Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bunners' Big Day

What a thrilling day for Bunners. Even though he was rejected as a calendar bunny, he was featured today on Laura Wasilowski's Artfabrik blog under guest artists. Check him out here:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Desperately seeking color

Detail of "Morning," painted cotton and nylon organza, quilted with gold thread. I made this in Gig Harbor, WA, when we had a string of sun-washed spring mornings and everything was bright and shiny.

Are there any other artists out there who have trouble making color when the world is gray?

How do you cope?

I'm so desperate for color here in the rainy Northwest that I'm diving into my photo archives to look at what I painted and quilted when I lived in the sun or when it was sunny here. I just can't seem to get moving on current work. Here are a few details.

Detail of my little heart project that was published in "Creative Quilting With Beads," pages 50-53 and back cover (ah, the good old days). I layered commercial and hand-painted cotton, silk and sheer fabrics, then machine quilted and beaded.

Detail from "Beach Houses," which I showed in full on the previous post. I painted most of the fabric with Setacolor fabric paint, and embellished with yarn and beads. The sun was pretty harsh when I took the photo outside -- not too flattering for the quilt.

Detail from "Garden Gone Wild," which I made in the frenzy of spring and summer bursting around me in Illinois. Those were the years when I scattered yarn on nearly all of my quilts and held it down with the quilting stitches.

Detail from "Heat Wave," made one summer during record scorching heat. I painted the fabric and then experimented with stamping.
Hope to hear from some of you as to how you power through the gray days.

Have a colorful one!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Color under the Puget Sound

Crimson anemone with a scaly crab hiding underneath, copyright Jan Kocian.
Yummy fuschia, turquoise and orange by Mother Nature.

I recently asked a friend of mine, a marine biologist who specializes in nudibranchs -- better known as sea slugs -- if he could send me some colorful critters to brighten this blog in the depths of winter.

He obliged with some beautiful photos taken by his friend Jan Kocian, a phenomenal underwater photographer (and artist) who lives on Whidbey Island.

So here they are for your enjoyment and inspiration. Please note that they are protected by copyright, so resist any urge to publish them elsewhere.

Sea pen and crab photo copyright Jan Kocian.

Anemone photo copyright Jan Kocian.

Feather duster worm, copyright Jan Kocian.

Incredibly, all of these creatures are found under the water right here in the Puget Sound. They are so exotic looking that I would've guessed they were from warm tropical waters far, far away.
Many thanks to Dave Behrens
(famed nudi expert)
and Jan Kocian.

 Dave played a big part in one of my first blog posts,
"Sea stars, barnacles, slugs, oh my!"
and you can find that by clicking here.

And to relate this to my quilts:

"Moonrise at Sunset" by Sherrie Spangler (copyright)
The quilt above was inspired one summer evening when when a full moon rose over the harbor while the sky was awash in a glowing orange sunset, tinged with lavender. Everything sparkled and glowed just before the sun went down.

"Beach Houses" by Sherrie Spangler (copyright)

Have a very colorful day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comfort Quilts and Chocolate

It was that time of the month again today:
Comfort Quilts and chocolate at Harbor Quilts.
The group has now donated about
850 quilts to local breast cancer patients.
Here is a glimpse of what we did today:

Squares still on the design wall.

A vibrant quilt top that Carol, who founded the group, threw together.

This beauty was donated -- already completed -- by a generous quilter.

My task was to make over 100 of these four patches, while eating chocolate bonbons, chocolate bars and pineapple cake.

A few more tops ready to be quilted and donated.

Have a colorful day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gray Days and Twisted Nuts

It's been gray, gray, gray, here in western Washington

 ... the same gray as in this piece of cloth that I embellished with Shiva Paintstiks (oil paint in a thick crayon form) by rubbing over some labyrinth rubbing plates in my stash. The gray background is from a big piece dyed years ago by an art teacher friend as an experiment that didn't work for her. But we art quilters know that even the worst fabric can be saved with paint, dye, ripping, stitching, weaving. If all else fails, you can use it for the back of the quilt.

