27 Feb

Field Trip to Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival

I went to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival today with my art quilt friend Lorie and her friend Elizabeth. We had a grand time checking out all the quilts and sharing our reactions. We also had lunch with my Hawaii Quilt Guild friend JoAnne and her friend Dorothy. Plus, we saw several other locals we know from art quilt events, like Sandy and Lisa. I have to say, it’s kind of fun to run into people I know in random places.

The show is what I would consider to be a typical large quilt show. I pretty much knew what I would be seeing and was not surprised or disappointed when we got there. It is actually a perfectly sized show — large enough to have a decent variety of work and to attract some quality pieces, yet small enough that you can see everything in a day and not be completely exhausted or overwhelmed like the Houston show. We concentrated on the quilts and just had a cursory look at the vendors.

I took a few photos with my phone and I will warn that they are pretty crappy. My sincere apologies to the makers of the work because it all looks far, far better in person. I’ll also warn that everything I write here is my admittedly biased and terribly opinionated opinion. I am making no attempt at being fair or inclusive in my review of the show.

That said, the main focus of the show is their annual contest. This year’s theme was Silver Lining. There were a lot of quilts with a lot of quilting, and not a few with crystals and some glittery fabrics or threads. Everything was very “accessible” and easy to decipher. There was a lot of technically nice work, but nothing that really spoke to me. I feel that way about most of the quilt shows I visit though.

My SAQA friend Diane, who is one of the few people whose work with digital images on fabric I like, got a ribbon! Best Use Of Color. My photo sucks though and you should really go see a better image on her blog.



The Hoffman Challenge didn’t speak to me. There seemed to be an underlying peacock theme, which maybe I even sensed a few years ago at Houston. Maybe that’s a Hoffman thing?

There was a group of quilts in the back corner that may have been based on a Jinny Beyer class or something. They all seemed to have a similar fish eye optical illusion thing going on and were all meticulously made. Part of, or next to, that group was this beauty. It’s called Seymore and is by Barb Hollinger. It is my favorite quilt from the whole show. (You never know what I’m going to be attracted to.)


What grabbed me first off is the unlikely combination of the Lone Star section in it’s perfect Jinny Beyer color gradation and the stylized Jane Sassaman leaves, floral center, and wavy border. If you know anything about contemporary quilting, you’d never think of combining the styles of these two designers. They really shouldn’t work together, but here, they do! I love unexpected, quirky combos like that. The leaf shapes are so beautiful, and I’ve never seen a treatment of the background on a Lone Star anything like them. I love the name too — based on the voracious plant in Little Shop of Horrors (very Jane who I know likes pretty with a little danger on the side). To top it all off, the quilt is well made and skillfully quilted. It’s more purple and green in real life, and who doesn’t like purple and green?

I think that I posted a bunch of Baltimore Album quilts from Houston the last time I went. There’s something traditional and charming about them that seems to draw me in every time. This Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival had a large exhibit called “A is for Appliqué” by the Baltimore Appliqué Society. We really liked this black and white one called Black and White and Baltimore All Over by Janice Reece because, well because black and white! The tree in the third row is just absolutely charming, and the last block on the top row looks much more complicated just because of an excellent fabric choice.


Tonya, this Halloween album is for you! Bad me, I forgot to get the name of the maker. She did a great job though.MAQF 4


I almost walked by this Texas themed Album Quilt by Polly Mello, titled Deep Within My Heart Lies a Melody: A Memory of Texas. I admired the longhorns along the bottom and was about to move on…MAQF 5

but then I noticed the creepy crawlies! There also seemed to be critter footprints quilted all over the quilt (but not in this detail).MAQF 5 det 1

And look, a fuzzy tarantula! Yup, I’m impressed by a well-appliquéd velvet tarantula.MAQF det 2


Speaking of velvet, Lorie and I were inspired by this piece called Chavela by Cecelia Gonzales-Desedamas. It took all our strength not to touch it all over. I want to roll around in it’s pebble-quilted velvet sumptuousness. Yes, we’re going to incorporate quilted velvet into everything now. Yummy!MAQF 7 MAQF 7 det


Chavela was part of the SAQA exhibit “Color Wheel of Emotions.” I was a little stumped by this exhibit. I didn’t get the color wheel thing, and I didn’t feel much emotion either. We wondered if it was the way the quilts were hung. The exhibit is in a series of three-walled “cubicles” and maybe having the work separated like that lessened the connection between them. If they were all in one line or one room where they could play off each other in more than groups of three, maybe the color wheel would have emerged. I feel bad that I feel meh about the exhibit.

This last one is also a mystery to me. It’s called Jumping Jehoshaphat and it’s by Anne Kimball. I didn’t want to like it. But look at those New York Beauty triangles on the big guy’s shell, and the flying geese in his tail. They are really well done, and honor the fact that this is, in actuality, a quilt. So does the compass sun. The armadillos’ ears are dimensional too. That’s so gimmicky I should hate it, but it’s working for me. And the fuzzy fringe on the big one’s ears? Ack! I can’t explain it, but the more I stood in front of these armadillos, the more I liked them.


