Thursday, June 20, 2013

California! (Part 2)

I spent last Thursday with Jamie Fingal, fiber artist and curator (with Leslie Tucker Jenison) of the Dinner at Eight Artists exhibitions. She lives and has her studio in Orange, California, and invited me over for a chat on her bright red polka-dot sofa.

Did I mention she loves the color red?

After a wonderful lunch, Jamie took me to a business that restores Airstream trailers. She kinda has a thing for Airstreams... check out her work on the most recent issue of Quilting Arts magazine:

We had fun posing ourselves (and Jamie’s red car) so that we reflected in the shiny metal trailers. We loved our skinny reflections!

They really are gorgeous things:

I did not know that depending on the year, the trailers have different construction. Check out the many-paneled top on this model:

On Thursday night, I did a presentation for Beach Cities Quilters Guild in Mission Viejo, and then did two classes for them on Friday and Saturday. They were a great group! On Saturday night, the guild president, Jean Impey (who happens to be a marvelous contemporary and art quilter) took me out for a fabulous meal. 

And then (after noticing me marveling at the exotic trees and plants), she drove me to see two special trees that she loves. I’m not sure about the species of either one, as I have never seen them. Perhaps one of my blog readers knows and will leave a comment?

This one had thick, shaggy bark that was peeling off all over the place. The chunks of bark were very light, like cork. It had amazing puffy white blooms. 

The second tree was covered in pink flowers that were very fragrant:

 It had smooth gray bark that reminded me of how an elephant looks from far away:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Still Life No. 3

This is a new piece I created for a 6-hour thread sketching class I’m teaching Sept. 10 for the Calico Cutters Quilt Guild in West Chester, PA. I'll be presenting a lecture for the Brandywine Valley Quilters in Thornton, Pa., that evening, and will do a different presentation for Calico Cutters on Sept. 11. If you live in the area, consider signing up for the class. And please come to the lectures and say hello!

I’m calling the piece “Still Life No. 3.” It is based on this photo:

The class is designed to help students expand their machine free-motion skills. Students also learn how to: 
  • fuse down the applique pieces
  • create line, color and texture and dimension with thread 
  • gain control and confidence when free-motion stitching
  • stabilize the fabric surface
  • choose the right threads and needles for thread painting
  • correct tension problems
  • layer with batting and free-motion quilt
 These are all the threads I used to create the detail on the fused fruit fabrics:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

California! (Part 1)

I spent most of the past week teaching and speaking in the Los Angeles area, for two wonderful guilds: Orange County Quilters and Beach Cities Quilting Guild. My flight took me past some wildfires burning in the mountains (you can see the smoke in the photo above).

I knew I was almost  there when I saw the freeways:

I stayed at a Howard Johnson hotel across from Disneyland. It has been there for a long time, and has been renovated in a fun retro style. You can see some of the rides, including the Tower of Terror from the lobby building! They had some plants that don’t grow around Charlotte… Allow me to indulge my inner botanist for a moment. Here is Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile:

An huge fern, with amazing fiddleheads:


These pines (cedars?) were taller than the 7-story hotel, and very tall and spindly. They looked rather Dr. Seuss-ish.

Outside of the quilt shop where I taught on Tuesday (the fabulous Orange Quilt Bee), I discovered an olive tree; I had never seen one! (I love olives.)

My gracious hosts took me to downtown Orange for dinner. It is surrounded by beautiful old homes. The tree with purple blooms in the photo below is a jacaranda tree.

Here’s where we ate dinner, at Avila’s El Ranchito, in a former church:

Luscious guacamole:

Next, we strolled around the charming town of Orange. A quirky mix of restaurants and shops:

This is the front of the Orange County Fruit Exchange, built in the 1890s as a growers’ association to pack and ship fruit:

The antiques stores had an ecclectic mix of glamorous and kitschy. Look at these amazing old ranges:

The Plaza:

The old theatre is now occupied by a church, but it has retained its old marquee:

This old gas station is now a restaurant called The Filling Station:

Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain:

I have more photos from my California trip to post later this week, including my visit to Jamie Fingal’s studio!