Saturday, December 18, 2010

Small Art Quilt Classes at Patchwork Quilts

For those who are in my neck of the woods, I am pleased to announce that I am offering a 3-session class in making a small art quilt at Patchwork Quilts in Hamilton, Montana this coming February. The classes are on the first three Thursdays in February (2/3, 2/10, and 2/17). The first session is on making an art quilt top, the second is on layering and quilting the top, and third session is on embellishing and finishing the quilt.

Patchwork Quilts is at 1720 N. First St. in Hamilton which is the main road through town (Hwy 93). You can call them at 363-5754 for details, or stop in and see the samples for each of the sessions that I just dropped off at the shop.

By the way, you can take one or two or all three sessions as you like. If you only want the quilting one, just sign up for that one. I will be attempting to make them independent of each other, but if you take all three they will definitely be a nice progression towards a finished piece.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about the classes. I would really like to share what I know with you and hope that you will let me know what you'd like to learn. I've had many people tell me they would like to do what I do but don't think they can. I think I can teach you some things that will help you move in the right direction. I will hopefully even share some things with you that you can use no matter what kind of quilting you like to do.

Also, if you sign up and need help with the supply list please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be bringing some fabric, thread, and embellishment stuff for each relevant session that will help to supplement whatever you bring, so there is no need to stress out about it!

Hope to see you there! Thanks!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Ornaments

It seems like I move from one deadline to another all year long. It would be nice to have a month where I'm not working on something for some future deadline! It seems like I don't have time to just play around with stuff in my studio as I am too busy creating things to sell and enter in various shows. This year I am going to try to trim down my commitments to those that are potentially most valuable to me and see if I can find the time to experiment with some things that interest me like using photos in my work, doing more with cutouts and unusually shaped pieces, and possible more painting on fabric. If I would just stop committing to shows and galleries maybe I would have time---probably not going to happen!

The past month I have been making ornaments that are quilted and beaded. I layered fabric with heavyweight Pellon stabilizer (or Timtex). The fabrics I'm using are some of those great pictorial pieces I buy and never use in my art quilts, but they have some wonderful images on them like owls, animals, trees, etc. It has been really fun to match fabrics and beads together to make tiny little works of art. I have sold quite a few at a couple of galleries and on my own and there are more at Art City in Hamilton and River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville (317 Main St.).

Some of the cutest ones I made used fabric from Selvedge Studio in Missoula (509 S. Higgins). They have some wonderfully whimsical fabrics that worked great for the ornaments. The owls on the grey background and the birds are from Selvedge Studio. The sun and moon ornaments are double-sided and were a little more time-consuming to bead and stitch. That is an older fabric that I had in my stash. Not sure where I got the other owl fabric with the darker background. It was fun to go through my stash and find little images to use and then match beads to them. I did get a little carried away with some of the beading!

The fabrics are attached using glue stick and I used satin stitching and various quilt designs to secure them. I satin stitched the edges all the way around and then did the beading. I tried to do extra securing stitches for all the dangles and hanging loops. I've sold these from anywhere between $12 and $20 and have really enjoyed making them. Now I need to get myself to STOP (I'm obsessed!) so I can move on to this month's Tarts project and possibly creating a piece for a show opening in January utilizing photo(s).

Here are some images of the ornaments. The pictures are not of the best quality, but you can get an idea of how fun they are!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daly Mansion Holiday Art Fair Booth

I had my first booth show this weekend. I was a vendor at the Daly Mansion's juried holiday “craft” show in Hamilton, Montana. I had heard that his was a good venue because people usually came with money to spend and were interested in quality art. Unfortunately, either due to the economy or the nature of my work, there was very little spending going on in my booth! I heard a rumor that there was not much going on in other booths as well, but I did see people with bags walking around.

I had many, many positive and enthusiastic comments and accolades about my work. Most of the people who actually came into my room were interested and intrigued with it and spent a reasonable amount of time looking at. Very few looked at price tags, and those that did just moved on. Because my work is not cheap or even inexpensive, I'm guessing that most people need more time to make such a purchasing decision---especially if it is to be a gift. It is hard to buy art for other people.

I am glad that it is over and I have all these wonderful little works to sell at the local galleries where I show my work. I can take a breather and maybe clean up my house and particularly my work space! I did my duty in exposing many people to the world of art quilts. There were people who had never seen this type of art and obviously found it fascinating. There was one who asked, "So these are meant to hang on the wall?", which I thought was fairly obvious, but I answered her politely and let her look. Lots of people took business cards and if even one of those results in further contact and maybe even a purchase down the road it will have been worth it.

Here some images of a few small pieces I had at the show. The little owl piece was one of two small pieces that actually sold. I at least made my booth fee back and a little more, but not enough to make the whole effort worth doing again.

Six Little Owls (SOLD):

Little Pine ($60.00):

I've Got Rhythm ($180.00):

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upcoming November Activities

Two posts on one day---do you believe it? Don't miss the last post down below this one.

In November I have several things happening. I will have a booth at the juried Daly Mansion holiday craft show and have been working on lots of new small pieces for that. My booth will be on the second floor. This is my first experience with this kind of selling, so I'm a bit nervous about how it will go. Whether I sell much or not, I will definitely enjoy finding out how people react to my work and what they think of it. It is three days so I'm hoping I'll make a few sales and have fun talking with people about what I do.

