10 Aug

Festival of Quilts

Despite living in Europe for most of twelve years, I never did make it to Birmingham, England for Festival of Quilts. This year, I especially wish I could be there.

For one, the 144 small quilts from the first two years of Twelve by Twelve’s art quilt challenge will be there, plus Twelves Helen, Françoise, and Diane! If you are in England this weekend, please take the time to go to the show and search out our exhibit area and say hello.

(Thank you Helen, Françoise and Diane for hanging the exhibit and sending this update photo!)

Secondly, I wish I could be there to see SAQA’s Beyond Comfort exhibit in which I have three aprons from my Army Wife series. Helen has been checking things out and says my aprons have a great spot near the front of that exhibit–yay! So, go say hello to my aprons as well.

I’ve heard that Festival is the premier quilt and quilt art show in Europe and definitely worth a visit. There are many exhibits, classes, vendors and the works. Helen and Diane will be attending lectures by my heros Kaffe Fasset and Laura and Linda Kemshall. Yes, I am a bit jealous.

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.

03 May

Cooking up Something for 12×12

Mmmm, yummy spicy Indian food! That’s what came to mind with Helen’s palette. Almost immediately I thought of a spice market and those wonderful piles of color.

This would be fun to make with all my lovely brown fabrics, but doesn’t it just look like a Brandon Mably fabric (though we all know I love his and Kaffe Fasset’s fabrics)?

How about just the spice? A pile of colorful powder that looked like someone ran their finger through. I could do all French Knots in luscious embroidery flosses. I’ve done two knot-heavy projects in the last month though, and I think I need to do something else.

Reading up on the odd spice out, I learned that Asofoetida has a lot of medicinal uses in addition to it’s cookery ones. That made me think of an apothecary and all it’s jars, or mysterious drawers.

I kind of like this one.

I was certain that Helen had chosen this palette because she wanted us to think deep thoughts about Asofoetida and it’s anti-flatulent, antimicrobial, contraceptive, abortifacient, balancing, and repelling properties. She says she was just thinking of the nice warm browns, but I told her I didn’t believe it and would make a piece with a red circle with a line through it to indicate “no fart clouds.”

I was loving all the names for Asafoetida based on it’s fetid smell. How about a lovely redwork style botanical embroidery, with a bunch of “crappy” names (pun intended)? OK, there’s potential in that design.

I was curious about the ancient uses of the spice though. Apparently, it is an inferior version of the ancient herb Silphium, which was so valued in the ancient world that it’s image was used on coins, and it was over harvested to extinction by the Roman era. There’s some speculation that because of Sylphium’s contraceptive effectiveness the heart symbol we use to represent romantic love (that bears little resemblance to a real human heart) is actually based on the heart shaped seed of the plant. It’s also possible that use of Sylphium is the reason there wasn’t a huge population explosion during the Roman Empire despite much improved nutrition and medical care.

Connecting the dots from the spice palette, to Asafoetida in particular, I think I can make a case for using it’s cousin Sylphium as inspiration. But what do I want to say? I think I want to say that for millennia, women have wanted, needed, and sought, choices. We need to accept that.

But I’m feeling that words are to obvious in a quilted piece — a kind of a cop-out for me. They are much better suited for printed material, or simply the realm of words and letters. Besides, I found a website with bold, thoughtful imagery that is essentially what I was imagining.

I need to be more subtle with my Spice piece. I want to convey something visually without having to explain it in words. I want it to be more subliminal as well. I don’t think I need to knock anyone over the head with my Sylphium reference. It can be an intriguing discovery.

Now, back to the drawing (sewing) board to see what I can pull off. What kind of fabrics could reinforce my theme?

**Upon reflection, I realize what I said about words came out wrong. In THIS instance, the words are better suited for something poster-like and I think I can do better in my little quilt. However, I don’t oppose words on quilts as a whole. I’ve seen (and sometimes do myself) very effective journalling on fabric and/or words as pattern.

01 Mar

Twelve by Twelve Book!

Apparently my author copies of “Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge” were taking the slow boat to Hawai’i, waiting for the official release date of the book. So now there’s no more waiting! Everyone can go get a copy of our book too.
You can order from Amazon
or from Borders
or from Barnes and Noble
You should definitely check with your favorite Twelve to see if they are selling or giving away copies (signed if you want). I’m sure I’ll do something here on my blog sooner or later.

I was actually surprised at how hefty the book is! There’s a lot to digest in there. Pictures of all our theme series quilts, insight from each artist, tips, and peeks at our work spaces too. A few reviews to read are by quilters and art quilters, Virginia Spiegel, Pat Sloan, Rayna Gilman, and more to come.

23 Feb

Twelve by Twelve Book is Nearly Here!

I have been severely remiss in promoting the book Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge, which I co-authored with my other Twelve by Twelve compatriots.

However, our publisher, Lark Books, has been busy featuring each of us in turn on their blog, Lark Crafts. So, check out Twelve Days of Twelves for interviews with each Twelve, as we lead up to the official release of our book.