Tuesday, November 10, 2015

52" x 44.5"

This is my latest.  I have been thinking about it for a while, trying to firm up the design in my head.  I wanted to say something about the incredibly fast growth of my town.  I heard that 100 new people were moving to Austin, EVERY DAY.  People have to live somewhere, and I imagine many new houses being built.  And they are, and it is good for the economy.  But, there is a cost.  The animals are displaced.  The hills are razed, and rain washes the earth into the streams.  This is a natural process, but the rate is too fast.  It adds sediment to the streams which chokes out the life of the organisms living there.  It feels like we have lost site of protecting the environment which is our source of sustenance.  With this steady growth, how will we change to become better stewards of the earth?  As a society are we becoming more "developed" or less?

The process:
I used a giant screen to make the background from newspapers, mainly the Wall Street Journal.  I tore the newspaper pages into hills, and placed little squares of black construction paper on it, to make the houses. Then I carefully layered silk organza on top.  Next, I placed the screen and squeeged gel medium through it.  After it dried, I used water to gently remove as much paper as possible from the back.  You would be surprised how thin the final layer is!  This is called a paper laminate.

Once dry, I used Mistyfuse to gently place the yellow squares and black triangle roofs.  Some were done after adding the animals prints to the borders so that the houses could overlap into that space.  The faucet was printed on paper, and then made into a paper laminate as well.  I fused it with Mistyfuse on to the sky section.  Quilting was done in narrow 1/4" bands following the shapes of the hills with my favorite Masterpiece grey thread.  I had a lot of fun shopping for the animal prints.  I love, love, love the ghost bunnies and the tiny Japanese critter fabrics on the bottom.  I think I got both at Bunny's Designs.  I also shopped at the Cloth Pocket which is becoming a favorite!  Here are some detail shots for you. 
Houses falling out of the sky, like a giant faucet has been turned on.
foxes and deer
bears and more deer
tiny critters and ghost bunnies
And, I am happy to tell you that this piece has been selected to show in SAQA's Concrete and Grasslands exhibit which is opening at Grant's Pass Museum of Art in Oregon some time next year! It's a good feeling to make something I like, and then get to share it!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Crowded House
72" x 72"
Crowded House - detail
Earth Stories is opening today at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.  I feel quite proud to have a piece in this exhibit and of all the wonderful places that it is being shown!  Earth Stories runs from Nov 6, 2015 to Feb 28, 2016. 

SAQA's exhibit: Earth Stories
There are many stories of hope across the globe. Both individuals and small groups are working on projects that, when added together, make a positive impact on increasing the quality of life on this planet. Earth Stories celebrates the stories of people or projects that enhance the planet, make a significant difference in restoring and/or protecting the environment, increase sustainability and otherwise improve the earth we all occupy.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Houston Quilt Festival 2015

I returned earlier this week from Quilt Market and the awards ceremony for Quilt Festival.  It was such an amazing experience, and it had been a few years since I had been to Quilt Market.  I went with an open heart and an open mind.  I had no agenda to seek.  I wanted to look and try to find inspiration to move forward in my work.  I do believe I have succeeded.   I am so hyped up with ideas and adrenaline from Quilt Market, that I have been working non-stop in my studio since I got home.  It is great to be inspired!
Two Deer (or Too Dear)
And, until I can post about my new work, I would love to share with you my sweet success at Quilt Festival!  My quilt, Two Deer (or Too Dear!) won a second place award!  It is quite an honor!  And, I was presented the award by Becky Richards of Hobbs Batting, who sponsored my category, Whimsical Art Quilts. I had just met Becky at Quilt Market, so it felt very special to get an award from her.

I also had 3 quilts in SAQA exhibits.  And it was not too long ago when I got mostly rejections from SAQA, so I feel quite honored to have these 3 quilts in Houston at the two new SAQA exhibits, Balance and Wild Fabrications.
Fifty, Female, and Fearless


The Long Necked Cats and the Long Legged Bird
I had a quilt in Affinity, which is an exhibit by Dinner@Eight Artists curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison.  This is my 7th year in their exhibits, which is very dear to my heart. This quilt is called Dot, and uses the same batiked and dyed circles as the cat quilt above.
For the first time, I had a quilt accepted to What's for Dinner? which is another exhibit by Dinner@Eight Artists.  I rarely make quilts about food, so I have never entered.  But, this year has been a big change in my eating habits and exercise.  It's all about trying to find good health again, and this idea popped into my head.  And, I love it!  and what it means to me!  Very special!
I Could Have Been a Bear
I also have a quilt in the IQA auction.  It is an honor to have been asked to participate in this fundraising opportunity.  I hope it raises some money for them, and pleases the person who wins the bid!
Night Ride
And, I almost forgot, one quilt that is very dear to my heart, Innocence.  This is the quilt that I submitted to the Quilt Alliance contest, Animals We Love.  I was REALLY hoping to win the Sweet 16 Quilting Machine, but I did not.  The quilts for this contest are shown in several exhibits, and then auctioned off on eBay.  I am still hoping to make a pattern for this one, and hopefully quite soon!