Maybe that was the sign it was time to go check out the vendor area.

03 Jan

Another Exhibit!

I want to post all that good New Year stuff about what I did in the last year and what I hope to do in this new one, and I will. But first, I’ve got more artwork out in the world!

Zeitgeist and a selection of Rooted quilts and Impressions of Germany quilts are part of the McGuffey Art Center New Members Show. Now through February 3rd at McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA. If you’re anywhere nearby, please do come take a look.

MAC new members1


MAC new members2

20 Aug

The Army Wife at McGuffey Art Center

This is it — the big one! An entire gallery filled with my Army Wife series. I have been imagining this show for probably four years now. I am both nervous and excited to invite everyone who can to come see the show during the month of September. Opening night is First Friday, the 6th, which should be great fun as all of McGuffey celebrates the new art hung in all it’s spaces each month. I’m also giving an artist’s talk on Sunday the 15th in which I hope to offer some insights to my processes and inspirations. Come see the show!

MAC postcard email

15 Jul

Sacred Threads Art Quilt Show

I went to Northern Virginia yesterday to see the Sacred Threads show. It’s up until the 28th, so there’s still time to go see it! Click the link for all the details.

I will be the first to admit that I underestimated this show and did not budget enough time to see it. An hour was insufficient. Overall, the work was very representational, which I often have problems with, and it could be trite, which I don’t like either, but really, that is totally irrelevant to what this show is about.

After the show, I joined a group of local SAQA members and visiting artists for tapas and conversation. Chatting with Chair Lisa Ellis brought it into focus for me. She said Sacred Threads would never be a Quilt National or Art Quilt Elements type show, looking for artistic excellence and cutting edge work. Nor is it an IQF or Mancuso event with an eye towards the traditional and pristinely executed. Sacred Threads is about the emotion behind the artwork. It is about the maker’s vision and their process. It is less important that the work is well resolved or mature. The show is meant to be “a safe [and] welcoming venue for quilters who saw their works as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their own spiritual journey.” That opens up a whole different set of criteria for appreciating the work. It became much more about the statement and how well the work reflected that.

I didn’t take any photos. I was focused on reading (almost all) of the statements posted next to each quilt. There was extra audio information for each one if you had a smart phone, which really intrigued me, but I quickly realized I was short on time so I couldn’t indulge in the techy extras. I liked the effort though. I made notes on 18 of the nearly 200 quilts.

Things that caught my eye:

The zoomed in simplicity of Stephanye Schuyler’s After The Storm.

The over the top wackiness and visual treasure hunt that is Kristy Moeller Ottinger’s Off to Babylon or How I Spent My Summer Vacation. It reminded me of what I saw at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

I was charmed by Albert Feldman’s A Tribute to Kilmer. His digitized quilting shows the possibilities of what we can do with our tools.

Both Stacy Hurt‘s Moon Sisters, and Gates of Heaven and Hell. Simple, black and white, with lots of scale of line and imagery. In the case of Moon Sisters, I enjoyed finding the hidden script, and in Gates of Heaven and Hell the use of pattern attracted me.

The deft marks and light touch with dimensionality on Annette RogersPeaceful Waters. I was not surprised to learn later that she is indeed a painter in addition to a quilt artist.

The unabashedly quilty Route 211 by Maggie Ward. It’s green and purple too!

Artist in residence Dominique Ehrmann and her three dimensional fairy tale-esque quilt, exquisitely constructed and charming to look at.

The folky mola style of La Famille by Helene Blanchet.

I liked how effectively watery Catherine Waltz’s Water was, but liked her Maelstrom even more because it didn’t remind me of anyone else’s work.

Everything about Sharon CollinsWinter Came too Soon spoke to me. It’s such a nice balance between simple and detailed.

The evocative color in Just Harry by Martha Wolfe.

The thoughtful use of materials in Susan Clayton’s Funeral Pall, and that she didn’t try to get too fussy with the quilt.

Most everything about Remembering My Family by Helena Scheffer. The quilt blocks, fabric choices (especially the grey stripes), and hand stitching were all so thoughtfully chosen.

The well-integrated amulet in Healing Pathway by Cheryl Costley.

The use of iridescent and shiny fabrics that actually felt right and appropriate in Archangel Haniel by, uh oh, I didn’t write the artist’s name on this one. Maybe someone else who saw the show can let me know.

The photo manipulation and not too fussy quilting of The Bowl Judgements by Virginia Greaves (the colors of which glow nicely in person). I see from Greaves’ website that she also did the Beach Guardians, also in Sacred Threads, which I thought was a popular technique, but done well, and Just Call Me Jack, which I remember seeing and admiring in Houston a few yearts ago for the same reason.




14 Jun

Quilt Retreat!

I am a member of SAQA, and, lucky me, one of the co-representatives for our VA/NC region lives right here in C’Ville. I also count her amongst my friends and peers. So, when she organized a week long retreat at her house, it was easy to jump right in as a “day tripper.”


