Classes Offered

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I must give my Father credit for this photo since I was too distracted with holiday fun to try and get one of these myself.  This is a telephoto shot looking out the livingroom windows of my parents' house on Whidbey Island. It's missing the water from the bay and the Olympic Mountain Range but, believe me, the view is breath taking.  We frequently stand at the window and watch cloud formations, the sunset or the eagles riding the air currents or just perching at the top of their favorite tree surveying the landscape.  I wonder if they ever watch us watching them? 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ah, Merry Christmas

The festivities are winding down and all are happy and satiated.  There is that wonderful feeling of contentment and relaxation that happens as everyone sits and talks after Christmas dinner.  I always wish we could find this feeling more oftern during the year.  Maybe what makes it so special is its rarity.  Anyway, I'm not sure I'm in the mood to be so analytical.  I hope the day has been equally as fulfilling for all my friends and family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ready to Roll

All packed up and ready to head North. We're spending the next few days with family on Whidbey Island.  Cleaning the studio will have to wait for my return.  It's full of last minute projects and Christmas wrappings.  It's nice to have a door to close on the mess but I'll have to deal with it when I get home.
  No worries today.  We're off to play! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Small Pleasures

Here are two more of the Small Pleasures pieces.  I decided to keep this series to just four.  I think they will look really cheerful all hanging together in the gallery.  I actually made the above scene twice.  In the first attempt, I made the tablecloth tip too sharply to one side and the vase and pear looked like they were sliding off the table.  This one works much better.  I really like the blue print for the tall vase, too.  I am calling this one The Last Pear.  The piece below is titled Plum Dandy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Deliverance Quilt Shop

On the way to Southern Oregon for the opening reception for the 'Text Us' show, we pulled over to change drivers.  We managed to pick a spot with a ... guess ... quilt shop sign!  However, this has to be one of the few times I decided to pass.  Would you take a chance at shopping here?  I can almost here the screeching music tempo going on in the background.  If any quilters go missing in Oregon, I know where they might start looking.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Second of Small Pleasures

Too bad having a job gets in the way of quilting time.  Bringing work home is a slippery slope, too.  However, I have managed to finish a second Small Pleasures piece.  I like this one better than the first.  I think the first one was just a warm-up.  I felt looser doing this one and I think it shows.  I'm not sure of my titles yet but this one just might be simply, Red Carnations.  They were my maternal Grandmother's favorite flower.

Oh, here's the first piece finished as well.  I changed the rim of the bowl to a print.  I think it added a little more pizazz to the whole scene.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The First of Small Pleasures

It's time to start sewing on my pieces for an invitational show, Small Pleasures, at the Jacobs Gallery here in Eugene.  The show will run through December and no piece can be larger than 12" on any side.  I'm planning on 6 pieces, two series of three pieces each.  This is the almost finished first piece of the first series of small still lifes.  Here's my construction process:
First I made the background by piecing a selection of off-white strips.  By seaming them on a right angle and then placing it on an angle, it seems to give some depth to the scene.  I gave the edge between the  table and the wall a slight curve to suggest a table edge.
I usually make a rough sketch, to size, of where I want to go with a piece.  It helps me get proportions right and I use it as a reference as I proceed.  From this drawing I made a pattern of the bowl using tracing paper over the three basic pieces of the bowl.  I wanted to give the bowl some light, medium and dark areas to make it look more 3-dimensional.
Here are the three pieces laid out on a piece of blue fabric that had a lot of color gradations all within the same print.  I cut the rim piece from the lightest part and the bottom from the darkest part.
Here are the three pieces after having been cut out.  I have adhered paper-backed fusible web to the back of each piece so they can be slightly overlapped and "glued" together.  By pressing on a Teflon sheet, I can then peel the whole piece up and off the sheet as a single unit, but it can still be ironed to another piece of fabric and fuse it in place.

Here's the bowl out together but not trimmed to shape yet.
Okay, done.  It can now be laid on the background and ironed down once I'm ready.
First, I needed to add the fruit pieces.  They are all assembled in the same way as the bowl, so each one is it's own little unit.  Each one is also backed with the fusible web and can be ironed in place once everything is placed to my liking, which is what it looks like in the top photo.  I just need to finish quilting all the pieces in place since the fusing process is not permanent.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum

There are always great shows at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum in La Conner, Washington.  I just saw the show that features Ann Fahl's work.  There are so many of her pieces that is was fun to see how prolific she is.  Many of the pieces have been shown in her two books but seeing them in person is a real treat.  Her thread work is amazing!  Check out this close up.

