Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bill and Jean

Been spending quality time with my grandmothers' sisters, Jean and 'Bill" recently.  Doing their hair, fixing their faces and clothes.  Getting up close and personal.  Aunt Bill just celebrated her 96th birthday, and she is the last of the Shepherd sisters.  This is an 'in-progress' shot of a project using a photo of Jean and Bill in their younger days.  I'm working on reproducing their portrait in cheesecloth, in the style of artist Mary Pal, of Canada.

It's fussy work, because the cheesecloth wants to stick to you and everything else, but I'm getting the hang of it, and I know the results will be wonderful.  Right now, I have an enlargement of the photo under a sheet of Duralar, and when all the layers are complete, I'll peel the cheesecloth off and stitch it to a black fabric background.  This will be a precious keepsake when finished.  My siblings and cousins spent many happy hours with these ladies when we were growing up.  Cherished memories indeed. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shirt Tales

Friday, June 9, 2017 was the reception for my solo exhibit of 47 portraits at Dunedin Fine Art Center - Dunedin, FL.  It was a beautiful full moon evening, with music and lots of admirers, and four fiber exhibits in one venue!  Behind the speakers were quilts from New Quilts From an Old Favorite - New York Beauty collection.

That's me on the left, talking about my Shirt Tales, and Sandy Snow, who had an award winning NYB quilt on display. I was very fortunate to have Michael Dunn take some wonderful photographs for me throughout the evening.

There was a nice crowd of folks attending who appreciate fiber art.  They asked good questions and laughed at my jokes.  Below is one of my favorite photos from the event.  It is no less than thrilling to see people enjoying your work, and each of my quilts has a story.  Patrons told me that they enjoyed knowing the stories that went along with the images.  This one is titled, Grandma Magic.

Also exciting for me was seeing my 'name in lights', or on the wall, anyway.  Truly felt like Cinderella most of the weekend!

I was pleased that the curator, Catherine Bergmann, had selected this piece of mine to show in the atrium of the Art Center.  The title is Driving Lessons.  All the work was beautifully displayed and lit.

Another of the exhibits is a regional SAQA show called Growth!  (Studio Art Quilt Associates)  I'm very proud of this collection of work by my colleagues in Florida.  Here are some scenes from that gallery:

All four exhibits will be shown until August 18 at DFAC.  I'll be teaching a fiber collage workshop there on Saturday, August 5.  Contact DFAC for information.
                          And there were a few outtakes.  This is not what it looks like.

                                     And I have no idea what I was thinking here:


                         Thank you Michael, for taking pictures.  It's not an easy job!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'm back

My goodness, it's been nearly a year since I last posted to my blog!  I have been busy!  I was especially busy in April of this year - beginning with attending my annual retreat in New Smyrna Beach - Focus on Fiber.  I was happy to meet artist Mary Pal from Canada there.  She shared her beautiful portraits made with cheesecloth, and her techniques for achieving super realistic results with such a simple medium.  This retreat is always such a wonderful reunion with fiber sisters, and an inspiring, relaxing, soul filling experience.  Big thanks to Mary McBride for organizing it every year.

From there, I went to Chicago, where I met my sister Jan and we spent some time together at the International Quilt Festival.  We had a wonderful time and saw some very inspiring work there.  I had the honor of leading a small group around the Dinner @8 exhibit called Patterns.   Took a class with Jamie Wallen, bought (and won) some more fabric, and had lots of giggles with my sister.   Came home with a new little sewing machine!!

While we were there, my sister joined SAQA - Studio Art Quilt Associates!  That's Jan on the left with SAQA president Lisa Ellis and me.  Jan and I had our own private Portraits 101 class in our hotel room.

Came home to unpack and repack, and headed off to the international SAQA conference in Lincoln, Ne. This conference was jam packed with fantastic art and networking experiences.  The SAQA special events committee, led by Deb Cashatt, really outdid themselves keeping us busy seeing, learning, and enjoying our time in Nebraska.  One of my favorite activities was a spontaneous walk to the state capitol building on a Sunday afternoon, in horrible cold, windy, rainy weather.  The experience of seeing this magnificent building and the enormous mosaics, paintings, carvings, and columns was SOOO worth  that difficult walk.

Some of the mosaics on the floor were so beautiful, I felt we shouldn't have been stepping on them!
So, now I have arrived home in Florida, and have spent some weeks preparing for a solo exhibit of my portraits at the Dunedin Fine Art Center this summer. 

