Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Quilts on Exhibit

I just thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse of what is currently showing and what is coming soon!

Currently I have the following pieces exhibiting:
The Long Necked Cats and the Long Necked Bird

Wild Fabrications, SAQA, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI, Dec 17, 2017 - Feb 25, 2018

The Women's March

Threads of Resistance, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, Dec 9, 2017 - Feb 18, 2018

Coming Soon:

Wedding Rings and Crossroads
QuiltCon 2018: Pasadena, CA: Feb 22-25, 2018


Concrete and Grasslands, SAQA, The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, London, UK: March 1- 4, 2018

the Deep End
Tranquility, SAQA, Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC), Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne, Australia: Apr 5 - 8, 2018 

Floating in a Sea of Symbols
Personal Iconographies, Dinner@Eight, International Quilt Festival, Chicago, IL: Apr 12 - 14, 2018

i Quilt
Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century, MQG, The Dairy Barn, Athens, OH, Apr 29 - Jun 17, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Modern Quilts
the book!
see page 86!

I have finally received my copy of Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century by Riane Menardi, Alissa Haight Carlton, and Heather Grant.  The book is fantastic! And, I'm not just saying that because my quilt is in it!

It is a delightful visual feast full of incredible modern quilts.  Eye candy for the image junky! I love this book, and please don't laugh at the reason why, it doesn't have too many words.  I do love to read, but for quilts, I like looking at the pictures.  And this is one of those books that is full of fabulous pictures. I have been pouring over the pages, and adding new quilt artists to follow on Instagram, and then repeating.  Plus, all proceeds from the sales go towards helping the Modern Quilt Guild.  The authors did a wonderful job of curating images for this very special collection!  Kudos!

As for my quilt? I am incredibly honored and humbled to be included in this collection of talented artists.  You can read more about i Quilt here (when it won best in show)

or here, when I blogged about how it was made.

Mostly, I am just so excited to be part of the Modern Quilt movement.  The book discusses how the Modern Quilt Guild got started, which somehow escaped my radar.  I remember when I heard about the Austin Modern Quilt Guild and started attending meetings.  But the biggest impetus for me was when QuiltCon began in Austin.  Since I live here, it was easy to attend, and I did. I loved, loved, loved the quilts.  And, because I am old and slow, it took one of the younger generation to tell me about Instagram.  (Thank you so much for that, Heather Grant!!!).  Instagram was where I learned about hashtags and helped me connect in a much more efficient and daily way with other modern quilters.  It changed my world.

Meanwhile, I thought it might entertain you to see some never before shots of the i Quilt.  :)
i Quilt with my favorite Marimekko mug, and green IKEA couch

i Quilt, flying on the beach

i Quilt, posing on a lovely bay front cupola
Today is my day for the blog hop to promote Modern Quilts.  If you are interested in buying a copy you can get one here. You can also find a LOT of images from the book on Instagram, #modernquilts
If you are interested in seeing some of the other artists participating in the blog hop, please see below.

12/13/2017Amber Corcoran
12/14/2017Heidi Parkes
12/15/2017Melissa Cory
12/16/2017Penny Gold
12/18/2017Shruti Dandekar
12/19/2017Amy Friend
12/20/2017Paige Alexander
12/21/2017Angela Bowman
12/22/2017Lysa Flower
12/27/2017Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill
12/28/2017Jacquie Gering
12/29/2017Christa Watson
12/30/2017Heather Black
1/2/2018Kristin Shields
1/3/2018Krista Hennebury
1/4/2018Cinzia Allocca
1/5/2018Suzanne Paquette
1/6/2018Yvonne Fuchs
1/9/2018Ben Darby
1/10/2018Nicole Daksiewicz
1/11/2018Kristi Schroeder
1/12/2018Kathy York
1/13/2018Marla Varner
1/15/2018Brigette Heitland
1/16/2018Stacey Sharman
1/17/2018Stacey O'Malley
1/18/2018Kim Soper
1/19/2018Steph Skardal
1/20/2018Cheryl Brickey
1/22/2018Shea Henderson
1/23/2018Katie Larson
1/24/2018Katie Pedersen

