ClothPlus Quilt Shop, Prescott Valley, AZ

Earlier this month, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. After my workshop in Prescott Valley, we visited the ClothPlus Quilt Shop, at 6497 E Copper Hill Drive.  From the outside, this place doesn’t look much, but inside this industrial space there’s a great variety of fabrics and plenty of interest. I picked up a couple of nice turquoise fabrics for my current project. There is a large collection of batiks, some wonderful Southwestern fabrics and other theme fabrics.  As well as an abundance of quilting fabrics and notions, they carry home decorating, auto, marine, and RV upholstery and outdoor fabrics. Here’s a visual tour. It’s worth stopping by if you are in the vicinity.

 

Antique hexagon quilt at Lanhydrock House in UK

I saw this stunning hexagon quilt on display at a National Trust property, Lanhydrock House, in Cornwall, UK when I was there at the end of July. The house was built in the early 1700’s and then renovated in Victorian times after a bad fire. The quilt was on the bed in the nanny’s room. My guess is that it dates from the late 1800’s, judging by the Turkey red and the patterned fabrics. On the detailed shot you can see some embroidered crowns on some of the blue hexagons, so perhaps it is from even earlier. If any of you readers can date it more accurately, please write me a reply.

Someone spent hundreds of hours piecing this beautiful quilt and planned the pattern of the colors of hexagons carefully. I love the arrangement of the concentric rings of hexagons with the defining red rows. Even the areas between the red hexagon outlines are well planned in regular patterns with symmetrical spacing of the colors. This is a magnificent quilt.

Inspiring Architecture in Milan, Italy

In July, I spent time in Italy in the Piedmont area with friends who recently moved there from the US and we went to Tuscany together. My last night in Italy was spent at a B & B close to the airport, then I had a morning to explore Milan before flying to the UK. I caught an early bus into the city center of Milan and spent three and a half hours at the Duomo (Gothic cathedral), the Galleria and the Teatro alla Scala. What I saw was fantastic and very inspiring. The sheer scale of the Duomo was so impressing and it was majestic with its towering turrets, magnificent stone carvings and windows. The combination of angular shapes and smooth curves was fascinating, and I felt awed by the grandeur of it all. I’m sure that experiencing something like this influences me when I am designing quilts, even if it’s in a very subtle way.

I climbed up to the roof top for amazing views of the skinny turrets, flying buttresses and the surrounding city.

The Galleria was spectacular too with the arches, domed ceiling, decorated floors and fancy stores such as Gucci and Prada.

 

 

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (5)

I’m continuing from a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about the exhibition of quilts in the barn at Cowslip Workshops, near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. Quilters were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view through a window. This beautiful Celtic Cross quilt, View from my Window, with a background of the Cornish coast was made by my quilting friend from Cornwall, Lesley Coles.

Lesley writes, “Many of my quilts are inspired by Cornwall and the sea I can see through my window. I look over St. Austell Bay and The Gribben headland with the day mark to warn miners of the rocks below. The Celtic Cross, central to this window, represents my faith which is central to my life. The cross was inspired by the stained-glass window at St. Uny Church, Lelant.” I love the stained glass effect with all the different “stone” fabrics in the cross and the pastoral marine scene behind. This is a stunning quilt.

Here is another window quilt made by a local group, the Trevithick Quilters. Cornwall Through the Window of Time is made of 12 blocks pieced and hand appliqued by members of the group. Others in the group assembled and quilted this interesting quilt depicting a variety of local Cornish scenes. The detailed shot shows the remains of an old tin mine on Bodmin Moor.

 

 

Infinity Mirrors art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum

I was fortunate to attend an extraordinary art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in early September. This was hugely popular and my first attempt to get in failed after I queued for two and a half hours and it was sold out. On my second attempt, I went with a friend who had a membership for two at the museum and we were fast tracked to the ticket booth and given a time to attend later in the day. The exhibit, with works dating from 1965-2017, Infinity Mirrors, by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist, was unlike anything I’d seen before. There were six small rooms to enter, just two people at a time, for 20-30 seconds. In these rooms were objects, for example yellow pumpkins with black spots, pink balls with black spots, colored lights, and a series of mirrors to make the objects or lights repeat themselves giving the illusion of infinitely. It was amazing and mind-boggling. The first picture shows my favorite, the Infinity Mirrored Room – Love Forever. There were two peep-holes to look into the room and the lights constantly changed colors. The center mirror shows my hands holding my cell phone to take the picture.

Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots was multiple pink balls covered in black dots. The picture on the left shows the outside and the one on the right, is inside the largest ball with the mirrors and infinity effect.

Yayoi Kusama is indeed obsessed by dots. Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, consists of  white stuffed fabric tubers covered in red dots. The other picture shows me in The Obliteration Room, an interactive environment where everyone was given three colored dots to stick anywhere in this room that was originally totally white. Since I attended the exhibit close to its closing after it had been running for three months, it was hard to find a space that was still white and not covered in colored dots.

Here are a couple of shots of sculptures by this incredible artist. Notice the use of dots again!

