Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weekly Pattern Wednesday--Number 8

This is reminiscent of some of the belts I owned in the 60s. I loved those jingly, shiny belts. It also reminds me of the beaded doorway I had in a house when I was in college. Those were the days!

I'm linking up with Lynn Krawczyky's Weekly Pattern Wednesday. Head on over and check out the other patterns.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Theme--Peace/Brotherhood, Sacred Threads 2015

Peace/Brotherhood is a theme at this year's Sacred Threads exhibit in Herndon, VA. These are a few of the pieces in that section. The different interpretations of peace are very interesting. Enjoy.

The Pixieladies (Deb Cashatt & Kris Sazaki) said of War in Black and White, "We wanted to call attention to the apparent ease with which Americans embrace our war efforts ecause we aren't asked to make any sacrifices ourselves. What sacrifice do we make by slapping magnetized yellow ribbons on our cars in support of our toops? Made from newspaper headlines about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, this ribbon challenges the viewer to think about the reality behind the symbol, its fraying ends a stark reminder of the costs of waging a protracted "war on terrorism."" This quilt was actually the shape of a "ribbon." I've included a closeup so you can read some of the headlines.

"A woman leaping in mid-air with a swirling diaphanous gown, head tilted back, eyes closed, and arms out-stretched. This is a woman who is at peace, and is as free as the butterflies at her fingertips. Her floating image makes us breathe deeply and makes us wish we could join her." That is the description given by Jennifer Day of her quilt, Butterflies are Free.

Un-equal Until Death? was made by Randall Cook. He says, "The couple depicted has spent 22 years creating and living their lives together. The lack of marriage-equality makes their marriage less-than and not equal to heterosexual marriages. Depicting the couple in a somber and "un-couple-like" representation, with portions of the figures as mere ghost-like approximations, is an attempt to convey some of the emotions involved with this inequality."

The quilting on this quilt was spectacular.

Jean Herman says of her quilt, Anything Helps, "Anything Helps is my interpretation of brotherhood. The dominant figure of the homeless man is everybody's brother. The city shapes are beautiful to me and are the background for both the affluent and the down-and-out. Those of us that live in the city encounter homeless people on every corner. It is a quandary for all of us to decide to help someone who is our brother or give in to our fear of funding drugs and alcohol. The people surrounding the man are shadowy as my way of interpreting this personal dilemma."

My last post on Sacred Threads 2015 will be on the theme of spirituality. Come on back if you are interested.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weekly Pattern Wednesday--Number 7

This week's pattern is based on the design of some woodwork above a huge doorway at the Gladden House Bed & Breakfast in Salem, Indiana. You can find more information about the Gladden House here.

I'm linking up with Lynn Krawczyky's Weekly Pattern Wednesday. Head on over and check out the other patterns.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Theme--Joy, Sacred Threads 2015

Joy is one of the themes explored by this year's Sacred Threads exhibit in Herndon, VA. You still have a chance to see it through July 26, 2015. It is a quilt show you should see in person if there is any way you can. I guarantee that you will be profoundly touched by the quilts.

Quilts bring me joy; this display of quilts made me smile. It wasn't really in the "joy" theme section; nonetheless, I felt this was the place for the picture.

This was the sign beside this LARGE pile of quilts. Isn't this a perfect explanation of why we make quilts.

Diane Doran's quilt, California Dreaming, has images of (what looks like to me) Queen Anne's lace. This plant brings a smile to my face every time I see it, because it was my Mom's favorite "flower." Diane says of her piece, "This quilt represents the joy I've felt on vacations with my husband and three sons. The three pelicans represent the boys, and the imagery is from photos taken on trips to Florida and California." It is just such a pleasing combination of color and imagery for me. I hope you find joy in it too.

Is there anything as joyful as a child enjoying their first snowfall? As I looked at this quilt, I felt a big smile spread across my face--I felt the joy in this quilt--in this child. Judy Warner says of Joy, "In 2013, my daughter and son-in-law adopted a special needs child. (She is missing some fingers and toes.) Last winter we all traveled to Colorado and she had her first real exposure to snow. This quilt captures her genuine joy at the experience--a joy we see every day in the way she greets and explores the world. She is not held back by her limitations, she is too busy saying, "YES" to life. Her joy in turn fills us with joy--amazing how that works!"

