Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Space Between, Part 2

I have made some progress on my latest piece for a juried invitational called “The Space Between,” which will be co-curated by Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal. I ignored my own advice, and quilted this piece, rather than thread sketching it first on just the top layer. So this piece is a bit wonky right now. It is exactly four weeks since my mother’s death, and I am still not thinking clearly. But it is helping me to work on this piece, to do something creative. 

I am hoping that with the rest of the quilting, it will lie nice and flat. If not, I will probably add another backing and perhaps some trapunto-ed areas behind the quills of the feathers or the whole feathers, and try to quilt out the wonkyness. Each piece brings with it its own challenges, and I try to not get too stressed out, reminding myself that such challenges often result in my learning new skills, or trying some new technique.

I am using only black and white thread, Aurifil Cotton Mako 50, a very fine thread. Black on the feathers, and white for the swirls in the negative space. The swirls make me think of air, or wind.

I thought you might like to see the photo on which this piece is based. I arranged four bluejay feathers on white paper, and shot them using the macro lens on my camera. Here is the photo:

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Space Between, Part 1

The morning of January 26, I started work on the piece above for a juried invitational called “The Space Between,” which will be co-curated by Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal. That afternoon, I got the news that my mother had died unexpectedly, in her sleep, early that morning.

In the three weeks since then, I have been consumed by grief, handling the details of affairs that came in the wake of my mother’s death, and trying to tread water. I have not had the time or the interest in working on my art. And the thought of returning to this piece, which was interrupted by such a devastating event, chilled me.

But the deadline for this exhibition looms. And making art is healing. So today I finished painting the fabric, cleaned my studio, and started stitching.

These two photos show the piece after painting, but before any stitching. It is 36" x 48".

This piece features four bluejay feathers I have found on my daily walks. Some of the feathers are blue on both sides, with interesting black splotches. Some are blue on one side and black and gray on the other. I have always collected feathers, nests and egg shells; as a child I loved to look for birds’ nests, and I even made them, out of mud and grass, let them dry, and perched them in trees. My mother gave me bits of brightly colored yarn to hang in branches in the springtime, for the birds to use as construction material, and then we would go on walks, looking for nests with glints of yellow, pink or purple. 

I read once that birds keep themselves warm by trapping and heating the air in the space between their feathers. The feathers themselves are not warm, in the same way that a blanket or quilt is not warm, but merely act to hold our body’s heat close to us. This phenomenon is what inspired this piece. I have not started thinking about a name yet.

In 2010, Leslie and Jamie’s exhibit Beneath the Surface premiered at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, California, and also showed at International Quilt Festival in Houston

It included work by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison, Natalya Aikens, Frances Holliday Alford, Loris Bogue, Deborah Boschert, Peggy Calvert, Phyllis Campbell, Paula Chung, Joanell Connolly, Gerrie Congdon, Cindy Cooksey, Jane Davila, Muna Elias, Barb Forrister, Terry Grant, Desiree Habicht, Pamela Price Klebaum, Sherry Kleinman, Jane LaFazio, Jayne Larson, Linda T. Minton, Susie Monday, Jeannie Palmer Moore, Rachel Parris, Karen Stiehl Osborn, Judy Perez, Yvonne Porcella, Wen Redmond, Karen Rips, Carolyn Ryan, Sarah Ann Smith, Virginia Spiegel, Cynthia St. Charles, Ann Turley, Terry Waldron and Kathy York.  

This year’s exhibit will also premiere at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, July 29-31, 2011. I hope my piece is juried in. I’ll post more about my progress in the weeks ahead. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My new book is coming out in July!

I have some very exciting news that I’ve been wanting to share with you for more than a year, but I had to wait until now… I’ve written a second book! It is called Point, Click, Quilt! Turn Your Photos into Fabulous Fabric Art, and it will be released by C&T Publishing this July.

The book includes 16 artful projects inspired by my digital photographs.

In the book, I show how to compose and shoot dynamic digital photos from a quilter’s perspective. You can follow the fun workshop-style exercises and step-by-step directions to turn your photos into small art quilts, both realistic and abstract. Most of my projects use fused batik and hand-dyed fabrics, but four projects include innovative materials (paint, Tyvek, Angelina fibers, and foils).

I think you’ll also be inspired by the gallery section of the book, which includes beautiful work by other gifted art quilters I know.

If you are interested in learning more about my book as it gets closer to the release date, please e-mail me at I'll add you my mailing list and let you know when you can order the book.  

Here’s a peek at the projects:

I’ll be sharing lots more details about the book, the projects, and the process of making a book in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2012 Quilting Arts Calendar

Today, I feel very honored. My work “Trouble in the Pumpkin Patch” (detail shot above) has been chosen for the 2012 Quilting Arts Calendar. This will be the fourth year in a row that my work will be included. The other pieces are:
“Candy Corn” (2011)
“Autumn’s Bounty” (2010)
“Citrus Slices” (2010)
“Home Planet” (2009)
I continue to struggle mightily to come to terms with my mother’s recent death. It is hard to be very happy about anything right now. But she was my biggest fan, and I know she would be proud to hear my good news. I just wish I could pick up the phone and tell her about it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
what is essential is invisible to the eye.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Pandoras play with gelatin plate printing

At this month’s meeting of The Pandoras, my local fiber arts group, we did gelatin plate printing. This is a process I won’t describe in detail here (a great source for information is Rayna Gillman’s excellent book Create Your Own Handprinted Cloth). Basically you make up unflavored, non-sweetened gellatin, and allow it to firm up in a shallow pan. Then you dump it out, roll paint onto it, place found objects on top to act as a resist, and press fabric or cloth on top. 

Here are some of my results. This was a very fun, serendipitous process; I'll definitely try it again.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm teaching at International Quilt Festival in Houston

I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching three classes this year at International Quilt Festival in Houston: 

Wholecloth Painting – Botanicals
Thursday, November 3, all day

 Start With a Photo
Friday, November 4, all day

 Thread Sketching – Dragonfly Wallhanging
Saturday, November 5, all day 

For details on the classes, please click here.

Aurifil’s free projects for February

Linda’s “Love Pillow”
Aurifil's Designer of the Month for February is Linda lum deBono. Linda has two fun and quick projects to share with you, the Love Pillow (above) and Love Card Holder (below).

Linda’s “Love Card Holder”
Linda’s “Love Card Holder” (detail)
Click over to Aurifil news page and read the interview with Linda, and download the free project she designed for this special month of love.

You can check out Pat Sloan’s interview with Linda on January 3 2011. Scroll down and listen on your computer or download.

Starting in March, Aurifil will pick one random winner each month who has made one of the designer projects; she or he will receive a special Aurifil thread prize. You can make any of the designer projects (and we hope you make them all!) To participate, simply share your photos at our Flickr Folder... we can't WAIT to see what you do.

Visit Linda all around the internet:

Each month this year, I’m going to be giving away a pack of Aurifil minispools (like the one shown above) when the new project is announced. Just leave me a comment here to tell me what you think of Linda’s projects. I'll pull a name at random next Friday, Feb. 11 at noon. The sampler pack includes great colors in different weights. Congratulations to Kathleen in Montana; she won this giveaway. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An amethyst remembrance

Me with my mom, Eleanor Carter Brubaker,

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep. 
The day was warm, the winds were prosy
I said: “’Twill keep.”

I woke and chid my honest fingers—
The gem was gone; 
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own. 

– Emily Dickinson