Saturday, July 29, 2017

Is It Finished?

I have been working on a 1/2" hexagon quilt off and on for approximately four years. I did a lot of the work on it when my husband and I were traveling. It has accompanied me to Niagara Falls, many times to Arkansas (where my son lives), Tennessee, New Orleans, Virginia, Colorado, New England, Chicago, Lake of the Ozarks, numerous quilt retreats in numerous locations, St. Louis, and MANY other places. This week I FINALLY added the last pieces to the original design.
You think I would have been anxious to finish this piece, but I was surprised to find that I really procrastinated on finishing this quilt. I think I didn’t want it to end. Why would that be? Well, I have given this some thought and have found a couple of reasons.

Maybe it is because the quilt is an "odd" shape, and I really don't have any idea how to do the finishing. (The edges are VERY irregular with big red spiky things sticking out on many sides.) Or maybe it is because this project has been my fairly constant companion for the last four years, and I'll miss working on it. (When I finish a BIG project like this, I find myself a bit lost. Do you?)

Anyway, it is time for me to consider what I need to do to “finish” this quilt. I’m thinking I have two options. At first, I was thinking of doing some more hexis to finish off the edges so they would be a bit more regular. I drew up a design to see if I would like it and have decided against this. I just didn’t like how it took away from the “simplicity” of the original design.

My second option is to appliqué the piece to a background. There are a few drawbacks to this option. I’m worried about there being too much "blank" space around the outside of the quilt because of its shape; although, that might be a nice place for some beautiful hand quilting.

Another drawback is the physical part of actually lining up this BIG (85” X 91”) project onto a BIG piece of background fabric—getting it straight, getting all the wrinkles out, actually finding a place large enough to lay it all out and work on it without hurting my already aching back.  Another concern is how to remove the papers from the edge pieces of the hexagons. I’m thinking that if I go with the appliqué option, I could cut the background from behind the pieced hexis and remove the papers then. Would that work?

Here is my last concern. What color background will make the piece pop? One of my friends says that she has always seen it on white (when I take a pic of it on my design wall—my design wall is white), and she likes that. I think I’ll try some fabric out on my design wall, rehang the quilt on those different fabrics, and photograph those to see what looks good with it. Any suggestions? I’m thinking I’d need to use quilt backing fabric since I don’t want to have seams to deal with. Would that limit my choices for a background too much? Is the quality of background fabric as good as other quilting fabric?

Please weigh in with some answers. I’d really like to get started on this new adventure!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Declaration of Sentiments 1848--The Struggle Continues

Last week, I got word that my "protest quilt" (I wrote about the making of it here.), Compare and Contrast, was juried into the SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Association) Regional Exhibit Declaration of Sentiments 1848--The Struggle Continues. This is a regional exhibit in which SAQA members from KY/TN, IL/WI, IN/OH, and MO/KS/OK were eligible to enter. 

If you don't know, the Declaration of Sentiments is the foundational document for women's rights drafted in Seneca Falls, NY, July 1848 at our nation's first women's rights convention. Some of the wormen's concerns at that time were employment, educational opportunities, voting and property rights, and social and religious degradation. 

This exhibition celebrates women's accomplishments and honors their struggles throughout American history. The pieces may be abstract, graphic, or representational and illustrate the artist's passion, anger, hope perseverance or celebration of women's rights. 

The "protest" part is quilted into the stripes of the flag. The blog post about the making of this quilt lists the quotes. The quilt didn't get into the exhibit it was originally made for (Threads of Resistance), but I'm happy it will "see the light of day." The making of this quilt helped me to work through some of my feelings about the current state of politics in this country. That is the real value of this quilt to me. 

For the Sentiments Exhibit, I had to cut down my artist statement to something like 200 characters, but my "full" artist statement for this piece is--"In the Declaration of Sentiments, women were fighting for equality and the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the Declaration were being written today, I would hope that in addition to women, minorities, immigrants, the disabled, the LGBT community, and the free press would all be included. All have recently been “attacked.” I believe that those of a like mind—those who believe in principles like those put forth by the Declaration of Sentiments—must ban together to fight ignorance and disrespect. 

For me, the American flag represents all that is right about America. I honor those who have sacrificed for the rights “most” of us have in this country. A waving flag is a symbol of patriotism for me and for most people. I want those first viewing this flag to feel that patriotism. However, upon closer inspection I want them to discover the quilted quotes that illustrate the disrespect shown for women, Mexicans, Muslims, the free press, etc. My way of fighting such ignorance and disrespect of women (AND others) is this piece which compares and contrasts two very different and conflicting views of America." 

