Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quilt Retreat and an Upcoming Facing Tutorial

Last weekend I attended a quilting retreat (put on by Lora Nale) here in my hometown. About forty women descended upon the Days Inn for a three-day retreat. We had lots of food, fun, uninterrupted quilting time, and camaraderie. It was really nice to meet some new quilters and spend time with old friends. I had been busy working on projects for my Jane Dunnewold class and my post for the "And Then We Set It On Fire" blog, so (needless to say) I had nothing ready to take to retreat. I ended up frantically cutting out some "modern quilting" blocks--very simple using "modern" fabric. I had won lots of fat quarters of "modern" fabric and wasn't quite sure how I would use them, so I decided to do a very simple quilt with squares and rectangles. The quilt consists of six different blocks. I also pieced some little blocks that were already cut out and in my retreat bag. Here are samples of some of the blocks.
The "modern" blocks come from the "Fresh Lemon" blog. Be sure to check out the finished "Lemon Squares Quilt." The fabric I used for the "modern" blocks is Joel Dewberry's Deer Valley Fabric Collection from Westminster Fibers Lifestyle Products. I used scraps from my stash (and there is a lot more where that came from) for the little blocks. The "modern" blocks finish 9". The small blocks finish 4".

I mixed the fabrics I won with some Kona Ash fabric I purchased. My bedroom is gray, and I thought the quilt would make a nice bedcover for the spring (like I might ever have it finished by then).

Also, Marti Plager ( was kind enough to give me a lesson on how to face a quilt (rather than bind it traditionally). I took pictures and will be posting a tutorial on two different facing methods, so be looking for that later on.

What are you working on? Has the cooler weather put you in the mood to quilt?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Innovations--A Biennial Textile Event 2011 in St. Louis

A friend and I had the opportunity to visit several of the venues associated with Innovations--A Biennial Textile Event 2011 in St. Louis. The exhibitions in conjunction with Innovations investigate the state of contemporary textile arts. Nineteen nonprofit and private arts organizations join forces to present exhibitions related to fiber art. If you have the opportunity to visit any of these exhibits, by all means go! The exhibits are located all over the city and surrounding areas. 

(Many of the galleries did not allow photographs; if photographs were allowed, I'm showing them.)

We started our "tour" with Quilt National at The Foundry in St. Charles, MO. The Quilt National exhibit was fabulous; I thoroughly enjoyed it. The thing that made the biggest impression on me was the number of pieces that were hand quilted or used hand stitching as a part of the design. We actually counted; and of the pieces that were there, a quarter of them had hand stitching. I LOVE hand work, so I REALLY enjoyed this.

We spent one day in St. Louis where we visited several galleries including the Duane Reed Gallery, the Sheldon Art Galleries, the Craft Alliance Delmar Gallery, Art Saint Louis, the Craft Alliance/Grand Center, and The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission. Each had something unique to offer. 

Art Saint Louis has an exhibit called Fiber Focus 2011 that will be available for viewing through October 13, 2011. It features the work of 42 contemporary fiber artists representing eight Midwestern regional states. This exhibit is well worth a visit.

The Craft Alliance/Grand Center only had one piece of fiber art. The piece, by Guerra De La Paz, is called Follow the Leader. It is made up of discarded clothing piled on top of what looks like legs with various shoes/boots. It was very interesting to see this exhibit. We were told the piece is a political commentary on waste and excess.

The exhibit at The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission was much smaller than many of the exhibits but had several pieces I really liked. Jo Stealey had pieces in the gallery that were made of silk and processed leaves. They were my favorites. If you click on her name (which will take you to her site) and go to her "Nature's Mantle" section, you can see some of the pieces that were in this show. The exhibit at The Gallery is called Textile Variations/New Directions and will be available for viewing until November 6, 20ll.

The Craft Alliance Delmar Loop didn't have the most extensive exhibit, but their gift shop was VERY nice. (I found several things I thought I "needed." I ended up with a pair of earrings.) Nnenna Okore's exhibit, "Shokolo," relies on the use of flotsam or discarded objects, which are transformed into intricate sculpture and installations through repetitive and labor-intensive techniques. Her processes include weaving, sewing, rolling, twisting, and dyeing. Jim Hay's exhibit is called Angels, People, and SMOKE. His quilts are made from Japanese kimono cloth and cloth he has gathered from surrounding countries. Both exhibits are available through October 23, 2011.

The Duane Reed Gallery hosts an exhibit called Doll Sense. All of the pieces are woven. The exhibit, though, that I personally LOVED there was Lanny Bergner's exhibit called Nature's Matrix. Bergner works with mesh (some stainless steel and bronze) along with wire, glass frit, recycled ground plastic, paper, and silicone to create organic sculptural constructions. The pieces are three dimensional and very unique and innovative. Check out his website by clicking on his name. You can see some of the pieces from the exhibit in his gallery there. If I could afford a piece, I would have one! The exhibits there are available through October 15, 2011.

I was allowed to take some pictures at the Sheldon Art Gallery. Ties That Bind:  Art Quilts by Members of the Fiber Artists Coalition is available through December 3, 2011. This exhibition presents a selection of quilted works by members of the Fiber Artists Coalition, in conjunction with the citywide biennial Innovations in Textiles celebration, now in its 9th year. Here is just a small view of what is available to you at the Sheldon.
Shelley Brucar's piece, Stormy, is made of hand-dyed and commercial cottons.
"She #6" is made by Pat Bishop.
"Michigamee" is made by Maggie Weiss. It is made of hand-dyed cotton and silks and was collaged and machine quilted with organza batting. Maggie says, "Creating the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensonal surface is a continually captivating process, whether using dyes, paints or fabrics." I love the look of light on the water in this piece.

The Sheldon also has a really nice theater that houses various musical events. We got to take a look at that facility, and I found out that it has gorgeous stained-glass windows.
These are some of the large windows.

These are a couple of the small windows. I loved the colors and design.

All in all, it was a great visit to St. Louis. If you love fiber art, you still have a little time to make the trip. Get going!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Check It Out

Head on over to my post on "And Then We Set It On Fire" to see my latest experiment into surface design--using "Fugitive Media." While you are there, check out the beautiful work the other members of the blog have done too.

Join us this month when we "set things on fire" using heat to alter fabric and stitch.