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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Once in awhile a person just needs to take the leap! Quilting Arts magazine had a contest inviting readers to submit their art quilts for a chance to be on the cover of the magazine. I have never entered anything to one of the magazine's call for artwork but this one was too hard to pass up. I sent several images and this one, "Kelp Forest" was chosen as one of seven finalists.

In the end, it was not chosen as the cover. Kate Themel's "As You Set Out" was the chosen artwork for the Summer 2023 issue. However, this piece, and the other finalists, are all featured inside the magazine. It has been great fun, and quite an honor, to be involved in this project.

 Here are a few detail shots of my quilt which was made using commercial and hand-dyed cottons, one of which is a beautiful blue Japanese ombre sateen. The background kelp fronds are done with an ombre silk chiffon. The stitching is all free-motion by machine. I also embellished it with a few glass beads.



Monday, September 24, 2018

More inspiration, Oregon+

As promised in the last post, I have completed a piece inspired by the photograph of the flower seed fields taken near Silverton, Oregon.  I called it The Flower Seed Grower.  Below is the original photo in case you missed it in the previous post. The size of this piece is 12" by 12".  I find that this is a very saleable size to offer in galleries.  I did a little more thread painting than usual in the flower fields.

I also made another 12" by 12" piece at the same time.  Once again, I found inspiration in one of my photos from Ebey's Prairie on Whidbey Island in Washington State.  I added some Queen Anne's lace flowers to change things up a little bit.  Everyone seems to enjoy any of these scenes with the barbed wire in the foreground.  It must be the contrast of hard with soft, both in the colors and the organic background. I titled this one (what else?) Prairie V.

I hope these little scenes bring you the sense of peace and timelessness that I feel when I am looking at inspiration photos and in the making of them.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Oregon Inspiration

 Spring is a beautiful time in Oregon. In addition to all the blooms in people's yards the farmlands come to life as well. A common sight here are fields full of plants being grown specifically for seed. Of course, in order to have seed there must be flowers. Sometimes there are huge swaths of color covering many acres. One of those seed crops is the mustard plant which looks somewhat like the color of processed mustard. It is hard to take your eyes off these fields when lit up by the sun. I had to make a  piece like this when a friend sent me a picture she took along the roadside a couple of years ago.  

This piece is only 8" by 11" and was made for a benefit auction at the SAQA conference in San Antonio in April. I'm happy to say that it raised $175 for this great organization.

Since the original was a little dark I tweaked it in Photoshop in order to get a truer look.  Here is the edited photo which became the quilted piece.

This Spring she sent me some new photos that could become an even more exciting piece.  We decided it is a field of California poppies in front of a field of erysimum, also known as wallflower.  Such a stunning combination!  I wonder if the farmer planned it that way?  I can't wait to make this one up. Hard to believe but I might even have fabric in these colors already in my stash!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Deception Pass: Where Are We Headed?

Once again inspiration came from a previous visit to Whidbey Island just off the coast of Washington State. The only connection from the mainland to the island is to cross the Deception Pass bridge.  It is actually built as two spans and rises about 180 feet above the water. Above is an image of the bridge taken from Wikipedia and below is my art quilt.

I happened to be there on a sunny, but chilly, September day when the fog was wrapping around the bridge in a fascinating way as it moved inland from Puget Sound. 

Eventually, it did cover the bridge entirely making for an eerie atmosphere as cars and bridge walkers disappeared into the mist. It is the following picture that I have had in my head for some time as a possible design to explore.

When a call to artists went out for a regional SAQA show titled Bridge I knew I had my inspiration hanging in the back of my mind.  Deception Pass: Where Are We Headed? is the result.  I struggled with this one quite a while because the value changes had to be fairly strong in a short distance, in this case 32", but not make huge jumps or it wouldn't "flow". Here is a detail shot of the stitching.

And, just for fun, here's a look at it upside down!  I almost like it better this way but then it wouldn't be the Deception Pass bridge anymore! What do you think?


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Continuing Ispiration

I know I have shown this picture of Ebey's prairie, located on Whidbey Island in the State of Washington, before but I am surprised by how many times I have come back to it for inspiration.  Mostly I have greatly simplified the image as in this 8 x 8 inch piece titled Prairie III.

Most recently, I decided to really delve into more of the details of the photo. I knew perspective would be critical so the angles of the field lines would be crucial.  I might tweak these a bit if I did it over again but this newest work seems to have captured the feeling of spaciousness that I get from looking at the original photo.  This is now my fourth piece that has come from just this one picture, Prairie IV.

