Friday, April 25, 2008

Jolly Jabber Idol Contest

My entry in the Jolly Jabber Idol Contest ("The Tulip Bag") won second place! A darling "Layer Cake dress" by Shannon Ford won first place, and Carol Lewis' "Mary Engelbreit Bib Apron" won third place. Hope you had fun looking at the entries and voting.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I’ve been meaning to post about something that happened about a month ago, the day I made this sketch. I have not really sketched anything for months, if not years. I keep reading about how important it is to have a sketchbook, and I believe it is important, but I just don't seem to find (or make) the time to sketch. So at one of my younger daughter’s soccer practices, I took some paper and a felt-tip pen and sketched the townhouses and trees in the distance. The results were not too great, but I was having fun.

As practice was finishing up, my older daughter came over to look at what I was doing, and gasped in surprise. “Oh my gosh, mama, you can draw like an artist!” she exclaimed. I was dumbfounded. Somehow, this crude sketch was more “art” to her than my work hanging on our walls at home. She sees me working everyday. I call myself an artist (although this is a fairly recent development that has taken place in the last few years). Yet my daughter only really thought of me as an artist when I drew on paper.

“How is this sketch more ‘art’ than my art quilts?” I asked my daughter, and she couldn’t find a good answer. I spent a few minutes explaining that art was not defined by the medium, nor limited to something done on paper.

On the Studio Art Quilt Associates Yahoo group, there has been much discussion lately on whether we should still be calling ourselves "art quilters" due to the stereotype that still exists that quilters are grannies making bedcoverings. There is talk of redefining our image, rebranding, marketing approaches.

When I designed my business cards, I chose to call myself a "quilt artist," and I still think of myself that way, because I started out as a quilter. I suspect that if I had started out by being educated as an artist, worked in another medium and moved to fabric and thread, I would call myself a fiber or textile artist today.

And while I can understand why so many of us are fussing about this issue, there's another part of me that thinks, "who cares?" I am reminded of the bizarre incident where the musician named Prince decided he was renaming himself using an unpronounceable symbol he created. Newspapers and magazines did not have this symbol to print in stories about him, and radio and TV announcers could not pronounce the name, and were forced to refer to him as "the artist formerly known as Prince." How absurd! Even if we call ourselves something different, does that change who we are, what we do, or what we create? Maybe. Maybe not.

In my mind, what we need to do is to continue to educate people that works made in fabric, threads and fibers can be art, to enter and participate in the art world as well as in the quilt world (which has mostly supported us), and to keep on keeping on...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm a 2009 Quilting Arts Calendar Finalist!

I'm a finalist in the 2009 Quilting Arts Calendar competition! I am feeling very thrilled and honored tonight.

According to Pokey Bolton, editor of Quilting Arts magazine, they received 243 entries from around the globe. The theme was “Celebrating Home.” I entered two pieces, and “Home Planet” made the first cut. I can’t show it to you yet, because all the works are kept under wraps until a later date.

My quilt “The Bluest Eye” was a finalist and Judges’ Choice winner last year.

From here, the piece goes to Quilting Arts headquarters, where the judges will decide on the 13 pieces to grace the cover and monthly pages of the calendar.

Participating in this competition has been a really good experience for me, since it encouraged me to try new techniques and materials that I might not have tried otherwise. And working this small (12" x 12") is fun.

Here’s the list of all of the 2009 calendar finalists. Congratulations to all of them, and to everyone who participated.

Linda Aavedal
Natalya Aikens (both quilts)
Judy Alexander
Christine Alexiou
Polly Bean (“Home: Nest is Best!”)
Marianne Bettinger
Donna Clauer
Susan Conaway
Michelle Dobrin (both quilts)
Janet Davis
Cait Gordon
Tone Haugen-Cogburn
Linda Johnson
Susan B. Knapp (“Home Planet”)
Marisa Landa-Love
Susan Mayfield
Sylvia Naylor (both quilts)
Deb Nichol
Wen Redmond (both quilts)
Linda Weinstein

Please vote!, a fabulous online fabric and pattern company, is having a competition, and my pattern “The Tulip Bag” is an entry in it. My friend Grace also has an entry, a darling table topper quilt called ”Simply Spring.”