I guess I liked this next quilt, because I'm an old hippie. Teresa Shippy says of her quilt, VW Bus, "Happy memories of my brother piling all of us kids into his wild colorfuyl funky VW peace bus to spend a fun day at the beach! Priceless."

Heidi Heuerman says of her piece, Everything's Going to Be Alright, "I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my daughter to get back from a school field tripi. I was thinking about all the changes going on in my life and changes that neeeded to happen. Then I looked over and saw this beautiful statue. I felt a sense of calm, and knew that "Everything's Going to be Alright."

Has there been a time when you have wondered if everything was going to be alright? Did you get a sign that things would be better? What joy and peace of mind it would bring to receive such a gift. I could feel the joy radiate from this quilt.

Themes of Peace/Brotherhood and Spirituality are yet to come. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Theme--Inspiration, Sacred Threads 2015

Inspiration is one of the themes for this year's Sacred Threads exhibit. I'd like to share a few of the pieces that touched me as I viewed the exhibit in Herndon, VA.

The story behind "Annie, Give Us a Jig!" is one of my favorite stories from this year's exhibits.

This quilt was made by Lisa Arthaud. She says, "I remember the first time I met my future sister-in-law, Annie. She was working in a residential facility. As she turned down a hallway, an elderly resident abruptly bellowed out, "Hey Annie! Give us a jig!" Suddenly, this tiny, energetic woman with bouncy red curls joyously pranced and danced as laughter ensued.

Annie was diagnosed with terminal multiple myeloma cancer in September, 2014. How do you live life knowing you are facing certain death? In Annie fashion, she recently donned my daughter's tutu and jigged.

With this quilt, I honor her spirit. Grieving, smiling, rememering, I attach that silly little tutu!"

Every morning when I brush my teeth, I give up a prayer of thanks for the clean, easily accessible water with which I am blessed. Cherrie Hampton's quilt speaks to the preciousness of clean water.

The story--"The sight of this young woman's intense pleasure while drinking from a newly dug fresh water well helps me to keep life's true needs in focus. It is difficult to believe that 5,000 children die daily from water-borne illnesses. Pure water is mankind's most profound requirement. Much of the world struggles with the day to day issues of finding and collecting water, often only finding contaminated water which is shared by animals. This woman inspires me to recreate her image so that others can also become aware of her need and our need to reach out and help."

If you read my blog very often, you know how enthralled with hand stitching I am. That is the first thing that drew me to this quilt; I LOVE the hand stitching on this piece called Hope in Uncertain Times by Debby Schnabel.

I HAD to include a closeup of the stitching.

Debby says, "This quilt, and espcially these words of the title, were a direct response to the horrific events that happened at the Sandy Hook elementary school, which was followed closely by the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosions in Texas. I have friends in all those areas. I am a blogger; and everywhere I read, I could see the uncertainty that was expressed in the face of such events. I found these verses in the Psalms, and they brought me great hope. Through this quilt I have been able to share that same hope with many people."

Themes of Joy and Peace/Brotherhood are coming next. Check back if you are interested in seeing some of those quilts. By all means if you get a chance, see this exhibit in person!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Theme--Healing, Sacred Threads 2015

One of the themes for the Sacred Threads exhibit is healing. I have picked a few of the quilts from this theme to share with you.

Hope is on the Horizon is by Lin Schiffner. The color of this piece is the first thing that drew me in. My eye was drawn by the white bird; the desolation of the landscape/trees felt secondary to the hope I felt when viewing this quilt.

Lin says of her piece, "I made this piece while dealing with a very personal and difficult loss. The design goal was to create a beautiful, still and solemn landscape that portrays a message of hope. The light of a new day and the flying white bird were used to convey the message, "Hope is on the Horizon." The hope and prayer being that despite complete sadness, grief will subside in time and wonderful memories will fill the hole in one's heart."

