Monday, October 26, 2009

A Quick Studio Update + Kathy Loomis Art Quilt Class

First, a studio update....the floor was put down this past week. I'm really happy with it. It looks nice, has a little cushion, and should be easy to clean. My son-in-law who will be doing the finishing work has gone back to work full time (and is actually working some overtime now). It looks like the studio might not be finished till after the first of the year. Oh well...I'm thinking I will love it whenever it gets finished. Here is the latest picture.I had the opportunity, along with a couple of my friends, to take an art quilt class (offered through LAFTA--Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists--for its members) with Kathy Loomis this past weekend in Louisville at the Fiber Arts Studio of U of L. I learned a lot in the class (even though I didn't get nearly enough finished on my piece). The class was only a four-hour class with some time spent discussing and critiquing. Here is Kathy...
She brought all the fabric we would need to begin an art quilt of our own design. She told us we could work from a sketch or from intuitive stitching (sewing and seeing where it takes us). The sketches were very small--about 2" square. We had our choice of any of the fabrics she brought.

I drew this little sketch. It is the pictoral version of a reoccurring dream I've had for quite some time. When (and if) I get it finished, I'll explain more about the meaning behind the quilt.
From this sketch, Kathy helped me find a way to execute the design. All of the quilt will be pieced except for the circles (which will be hand appliqued). When I got home, I drew out the design to size (larger than my beginning in this class) and figured out how I will piece it together. Now, all I have to do is find time to work on it.
My friends, Robin and Jane, also worked on quilts of their own. Robin was the overachiever in the class. She was the only one who had a finished quilt top by the end of class!
Other members in the class were busy working on their pieces in the class.I'd like to thank Kathy for generously giving her time (and fabric) for this class.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Retreat Show & Tell and a Short Quilting Studio Update

Show and Tell was a big hit at the retreat last weekend. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the projects the ladies were working on. I wasn't quick enough with my camera, so I didn't get a picture of everything. I also didn't think ahead enough to get everyone's name or the name of their project; I apologize. I'll try to do better next time. I would like to share the pictures I did get, though. There were quilted projects of every size and kind.

These first quilts are called Hawaiian Star quilts. They were made after taking a class taught by Lora Nale. Each quilt was made with the same pattern, but the colors and color placement made each quilt look unique.

This quilt was made by a purple lover (or for a purple lover).Diana Dearing showed this black, white, and red quilt.This quilt was made from scraps from some of the "ugly" fabric included in grab bags at the retreat last year. It was made by Mary Jane Parvey.This quilt was made by Diana Prechtel. It is totally hand quilted.This is a Dear Jane quilt. What an accomplishment!This is a bit of an English Paper piecing project.This is a Valentine's Day quilt.It was lots of fun to see what everyone was working on. Show and Tell is always a big highlight of the retreat. update on my quilting studio. The flooring people came yesterday and are working again today. The flooring is going down! I'm hoping it won't be too long until the rest of the work is finished; however, my son-in-law who is doing the work has been called back to work full time. Finishing may be slow going.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Retreat

This past weekend I attended a three-day quilting retreat put on by Lora Nale. We had a great time and got a lot of talking, quilting, and eating done. The food table was decorated for Halloween. We were treated with goodies such as candy, cookies, nuts, mints, and carmel corn.The sewing room was set up with an entire table per person--no sharing. As you can see, we certainly needed the room. We also had the opportunity to purchase items from The Village Mercantile (Boonville, IN). Check out the wall display and quilting wares on the table--what a nice variety of items. Most everyone found an item or two they just "had" to have. If you didn't know, quilters can be a "dangerous" bunch if threatened. There was some talk about a beau treating one of our quilting friends right or else! Lookout for women wielding rotary cutters! (I told these "ladies" that they needed to look a little more "fierce" to scare anyone!)
Show and Tell was a big highlight of the retreat. I'll post pics of that in my next installment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Search of Art in Santa Fe

I spent the day today in Santa Fe going to art museums. I really wanted to see some fiber art, but didn't really find any in the museums I found. My friend, Dana, said I should call these last few days "Beth's Great Adventure." I've been on "dirt" roads and in bumper-to-bumper traffic going 75-80 mph--now, that was a little scary! Thankfully, I have a GPS to keep me on track. The hardest thing I had to do today was find where I had parked the car in Santa Fe.