I also have a few pieces at the Mistyfuse booth.  I LOVE Iris dearly, and use her Mistyfuse in almost ALL my quilts.  I LOVE the product, it makes my ideas come alive! Iris has a new product coming out called Bunny Paper.  She gave me a sample to try, and I am looking forward to it! The first one is the quilt I made, Welcome Home, for Sue Bleiweiss's new book, Colorful Fabric Collage.

Welcome Home
The second is just a sample of dots on a scrap, something that people can touch to feel how soft Mistyfuse actually is!
Dot Sample
Now, it's time to get back to work!  I am making a few really big quilts, and am happily sewing a fun backing for the next one!  QuiltCon 2016 is coming up, and I need to get my entries ready!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

40" x 40"

The theme to the Dinner @ Eight invitational exhibit was Affinity.  This was soooo easy for me, as I love and am attracted to so many things!  The hard part was choosing which one!  I decided to combine some of my favorite things, like colors in wild abandon, and circles (of which there are a lot of in this photo!), and repetition which I find so fun and oddly calming to a sometimes anxiety ridden world.  This piece culminates all of those and more.  I also got to have fun making the little dots, with dyeing lots of fabric, stamping circles on them, bleaching each piece, cutting apart all the circles and redistributing in different dye baths.  Then I boiled out the wax on each individual dot, and finished washing to process the dyes.  Lots and lots of repetition.  I also love that the little dots make up a big dot, much the same way that individuals make up a community (lovely little metaphor there).  I also love the expression "everything comes full circle".  And like my "i quilt", I wanted an iteration of the theme, dot, so I added an extra repetition in the middle.  Can you see it spelled out?  Brings back a bit of nostalgia for me in those old colorblind tests! 

Here's a close up of all those dots.  Each one was machine quilted with a matching color of thread.  So that was a lot of thread changes, a lot of starts and stops, and a lot of thread trimmings. Big thanks to Mistyfuse and Superior Threads for making art easier!

This quilt will be premiering at the Houston quilt show this fall!  Awesome! And TODAY is my special day to be interviewed on the Dinner @ Eight website!  Nice!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I Could Have Been a Bear
15" x 24"
Wahoooo!  My quilt got juried into What's for Dinner!  This is a super fun exhibit curated by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison every year.  A big long table is dressed up, complete with chairs around it, and all the food quilts are placed on the table with interesting 3D art for centerpieces. It premiers at the Houston Quilt Show every year, but this is my first year that I thought of an entry for it, and made it, and got juried in!  I don't normally make quilts featuring food, but this year I have been on a bit of a health kick, which started with my diet. And since I eat a lot of salmon and fresh fruits and vegetables, I often think I could have been a bear.  However, unlike a bear, if I had to stand in a freezing cold stream of water to catch my dinner, I might starve to death!
Here is a detail shot of the berries.  I put Mistyfuse on the fabric first, and then individually hand cut all the berries.  After they were fused to the quilt top, I decided to add a little flourish of paint, aided by a new star bit from my electric drill.  Hey, a tool is a tool is a tool!
Here is a closeup of the salmon and the bear claw.  I also used a lot of Mistyfuse to make the fancy scales, fins, gills, and other fish parts.  I used a number of different pink fabrics and was surprised when some of my choices just did NOT work.  That is why they have to audition for their spots, because some work, and some do not.  The fabrics for the bear claws were fused onto black felt and quilted, then cut, and then assembled in layers.  I found the actual claws in the bead section of Michael's Craft Store, and I can tell you I was very pleased at such an awesome find!  It totally makes the bear claws work!

I had such a blast making this quilt!  It has been months since I have worked on an art quilt, and I can tell you fabrics were flying!  My studio became a giant pile of fabrics, both the ones I used and the discarded ones.  I also tried to learn something new for this quilt and tried doing some curved piecing for the background.  I was quite please at how easily that came together.  Youtube is an amazing universe of learning!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Night Ride
18.5" x 23"

This is the piece that I have donated to International Quilt Association for their annual fundraising auction in Houston this year.  It's a fun little piece I made from some left over batiks from my quilt, Blue Towers.

