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Monday, October 5, 2015

Precious Land

It has been a long summer of sewing deadlines but it is all good.  I have stayed true to my commitment to produce more work and, hopefully, better work this year.  I still have several deadlines between now and the end of the year but I am looking forward to when I can assess how things went. 
This is one of the latest pieces I finished.  Precious Land along with Rift Valley were my entries into the SAQA Call to Artists for their next show, Concrete and Grasslands.  I won't know until November if either was accepted.  I will keep my fingers crossed but I feel very good about this latest piece. Here is a detail of the larger piece.  This was made with hand-dyed and commercial cottons with a large amount of free-motion stitching.  It has one long vertical seam in it so I can almost say it is pieced.  However, the majority of the quilt is raw edge applique.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Summer Goes Fast

This has been the summer of quilting frenzy.  I made it a goal this year to enter more shows than I have ever done previously.  So far, I have kept to that goal very well with the unfortunate exception of the entry I thought I submitted only to discover AFTER the deadline that I apparently never hit the Submit button at the end of the form.  Oh well.  Live and learn. It is a mistake I probably won't make again.

For many of the shows I have been able to use previously made pieces.  The last few years of producing an abundance of work has paid off.  At the SAQA conference this Spring, one speaker talked about how you have to spend time "doing the work" and have a body of works available before you can start entering shows and applying for grants.  I have finally made it to that level, however, many shows still require new work.

The piece pictured above is one of those new pieces.  Titled, Rolling In, it is another of my attempts to depict landscapes more in the abstract.  This was my accepted entry for the statewide SAQA show, Blending Poetry and Cloth.  It is inspired by a Walt Whitman poem called The Voice of the Rain. 

 When I first finished it, two people asked what the big rock was in the upper corner.  Now, if one person had said that, I probably would have blown it off.  When the second person said it, I knew I had not succeeded in making the focus of the piece entirely clear to the viewer.  I added couched lines of a heavy metallic blue thread.  I think it succeeds now and has the added benefit of pushing the background further to the back.  Here is another detail shot of the stitching.

The next piece that I made did not turn out as well as I envisioned but it was accepted into the High Fiber Diet show, Making Our Mark.  We were required to incorporate a specific "chop" design somewhere in our piece.  I included mine as part of the stitching of the bark in one of the trees.  This is not my favorite piece I have ever made but that happens sometimes.  As stated in the book Art and Fear, the more art you make the less failures you will have so I will push on.  This piece is called Fresh Fall.  You can see the "mark" in the lower left corner of the detail image.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Landscape Inspirations

There are times when I hit inspiration overload.  This past weekend our family group spent three days in the part of Oregon that is environmentally known as high desert.  Although the elevations are in the neighborhood of 3,000+ feet above sea level, the landscape can be very arid.   We camped around a man-made lake formed by damming three separate rivers - the Deschutes, the Metolius and Crooked rivers.  It seemed everywhere we went over those three days, the geology and the views of sky and land were breathtaking in any aspect.  Some of these elements will make their way into future art quilts but some will just resonate in my soul for a long time to come.  What a glorious place we live in if we just go out and look around.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

13th Around Oregon Annual

The opening reception at The Arts Center in Corvallis was well attended this evening. The lovely, summer-like evening was probably a contributing factor.  There was a wonderful selection of pieces chosen by the juror Johanna Seasonwein.  The show includes painting, photography, basketry, mixed-media, 3D, furniture and one textile piece, my Rift Valley.  Johanna's desire to include a wide range of media resulted in a beautiful, interesting show.

Here is my piece hanging in the stage area.  Watch those appetizers, please!

The Arts Center is a lovely old Gothic Revival style church and is a beautiful venue for showing art.  What I like about this place is that they never crowd the art.  Each piece gets a chance to really shine on its own.  Below is one of the winners of the four Juror's Awards.  It is Silver Salmon by Analee Fuentes.  

Here's The Art Center from the outside.  Pretty cool building!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Conference Clips

 The 2015 SAQA conference opened on Thursday evening with the Ice Breaker event and opening remarks.  Everyone had a few minutes to follow the directions of Lyric Kinard in making an intuitive piece of art with just the materials in the center of the table.  Halfway through we switched tables and pieces of art.  I'm not sure these were masterpieces but it got everyone talking and laughing together.  Fiberlandia had been launched!
 Friday started bright and early at 8:30 AM.  Not sure we were all ready for the bright part! SAQA president, Kris Sazaki, got our attention and enthusiasm level to a high point in no time, though. Our first speaker was Namita Gupta Wiggers.  Quilt: A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet had us all thinking about the quilt as a deeper form of art than just a lovely piece hanging on a wall.