Trial by Fire was made by Larkin Van Horn. I saw many of these trees when we visited Yellowstone several years ago. I marveled that the trees were still standing after all they had been through. I was told that forest fires can serve as an agent of renewal and change. It made me look at the devastation in a whole new light.

Larkin says of this piece, "Long after a forest fire, a bare tree may yet stand, acquiring the patina of age. To me, this tree represents strength, resilience, perseverance, and humility. Though stark and bare, it still stands--like one who has survived a serious disease. It is altered, but not gone."

The maker of this next piece is Bobbe Shapiro. (She and her sister were the first people I met when I attended the Sacred Threads opening.)

Bobbe says of her piece, "A year after my husband's death, I moved to the Texas Coastal Plain to be closer to my son. In this flat, warm, and humid land where we grow rice, I have finally given up my Minnesota woolens, carried through ten states, and 49 years of marriage. Sweaters and plaid wool shirts haven't come off the closet shelves until now, when they've become joyous dancers on the river's edge." It is hard to tell from the photo, but the three figures on the quilt are cut from Bobbe's "discarded" woolens.

Dowry, by Janice Jones, is a "haunting" piece. It grabbed me right away. I couldn't wait to read how this central figure represented healing.

She says, "There are many places in the world where women are treated as commodities. In training for an RN position with Doctors Without Borders, my daughter traveled to places where women had no voice and were bound and restricted by ancient tradition and culture. Their countries were war torn and their spirits suppressed, but they held on to the healing power of hope for a brighter future. This piece is in honor of these oppressed women."

This last healing-themed piece was made by Joan Raciti and is called From Sorrow to Peace. I have friends who are dealing with depression issues, so this piece "struck close to home."

Joan says, "When I moved to a new house. I lost my hold on earth. Grief and physical pain gripped me as I spun into the black hole of depression. Confused, desolate, and frightened, I realized I lost a strong foundation of 28 years of love and support I had built through the years. I missed my old house, surrounding wooded lot and lush landscaping. In despair and desperation, I fought my way out of the black hole. I moved back to the area and found a house that needed to be embraced with beauty, loved ones, flowers and plants. I put in a pool, chose a gate to welcome loved ones and penciled a landscape plan. Surrounded by loved ones, I worked in the dirt, the garden bloomed and enveloped me. I was at peace again."

I am amazed at the amount of vulnerability shown by these pieces and their stories. Stay tuned for a writeup on inspiration next.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Weekly Pattern Wednesday--Number 6

This week's pattern is based on the design of an antique door knob at the Gladden House Bed & Breakfast in Salem, Indiana. You can find more information about the Gladden House here. It is a wonderful place (and the door knobs aren't bad either!)

I'm linking up with Lynn Krawczyky's Weekly Pattern Wednesday. Head on over and check out the other patterns.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Theme--Grief, Sacred Threads 2015

One of the reasons I have chosen fiber art (and quilting in particular) as my medium of choice is because of the stories behind the quilts I make. In the Sacred Threads exhibit, the stories are an integral part of the art. I was told by a juror that the artist statement (the story of each quilt) played a large part in the jurying process for this show. Let me give you a little background on Sacred Threads. This comes from the Sacred Threads book published this year.

"The quilts in Sacred Threads 2015 present an artistic look at the deeper side of life. In each case, the quilt is the artist's response to a strong feeling inspired by powerful life experiences: delight and despair, connection and injustice, hope and tragedy, life and death."

"In 1999, founder Vickki Pignatelli and a small group of likeminded quilters set about to create a dignified exhibit of artwork that would touch all those who viewed it on both spiritual and personal levels. Thestories behind the quilts are a source of healing and strength for others because each artist submits a statement to be exhibited with the artwork that describes the meaning or inspiration for the piece. The show does not emphasize any particular religion or theology but conveys the spirituality, healing and inspirational messages shared by people everywhere."