Here's another close up of how she uses multi-colored threads and some of her patterning.  Very cool!

I liked this one with the vase as well.  Having done a piece with a vase, ans now starting a new one, it was interesting to see how she handled the subject using a sheer fabric.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New travel inspirations

I know there is plenty of artistic inspiration close to home but it seems that I have a harder time "seeing" until I leave my familiar surroundings.  My recent trip to Whidbey Island was full of wonderful eye, and camera, candy.  The Deception Pass Bridge was half enveloped in fog the day I was there.  I loved these two images that make it look like a "bridge to nowhere".

It was that time of year when the sun would be out in one place but then not only a few hundred yards away.  There was that sort of cloudy bright lighting that made everything look more dramatic.  I took a couple pictures of fields that seem like they could be good quilt inspiration some day. 

Of course, the madrone trees, which grow so well there, always add drama with their peeling bark and warm colors.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Finished at Last

Well, it seems it took an eternity equal to the entire sea, but my ocean piece is done.  I really got hung up on the foreground for a long time.  The greens I used were too bright and the eye would just get stuck there.  I wanted the horizon to be the focal point and the foreground took that away.  I finally dulled all the colors down using Shiva paintsticks in dark navy, brown and various greens.  I also wanted lots of small yellow flowers amidst the grasses.  They had to go.  Again, they were too bright and pulled the eye to the foreground.  I dulled the large rock on the left, as well.  

I'm pretty happy with the end result mostly because I had a September 30 deadline to get it done.  It has been entered in the Oregon SAQA show Oregon: Sate of Diversity.  As one of the organizers of the show, it would look embarrassing to not even get my entry finished.  So, we'll see if the jurors pick it or not.   Here's a detail shot of some of the stitching.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I often apply to Calls to Artists for art galleries, not just quilt show entries.  I did recently get an acceptance letter to the Umpqua Valley Arts Association Center.  The theme of the show is Text Us, where text was supposed to be the main design element.  I submitted this one piece and it made the cut.  Hooray!  I'm always happy when I make it into a traditional gallery setting.  After quilts can be ART, too.  It's just a different medium for expression.

The title of this is "Just Read Between the Lines, Dear".  It is meant to be hung so it can be viewed from both sides.  Here's an image of the back side and a detail shot of that same side.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Days Just Fly By!

Yes, they do, but they sure can be fun!  After a very cool, wet start, most days have been a perfect summer this year: low 50s at night and low to mid 80s in the day.  I haven't done much sewing or quilting, I must confess.  My garden at my "new" house is coming along really, really well.  I'm loving the colors and textures that are starting to emerge.  Here's the latest finished part.  The stone walkway was the last part to go in.  This following picture is what this part of the yard looked like almost exactly a year ago when I first started the rework of the back yard and the last picture is what it looked like when I bought the house.  Look out Home and Garden magazine!
Here's another before and after view standing with the vegetable garden to my back.  Still need to lay more gravel on this pathway but the plants are looking pretty happy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Most Recent Art "Struggles"

OMG, I have not been able to blog since dropping my camera but adventures have continued.  With new camera in hand, I am back!  My latest art class was in June at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, Oregon.  What a lovely,peaceful place to concentrate on making art, more drawing to be specific.

Here is one of our exercises that I felt came out the most successful.  We were challenged to draw the draped fabric (sorry bad exposure) showing the value changes that result from light hitting the cloth.  Color aside, the assignment was to capture shadow and highlights.  I was pleased with the results. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Taking Art Classes

Someone recently asked me if my ocean quilt was being made from a pattern.  I told them that it was from a sketch I made from several inspiration photos.  I'm not sure they understood, or believed me.  

One thing I can say for sure is that I would not be able to do what I'm doing today if I had not taken some basic drawing classes.  Here is a recent exercise that I worked on.  This little fox figurine was set up on a white surface, with a floor lamp off to one side, so there was a strong light source casting shadows.  I did not finish my drawing but I still could, just from this photo.  Here's the result of my one hour of sitting, observing and sketching this cute little guy.
It's not perfect but then I don't think it needs to be.  The purpose is to really look at something and then put what you see down on the sketch pad.  What isn't there is as important as what is there.  Personally, I have found that highlights are more important to a drawing than shadow.  It seems that the lighter spots, in combination with the shadows, are what really make something look like it has rounded or curved areas, thus making it look three-dimensional.

