Monday, June 19, 2017

Form, Not Function 2017

Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie is a MUST SEE exhibit held at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana. That is what I said in a blog post about last year's show. I'm doubling down on that statement this year because I have a quilt in the show!!! My piece, Scorched Earth, was chosen. Here are some pics--in progress and finished. (The finished photo--the last of the four--has terrible lighting. I apologize. The right side looks really dark; it isn't. The piece was hanging on my design wall, and I took a quick pic. Come on out to the show to see it in person.) 
I can't even tell you how excited (and humbled) I am to be in this exhibit. This year's show will be held July 21-September 16, 2017.

"Form, Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie" explores the world of contemporary art quilts. This annual, juried exhibit draws works of art by artists across the United States and celebrates innovation and creative thought in the increasingly popular medium of art quilts." Again, that was the description of the show from the Carnegie's website last year (I shared this with you on this blog last year.) I have been informed that this year, 284 quilts were submitted for consideration and work from 26 artists was juried in. 

The Carnegie has now updated their website with information about this upcoming exhibit. There is a list of artists included along with dates for specific activities concerning the exhibit. If you'd like more information about this exhibit and to see the list of included artists, click here. Please make an effort to see this exhibit and let me know what you think.

I have to tell you a funny. When I got an email that "said" my piece was chosen for the show, I couldn't believe it. I sent an email to the curator of the museum just to make sure. He reassured me by saying, "Yes, it was accepted, Beth. "Scorched Earth" was unanimously voted in by all three jurors." I whooped out loud!!! I did another big whoop today when I saw the list of accepted artists. I have been following the work of many of these artists for several years. To be included with them is quite an honor for me. A couple of days ago I took my piece down to the Carnegie. I took the acceptance letter with me "just in case"--like I might have to prove my work actually belonged in the show. LOL! Thankfully, I didn't have to show it to anyone. My name was right there--listed as an artist for the exhibit. (I wish you could see my BIG smile.)

A great time to see the exhibit would be to come to the opening reception on Friday, July 21, from 6-8 Eastern time. Music will be provided by the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Quartet and there are usually light refreshments. I don't know how many of the artists will be there, but it is a chance to meet and talk to some of them. I'm planning on attending.

There are other activites put on by the Carnegie during the run of the exhibit. One of those occurs on August 15, from 12:00-1:00 (Eastern time) there is a Lunch and Learn with "Sunshine" Joe Mallard. I have met Joe and can't recommend this Lunch & Learn enough. The postcard describes the event this way--"Come meet this local treasure and learn about his life and work as a quilter, fiber artist, and teacher." You must register for this event, but I believe it is free. You can register by calling 812-944-7336. I've also been in contact with SAQA IN (Studio Art Quilt Associates of Indiana). They will be having a meeting at the Carnegie followed by a tour of the exhibit. I'll be there for that meeting (tentatively scheduled for 1:00 pm (Eastern time) on August 29). Anyone interested in finding out about SAQA (or just to see what it is all about) is welcome. There is also a "Mix & Mingle" on the last day of the exhibit, September 16 from 1-3.

I sure hope to see you at one of these events!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Catch Up

I've been to Memphis for a week, Arkansas for several days, and at a retreat for four days. I HAVE been busy, but I (personally) don't have much to show for it. I DO, however, have pictures from the retreat.


 I worked on some 365 Challenge blocks. These will finish at 3 inches. (I also worked on a "top secret" project that I can't show right now. I WILL show it to you later. It is adorable!)
These are my friends.
They got LOTS done!
I'm working on my hexagon projects in my spare time (and while traveling). Hopefully, I'll have something to show before too long.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Making of a "Protest" Quilt

I have never made a "controversial" piece of art. I probably never would have; but with things as they are today, I felt compelled to do SOMETHING--ANYTHING. I needed SOME way to express my frustration/disdain/disappointment. Because I'm worried about how things are going in our country and how out of control things are, I needed a way to have SOME kind of control over SOMETHING. 

I'm surprised at the disquiet I feel about this quilt. It isn't the quilt itself; it is my fear of the reactions of my friends who have VERY different political views than I do. I do hope it makes EVERYONE (friends and foes) think.

