Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pieceful Haven—Winter 2017

Each year I have the opportunity to attend an art retreat with some of my friends at a place called Pieceful Haven. It is a chance to visit with artist friends and get some much needed, uninterrupted work time in.

Everyone works on different things—some art related and some not. This year the projects ranged from making gifts for Christmas to catching up on computer work. We also have a “Show & Tell” (sometimes critique) at this retreat. I took a few pics along the way.

I have one project that I finished but can’t show yet. (It is a surprise gift.) Besides that, I made these 4 kennel quilts for TQPM Small Kennel Quilts. I hope they don’t keep the cats/dogs awake. These kennel quilts are desperately needed by organizations that take in cats/dogs that have been displaced for some reason—fires, floods, etc. The fires out West have really increased the need for these small kennel quilts. You can find out more about this great cause here. These small quilts are quick to make (and you can do some stash reduction). Maybe you would like to make a few too. I also made 4 blocks for the 20,273 Project mentioned/explained in this post.
I also got a new pattern drawn up for an art quilt I’ve been thinking about and completed the stitching on my “In the Eye of the Hurricane” quilt top. I was the last person to leave the retreat; it was a lonely place that last day. However, I was DETERMINED to finish the stitching on my hurricane piece. I watched “John Adams” on Amazon Prime while I worked and really enjoyed that.
You may (or may not) remember that I taught an “Extreme Embroidery” class for LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists). The first piece Kathy made was sold. She recently finished the stitching on this one that will also be for sale. I just love seeing pieces my “extreme embroidery” students make.
This was Vickie’s first time at the retreat. She got A LOT done, and I think she enjoyed herself. (Don’t you just LOVE these pieces?)
Debby worked on several projects.
Felice didn’t get to stay very long, but made some good progress on one of her pieces. (I didn’t get a picture of the new piece.)
Pamela is always VERY focused during the retreat. Often, she spends time making gifts for friends—this time she made beautiful purple rocks to brighten up a friend’s garden in winter.
Debbie worked on a Christmas gift (among other things).
Robin finished a quilt top for a baby quilt and got a good start on another project.
MJ worked on original patterns.
Wendy brought a scarf to show. It is made from of silk from old kimonos.
This is such a good retreat for me. It comes at a time when stress (about the holidays and other things)  seem to be prevalent. I have time to wind down and also get some work done. If you need some time away, you might check out going to a retreat.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spreading the News—70,273 Project

Have you ever “gone down the rabbit hole” while surfing the Internet? Well, I have done it many times. The last time I did this I discovered a project in which I am VERY interested (and I hope you are too). It is called the 70,273 Project.

Let me give you a quick description. This is a project that will use white quilts with red Xs to commemorate the lives of the 70,273 physically and/or mentally disabled people that were murdered between January 1940 and August 1941 by the Nazis. Each pair of red Xs on the quilts represent one life. To explain—after three Nazi doctors read the medical files of a disabled person being evaluated, it only took two of them to make a red X on the medical form to condem that person to death. The 20,273 website says that “most were murdered within hours.” 

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers decided she wanted to commemorate these 70,273 voiceless, powerless people who were so callously and casually murdered by gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person) and stitch them together into quilts. She knew she couldn’t do this alone, so she has created a world-wide project in which you can participate.

This past weekend I was at an art retreat and made some blocks to contribute to this project. I used recycled sari silk strips and stitched them down with red embroidery thread. I stitched Xs to hold the strips down. I thought that was both meaningful and attrative—adding a nice texture to the blocks.
I am an Amazon Prime subscriber and have enjoyed some of their original programming. One of the programs I have watched is “Man in the High Castle.” “Man in the High Castle” is described on the Internet as a “series, loosely based on Philip K. Dick's novel of the same name. It takes a look at what the world might look like had the outcome of World War II turned out differently. In this dystopian scenario, the Axis powers won the war, leading to the United States being divided into three parts, an area controlled by the Japanese, a Nazi-controlled section, and a buffer zone between the two.” 

One of the episodes in Season 2 is about a child who has a disability. The child’s father is a Nazi officer and is asked to give his son a shot that will kill him simply because he has a dibilitating disease. (I won’t tell you what happens so as not to spoil the story for those of you who haven’t yet watched the show.) That episode was SO heart wrenching for me that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. When I saw this project, I knew I HAD to participate. 

As you can see above, I have made some blocks so far, but I am thinking the REAL need will be putting the blocks together into quilt tops and quilting these quilts. I’m hoping, at some point in time, I can help with that too.

Check it out. You can read more about the project here Maybe you will feel moved to participate too. (You don’t even have to be a “quilter” to contribute. There are LOTS of ways to participate.)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Story in Stitches

While I was in Auburn, NY, for the opening of Quilts=Art=Quilts, I got to see another exhibit at the Schweinfurth Art Center. Drawn and Stitched Spaces (Amanda McCavour) was exhibited in their upstairs gallery.
I’m not sure you can tell from the picture, but the hands you see are stitched (as is the entire exhibit). The work is amazingly detailed.
This was my favorite part of the exhibit. This “flower garden” was suspended from the ceiling by almost invisible threads. The completely stitched “flower garden” floated and swayed as viewers passed by.
These two different “rooms” were totally made of stitches and suspended. The viewer could walk around the exhibits and see both the front and the back of the different works. I have NO idea how she did it, but I really enjoyed seeing it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Retreat Time AGAIN!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a retreat hosted by Lora Nale at the lodge in Santa Claus, Indiana. We had a great room and
a great vendor—The Village Mercantile of Boonville, Indiana.
We also had a great Show & Tell. I didn’t get pictures of everything, but I got these. Some people worked on TINY projects. This ENTIRE pineapple block is 2” square. The bottom picture is of the back of the foundation sheet. I added the bobbin so you could get a feel for the size. 
I worked on my current project. I got a lot done.
There were lots of quilts, wall hangings, and home decor items. There were improv quilts, kaleidoscope quilts, and I Spy quilts.
There were 9-Patch quilts, miniatures, and tiny hexies.
There were charity quilts, bed quilts, and baby quilts.
There were Christmas presents and 30s prints quilts made.
There were sampler quilts made.
There were bright quilts and earth-tone quilts.
 There were gifts and decorations made.
There were quilts with LOTS of little pieces and appliqué blocks.
There were quilts made of batik fabrics, mystery quilts, and gifts for grandchildren.
“Window” quilts, pineapple quilts, and table runners were made.
The top quilt is a Dutchman’s Puzzle, but the maker said she kept getting the name mixed up and kept calling it a Drunkard’s Path. She has decided the name will now be the “Drunken Dutchman!”
What happens at retreat stays at retreat!!!
...and a good time was had by all.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Quilts=Art=Quilts 2017; Last of the Pictures