I highly encourage anyone looking to make art of any kind, to take art classes.  Learn basic drawing techniques and art principles to make your work really start to rise to new levels.  Look for an art center or community college class that truly starts at the beginner level.  You'll be surprised at how fast you can advance with just a small amount of practice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Now the Fun Begins

I'm pretty happy with how the fabrics are working to convey my scene.  I will still fuss over the flowers in the foreground but I couldn't wait to start quilting.  Laying in the texture, that comes from quilting, is my favorite part of a project.  I know many quilters only like the piecing part of the process, sending their finished quilt tops out to be quilted by someone else.  Whether I'm doing traditional piecing, or building a scene like this, I always look forward to putting in the quilting lines most of all.  

It is this texture that really pulls all the elements together, often obscuring where one fabric edge is laid over the top of another.  It's like blending paint and the closest a textile piece comes to being like a painting.  The quilting lines can bury mistakes or pull disparate elements together in a way that is fascinating.  It always makes me wonder how the eye and brain work.  It's like they want to see unity and matching color and the thread, laid on top, helps the brain do just that, even when it isn't quite there.

So, enjoy watching this develop as I continue to quilt the remaining parts.  I think I will tackle the large boulder on the left next.  That should bring it to life!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Keep Your Eye on the Horizon

Well, it's getting there.  As I took this picture I realized I will have to square up the edges by measuring off the straight horizon line.  I had to retake the photos because I made the bottom hang horizontally on my first attempt.  I got a wave of seasickness when I looked at the picture on the screen and realized the horizon was definitely NOT level.

I think I will still tweak the rock on the left a little bit and add another small one in the foreground.  The yellow dandelions still need stems and leaves but I'm pretty pleased with this so far.  My drawing classes have helped tremendously when doing this piece.  I can "see" in my mind where highlights and shadows might fall if I were doing this in paint.  The stitching comes next.  That really pulls everything together and helps the raw edges blend together almost invisibly. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't Mind the Painter's Tape!

Yes, I know, I know, I need a design board so I can pin up works in progress.  One thing most art quilters learn  is that as you work on a piece, you should view it in a vertical position from time to time.  It is truly amazing the differences that appear when you take a project off the flat table and hang it on the wall.  Shape, size, color and perspective can all change in an instant.  Unless you're Jackson Pollock throwing paint around on the floor, most painters work on a vertical canvas for a very good reason.  The eye sees the relationship of all the elements in a more natural plain.  And, color is reflected differently in the vertical orientation as well.  This is true for fabric as well as paint.

So, here is my latest workings, a commission piece, in progress.  I cut up parts and pieces of fabrics where they have the color or texture I'm looking for.  All the pieces are backed with a fusible web (I'm partial to Lite Steam-a-Seam2).  Basically I am trying to "paint" with fabric the way one would use real paint.  At this point I'm working my way from the horizon forward, fusing little bits in place as I go.  Standing back at a distance to check perspective is a definite must in this situation.  So far so good, I think.

Here are a couple of the inspiration photos that were taken along the Oregon coast between the towns of Florence and Yachats.  There are some nice stretches of beach surrounded by rocky outcroppings.  These can create dramatic wave action.  While my scene does not exist exactly, it is a good representation of that stretch of wild coastline.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to Gardening, Back to Nature .... Back to Blogging

The weather is warming up a little bit.  At least I feel that way since I seem to be wearing one less layer these days.  I have my raised bed boxes in place and filled with a layer of half decomposed leaves from from last Fall.  The next big step is to have several yards of garden mix dumped in my driveway to fill those boxes.  I'm not looking forward to the wheel barrel loads nearly as much as I'm looking forward to the summer harvest.

Anyway, I had so much fun making "Fresh Vegetables" last year, that I decided to make three individual pieces with the similar theme.  "Fresh Vegetables" has sold so I decided to replace them with these larger individual scenes.  I loved picking out all the fun fabrics.  Mixing checks, plaids, dots, and whatever other texture is in my famous stash gives me that creative rush.  Of course, it leaves my fabric shelves in a huge mess because no pile gets unturned.  Fortunately, there are plenty of rainy days in Oregon to be spent reorganizing.

These three pieces can be seen in a show titled "Back to Nature" at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral at 147 NW 19th (at Everett), in Portland, Oregon.  The show will be open for viewing until April 27, 2011 and is a show put together by the members of High Fiber Diet art quilt group.

Enjoy the colors of these and enjoy the promise of spring weather and getting outside ... SOON!