You can get details about the exhibit, (and three other fiber art shows that will be there at the same time!!) by going to  and look under Current Exhibits.  The reception is on Friday, June 9 from 6 to 9pm.  It will be a wonderful collection of fiber art, including a regional SAQA show called GROWTH!, and an exhibit called New Quilts From an Old Favorite.

So, I'm ready to stay home for awhile, and relive my adventures, and plan some new ones.  For a minute, I was all caught up on my customer quilts, but I'm now back in the thick of that activity.   And the grass has been growing, and the fence needs to be painted, etc. etc.  Life is indeed good.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Studio and storage

I attended a meeting of art quilters (SAQA, Melbourne, Florida) recently and the topic was studios and storage.  There were several good ideas shared, as well as photos of many sewing and design studios.  It got me thinking about my own area, and what I might have to share, or need to change!  At the risk of everyone seeing my messy storage, here are some photos I shot today.
First image, I have to rearrange everything to do a photo shoot of my current art quilts.  Have to move my longarm, and much of the stuff that is hidden away under it.  I made the light stands, and take advantage of morning sun coming through my windows and skylights.  My design wall is four separate panels of insulation board (4x8') covered with flannel.  I have a long rod with clips for hanging bed sized quilts.

So, here is what the same view looks like after the photo shoot!  Much better.
Four rolling carts hold my overflow fabrics that won't fit in the cupboards on the far wall.

Next, I have an office area/ironing station that is sorely in need of cleaning and purging.  In the cupboards I keep lots of art supplies, and hubby keeps some tools and pool chemicals.  Amazing how you fill up every little space.  It does look better with the cupboard doors closed!

I recently went through my fabrics that I keep in closed cupboards, and because it was getting so cramped in there, I took out the large pieces that have been purchased for quilt backs, and moved them to some open shelves where I keep ongoing and customer projects. And of course, there are more fabrics in the bags on the bottom shelves!
This was a good move, and allowed more room for the smaller fabric pieces in the cupboards, which I try to organize by color.
And I wanted to share that I have a few pieces near my cutting area that I have collected from artists I admire:  Susan Shie, Bodil Gardner and Pamela Allen. My heroes!
At some point, I will need to STOP collecting fabric. . . .

Friday, August 5, 2016


Went to a SAQA meeting in Tampa in July where we did a pass around project using bluegreen fabrics.  We all made still life pieces, adding a part and passing it on to someone to continue.  Finally, we took one home to finish.  Here is mine after making changes at home.  Project due for our September 14 meeting!  I will hand applique (raw edge) and probably hand quilt this one.  Love to bring small projects like this one on trips.
I'm loving my fabrics - I use mostly upcycled fabrics from thrift store clothing.  You can find so many great prints that way!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Letting Go

I had to let go of my little drummer boy.  Put him in the mail to Houston.  Won't get him back for about a year.  Here he is:
He was made for an exhibit called Dinner @ Eight in the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  The theme this year is Pattern.  I was inspired by a beautiful child who was banging on a steel drum in the Camden Aquarium in New Jersey this past spring.  Even though he is entirely hand appliqued and hand quilted, it didn't take me long to make him, once I got inspired to begin.    He is mostly made with upcycled fabrics from shirts and skirts and dresses, (and jeans).  The drumsticks are zippers.  I titled the piece Fiddlesticks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer camp!

Have not posted in awhile, so I thought I would show progress on my little restaurant guy.  Still tweaking, but he's getting there. 
I have been working on finishing some art quilts.  It feels great to get them quilted, and bound.  Then I have to come up with a title, which I sometimes struggle with.

Jane Dunnewold has opened a Creative Strength training summer camp on Facebook.  I joined, and the first prompt was about using sticks.  I hate picking up sticks, but I did (several wheelbarrows full) and I decided to make a quick study using some scraps that have misty fuse on the back.  Wanted to focus on negative space and layer several 'sticks' on top of each other like the ones I pick up and throw on the burn pile. 
Here's step one: 
I chose a brown for the background, then when I add the 'air' shapes, the twigs look brown. 
Step two:
Really, a continuation of step one.  These look better from a distance, or when squinting your eyes.

Step 3:  Layering and adding a new color.

And step 4:  Need to know when to stop!

I like this, but wish I could add layers without covering so much of what is beneath.  Anyway, it was a fun and quick process, and I enjoyed it.  I was rebellious and didn't follow the directions to make a sculpture of actual sticks, but having handled so many sticks yesterday, I wanted to work with FABRIC sticks today!  Thank you Jane, for the fun challenge!!