I’m sharing the last of my pictures from Quilts=Art=Quilts 2017 at the Schweinfurth in Auburn, NY, in this post. Again, these quilts were spectacular. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more. Seeing them in person was really special.

Please respect the rights of the artists—no copying, sharing, using these photos for anything other than your personal enjoyment. Feel free to share the URL to this blog post.

I LOVE this quilt—the colors, the piecing, the “excitement” of the piece. I sat next to Margaret (She goes by Peggy.) at the artist brunch. I found out that she won “Best of Show” at Quilt National this year. WOW!
This piece is fascinating. I love the almost kaleidoscopic design that is made when the digital image is overlapped and fragmented. 
I stood in front of this piece for a long time. There are SO many fabrics and SO many pieces used in this quilt; it boggles the mind.
This piece is double sided. The front is made up of what look like small individual quilts attached to a base fabric. The designs on the back look like markings on a map to me.
This piece is SO full of imagery that it took a lot of time to take it in. I know I spent quite awhile in front of this piece as did many other people. (I had trouble getting a picture, because it was hard to find a time when people weren’t “studying” it.)
I took a closeup of this quilt, because I couldn’t believe how many tiny strips were put into this piece. I knew, just looking at the full-on picture, these individual strips wouldn’t show up. This piece gives me a peaceful, serene feeling. How about you?
(Top)-I heard the artist speak about her quilt at the Gallery Walk on opening weekend. She said she was compelled to make this quilt in response to current world events. She said she spent a lot of time trying to make the map (which I hadn’t seen) as accurate as she could. If you look closely at her shawl you will see North and South America and part of Africa. It was easy to see once she had pointed it out. (Bottom)-I have always loved text on quilts. This one did not disappoint.
(Top)-I don’t know if you can tell, but this quilt has MANY layered pieces. If you look closely at the bottom of this quilt, you can see that some of the pieces are attached at the top and left loose at the bottom. This causes these pieces to cast rich shadows onto the quilt and caused me to take a closer look. (Bottom)-I’m always drawn to black and white quilts. I guess it is the stark graphic nature of these quilts that draw me in.
This quilt was so interesting. It actually has a shine/glow to it. I guess that is because she used acrylic paints on it.
Some quilts have an important story to tell. Helen has a similar piece that is currently in a SAQA IN exhibit (Declaration of Sentiments) that will be traveling around the country till 2020. 

My next blog post will be about another exhibit that is being held at the Schweinfurth. It is fascinating, so stay tuned.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Quilts=Art=Quilts 2017 Pics1

I have already posted pictures of the award winners ( and artists speaking about their work ( Now, (in this post and the next) I’ll be showing you pics of some of the remaining work at the exhibit. You will be amazed.

Please respect the rights of the artist. DO NOT copy or use these pictures in any way without the artist’s permission.

I spent a lot of time in front of this quilt. If you look closely at the detail photo you can see the lacy cutout of fabric used to represent lichen. WOW! How did she do that? The use of color is fabulous.
(Top, left)—The neutral palette and graphic nature of the quilt drew me in. (Bottom, right)—The colored pencils against the white text fabric is very striking. It has always been hard for me to effectively use a “busy” background and still have the main “characters” of the piece still stand out. That is done very effectively in this piece.
Ellen Wong had two pieces chosen for the exhibit. These are two VERY different quilts. The one on the left is one of the quilts used on the Schweinfurth site to publicize the exhibit.
I immediately recognized the work of Niraja Lorenz. She has had work at The Carnegie in the Form Not Function exhibit. I LOVE the stark contrast of the reds, blacks, and whites in this piece.
Some quilts tell a story or start a dialog while others push the boundaries of the artist’s work. Doesn’t the “ribbon” look three dimensional? Don’t miss the iron (in the bottom piece) in the upper right corner; it is almost hidden.
(Top)—I am really drawn to text in art. I think it is interesting that the artist covered/hid some of the writing with white. I could really relate to this artist statement. How about you? (Bottom)—I love the artist’s use of materials other than cloth. The combination of paper, interfacing, and tea bag liners is very effective in this piece. The texture is really interesting, too.
If you follow my blog at all, you know I’m a big fan of hand stitching. The meticulous hand stitching is such a nice addition to this piece. I also really like the subtle colors with the red contrast.
Marianne Williamson was one of the artists that spoke about her piece during the opening weekend at the Schweinfurth. She said she has no preplanned ideas about what the piece will look like when she starts it. I was fascinated with the texture of the piece (which you can see in the detail shot).
This “kimono” quilt is one that requires a closer look. There are lots of details that can only be seen up close.

I’ll be showing the rest of my pics in my next post. There are more fabulous quilts to come. Stay tuned.