First, I went to "Museum Hill." I asked about fiber art displays but none were available. I ended up going to the Museum of International Folk Art. I love the Folk Art Museum in New York, so I was thinking this was something I would really like.....I was wrong! One entire wing was closed (no reduction in the price of admittance). There was an exhibit of Indonesian Shadow Puppet Art. I can appreciate the work involved in making one of these, but it just isn't my "cup of tea." I moved on to the Girard Wing of the museum which houses a collection of over 100,000 objects in scenes recalling villages, markets and festivals. I'm thinking this Girard fellow was on the verge of being a "hoarder." I can't imagine housing all this stuff before it was given to the museum.

Next, I went to the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. Now, that was more like it! They have a great exhibit called "New Mexico and New York: Photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe" which features approximately thirty photographs of Ms. O'Keeffe dating from 1917 through the 1960s. I really enjoyed this exhibit. It will be at the museum till January 10, 2010. I also enjoyed her abstract work on display. I wanted to buy the book Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction (Whitney Museum of American Art) by Barbara Haskell, E. Bruce Robertson, Ms. Elizabeth Hutton Turner, and Director Barbara Buhler Lynes that just came out in September of this year, but it was a hardcover and way too expensive and too heavy to take home on the plane. I'll be checking into it on Amazon later.

I had some time left before I had to head back to Albuquerque, so I began to walk. I ended up at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Now, here is where I saw some strange stuff. A pile of crude wooden airplanes piled up in the middle of the floor was the first piece I saw. Next, I came to a mosquito net held off the floor with fish hooks. I went into a room that was empty except for two video monitors. Each was playing a different perception of a scene--two people were running through the snow (supposedly from some unknown intruder of some kind); the man in the scene is killed, and the woman freezes to death (I think.). Another exhibit had a screen showing a woman's naked back as she is on her side. Her back has a HUGE cut running from her right shoulder to her left hip. The cut was stitched shut, and there were strings of red beads hanging from the stitches. Ooooooo--at least I'm broadening my art horizons.

I did take a few photographs to use as inspiration for art quilts while I was out and about today. I'm anxious to get home and download them to the computer to see what I have. If I have any good ones, I'll share them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Trail of Fiber Art

Today, I went back to Madrid, NM, to check out Johnsons of Madrid Galleries of Fine & Fiber Art. Diana & Mel Johnson have been in Madrid since the '70s--the beginning of the ghost town's rebirth as an arts community. I had a chance to talk to both of them--what a treat! Mel was working on a painting as he told me about his work at the Chicago Institute of Art. Diana told me stories of many of the fiber pieces on display. The fiber pieces include clothing, quilted pieces, painted silk, and weaving. In their gallery (a former coal truck repair garage from Madrid's coal-mining heyday) you can find the works of over 50 northern New Mexico fiber artists. I particularly enjoyed the work of Deidre Adams a quilt artist who heavily quilts her fabric first and then paints on this quilted "canvas." You can check out her work on her website. Diana said I should also check out the Tapestry Gallery (also in Madrid), so I did. Don't miss the Johnson's gallery if you are interested in seeing some fine fiber art.

If you are into yarn, you will enjoy a visit to the Tapestry Gallery which features the work of 30 New Mexico fiber artists. Hand-dyed yarn is available for purchase. They have hand-woven chenille clothing--sweaters, shawls, wraps and vests; rag rugs; artist dolls; woven copper pieces; woven tapestries, knitted hats, and poplar wall pockets. I'm not big into the "yarn" thing, but I did enjoy checking out this gallery.