I did a long strip and haven't decided yet if I want to actually quilt it, stick it in a frame, hang it like a banner ... any suggestions?

This is the sky today, the same gray as the fabric.

On a cheerier note, here are the fabrics exchanged last weekend by
The Twisted Nut Stitchers.
We're each going to do an 8-inch quilt block for each of the other Nuts, using the focal fabric that we've each provided. Linda P. provided the black-and-white polka dot fabric, with instructions to combine it with something bright and cheerful. I provided the cherries. I'd say we all had red on our minds, probably as a way to offset the gray around us.

Have a colorful day!

They stole my article!

Every so often I google my name, just to see which quilts and exhibits are showing up. So imagine my surprise a few days ago when "Michael's Body Scenes Aerobics and Fitness Center" in Boca Raton, FL, showed up with my name!


Below the blurb welcoming readers to the first digital issue of the club's newsletter was a column I wrote last year for my local Gig Harbor newspaper. They picked it up word for word, including the headline. They did have the decency to put my name at the top, but they never contacted me or the newspaper for permission or to offer payment. It's a column about exercise bringing out our wild side, and this has sure brought out mine.

As an artist, I try to be very sensitive to copyright issues. I always give credit to other designers and to companies whose products I use, and I would never dream of picking up someone else's photo or writing for my blog without their permission.

Next step will be to contact offending fitness center and seek payment. Thanks for letting me vent.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not a Lucky Rabbit

Art quilt by Sherrie Spangler, copyright 2010. Size: 12"x12"
Well, we gave it our best shot but it wasn't good enough. My Cosmic Rabbit quilts inspired by Bunners were not on the finalist list for the Quilting Arts 2012 Calendar Contest. The list is on Pokey Bolton's blog today. Congratulations to those who were chosen.

Art quilt by Sherrie Spangler, copyright 2010. Size: 12"x12"
But the good news is that now I can put the quilts on my blog, so here they are. I started with photos of Bunners and used them as the basis for my design. I painted all of the fabric (except the leaves) and used Shiva paint sticks to stencil the swirly patterns on the first quilt.
Then I embroidered lavishly with hand-dyed perle cotton thread from Laura Wasilowski of Artfabrik. Click here to see her luscious samples. I also added hundreds of beads on the second one to make Bunners sparkle, and used a shisha mirror for his eye in the first quilt.

The two quilts in process.

This one is based on Bunners' Easter photo.

Closeup of the stenciled patterns and French knots with Laura's thread.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wish Us Luck!!!

Tomorrow we find out if Bunners is a finalist
in the Quilting Arts Calendar Contest
He's practicing being a star, above,
just in case he's selected.

Either way, he's cool.
Wish us luck!

And here is my lovely Mom,
who celebrated her birthday earlier this month.
Another winner!  

Have a colorful day!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tripping with an Artist's Eye

Last week I went on vacation to Florida,
and here is what caught my eye in terms of artistic inspiration:

Aerial views of sinuous rivers and snowy fields
begging to be turned into quilt designs.

Strong lines:

Sunset colors
with bonus design lines:

Unusual view points:

Dave and me (with camera) reflected in glass of an outdoor aquarium.
African mask in hotel lobby:

This is one mask, 16 feet high and 240 pounds, and is worn by one dancer.


Here's the story behind the giant mask.
(Click for a bigger view.)

A smaller African mask.
Animals as life and as art,
in Disney's Animal Kingdom:

I hope you're inspired!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time to Get Serious!

"Mom: Guardian of the House," by Sherrie Spangler, 2003
I will stop diddling around
and I will get back to the studio
and make art quilts.
But first, I'll make a few baskets ...

Maybe one more ...
These are so addictive ...
It's hard to stop with just one ...
Let's add one more color ...

Then I'll pack for this week's visit to Florida
and the Wonderful World of Disney.
THEN I'll get back to making art quilts.

Yes I will.

Have a colorful day!