant of a "pineapple" block, and decided to use the shelf of floral fabrics which I collected when I'd just begun making quilts. I barely made a dent in this stash! I started out making scrappy blocks, but soon determined that they looked better with just a one-color pattern, with variations of fabrics of that one color. When I put them up on the wall, I realized they could form a pattern, a diagonal line of one color, and then another. So here's the top, at the point where I stopped adding to it (full view and detail):

I've also been slowly working on Dave's 70th Birthday Quilt. I'd sent out squares of white fabric to all his children, grandchildren, "adopted" children, and his older brother, and asked them to decorate their block with sharpies or paints or whatever they wanted. I love kids' quilt blocks, and I think my favorite on this quilt comes from the youngest...almost 2 years old (upper right). I'm slowly hand-quilting it,and if Dave's lucky, it'll be ready by his 71st! Please forgive the wrinkly photos!

And a little closer view...

Since I'm still in full-avoidance mode of my UFO's, I started another project I've wanted to do for a long time. Dave and I took our honeymoon to Japan, and we brought back many photographic souveniers. One of my favorites was of a tiny toddler, whose parents got her to pose in front of some "hello kitty" type of posters. I snapped her picture too, and always wanted to make a quilt of it. I'm making the flat-colored background up first:

I'll show you the finished product in my next randomly occurring entry.

Finally, let me tell you about my first ONLINE Quilt University. I'm taking "Realistic Fabric Portraits" with Marilyn Belford. For this, I selected a little picture of my granddaughter, Ana. It's a wonderful feeling to study and study and study a face you love, as you decide how to illustrate it in fabric. Marilyn is a generous teacher, with fulsome handouts and lots of daily feedback, but working as she does is very exacting. I'm ever more impressed with her work as I stumble along making my Ana.
Here are some shots of the Ana piece in several stages. Right now, I'm stuck on how to show her lovely curly blonde hair, but I'm sure Marilyn will come to my rescue..... BTW, I highly recommend trying the Q.U. courses; I know I'll go back.

First, here's my mischievous Ana around age 6:

Here's my working drawn pattern of the photo:

And here she is after several weeks' work, with me stuck on the hair problem:

So much to do, so little time......

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What I've just finished....or almost

We have a new baby coming into our family soon, so of course I asked my son, Alec, what colors they would, blue, yellow? They (foolishly) said it was "artist's choice." Hoo hah!

Now I love to go to the 5-cent baskets in quilt stores, and now have a HUGE basket of my own filled with pretty bits of fabric that I wouldn't buy if it were yardage. I pulled out all the fabrics I thought my grandchild might want to look at, went through my old stash of commercially printed fabrics, and cut out 3 1/2 inch blocks, putting them together fairly randomly. After I'd sewn several rows, I thought that the onlooker needed a calm space to rest the eye, so I inserted a large (maybe 12 x 12) square of a restful orange with white polka dots, and then kept on with my scrappy blocks. Stand back....better, but now the middle is boring. So I filled it with funky little appliqued houses. Originally, I was going to put a splended mola of fishes in the center, but I decided to move it to the back. Then, after playing for several hours on my design wall, I decided that the back had to be all REDS. The binding is a mess o' reds connected together in one long strip. The quilt turned out bigger than I thought. It's actually more like a floor blanket, but it got a nice reception at the Space Telescope Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. That's where my lovely daughter-in-law, the astrophysicist, works. She was told to come to an Important Meeting in a room off the cafeteria, and voila!...there were all her colleagues, friends, and us family.

And here's the back:

In quite a different mood, I just finished a large piece (31 x37) based on a photo I took in Seattle. I call it SPRING COMES TO THE INNER CITY.

I've also been trying to hustle on doing a 12 x 12 for the 2009 SAQA auction. I've long been interested in Ms. Josephine Baker, and what an astonishing life she has led. She's a much more complex woman than the beautiful young black girl who danced almost naked in Paris! Here she progress.

Wait'll you see her with her JEWELS on!!! I call it THE MARVELOUS MS. JOSEPHINE BAKER.

Happy Dances

If I could just stop clapping my hands and dancing around the room, I could get these boxed up and mailed off!

My SELF-PORTRAIT: IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT...." was selected by Juror Pam RuBert for SAQA's juried exhibition: A Sense of Humor. It will go to Houston, Chicago, and Long Beach, which is much more traveling than I've done in years!

"MASTERPIECE FOR NANCY" was selected by Juror Bruce Hoffman to go into the SAQA 2009 exhibit: "Points of View". This show will debut at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.

THE WATER CARRIERS was selected by Jurors Judy Schwender, Caryl Bryer Fallert, and Freida Fairchild to show at the Yeiser Art Center in Padukah, which will run simultaneously with the National Quilt Show.

THISTLES FOR JANE was chosen by Jurors Jodi Walsh and Trudi Van Dyke for a juried exhibition entitled "Tribute to Fiber Art" at the Black Rock Center for the Arts, in Gaithersburg, MD.

