Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quilt National 2009

Quilt National 2009
at the Dairy Barn, Athens, OH
As you drive down a narrow brick paved road, bordered by old academic buildings, farmhouses, and oddly, solar panels, it is not hard to miss the Dairy Barn when you come to it. Our first 'event' was a showing, just for the exhibiting artists on Friday. It was so incredible, and hard to focus. The art was breath-taking and inspiring, and the artists were there to talk about their work! It just couldn't get any better! As we came in, we were greeted with a gift bag with our Quilt National 2009 books. It was fun to rush around, getting everyone to sign their photos in the book. I had so much fun meeting people who's work I have admired for years. AND it was fun to talk about my work as well. I was super happy to see my quilt displayed so well, on this tilted platform. I had designed it to be hung, but this was so much better!!
Some of my favorite quilts? Paula Kovarik, Marianne Burr, Erin Wilson, Pam RuBert, Inge Hueber, Ruth deVos, Judy Rush, Elizabeth Barton, Sandra Woock, Patricia Goffette, Jane Lloyd, Ellen Zak Danforth...ah the list is too long!! I met: Mathea Daunheimer in front of her Suzhou Street Scene.
Here is Alison Schwabe with Timetracks 7. She is busy telling us all about her metallic waxes.
Sue Cavanaugh with Ori-Kume #1 (proud winner of the Lynn Goodwin Borgman Award for Surface Design. This piece is super yummy. I just love the effects she got!! Sorry my snapshot just doesn't do it justice. Hope you get to see this one in real life, but if not, the photo in the book is really good too!
Next up, Susan Else and I are clowning around with her Nothing to Fear skeleton. Yes, the entire surface is quilted. It is amazing and I have admired Susan's work for years too. What a thrill to see her new work in person!!
 Susan Krueger and Swallowing Roses and proud winner of the Cathy Rasmussen Emerging Artist Memorial Award. I love this piece, and it packs quite an evocative punch, but in a good way, if you know what I mean.
 Paula Chung and White Rose XIII. This piece was incredible! The sheen of the silk difficult to capture in the photo.
And, at dinner Saturday night, Lora Rocke, me, Kathleen Dawson, Sue Cavanaugh, and Bob Adams. Our hosts, David and Susan Hostetler were incredibly generous sharing their lovely home, and a tour of David's carving studios. His sculptures were all around the grounds of their lovely home, it was fabulous!!
Last, having fun with Susan Else and Pat Pauly. I have no memory of what we were talking about, except the good feelings from laughing so hard with new friends!
And as I wind it up, it is impossible to capture the entire weekend in a single blog entry. Many wonderful conversations and experiences. I am so happy I was able to go. Go if you get the chance. If not, check out the venues for the traveling collections and go to one or ALL of those!! Last, get the book, Quilt National, 2009; The Best of Contemporary Quilts. The photos are really great, though there is nothing like being in the presence of these incredible works!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Little Fish in a Big City

Little Fish in a Big City
60" x 60"
This is my Quilt National 2009 entry. I am very honored to be in such esteemed company. I will make another entry tomorrow to tell you about the opening weekend!
Little Fish is all about global warming and the new world order, where will I fit in?
Sea levels rising, engulfing cities, the new transportation, fish carrying all the people. Look closely at the bottom right corner for the little fish for whom the quilt was named. This quilt is dedicated to environmental refugees everywhere.
More about how this quilt was made: (I have already posted about most of this, follow the links if you are curious!)
I made the buildings first, just to see if I could sew a 3D cube shaped building. My first attempts did not work at all, but I persevered. All the wrong ones, showed me eventually how to get it right. They are folded, machine stitched, opened up, lined with timtex, and stuffed with polyester, last the bottom opening was hand sewn closed. The buildings range in size from fairly flat to 5 inches tall and stick out perpendicularly from the quilt. This quilt hangs on the wall as the buildings appear to defy gravity. For the most part they did well, however, the tallest buildings had significant problems with sagging and required numerous structural engineering to solve the problems!
The navy background is a whole cloth batik drawn exclusively with a tjanting that I was trying to learn. The fabrics for the buildings are commercial fabrics batiked in stripes and then bleached and overdyed. The turquoise and cobalt blocks are all hand-dyed batiks, mostly stamped from found objects. Among the more unusual ones, a spring from an automatic car window, and hexogonal climbing gear, and children's toys.
There are over 400 buildings, and I forget how many fish, but I can say when I was making them...I never thought I would make enough. The fish are made from screenprinted thickened dyes, machine sewn, painted organza for the pectoral fins, painted eyes and mouths (which are open).
 I fused the turquoise blocks on, then machine quilted densely to make the base stiff.
 Then I satin stitched the edges of the blocks to catch the loose threads and sharply define the edges. Then I did the hand quilting through the middle of the city, they are supposed to refer to the tracks of lights you might see in the photo of car lights at night.
Then I hand sewed on all the buildings, one by one. Then I sewed the worry dolls to the fish, and last I sewed the fish on. Many had to have their fins replaced as they were looking a little haggard.
If you want to see this in person, check out it's traveling schedule at
Follow the link to Quilt National 2009, it is in collection group C.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Still breathing.

Still breathing.
Well, today was the last day to finish my entry for Houston, unless I planned to drive there tomorrow (which I was hoping to avoid). Got it in the mail this morning for overnight delivery. It turns out that being overly ambitious in the scope of my project, thus resulting in delays, costs more to send. Today, I feel blessed that I have the entire day to catch up on the mundane tasks that await me.

My quilt is called Building Up. I will post a sneak peak of the back for you, before all the quilting was completed. The quilt has a real presence in the room. It keeps asking me if it is going to Houston or not. Sadly, I have no answer. I feel like I should have a good idea, at this point in my career, but I don't. This quilt is a bit of a departure from my norm, so I am unsure again. Though there are elements that may be recognized as my style, in some ways I wonder if the design is too simple. Then I realize that for me, simple is hard to do. I will just have to stop thinking about it and wait to hear the jury's verdict!

Monday, May 11, 2009


12"x 16"
Hope this one makes you laugh, or at least smile!
I've joined Malka Dubrowsky's mini-Monday quilt group. This is my first entry. I've had this sitting around awhile, unquilted, and this was just the motivation I needed to finish it up. I had fun with the design and the fabrics, but I was so indecisive about the quilting designs. That's when I decided I was thinking too much. Just DO something and move on! Now, that it's done (well, except for the binding), I am finding that I like it, and it was a good learning experience. I used a number of my hand-dyes, hand batiks, and a few commercial fabrics for the table. Enjoy!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Studio Lighting

Studio Lighting
 I got a new chandelier for my studio! It is so fun, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! I don't know why. It is fun. Unfortunately, it does not make very much light. And, oddly perhaps, the light it does make, has lots of shadows, from legs and other body parts. So, in case you noticed the cord not properly attached, do not worry. It is seldom plugged in. But it does lend me plenty of inspiration, and always brings a smile to my face when I look in that direction. (It hangs over my ironing board).

Friday, May 01, 2009


 I have decided this is what cats are good for, aside from being cute. They have a presence about them that can totally lower your blood pressure and drain the tension right out of your body. Looks like Pumpkin already knows this! Look at that happy face!
And because I read somewhere that denial makes people happy, I will leave you with this wonderful illusion that cats are only calm creatures.