Women have been making quilts of protest and political quilts for a long time. There seems to be a BIG divide in the quilting community about whether these "protest/political" quilts should be displayed at quilt shows and whether they should even be made. (Fiber art is my only artistic outlet, so I really have no choice of medium.) Check out this really good article from the Chicago Tribune on quilts and quilters expressing themselves through their art.

First, let me say that, to me, the flag represents freedom, justice, and pride (as it does to many other Americans). I realize and am thankful for the sacrifices made on behalf of the US by the veterans of all our wars. I mean no disrespect to them or to the flag. I DID, however, feel that the flag was the best way for me express my (I'm not sure what to call it.) "dismay."

I've heard it said that art should provoke conversation/thought/discussion. I hope that is what my latest quilt will do. I think you can zoom in on these pictures to see what the quilt actually says. I quilted Trump's words (in orange) in the red stripes. I quilted quotes by Presidents in the white stripes. The quilt is called Compare and Contrast. I have included the quotes I used at the bottom of this post in case you are interested.
Close up of quilt.

My quilt was not one chosen for the Threads of Resistance exhibit. Once I saw what quilts made it into the show, I realized my quilt was probably really tame compared to many that were chosen. See one of the quilts here--"Poisonous Words" I had intentionally made the quilting subtle (rather than "in your face") so the viewer would see it as just a patriotic flag. Upon closer inspection, the words would come into view. I like that "surprise" aspect in art--that "hidden-message" effect. I'm glad I made it and hope I can find a place to display it.  The quotes quilted into the flag are shown below.

Trump quotes--
Red stripe 1-Grab them by the pussy. Such a nasty woman
Red stripe 2-They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.
Red stripe 3-He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured.
Red stripe 4-The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy; it is the enemy of the American People.
Red stripe 5-The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.
Red stripe 6-I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big time, but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls. He's not smart enough to be president.
Red stripe 7-Look, in the meantime, I guess I can't be doing so badly because I'm president and you're not.

Presidential quotes--
White stripe 1-Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.  Kennedy
White stripe 2-The American Dream is something no wall will every contain.  Obama
White stripe 3-There is nothing wrong in American that can't be fixed with what is right in America.  Clinton
White stripe 4-Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.  Kennedy
White stripe 5-I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. Lincoln
White stripe 6-Absolute freedom of the press to discuss public questions is a foundation stone of American liberty.  Hoover

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Paducah 2017--NOT Losers

Paducah is one of those quilt shows where you are a winner just by being juried into the show. I tend to take pictures of quilts that didn't win awards at the show. I figure everyone will see all the winners numerous times in magazines and at other shows. There were LOTS of quilts that did not win awards that I thought were fabulous. If you have been to the show at Paducah, you will know that getting good pictures is VERY difficult because of the angle at which some of the quilts are hung. I apologize up for that up front. Also, if the tag is visible in the picture it includes the name of the quilt, the maker, and the city and state in which the maker lives. You can enlarge the pics to see any of those more closely. Generally, the full quilt is pictured on the left; the detail picture is on the right.
The machine quilting on this quilt is fabulous (as you can see). It makes this relatively simple quilt spectacular. The same is true of the next couple of quilts.
In this last picture, all the circles and flowers you see are quilted--the colored quilting makes the design in the background.
The circular quilting designs in this quilt definitely enhance the piecing.
The top left picture is of the full quilt. The other two sections are detail shots of the quilting. Although the quilting is spectacular, it really doesn't change the look of the quilt itself.
I really liked this quilt. I think the orange dots drew me in. (Orange is my favorite color you know.)
I'm a cat lover, so this quilt was definitely one of my favorites. The thread work on the cat made it look like you could pet it. The fur looked SO real; I could almost hear him/her purr.
I liked the unusual colors and geometric nature of this quilt.
I really liked the vibrant colors of this quilt.
I LOVE this saying, "Art does not have to match your sofa!" Many traditional quilters (and others) don't understand the concept that art doesn't HAVE to match ANYTHING. I have actually had more than one person say (about a piece of art I had made), "That doesn't go with the colors in your house. What are you going to do with it?" I think I replied with something like, "Well, I doubt if Picasso worried about whether his art matched his sofa!" (Insert smiley face here.)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Show & Tell--Paducah Spring 2017

