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.
My good friend and long-arm machine quilter, Wanda Rains, recently completed this delightful elephant quilt. This appliqué pattern is by Edyta Sitar, Laundry Basket Quilts. Wanda hand-appliquéd the elephants and just for fun, turned one elephant facing the opposite way from all of the others.
Check out these detailed shots of some of the elephants. I love Wanda’s choice of fabrics and all the elephants have eyes. The checked corners in the blocks and border and the dark sashing strips make a pleasing setting for this herd.
I’ve recently completed a quilt that I’ve been working on for a few months, just in time to take it to Italy to give as a gift for dear friends who moved there in April. I’m so excited about going to visit them and the quilt is a surprise. By the time this blog posts, I will be in Italy. This busy design includes very personalized fabric choices. Anne is an accomplished musician and Denise is an electrical engineer. There’s beer for Denise and prosecco for Anne. The grand pianos and piano keys are a major feature along with the flowers for these avid gardeners.
The large flowers are the new ones in Italy, (Anne and Denise and the flowers they will plant) and the small classical flowers are the Italian ones. Here’s a closer shot for more details. They love cats and have one which traveled with them from US to Italy. After completing the quilt, I realized that I omitted any reference to their sporting allegiances, so I added the Seattle Mariners compass, appliqued on and visible close to the center of this picture. The Seattle Seahawks label appears on the back of the quilt (see below).
In this picture it is a little easier to see the three different blocks in the quilt: Snowball, Jacob’s Ladder and Shoo-fly. The detailed shots below show the corner blocks in which I used technology fabric for Denise. Denise generously gave many hours of her time to completing all kinds of technical projects at our church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. She made tremendous improvements to the lighting, so the fabric with light bulbs seemed most appropriate. The shots also nicely illustrate the grand pianos. One of my students brought some of this grand piano fabric to my Bargello Quilts with a Twist workshop and fussy-cut the pianos for her blocks. They looked great and I loved the fabric, so I found it on-line and ordered it for this quilt.
I long-arm machine quilted the quilt with the help of my good friend Wanda Rains, using her long-arm machine. Wanda helped me with the set-up on the machine and advancing the quilt after each pass of stitching. I quilted in a watery meander pattern. The back of the quilt is yellow and sunny; sunshine and water to nurture these new flowers in Italy.
During my teaching trip to Texas last month, one of my kind hosts took me to LBJ’s Ranch also known as the Texas White House. We enjoyed a walk in the grounds and a tour of the house. This quilt was hanging in one of the education rooms.
It looks a little tired and dated, but is of interest because the blocks reflect important events at the time that it was made. For “Operation Stitch Quilt Project” as it was called, the blocks were made and donated by staff and volunteers associated with the Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Parks, and the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association. Each donor was asked to produce a block that depicts something of importance to them regarding the Texas Hill Country and/or the President who made this park a reality, the former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The quilt display at the park was presented for public viewing in March 1994. Here are some detailed shots of the blocks.
There was a book accompanying the quilt, naming all the makers of the blocks and the hand quilters. I recognized some of the fabrics as old friends from my early days of quilting.
The judged AQS show at Des Moines had almost 200 contestants. Here is the quilt that won Best Hand Workmanship. My Sweet House with Kirara, 68″ x 76″, was made by Ayako Kawakami from Chiba, Japan.
From a distance this quilt looks complicated, but not particularly striking because of the low contrast in the values of the fabrics. However, the closer you get, the better it gets, and up close it is amazing. The details in the hand embroidery on the delicately pieced blocks, quilting, pictorial applique and embroidery embellishments are beautiful. This is an exquisitely made quilt which must have hundreds of hours of work invested in it. Here are some detailed shots.