Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Iris Redux

Last year I made a quilt that was inspired by Van Gogh's "Iris in Yellow Vase". I spent a lot of time piecing and then free motion quilting, but it did not turn out as I had hoped. I blogged about it here and asked for advise from Quiltart, an online art quilt group, to see if "this quilt could be saved". I got a lot of comments on my blog giving many different suggestions and lot of emails, including one that said "this quilt cannot be saved". So I folded it up and put it away.

Fast forward to now. My small quilt group puts on a show at a local library every year and we always have a theme. This year it is Surface Design. I made one quilt and decided to see if I could revive my iris quilt somehow for a second quilt. So I spread it out on the table and found an area that had the most interesting quilting and cut out a 28" square. Then I took some pale aqua paint, actually a sample of wall paint for my bathroom, and brushed over the top of the quilt, being sure not to go into the valleys created by the quilting. And this is what I got.

I got a whole new pattern and design. I then trimmed it to 24 inches and put binding on to match the quit. I usually face my quilts, but the paint made it a little stiff and I thought it would be difficult. All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

If you look at the details, you can see what's really going on. The blue is the paint and the orange is the fabric beneath.

More of the same.

I have a new camera, Sony Cyber-shot, and I'm very pleased with the Macro shots. You don't even have to switch over to Macro, if you get close enough to the object, it just automatically goes to Macro.

Monday, August 22, 2011


My good friend, Claire, is moving to my neighborhood, so I made this postcard for her.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have been an admirer of Kathy Loomis since I saw her work, Memorial Day, at Quilt National in 2009. It was a huge quilt made out of 4,083 tiny flags, one for each US military killed in Iraq at that time, and won the Quilts Japan Prize for that year. She has been in QN a total of three times, won Best Of Show at Quilt=Art=Quilts at Schweinfurth last year, has been in Art Quilt Elements and SAQA@20 last year. She has taught all over, including Japan. She also has a thoughtful, well-written blog, Art With a Needle, no surprise there since she was a journalist in another life.

I follow her blog and a couple of weeks ago she blogged about a quilt, Brown Planet, that she had started in a week-long Nancy Crow Master class. She started the quilt, pictured above, and didn't have time to finish it in the workshop, so she rolled it up in the white sheet to which it was pinned and put it away, never to be finished. She went to another Nancy Crow workshop and did a similar quilt in blues. I left a comment on her blog saying that I loved the brown version and that if she didn't want it, she could always give it to me. I was just kidding. Much to my great surprise I got an email a couple of days later saying that if I really wanted it, I could have it as long as I would promise to make something out of it and show her the results. It would be a collaboration and the quilt would be mine to keep. I said yes!

I mostly make small or medium sized quilts, no bigger than 60" square and usually much smaller. This one is huge, a whopping eight feet by four feet. It will fill my entire studio design wall. It arrived a few days ago and I unfolded it on my family room floor. She just had one pin in each strip and they had all flopped around. So I went around on my hands and knees and straightened it out and put several pins in each strip. I folded it back up and put it away for now because I won't have time to work on it now, with upcoming trips and other projects to finish. It will involve a lot more piecing, including all those tiny strips on the left hand side and in the background. I'm going to try to follow her plan as closely as possible. Wish me luck!

Please go to Kathy's blog and read all about it here. Be sure to read the comments. Mine is the last one.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lowell, MA

I decided to add a fourth day to my art journey. I had a quilt juried into the Brush Gallery in Lowell. MA and really wanted to go to the opening. I couldn't find any takers so I went alone, three hours up and three hours back. It wasn't too bad; I have a good car, it was a nice day and I have my trusty GPS, which helped me navigate the confusing Lowell Connector. I also went to the opening at the Whistler House Gallery, where I had a quilt last year. Somehow, I missed the call to entry this year. I'll try not to let that happen again.

This year the Brush had a theme for the first time, The Sea, so my Ocean Treasures was a good fit. The quilt extends up out of the top of the picture. There is pale blue sky above that deep blue horizon line. I quilted lots of critters into it, fish, sharks, whales in the water and shells, crabs, etc. in the sand.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day Three of our Art Adventure

On our third day we headed home, but made two important stops, the first one to Bennington, VT to visit Nike's son and family including her adorable fourteen month old grandson. I wish I had taken pictures, but you'll have to trust me when I say that he is a good natured, smiling cutie pie.

Next stop was in Williamstown, home to Wililiams College and the Clark Museum. The focus of the visit was to see the El Anatsui exhibit. He is an African artist from Nigeria, who makes monumental sculptures from discarded Nigerian liquor tops. He wires them together and makes a sort of metal fabric, which he then drapes, pleats, and places them on the wall. Be sure to click on each picture for a bigger view.

Did I say they are enormous? It's hard to tell from this picture of "Delta", although I guess you can see the floor and the ceiling and get an idea of the scale.

"Strips of Earth's Skin" is even bigger. The piece is very flexible and we were able to make it move a little by blowing on one end. I really wanted to touch it, but I didn't.

This one, "Intermittent Signals" made me gasp as I entered the room. The golden colors just took on a glow that reminded me of Egyptian splendor. It wrapped around two walls and ended up draping on the floor.

Barbara and Nike getting a close-up view.

