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.