Just an FYI--the stories behind these quilts are "heavy." I will be writing posts on themes other than grief, but these are the quilts that had the biggest impact on me personally. Stay tuned for stories of quilts that are every bit as meaningful but a bit "lighter" in nature.

At first glance, you might think this is a cheery little quilt about pretty bluebirds, but the story goes much deeper than that. The artist, Diane Doran, writes of "A Little Bird Told Me"--"It was so hard to see my mother suffer as she was dying from melanoma. I had the opportunity to spend some time alone with her a few weeks before her death. It was a stunningly beautiful day, full of golden light, and we took a walk in the park behind her house. I was thrilled that she was relaxed and felt well enough to enjoy herself. As we walked I realized it was like visiting her in heaven and that I must remember this special time together. The two birds represent us enjoying the day."

If you have ever lost a pet, you will relate to this next quilt and story. Again, at first glance the story of the quilt is not obvious. Artist Mary Bartrop speaks of her quilt "Grief Rends"--"Grief comes suddenly, unannounced, and everything shifts. It was an ordinary vet visit, until it wasn't. Something needs to be checked. There's nothing that can be done. You don't have long. New grief wakens old ones, and rips my soul. This cat is the last living link to my late husband. His name is Oui, because he is all YES; untamable, an exuberant wild one, all curiosity and all joy. Now I need to let him go, but I cannot. Silly me. Grief will not be controlled. I take my cues from Oui, one day at a time. Savor the moments, until" The story abruptly stops. That bothered me at first, but it is fitting.

The death of a friend is the topic of this next quilt. Artist Sheila Stern speaks of her quilt, "A Piece of My Heart." "This quilt was made to honor the memory of my dear friend, Diane. The quilt expresses the grief I felt as I left her bedside for the last time, turning my world blue. While the sadness was overwhelming, there were bittersweet moments of laughter and joy as her family and I remembered the sunshine and light she brought into our lives. It took the better part of eighteen months to start and complete this quilt as the tears kept blurring my vision. The tears still fill my eyes as I pen these words." What a wonderful way to honor a friend--blue for the grief and yellow for the wonderful memories of her friendship.

The quilt "Stuck in Life" by Kathy Zieben compelled me to read the artist statement. The "haunting" face of a woman trapped pulled me in. Kathy says of her piece, "Is the thought of death sometimes terror-inducing? True, most people do not want to die or lose someone they know. This "great fear" is like a low grade fever, breaking out when we least expect it. The lives of loved ones lost continue to live under the surface of our minds and hum in our heads. But isn't it possible to simultaneously embrace this life while acknowledging one's terror of being "stuck in life?" These vulnerable thoughts wash over you like a wave of emotion and fear. The best thing we can do is allow ourselves to feel the grief as it surfaces. Are you stuck in your life or are you calm?" Sometimes I worry about losing those I love; it IS "terror-inducing." I have to put that terror aside to be able to truly savor the moments I have with them.

There were many more grief-themed quilts that had an impact on me, but this is all I'll be writing on that theme. As I said earlier, I'll be moving onto other themes (joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, and peace & brotherhood) in my next posts. Come on back if you are interested. I can't urge you enough to go see this show in person if you get a chance. These pictures don't come close to doing the pieces justice. The show runs through July 26, 2015, and is located right outside of Washington, DC. Check out Sacred Threads for more information.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sacred Threads 2015--The Exhibition

I am writing this after my first day at the Sacred Threads exhibition. I have never been to a show like this one. The stories behind the quilts are an integral part of the display. The story is written on the signage describing each quilt; and in addition, the viewer has the option to call a number (provided by the venue) to hear the artist tell a more complete story in their own words.

The viewing of the quilts in this show put me through an emotional roller coaster. All of the quilts in the exhibit illicit some type of emotional response, because they are about feelings of true joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief, or peace & brotherhood. Through these special quilts, artists have entrusted their innermost feelings to the viewers of this show.

To me, the most touching section of the show is the section about grief. The venue even strategically placed Kleenex boxes around the section. Penny Gold's pieces were SO powerful; these two pieces stopped me in my tracks.