I attended two break-out sessions that day as well. Carolyn Higgins talked about mastering social media as an effective tool for marketing your work.  I can check some of her suggestions off the list but it looks like I should bite the bullet and have an actual web site, in addition to this blog.  Ugh!  Sometimes we forget that as artists the marketing part can take as much time as the making of the art. I did love her comment that Pinterest is like potato chips for the eyes.

The second session was an excellent presentation by Sue Reno on how artists can develop and maintain a daily artistic practice.  Besides her own suggestions, she shared the remarks from 16 successfully practicing art quilters and what worked for them.  Many of the ideas I already employ to get me into the studio and working but some were new things to try.  It was very helpful to hear how some had many other responsibilities to juggle and still made time for studio work.

Rosalie Dace of South Africa led a panel of international students after lunch.  They talked about what influenced their artistic style and how they, too, found balance between their creative lives and their studies and home life.  The slides of their work were really enjoyable.

That evening was the Maker Space event in a banquet room of the Doubletree Hotel.  There were 10 tables set up with someone at each demonstrating a technique of some sort.  I was one of the demonstrators, doing small, simple landscapes using fusible web.  This is me talking until my voice was hoarse.  It must have been a success because the noise level in the room was very high!

 Below is my friend Georgia French demonstrating needle-felting by machine.  She said her machines were humming away all evening.  It was a fast, and long, 3 hours.

The next morning we had an outstanding talk by artist Maria Shell who lives in a remote area of Alaska.  Despite that, she has been prolifically showing in her own state well as across the country.  She gave us many good tips to get into shows but the main three were:  1 - Do the work. Have at least 10 to 20 pieces ready to be entered before starting.  2 - Enter as many shows as you can that accept fiber art.  Follow the entry directions to the letter. 3 - Don't be discouraged by rejection.  She only gets accepted to about 40 percent of the shows she applies for.  She does think Visions has a special rejection stamp with her name on it, though.

We also had a panel of local textile artists from the Oregon College of Art and Craft.  The slides of their work were fascinating and the wide variety of artistic interpretations was delightful.  It will be fun to follow their progress as they work through to graduation.  The students are Molly Eno, Melina Bishop, Kaylin Francis and Tyler Peterson.

The afternoon was open to anyone who wanted to take a tour of a part of Portland.  I took one car load to the Alberta Arts District in north Portland.  We had a lovely lunch at a French-style bistro and then explored the shops and galleries up and down the street.  Here is Sherrie enjoying a shady moment in the doorway of the Guardino Gallery.  We loved having the sun out the whole weekend so out out-of-state visitors could really enjoy the natural beauty of Oregon.  One group even took a trip up the Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls.

We got back in time for a nap (yes!) and time to freshen up for the Wild About SAQA dinner and silent auction of small quilts.  The dinner selections were delicious and then the fun began.  Everyone had some time before and during dinner to bid on their favorite pieces.  There were over 100 donations so it took some time to look and decide and then keep up on your bid sheets.
Here are two examples of the selections.  Each one was originally 6" by 8" and then they were matted and put into plastic sleeves.  The Mt. Hood rendition is mine which I made to look like the badges that the "Portland experts" wore all weekend.  The second one is a lovely little piece made by Terry Grant.

Sunday ended with remarks by Beth Smith and Charlotte Bird on the inner workings of Quilt Visions and how to successfully enter the show.  Unless you have actually mounted and curated a show, you have no idea how much work they can be. 

We ended the conference with a panel of four local artists led by Jeannette Di Nicolis Meyer.  They had actual pieces there to see along with slides of their work.  They were Sidnee Snell, Jean Wells Keenan, Bonnie Bucknam and Sheila Finzer.  Although I know all four women, it was still interesting to hear their stories of how they got to the level of achievement that they enjoy today.  No one is resting on their laurels though and we can all hope to see more of their work in the future.

And, this is now, officially, the longest post I've ever written.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rift Valley moves on

Rift Valley has been accepted into the Around Oregon Annual at The Arts Center in Corvallis.  The show opens Friday, May 29th with a reception and juror's talk from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  There is also a Brown Bag Artist Talk at noon on June 4th.  The show runs through July 11th.  The Arts Center is located at 700 SW Madison, Corvallis, OR.  For more information go to
Currently this piece is being shown at the last venue for the statewide SAQA traveling show, Exploring Layers.  This show is up at the Artist In Residence gallery at Pioneer Place in Portland, next to the Mark Wooley Gallery. It really is a big beautiful space and the show looks great there.  That show is on display through May 18th. Stop in if you are in downtown Portland before then.  Here are some images from the show.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Katano dying workshop

