Saturday, June 30, 2012

SAQA Meeting and a Great Exhibit

Today Nike and I traveled to Storrs, CT to the University of Connecticut campus and the Homer Babbidge Library for a regional SAQA meeting.  It was an informative meeting, led by our CT reps, Kate Themel and Diane Wright.  We talked about the upcoming SAQA Connecticut traveling exhibit for 2013, had an interesting talk by a quilt appraiser, some inspiring show and tell and a chance to see this fiber art exhibit by Catherine Whall Smith.
I loved the exhibit, a 20 year retrospective by Cathy, and it was made even better by having Cathy give us a private docent tour.  This is just a small sampling of her work. Unlike most art quilters today, Cathy hand quilts all her pieces.  Even more unusual, she quilts them from the back, on which she uses striped or plaid fabrics and follows those lines, ignoring the design on the front.  Somehow, it all works out and looks terrific.  And all those crisscrossing strips are pieced in, no applique at all.

Here's Cathy with one of her quilts.  The exhibit, with 22 quilts, is in two sections of the library, some of them in glass cases, some hung on the walls.  It will be there until October 19 and is well worth seeing. If you click on the pictures you can see more detail and also read Catharine's artist statement.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm in this show

I'm happy to say that I will have two quilts in this show, "Fern Dance II" shown on the postcard in the top row and "Of Cabbages and Kings", not shown. This is a Fiber Revolution show and although I am no longer an active member, I can enter one show as an alumna.

It's too far away for me to attend the evening opening reception. but if you live in the area, please stop by.  It promises to be a great show.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Simple Peasures

A squat little vase of sunflowers on my kitchen table

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday

My good friend, Mickie, celebrated a big birthday this week and last night a group of us took her out to dinner.  Mickie has the uncanny knack of getting something on her top when eating.  She always jokes about it and of course we join right in.  So I presented this to her last night before dinner.  She got such a kick out of it.  The little dots are Swarvoski crystals (she loves bling) and they really sparkled under the restaurant's overhead lights. The fabric is actually jet black with gold stitching. The writing was done with free motion satin stitching in Sulky rayon threads. I can't believe that I didn't take my camera with me to capture her picture while modeling it. Click on the picture for a bigger view.

I should also say that she is the youngest 78 year old ever.  She skips up and down stairs while those of us quite a bit younger are holding onto the railing. She still plays tennis and runs daily (not walks) with her big German Shepherd.  She's always ready to do anything or go anywhere at the drop of a hat and she also has an encyclopedic memory.  She is a frequent travel companion and is a font of information, quick to laugh and a lot of fun. Happy Birthday, Mickie, and many, many more.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Swan Lake

Yesterday I was able to tick off one more thing on my bucket list, to see Swan Lake.  I am enamored of ballet, even though I haven't seen much of it.  I have a very inflexible body and always have had.  Even though I exercise and stay slim, my body does not bend.  I have never been able to touch my toes, even as a teenager, so when I see those dancers put their legs up next to their ears or fold their bodies in half or leap in the air or dance on tippy toes and then to do it all to beautiful music, well I'm enchanted.

After seeing the movie, Black Swan, I knew I had to see the real ballet, and when we heard that the Australian Ballet Company would be performing at Lincoln Center in NYC for a few days, we got tickets. I did some research online about the story and found that the Australian Company's version choreographed by Graeme Murphy was quite a different version. He totally changed the story line, but it still had Odette and the beautiful swans and Prince Siegfried and that glorious music by Tchaikovsky. My three friends and I all loved it and I know that I want to see more ballet.

It was a beautiful June day in NYC, although a little cool.  We walked the 1.7 miles from Grand Central to Lincoln Center, had a great lunch at PJ Clark's, a NY staple, walked back to the station after the show and had a nice snack and cappachino at a little pub across the street from the station before boarding the train. It couldn't have been a more perfect day!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rethinking fabric choices

A few posts ago I showed fabrics that I would use for a quilt inspired by a photo I had taken of a spice booth in Istanbul. You can see them here.  I thought that the colors were a good match and they were.  But then I remembered my silk Dupioni stash and I love the richness that the silk imparts.  I want to use one strong blue as a complementary color, but I am undecided whether to use the purply blue on the left or that vibrant royal blue. I will only have very small strips of it showing. Maybe I'll go for broke and use both.

I probably should have had this quilt pieced by now, but I got sidetracked playing around with some surface design, mostly unsuccessful.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Renga is a type of Japanese poetry in which one poet writes a line and then passes it to three other poets to add a line to complete a small poem. This is a simplified definition and you can read more about it here. Anyway, two of the fiber groups to which I belong decided to do a Surface Design Renga. It sounds so much more sophisticated that a Round Robin, doesn't it? In each group we were to start with a plain white fat quarter, 18" x 22" and do some sort of base surface design, remembering that there would be other layers added to it.  In the FANE group we were put into groups of 4 and will rotate our fabrics within that group.  In my other group, Scraps, we just put the fabrics in a bag and drew one out.  They will also have three more layers added to each piece.

Each person is to do some sort of surface design to the piece, such as stamping, painting, rubbing, stenciling, dyeing, etc.  But you may not add any stitching or fabric or fusing, or beading, or embellishment.

This is the piece that I got from Linda in the FANE group.  Linda was not at the previous meeting, in which the project was thoroughly explained and her computer was down, so she was unclear as to what to do.
For the top half of the fabric she used some Wonder Under that had been painted upon and then pressed to the fabric.  She painted the bottom half and fused (a big No-No) the reflections on the water.  It is a pretty scene, but not really what we were supposed to do.  Her piece is also quite stiff from all that paint, but that's OK.  Now my dilemma is what to do next.  I want to cover most of it with some sort of stenciling, I think, to get it from a scene to a surface design piece.

