Sunday, May 5, 2019

April means the first reveal of the year and it is always a treat. The challenges this month were Force of Nature, One Color and Black, and Another Point of View. As always, the creativity, artistry, talent and skill of our membership is reflected in the beauty and intrigue of the quilts they have created.

Force of Nature

"Saving Paradise"
43" x 36"
by Jan Reed
Jan writes, "Last year's Paradise Camp fire so affected me that I wanted to create a piece that paid tribute to the efforts of all the firefighters involved in putting it out, twenty of whom lost their own homes as well. . . I was riveted to the news coverage, hoping for the best, worrying, not only for the firefighters but for all the wild animals that could not outrun the wind driven flames.  This was Mother Nature showing us the dark side of one of her 'forces.'"
Jan began with a photograph of a fireman emerging from a smoky forest.  Using Photoshop Elements, she edited the photo, changing the firefighter, eliminating branches, and adding the leaf silhouette.  To keep the black area from being so stark, she extended trees and branches and added animal shapes.  To separate the dark sections and bring the leaf more into focus, she added the flaming tips.  She then began with a color-washed background onto which the trees, shrubbery and firefighter were appliquéd.  The animals, tree and branch highlights, and the firefighter's face were first suggested with white Prismacolor pencil, but when those marks began to disappear, she had to go over everything with white Tsukineko ink.  She also ended up over-dying some of the pieces with black ink to darken the color.  Jan used a color-washed background, commercial batiks, monofilament and Bottom Line threads, Prismacolor pencils and Tsukineko inks.

"The Butterfly Nebula"
34" x 39"
by Robin Hart
This is the 6th in Robin's deep space series of art quilts inspired by Hubble images.  She chose the Butterfly Nebula because of its beauty and dynamic energy.  This celestial object looks like a delicate butterfly, but it is far from serene.  What resembles dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  A dying star is at the center of this fury.  It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow.  The thread pattern in the black space area mimics the effects of gravity on matter and the bending of light.  The quilt was painted in Photoshop with the stars designed in Illustrator and merged with the painting.  It is a whole cloth design printed on cotton at Real Graphic and then heavily thread-painted and free motion quilted for texture and design, accentuating the patterns in the nebula.

35.5" x 35.5"
by Norma Keeley
Norma continues her Extreme Simplicity series with this interpretation of a waterfall.  She began with a photograph, cropped and simplified it, then played around with paint chips to create the design.  She had originally intended to make the background white, but when some of her scraps ended up on top of black fabric, she realized the black would make for a more dramatic presentation.  The pale yellow section at the bottom represents the man that was standing by the waterfall in the original photo.  Norma used hand-dyed cottons from the class with Ginny Lee, commercial black cotton, and Thermore batting.  

"Breaking Waves"
25" x 36"
by Jan Petre
Jan saw this challenge as three-fold - to use fabrics from her stash, to convey the feeling of a 3D wave, and, wherever possible, to use only overlapping convex and concave shapes to form the points, a technique she learned in a class with David Taylor.  Her design, a freehand drawing, captures the natural surging force of the sea.  She used primarily batik fabrics, 80/20 cotton/poly batting quilt, 40 wt rayon and metallic threads, and embellished the quilt with organza-type slivers to catch the light.  The wave itself was created using cheesecloth and gauze.  Jan took a piece of cheesecloth, dipped it in a glue and water solution (approximately 1:1), laid it out in the shape she wanted and let it dry.  She found that getting the solution right was a bit of a challenge -- too much glue and the cheesecloth was stiff; too much water and it was limp.  

17" x 17"
by Ginny Petersen
Ginny used a real-life experience with a force of nature as the basis for this quilt.  It was October 4, 2018, a dark and stormy night when KABOOM, lightning struck the tree behind her house, which in turn set her kitchen on fire, destroying that part of her house.  Ginny memorialized this event using packing paper and fabric from her 'special fabric' collection.

One Color and Black

"Finally Home"
36" x 20"
by Robi Holmen
had been living in Roseville when a friend showed her a flyer for Grass Valley.  She ended up buying the first house she looked at, and feels more at home here than anywhere else she has lived in nine moves and over forty years of marriage.  She decided to use ombre fabric to represent her home, using a 60 degree ruler to cut the fabric, positioning the lightest color in the center.  The intersecting lines represent finding her forever home and community.  The aqua ombre squares were stitched onto a black background.  Bias tape was sew on with a twin needle and metallic threads.  Swarovski crystals highlight the center.

"Two Butterflies with One Net"
12" x 12"
by Marylee Drake
Marylee wanted to enter a piece in the SAQA members' auction which required it be 12" x 12," so she decided to catch 'two butterflies with one net' and make it with one color and black, meeting the challenge criterion.  Her little piece is an original design using just black and red fabrics, threads and embellishments.