I will also have some work in the "Many Faces of Fiber" show at The Artist's Shop in Missoula, Montana. There will be some quilted table runners by Judy Hartz, some weaving, wearables and I'm not sure what else, but I know it will be a very interesting show. This is a wonderful coop gallery that is worth visiting, particularly if you are looking for gifts for the holidays. I highly recommend it.

I will also have work at The River's Mist Gallery where the featured show in November is Master Woodworkers. I think my fiber art goes particularly well with wood, so I'm hoping there will be room for a few to hang with this show. I will likely have "Jewel of the Forest" there so if you want to see it in person please stop by. The gallery is on Main Street in Stevensville. In December River's Mist Gallery will have work by all of her featured artists, including me. Look for more of my small pieces perfect for holiday gift-giving if they don't all sell at the Mansion!

As always I will have some work at Art City and The Frame Shop which are both on Main Street in Hamilton, Montana.

This weekend my mother and I will be headed to Spokane, Washington for their quilt show. I have three pieces entered and I'm looking forward to seeing the show. I have heard this is a very nice show and I'm sure they will have a lot of vendors where I can spend some money!

It's a "NO" from Quilt National

Before I get to my rejected Quilt National quilt, I have some other news. My quilt, "Blackberries and Dandelions" will soon be shipped off to the Art Quilts XV: Needleplay exhibition in Chandler, Arizona (near Phoenix) for a show that will be up from November into January. This is my first gallery art quilt show and I'm very excited about it. Sure wish I could be there to see it. Also, I had one piece, "From Winter We Emerge" at the Innovations 2010 show in Tacoma, Washington and it won Judge's Choice and a Peer Award there. Then this past week I had a phone call telling me that my quilt, "Red Sky", won third place in the Fiber Art category at AQS Des Moines!! That is my biggest award yet and has a nice cash award attached to it. Maybe I'll finally get that digital camera I've been hoping for!

"Jewel Of The Forest"

Now on to the Quilt National story!

This year I finally had a piece that I felt might be worthy of Quilt National so I submitted an entry. Unfortunately it did not make the cut, so now I can share it with you. This was a truly inspired piece and it created itself as it was made. I didn't know what I was going to do with the tree trunk when I made it. The piece evolved around it.

The fabrics on the left and right sides of the piece are my rusted Osnaburg which was wrapped around a large rusty chain. I painted the fabric that the tree trunk is on with fabric paint. The remaining fabrics are commercially made, including a hand-made marbled fabric (not by me).

The tree is made of molding paste that has been colored with PearlEx powder and then put onto the fabric with a palette knife. It was then painted to give it some highlights and shading.

I knew that something needed to be added to make the trunk more interesting and I spotted some coated wires about the right gauge. They were each less than 8" long and I had maybe a dozen of them. I found a wonderful multi-colored rayon flat ribbon in my stash and started winding lengths of it around to cover the wire and then left about 4" dangling at the end. When I held these up to the quilt the dangling ends just hung limply and it appeared that I needed to do something more. Of course then I thought of using beads and collected some that went with the piece and started stringing them in random "pattern" between loops of the ribbon (see pics). It worked wonderfully and the weight of the beads was perfect for the strenth of the wire. I securely stitched the ends of each wire to the top of the trunk so they would extend out from the wall and curve gracefully, draping like willow branches. They bounce ever so slightly when you walk by or if there is air movement in the room.

Enjoy the pictures. The quilt is now for sale: $1400.00. Be sure to let me know if you are interested!! ;o)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SAQA Auction Has Begun and Anniversary Art

Please check out the website to view and participate in the on-line auction that began on Monday, September 20. My piece is in the second round of bidding which begins at the $750 level on Monday, September 27. The purpose of this effort is to raise funds to support SAQA – Studio Art Quilt Associates, which promotes art quilts by sponsoring exhibitions, educating fiber artists, providing means of networking for fiber artists and art venues, and by many other means.

I also have a new gallery on my website,, Gallery 3, so please check it out. These pieces were mostly created in the past six months (except for the Christmas ornament which I forgot to include in the last gallery!).

Several months ago I was asked by my mother-in-law to create a piece of fiber art for some friends of their family who were going to be having their 50th wedding anniversary. Initially she suggested a memory type quilt which related to their life experiences, children, etc. Unfortunately I wasn't comfortable doing a piece like that since it is so different from what I normally do, and I was finding it very hard to find inspiration for it. I knew that this couple and their family loved to go camping and had visited Yellowstone, Glacier and other western destinations on family vacations and such (they are from the Chicago area). So I suggested that I do a nature themed piece more similar to what I usually create, and since I had an idea from some recent experimenting I was ready to get started.

What I came up with was a piece that incorporates a large tree with a textured trunk created from molding paste. The paste comes as white and I added Pearl-Ex powder to it in a bronze color and painted the paste onto the fabric with a palette knife using a paper template to maintain the shape with a little more control. I let the molding paste dry, then I used some of my fabric paints to add highlight and shadow. I used Elmer's Blue Glue (gel) to draw out the mountains, let it dry, and then painted the mountains and the lines of glue acted as a resist. I painted the rest of the landscape of meadow, sun and blue sky using fabric paint. When it was dry, I rinsed out the washable glue in warm water. I appliqued a path that moves into the distance, then I free motion quilted the piece adding in some clouds in the sky and grass/flowers in the meadow. After quilting and binding the piece, I added a bit of beading in the foreground and along the path.

