Kodiak Bears!

I’ve just returned from a teaching trip to Alaska and had the good fortune to spend time on Kodiak Island with the Kodiak Bear Paw Quilters. We had three days of workshops and then I stayed an additional three days to explore the area. I went on a trip of a life time, bear watching. We flew in a float plane for an hour to a remote area on the Fraser River near a fish ladder where we could observe Kodiak bears fishing for salmon. We saw five bears. The 900 lb mama with two second summer cubs were the most photogenic. This was an incredible experience! Despite the mist and rain, we had excellent views. The bears crossed the river and came up on the trail very close to us. Our pilot was not concerned and reassured us that these bears are well fed on salmon and salmon berries and were not interested in us!

The following day, I had dinner at the Old River Inn and spied this bear quilt on the wall. There was no label on the back and the restaurant staff did not know the maker of the quilt. It’s a pretty good representation, even down to the massive claws!

Inspiration from a Navajo Rug

In May, I taught in Santa Rosa at two quilt guilds and stayed in the lovely home of quilter Janet Tonkin. Several years ago, Janet purchased a Navajo hand woven rug at the Hurbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ. The 20″ x 30″ rug was woven on a loom by Lenora Davis and the style is Two Grey Hills. Janet has it displayed on a wall in her home. This rug inspired her to design a quilt using the rug pattern as a guide. She was able to break the pattern down into squares and rectangles to piece this beautiful replica. Here are the quilt and rug side-by-side.

As you can see, Janet added red to her quilt and used grey tones rather than the browner tones in the rug. The quilt is about twice the size of the rug. Janet has it folded over the back of a grey couch in her living room where it is a pleasing addition to the decor and can be used as a large lap-quilt on cold evenings.

Biltmore, Asheville, NC

In early June, I was a member of the faculty at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium hosted by the Asheville Quilters’ Guild. During the Symposium, several of us went on a tour of Chihuly Nights at Biltmore, the first art exhibition in Biltmore’s historic gardens and the first garden exhibition of Chihuly’s works in North Carolina. The Biltmore House and gardens is a spectacular estate officially opened by George Vanderbilt on Christmas Eve, 1985.

We arrived in time to see the house and gardens with Chuhuly’s colorful organic glass creations in daylight and were then treated to a gorgeous sunset.

As darkness fell, the glass sculptures were illuminated and took on a a new dimension and vibrancy. Here’s a daylight and night time shot of the same installation.

The next two use the existing stone wall and statues and the exterior of the house as backdrops to display these amazing pieces. Then follows the Electric Yellow and Deep Coral Tower and the Alabaster and Amber Spire Towers.

As quilters, we don’t always know what exactly inspires us in our work. In addition be being enjoyable, taking the opportunity to look at other art forms is always beneficial and adds to our store of experiences from which to draw our ideas.

 

 

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Sisters, OR for the 43rd Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. I was traveling with a P & Q Tours group of 42 quilters from the UK. They began their tour by staying on Bainbridge Island where they joined in the 4th July festivities and watched our home town parade. They had a day to explore Seattle too. On their third day, I did a lecture for them in Port Gamble and they visited our lovely store, Quilted Strait. Then we did an evening boat trip to Blake Island for a salmon dinner at the lodge. We went on to Portland via Mount St Helens and then to Bend for a week of visiting quilt stores, quilter’s studios, sight seeing (Crater Lake and the High Desert Museum), and various quilting activities culminating in the magnificent outdoor show in Sisters. Here are some general views of the quilts all over the buildings and I will post more from a variety of exhibits in the coming weeks.

The UK Quilters brought several quilts for a special exhibit and we had a group photo by their display, (more on their quilts in a later blog).

 

North Carolina Quilt Symposium quilt show

In early July, I was 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. Their quilt show featured the work of the teachers and I’ve posted pictures of my contribution in an earlier blog. Here, I feature the incredible thread painted quilts of author and quilt artist Lea McComas from Colorado. Leah writes, “My work is representational with visual images that touch memory and emotion, forcing them to come forward in our consciousness for fresh analysis.” Check out her website.

“Crossing over, speaks to the subjugation of one culture by another. The title alludes to the cultural turmoil and change that would be forthcoming.” This is my favorite of Lea’s quilts that was displayed. The incredible detail of thread painting on this pair of quilts bring the scene to life, and she is able to convey all the different textures, creating the figures and their clothing, horses, water and more. These amazing quilts have dimension, depth and richness.

Bike Boys depicts cyclists on the The Fowler Sextuplet which was promoted at the Denver Cycle show in1896. The composition incorporates 91 fabrics in the fabric collage base, and was thread-painted with 114 threads, (approximately 9 miles of stitching!).

The Cobbler, is a portrait of a cobbler in Turkey. Power is Knowledge, shows African boys who live in a village without electricity. A solar lantern allows them to study after dark and education is their bridge to a better life.

Teaching at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium

At the beginning of June, I was a faculty member for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, hosted this year by the Asheville Quilters’ Guild in Asheville on the campus of the University of NC. It was a wonderful four day event with 17 national teachers and 350 attendees. I taught two full-day workshops and one half day. It’s always a joy to see my students’ work develop and there is such a variety of fabric choices making for very differing results. Here’s a sampling from my Op-Art Kaleidoscope class, where students made large Kaleidoscope blocks, cut them into nine pieces and rearranged the parts to create these new blocks. This technique works well for batik fabrics, as shown below.

The multicolored scrambling of the block parts rather than only using two fabrics, made for an interesting variety of blocks. This student went to town on her assembly-line piecing and created quite the pile of kite and wedge pairs! Another student from my other full-day class, the Gateway to Mongolia, worked in the dorm room to complete the whole quilt top which she brought to show me at the end of the symposium. I love the enthusiasm of these ladies and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Southern Region Forest Service quilt celebrating 100 years

On my recent trip to the Asheville area to teach at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium, I stayed an extra three days to explore the area. I headed southwest to the Pisgah National Forest and saw this beautiful hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt hanging at one of the park information centers.

As you can see from the legends in the borders, the quilt was made in 2005 to celebrate 100 years of service caring for the land in the Southern Region. Each of the southern states from the east coast to as far west as Texas provided quilt blocks representing their area. Here are some detailed shots. There is a map showing the states which are part of this Southern Region, and on the right, a block from the Interagency Wildland Firefighters and Support group depicting Smokey the Bear.

Here the blocks from the Cherokee National Forest and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The block for North Carolina depicts a hiker silhouetted with a waterfall behind. The picture on the right is of Looking Glass Falls which is just a few miles down the road from the Center where the quilt is hanging. The waterfalls were spectacular and very swollen. The locals enthused that they had never seen so much water gushing. The area had over 20″ of rain in a two week period just before I arrived. I was blessed with three clear sunny days to explore the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway and experience the glorious natural beauty there.

 

North Carolina Quilt Symposium, Asheville, NC

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.

Quilt Garden, Asheville Arboretum, NC

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.