Monday, January 01, 2018

Preparing a Quilt for Shipping

Since it is almost time to ship quilts to California for QuiltCon2018, I thought I would write a post today about how to prepare a quilt for shipping.  It is important to follow the instructions sent from the organization.  This will generally include things like a hanging sleeve and a label.  It may also tell you to cover your label for judging, so that the judges only see your entry number and not your name. Next comes the part about actually putting your quilt in a box.  The quilt shown here is my i Quilt.  It is not going to QuiltCon, because, well, it has already been (in 2015).  But it was happy to volunteer for the purpose of this demonstration!  :)

Step one, find a clean place to lay out your quilt.  Put the back side up.
The next step is very important.  Get a tape roller and carefully look over the back.  Remove any stray threads or pet hair.
To minimize wrinkles in your quilt, scrunch up a bunch of long tissue paper into rolls.  Use one of these tissue rolls each time you fold your quilt.  It does not matter HOW you fold it.  You can fold it in half and in half again, or in thirds, but each time you fold it, support the fold line with a roll of tissue paper.
This is the first fold.
Bigger quilts require more folds.  Use your long arms to smooth the scrunch tissue paper as close to the inside of the fold as you can.  Now you can see half of the front side of your quilt.  Get the tape roller out, and check for loose thread again!
This is the second fold.
Each time I fold the quilt, and more of the front shows, I use the tape roller to clean it.
This is the third fold.
Check again for loose threads. Notice above, the tissue roll does not go all the way across the fold.  That is because there is already tissue rolls near the edges from the previous folds.  This is the first crosswise fold, and I use a smaller chunk of scrunched tissue. Be sure to rotate and flip and carefully check to make sure that any loose threads are removed.
The last fold.
Now, the quilt is folded to it's final shipping size. Place it in a plastic bag, along with any required forms.  Always include the shipping address and a return address inside the bag.
I always like to use a clear plastic bag, so that my quilt will not be accidentally mistaken for trash at it's arrival destination.  And, it is a good idea to close the plastic bag with tape, but do not over-tape it.  If you make it super difficult to unwrap, and a volunteer has to use scissors to open it, well, you are asking for trouble! This is a situation that is easy to avoid. 

Find a box for your very precious package.  If it doesn't fit into your box, do not squish and stuff it.  Either, find a bigger box, or refold your quilt. I like to have some room all the way around my folded quilt.  If there is extra room, be sure to stuff the empty space with more tissue paper.  Do not use packing peanuts for quilts.  Ever.  It irritates the stuffing out the receiver! Close up your box and then you can use a LOT of tape. 

Other notes:
*Packages are sometimes damaged in shipping.  Shipping tubes are worse than boxes as a general rule.  Also, don't leave any loose tape or torn edges on your box.  These can easy get caught up in the machinery used to transport packages and rip your package open.  Make sure the outside of your box is clean and smooth! I always cover the shipping address in packing tape.  I don't know if that's necessary or not, but it seems like a good idea. 

*YES, insure the value of your quilt while shipping. And consider requesting a signature for delivery.

*And, it is well advised not to write the word "quilt" on the outside of your box. 

And, may the odds be ever in your favor!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Little Christmas Tree
12" x 12" x 1 1/2"

This cute little tree was inspired by some giftwrap.  So, unlike most of my projects, it is in no way original!  I saw the little triangle tree and was curious if I could sew triangles?  Yes! It can be done.
First I selected a palette of colors.
Next, I knew that I would need a triangle template to cut out all the triangles.  I opted for some heavy watercolor paper, and cut the triangle to a true size using the angles on my cutting mat and my rotary cutting ruler.  These triangles are easy because all the angles are 60 degrees, and that is conveniently marked on my tools!
Without thinking about it too much, I knew that I wanted to start small, but not so small that it would be difficult to handle.  I selected a 3" side length, and didn't worry too much about the final size. This one was used as a template for the red polka dots.  *I put a piece of sticky tape on the back, stuck it to my fabric, and then used my rotary ruler to add 1/4" seam allowance to each side before cutting.