My last stop of the day was at The Quilt Works, Inc. quilt shop in Albuquerque. The ladies at this shop were very nice. There is a good selection of fabrics, samples, notions, and books. The classroom area has some beautiful samples of what can be made in upcoming classes. Be sure to stop in if you are in the Albuquerque area.

I found out today that New Mexico has a Fiber Arts Trail. The governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, says, "We want you to experience fiber arts from "sheep to shawl" in New Mexico through these Arts Trails." The Trail consists of the work of more than 200 New Mexico fiber artists at 71 destinations along the trails. I'm not going to have time to check it out this time; but if you get the chance, it would be a great way to spend a vacation!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Vacation--Looking for Art Quilt Inspiration

I've been visiting Albuquerque, NM, for the last couple of days. We were here for the last days of the Balloon Fiesta, but the festivities were cancelled yesterday because of wind. This morning we could see 12 balloons from our hotel window--beautiful. I'm not sure we would have actually gone in to the launch location anyway. The news last night said there were between 800,000 and 850,000 visitors here to see it. The traffic was backed up on the Interstate for 7 miles.

Yesterday, we drove the Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. We passed through the little town of Madrid (where Wild Hogs was filmed). It is a really artsy place--my kind of town. There are lots of little shops, interesting people, good food, and art everywhere. I'm heading back myself (so my husband doesn't have to "suffer" through all the shops). I'm also heading back to Santa Fe so I can "do" the galleries and the Georgia O'Keeffe museum. I'll be checking out Old Town in Albuquerque today.

I am taking some "art quilt inspiration" photos while I'm here. I got some of red chili peppers yesterday along with an interesting sculpture. I'm also going to see if there are any quilt shops in the area. Anybody know of any I should check out while I'm here?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Faux-Metal Sketchbook Cover

I needed to make something for a donation to a silent auction for the Home of the Innocents in Louisville. I am a member of LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists), and the Home of the Innocents is where we meet. Each year, members of LAFTA donate items that will be included in a basket that will be auctioned off at a silent auction with the proceeds going to the Home (at least that is what I think I heard at the meeting). I'm getting ready to leave for a vacation, so I really needed to get something together. I decided on making a faux-metal sketchbook cover with a fabric insert. I got the sketchbook at the "White Elephant" dive at the end of our last meeting. Someone put the sketchbook in the pile...and I grabbed it.The fabric insert came from a piece of fabric I purchased at Ikea. The sketchbook is covered with a "metal tape" that is distressed by pounding and sanding. It is then "stained" with permanent black ink. I didn't stain the "frame" so it would stand out a bit from the background. I saw this method demonstrated on Craft Lab (a DIY Network show). I added some silk fabric squares with brads to add a bit of interest. I had a lot of fun doing it and will probably do one for myself at a later date.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Return to Cedarhurst, a Bit on Quilt National, and a Studio Update

I mentioned how much I enjoyed Quilt National in St. Charles, MO. If you'd like to see a small snippet of things that are there, check out the short video here--

My quilting studio is still in progress. A representative with the Home Depot installers has finally given his okay for the laying of my Allure floors. They just called to give me a cost estimate. It is double what I thought it would cost me. They want all the money up front. I'm not thrilled about that, but they say that is how they handle things. I am anxious to get it done, so I'm not sure how much choice I have. I'll get pics up when and if they ever lay the floor. I think the rest of the work will go relatively quickly once the floor is done.

