A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune to be a member of the teaching faculty at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium hosted by the Asheville Quilters’ Guild. 350 quilters were in attendance for the four days of events and classes from 17 teachers on the campus of the University of NC in Asheville. We had a wonderful time and the Asheville quilters worked tirelessly to give us a warm welcome and to make everything run smoothly. Here is the banner which was ceremoniously passed along to the group hosting the event, “Quilt Stock”, next year at Lake Junaluska not far from Asheville. I love the quilt in the backdrop.
The quilt show was an exhibit of the teachers’ work and we were each invited to submit five quilts to represent our work and published material. My five quilts were all hung toether. Here are all five and a single shot of Winter Garden, my Bear’s Paw variations, featured in my book, Traditional Quilts with a Twist.
The other four quilt are as follows, from left to right:
Retro-Radiation made from 16 of my Op-Art Kaleidoscope blocks.
Gateway to Mongolia is based on a design from the door of a yurt. This Olzii symbol is thought to bring long life and prosperity and in the Buddhist faith it symbolizes the universe and never-ending cycles of life and death.
Bainbridge Delft, the blue and white quilt, is made from 24 of my original 16-piece Bargello blocks and is featured in my book, Bargello Quilts with a Twist. The book may be ordered from my on-line store.
Brideshead Radiance, is a 28″ Feathered Star with borders added. The borders were inspired by a wooden table with an inlaid wooden pattern which I saw at Castle Howard in Yorkshire, UK. The movie, Brideshead Revisited was filmed there, hence the name of the quilt.
Patterns are available for Gateway to Mongolia, Brideshead Radiance and the Op-Art Kaleidoscope technique at my on-line store. For the Op-Art Kaleidoscope technique, check out my YouTube Videos.
I was recently teaching at the North Carolina Quilting Symposium in Asheville. My quilting host took me to the Arboretum where there is this wonderful quilt garden. The blocks contain a variety of plants of different colors to display the patterns and the concrete sashing helps to accentuate the overall design.
The Arboretum’s Quilt Garden represents traditional quilt block patterns common to the Southern Appalachian region, in this case the maple leaf. The carpet plantings in masses of harmonious or contrasting colored foliage and flowers last for one season. The garden is replanted each season with a block pattern that changes every two years. Plants appropriate to the growing season are selected and grown for spring, summer and fall. In winter, the quilt garden may be filled with hardy plants or covered in contrasting colored mulch or stone. The garden is best viewed from an elevated spot as in the photo above. Here are two more pictures taken from the ground level. On the left you can see the viewing area with fence at the back. This is a great place to visit if you are in the area.
The Bainbridge Museum of Art (BIMA) will be hosting its annual BIMA Bash fundraising event on June 8th with music, refreshments and a silent auction, followed the next day by a dinner with a live auction. I have donated a quilt which will be auctioned to help support this top-notch museum right here on Bainbridge Island. My quilt, Ferntastic Star, was made for a Kitsap Quilters’ Guild challenge several years ago. The challenge was to use the floral fabric and make any “star” quilt. I printed the ferns using fabric paints and ferns from my yard. I machine quilted it to accentuate the ferns and flowers on the floral fabric. Size is approximately 45 x 45″.
In mid-May, I taught at two quilt guilds in Santa Rosa. My host was a guild member, Janet Tonkin. Janet took me to see a small exhibit of her quilts at her local church. The Santa Rosa Quilt Guild has a quilt show coming up and the theme for their challenge this year is fire, in light of the horrendous wildfires that swept through Sonoma County last fall . Here is the quilt that Janet made, Sonoma Strong, approximately 24″ x 24″.
Janet’s small quilt conveys the all consuming power of the fire and the destruction it caused. The black tree hanger is a perfect complement. In Santa Rosa, over 5,000 houses were destroyed by the fire and the impact on the whole community is immense. There are entire neighborhoods that were wiped out. The rubble has been removed and the lots now stand flat and bare. Re-building is not happening very quickly. Many people have moved away, or are still fighting their insurance companies to receive their claims. The hillsides have charred trees, several of which have survived and have small green areas on the tops and shoots sprouting away at the base of their trunks. The undergrowth is coming back with lush green grass and wild flowers. In the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, 17 guild members, “Cinder Sisters”, lost their homes and other guild members have reached out to help them.
At the Guild meetings, these bundles of fabric are free for the “Cinder Sisters”. Other guild members may purchase them and the money goes to the fire victims to help them replace their quilting tools and anything else that they need. A teacher who had recently taught at the guild just before the fires, was teaching at a Texas guild and suggested a fat-quarter drive for the fire victims. Word spread quickly after there was a post on the “Quilt Along with Pat Sloan” Facebook page. 908 packages arrived from 80 quilt guilds around the nation, donors from 49 of the 50 states, and from overseas (Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, and Scotland). Someone in the guild had a new shed which was used to house and sort all the fabric and guild members put together the bundles. The amount received was enough to fill 30 pick-up trucks! 178 finished quilts and 52 tops were also received; 124 of those quilts have been distributed to fire victims. Even after the request for donations to stop, more kept coming but are now down to a trickle. This demonstrates, once again, that quilters are big-hearted and very generous.
