Monday, April 23, 2012

Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World

Imagine my joy opening my mail to this!
Martha, you have done it again:  The cover is beautifully simple with paper that is slick yet soft and a raised edge on the quilt so you can feel the that.  You would never imagine the amount of beauty contained within such a portable size.

In this format, Martha has given us the best of both worlds with in-depth artist interviews combined with pages of organized, drool-over beauty.

The FLOWERS section contains photography that makes you feel as if you could just pluck one from the page.

The THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACKBIRD exhibit was not what I expected.  Not being a big bird fan myself (although I do love Big Bird:), I was pleasantly surprised by all the variations on a theme and how the artists brought themselves to it.  The lesson being  that even when you aren't excited about a subject matter, there is still appreciation for the process to be had if you open yourself up to it.

Ginny Eckley creates such color depth in her paintings as does Sally Dillon.  Their work again reinforced my discovery that I am repeatedly drawn to the silk paintings for their fluidness and depth.

As a beginner or self-taught artist, this book along with the MASTERS series are great resources for defining what techniques you are drawn to and deserve greater research.  When I read a process and find my eyes glazing over after step 3, then I know I am not interested in pursuing that technique.  Don't mistake disinterest in a technique for not being in awe of what the artist can accomplish though.

Technique, talent, and variety abound from Cassandra Williams to Betty Busby to Gabrielle Paquin.
Annemieke Mein's nature work is exquisite in spite of looking at bugs.
Katherine K. Allen's process really intrigues and excites me.  In my mind I would love this process but reality is that I am too weird about getting dirty to be out collecting nature:)
Dottie Moore-  First of all, I so love and admire the beauty of trees, and in Dottie's skillful hands their textural beauty is mesmerizing.
Nancy G Cook- I have followed Nancy's work for a few years now and am always in awe of the seemingly simple beauty she brings to cloth. 

Thank you again, Martha, for a must have for any library especially anyone enthralled with the wonder of nature.  Thank you artists for your continued push for excellence.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Blog Tour's a comin'

Starting Monday, April 30th, Quiltmaker's 100 Block Blog Tour will be in full swing.  This is Volume 5 and my block, Patriotic Pinwheels is in!

Every tour is full of chances to win fun prizes like free copies of the magazine and the signed original blocks too.

So join me on Wednesday, May 2nd for a fun variation of my block and opportunities to win giveaways from myself and Quiltmaker. .
See you around the block:))

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What have you been doing the last 2 months?? Final

Once home from my VA/NC trip it was time to kick it into high gear.  The spring tradeshow for the quilt industry is in May and I had a lot to do before then. Before I could start anything though, the dreaded taxes had to be done.  It would be so nice to be uber organized but no, receipts had to be organized and blah-blah-blah:)

After they were done though I got to the fun part--Finishing quilts and making final decisions about how my booth will look!  Patterns are heading to the printer very soon and there will be fresh new designs for everyone- Piecers and Paper Piecers, Appliquers, Red work enthusiasts....

Thankfully this year I found a long-arm quilter that I meshed with who took on the task of my 4 larger projects.  She seems to really understand what I like and they are coming back one by one looking fantastic!  It is like finding a new hair stylist whenever I move...hate that.
So above and below you will see small details of 2 new designs and Kathy's beautiful quilting.
Kansas City here I come!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What have you been doing the last 2 months?? Part 2

Thought I would share some of the beauty from the Hampton, Mid Atlantic show before finishing my trip story.  I take pics of all the write ups for the quilts but blogger kept placing them sideways so you will just have to see my write up:)
I will start with a couple of my friends from North Carolina.....

Eileen Williams
Shell Study #1
Katherine McNeese
In the Beginning
From the Bending the Rules Exhibit of the VA and NC Carolina Artists 
Now to some of the show that I was fascinated by-  We will start with Linda M Roy who won Best of Show.  I know her work immediately upon seeing it and am always intrigued and impressed by the amount of detailing.

Linda M Roy
Vintage Button Bouquet
Best of Show
I think you will see that for the last few years I have been infatuated with the actual quilting of the quilts.  Therefore I spend a lot of my shutter time on the quilting details.

Judith Heyward
Summer Soiree
  Look at the gorgeous applique and quilting....

Karen Marchetti
The quilting here is phenomenal and I was intrigued by the little circle type stitches (below in the white area) that have a starburst effect...are they just circles and the thread makes that look???

Wonderlust Detail

Carolyn True Ito
Red & White Delight
Having done my first Cathedral Window (very small) piece this past year, I was in lust with this one!  There was much discussion between my mom, myself, and another quilter as to whether the color placement alone was causing this illusion that there are two different blocks at work here???  To me the blocks through the center don't look like the same blocks to either corner....What do you think?

While in Hampton, my mother and I took a couple of classes.  Blogger rotated it but I think you can see that there are 2 little crab molas here...This was our class with Phyllis Twigg Hatcher.  The stitching really changes the look of the crab.
Neither of us were too intrigued by this until we got into the class. We signed up without really researching it.  I have to say that although I won't be making molas, the class itself was fun due to the history lesson Phyllis gives while teaching.  She has a wonderful slide show about the people who make these.  So I gave Mom my crab and once home she found the perfect fabric to accent the mola concept.  This will be an adorable table runner once completely done!

Part of my visit to VA was to take my mom to DC for a few days.  We had so much fun walking around the city and the weather was absolutely gorgeous for early March... 70s. 
The flowers were blooming and this little purple one is just so vibrant.  Anyone know the name??
Here is my beautiful mom in a moment of Zen in the garden behind the Castle building of the Smithsonian...All the magnolias were in bloom!

We stayed in Alexandria where we could walk the Torpedo Factory and the shops and restaurants.  It was a very girls favorite!

Before we headed back to Mom's we took a tour of Mt. Vernon.  It is so surreal to walk the same floors and touch the same banister that George Washington touched.

My VA portion of my trip ended with my parents and I going to see Wicked---SO COOL!!  I did not read the book but loved the story and the sets and the costumes and the music.  The performers gave you goosebumps and I once again longed to be on the stage!
Opening Night at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
I ended my long trip with a visit to my older daughter back in NC.  It was wonderful that I started and ended with daughter one-on-one time.  Both girls were very open to doing movie double feature days so I was able to catch up on movies my husband wouldn't dare see:)  I miss them so much and am thankful to have had that time with them!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What have you been doing the last 2 months?? Part 1

Mid February I headed to North Carolina to visit my younger daughter.  From there I headed to Virginia to visit my mother and attend the Mancuso Mid-Atlantic show in Hampton, VA.  I have gotten very spoiled being juried into the show every year for the last 5 years.  This is my 2012 entry and soon to be pattern.  These colors just sing to me.
Juried entry, Mancuso Mid-Atlantic show.
Simply Sweet detail
This quilt is hand appliqued, hand quilted, and hand beaded.  Quilt designs come easy to me but the actual quilting designs are harder...all that blank space is like looking at a blank piece of paper when you are expected to write something.  Thankfully over time the meditation of applique brought me some fun designs to play with and I was very happy with what I came up with.

SimplySweet detail of center.
In the second detail photo, you can see the actual quilting stitches that I did in different colors of variegated threads from Weeks Dye Works.  I used their floss for years when I cross stitched and was delighted to find they have quilting thread now too in lovely colors.

You can also see more of the beading.  Stopping was so hard and thankfully the deadline was there to tell me to stop beading.  At one point I wanted to bead the entire border...the gold beads looked so wonderful on the purple border!
In the first photo you can see the border beads just in the corners.

How do you know when to stop a project?