The premier location for the exhibit is the AQS Show in Paducah, KY, September 13-16, 2017. At this time, I don't know if it will be exhibited anywhere else, but I certainly hope so. If you are planning to attend the new fall AQS show in Paducah, check it out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sacred Threads Trip

My husband and I wanted to see the Sacred Threads Exhibit in Herndon, VA, so we planned a vacation around the "Artists Weekend" dates. We had gone to the exhibit two years ago (when I had two pieces in the exhibit) and had REALLY enjoyed it, so we had planned the vacation for this next show regardless of whether I had a piece in the exhibit or not. Luckily, I DID have a piece chosen to be in this exhibit and to travel for the next two years with the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit. We used some time-share points to spend a week at National Harbour, Maryland; and from there, we drove over to Sacred Threads. 

The Sacred Threads Artists Weekend started off with a talk from Vikki Pignatelli, the founder of Sacred Threads and a welcome from Lisa Ellis (the person currently "in charge" of the exhibit).
(Lisa is on the left and Vikki on the right.) Vikki's quilt that "started" it all is shown on the right. After she read the responses about this quilt from the judges at the Houston Quilt Show, she started thinking about an exhibit where the stories behind the quilts could be shared. At the Sacred Threads exhibit, the story of each quilt is printed and posted beside the quilts. Many of the artists did an audio recording of the quilt story.  If you'd like to hear the story behind the quilt, use your phone to dial 1-703-520-6404; enter the audio number I have listed with each quilt (if there is one) followed by the # key. You will hear the story of the quilt in the artist's own voice. 

Sacred Threads is divided into sections--Joy, Inspiration, Spirituality, Healing, Grief, Peace/Brotherhood. At the exhibit, each of these sections is separate from the others. Here are a few pictures from the show. I'd like to share at least one quilt from each category. (The first pictures show quilts that are made by people I know. Mary, Barb, and I all belong to Studio Art Quilts Associates of IN. Valerie and Joni are friends of mine.) 

My piece, Black Beauties (20" X 33.5), was entered in the Peace & Brotherhood section.
If you'd like to hear the story of my quilt, dial the number above 1-703-520-6404 then enter 621#. You will hear what I have to say about the quilt. 

Mary Bunte also had a quilt in the Peace & Brotherhood section--Promise of Peace (46" X 59").
In the Spirituality section, I'm sharing Barb Triscari's quilt La Chiesa di Bolzano Vicentino (27.5" X 24.5"). 
To hear her story, dial the phone number above and enter 350#. 

In the Inspiration section, I have two quilts to share. There is Always Hope (31" X 40") is made by Valerie White. Valerie and I first became friends when we took an advanced independent workshop with Jane Dunnewold.
Dial the phone number above and enter 252# to hear Valerie tell her story. 

The next quilt, Warping the Fabric of Space and Time (17" X 18"), is made by Joni Seidenstein. I met Joni at the Sacred Threads exhibit in 2015. We spent a lot of time discussing the quilts. She told me she would like to have a quilt in the next exhibit, and she did it! It was fun to see her again this year. 
If you'd like to hear Joni speak about her quilt, dial the phone number above and enter 244#. 

In the Joy section, I'm sharing a quilt by Jane L. King called Boundless Joy, The Red Balloon (31" X 49").
Listen to her story by dialing the number above and entering 117#. 

My choice in the Healing section is a quilt by Wen Redmond called Rocks are Smiling (48" X 32").
Listen to her story by dialing the phone number above and entering 435#. 

I'd like to share Jackie Manley's quilt, Obituary (54" X 82"), in the Grief section. Listen to Jackie's story by dialing the phone number above and entering 521#.
I was really touched by this quilt. She printed words and phrases from the obituary of her husband onto a layer of tulle and attached this over his image. The story and the quilt are powerful testiments to love and loss. 

What a show! I have LOTS more pictures of quilts I loved--WAY too many to share. If you EVER get the chance to go to this exhibit, DO IT!!! If you'd like more information about the show and the traveling exhibit, check it out at Sacred Threads.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Baby/Baby Quilt

I've been traveling A LOT lately (for the best of reasons); we have a new grandbaby in Arkansas--10 1/2 hours away from us. Asa Gene was born July 2nd weighing in at 9 lbs. 14 ozs. and 22 1/4 inches long. I made him a baby quilt and actually had it done in time for his birth!!!
 He sure is a sweetie. I hate being SO far away from him. 

This week I'm in Maryland for vacation. From there, we will be heading to Herndon, Virginia, for the Sacred Threads Exhibit. I have a quilt in this exhibit and will be attending the "Meet the Artist" activity in the afternoon and the dinner for the artists in the evening. I'll be taking some pictures while I'm there, so stay tuned.