Here are a few details:

I love the cute little paper clip I found in the shape of a bicycle, and the hand stitching that adds some nice texture to the piece.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 09, 2015


is going to Oregon! I'm delighted my quilts get to travel so much.  In fact, since this one is going to a cool place in the worst August heat that central Texas experiences, I think I would like to go with it this time!  Unlikely for me, I hope you get to go!
Quilt! Knit! Stitch!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Now Showing

My quilt, Crowded House, is showing June 19 - September 6, 2015 at the Kennedy Museum of Art.  This lovely venue is in Ohio and right down the street from the Dairy Barn and Quilt National.  And, while my work was not selected to be in Quilt National this time around, it's nice to know that it is close by! This was my crazy project about counting all the stuff in my house, inspired by the Story of Stuff.  What do you think?  Too much?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two Deer (or Too Dear!)
54" x 65"
....are going to HOUSTON!!!  I am delighted to share with you the news that the jurists have selected my quilt to be in the World of Beauty at the Houston Quilt Show this fall!

I am inspired by all the deer in my neighborhood, but especially in the spring when the fawns are born.  I enjoyed building on the theme of "you are what you eat", from my first deer quilt, Urban Deer.  The mother deer eats flowers, so her body is made from flowers.  The baby deer first nurses, so her body is made of white circles (milk), and symbolically, the multicolored flower centers from her mother.
This quilt was made from some flowers I made in my garage studio with batik.  They were fused with Mistyfuse, then individually hand cut, and fused together to make the main body of the doe.
The giant flowers in the background were made in a similar way, first drawn with batik wax, then discharged to remove color, and then overdyed a different color.
The baby fawn was made by drawing the the circles with wax on a white background, then the circles were dye painted different colors.

 I then overpainted with wax to protect the circle centers and dyed the overall body of the fawn with turquoise.  Both deer were fused onto the white background.
I machine quilted the two deers and giant flowers with my favorite MasterPiece thread from Superior Threads, and then spent an entire summer hand quilting the white background.  I love the texture of this quilt so much.  The hand quilting added a very nice softness for the background.

Cheers and happy quilting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This is my quilt, Blue Towers.  It was recently rejected from Tactile Architecture, an exhibit that debuts at the Houston Quilt Show (aka, International Quilt Festival).  
I am posting about this recent rejection for many reasons.  One is that since I usually post about my successes, my readers might assume that is the whole story.  And it is not.  I get many, many rejections.  I enter a LOT of quilts into a LOT of venues.  My motto is "You can't win if you don't play".  Not that I am always looking for a win, I'm not. (a side note: I do really LIKE winning when it happens!!) However, the point is to hope that my work gets to be SEEN by a larger audience.  That makes being an artist meaningful to me.  First to make the art, and then for it to be seen.

To be seen on my blog is truly wonderful.  However, blog readership has really gone down in the recent years.  I'm not sure if it is my work, or my blog, or just a general trend?  And the other note is that my work looks really different in real life as compared to a small image on a computer screen.  I suspect that is true of most art.  That's why I work so hard to get it out there.

How do I feel about this rejection?  This time it just didn't matter that much.  A lot of people I know ruminate about the WHY part of the equation.  I don't usually go there, or if I do, I don't stay long.  I like my work, or I wouldn't have entered it.  I am very critical of my own work, and usually my critique is more valuable to me than what other people might say.  I will say that being rejected by a juror whom I respect does give me cause to go back and re-evaluate my work.  I did not get that opportunity this time.  For some odd reason, Houston prefers to keep their jurors' identities secret.  And this is where I must lack some serious empathy because for the life of me, I can't imagine why?
Being a juror is hard work.  It is difficult to take a bajillion photos and pick only a few that will work as a cohesive exhibit.  Not an enviable task.  I look forward to seeing the quilts that were selected.  And, it is unlikely that I will agree with all of the jurors' choices, but it was their choice to make, not mine. Without any knowledge or details, I usually just assume that my quilt didn't fit in as well as perhaps some others did.  And, I am okay with that.

As for Blue Towers?  I am VERY fond of this quilt.  I love the colors as they are so rich, vibrant, mellow, and lush.  I love the patterns in this quilt.  I love the quilting in this quilt.  I love the edge finish whipstitched by hand in black embroidery floss.  I love what this quilt means to me.  For me, it all works. And, this quilt is lucky enough to have already been to the Houston Quilt Show in part of another exhibit. 
Until next time....