Now I was ready to work on the leaves for the tree. I layered fabric and batting and machine stitched around leaf shapes I drew onto the fabric, added vein details, and satin stitched the edges. Then I cut them out. In order to cover the batting which showed around the edges and secure the threads, I painted the edges with Lumiere fabric paint and pinned them to a piece of foam to dry. I stitched the leaves to the branches on beaded strands so they dangled and swayed. Then I added meaningful words to the backs of the leaves using fabric markers and paint so they were readable but not too bold. Words like: Love, Friendship, Family, Hope, etc. If I had known what I wanted to do with the words earlier, I could have written them BEFORE I attached them to the piece. As it was I had to lay paper under them and make sure not to mark on the quilt top as I did this---and making sure they did not flip over onto the quilt before they were dry!

The piece was done in plenty of time but unfortunately we didn't get it shipped in time for it to be presented to the couple at their anniversary party---images were shown to them instead. My mother-in-law, Diana, has the quilt now and will be presenting it to them shortly. I truly hope they enjoy it and that they are all happy with the results of my work. It was a fun piece to do, although different from my usual. Painting the entire piece instead of using commercial fabrics was somewhat out of my box, but I enjoyed the process and was satisfied with the results.

I learned through this process that I probably don't want to pursue commission work at this point in time because I find it difficult to be inspired to create something with someone else's vision. I am usually inspired by fabric, beads, a technique, or something else and I envision where it might take me and then have enthusiasm for moving towards that vision. Trying to work with another person's vision is very hard for me, but maybe if I continue to participate in challenges and learn to accept suggestions from others about what they find interesting (translate: sellable!), maybe I will get there at some point in my “career”. In case you aren't familiar with “challenges” they are usually initiated by some group and have parameters and rules about what you have to do (a theme, style, colorway, etc.) and sometimes what materials you can use. I have participated in several of them over the past few years and I think I have improved, but they are definitely still a CHALLENGE!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gushing---so don't read if you can't take it!!

Tree of Life - SOLD
Quite often I read about artists who are depressed, lacking in self-esteem or self-confidence, have doubts about the quality/worth of their work, and generally have negative feelings about their art and what they are producing (or not producing).  I am always grateful to realize that I don't have these feelings.  I have been so fortunate to find success and happiness in what I am doing with my art and as a "glass half full" kind of person I just don't get those negative thoughts about it all.  I've had people make comments to me about how I can look at my show ribbons whenever I am feeling down about my art and feel better.   In the three years that I have been seriously pursuing my art quilts I have not had a time when I felt negative or down about what I'm doing!  It has been a fun, positive, rewarding and fulfilling journey.  I love what I'm doing and am proud of my work.   I have had more support from people in many different capacities than I could have ever hoped for.  It is usually accepted that friends and family will be kind, but I have had such an overwhelmingly positive response about my work from an incredible array of people that it is just plain wonderful.

It is all new and exciting to me now, so maybe sometime down the road I'll need to think back to these happy times of satisfaction with my art in order to boost my spirit.  Every time I enter a show and get accepted I am astounded, flattered, and proud.  When I win an award at one of those shows I am truly honored.  When I take my work to a gallery and they accept it and want to show it I am elated and encouraged.  I hear that many artists are still not selling much with the economy not recovered and people not spending on "luxury" or discretionary items like art.  I have sold more work this year than any other year.  I'm going to have to remove those lines of "sold" pieces on my inventory list so I can sort out what is still available without all those sold ones in the way! 

Now, that is not to say I don't have my problems, but they are what I would consider "good" problems.  I don't have time to crank out all the work I have inspiration for.  I am constantly in the process of getting an entry ready for a show, shipping a piece to a show, or trying to determine what pieces to commit to shows I want to enter down the road.  It is getting to be a major organizational effort to coordinate the commitment of pieces to shows and make sure they aren't sold in the meantime or committed to another show, or that I have them back in time to send to another commitment.   I have pieces in four galleries in my area and keeping them up-to-date and current is a coordination effort as well. 

I think I'm going to have to slow down and commit to a certain number of shows a year and choose those that will be the best exposure for me.  I have been in numerous Mancuso managed quilt shows and they have been a good experience for me but I think I will be giving those up.  I'd like to try for Houston and Paducah even though they emphasize the traditional quilt because they are prestigious and will get my name out there.  I'm trying to enter more of the art quilt shows at galleries across the country because they emphasize sales and many of them have become quite prestigious in the art quilt world.  That includes shows like Quilts=Art=Quilts, Art Quilts XV, Form Not Function, and many others.  I have yet to get into one of these shows, but I'm still trying!

When I do an entry for a show it can be rather complicated to figure out what I can enter.  For one thing it needs to be available (not at or committed to another show) and not in a gallery because it cannot sell in the meantime or it might not be available to show and they don't like that much.  There are size requirements (minimums and maximums), show themes, and image requirements.  I have to make sure I have good quality full quilt and detail images of my pieces so they are ready to submit.  There are fees to pay, shipping arrangements to make, packing quilts so they arrive ready to hang in decent condition, worrying about them getting lost in shipping, worrying about the condition they will be in when they are returned to you, anxiety about whether or not they might win a ribbon and be recognized in some way, and, for some shows, if they sell.  My mind races!