Next, I decide to piece half the triangles, so I made another triangle like the first one and just cut it in half.
I did NOT use the orange plastic triangle at all, except to look at.  I have had it since I took drafting in high school, and use it for a visual reference. These were used on the solid blue and the checkered blue.  See note * above regarding cutting.

This project went together really quickly, about 1/2 day.  I cut everything first, then lined them up on a design wall.  I selected two pieces at a time, right sides together and stitched.  I opted to start and stop 1/4" in from the edges so that I had more options for pressing the seams.

When I completed the tree, I used that 60 degree angle to cut some white triangles for the background.  Add a strip at the bottom with the red checkered tree trunk, and done!  I quilted it in concentric triangles, so it went rather quickly with the walking foot. 

It finished out at 12 1/2 " which gave me just enough seam allowance to add the blue quilted borders, which made it big enough to wrap around a 12" x 12" canvas. Such a lovely finish, and easy to hang with one nail.  LOVE!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wedding Rings and Crossroads
102" x 102"

Wedding Rings and Crossroads, back (aka, Up in the Air)
I am delighted to share with you my newest quilt!  I am also so very thankful to have finished it before the Thanksgiving holidays. It is so nice to have it behind me and have the entire week off to relax and enjoy time with my kids.

This somewhat traditional pattern (DWR, double wedding ring) speaks to me of marriage. It is a cautionary tale of how couples can have cycles of behaviors and patterns (which can be annoying or comforting) along with the crossroads that can divert our attention away from our loved ones. I will leave it to you to decide if any part of that statement fits your experience. For my 2 cents, I can say that I have been blessed to know the happiness of being married and in a committed long term relationship, and also, the happiness of being whole and complete as a single person.

How it started:
I have been wanting to learn how to make a double wedding ring quilt for a long time, but somehow the idea of all the curvy pieces eluded me.  This one is a simplified form because it is constructed in square blocks.  I also like that the shape of the circles are not perfect circles, but more like squares with rounded corners.  I was lucky to have an opportunity through the Austin Modern Quilt Guild to take a class with Tara Faughnan.  She demystified the double wedding ring for me.  I loved her class!

Process story and photos:
After I got home, I got out some drafting supplies and explored the shapes.  I scaled up the 12" blocks from class to 20" blocks. Yes, it was hard to find paper big enough for my ideas, but that is why Scotch tape is so essential to quilting! The scale was so wonderful and so huge! I played with a number of the components of the block until I found that perfect one for me.  And I began cutting the pieces for my quilt.
I ran out of big enough pieces of blue fabric. I could have shopped for some but finding the range of subtle differences is difficult with a bright cobalt blue. So, I shifted gears and started dyeing some.
At some point I tossed out the random color selections that we learned in Tara's class, and began to strongly prefer the regular patterns of colors.  So, not being in a hurry, I decided to pull them all off and began again. Arggh!
You can see the quilt at this point has 16 blocks, all about 20" square.  If only I had stayed with this idea, I would have had a quilt that was 80" x 80".  But, no! I had a curious idea of adding more, so I got out some graph paper and markers.
I fell in love with the chaos of lines going in every direction.  It created a crazy amount of movement and a lot of interest. It reminded me of highway overpasses, and giant game boards, like Parcheesi. It lended itself to the idea of games we play in marriage, which I had already been thinking about with the double wedding ring pattern.
Here is the entire layout, not completed yet.  It stretches ceiling to floor, and then extends onto the floor.  The scope of the project was a bit overwhelming. Here I am pressing seams on my big board.  It was done in sections because I don't have an ironing board big enough! Who does?
When I finished the front, I still had a lot of leftover hand pieced arcs which had previously been discarded. And I still needed to make a backing for the quilt...
So, I put some of these together to see if it would make a giant circle.  Of course it does!
I decided to make them into circles that would float abstractly on the back. I used strips of Mistyfuse on the backs of the circles to hold them in place while I hand stitched them.  Perfect! Here's the back after it was pin basted, just checking to make sure the back does not have any giant folds or wrinkles before I start quilting.
This quilt is so huge that I was worried about hurting my shoulders trying to hold it and guide it through my sewing machine.  It is really big and really heavy.  So, I decided to hand quilt it.  I love hand quilting, the process is very relaxing to me.  I also love how the hand quilting looks on a quilt, and I thought it would be the perfect compliment for this really high contrast, hard edged design.  But, the quilt is so BIG, which means a LOT of hand quilting. The circles on the back have turned under edges and are hand appliqued. and between the front and the back, there are a lot of layers, which is really hard to hand quilt.

