HEIDI ZIELINSKI

HEIDI ZIELINSKI - Fiber Artist

Creating art out of fiber and stitch is my passion. In no other pursuit have I ever found the rewards and joy that I find in using textiles, thread, paint, beads, yarns, and whatever else inspires me to make an object of beauty to share with others.

My work is based in the quilting tradition of three layers stitched together, but the artistry of it goes far beyond the basic piecing of geometric shapes to create a bedcovering. You will see reflections of nature in my work as I live in a valley in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana surrounded by mountains, rivers, streams and my own garden. Color and texture inspire my work and they are my palette.

I write about what I am doing with my art and where I hope to go. I create, I write, I teach, I share and I think about my art and tell you about it all on the pages of my blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pneumonia Slows You Up!


I should soon be getting my quilt back that hung this weekend in the Denver National Quilt Festival. An acquaintance from the Quiltart listserv, Jan Koehn, was nice enough to take some pictures of it for me and e-mail them to me. Thank you, Jan!

I completed my piece for the bead contest and entered it with one other piece (“Purple and Pleated”), but unfortunately did not place in the competition. The three pieces that won are truly beadwork that is totally covered with beads, as opposed to my fiber art pieces that are embellished with beadwork allowing the fabric to show through. I don't currently plan to change my style of work, so maybe I'll have to think about whether I should participate in the bead competition next year. I enjoyed putting a lot of beads on my piece and felt that there was a good deal of beadwork on it, but I guess the judges just didn't think there was enough. I believe my piece turned out very well and I may try to enter it into some other type of exhibit/show in the near future.  

This piece is entitled: "Spring Thaw IV: From Winter We Emerge" and is for sale for $450.00. It will be hanging at The Beaded Pony until May 9.

I did not make it to the First Friday event at which the beaded pieces were displayed and the shop had all their beads on sale because I was home trying to recover from a recently diagnosed bought of pneumonia. I am still having a good bit of discomfort breathing and I think the recovery to full health will be rather slow, but hopefully I will be able to get out and about soon. I had a bad cold prior to this and it felt like the bad congestion I had in my head just dropped overnight into my chest. Never had this before, never want it again!

I am currently working on three pieces. One is the old brown tree with the dangling leaves which has been set aside for a while after attempting to quilt it and finding it rather boring and not knowing what to do to perk it up. It's waiting for some inspiration. I am also working on my challenge pieces for the upcoming Bitterroot Quilt Guild show the last weekend of June. This is a monochromatic piece that is rather small. Can't say much more than that as it is supposed to be an anonymous entry that will be voted on. The third piece is a landscape with a window type arch and it is done in blues and tans. I am currently quilting it and it is going rather nicely. This little illness has slowed the work down, but I hope to get back to it in the very near future.  

I also need to start on something using this month's TARTs project which is glitter, glitter glue, and a product that consists of beads emersed in glue that you can use to embellish. I don't know what I plan to do with it, but should not be a difficult project to work out. I'll likely do a small piece this time.  

Unfortunately, my pneumonia interfered with attending my final bead class which was very disappointing. I was looking forward to learning how to surround a “cabochon” with beads. A cabochon is stone that has a flat side that allows it to lay flush on the surface of the quilt. Then you can encase the edges of it with beadwork using small beads to hold it and enhance it. I really enjoyed interacting with the other students in that class as they are all enthusiastic and artistic individuals who have a lot to share and love learning and sharing ideas and their work. It is so stimulating to be with like-minded people every week. I always look forward with great anticipation to my TARTs (textile arts) classes every month, but they go so quickly and are over before I know it. I have been tossing around the idea of creating a group of interested artists who could get together every month and share what were doing, critique, discuss ideas, and just interact and enjoy the company of other artists. I'd really like some critique of my work as I never hear from anyone what they don't like about my work. It would be helpful to know this as I feel I could grow more from that. We'll see if that idea ever goes anywhere.

I'm trying to decide what contest or exhibition I should attempt to enter next. There is always something coming up! I need to contact some area galleries to see if there is any interest as well. After the Bitterroot Quilt Show in June I have no other venues for my work lined up so I better get busy!  

Friday, April 24, 2009






I'm currently working diligently on my entry for The Beaded Pony's bead contest. Above are some rather poor pics of the work in progress from my design wall.  It is going well but I'm having the usual dilemma about when to stop embellishing. I don't want to overdo the beading as I usually choose to "embellish" the fabric rather than "encrust" it with beading. I really appreciate the work of other artists who do this in their work, but in my work I like to let the fabric and quilting be strong parts of the piece. I do have to do a good amount of beading if I hope to place in the contest though---it is a BEAD contest after all! Last year I did not do enough beading on my piece so I'm hoping that this year's entry will do better.

I'm hoping to hang a couple of my other beaded pieces but they won't be in the contest, just for sale. They contain some beads that are not from the Beaded Pony so are ineligible for the competition. I'd say a large percentage of my bead inventory is from there, but naturally I do make occasional purchases elsewhere when I find something unusual.  

Tomorrow we are taking my son to the circus as we have done the past couple of years.  It is a fun family outing and he really enjoys it--as do I!  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend


Here is a picture of some of the things hanging on my design wall (I never seem to have enough space to hang the pieces I'm working on without moving stuff out of the way!). When I acquire a new embellishment, fabric, piece of trim, or whatever that seems particularly inspiring, I often hang it on my wall hoping that it will trigger an idea or become part of something I'm working on. Sometimes they are pieces to precious to put away in a drawer or a box until I have had time to admire them for a few months. Other times I am thinking they might work in a piece that I am thinking of or working on.