This summer has been particularly busy for me having been the featured art quilter at our local show and of course having my son here to occupy my mind and time.  He is a good boy and can entertain himself, but there are not nice blocks of time in the day when I can really become lost in my work.  Because of that I don't accomplish as much.  We have had a great summer and I enjoy having him around, but when school starts I have a whole list of things that I will be attempting to accomplish with all the uninterrupted time I will have during the week!  We'll see how that goes...!

I just finished a quilt for my mother-in-law who asked for something to give to friends of theirs that are having a 50th wedding anniversary in September.  I wasn't able to do what she originally proposed to me since it would have caused me much angst and frustration (not being my style and not being inspired by it), so I designed and created something I think they will like and will ship it off soon.  Hopefully they will all find it suitable to the occasion.   I will post in progress and finished quilt pictures soon...

Now I am moving on to some small pieces that are pieced and layered and ready to quilt.  I'm hoping to accumulate some things to sell for the holidays, in particular a holiday show at the Daly Mansion in Hamilton, Montana which seems to be a very strong and successful venue for artists.  I have applied to have a booth space and it will be my first foray into that sort of display of my work.  I think it will be fun, but I really need to get a good inventory of work to sell so I don't have a naked booth! 

I previously blogged about a piece that I worked on for about a year called "Red Sky" which went to the Lowell Quilt Festival in Lowell, Massachusetts recently and is now headed to AQS Des Moines.  It has tentatively been sold and I'm hoping that becomes a permanent thing, but I need to get it back safely first.  It is a wonderful piece and I know that the new owner will enjoy it. 

Red Sky - SOLD
I will be getting some new images posted on my website soon and will put a notice here when that happens.  I need to get to formatting the images and writing up the descriptions so I can have my husband put them out there.  It all just takes time..................................!!

Just for fun, this is a piece created a while back to try to get into a show entitled "Art Meets Science", but it did not get in.  The moon in its phases is created with shiny/sparkly angelina fiber.  There are carved beads of bone and metallic glass beads which are to symbolize the primitive and yet space-age aspects of the moon.  One of the few things in science that I can think of that is both primitive and modern at once.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I finally figured out how to get some photos downloaded here so I'm getting back to posting! I have had some fun this summer getting my work out there and even selling!

At the beginning of July we had the Stevensville Sapphire Quilters' Show and I was the Featured Quilt Artist. That meant I got some floor space to myself to set up a display of my work and I filled it up with fiber art! I was able to borrow some free-standing panels for displaying some of the work and they were black so they set off the quilts nicely. I had some of my older pieces as well as new work. It was very fun to be there for two days and talk with people about my work and answer questions. I sold three pieces and received some ribbons for various pieces I had entered in the show. Here is a picture of one of the pieces I sold which I will miss!  It is called "Run Free".

My Sapphire Challenge piece won numerous ribbons including Best Overall Challenge piece. The challenge involved using two fabrics that they gave us and up to four other fabrics to create a fiber item (didn't have to be a wall hanging, but mine was).   Here is a picture of it:

The quilt show went very well and the two ladies who were brave enough to volunteer to organize and run the show did a wonderful job with it. All of the committee chairs seem to have things well under control and I thought the show looked wonderful and things ran smoothly. The vendors seemed to be happy and the visitors seemed to enjoy it. I know that I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend!

I took some of my work to a co-op gallery in Missoula, Montana, The Artist's Shop, to get juried in for consignment there and was accepted so some of my pieces are hanging there now. I don't think anything has sold yet, but it is good to have some of my work in Missoula. I will be having a solo exhibition at the gallery in September of 2011.

My son, Michael, is going to be the featured Emerging Artist at River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville for the month of August. His opening will be on First Friday (August 6) from 6-9pm. I can't wait to see him interacting with people at the reception. Some of his work will be for sale, but he is rather attached to it and most of them he doesn't want to sell. His work is mostly watercolor paintings which he has created during lessons with my dad which he has been doing most every week for a couple of years now. He has done some very nice pieces and I think people will really enjoy them.

I just sent two pieces off to Images 2010 – Lowell Quilt Festival in Lowell, Massachusetts. Here are images of the two pieces I sent:  "Blackberries and Dandelions" and "Red Sky".

I also sent “Twist of Lime, Pinch of Purple” to the World Quilt Festival which is a Mancuso managed show. I am currently waiting to hear from a show in Ohio and to see if any of my pieces will be featured in the fall SAQA Journal which will be featuring nature themed quilts in the gallery pages. I sent in several images hoping one might get in. We'll see...