One of the things I look forward to the most when my friends and I attend a quilt show is the "show & tell" after we get back to the hotel. We "show & tell" all our purchases with each other. It is always fun to see what different things we have found. I'm amazed by the things my friends purchased that I didn't even see. How did I miss them? Usually, we have to go back to the show the next day to pick up some of those things we missed. This year I didn't buy much. I really didn't buy anything I'm excited about. Part of the problem is that "I have it all." Well, not really; but if you'd look at my studio, you might think I do. I bought things I needed for my sit-down long-arm machine and a few other things.
I know, this is kind of sad for a "show & tell" isn't it. Let me tell you about what I bought. 
  • Beginning from the left-hand side, you'll see a "buggy" fat quarter. I thought I might be able to use that for some interesting fussy-cut hexies. 
  • Above that are some "silk cloud minis"--silk waste yarn--that I will use for my extreme embroidery pieces. 
  • On top you can see a Quilt Pounce containing pounce powder that irons off. I'm planning on using it with stencils I have purchased to mark quilting designs on my quilts. It doesn't come off until it comes into contact with heat. 
  • As I said, I bought a few things for my sit-down long-arm sewing machine--oil, a bottle with a really sharp applicator for oil, needles, and bobbins. 
  • I got some REALLY cute tiny scissors. The little lime green pair you see at the top has an attached blade cover which is so nice. I already have a yellow pair just like this and LOVE them (and they are REALLY inexpensive). You can never have too many scissors! If you know me, you know I love orange. I couldn't resist the little orange-handled scissors you see. 
  • Last, I bought some back issues of Simply Moderne magazine. I think that is my very favorite magazine. It is expensive, but I think it is worth it.
Wouldn't you know, as soon as I took the above picture, I emptied another bag and found yet another purchase.
This is a small rotating cutting mat recommended by Sue Daley. She has several hexie tutorials on line and uses this mat when she is rotary cutting the pieces for her blocks. I just purchased a new hexagon book and am going to give this mat a try. I did make a purchase I'm excited about from Massdrop. I ordered the entire set of acrylic templates and paper pieces for The New Hexagon book by Katja Marek. (It hasn't come in yet but is on its way; otherwise I would have shown you a pic.) I want to try my hand at fussy cutting the fabric for the blocks in the book. Now I'm thinking I want to order the "add-on" acrylic templates and paper pieces to do The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along Katja is running on her site. If you might be interested in this too, go to the Massdrop link here. Once you get to the "Inactive Drop" page, click on the "Requested" button" to show your interest in a "drop" for those products. Clicking DOES NOT commit you to buying; it just shows that you are interested. If there is enough interest (i.e. enough requests), Massdrop will create a "drop" for the products and let you know when the "drop" for the requested products occur. Once you see the price, you can then decide if you are interested or not. The more people that are interested, the more likely they will have a "drop" for those products.  If you can't tell, I LOVE EPP (English Paper Piecing). What about you?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

SAQA Exhibit in Paducah--Made in Europe

This year (2017) the Paducah School of Art and Design is hosting the SAQA Exhibit called Made in Europe. It is an exhibition of 30 art quilts from makers in the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) European and Middle Eastern Region. The exhibit is in the Bill Ford Gallery within the PSAD's 2D and Graphic Design Building at 905 Harrison Street, is free, open to the public, and runs through May 18. Here are some of my favorites. (I'll list the title and maker in the narrative unless it is visible in the photo.)
(The left picture is the whole quilt; the photo on the right is a detail shot.) This quilt is called Fire and Ice (28" X 39") and is made by Maryte Collard from Lithuania. I like this one because of its graphic nature and hand stitching. I also like the color combination and work in those colors quite often myself.