Inspiration comes from so many sources. I am quite often inspired by things that I see in my yard or around my home, but many times it is a piece of fabric that the creation of a piece will revolve around. This time of year the flowers start blooming and plants start sprouting and budding. I find this inspiring for art and life. I don't often get philosophical and I don't do art with "deep meaning", but spring sure is an awe-inspiring time of year for me. I'm willing to get out of my studio and dig in the dirt to clean up my gardens and uncover those sprouting perennials that will soon be filling my gardens with colorful blossoms and attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. I'm sure I will be moved to create some fiber art that reflects this new life and growth.

Actually I need to move on that thought as the theme for the Beaded Pony's bead contest is "Springing into new life" and the pieces are due at the end of this month. I entered one of my pieces last year and got third place in the flatwork category. This year I'd like to move up to at least second place, but we'll have to see what I can get done in the next couple of weeks. Could have done better last year if I had more beading on my piece so I will attempt to remedy that. I also have to make sure I use beads from the Beaded Pony so hopefully I can determine that from my stash of beads. Regardless of how that turns out, I will hang a couple of my beaded pieces there for the week that the shop is displaying beaded art along with the contest entries at the beginning of May (I can't find the postcard with the exact info right now, but I will try to post it here when I do!).

We took my son to the huge Easter egg hunt at The University of Montana campus today and we had a great time. He got a sackful of loot and really enjoyed the whole event. Tomorrow he is going to go turkey hunting early in the morning with his dad, allowing me some time to hide his Easter treats outside so he can have another hunt at home (please don't rain!). Then in the afternoon we will go up to his grandparents house where he will likely do some more hunting! What fun. He and I have done treasure hunts for as long as I can remember. Early on I would draw pictures on pieces of paper leading him from one location to another around the house and he was very good at figuring them out, although I am no artist when it comes to drawing. Now he can read words so the clues can be riddles and hints which is much more fun.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Solo Show at Bank is Up; Camping in a Snowstorm

My mother helped me hang 14 of my quilts at the Rocky Mountain Bank in Stevensville on Wednesday.  They will be on display, and for sale, for the months of April and May.  Then on Thursday I received a notice in the mail that one of my quilts, "Twist of Lime, Pinch of Purple" was accepted into the Denver National Quilt Festival.  It is a juried show which means I had to send in digital images of my entries and knowledgeable jurors determine which entries they will include in the show.  That show will be April 30 through May 3.  This quilt is an innovative piece using a traditional block (log cabin) as a base.  I believe it will make a better statement hanging in this show than the two pieces they accepted last year.   It is much bolder and more colorful.  Now I have to go through the agonizing process of determining how to ship the quilt so it doesn't arrive there with folds and curling corners!

We went camping last weekend to Freezout Lake and had a great time except for having to stay an additional (and very chilly) night because of a snow storm.  There were probably 100,000 snow geese and more people than we have ever encountered in the nine years we have been going up there.  We explored the area as is our usual activity for this trip, seeing such sites as Benton Lake Refuge, some Indian teepee rings, and of course the camels next to the highway in Fairfield (two humpers).  We had a wide range of weather conditions and it was more wintery than any other year has been, but we were able to enjoy ourselves and it was a good trip.  My son who is six had a great time and just loves camping in the trailer.  Luckily for him he climbs into his sleeping bag and turns on his personal body furnace and stays warm all night---even without socks!  I had two pairs of socks on and was still cold all night.  

Today I started working on a challenge piece that I need to finish for the Bitterroot Quilt Guild show in June.  It is to be a monochromatic piece and each of the participants was given a piece of fabric that we have to use in the piece.  Luckily the color of my fabric has inspired an idea and I'm hoping it will turn out interesting.  The quilts have to be rather small (maximum of 144 sq. inches) so that will be a challenge for me.  No pics of this one as it is supposed to be anonymous.

My son entered a watercolor painting in the Montana Junior Duck Stamp competition so we went to the award ceremony yesterday at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge here in Stevensville.  I was impressed with the whole event, although much of it was outside in their amphitheatre and it was very cold.  They treated the kids really well and I think all had a great time.  They got very nice prizes and ribbons.  Michael received an honorable mention which is what all the kids who didn't get 1st, 2nd or 3rd get.  He was at the bottom of the age range so he has years to get better.  We were very proud of his effort and the quality of work he does. If we can just get him to keep working at it and practicing I think he will be very competitive down the road.  I asked him if he likes painting and he said he really likes his lesson with his grandpa every week, but he doesn't like practicing at home.  I guess we'll have to work on making that more fun and not a chore!  His prizes from the contest included some new painting supplies, so maybe that will help motivate him--this week anyways!

I have discovered a magazine that I had never heard of before (it is only a couple of years old) which focuses on home machine quilting and is very good.  It has been coming out quarterly but I understand that now they will be combining it with their longarm quilting magazine and publishing it every other month (I think they have shared articles in the past anyways).  The magazine is called Machine Quilting Unlimited and I think it has some of the best articles about quilting that I have seen.  It is not on any of our newsstands around here, but the website is www.mqumag.com.  I ordered all of the back issues and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  Very informative, in-depth articles with lots of good pictures.  If you do your own quilting it is definitely a worthwhile read.  As one who does all my own quilting on a Pfaff machine, I highly recommend it.

By the way, at the bottom of this page I always have a photo of one of my quilts and I change it every once in a while, so scroll down and take a look!