Don't forget to go to the SAQA Auction site to view the 288 donated auction pieces. There are approximately 12”x12” and made by SAQA members. They will be auctioned off in September and they will start at $750 and go down to $75. The site outlines the process for bidding if you are interested. Here is a picture of the piece I donated:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gallery Talk

On Friday I had my "gallery talk" where I shared some info about my history, the way I work, and the inspiration for my work. There were about 15 people there and most, but not all, were people I knew who work in fiber (quilters or art quilters). I think it lasted about 45 minutes and towards the end of the time I started to feel like I was just babbling on and they were probably getting bored! Based on what they told me afterwards, that wasn't the case, and I think most of them really enjoyed what I shared with them. I tried to be organized with notes, visual aids, and some additional fiber art that wasn't in the show (mostly older pieces to show them what I did before I started the heavily quilted and beaded art work that I do now). I felt the talk was a worthwhile opportunity for me, and I learned a lot from it. An added bonus was that there was a play going on at the theater next door and several people stopped in to look at my work before the show and during intermission.

I have sold three small works since taking my pieces to the gallery. I am happy with that, but do wish that one of the larger pieces would sell. There are some interested parties but they haven't made a commitment, and might never do so! If the interested parties want me to bring pieces to their homes so they can see how they look I will be glad to do that after my gallery show is over and I would share the commission with the gallery since she has done a wonderful job promoting me and my work. It is wonderful to have a gallery that is supportive of your work and wants to continue a relationship with you. I hope to continue having a few pieces of my work at the gallery on a permanent basis, and in a year or so I will have another show. I just hope my run of creativity and productivity can continue so I can have enough new work to show!

I have had very good feedback from my gallery exhibition and the owner has said that pretty much everyone who has seen it has enjoyed it. The comments are very positive and many viewers seem to spend a good deal of time looking at the pieces and discovering their details. It is fun to be there and be able to answer questions or just talk about my work with interested people. I am really looking forward to our quilt show in July (July 9-10) when I will able to sit with my work as the Featured Quilt Artist. For two days I will be able to share my work and see how people react to it and tell them about it. What fun that is! I love answering questions and explaining things about my work. It is very satisfying to find out that people really want to know about it.

Right now I am in a holding pattern on creating new pieces, and trying to catch up on some things I need to get done around the house and yard. I also need to straighten up my workroom since after the whirlwind of getting pieces ready for this show and then preparing the lecture I have left it quite a mess. I need to try to organize my room a little better and get rid of lots of clutter. Some of these magazines have just GOT to GO!! I am quite a saver and just find it hard to part with any quilting or cooking magazines and yet they are in such disorder that I'd have a hard time finding anything in them anyway. I have some older ones that I never look at so I'm going to toss those and make room for the ones I do use like Quilting Arts and Machine Quilting Unlimited.

Blogger has changed something with how pictures are downloaded here and I have been having some trouble trying to get it to work.  I'll definitely will keep working on it so I can get something posted here for you to look at!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gallery Openings and Talk

On First Friday in May my fiber art show at River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville, Montana opened to a nice crowd and some enthusiastic admirers. I sold one small piece before she even had the work hung up, and then sold another small piece at the reception. Another small piece was sold sometime this week and I'm looking forward to more pieces flying out the door in the next couple of weeks. The gallery owner did a beautiful job displaying my work. I was sharing the gallery space with the Stevensville Art and Sculpture Society's (SASS) spring showcase and was pleased that my work seemed to fit well in the space I had and the SASS show was nicely done with a wonderful variety of interesting artwork.

I really love gallery openings when my work is being shown because I usually have such a difficult time making small talk at social occasions, but talking about my work is much easier. I love talking to anyone about what I  do, how I do it, why I do it, etc. etc. It is fun to share my work and inspiration with people who are actually interested (or least they appear interested!). I will have the opportunity to do this in a more formal way when I do my gallery talk on Friday, May 21 at the gallery. The free lecture is at 7:00pm and anyone is welcome to attend. I am nervous, but somewhat excited. Hopefully I can keep an audience interested for a full 45 minutes!

Next Thursday I have to attend a private reception at the Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana for their Celebration of Missoula Artists showcase which includes numerous artists from Missoula and the Bitterroot. I have one piece in this juried show and am quite anxious to see how well it works with all of the other forms of art displayed in this show. And it will be interesting to see if there is any other fiber art. This show will be on display through the first week of June. There is an open public reception on First Friday in June (June 4).

In July I will be the Featured Quilt Artist at the Sapphire Quilters 2010 Quilt Show. I will have my own space to hang whatever pieces I want and then be able to sit there with them and answer questions and share my work with people for the two days of the show. I look forward to this opportunity and hope that I will exposing a lot of people interested in quilts to a whole new perspective on them. Many people are not aware of "art quilts" although they are becoming a more prevalent quilt form throughout the country and the world. Most quilt shows have art quilt categories and there are many galleries across the country that are doing fiber art shows on a yearly basis. I have submitted entries for a number of these shows in the last two years and not been able to break into those venues, but I will continue to try and hope that I can choose the right pieces for the right show and get accepted.

Somewhat off the usual quilt art topic, today we went to the awards ceremony for the Montana Jr. Duck Stamp Contest. My son got a 3rd place award in the K-3 category for a swan he drew with colored pencil and crayon. He was one of the youngest award winners and we were very proud of him. He got to pick out some prizes and acquired some fun art supplies to hopefully encourage his continued interest in art.
The young girl who won Best of Show for the State had her piece sent to DC for the national competition and was one of the top 10 finalists. Her Canada Goose painting was very impressive. There were something like 26,000 entries across the country so getting in the top 10 is a great honor and tribute to her talent and hard work.