(Again, the left picture is the whole quilt; the right is a detail shot. I'll post like that for all the photos unless I tell you otherwise.) This quilt is called Castelluccio--The Ghost Town (39" X 39") by DAMSS D. Arnoldi & M. Sarzi-Sartori from Italy. This is a VERY textural piece. It really reminds me of my trip to Italy a few years ago. I love those Tuscan colors.
This quilt (30" X 51") from Germany by Uta Lenk was intriguing to me because of a quilt I just finished on which I machine quilted several quotes. I know how difficult that was, so I could really appreciate the work that went into this quilt. Each letter has been (what looked like to me) free-hand machine embroidered onto the fabric. (You can see that on the inset detail shot.) The texture was REALLY nice.
I liked Troubled Waters (26" X 57") by Frieda Oxenham, United Kingdom, because of the handwork and beading. You can see that in the closeup shot. I also liked the flow of the pieces across the quilt. These peaceful water colors are more my sister's preference; she is an Aquarius. I, on the other hand, prefer the hot, hot red and orange fire-sign colors; I'm a Leo. 
This quilt, Black Sun (37" X 52") by Karin Ostergaard from Denmark, caught my eye because of the hand stitching at the top of the quilt. If you look closely you will see black stitching that represents those "clouds" of birds that morph into different shapes in the sky. I am ALWAYS amazed and fascinated when I have the privilege of seeing it. I also liked the subtle shapes of the birds and circles in the quilting around the large grasses in the bottom right of the quilt (and bottom right pic). I could almost imagine those "clouds" of birds moving and morphing as I looked at this quilt.
One Day (28" X 55") was made by Sandra Newton from the United Kingdom. This is another one of those quilts containing words. I am really drawn to text on quilts.  I don't know about you, but I really think that fiber art shows--quilt shows in particular--miss a really unique opportunity when the story of the piece is omitted. Case in point--the quilt above. I'd LOVE to know the maker's story of this quilt; I'm sure there is one. Don't you wonder what it means? I know I would enjoy the piece more if I knew.  I've heard fiber artists and gallery reps say things like, "Adding the story of the piece would not allow the viewer to interpret the piece the way they want to. It would give them "too much" information." Well, I (personally) don't think it takes anything away from the art to know the story. I go to museums and get the headsets so I can hear the "story" of the "fine art" paintings there. I find I have a better appreciation for and better understanding of the piece when I know more about it. I think the same would be true of quilts. My next post will include pictures from the show itself. I try to take pictures of quilts that did not win awards but are spectacular (or draw me in for some reason). I figure you'll see pictures of the winners in blogs, magazines, classes, TV, etc. I'm also going to have a "show & tell" of my purchases at the show. Check back.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lions, Elephants, and Dogs--Oh My!

I just got back from the AQS Show in Paducah, KY. I am a Leo, so I'm REALLY drawn to anything lion. The Cherrywood Challenge 2016: The Lion King was at the show this year. All of the lion quilts in this exhibit were gorgeous. There were 120 quilts celebrating the 20th Anniverary of the Lion King in the display. Here are a few of my favorites (mostly lions) from the exhibit. The lion on the top left and right are the same lion. The right is a detail shot; it was spectacular.
(The lion on the right in the pic below is a repeat, but I guess that's okay--it was my favorite of the exhibit.)
Since most of the quilts I've shared so far are animal quilts, I'll show you the two animal quilts from the show that I really liked. The first is an elephant quilt (by Elizabeth Owens) called The Elephant in the Quilt Room." What a great use of homespun fabrics! The judges must have liked it too; it got a 3rd place ribbon.
The other "animal" quilt I liked in the show was this dog quilt by Elaine Wick Poplin called Linus. I really like the way she pieced the background, and the fabrics she chose for the dog were very well placed. The dog looked soft--almost like you could pet it.
I have a few other things I'd like to share with you from the show. The first is the SAQA "Made in Europe" exhibit. The exhibit itself includes 30 art quilts from makers in the SAQA Europe and ME region. These quilts celebrate geographical features of the region. Lastly, I'd like to share some of my favorites from the show itself. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Traveling Hexies

My husband and I recently made a trip to Colorado for a memorial for our nephew who passed away unexpectedly. Danny always loved my quilts. When we visited his home before the memorial, I noticed one of my wall hangings on display in the dining room. He was a very special person and will be missed.

