16 Nov

Mark this DONE

All fired up from AQT and finally home, with a hubby who had a day off (to distract the kids), I spent the better part of the day on Monday at my sewing machine. I finished quilting my rectilinear composition and bound it. Now I just need to find a place on the wall for it. I had quilted swirls in class, but they were so wonky, that I didn’t like them. I have since overlayed them with sketchy diagonal lines รก la Sue Benner, in pink, purple and yellow. The wonky swirls are still there, and not my favorite, but the diagonals filling in the squares do help. My favorite part is the back, where you can see the filled-in squares (sorry, I didn’t think to take a pic of the back).

Rectilinear Quilt done

I also highlighted some of the edges with a few of the fancy stitches on my machine. I like the way it draws you in to the detail:


I took this, and the owl quilt, in progress, to my quilt group last night. They all had rather curious looks on their faces. Intrigued but confused, I think. As I sat there, reflecting on how conservative this group is, I really missed the dynamic and creative energy of AQT, and really missed the friends I have made there.

Speaking of the owl quilt, I had a ton of fun satin stitching some of the edges yesterday. I used rayon thread, a first for me, and I love, love, love the shiny silky-ness of it. I also used glow in the dark thread, because, hey, I can. I’m a little dissapointed in it’s glowy-ness (it has to have been charged recently, and it must be viewed in total darkness) but I’ll live. I am still couching yarns around the owls, so I’ll post progress later.

12 Nov

AQT Days 3 and 4

I’ve left Tahoe and returned to the SF Bay Area, ready to fly back to Germany tomorow. I am absolutely shattered, as my Brit friend would say. It must be the let down after 5 days of intense work and play. For those of you who didn’t get the sneak preview of my last two projects from Gerrie’s blog, here they are:

Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Coberg, Germany Vineyard

As I decompress, I’ve been thinking about what I learned this last week. I learned that blocks can be fused. I learned that I can achieve depth with layers, and this is super easy when fusing, but probably tougher when piecing. I learned that I really like making strippy, chunky, naive, landscapes. I learned that professional quilters with kids have lives that are not all that different from amateur quilters with kids (i.e: afternoons are filled with shuttling kids). I learned that I’m not the only one searching for my artistic voice. I learned that even though many of my works are derrivative, the process is all part of my personal experience and will lead me towards my voice. I was reminded that it’s all about practice, practice, practice, and that the more work I do, the more focused it will become (I realize that with the limited time of a stay-at-home-mom, it may take me a lot longer to make as much work as someone with less demands on their time). I learned that if I like a quilt I should enter it in shows and not worry about whether or not it’s good enough. And I learned that I really need to get off my butt and have my favorite quilts professionally photographed!

I wish all my new friends from AQT a safe trip home ๐Ÿ™‚


11 Nov

I’m all a’twitter!

I am all a’twitter because I just won a scholarship to return to Art Quilt Tahoe next year!!!!!!! I had so much fun in Sue Benner’s class this last week and tried some interesting techniques I probably would not have considered before. I’ll blog later/tomorow with pics of our last assignment, which I actually think I really found a groove with. I am already thinking about my next project! The big bonus was meeting so many fabulous quilters–the teachers and the students alike. There was sooooo much talent and everyone was so accessible to query and schmooze with. I’ve made many new quilt-friends across the States and even the world this week, especially Kellye, Robin and Lisa. We not only fused, but we bonded as we are all within a year of each other age-wise (I bet you’ll guess the wrong year–we all did!) and we all have young kids of similar ages. What a treat to spend a week with these wonderful ladies. Robin has a blog too, if you wanna check it out.

Kristin, Kellye, Lisa, Robin

Left to right: Me, Kellye, Lisa and Robin

09 Nov

AQT Days 1 and 2

Well, I have made it through two of four days at Art Quilt Tahoe. It’s absolutely wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented people–both the instructors and the students. I am definitely a little fish in a big pond here. It’s a bit overwhelming. There seems to be an AQT mafia of sorts as well–apparently many students come year after year (as many as 7) and they all seem to know each other and commisserate. On the bright side, this clique appears easy to get into–all I have to do is show up next year! I wish!!