This is Barbara's piece that I drew from the Scrap's bag. This one has the opposite problem of Linda's.  Barbara did a very subtle tea dyed arashi shibori. It is quite lovely, but so delicate, that anything I put on it will surely obliterate her design.  I will try to be gentle, but I fear that by the third round very little, if any, of her design will show. If you click on the picture, you can see it a little better.

This is the piece that I handed in for the FANE group.  It has been parfait dyed with Procion MX dyes. I thought it would be a good base for what may follow.

This is what I gave to the Scraps group, another Procion Mx dyed fabric.  Carolyn drew my piece and is so afraid of ruining it.  Well, I think that is impossible.  I hope that when I get mine back it will be unrecognizable, with perhaps just a little of the color peeking though. 

There are journals that will travel with each piece and each person will tell about what they have done  and any restrictions, such as in Linda's, which cannot be ironed on directly because of the Wonder Under.  A teflon or parchment paper must be used on hers.  We are also to photograph each step. 

I think it's a fun project and we have a whole month for each step in each group, plenty of time to come up with some good ideas.  I bought three yummy new stencils at the quilt show that I am itching to try.  One rule in the FANE group is that we cannot do the same technique on each piece that we get.  Rats!  There goes my stencil idea for each one. 

I will post what I do each month and what my finished piece looks like, so stay tuned.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Unusual Flower

When our quilt group took a field trip to Greenwich, CT a couple of weeks ago, we spotted this unusual flower in one of the many beautiful container gardens that were outside the shops. None of us knew what it was, but Carolyn took a picture and she and I have been on a quest . Someone suggested that it was in the Bachelor Button family, but it wasn't.  I thought that the petals reminded me of Spoonflower Mums, so I Googled "Spoonflower Daisy" and up popped a picture, just like this one. It is a member of the Osteospermum family.  They are not all Spoonflowers like this one , but that was the part that appealed to me the most. I just think they are so charming and whimsical.

 Carolyn did a lot of legwork and was able to find a local nursery that would get her a few plants.  She also found this pretty purple/pink in addition to the white we had seen. She was kind enough to buy some for another friend and me.

I planted my two in a pot with a blue and white Lobelia and thought they looked good together. They are supposed to be drought resistant and the flowers close up at night. Don't they just make you smile? 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


When Jersey Boys first came out, I wasn't anxious to see it.  I'm not sure why, but there were other plays that appealed to me more, but everyone that I knew who had seen it raved about it.  So this week when the Woman's Club took their spring trip into NYC I decided it would be a good time to get tickets, since they were now on the bargain ticket line.  Only $78 instead of the usual $138, such a bargain!

It also was coincidental that my 50th (gasp) college reunion is coming up next month and these songs were the ones that were around in my high school and college days.  Although I don't remember being a Frankie Valli fan, I certainly do remember those songs....Earth Angel, Big Girls Don't Cry, Who Wears Short Shorts, My Boyfriend's Back, and many more, so it was a thoroughly enjoyable show; not one of my all-time favorites, but very entertaining.

My friend, Mary, and I  had lunch first at a fabulous little French restaurant, Le Revage, where I had frog's legs for the first time in about 20 years.  They were done to perfection with the prerequisite amount of garlic and butter. Divine! I will be sure to make a return visit.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo inspiration

My small weekly quilt group has a challenge every year and we exhibit our results at a local library.  The challenge for this year is to use a photograph , preferably taken by you, and use it for inspiration for a small (about 18" x 24") quilt.  It can be used in any way: copy it realistically, use the colors, do a photo transfer, abstract it, etc.  

I took this picture in Istanbul at the Grand Bazaar.  I was bowled over by the colors and knew that some day it would be a quilt.  Now I have the perfect opportunity.

I definitely plan to abstract it, leaving out most of the extraneous objects, and mainly use the colors.  I almost always use my hand dyed fabrics, but looking through my small stash of solids, some left over from Brown Planet, I came up with this palette.  Pretty good, don't you think? One hand dyed snuck in there.  Can you tell?

I also took a great picture of a minaret.  I may or may not superimpose that on top.

I have a very busy week ahead, so I don't think I'll get much done, but at least it's simmering away in my brain. This isn't due until September, but I like to get things done ahead of time, if possible.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Very Good Week

It's been a very good week for me, art-wise.  First I finished piecing Brown Planet, as I blogged about in my last post.  Then I was accepted into two shows.

This is Emerald City, 46" x 45", which you've seen before, part of my Configuration series. It will be taking its maiden voyage to Fort Collins, Colorado at the 30th Annual Art Quilt Exhibition at Lincoln Center. The show runs from July 3-September 5. This one's a little too far for me to travel to the opening, but maybe some of you who live nearby will be able to.  I know there were some very big names in the show last year. I am honored to be included this year.

My little City Lights, 18" x 24", part of the same series, has been to a few places and now will travel to Lowell, MA to be part of the Whistler Inspired Art Quilts 2012 at the Whistler House Museum of Art, August 8-September 1.  That is only about 3 hours from my home, so I hope I can attend the opening. This gallery has been good to me. I've been juried into shows twice before and I sold one piece and won a cash award for the other.

Lastly, if you live anywhere near Greenwich, CT, run don't walk to  Paperworks:Material as Medium at the Flinn Gallery in the Greenwich Library. My quilt group took a field trip to this beautiful upscale town to see the exhibit and, of course, have lunch.  I foolishly left my camera at home, so you'll have to trust me when I say that the show was amazing.

I ended the week last night with a charity wine tasting event.  Today I'm doing a little reorganizing in my studio to prep for my next project.  Stay tuned.