I promised to put some other pics from the Cedarhurst Exhibit of quilts on my blog. Here they are...
This quilt is made of beautiful autumn colors. I have to apologize to the quilt maker. I didn't get the information about this quilt, but I liked it so much I wanted to show you.The quilt below was hand appliquéd and hand quilted by Dorothy West Folsom from Mt. Vernon, IL. She says it was created using needle turn appliqué. Each block was drawn and cut using the Hawaiian Method of folding and cutting fabric. The echo quilting represents ocean waves. This quilt is Dorothy’s original pattern. Names of the flowers—reading from left to right are…Row 1: Cattails, Jack in the Pulpit, Cyclamen; Row 2: Lily, Iris, Pasture Rose; Row 3: Morning Glory, Dogwood, Petunia; Row 4: Bleeding Heart, Clematis, Tulip. The little quilt below was made by Judith Biggs from Sesser, IL. She made this Yo-Yo quilt in the truck while traveling with her husband on vacation to Maggie Valley, NC. There are 90 Yo-Yos in this miniature quilt. It is about the size of the palm of my hand!
Desert Life, below, was hand quilted and machine pieced by Dorothy West Folsom of Mt. Vernon, IL. This quilt uses a kaleidoscope pattern. Each block consists of eight pieces cut from the same spot in the border fabric. The sand colored background represents the desert sand and the 35 cornerstones the Native American influence.Andrew Wyeth’s Winter Furrows—In My Fashion was machine pieced and machine quilted by Linda Mick Short from Mt. Vernon, IL. The quilt was created for the exhibit A Passion for Collecting-Permanent Collection: 30th Anniversary at the Mitchell Museum. Artists who had been a part of Cedarhurst’s history were invited to choose a piece from the permanent collection and create a work of art based on their own interpretation. Linda Short is the retired manager of the Creative Art Center and chose Andrew Wyeth’s Winter Furrows water color painting and quilted her own version with fabric.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quilt National at the Foundry/Cedarhurst

For the last two days, I have been in St. Charles, MO, a beautiful little town on the Missouri River situated a short drive northwest of St. Louis. A friend and I went to see Quilt National being held there from September 25-October 29, 2009. Quilt National is a biennial, international, juried and judged quilt art competition. For more than 26 years, Quilt National has showcased the most exciting and innovative trends in the medium, demonstrating the transformations taking place in the world of quilting. Its purpose was then, and still is, to carry the definition of quilting far beyond its traditional parameters and to promote quilt making as what it always has been--an art form. The entire exhibit is in St. Charles but afterwards it will be divided into three smaller exhibits and begin its two-year world tours. I don't have any pictures to show you, because photography is not allowed; however, I can tell you it is an exhibit you definitely don't want to miss. It consists of 85 art quilts (chosen from a field of over 1,000 entries) and is held at the Foundry Art Centre. This facility has 5,000 square feet of exhibition space in four galleries that features an on-going rotation of special touring exhibitions, curated exhibits and juried competitions. 21 studios for artists have been built on the mezzanine level of the building that allows visitors to see and talk with the artists as they work.

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend a luncheon on Thursday which featured Kathy Loomis (a member of LAFTA--Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists). Kathy has her quilt, Postage 3: Memorial Day in this exhibit. It is made up of over 4,000 individually quilted small flags and was awarded the coveted Quilts Japan Prize during the opening ceremonies. Kathy says, "On 5/26/08 - Memorial Day a year ago - the U.S. military death roll was 4,083. I thought about all those flag-covered coffins and realized they would work well in the "Postage" format (referring to size and shape of individual pieces), which I had already used for non-political quilts. Making it was a terribly emotional experience and I shed more than a few tears as I stitched." To read more of Kathy's thoughts on her art quilts visit Terry Jarrard-Dimond's blog at

In addition to being a great place to see quilts, St. Charles has been designated as a Lewis and Clark site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. If you would like a GREAT getaway, where you would be able to see some stunning art quilts, eat at some wonderful restaurants, shop in some very unique shops, and enjoy some beautiful scenery, pack the car and head for St. Charles. (Oh, and if you stay at the Country Inn and Suites, you get warm cookies and hot tea and coffee in the evening and a very nice breakfast in the morning.)

While we were driving back, we stopped at Mt. Vernon, IL. We visited a much more traditional quilt exhibit at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. Check out Cedarhurst at They are hosting their 20th annual Gathering of Quilts from August 8-October 18. They are featuring quilts made by members of the Cedarhurst Quilters Club. Here is a small preview...I'll include more pictures in my next blog entry.
Bits of Broken Glass was machine pieced and hand quilted by Dorothy West Folsom from Mt. Vernon, IL. It is Dorothy’s original kaleidoscope pattern.