I am taking Sue Benner’s Composition Trilogy class. Yesterday we explored rectilinear composition by cutting fused fabrics into rectangles and concentric windows, then layering them. The fabrics themselves weren’t sooooo important as the repetition through the various windows would tie the compostion together. This seemed pretty easy and straight-forward to me. When done, I wasn’t wowed by it, so I took the option of chopping the blocks up further and rearanging them. I think the big concept for me with that excercise was that I could make blocks with fused fabrics and then combine them like any traditional block. Duh, I know, but somehow I had never combined “fusing” and “block” in the same sentence in my mind. So, here it is:

Today we did a curvilinear excercise. The basic idea was to use a few fabrics as a “ground” and then add fused, curved, shapes on top. Ooooh, now I have some depth. I guess I really am learning something here. Here’s todays fabric explosion:

What concerns me though, is that though I seem to be able to grasp these concepts and make a decent essay, I’m not laboring over these and really considering every step as many students are doing. Am I missing something? I have noticed that everyone else seems to have a comfort zone, or a style, that they are operating within. There seemed to be great care taken to cut out lovely curved leaves and flowers and such, whereas, I seemed to have merely channeled Sue’s style. In fact, I realized today that I seem to be a Zelig of quilting. I may be “a human vessel who embodies [the style of the quilter whiom she is currently inspired by].” Note, my Sue Benner-esque compositions today, Last month’s Owls a la Melody Johnson, “Juni im Rhein-Neckar Kreis,” made after reading “A Quilter’s Journey” by Ruth McDowell, and “Abby,” in which I used Susan Carlson’s fabric collage technique. My mother assures me that many great artists started out by copying the works of masters. I guess I wonder if I shouldn’t have so many masters ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of masters, I got to not only lunch, but to share a table at dinner with one of my heros, Melody Johnson. She is as personable in person as you might guess from her blog. What a treat to finally meet her in person, and also what a treat to see the many, many quilts she brought and hung in her classroom! And just to prove to TS&WGH that I really did meet the infamous Mrs. Mel, here’s a pic of the two of us together (not that he’s reading my blog, he’s too busy reading hers!):

02 Nov

Getting Excited

We’re in California now, enjoying a week-long visit with my mother-in-law before heading to Art Quilt Tahoe. My MIL (and SILs too, by association) was responsible for sucking me into the world of quilting, so we all commiserate when we get together. Since TS&WGH refers to Art Quilt Tahoe as a “Quilting Orgy,” we participated in a little “foreplay” yesterday: MIL and I went to New Pieces, the quilt shop which will be on site at AQT. I love going to New Pieces because they always have wonderful quilts on the walls to look at. I love that quilts from their instructors and customers are mixed in with quilts from more famous (at least in our little world) quilters. I don’t know, it’s an equalizer in a positive manner. It validates ALL these wonderful works, showing that they can all bring color and joy and inspiration into our lives, not just the ones we’ve seen in books or at shows.

Speaking of inspiration, MIL has a brand new book I want to take home with me (she won’t miss it will she?) It’s called Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter. As most of the exercises are variations on lessons I had in art school, the book reminded me that I can, and should, continue to consciously refer back to that education my parents payed so much for. Why shouldn’t I do contour drawings every day? I can do that, and 20 minutes is a reasonable “warm up.” I have been struggling with trying to abstract some landscape/architecture ideas I have, and this book kicked me in the behind and showed me that I had the answer, I have just been ignoring it. While at New Pieces, MIL and I did one of the excercises–to create a seven step gradation of black and white fabrics. I’ve done this before with pencil, with charcoal, with gouache, with dots from a Rapidograph pen, and with typography. I’m actually surprised I haven’t yet done it with fabric! So, now I have. MIL may have to go back and do it on her own though, I was having fun, and kinda took over the process. Ooops.