I bent a LOT of needles.  I used 1/4" tape to mark my path, and a hoop to get even tension.  Here I am rocking the needle back and forth through the layers to load up stitches on the needle before pulling it through.
 I followed the shapes on the front in double lines of quilting.
And, I really like the way that the lines from the front made an abstracted grid for the organically floating giant circles on the back. Don't forget, you can click on the picture to see a close up!
When I finished, I ended up liking the back better than the front! Delightful!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Houston Quilt Festival 2017

Every year around this time, I love sharing with you, my lovely readers, the quilts that I will have in the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  Unfortunately this year, neither of my entries for the judged show, The World of Beauty, were accepted.  I have been to the quilt show in Houston enough to know what kind of quilts get juried into the show, and I just didn't have any to enter.  At the last minute I decided to enter a few modern quilts I made last year, and those are the ones that were rejected.  It is difficult to get too worked up about this.  I actually really like my Houston rejects, so they get to stay home with me this year!

And while last year, I had almost 30 quilts in Houston, mostly because of my special exhibit, this year, I have a total of 2 quilts in special exhibits, both of which I feel very honored to be included.  One is in the Personal Iconography exhibit by Dinner@Eight, which I posted previously about here.  It is Floating in a Sea of Symbols.

The other is a quilt that has been gone a long time.  It premiered at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago last spring in the new judged show, A Celebration of Color, and will be a special exhibit in Houston.  It is Beach Colors, previously posted about here.

If you go to the Houston quilt show, I am convinced you will have a wonderful time! I will not be going this year, and I know I will miss the my friends, the quilts, and the experiences immensely!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Power of the Press
31" x 28.5"
I am humbled by my failures.  I am disappointed. I am sometimes sad, and sometimes angry.  All of these are okay.  It is simply part of the path.  Sometimes work needs to be made just because it's next.  There are no guarantees that the work will be good, or relevant, or accepted.  And just as I have utter joy in my successes, I know that they only represent part of the story.  I try to accept all parts of my story, but honestly, the successes are much easier to talk about--publicly.
Today's piece is a quilt I made several years ago.  It has been rejected too many times to count from every venue I entered it into.  And now, it has aged out.  It is too old to enter into most venues.  And, though it is a failure to me for a number of reasons, perhaps it is ahead of it's time? Perhaps it is even more relevant today?

I wanted to make a piece about what news is and what it aspires to be.  As I get older I feel more cynical.  This piece begs the question, how much of a story is actual news, and how much is written just to sell newspapers?  How much is written and published just to sensationalize an event, regardless if it represents a whole story, or a true story?  What is truth?

Yes, I am that old.  I am the age where my 'go to' for news is still newspapers.  But how much more heinous is the act when it is published and consumed so instantaneously?  It hurts to think about it.

This piece is made out of newspapers, newsprint, cotton, and silk.  There is a tremendous amount of black thread sketching. The newspaper titles were printed, paper laminated, and then Mistyfused into place. I made the binding red to allude to the old riddle, "What is black and white and red all over?" There are many answer to that riddle, one of which is a newspaper. The emotional expressions and the red work well together. 

