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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

California colors

I've been going through my California photos from last week's trip in which I was seeking sun and color. As I waited to take off in Seattle, the top photo is what I saw from the plane. They were deicing the plane.

But then I got to Southern California and was able to enjoy a full 2 1/2 days of sunshine before the clouds, rain and fog moved in. I've pulled together a rainbow of colors that I found there. Here they are, in almost rainbow color order. Enjoy!

To recap:

Seattle -- SeaTac Airport
California -- LAX
 Have a colorful day

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm back!

Adding embroidery to the fused shapes.

My mandala and I are back from Los Angeles, where I found a lot of nature's colors and shapes that reminded me of the mandala.

Bird of Paradise plant on an L.A. sidewalk.

Beautiful green leaves along an ocean cliff.
I also immersed myself in two art quilt exhibits. I couldn't take photos in either, but here is a little tease. Above, I'm at the entrance to "Quilt Visions 2012: Brainstorms" at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego with Del Thomas. Del is a blogging friend who I finally met in person at the gallery, which just happens to be named after her. You can see the little sign way above us that says The Del Thomas Gallery. For more information, check out the web site at

Del gave me a fabulous tour in which she "introduced" me to each quilt, giving me just enough information about each quilt and artist to whet my appetite for closer examination. I bought the beautifully photographed book of the exhibit (and of the 2010 and 2008 exhibits) and savored the show all over again that night in bed. 

Farther up the coast on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Palos Verdes Art Center is offering three large galleries of contemporary fiber art in this exhibit, "Fiber Forward: Contemporary Practices in Textile Art." The art center's old building is under renovation, so it is temporarily housed at the Promenade On The Peninsula Shopping Center in Rolling Hills Estates, CA.

For a good description of the exhibit, click here: 

Have a colorful day

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Have mandala, will travel

I need a handwork project to take on a trip tomorrow, so tonight I finally started a mandala, which I've been wanting to do ever since I reviewed the book "The Art of Mandala Meditation" here. I fused the basic shapes and I'll add embroidery and beading on the trip.

There are some patterns in the back of the book that allow you to make up your own colors, so I used this simple one and fused some hand dyes and painted fabric onto a background block that looks like the sky. The circle templates came in handy.

I used the bottom orange shape that looks like a sun, and the leftover orange shape on top will be a nice start for another mandala. I also have a stack of leftover circles and rings, already fused, for future projects.

Here's the package of circle templates made of sturdy material that you can cut around with a rotary cutter. This is the first time I've used them, and they're great. The block below is my first attempt, but I decided it looks too clunky for what I have in mind.

I don't know if I'll be able to blog over the next week, but when I come back I hope to have a beautiful completed mandala to show!

Have a colorful day

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spring quilt is birthed

This looks like a mess, but birthing is a messy process. Remember long, long ago on Eleanor Burns' "Quilt In a Day" TV series where she showed how to "birth" a quilt? Instead of the traditional method of putting the top and backing wrong sides together, quilting, and binding, she put the top and back RIGHT sides together and sewed around the edges, leaving a hole to turn the whole thing right side out. It was quick and dirty quilting, and I loved it.

This is the birthing hole (above) for "Spring Awakening," which I finished this afternoon with one day to spare before the entry deadline. Instead of leaving an opening along the seam for turning, I cut two intersecting slits in the backing and pulled the whole thing through that way. Before I cut the slits, I ironed Wonder Under to the inside. After turning, I fused it down and will cover it with a label. That's called the "Escape Hatch" method by some members of the Chicago School of Fusing. It means you don't have to hand sew the opening closed and the edge seam stays smoother.

I'd really like to show you the whole quilt, but I'm superstitious about showing work before I enter it into a show. So I'll just show you this bottom part, which I really like because I'm craving bright green right now. Our days have been really grey. This is how it looked outside this morning ...

... and this is how it looked this afternoon. The only thing that changed was the tide level. I get through by looking at bright fabric, eating a lot, and thinking about spring.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

STITCH snippets

Detail of art quilt by Delaine Gately.

Today my art quilt group, STITCH, met. We discussed goals for our group for the coming year (like having an exhibit) and our personal art goals. It was a really great way to start out the new year, and I left feeling invigorated and inspired. 

I didn't get pictures of everyone's show and tells, but here are some glimpses of the ones I did get. These first two are by Delaine Gately, our queen of glitz. (I think she said she helped a student compose the top one, using some of her signature techniques.)

Detail of art quilt by Delaine Gately.

This next one is by Anne Roberts. It was lush with texture and color:

Detail of art quilt by Anne Roberts.

Small quilt by Lois Johnson.

These two (above and below) by Lois Johnson have a vintage feel. The top one was the result of a challenge from last year, and the bottom one is part of a very long piece incorporating her mother's tatting and Lois's needle skills. It's going to be a window valance.
Stitchery piece by Lois Johnson incorporating her mother's tatting.

Carol Arnold hosted, and here you can see one of her striking contemporary quilts on the wall. She also showed us a spectacular quilt top she just finished using Australian aboriginal patterned fabric juxtaposed with black, but I was helping to hold it up and didn't get a photo : ( 

There was more, but I was so busy admiring and taking notes that I didn't get pictures of everything. When I got home, I got back to business working on my spring quilt. Delaine wanted to make sure I added some glitz. I wish the yellow and pink bead combo didn't look so much like olives.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday's stitches

And a little more stitching and beading.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Spring quilt progress

The spring quilt is coming along, one hand stitch at at time! Very meditative.

Have a colorful day

Friday, January 11, 2013

First quilt of the year

I started my first art quilt of the new year today, and it felt good to dive into my stash of hand-painted fabric and pull out some bright colors. 

It's taken me awhile to get motivated because for weeks it's looked like the photo below -- GRAY. But today it was SUNNY (see the blue sky above) and the light activated whatever my brain needs to get into gear. Thankfully, the next few days are supposed to be sunny.

So I hope to get this one finished in time to enter into IQA's Celebrate Spring juried show. The entry deadline is next Friday, which doesn't give me much time but I'm gonna give it a go. I've known about the deadline for months, but that's about how long the gray weather has been around.

I really enjoy the hand embroidery stitches with ArtFabrik's luscious hand-dyed thread: 

I printed a photo on fabric to use as part of the design. Here's a glimpse:

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winner and the next book to review

Happy Friday! The lucky winner of "Vibrant Quilt Collage" is Janet, who said she would read it and then pass it on to someone else in her art quilt group.

I have one more book from Interweave Press to review and give away:

"Getting Started With Seed Beads"
by Dustin Wedekind

I'm going to make some projects from the book so I can attest to the accuracy of the directions, so it'll probably be a few more weeks before I write the review. It looks REALLY good, though. I always love his projects when I see them in beading magazines.

Have a colorful day