The 2015 SAQA Fiberlandia conference is over.  As they always are, the conference was alternately energizing and exhausting.  There is so much to take in, learn from and be inspired by that it usually takes several days to decompress and filter all the experiences through one's brain.  I was pretty tired by the time I got to yesterday's afternoon workshop with Ana Lisa Hedstrom but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  Ana Lisa did a marvelous job of passing along the very beginning skills of doing katano shibori dying which is using stitching (in this case machine stitching) to act as a resist to the fabric dye.  I was too busy stitching to get a picture of everyone bent over their machines but here we are bringing the samples up out of the dye pots.
We couldn't wait to get all those little sodden pieces distributed to the correct person and start ripping open the stitches.  The four hours went by in a flash.  Below are my four samples that were rinsed out once again today and ironed flat.  My stitching lines on the two tan pieces are pretty light but I thought the blue samples came out great.  They look like x-rays of plants.  Can you see the meadow grasses on the far right and the fan palm leaf next to it? Pretty cool. I can't wait to try more of this.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Flying My Freak Flag

I spent some time yesterday doing a trial run of my installation piece that will be part of the Moving Outside exhibit at Portland's Trinity Episcopal Cathedral starting on Wednesday, April 29.  Of course, the tree I will be working with is going to be completely different than this one in my front yard, but I had to see exactly how my vision might work out.  It turned out to be easier than I was expecting.  Most of the vintage linens are tied together with a light green ribbon but I discovered that pins will be needed in some spots. About now I was wondering what the neighbors were thinking.

My piece is called Fragments and I am writing small words or phrases on the ribbons that are recollections of childhood and general life experiences, some good, some bad.  I trialed the larger peach ribbon and decided it is too big.  The smaller green ribbon is better but I did go today and buy one that is just one size wider. It does show up better.
The only change I need to make in the actual installation is to cover the round doily with another corner of lace.  The way it looks here it reminds me of a lost hubcap that someone has nailed to a tree.  Good thing I tried this at home first.  Once the show is hung in the Cathedral courtyard I will post pictures of my actual piece and the other pieces as well.

On another note, the badges for the volunteers at the SAQA conference, starting Thursday, are done and ready to be delivered.  Each one came out slightly different from the next one.  I actually made 13 because one of them was my prototype on which I made all my mistakes.  I hope everyone enjoys wearing them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SAQA and Fiberlandia

It's only a few weeks away!  SAQA's (Studio Art Quilt Associates) national conference is coming to Portland, April 30 through May 2.  All the Oregon members are excited to have the conference in our own part of the world.  These conferences are a great time to connect with any folks whose names we have seen in publications over the years but never met in person and reconnect with old acquaintances.  Many new friendships are made and everyone goes home re-energized to keep creating and networking.

The little quilt pictured above is my donation to the fund-raising auction that will be held the weekend of the conference.  It is small, just 6" by 8" and will have a mat around it for the auction.  I called it Fiberlandia in honor of the conference being held here in Willamette Valley country.  This could easily be a scene from the Hood River Valley, just east of Portland, as well.  I'm hoping the bidding will be high on this piece since I made it to complement the 12 badges I am also making for the local volunteers to wear.

These are even smaller than the donation quilt.  They will be about 3" square when finished.  I'm still trying to decide how I will put the lettering on.  I'd like to have it on a piece of white silk organza (attached just on the edges) so it could be removed later if the recipient wanted it to keep as a little piece of art.  I'll see how that goes once the main stitching is finished on each piece.  Hopefully, they will be desirable enough to generate a lot of bidding on the larger piece.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Classroom is Open!

Yes, I am up and running.  This is Judy and Viki, my first students in the new space.  We had a blast doing Thermofax screen printing.  I had to think hard about buying a thermofax machine but I think it will get used often enough to make it worth the purchase.  Judy used a design from one of her machine embroidery programs that she plans to combine with stitching. Viki worked with some beautiful hand-dyed fabrics to further enhance them.

Here  are a few pictures of the classroom in (kind of) magazine photo state.  It can't be too tidy or I can't find anything!

Right behind me is an area with a small sink and washer and dryer for working with dying projects.  I hung a quilt there that was made by Terry Howard Grant called "When It Rains I make My Own Sunshine".  I will have to protect it with a plastic sheet when working with paints or dye.

I even have a pretty little powder room.

It is going to be a really fun space to work in as my own studio as well as being a delightful classroom space.  I will try to post  pictures of what this room looked like before it was transformed by my dear contractor husband.  It has taken about 6 months of work on his part, in the beginning, and then on my part getting it organized.  
Here is how I used the closet that formerly had wooden bi-fold doors across the front.  I love these baskets from Ikea for storing fabric.  They get a little heavy it I stack the fabric too high but it is very easy to see what is in each one.  I organize according to color mostly but hand-dyed and themed fabrics also get their own basket.

Watch for more projects and classroom fun to come!