05 Dec

Adjusting the Process

I may be easing into a new way of working. As I focus more on drawing, it is only natural that I try to make a connection between my works on paper and my works on fabric. The connection need not be obvious or intentional — I’m just trying to be mindful of it’s possibility.


The last Twelve by Twelve challenge of the year is Sweet. It will be my last challenge with the group, so “Bittersweet” came to mind. As usual, I went to my working sketchbook and wrote down things that came to mind when I thought of sweet or bittersweet. Then, instead of going to my fabric stash, or being satisfied with rough little sketches, I went to one of my heftier sketchbooks and drew/painted studies of bittersweet. I drew two varieties of the plant, and painted abstractions such as the triangles in the page above, and a stylized berry pattern on another page which also included a drawing of a pile of dark chocolate.


I like the concept, and there are some interesting elements going on. But I’m quite sure I don’t want to be so literal as to recreate my sketchbook drawing in fabric. So often, something is lost in the translation when trying to recreate a drawing or a photo in fabric. The medium is so much a part of the message. So, what to do, what to do?

Somewhere along the way, keeping up with the doings of our teenage German exchange student, something caught my eye. She had posted a cute picture of herself and her sister on Facebook. A friend responded with “sweet,” but in German, which is “suess.” He used the extended German alphabet, with contracts the double esses to an eszet (ß), which looks to Americans to be a funny B, and changes the ue to a u with an umlaut (ü) — which looked to me like a cute little happy face in the middle of the word! Süß! How sweet is that?! You never know where inspiration will come from.

Now I’m thinking I will go with the typographic interpretation of Sweet and not the bittersweet aspect. So, was all the drawing and exploration of Bittersweet a waste of time? Absolutely not. It was part of the process. It helped me clarify. It provided me with a color scheme I will stick with, and options for details if I want or need them. I’m thinking that the triangles could reappear as a quilting motif, and the red berry pattern could translate nicely to embroidery…

26 Jul

Long Beach

This weekend is the International Quilt Fest in Long Beach, CA. Unfortunately, I missed being there by one month, but I encourage anyone else in the area to go see the amazing quilts — to include the Twelve by Twelve exhibit of all our Theme quilts and all our Colorplay quilts. While there won’t be as many actual Twelves at the show as we had in Houston last November, Karen, Gerrie and Terry will be there. Please stop by and say hello!

08 Nov

IQF Houston: Part 1

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the International Quilt Festival in Houston is no exception. Like last year, I’ll break down my experience into several posts.

First, the most important and bestest reason to go this year: to see the Twelve by Twelve exhibit and to meet eight of the other eleven twelves, many of whom I’d never met in person!

Our exhibit area was two bracket shaped “walls” of drapes facing each other to form somewhat of a room. Flanking each side of the entrance were informational signs and our boldest Colorplay sets. It invited people in perfectly.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

The big sign explained the project and credited our sponsor, The Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection as without Del’s support and enthusiasm the exhibit probably wouldn’t have happened. The other side plugged our book, which was a much bigger hit than we anticipated.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

In fact, the whole experience was more than we anticipated. I expected people to walk through and say that it was nice, but I was blown away by how many people said it was the best exhibit in the whole show! Inside the exhibit were all the Theme series quilts and two tables for us to sit at and sign books or rest our feet. For the most part though, we were up and chatting with all the viewers. The more we told our story, the better people liked the work.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

There was a steady stream of people all day every day, admiring our work. Amazing.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

One outer wall showing Colorplay quilts.

Twelve by Twelve Special Exhibit at IQF Houston

We all took turns signing books at the Quilting Books Unlimited booth. Cathy Neri is so enthusiastic about our book and it was great teamwork to share book sales with her.

IQF Houston 2011

In our “off” hours we had the best time hanging out together, be it at dinner in a restaurant, in the hotel bar/breakfast room/lounge, or in one of our rooms.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston
Dinner our first night: Karen, Terri (almost hidden), Nikki, Diane, Brenda, Terry, Deborah, and Gerrie. It’s worthwhile to click on everyone’s links and see their photos and commentary as well. I ended up not getting any pictures of myself, or more importantly, the paper stand-ins of the three Twelves who couldn’t be present that Gerrie made and we took with us most everywhere we went.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston
Dinner our third night: Deborah, Diane, Terri, Karen (behind the wine), Brenda, Gerrie (behind Terry), Terry, and Nikki.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Deep in discussion in the lounge: Diane, Nikki, and Gerrie

We exchanged gifts one night and Nikki made us each journals with hand painted paper and beaded spines. Not sure what prompted Deborah to rub the beads on her cheek but it was pretty funny when we all followed suit.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Diane, Terri, and Deborah

Technology ruled and kept us (mostly) in touch with each other, those buying our books, and the outside world.

9 of 12 Twelve by Twelve members meet in Houston

Brenda and Diane reading lovely comments on Facebook, and keeping track of expenses on the iPad.

Compared to last year when I made sure to see every exhibit and walk each vendor row, this time I was perfectly content to stay in out Twelve by Twelve area and get to know my old friends a bit better and to interact with our surprisingly enthusiastic viewers. I have some quilt photos and purchases that I’ll share in the next posts, but really, the best part of the experience was hanging with the Twelves! I miss my sisters (and Quilt Mom) already.

15 Oct

Tune in

Hey Twelve by Twelve fans — my quilt mom, and the grand dame of our group, Gerrie Congdon, will be on the Pat Sloan radio show Monday the 17th at 4pm Eastern Standard Time. Of course, that’s live — once it’s aired, you can listen anytime.

I don’t know exactly what they will talk about, but I suspect that excitement about our exhibit and meet-up at the Houston quilt festival will come up! Woo hoo!

01 Sep

Enjoy Delicious Twelve Brand Oranges!

If that sounds like an advertisement it is because it is. Orange crate labels were my inspiration for the 12th of the Twelve by Twelve Colorplay series quilts. Because my concept and imagery was pretty straightforward on this challenge, I decided to try some very new to me surface design techniques to bring it to fuition. It was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but also worth it as I am quite pleased with the final result. The process is here,  here, here and here, and be sure to check out the final art quilt here.