The next pictures are snaps I took during a video of the artist talking about her work. I love what she says: “I take each day as a test for how much I can contribute to society and increase peace and love around the world” and “I’m always thinking about how I can make something that people will enjoy and be moved by.” I found this exhibit so inspiring and creative. The bold use of dots, bright colors and lights, and the illusion of space generated by the use of the mirrors were fantastic.

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (4)

I’m continuing from last week when I wrote about the exhibition of quilts in the barn at Cowslip Workshops, near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. The featured quilt today warrants a blog on its own so that you can enjoy the detailed photographs of this stunning piece. Quilters were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view through a window. Kay Vanstowe depicted her own house and garden with colorful flowers and figures in the window observing the view. This quilt, (actually a pair of quilts), is entitled Raffi and his Grandad Looking Through the Window at Coombe: The Effects of Light On and Through Windows.

Kay writes, “I was inspired by this picture of Raffi looking out of the bedroom window. I also wanted to use this lovely piece of Liberty print material (The Garden Flowers) which I bought in Liberty’s, London a few years ago. I was also intrigued by the way the light had different effects on the various windows and glass door and I have tried to replicate this.” Check out the detailed shots to see the intricacies and how the quilting helps to pop highlight all the beautiful floors. I love the blackbird and birdhouse too! This is a charming work of art.

 

 

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (3)

See my blogs from the last two weeks for more on the quilt shop, cafe and classes at Cowslip Workshops. Store owner Jo Colwill recently appropriated one of the large barns at the farm to use as an exhibition space for quilt shows. The inside is freshly painted and the walls were adorned with quilts made by Jo, local teachers and students. Most of Jo’s quilts are quilted by long-arm machine quilter, Sandy Chandler. Quilters in the area were invited to participate in a challenge themed around a view from a window. Some of these quilts will be highlighted in detail in my next two blogs. Here’s a sampling from this barn quilt show.

The row of the pictorial quilts are part of the View from a Window exhibit. The others above were all made by Jo.

The lovely antique-style medallion quilt, Cowslip Perrencombe, was machine pieced and hand appliqued by Anne Payne and machine quilted by Sandy Chandler. The pieced borders add so much to set off the delicate tree in the center. The quilt on the right is a delightful summery beach sampler made by teacher, Helen Brookham as a workshop sample.

Do visit Cowslip Workshops if you are in the Launceston area, (Cornwall, UK).

 

 

Cowslip Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (2)

Last week’s blog introduced you to Cowslip Workshops, a wonderful quilting destination near Launceston in Cornwall, UK. There is a delightful quilting store and a cafe (see last blog). Here I highlight the classroom and the beautiful quilt hanging on the classroom wall. A variety of classes are offered throughout the year including patchwork and quilting, felting, knitting, embroidery, and willow animal sculptures. Usually the maximum number of students is eight to allow enough space for everyone and plenty of individual attention. Jo Colwill, the store owner, teaches many of the patchwork classes and also brings in regional and national teachers. Jo is on the right in the photo in a second, smaller classroom with a student. Here she demos the Bernina sewing machines that she sells.

The beautiful quilt hanging on the back wall of the classroom was made by Jo and she regards it as one of her best works. The applique and hand quilting are exquisite on this gorgeous piece. Here’s a full frontal and a couple of close-ups.

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Cowslips Workshops, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (1)

During my recent trip to Cornwall, UK, I had an unexpected treat after my UK quilting friend, Lesley Coles, told me about Cowslips Workshops. My sister and I went there, and oh, what a gem of a place! This Patchwork store, classrooms, cafe and exhibit space are located on a picturesque farm a couple of miles outside Launceston. Store owner, Jo Colwill resides at the farm and has turned the place into a regional patchwork destination infusing her love of fabric and sewing as well as running a fantastic cafe serving delicious teas and lunches. Here’s a visual tour of the store and cafe. In next week’s blog I’ll illustrate the classroom and the current exhibit in the converted barn.

The store is small but the space is well used. There is a wide selection of fabric, quilting notions, books and patterns. The attractive quilt samples hang from the irregularly shaped walls and ceilings. There’s also delightful whimsical pottery for sale.

Here’s the popular cafe, where the fare is all locally baked and the produce locally grown as much as possible. They even have their own garden growing fresh vegetables.

The lovely quilt on the wall of the cafe, depicting the local church, St. Stephen’s, was made  by the store owner, Jo Colwell.

 

Solar Eclipse Day!

Corona II: Solar Eclipse by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, Port Townsend, WA was named one of the 100 Best American Quilts of the 20th Century. I had the good fortune to see this amazing quilt in a display at Houston in which those top quilts were featured and again in Paducah. The rich colors and composition are fantastic. It is now center stage at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY,  which is located in the path of totality for the national solar eclipse. At 1:22PM tomorrow, August 21st, Paducah will experience over two minutes of darkness in the middle of the day as the shadow of the moon passes across the sun.

Here in Western Washington, we will have 92% of totality around 10 a.m. I’m planning on observing it from the top of a mountain ridge in the Olympic Mountains and have my viewing glasses ready to go. Wherever you are, I hope that if you are experiencing this natural wonder, you will wear safety glasses to view it and enjoy it. If you aren’t in the appropriate geographical zone, you can at least appreciate Caryl’s spectacular quilt!