About the quilt above, Penny says, "By the second year after the death of my son, the persistent sense of grief and loss had become invisible to others. From the outside (the lavender side of the quilt), all looked normal. But underneath the surface, a fundamental change in identity was being shaped. Only after choosing the color, did I learn that lavender was the Victorian color of mourning, allowed after black had been worn for a period of time."

Make sure you zoom in so you can read the words on Penny's quilt below. It is self-explanatory and will take your breath away.

The Sacred Threads committee has made a book (called "Sacred Threads Exhibition 2015") and a flash drive containing all the audio recordings available for purchase. I bought a book today; I'm heading back tomorrow to purchase the audio. (I didn't have time to listen to all of the audio I wanted to today.)

I'll be doing several posts on this exhibit. If you are interested, come on back!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

French Knots on a Road Trip

I just arrived in Herndon, Virginia, for the opening of the Sacred Threads exhibit. Luckily, I didn't have to drive, so I got some work done on an embroidery piece. This is how the section looked when we started out.

This is what it looked like when we arrived. It takes a LONG time to make all those French knots. I worked on it most of the trip.

I planned to start work on the green and black sections, but I just realized I don't have the green I need with me. Oh well, there are plenty of other areas to work on!

Friday, July 10, 2015

19 Stars: Quilts of Indiana's Present and Past/Road Trip

I received this information via email today. I think it sounds like cause for a road trip. Read on to hear about a quilt exhibition at the Indiana State Museum (in Indianapolis) through October 4. I hope I get a chance to see it. I'm curious about the "contemporary examples" of star-themed quilts and which of "Indiana's best quilt artists" are included in this exhibit. Also, if you decide to take a road trip to Indy, be sure to check out the shops I have listed at the end of this post. They are some of my favorites.

The following information comes from the IndyArtsGuide, and initiative of the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

"Hoosiers will be introduced to a special body of quilts during the exhibition 19 Stars: Quilts of Indiana’s Present and Past on view June 13 through October 4 at the Indiana State Museum.

The exhibition will feature a mixed collection of 38 historic and contemporary examples of star-themed quilts drawn from the museum’s collection as well as loans from some of Indiana’s best quilt artists. The majority of contemporary quilts were created specifically for the exhibit, which will fill two galleries on Level 3 of the museum.

    “It’s a pleasure to share these remarkably preserved pieces of history along with several new contemporary creations,” said Mary Jane Teeters-Eichacker, curator of social history. “We want to begin the Indiana State Bicentennial celebration with an aesthetically striking exhibit that symbolizes our state and its place as the nineteenth state in the union and the nineteenth star on our flag.”

    The State Museum’s quilt Blazing Star is the oldest quilt in the show, dating back to the period 1835-1843. The exhibit includes several Indiana Amish quilts from the museum’s world-famous Pottinger Collection, as well as quilts representing the new directions of 21st century quilt art.

    “There’s such an exciting variety in the ways the contemporary artists interpreted the star theme; elaborate piecework, fabric collage, painting with oils or with thread, hand and machine quilting. It makes the imagination sing,” added Teeters-Eichacker."

    Click here to find out more about the Indiana State Museum.


    Mon, Jul 6 - 10am

    Tue, Jul 7 - 10am

    Wed, Jul 8 - 10am

    Thu, Jul 9 - 10pm

    Fri, Jul 10 - 10am

    Sat, Jul 11 - 10am

    Sun, Jul 12 - 11am

    Mon, Jul 13 - 10am

If you take a road trip to Indy, you might hit some of the good quilting/fiber shops too. These are some of my favorites.