The idea was to create a craft or quilt using the Simplicity fabric line by 3 Sisters for Moda Fabrics. There’s some mighty cute stuff here!

You can see all the entries and vote on their blog, the Jolly Jabber, here:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bohemian Bouquet Block #4

Here’s Bohemian Bouquet Block #4. It is a thistle to celebrate my Scottish heritage (we have McKee and McDanel in my family, and my husband has Armstrong on his side, and he claims to be related to Robert Burns, Scotland's favorite son). My version (needleturn on a black background) is above. My friend DeLane’s version is below, on a cream background. She fused her appliqué and did satin stitch around it. I love the fabric she used for the big leaves; it makes them look even more prickly! Patterns for the entire Mystery Block of the Month series are available on my website, (Each pattern is released on the 15h of the month.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I found out tonight that “Harbinger’s Hope” won Best of Show - Large Quilt, Best Use of Color, and a blue ribbon in the Professional Art Quilt category at the 2008 Charlotte Quilters Guild show!

The show is wonderful, and there are lots of great vendors, so if you live in the area, don't miss it. It’s at the Fletcher School, 8500 Sardis Road, Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 from 9 to 6, and Sunday April 13 from noon to 4.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Help me name this quilt!

Help! I'm at a loss to name this quilt! Send me your ideas. If I pick your name, I'll send you two of my patterns; you can check them out on my website, (The block-of-the-month patterns all count as separate patterns.)

This quilt features 16 applique blocks done in shades of pink and green. I'm doing needleturn applique, but it could be done with fusibles. It is all done except for the borders, which have similar applique to the sashings, and will be scalloped. After I finish the borders, I'm going to hand quilt it. I'm hoping to have it all done later this year so I can offer the patterns in 2009.

So put your thinking caps on and send me your best ideas (in the comments section), please! I'll decide on the winning name and post the winner here on May 1, 2008.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Nudity in art

As artists, I think we all need to speak out when art is censored. Here is a case I found particularly objectionable, especially since I am trained as a journalist and taught that the right to free expression (whether in words or images) is critical to the democratic process.

The Virginian-Pilot, the newspaper in Norfolk, Va., holds a competition for high school art students each year. This year, the student artist originally named first place did not receive her prize. It was taken away by newspaper executives who rejected two winners chosen by the first jurors because the work involved nudity.

The first judge selected Nancy "Beth" Reid's painting, a self portrait in which she is crouching, unclothed, but with no private parts visible.

The second judge selected a ceramic sculpture of a pregnant nude torso by Jasmine Childs. It was also rejected.

Local art lovers are raising $1,000 to give to Reid to make up for her lost prize winnings.

You can read the full story here, on The Virginian-Pilot's website:

And you can leave a comment after you read the story.

Denver National Quilt Festival acceptance

I got news earlier this week that my quilt “Harbinger’s Hope” was juried into the Denver National Quilt Festival, to be held May 1-4, 2008. I'm not going to be able to attend the Denver show, so if anyone out there is going, please write afterward and let me know how you liked the show. I attended Mancuso's Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival earlier this year, and it was wonderful. Don't miss the Fiber Force exhibit curated by Lisa Chipetine of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA); it features cutting-edge fiber art, and is a knockout!

For more information on Fiber Force: A Futuristic Approach, go to Lisa Chipetine's website.

I've made the decision to go for the first time to Quilt Market in Portland this May. Quilt Market is a trade show for those who make and sell quilting products and services. I'm hoping to learn more about how to market my quilt patterns, and about general trends in the quilting world. It will also be an opportunity to meet other designers, quilt shop owners, fabric company reps, etc. I realized yesterday that I am about to publish my 25th quilt pattern!