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 Moonlight Quilters of Sonoma County 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.
I recently taught at three quilt guilds in TX; Arlington Quilters’ Guild, Trinity Valley Quilters’ Guild in Fort Worth, and Quilters’ Guild of Parker County in Weatherford. I visited Quilting Around, the quilt store in Weatherford. The store has a wide selection of fabrics and some beautiful patterns designed by Will Simpson. They are known for their block of the month patterns and for pattern kits. Here’s a little visual tour of the store. They sometimes have quilts for sale and they also collect quilts for donations to local charities. One of the photos shows some of these quilts. It’s worth a visit if you are in the area.
On Saturday, 24th March, I participated in the March for Our Lives in Seattle. I applaud the young people taking a stand for the implementation of common-sense gun regulations and wanted to show my support for this cause. The march was peaceful and there was a feeling of optimism and hope that this is a beginning for positive change. Several of our St. Barnabas Church parishioners participated along with other members of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia including the Bishop. Here I am marching with our church banner, one of my rare applique quilts, made in 2000.
The banner was much admired during the march. This is one of the more challenging quilts that I’ve made.. The Island, church, shield and lettering are done using a combination of hand, machine and fusible applique. The ferry boat was pieced and then the whole thing appliqued onto the background. We have a beautiful red brick church and I expressed my idea of our community extending beyond the parish by quilting lines radiating out from the lit up windows. The blue u-shaped piece in the border was cut from a large piece of fabric so that it could be made from just one piece. The quilt was machine quilted on my domestic machine. It has a split hanging sleeve on the back to accommodate the banner poles.
I spent several weeks working every day on this banner just after my father passed away in the spring of 2000, and the experience was very soothing. I donated it to my church in his memory. He was an Anglican priest and a Canon of Newcastle Cathedral, (U.K.), and this seemed a fitting tribute to his ministry and my fond memories.