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!
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.
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.
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″.
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.
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.
In October, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. I stayed at the lovely home of the Programs Chair, Kathleen Bond. Kathleen has an impressive body of work including many hand applique quilts. Her fabric choices and combinations are unusual and often very busy, but she has a way of pulling them altogether to make stunning quilts. I’ve already written two posts highlighting some of Kathleen’s quilts. This post shows a couple of her imaginative quilt backs. Many of us have been tempted to purchase pre-printed fabrics for making stuffed animals, dolls or Christmas ornaments. Here’s a way to use up those fabrics to make your quilt backs more interesting. I love the striped binding too.
My current major quilting project is a commissioned bed-quilt. My client is reasonably local, so we have met several times. I have been to her house to get a feel for the ambiance and her color pallet and she visited me to look at my quilts and tell me what she liked. She wants something traditional and geometrical in purple, magenta, orange and turquoise, and was drawn to my Feathered Star quilts. We decided on a large 28″ Radiant Feathered Star for the center of the quilt with a 9″ compass in the middle.
I fussy-cut the Paula Nadelstern fabric for the star arms. As shown in the photo on the right, the triangles making the feathers are foundation paper pieced and are in a color gradation of oranges. Next, I made four 16″ diamond star blocks, strip-pieced with fussy-cut center diamonds from the same Paula Nadelstern fabric.
I’m now working on four compass blocks and have completed two of them. These are 14″ compasses with 32 points. For these, I am using Robin Long’s strip-piecing method and special ruler. Her technique is really slick and very accurate. It took me about eight hours to make this compass including hand-appliqueing the center circle. Check out Robin’s website. Once all the compasses are finished, I will work out how to put it all together and will be adding smaller Ohio Star blocks between these compass and diamond star blocks. The finished quilt will be in the 80-85″ square size range. In two or three months, I hope I’ll be posting a picture of it!
Earlier in the month, I taught at the Thumb Butte Quilters’ Guild in Prescott, AZ. This wonderful Hallowe’en quilt was shown at Show and Tell after my lecture. Princess Kat-Rina was designed and pieced by Betty Foley of Prescott. This gaudy witch-princess rescues cats. I like her stripy green leggings and floral accents. All the Stack ‘N Whack blocks in the borders are made from cat fabric. What fun!
Notice how the centers of all the blocks are pumpkins. The orange dot fabric makes a great frame around the pictorial center, separating it from the border blocks. I also really like the orange and black striped binding. This is an entertaining and decorative piece, guaranteed to bring a smile. Thank you, Betty, for allowing me to share your creative art.