Sorry about no pictures again. Need to get on my laptop and get some out pics of recent work out here for you, and I will try to do that soon. Please come back again!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Under the Weather

Isn't it unfortunate how ill health saps creative and motivational juices from a person? I have been ill for a few days and am just now recovering so I have not accomplished anything creative for days. Today I am nursing my ailments when I'd rather be at my monthly textile arts group meeting sharing and being inspired by what others share. I love the interaction at this group and look forward to it every month. It is painful to miss a session. Now I will have to go in to pick up my next technique packet without advantage of hearing the lesson and seeing the examples for it, and interacting with my fellow artists about it. This Thursday I have my small art discussion group gathering and I'm hoping that I am recovered sufficiently to attend and enjoy that experience. I love being able to discuss what I do with others who understand, enjoy, and are inspired to create art as I am.

My quilt, “From Winter We Emerge”, won a Judge's Choice ribbon from judge Scott Murkin at the Machine Quilting Exposition this past weekend. Since the judges choose from all the quilts in the show in every category I am very honored by this award. I expect that my two pieces that were in that show will be arriving home in the new few days so that they will be available to hang in my gallery exhibition beginning May 7.

Yesterday we mailed off my two entries to the Denver National Quilt Festival hoping that they will arrive unscathed by the deadline.

And, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the May edition of Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine which will contain a page showing my piece, “Twilight” in the Noteworthy column of reader quilts. I don't know when that will be out, but I look forward to seeing one of my works in print so every day I check the mail with great enthusiasm.

This past weekend, despite being somewhat under the weather, I enjoyed a few days of camaraderie and socializing with fellow quilters at a retreat. We went to Double Arrow Ranch at Seeley Lake, Montana. I was able to attach a sleeve, prepare and attach a binding to a larger piece I'm working on, and quilt on some unusual pieces that I then cut out and will be put together in a unique open-work piece. Some of the “pantry dyed” fabric I used in this piece are from our recent TARTS (textile arts) technique project and I used turmeric and instant espresso to create it. I created three batches of dyed materials (lace, ribbon, fabric, etc.) using blue Kool-aid/instant espresso, lemon-lime Kool-aid/instant coffee, and the turmeric/instant espresso. It was interesting to see how different materials absorbed the color in different ways. Silk ribbon, dryer sheets, and some of the lace (likely depending on it's fiber content) really soaked up the color. Other items were rather muted in color tone. Some of the fabrics that I scrunched up showed definite areas of espresso concentration versus the Kool-aid color. My intention was to not have bright clear color tones that I would have difficulty using and I obtained that by adding the instant coffee/espresso. One piece of cotton flannel that I pleated and then clipped using clothespins and dyed in the turmeric mixture came out very interesting.

It is supposed to get up to almost 80 degrees today and yet I cannot enjoy it. I'm sure once I feel well enough it will be 40 and raining. Oh well, then I won't mind so much as I will be entrenched in my studio creating a new piece fast and furiously to finish it for my show!! For I now I will rest and watch movies. I'm currently enjoying “Mona Lisa Smiles” with Julia Roberts. It's a good one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holiday Weekend

My husband, son and I took a short trip to Freezeout Lake to see the huge flocks of Snow Geese that migrate through there every Spring. We left on Thursday and got back on Sunday. We always take our trailer and spend a lot of time driving around in our Suburban since it is often windy and usually cold! There were thousands of Snow Geese and we also saw lots of ducks, some pelicans, swans, bluebirds, horned larks, and a golden eagle. I always get to visit The Quilting Hen in Carter, Montana and Cotton Capers Quilt Shop in Choteau to add some choice items to my stash.  This year I overdid it (yeah, like I don't do that EVERY year!), but I got some very inspiring pieces and I know they will all find their place in a quilt some day.  I also got some great threads which is almost as much fun for me as fabric!

Next week I will be going to our guild retreat at the Double Arrow Ranch in Seeley Lake, Montana.  I really need to get my act together and come up with something to do there.  It is hard for me since I work from my stash when I make a piece so I have to do the initial stages here in my "studio".  I'd like to take something to do handwork on as well as something to do machine work, particularly some quilting.  Last year I was able to get most of the quilting done on a piece and that was good for filling up a lot of time over the weekend.  I'll try to get a piece or two to that stage and then I just have to make sure I have a good selection of threads to take.  There are two quilt shops and a bead shop to hit during the weekend so I'll have to try to control myself.

I just found out that two of my pieces were accepted into the Denver National Quilt Festival.  This is the third year I will be in that show.  The pieces are "Phases of the Moon" and "Leaf Play" and they are both pieces I made in the last year.  I am waiting to hear from a gallery in Missoula to see if any of my pieces will be accepted into their local artist show in May.  Everything seems to be in May!  I had to be very selective as to which pieces to enter into these shows in order to still have an excellent showing in my solo exhibition at The River's Mist here in Stevensville.  I still hope to complete a couple of pieces before that show.  Luckily I do have a very strong inventory of work.  I'm hoping that my two pieces at MQX get back quickly after that show so I will have them for the solo show.  

If you are interested in textile and fiber art, please visit where I have a post about my work along with many other artists and businesses.  Not all are quilters, there are many types of fiber art included.  