  1. The French Seam is a really unique shop on 82nd street. They carry lots of different types of fabrics from beautiful silks to quilting cottons. They have a nice selection of buttons, ribbons, notions, and patterns. They have everything from vintage to modern items. It is a small shop, but it is packed with interesting things. While you are at the French Seam, be sure to visit Knit Stop. It is located just a few doors down. You'll like it even if you are not a knitter. They have a fabulous selection of yarns and "threads." (Remember, we can use those yarns for embellishment!)
  2. The Back Door is located in Greenwood (just south of Indy) and is primarily for the traditional quilter. This is a friendly shop with LOTS of fabric, books, patterns, notions, and samples.
  3. Quilts Plus, on 86th Street, is another primarily traditional shop. They have a large selection of books, patterns, fabrics, and wool. You'll like the ladies here; they are very friendly and helpful.
  4. Crimson Tate is right downtown (on Mass Ave). They definitely have a "modern quilt" asthetic. They are very involved in the community and offer classes.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weekly Pattern Wednesday--Number Five

This week's pattern was inspired by an advertisement for bifocals from 1938 that appeared in our local newspaper. We have one of those "Back in Time" kind of articles every now and then. The ad appeared in that section.

I'm linking up with Lynn Krawczky's Weeky Pattern Wednesday. Come on over and take a look; better yet, join us.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sacred Threads 2015

I'm excited that two of my fiber art pieces (pictured below) were juried into this year's Sacred Threads exhibition in Herndon, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. This biennial exhibition was established to provide a safe venue for quilters who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey. Quilts are divided into categories based on the themes of joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief, and peace. The exhibit runs from July 10-26, 2015. If you get a chance to attend this exhibit, let me know. I'm planning on attending the opening; come say hello! For more information about Sacred Threads and this particular exhibit, check out their website here--Sacred Threads.

They chose my piece called "Then We Pray" to be included in the "Peace" category. This piece was inspired by a photo in our local newspaper, which depicted mourners praying over the flag-draped coffins of security forces in Fallujah, Iraq. As the story goes, a gang of gunmen were disguised in military-style uniforms and were carrying forged arrest warants.They killed dozens of police and then hoisted the battleflag of al-Qaida after the carefully planned early morning shooting spree in March of 2012. I COULD NOT GET THIS PICTURE OUT OF MY MIND--it haunted me.

This is a detail picture of "Then We Pray." I hand wrote each quote onto the background fabric and hand quilted the entire piece. The abstract mourners are made from silk outlined with embroidery.

(The photos of "Then We Pray" were taken by Kathy Hilger.)

This year's exhibit will have an audio tour feature. The signage accompanying each quilt will offer visitors a phone number to call to hear additional information about the artist, the artwork, and the quilt's story. I made a recording for both of my quilts. One of the reasons I have chosen quilting as my artistic focus is because quilts DO have stories. I LOVE that I'm being given the chance to tell those stories.

Forty pieces were also chosen for a traveling exhibit which is meant to serve as an ambassador for Sacred Threads to additional communities located outside of the area surrounding the main exhibit. It is the hope of the selection committee that these quilts will bring greater awareness to the mission of Sacred Threads. (If you have a venue that might be interested in this exhibit, please leave a comment letting me know that. I'll pass that information on to the "powers that be.") So far, the traveling exhibit is scheduled to appear in Michigan, Georgia, California, and North Carolina.

This piece, "Final Separation," was my second piece chosen for this year's exhibit; I'm honored to say that it was also chosen for the traveling exhibit. It will appear in the "Grief" category. It is hard for me to "let this quilt go" for a period of up to two years with the traveling exhibit, but I think it is an important story to tell.

When my Mom died, I was having a REALLY hard time dealing with her death. I made this quilt as I was struggling to come to terms with her loss and her Alzheimer's diagnosis.

As you look at the piece, the heart on the top left represents me. The hand quilting on this side of the "track" flows toward the house and my Mom--symbolizing my attempts to reach her. The "track" and quilting on the other side of the quilt block my way--I can't get to her.

The quilt contains a quote, by Washington Irving. You might not see it unless you look VERY closely. It is hand embroidered in black on the upper left-hand side of the piece. You can see it in this detail shot, and you can read the quote below the picture.

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love."

After finishing the quilt, I had a sense of completion--not only the completion of the quilt but the end of that horrible "I can't breathe" kind of grief.

This detail shot shows the heart (flour-paste resist and hand dyed) and my hand quilting.
Stay tuned for a post or two about the Sacred Threads exhibition.