Saturday, February 27, 2010

ATCs for Art from a Heart

I belong to the Ning group started by Gary Reef called Art from the Heart. I've never participated in any of the challenges or groups so when the call went out to do ATCs (artist trading cards--2.5 inches by 3.5 inches), I decided I would do it. Art from the Heart is made up of artists and I only know of a few who work with fiber. In part, I guess this is part of the reason I haven't participated but mostly because I'm busy doing my own thing. However, I do love making ATCs, needed to feel a connection to others and these particular cards happened because I continue to clean out. Yep, I'm still making my way through everything I own. Feels good! The other day I was going through old files and I came across a pen and ink drawing I had done more than 30 years ago.  The paper was stained, folded and at first I thought unusable until I scanned it and worked Photo Shop's magic on it. I printed the drawing on paper that had old writing on postcards then I played with my watercolor pencils. I'm really pleased and hope that those who get one will also be happy. Monday I'll mail them off to England. Just having too much fun.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Poem by W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me 
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with 
its color.

My first quilt group in Georgia (country not state). Miss you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"A Memory with No History"

My friend Michelle Flamer is curating an exhibit called "The President's House: Their Untold Stories in Quilts." Michelle asked me to make a quilt so this is what I have been doing the last three weeks. (if you're interested in participating, let me know.) The exhibit will deal with the irony that those who sought freedom in a new nation denied it to others. My quilt is based on Oney "Ona" Judge Staines who was Martha Washington's seamstress. Ona ran away to New Hampshire and the Washington's pursued her. I have the original ad that was placed looking for her. George offered $10 for her return. Don't you just love the Internet! The 1793 has to do with the bill that Washington signed into law that kept runaway slaves fugitives. Ona died a fugitive at the age of 75 in 1848. I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to call it done. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Las puntadas del alma/Stitches of the Soul

I have the great privilege of leading a group of amazing women at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. Our journey began in July 2009. Five have been there since the beginning.  Five of the women joined in January and are working on their very first quilts. Two are working on their second quilt. Can't wait to see what happens!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quilt for Christine

I try to practice gratitude whenever and however I can. After the quilt group at the National Museum of Mexican Art seemed to come to an end, a stranger came forward and donated money so we could meet and create again. I get tears in my eyes every time I think about this unexpected kindness. Anyway when I suggested to the group that we make our angel a quilt, everyone jumped at the chance to contribute. For many it was there first time creating something in fabric. So our hearts will now be residing in England where we hope it will provide Christine a reminder to how much her kindness meant to us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yvonne Porcella

Yvonne Porcella has ovarian cancer. Yvonne and I created three quilts together for the Alliance for American Quilts so when the call went out for people to contribute blocks for a quilt, I knew I had to answer the call. We were asked to create blocks that were in Yvonne's style. I tried to take elements from some of the quilts we did together and add a little something from the AAQ too. It's a 10 inch block. I hope it cheers her and makes her recovery easier. Thanks to Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison for organizing this effort and putting the quilt together. I will continue to send loving and healing thoughts to Yvonne and I hope you'll join me.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The Postmark'd Art group selected fire as the element for this exchange and I jumped at the chance to participate.  It was a lot of fun except that I now have the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire" stuck in my head. The piece is 12 inches by 12 inches and it will be cut into six (4" x 6") postcards. I'll mail off 5 and keep one for myself. When the exchange is over I will have 6 examples of how to create fire. How cool is that! I used raw edge applique for the flames and needle felting to create some smoke. I also used my Derwent Inktense watersoluble ink pencils to add color to the tips of the yellow fabric that I used. I love this group and couldn't image not having the exchange. I can't believe we're on our 10th round!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Earth Moved

We had a blizzard with close to 10 inches of snow and an 4.3 earthquake on the same day. What excitement are you having in your part of the world? Sorry to have gone MIA. I'm trying to work instead of spending time on the computer. The disconnect has been wonderful. The muse is speaking to me and I am listening.

I'm working on my Presidential House quilt. More on that later. I did get the wall together. Here is a part so that you can see the results of my rock shibori dyeing. I love the texture that the string caused. However, I don't think I had it tight enough. Also the smaller rocks caused too much to be covered which caused large areas not to dye. I had thought this might happen. I had extra squares just in case. It was interesting that while the pieces were all cut about the same size, they did not end up that way. I also dyed some of the pieces without rocks. Live and learn. This was fun and I will give it another try. However, this piece will have to wait until the quilt that I am working on is completed. I feel so much of my explorations and thoughts lately are all coming together. I want to embrace this period of flow because I know it will not go on forever.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rock Bundles

I decided to put my rocks to use. I dyed white felt with two different colors of dye. The pink was squirted over the tan. I cut the felt into about 4 inch squares, wrapped the felt around the rock then tied the bundle. Next I will over dye with brown. This is all in preparation for my wall quilt that has been noodling around in my head. The walls in Georgia are so amazing and Georgia never seems to be far from my mind. This will also give me another opportunity to play with texture.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

This is my first attempt at needle felting and I like it! Don't think I'll felt every thing in sight but I will use it if the technique can create the effect I want. I hand appliqued the sun so now I need to think about how I want to quilt it. Overall I'm happy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Memorable Days

Today I worked, shoveled while marveling at the winter wonderland surrounding me, and voted. Voting made me think of the first time I voted. I was so nervous and excited. I remembered voting in New Jersey when my first born was less than two months old and the silly debate that occurred about whether or not I could take him into the booth with me. I do remember the sound the curtains made when I closed them. I miss curtains. I hate the tacky cardboard booths of today. Anyway, I was thinking, 'What makes a day memorable?' I'm terrible about dates. I do remember moments like voting, my first heartbreak, birth of my children, etc.

Today is not a good day for my friend Stephen. Today was the memorial service for Stephen's 18 year old brother who died in his dorm room. Cause has yet to be determined. I grieve particularly for his mother because I am one. Parents are not suppose to outlive their children.A day I would not wish for anyone.

I find I am content with calm and quiet days working. No more need for drama here.  I count my blessing every evening before going to sleep. Something that I have done for more than 30 years. I love my inexhaustible fountain of ideas.  I am never bored. Even my cleaning has unearthed lost treasures that are now being used. Life is good even while I hunger for spring, contemplate the meaning of days and send warm and loving thoughts to my friend Stephen and his family.

Group Quilt

On Friday, I got Las puntadas del alma's group quilt together. It was worth the challenge. I can't wait to share it on Saturday when I see the women at the museum again. I'm anxious to see how their next assignment is coming along. We are making quilts based on Oney "Ona" Judge, a slave that the Washington's owned while living in the Presidential House in Philadelphia. I've been so impressed by the research everyone has done.