Today this piece feels more relevant because of amplified hate speech, lies, rhetoric that are being published as "truths".  Some people are calling it fake news.  Some very powerful people are calling anything they disagree with fake news.  The era of reason and truth seems to be disappearing into the background.  Sensational or not, it would not be normal to NOT feel shocked, appalled, and angry today. I think fake news is the ultimate oxymoron.  If it is fake, then it isn't news.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Floating in a Sea of Symbols
40" x 40"

created for:  Dinner@Eight, Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth An artistic expression based on personal style

An underlying social message

A story that is told through lines, shapes and imagery

A graphic landscape that conveys a story

A mark, an object, an idea

"As I get older, I indulge in reminiscing about my past. Each ocean layer is comprised of an abstraction of shapes which have multiple meanings for me. This allows me to express my personal history while simultaneously maintain some privacy."
This is an invitational juried exhibit.  Each year when I make my entry, I never know if I will be able to come up with an idea and then be able to execute that idea to my satisfaction, AND, whether or not it will fit in with the rest of the exhibit.  I am delighted to find out that this quilt has been accepted to the exhibit.  I am also very pleased that it is so appealing to me.  Double win!
I had a hard time getting started on this one.  The theme of personal iconography didn't speak to me.  I struggled and struggled.  I gave up more than once.  I tried googling the words in the title.  I tried journaling about what it meant to me....more than once.  The entry description is purposefully vague and open to interpretation, but I was not feeling it.  Sigh...
For me, making art is about expressing something that I need to give my voice to, something personal, something meaningful.  However that voice can also be too personal, sometimes private, and I am not comfortable sharing it with a wider audience.  It is a delicate balance.  

And so, I finally made some progress when I settled on an ocean theme, with blues, and quite a bit of reminiscing.  Each layer goes back to some period in my life.  All of the symbols represented large overlapping chunks of my life, decades.  I also had a long list of symbols I wanted to use, but decided to narrow my choices to those that had multiple meanings for me.  

I started with blue. It has been a while since I have dyed anything or played in my batik studio.  So, I bought some new blue dyes, and set about the task of experimenting so that I could choose my blue palette.
Next stop, the process of patterning my cloth with batik.
These concentric rings would become my sodium chloride ions.  The fabric started as blue, then I stamped some concentric blue circles with different found objects.  This shows what it looked like after bleaching out the blue fabric that was not protected by wax. It was later painted with 2 different colors of dye.  Then the wax was boiled out.  I used fabric paint to paint dots for the electrons, and a black ink pen to put the symbols Na+ and Cl-. (Not tedious at all, eh??)
This one is similar to the above.  It was dyed a dark blue, batiked, and then bleach discharged.  It is waiting to be overdyed.  Notice how the dark blue dye did not discharge to a white (like the fabric above).  That happens sometimes, and it adds interesting color qualities to the next stage of overdyeing.
These two have been dyed, and then batiked.  The next step is the bleach discharge to remove the color.  And then dyeing again to put a contrasting color on top.  
After getting all my fabrics done, I decided which order to put them in by layering them on the floor.
Then, I used a freezer paper template to cut out the wave shapes for each layer.  The fabric was then fused (sweet, sweet Mistyfuse) to some white cotton batting, and then the white batting was trimmed with scissors to echo the shape of the fabric wave.  I built up the quilt one layer at a time, machine quilting as I went.  When I finished, I hand stitched the tiny white float with the girl on it.
As for the bicycle layer?  I ironed freezer paper to the back of a section of blue fabric, and then traced with a black pen from a line drawing underneath.  I taped the drawing and the freezer-paper-backed-fabric to my sliding glass door to let the sun shine through in order to see the drawing through the blue fabric.  Then I colored in different parts of the bicycle with markers and heat set. I LOVE the bicycle!  And, I love the scale of the bicycle!

This exhibit will open at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this fall.  It will be at both Quilt Market (Oct 27-30) and Festival (Nov 1-5).  I can't wait to see it!  The images flooding Facebook yesterday from the selected artists are incredible!