Some of the tops were folded and spiraled around into circles that were joined together by wire.

In these last two you can read some of the names of the liquor companies.

There were only three pieces there, but it was well worth the trip just to see these three. Of course I wanted more, but they are so huge that it probably was not feasible. This exhibit was in the newer section of the museum, a whole separate building. We could have taken shuttles up to the main building , but we opted to walk on the path that had been made, mostly wooden planks, through the woods. It was a lovely walk on a beautiful day.

At the main building we saw "Pissaro's People", the work of Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). This was a large exhibit (many rooms) of his paintings. Although he was best known as a landscape painter, he had a lifelong interest in the human figure and painted people from many walks of life. We enjoyed this and the other special exhibit, "Spaces", which were large-scale photographs by Candida Hofer and Thomas Struth.

It truly was a wonderful three days and our heads were spinning with ideas.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Art Trip

I spent a wonderful, art-filled three days with three of my quilting buddies. Part of the reason for the trip was to visit our friend and former quilt group member, Judith Reilly. She moved to Brandon, Vermont eight years ago, bought an old Victorian that she has refurbished and turned the front parlors into a gallery. She also had exhibits at two other galleries in town which we saw. Her work is terrific and she is very happy in her little town with her life revolving around her fabric art. We spent the day with Judy, catching up, having lunch, touring her charming town and admiring her work.

Here's Barbara, Chris, Nike and Judy in front of her home and gallery. The house has seven bedrooms and she uses three of them as her studio.

She's also a fabulous gardener. Here we are in one section of her sumptuous garden.

Judy's quilts are always in her own inimitable whimsical style. She also had these delightful artist's mannequins that she had painted for sale in her gallery and I couldn't resist buying one. Of course these colors look great in my mostly blue and white home.

I loved the vining details painted all around.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself. That was all about our second day.

The first day of our trip we drove to Stockbridge, MA and had lunch at the historic Red Lion Inn. Then we drove to Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA to see the Sol LeWitt exhibit, A Wall Drawing Retrospective. Mass MoCA is a collection of old factory buildings that have been turned into this center for modern art. It is quite something to see. The LeWitt exhibit took up three floors of one section of the museum. We found many of these pencil line drawings to be quilt inspirational. Be sure to go to the link and look around. It is very hard to describe, but we all loved it and spent at least two hours there.
Then we went on to Nike's lovely condo in Willmington, VT where we had dinner and spent the night. The next day we drove to Judy's.

Please come back tomorrow and I'll tell you about day three of our art adventures.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silent Auction

I was asked again this year by IQA to donate a quilt to the Mini Quilt Silent Auction at the show in Houston this fall. I have done it several times before and will this year, too, since I will be attending the show. It's always fun to watch the progress and see what bids your quilt is garnering.

This year's donation is Oddball, so named because one ball has a different quilting design. It uses my hand dyed fabrics, is free-motion quilted with a variegated rayon thread, and is 30" wide by 13.5" high. Click on the picture for a bigger view. Can you find the "oddball"?

Quilting detail.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

While on a recent trip I spied a wonderful scarf in a boutique. It was made of little silk squares about an inch wide joined by thread and fancy yarn. It was bound in silk and had a lovely airy look and feel. I thought that I could duplicate it and tried a small sample when I got home with no binding. I pinned the squares to water soluble stabilizer then sewed between the squares with rayon thread, then couched some interesting yarns, then washed away the Solvy. I was so disappointed with the stiff, crooked thing I had created. Not at all like the pretty scarf I had seen. Lemons for sure!

But the more I looked at it, pinned to my design wall, the more I liked it. So I made some more in different colors, but all in the same color family. They are quite stiff and could be softer if I washed out the Solvy more throughly, but I like the stiffness and sculptural quality.

The "fabric" that they are pinned to are dye-grabber sheets. I now put one in all my washes when I do my hand dyes. I have used them before in quilts and like the somewhat leathery texture they get when quilted. They are very durable, made from some kind of non-woven material.

These little wonky units may or may not go into the big green quilt that I recently started working on again. I had put it away but resurrected it last week and I'm piecing away again. I blogged about it here.

Lemonade? What do you think?

Monday, August 1, 2011


I wish all plants were as easy to grow as succulents. With a nice sunny spot and very little water they will give you a splendid display all summer long and, if you're lucky, into the winter inside the house.

Here's a new pot I put together at the beginning of the season. I mostly leave it alone and let it get watered when it rains. It's in a pretty grayish blue pot that looks good with the blue/gray plant, the pinkish one and the trailing variety that hangs over the edge of the pot down to the table top. All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

This little garden was put together by my friend, Carolyn, who has been growing this Hens and Chicks variety for years and is very generous about sharing. Thank you, Carolyn. You can see that the Hen in front has sprouted several little Chicks.

This was also new this year and is called "Mother of Millions".

Looking down at the plant you can see the little babies growing all along the sides of the leaves.

When they get big enough, they fall off and if they fall onto dirt will propagate into new plants. In my case they fall onto the glass table top, especially after a heavy rain, as we had this afternoon. The first picture of this plant, two pictures back, has quite a lot of babies knocked off. They were also all over the deck. Hmmmm....maybe the chipmunks will eat them.