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and MQX

Some nice things have been happening for me lately and I feel very blessed. One of my pieces, "From Winter We Emerge", was in the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival out in Virginia on the east coast and it won Best Hand Workmanship in the Wall Quilts category! My first national award and I was very excited about it! The quilt then traveled to the New Jersey Quilt Fest and I should be getting it back any day now.

Then I got two pieces accepted into the juried MQX (Machine Quilting Exposition) show in Providence, Rhode Island which I believe is the largest machine quilting show in the country. I will be shipping those off shortly!

I recently took a number of pieces to The Frame Shop and Gallery at 325 W. Main Street in Hamilton, Montana and they sold a small piece already. They have some other fiber artists and some other 3-D art displayed very nicely together, so go take a look if you're in the area!

I finished the piece I have been showing you and talking about and I think it turned out really beautifully. I will not be showing it around except here on my blog since it will be one of my new pieces for my gallery show in May. I love how the quilting and beading work together and really bring the whole piece together. It is going to be entitled something to do with blackberries and possibly dandelion tufts. Haven't got that quite decided on yet!  Some of the beading and threadwork on the piece is not evident in this picture, so if you are in this area be sure to see it at my show---it is really lovely.  One I am rather proud of.   

Also, about a week ago I had called the Missoula Art Museum to find out if there might be any opportunities for showing my fiber art there.  I was forwarded to the curator and left a message on his voicemail, including my website address.  This morning the curator called me and asked me if I would rather have them visit my website or bring some of my work in to show them.  Of course I'd rather show them in person since pictures never do justice to my work so I enthusiastically made an appointment for later this month.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity, although I have no idea if this will lead into anything at all.  At least they might give me some feedback as to my work and where it might fit into the museum in the future.  Always the optimist, I'm hoping they will love my work and schedule me in!  I know they are in the business of promoting art and artists, particularly Montana/local ones, so they might be willing to look at the work of any artist who approaches them.  Hopefully mine is worthy of their time and they receive it enthusiastically.  It would be a great honor to have my work in this museum as it is a wonderful building with beautiful space that is well respected in the community.  Well, we'll just have to see where, if anywhere, this opportunity might lead....  It pays to show your work to everyone you know at every opportunity.  I've sold many pieces that way!  And I always put my website and blog at the end of my e-mails and when I go to galleries or other possible venues for showing my work, I always conveniently have a few pieces out in the car just in case they have a few minutes to take a look!  It's worked for me more than once!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thread Class, Choosing a Postcard Image, and WIP

Last weekend I taught a small class of eager quilters about how to use different threads in their machines to do free motion quilting. These were all beginners at using free motion quilting and I believe they all enjoyed the class and learned a lot. It was very fun and I felt comfortable teaching this topic as I have been doing so much quilting on my work and using numerous kinds of threads. I have since found out that others might have signed up but they thought it would be a more advanced class based on the kind of work I do, but I assured them it was a beginner class and that I would do it again if there was interest. We'll see at our next quilt meeting whether there are any who want to have me teach it again.

I spent a couple of hours last week going through images of my pieces and trying to crop out a suitable image for a postcard for my solo exhibition in May. I created a half dozen images and then let them sit there for a few days as I could not decide. When I went back to them and looked through the choices I had no difficult in selecting the one to use. It was quite obviously the most eye-catching and dramatic one and really showed nice quilting, beading, and applique that was representational of my work. The gallery owner loved it so at least I have that done.

The gallery owner has asked me if I would do a gallery talk during the month of my show. I have never done this, but I am certainly willing to give it a try. I get very nervous talking in front of people, but hopefully with preparation, notes, and a topic near and dear to my heart it will be ok. Hopefully someone will find my process, inspiration, and technique interesting enough to listen!

I am currently working on a small piece and I have been documenting the progress with some pictures. I had a little problem with the camera, but hopefully I can get more of them posted here shortly. I believe the piece will be entitled "Blackberry" or something like that based on the fabrics and motifs on them. I am currently working on the beading. It took quite a lot of auditioning to determine what I wanted to do with the embellishment and it has taken a quite different direction than I had originally thought. You never quite know until after the quilting is done, and sometimes even after the binding is on, quite how the embellishment will take form. It is an exciting process that I truly enjoy.
Here is the pieced base for the quilt before quilting:

And a detail of the base:

Here are some fibers and beads that I was considering (but so far NONE of these are on the quilt!):

Here are a bunch of threads that I pulled out for potential use in this quilt, and I have used many of them:

I have completed the quilting and am now in the process of adding some beads, but had a little delay in getting the digital images. More to come...

Currently I have a number of pieces being shown at The Frame Shop and Gallery in Hamilton, Montana. The owner of that gallery saw my work at the local fiber art show over the Valentine's Day weekend and asked me to bring some in. The fiber art show, An Affair of the heART, was a great success. I sold two pieces and they sold 21 pieces over all. There was a steady stream of onlookers and admirerers. I was fortunate to win the challenge and receive a gift certificate to use at In Good Company which sponsors the show and the TARTS (textile arts) classes I attend every month. The show was excellent and work is of high quality. I am honored to be able to exhibit with so many other talented fiber artists.