To get to the memorial, we were in a car for 17 hours. Of course, it took another 17 hours to get back home. That gave me plenty of time to do some handwork, and I decided to work on my hexies. This is what I got finished while we were gone. 
I got lots of hexies basted, and I got this section put together. (It would have been a "totally finished" section if I had brought all my maroon hexies with me, but I ran out.)

Because I am on the road all the time (it seems), I have had to find a good way to work on my hexies in the car (when I don't have to drive, LOL). I want to share my travel sewing setup with you.
I use a metal sheet (a 9” X 12” magnetic bulletin board) with REALLY strong magnets which I had to purchase separately. (I found the same brand magnetic board that I own on-line. I didn’t find a 9” X 12” board, but they do offer a 12” X 12” board in several colors and they INCLUDE the really strong magnets. You can check out that board here.) This is what mine looks like.
I use Altoid tins to hold the pieces I am basting. The tins work perfectly for the little pieces I'm currently working on—1/2” hexies. I also use another tin to hold my tiny scissors, a pin cushion, needles, thimble and my thread. I use a big felt ball to store the appliqué pins I use to hold the basting papers to my fabric. The strong magnets keep the tins from sliding around. The magnets also hold my scissors and needle when I put them down so they never get lost in the car.  

When I’m working on sewing hexies together (as you can see in the top picture), I use small plastic boxes I purchased (from an automotive department) to hold my pieces. They work well with the magnets on my metal sheet because they have metal closing clasps. (If you look closely, you can see the clasp "attached" to the magnets.) Those metal clasps stick to the magnets and hold those boxes in place. I also use the magnets to hold my pattern piece to the metal sheet and to hold an index card on the pattern to keep my place.
I keep the metal sheet inside a zippered notebook cover which protects my pattern, keeps my magnets all in place, and holds the piece on which I’m working.
I hope you can use some of these ideas to make sewing on the go a bit easier for you. It is amazing how much you can get done while you are out and about.    

I have been thinking about what name I want to give my hexie quilt. I think I’ll name it “Danny Boy” in honor of our nephew. I think he would like that.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Update on Extreme Embroidery Workshop

I recently taught a workshop on my "Extreme Embroidery" technique for Louisville Fiber and Textile Artists. I did a post on that here and here. Some of my "students" have done more work on their pieces and gave me permission to share those pieces with you. Marliese has completed two pieces (which you can see in the second post link above). She has since added to one of those pieces. Here is her piece
and here is part of her addition...
She has different layouts.
Which do you like best? Kathy made a piece that she mounted onto a canvas. Her piece sold at Pyro Gallery in Louisville. Kathy wrote a blog post about it here.
I'm REALLY proud of what has been done so far and hope to show you more from some of the other participants at a later date. If you'd like to learn Extreme Embroidery, I'd be happy to teach a workshop for your group or guild.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GREAT English Paper Piecing Book

First, let me say I am NOT being paid for this book review. I am just one REALLY happy customer.  I LOVE books. I have an extensive collection of books on art quilts, artists, embroidery, piecing, painting, Zentangles, English Paper Piecing, doodling, drawing, creativity, and more. My latest book purchase in All Points Patchwork, English Paper Piecing Beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects by Diane Gilleland. Wow, wow, wow, this is a fabulous book. If you are interested in EPP in any way, this book is for you. I feel like I am pretty experienced in EPP, and I LOVE this book. 
It includes the obligatory chapters on tools/materials and basic techniques, but what I really like are the chapters on Building Your Own EPP Patterns and chapters on each of the shapes--hexagons, diamonds and jewels, triangles and tumblers, octagons and pentagons, and curved shaped. There are also photos of "Project Inspirations"--illustrating ways to use EPP motifs. This is NOT a pattern book; it IS a GREAT resource. If you are not sure how to join any two shapes of pieces together, this book will tell you how. If you want to draft a shape, this book will tell you how. If you want to design your own blocks, this book will tell you how.  I have primarily worked with EPP hexagons and am now interested in branching out to other shapes. I think this book will be an invaluable resource for me (and maybe for you too). It is available in many places, but it is a steal on Amazon for $12.87 (as of the time of this posting). Check it out here.