One of the many aspects I love about teaching, is being introduced to useful quilting “stuff” by my students. A lady in my class for the Metropolitan Patchwork Society in Beaverton, OR, had this great little travel case for storing quilting tools. It is supported by a plastic display rack, approximately 8″ x 6.5″. The purple cover flap is hanging down the back and flips over to close the case with the velcro strip. This is so handy for all the small tools and gadgets that quilters like to carry and have at their disposal.
This nifty travel case was designed by Pearl Pereira and the pattern is available for purchase at her on-line store.
I recently taught my Gateway to Mongolia class at the Metropolitan Patchwork Society in Beaverton, OR. The pattern is available from my on-line store. Here is what one of my students made. This beautiful Ölzii is made from one fabric.
When I first saw the fabric choice that this student brought to class, I wasn’t sure how the fabrics would work together. However, she was able to fussy-cut from selected areas of one fabric to create the desired effect and it is very successful. She used motifs in the pattern for the intersecting squares of the Ölzii design and sections of fabric that changed from lighter to darker green instead three different fabrics for a color gradation. The fabric in the outer edges of the Ölzii also came from this fabric. It really pops on the black background and we were delighted with the results. Here are another two, one on a light background and the other on a dark background. Both students did a fine job on achieving the woven effect with a good gradation of colors.
While I was in the Portland area to teach in Beaverton, I visited my good friend Nancy Watts, who has worked with me assisting the Mongolian Quilting Center for several years. Nancy had just returned from a Silk Road tour to Uzbekistan and shared her stories. She purchased this amazing suzani at an antique shop in Bukhara. It is at least 100 years old, woven in strips and hand embroidered with silk thread in intricate designs.
Traditionally, brides make these for their husbands. They are used in their yurts as wall hangings, bed coverings, or covers for belongings. The beautiful embroidered motifs all have symbolic significance and meaning: the pomegranate for festivity, peppers to protect from evil spirits, wavy stems for wealth and vitality, tear drops and almonds for abundance, and flowers which are the paradise garden in the desert to bring luck, good health and longevity.
Last month, I taught in the Fort Worth area of TX and was fortunately to be able to visit the Kimbell Art Museum where there was a special exhibit, Lands of Asia, featuring items from the Sam and Myrna Myers Collection. Most of these sumptuous silk kimonos were made for use in the Japanese theater from the early 1600’s to late 1800’s.
The kimono has been worn by both women and men in Japan since the sixteenth century. The T-shape is made from four strips of fabric folded in half and sewn together to form the sleeves and body of a robe that opens in the front. It makes an ideal garment for embellishment with elaborate decorative motifs.
The weavers in Kyoto produced large quantities of brocade with colorful designs and gold and silver thread. Much of it went to the Noh theater where masked actors performed rituals and dance of scenes of mysterious tales to melancholic music. The costumes replaced the stage decoration and needed to evoke the condition and moral qualities of the characters by their colors and their motifs. They are stunningly beautiful with both woven and embroidered designs.
The picture on the right, immediately above, is an exception. This is a fireman’s coat which is reversible. It is made rather like a quilt with layers of padded cotton (batting) between the outside and inside fabrics, all stitched (quilted) together. These thick kimonos were soaked in water when used in fire-fighting and would have been tremendously heavy when saturated.The design on it is a magic feathered cape, which flies in the sky above a stream like a phoenix. This image is drawn from mythology to evoke the notion of rebirth from the embers.
Last month, I taught in the Fort Worth area of TX and was fortunately to be able to visit the Kimbell Art Museum where there was a special exhibit, Lands of Asia, featuring items from the Sam and Myrna Myers Collection. This silk Mandala from Tibet, Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), made from Chinese silk, caught my attention. The simple geometric pattern of triangles made from silk scraps glows and looks luminous. The large scale dragon print in the border is an added bonus.
In Tibet, where imported silks were always in short supply, the practice of making patchwork from silk scraps and recycled donations of clothing became a pious act born of necessity. These Mandalas made from half-square triangles, may have served as sacred diagrams to focus meditation. The number of pieces and their colors and arrangements were linked to numerology and divination. Mandalas were used by Tibetans in daily and religious life for altar coverings and table covers. In the context of Tantric Buddhism, geometric patchworks evoked the matrix of time and space in which the soul was caught in the web of existence.
“Home” is a group exhibition featuring twenty-five artists from the Puget Sound Region. The exhibit is at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, where it will remain until June this year. The “Home” group exhibit was organized by a partnership between Olympic College, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) and Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN). On 26th March, I posted a picture of me standing beside my quilt, Trip Around the Garden, in the exhibition hall. Last Saturday, I spent an afternoon there for a “Meet the Artist” event and noticed how the reflection of my quilt appeared in another artist’s work. We were delighted by this fusion of art!
The center of my quilt is reflected in Matthew X. Curry’s piece, Valet 1, made from Argentinean lignum vitae, stack-laminate, branch, oxidized copper, wall-covering, leather and dried ivy root. The surface of the mirror isn’t quite flat in on the right side especially in the lower corner, so notice how the quilt becomes distorted in this section. Thank you Matthew, for permission to post this.