First off, the setting is lush and rural even though it’s mere minutes outside the city. Mary Beth’s chickens run to greet you (well, psych you out as they really just run past) if you walk through their pasture.


Goats provide milk each day to accompany the fresh eggs.


But the best part was a large family room emptied out and then filled with tables for a rotating list of local and not so local art quilters. It was wonderful to meet people with shared interests, and to see what everyone was working on. There was a large range of styles and techniques. Based on our post-game emails, everyone left inspired and energized.


This table was my base of operations for five greatly productive days. I finished embroidering the whiskers on Zeitgeist, and started a medallion quilt that has been on my mind for at least six months. Being able to work surrounded by camaraderie and positive energy rather than groceries and laundry is a boon.


We were “serenaded” by Mary Beth’s peacocks, so Anita brought in Barb Forrister’s fun, sparkly, sparkly peacock pumps she had purchased through the Kick Off Your Heels Fundraiser.


And on the last day, two peachicks hatched and brought out the mother hen in all of us.

All in all a great week, and I look forward to hopefully doing it again next year.

26 Apr

Inspirational Weekend

Call it what you will: artist date, professional development, girl’s weekend, retreat, etc., getting out of the studio alone, or with friends, is almost always inspirational and invigorating.

Gee's Bend Quilts

(Deborah and another guest discuss quilt construction)

I had the pleasure last weekend to have just such an experience. On Friday, long time blog (and now real-life) friend Tonya invited Deborah and I to join her for a special presentation by Gee’s Bend quilters Mary Lee Bendolf and Loretta Pettway of their story and many of their quilts.

Gee's Bend Quilts

(Deborah chats with Mary Lee Bendolf about her work)

The event was small, and held at a law office hoping to help them find suitable venues for the quilts to be part of a permanent collection. It was unlike the usual shows, but absolutely wonderful to chat with the quilters, and to see the quilts up close — and even touch them!

Gee's Bend Quilts

(Deborah and Tonya admire — and touch — a quilt)

After the presentation we sat down near a food truck for lunch and great conversation about art and utility and definitions of quilts. Then we retired to Tonya’s house for show and tell and lots of laughter. I even accomplished a bit of sewing and enjoyed raiding Tonya’s extensive fabric stash.

Saturday, I took Tonya as my guest and met Deborah at the regional SAQA meeting. There was a particularly convivial atmosphere as we enjoyed seeing mini trunk shows from three members, and had a short but very informative presentation about critique techniques. Afterward, we continued the conversation at lunch together, and though I went home with Deborah, I had forgotten my overnight bag at Tonya’s so the three of us met up once again for dinner and margaritas and lively talk about goals and projects.

Finally, on Sunday, I worked a bit in Deborah’s studio and then met a third friend for an authentic indian lunch at her house. It’s been such a pleasure for me to have friends who I originally met in quite far-flung places now living in the same general area and not so far from me. On the way home I stopped at a yarn store recommended by my knit night compatriots and purchased needles for my next knitting project. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and fell asleep before 9pm, but I was full in head and heart,and energized in spirit.

01 Dec


This time it’s not me teaching, but my very talented friends. Deborah Boschert is one of my fellow Twelve by Twelve members and one of the incredible women who I am proud to include in my Circle of Friends. She is one of 20 artists who are offering a WIDE variety of fabric and stitch workshops coordinated by mixed media artist Alma Stoller.

STITCHED is a collection of 20 online video workshops by 20 talentend fabric artists. Students have access to all 20 workshops and can choose to view and work on the projects any time of the day, any day of the week. Registration opens on Dec 1 and the workshops kick off on Jan 1 and run through June 1. Registration is only $89. Deborah is teaching a workshop titled, “Branches, Buds and Blossoms: A Botanical Fabric Collage.” She includes videos on selecting fabrics, adding surface design, composing and improvisational hand embroidery.

Also part of the STITCHED team is another fellow Twelve, Nikki Wheeler. Nikki’s class will explore her quirky method of backwards quilting, make fabric paper, secretly share dreams and wishes on some fabric beads, and share the big secret of sewing these boxes 100% on the machine.   Plus, she couldn’t resist throwing in some extras, like Treasure Tea Boxes and Nesting Boxes. These are jewels of projects and look like they could become quite addicting!

01 Jun

It’s a Female Thing

Today is reveal day at Twelve by Twelve. Our palette this time around was Spice, with the specific examples being paprika, asafoetida, cumin, and turmeric. I focused in on asafoetida, which proved to be an intriguing plant.

I realized when it was finished, that I have also inadvertently created a feminist mini-collection within my 12×12 art quilts:

Clockwise from the top left: “Cultivate Choice,” ostensibly about the spice silphium but subliminally about birth control; “Birthing Stool,” an homage to a powerful and uniquely female chair; Pink “Pow!” about owning femininity and it’s strength; and “The Marquise de Coëtlogon,” which through the chocolate theme, invites us to ponder the surprising powers women can hold.