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!