Perhaps the one I feel most deeply about is SUE'S BLUE FISH QUILT, which was juried into this year's Sacred Threads Exhibition, which will be held in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, at the same time as QSDS and Quilt National, after which it will be sent to live with Sue's daughter in Chicago.

Finally, Diane Herbort invited those of us who bought some of the GORgeous fabric dyed by Heide Stoll Weber at QSDS last year to use some of it in a quilt that would be displayed as a special exhibit entitled "Inspired by the Fabric", which will be shown at the 2009 Quilters Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, PA in April. My piece is entitled A WINDOW IN IRELAND, and is based on a photo taken on a long-ago bike trip through Ireland. I just loved the colors and the chickens looking in the window~

What a wonderful time of life!

Hey, if someone had told me how good RETIREMENT is, I would've done it earlier!

Well, its winding-down-from-the-show-time. All the quilts have gone home or to a new home. I feel particularly blessed in that regard. Two of my quilts ("Dear Mr. Obama" and "Home") were purchased by a gentleman who has a lifetime collection of political art, especially inaugural art. His collection is so big that his wife insisted he get it out of the house, so he apparently built a two-story building in their back yard to house it. I'm told that his will stipulates that upon his death, the entire collection is willed to the OBAMA LIBRARY! It doesn't get any better than that! Since President Obama couldn't make it to our show, at least part of our show will go to him! (If you want to see these two quilts, scroll down in this blog.)

The third quilt I made for the show was a simple one: The word OBAMA, under which was "11-04-08" and "1-20-09"; attached was a book for visitors to record their memories of this period. Here are a few of the comments which moved me:

Throughout the election process…I held my breath and prayed. I prayed….and held my breath. Election night I celebrated on U St. and danced in front of the White House. On Jan. 20th, I braved the cold for 8 hours to hear my President.
Yes, we can!
Yes, we did!
Yes, we will change the world.

My wife works at the federal courthouse at 3rd and Constitution, so we were able to be inside on a very cold inauguration day, but only about 200 yards from the Capitol. The thing I’ll remember most is taking our 16-mo old daughter to the event and thinking that she will grow up in an era in which there is no longer a glass ceiling for African Americans to ascend to the Presidency. She will never have a recollection of a time when being of African descent prevents a person from leading the United States government…how cool is that?!

At the People’s Concert, what I most remember is the peace in the moment. All the people of different colors and nationalities laughing, singing together,standing in the cold waiting to see our next President. The Joy of it all!

And here's what some kids wrote when they came to the show:

I like it.
I love it cause it expired me.
O to the Bama. ALL DAY!
Don’t H8T on Obama cause he’s da bomb. Like tic! Tic!
#1 is Obama.
Obama I love you!!

We even got some lovely comments on our quilts:

Moved me to tears~ C.H.

Most beautiful quilts I have ever seen. The emotion is overwhelming.
JS, Hedgesville, W.Va

Never knew such emotion could be expressed through textiles.
LB, Silver Spring

I cried! This exhibit brings back those tears. RW

I was emotionally moved by the pieces in this exhibit. I smiled and was filled with pride. MF

I have been to this exhibit five times – three times I brought friends. Each time I see something new and wonderful and never cease to be amazed at the talent of the quilters, but more – the love that flows from the quilters’ art work. JB

It's true. It was a love fest. And so is our beautiful book.

Here's some PR I sent out:

Thought you'd like to see our PR on our "new baby":

Our new book based on the exhibit "President Obama: A Celebration in Art Quilts" is now for sale online. Below is a copy of the description on the Blurb Book website. We're already a "best seller!" The book is beautiful, truly.


To find the book easily, here's the DIRECT LINK:

Direct link is

The ObamaQuilters are 60 fiber artists who formed a grassroots, all-volunteer, multi-ethnic group of quilters from all across America. We produced a vibrant quilt show, which was held at the Cafritz Art Center of Montgomery College in Maryland, from Feb. 9-March 5, 2009. This book is based on that show, and includes photos of the quilts, the quilters, and copies of the artist statements, which in many cases, are as moving as the quilts themselves.

We ObamaQuilters are excited to share our passion for art quilts and our gratitude for being alive to see the historic election of President Barach Obama come to pass.

Tell all your friends! And won't these make lovely holiday/ celebration gifts????

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The ObamaQuilters Show

What a group! Through the internet, we forged bonds, of kindness, helpfulness, and obamaness. The day of the opening reception for the show, Feb. 13th, 2009, began with a luncheon at my place so that at least some of these women could meet each other. We had a blast! And what do quilters do when they get together? Show and Tell -- so we got to see Lucky's latest (including one in which she actually wrote out the entire inaugural speech plus her own comments!), a new piece by Sherry Shine (showing both Rosa Parks and Barack Obama in the same bus, which blew us away), and other gorgeous stuff. Here are some home photos:

...and here are some of us in Susan Shie's sketch book!:

Then there were more photos at the Cafritz Center:

And now there's our BOOK! All profits from the sale of the book will go to scholarship funds for art students at Montgomery College, the host of our show.