If anyone happens to go to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and see my two pieces there (From Winter We Emerge in the main show, and In A Heartbeat in the Fibrations special exhibit) I would love to see how they are displayed. I've never been in this show before, although I have exhibited twice in the Denver Mancuso show.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Gallery on the Website

Please check out my website at and see the new quilt pictures in Gallery 2.

This weekend there is an art quilt show here in the Bitterroot Valley and I have entered 7 of my fairly recent works. Two of them are new ones that I just finished. Most of these pieces are now loaded on my website. The show, called "An Affair of the heART" is Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday at the Hamilton City Hall (also called the Bedford Building). There are numerous fiber artists exhibiting their work and there is a challenge that should be very interesting. It is usually a very good show.

I have one quilt in the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival and it should be arriving there any day. That is a national juried quilt show over in Virginia on the East coast. This is the first time one of my works has been over on the East coast. The SAQA exhibit that my piece, "In A Heartbeat", is in, will also be showing at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. That exhibit is called "Fibrations" and includes small fiber art works from artists across the country.

I will be hanging a few of my pieces at a wonderful local retail furniture and home decorating store here in Stevensville called Madison Creek Furnishings. They have a beautiful inventory of furniture and accessories that I think some of my pieces will blend very well with. I need to write up labels with descriptions and prices on them and get them over to them pretty quick here.

Our project this month for the textile arts class I'm involved in, is gelatin plate printing and I haven't done anything yet (class is next Tuesday). I plan to make my gelatin plate today and then will be able to do some printing in the next couple of days and maybe make a small piece from one of those. I have a print from a friend which she didn't like and made me take it off her hands. I have added to it with some Shiva paintstiks to make it hopefully a bit more interesting.

Here are some of my recent pieces, which are also now on my website. This first one was inspired by the fabric beads we made for last month's textile arts workshop. I wound materials around a skewer and then melted them with a heat gun. The materials included felt, tyvek, fabric, threads, and sheer fabric. I thought they looked like little cocoons, so this piece is entitled, "Chrysalis".

This next piece has already sold and it is called "Midnight Cowboy". I really like how it turned out. The quilting around the border started at the upper right and I went around the piece quilting a pattern that reminded me of barbed wire. when I got to the top I ran out of thread! Since I knew I could not make another thread blend and not be noticeably different, I decided to change to a metallic silver and the barbed wire pattern became a starry sky. It is really effective and was a happy accident!

One week in January I decided to do some wholecloth pieces in order to work out some quilting patterns. Two pieces turned out nicely and I ended up adding some beads and finishing them. This is one of them. I just used a piece of black fabrics and quilted it with rayon and trilobal polyester threads including some varietgated ones. I like how the quilting is accented on the black fabric. This is a small piece, but it has great impact.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Teaching? Am I ready?

I have been tentatively contacted about teaching a short workshop about how to use different threads in free motion quilting and I believe I am ready to take the plunge.  I have been saying that I'm not ready to teach yet as I am really committed to creating my fiber art, but when this possible opportunity was presented to me I felt like it was something I could really do and am ready to do.  I have done extensive quilting on many of my quilts and used numerous types of thread in the process.  I know what kind of needles I like, what I do when I have tension issues, how I handle skipped stitches, and how I plan/determine motifs for quilting.  I can share what I know in a short workshop that may be very helpful to people who are just starting to venture into quilting their own work, particularly small pieces.  Even if they are making placemats, tablerunners, or pillows, this is a topic that could be helpful to many and just maybe I could make a difference.  I'd like to see more beginners learning how to do their own quilting instead of sending everything they make to a long arm quilter to complete for them.  

If I hope to make any money at this endeavor, I really need to start teaching, writing, and sharing whatever knowledge I might have.  Up until now I haven't really thought that I had anything unique or original to share, but I have been doing a lot of free motion quilting and working on perfecting it for myself.  So maybe I have enough knowledge and have worked out enough problems that I would be able to help others to improve their free motion quilting.  

Now that this seed has been planted in my head, I have begun thinking about what other workshops I might offer, like how to plan out your free motion quilting or fit designs into specific spaces.  How to use the quilting to draw the eye across the quilt or to highlight or mute certain areas of a piece.  How to use doodling on paper to help come up with new quilting patterns and practice the rhythm and motion of certain quilting designs.  How to vary quilting designs in order to have variety in a piece and maintain some unity or cohesiveness.  How to create an abstract piece that is balanced, interesting, and completely original.  How to use embellishments such as beads, yarns, paint, stamps, etc. to enhance and create interest in a quilt.

Any of those interest YOU?   We'll see if this current opportunity with the local quilt group pans out or not.  If there is enough interest I'm very willing to give it a go.  If not, maybe I can try setting up a class through the local fabric shop since she has been looking for people to teach classes.  

There seems to be no end to the ideas for quilts in my head these days.  I have been able to create one piece after another with very little down time in between.  Some have been more successful than others, but most of them are acceptable pieces and several of them have sold in recent months.  My only problem is not having enough time to just create without the other obligations of life getting in the way.  Even the business aspects of my activity take more time than I would like---entering shows, pursuing gallery exhibitions, keeping track of expenses, keeping an updated and accurate inventory, etc.etc.etc..!  

I don't have any new quilt pics to put out here just yet, but here a couple of pictures I took the other day when there was some wonderful early morning sunlight and frost patterns in the yard and garden.  Enjoy!

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...