Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative--It's Now or Never

I know many of us have been affected by Alzheimer's. My mother suffered with the disease and died in 2010; I miss her every day. The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative was created by quilter, Ami Simms, to provide money for Alzheimer's research. If you are at all interested in helping to bring this devastating disease to an end, read the article below and either make a quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative or buy a quilt from the AAQI. This is the last year you will have a chance to do either.

Dr. Michelle Ehrlich and Paula Nadelstern at Mount Sinai School of MedicineDr. Michelle Ehrlich and Paula Nadelstern at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Dr. Michelle Ehrlich and Paula Nadelstern at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

(Burton, Michigan) -- May 21, 2013: The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has awarded a $60,000 grant to Mount Sinai School of Medicine to study a drug which may decrease the production of amyloid in the brain and increase the "birth" of new brain cells. The drug is currently being tested in humans for other conditions. Should the AAQI-funded study show promising results in mice, it is hoped the drug can be tested in Alzheimer's patients.

The research will be carried out by Dr. Michelle E. Ehrlich, professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

This is the 15th grant the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has awarded since it began in 2006 and the 4th grant award this year. These grants are made possible, in large part, by the money raised from the sale of donated quilts. To support the AAQI's mission by purchasing a quilt, visit

A small wall quilt stitched by AAQI Board member Kathy Kennedy-Dennis of Houston, TX was presented to Dr. Erlich on behalf of the Alzheimeimer's Art Quilt Initiative by quilter Paula Nadelstern of New York, NY. Please see AAQI Update Blog for more details about the quilt presentation.

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative is a national charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI has raised more than $916,000 for Alzheimer’s research since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Her mother had Alzheimer’s. This is the last year the AAQI will be fundraising.

For more information about the AAQI or to make a donation, contact Ami Simms at 810-637-5586 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern), or

Please help to spread the word about this worthy cause.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Baby Quilt Update

I have been working like a madwoman to get a baby quilt made for my new granddaughter due to greet us the end of July. I wanted to make a quilt of my own design, so the first obstacle was to decide exactly what I wanted to do. I decided on a night sky with wonky stars (Gwen Marston style). I have a grandson that (thankfully) lives close to us. We have a "thing" that we always say to each other, "I love you up to the sky and back always and forever no matter what." That saying pretty well sums up how I feel about the grandchildren, so I wanted that little saying to be on the quilt.

I finished the quilt top yesterday. Here is what it looks like.

I found some letter stencils I liked at Michael's and used them to draw the letters (in reverse) on the paper side of a fusible web. I machine appliquéd them to the quilt top using a very small zigzag (1.8, .8 setting on my Janome). I'm happy with the way it turned out. I'm planning on using a variegated blue thread to quilt it with a meandering star design, and I'm thinking of using Hobbs Heirloom quilt batting. (I like the way it shrinks up when washed.) I think the baby's name (evidently a big secret or not known at the current time) will be either embroidered or appliquéd to the bottom of the quilt.

The next day I finished the quilt--machine quilted (for wear) and bound.

If you look closely (or zoom in) you can see the quilting. I did use the variegated blue thread to quilt it and used the Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting.

I sure hope this quilt is used and loved. My favorite story about a well-loved quilt is here. The story is in the second paragraph, but the other quilts you'll see throughout the story are really cute too.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Form, Not Function

I got to go to the opening reception of Form, Not Function at The Carnegie in New Albany, Indiana. I have to say, I really enjoyed myself--good music, wine, food, and great art. This is the tenth anniversary of Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie, and the art will be on display from May 10-July 13, 2013. Since this is the tenth anniversary, a catalogue has been printed for the 2013 exhibition and is available for purchase. The Carnegie has planned what they call a "Summer of Fiber Art" with Form, Not Function being followed by an exhibition of artworks by the members of the Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists (LAFTA) that will be on view July 26 - October 5, 2013.

I only took a few pictures at the show; I wanted to whet your appetite to view the exhibit in person. My first pictures are of a three-dimensional piece by Linda Witte Henke called Generosity. This piece was given the Award for Political and Social Commentary presented by Kathleen Loomis on opening night. Here is Linda with her piece.