Here is a detail image.  I have found that I really love stitching the foreground grasses with their grace and illusion of movement from the breeze.  One lucky break was the blue sky fabric. I had only one small piece left of this and it had lighter areas that ran vertical to way I needed to lay the piece.  Normally I would have wanted the light are to run horizontally but somehow this vertical "stripe" matched up perfectly with the open view to the distant ocean.  I had not enough fabric to move it right or left and still fit into my 12 x 12 inch space.  Sometimes there is inspiration and sometimes there is sheer luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Earthly Treasures show

The show that I and three other artist friends, Terry Grant, Mary Goodson and Chris Brown, have been working toward is finally here. Earthy Treasures was our chosen title since we each are inspired so closely by our Pacific Northwest environment.  Twigs Gallery is part of the Stitchin' Post quilt shop in charming Sisters, Oregon.  This is where the popular Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is held every year.  
The artists reception for our show is on July 22 and runs through August 25.  I know we have been all working steadily, since at least the first of the year, so it is a nice feeling of accomplishment to have everything hung and ready in the gallery.  Here are a couple of pieces that I produced for the show and the inspiration photo following. All but one of these are 12" by 12" in size.

Morning Light 
The photo for this was taken driving on Interstate 5 early one morning.  I just took a quick shot through the rainy car window. It is amazing what phone cameras can capture.

High Mountain Pass
 This picture was taken at a rest stop at the top of the Santiam Pass in the Fall.  A forest fire burned a very large part of this area a few years ago leaving many charred trees. Some of them are now being bleached by constant exposure to the sun and harsh winter weather.  It creates quite an amazing scene of contrasts especially when the vine maple turns fiery red and orange. Mt. Washington is on the horizon.

Here are two more pieces made for this show. I hope to see some friends there!


Prairie III


Monday, June 6, 2016

Weekend Wonders

I had the pleasure of traveling to the southern part of Oregon this last weekend to see two excellent art quilt shows.  Both involve artists that are members of Studio Art Quilt Associates.  The first show was in Medford at the Rogue Gallery.  It is a juried show put up by the members of the Oregon and Southern Washington region of SAQA.  The show is titled Blending Poetry and Cloth.  Each piece is the artist's response to a poem or inspirational quote.  Although the individual poems were not included on the wall tags there is a catalog that shows the title of the related poem.  There are 45 quilts in the show so there was a lot to enjoy.  Here are some views of the gallery and the quilts.

Although there are any wonderful quilts in the show, Mandy Miller's piece Georgia Does Midtown is one of my favorites.  It is pictured here on the far right.  It was inspired by the poem "Chicago" by Carl Sandberg.  It has such great depth and movement. 
Another very dynamic quilt is by Anne Daughtry A Painted Ship done after "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.I think you can see the texture and dimension Anne archived with her choice of fabrics.

I am pleased to say the my piece, Rolling In, was also chosen to be a part of the exhibit.  Mine was inspired by the poem "The Voice of the Rain" by Walt Whitman.

I was also very pleased and proud that the gallery chose this piece to show a portion of on their postcard and as THE image for their listing of the show on the their 2016 schedule of shows.  For as long as I have worked at my craft, it feels good to be finding my voice and earning some recognition.

The second show was the juried international SAQA show Concrete & Grassland at the Grant Pass Museum of Art.  Photography was limited at this venue so I just snuck a quickie of my quilt in the show, Rift Valley.  It was a satisfying way to spend the weekend with others of similar passion.

Monday, May 16, 2016

New/Old Work

Prairie II

The end of 2015 brought me to a new job - in retail work.  The months have flown by since I last posted, while I got "trained up" and went through the holidays.  However, my art work did not lie idle. In December and January I had the honor of being in the Small Pleasures Invitational at the Jacobs Gallery in Eugene, Oregon.  All works had to be no larger than 12" in any one direction.  Prairie II was one of my pieces.  It was inspired by a photograph I took at a place called Ebey's Prairie on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington.  Below is the original photograph.  I think you can see that I greatly simplified the scene.  The good thing about it is that I can come back to this photo again for future ideas.

Prairie I was also part of the Small Pleasures show.   Although this is a marshy scene it is actually a place in what we call Central Oregon, an environment that is considered high plateau desert.  Yes, that's right, Oregon has a vast area that is considered a desert ecosystem.  Although the landscape can be very stark, it has a beauty that can grab my heart.  I have always loved great wide open spaces with an unobstructed view of the sky.

Prairie I
I tried my hand at being a little more abstract in Shangri-La. Moving more toward the abstract has been a struggle for me.  I get caught up in the details too easily.  Often I start with a fairly abstract design as I build my background but then the stitching detail takes me back down the path of life-like representation.  In Prairie I, however, I think it is the detail stitching that makes the piece really shine.  In Shangri-La I was able to hold back a little better. So, the battle of personal style continues.


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.