This is the narrative that goes with the piece.

(1 Kings 17:8-24)

Scripture describes an impoverished widow who provided hospitality to the prophet Elijah at the height of a devastating drought and famine. After generously sharing what little she had, her depleted supplies of grain and oil were miraculously replenished.

Thirst. Hunger.

Drought is both lack of water and longing for refreshment; famine is both absence of food and yearning for fullness.

Hoarding. Sharing.

We struggle to discern what our humanity asks of us, justifying our choices with tales of abundance and scarcity, ignoring the essential emptiness at the root of our struggle, turning away from the one Source able to satisfy our deepest longings.

Look with compassion on my circumstance. Empathize with my dilemma. But, both in times of abundance and scarcity, remember my generosity and practice the miracle of sharing.

I took this close up so you would have some idea of the complicated surface design of the cloth used to construct the piece.

Close up of Generosity.
The winner of the 2013 Best of Show is Betty Busby's Retia. This piece is made of hand-woven cotton, velvet, mohair, cotton cording, and kitchen string. It is hand and machine quilted and includes hand couching. If you look closely at the piece, you will see that the piece has many seed stitches.

I have been a big fan of Betty Busby since the first time I saw her work. The subject matter is always interesting, the design is spot on, and the quality of work is meticulous.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Bit More from the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Inspiration comes from many places. I find that a visit to an art museum fires my creativity like almost nothing else. I have already shared many of my pictures from my last visit to the IMA, but I wanted to share these things that also caught my eye.

First of all, I'm a big fan of El Anatsui from Ghana. I especially love his huge pieces that look to me like giant metal "quilt tops." The texture, color, and immenseness of the pieces draw me in. The IMA has one of those pieces, but photographs of it are not allowed. I guess I really thought he only did these huge pieces, so I was surprised to find a small piece (called Sacred Comb) that belonged to him.

I love the bright colors against the neutral wooden background. The delicate lines "etched" into the wood remind me of some of the "doodling" I've been using in some of my own pieces. He says of this piece, "The small areas of bright colors represent kente cloth, while the curved lines are similar to designs found in textiles, body art, and sculpture from southeast Nigeria."

As you know (if you know me or you have read my blog for any length of time), I love bold colors and bold geometric shapes. These pieces will definitely serve as inspiration for some new pieces.

There were a few more textile pieces I really liked...
Among the Igbo people of Nigeria, artists who make masquerade outfits such as this are called "people who weave body spirit." It is the artist's task to connect the spirit world with the human world through their work. This costume would have been worn by a male performer mimicking spirit maidens. The bright colors of the appliquéd costume reflect the body paint used by the women of the Igbo community.
You need to see a close up of this cloth to see how it is made. The "lines" look to be appliquéd to the background of the piece. Some of it looks like it was corded or thread was used to embellish the appliquéd lines.
What inspires you?


Thursday, May 2, 2013


I have been encouraged to set some goals for myself concerning my fiber art. One of those goals is to enter my work in some exhibitions with the hope of getting some of the pieces juried into some shows. I'm happy to say I am actively working on this goal.

Currently, I have a piece ("Zen"--you can see it in my Gallery Page on the menu at the top of this post) in the Black and White Expo, an on-line exhibition in the Infinity Art Gallery. All mediums and styles were eligible for this exhibit. The juror of the exhibition was Susan Lowdermilk, Book Artist and Printmaker. The exhibition is on line now through June 13, 2013, at

"Prayer at Sunset" (also on my Gallery Page) has been juried into 7-Stitch: Contemporary Textile Art from Kentucky & the Surrounding States, hosted at the Claypool-Young Art Gallery at Morehead State University, June 1-August 30, 2013. Jane Dunnewold was the juror for this exhibition.

It isn't an easy thing--to put one's "babies" up for scrutiny and possible rejection. I try to reconcile myself to the fact that not everyone will like my work. When a piece doesn't get into an exhibition, I hope that it is just because that particular piece didn't "play well" with the other pieces. Does it ever get easier?