"Rising to the Sun"
16" x 22"
by Karle deProsse
Karle was inspired by her love for leaves and the desire to play with light striking them.  She wanted to get the feeling of a light source and leaves with shadowed edges.  She shifted the gradations of the green fabric to get the movement of light.  This was the first time she had quilted the full background before applying the appliqués.  She found it easier to do the machine quilting this way, but more difficult in that she had to visualize how she wanted the quilting look before adding the leaves.  Her original design called for only five leaves but she felt it needed something to move the eye, so she added the leaf at the top.  Karle chose hand appliqué over machine as she wanted the slight dimension that provides.  She used cotton ombre fabric, hand-appliqué, a pieced background, machine quilting and beads.  

"Forest Mist"
29" x 39"
by Lynn Tubbe
The inspiration for this quilt was Lynn's many memories of fog-shrouded forests.  She challenged herself to get to better know her Bernina 570 QE, and to learn curved piecing.  In creating this quilt, Lynn used the backside of some of the fabrics, and all cotton materials, including fabrics, threads and batting.  When choosing the title for this piece, she realized she had made a bit of a pun on the reality of her 'forest missed.'

"Arrangement in Green and Black"
37.5" x 35.3"
by Carole Rossi
Carole began with a small piece of fabric which reminded her of flowing green fields and, somehow, Art Deco clothing.   She challenged herself to work larger than she ever has before using the improvisational technique.  She found it challenging to develop flow and a focal point, so she used her iPhone, taking frequent pictures, to help with the design process.  For Carole, it's all about creating a 'million' shades of green and black; to this end, she incorporated commercial and hand-dyed cottons, some shiny raw silk, a variety of variegated green cotton and polysheen threads, and Dream Cotton batting.  The title honors James McNeil Whistler's "Arrangement in Grey and White" (also known as "Whistler's Mother).

"Veggie Toss"
by Ann Sanderson
The flash of graphic black and white veggies printed on this cloth struck Ann and inspired her to create this quilt.  She began by laying all of her black and white fabrics on a table and considering how she could create a 'basket' to hold the veggie print. She felt the quilt called for humor, so she chose crazy fabrics with motifs of light bulbs, barb wire, and star fish.  
Ann used a collage of cotton fabrics, bamboo batting and random machine quilting to create this design. The raw edge appliqués were added last, overlapping the edges of the borders and lending more irregularity.  An unconventional edge and the angled hang of the quilt added to the playfulness.

"Round and Round"
28.5" x 38.5"
by Sig Simonds
Sig continues her work with circles in this quilt.  It's a simple shape and she enjoys working with it in new ways.  Working with transparency also intrigues her -- and this quilt does both.  All the materials used in this quilt are either black or white but sometimes appear gray due to the layering.  This quilt was entirely done by hand with layers of silk and poly organza, netting, interfacing and cotton fabrics.  Sig also used embroidery floss and MistyFuse.  

Another Point of View

"The Dreamer"
by Mary Scharosch
The dreamlike gaze of this girl contemplating her future inspired Mary to create this quilt, beginning with an original painting on fabric.  She added the hat and floral design using cotton fabric.  The black circles on the background are felt pads made for furniture but used in an innovative way.  Mary also used PhotoShop, acrylic paint, Prismacolor pencils, embroidery floss, thread and bamboo batting.  

Show and Tell

But challenge quilts were not the entire show this month, we also had Show and Tell with members bringing in items of interest.  Here, Ann Sanderson shares a quilt she made for a SAQA display of 12x12" quilts.  This quilt began with a piece of Ghanaian fabric purchased from Ananse Village.  Ann stitched the quilt with hand-dyed embroidery threads and added the circles to create motion in the finished piece.

Lynda Lasich bought a 'failed canvas' at an antique fair and turned it into this unique bag.

Julie Berry brought in several pieces of cloth she had hand-dyed using indigo.  In this piece, she experimented to see if indigo dying would work with Procion dyes and found that it did.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Our featured artist in March was our own, multi-talented, Pat Gillings. Pat shared several of her techniques, including a method of swirling beautiful colors to create unique paintings. Pat was joined by other talented quilters in our monthly Show and Tell. I was not able to attend this meeting, so we have Julie Broughan to thank for the wonderful photos and commentary. Thank you, Julie!

Our Featured Artist: Pat Gillings

For our program this month, Pat Gillings demonstrated an acrylic pouring technique that creates beautiful works of swirled colors. 

The final result

But Pat's demonstration was only the beginning.  Pat, a woman of many talents, had much more to share.  This wall-hanging is a sample quilt to be used in an upcoming jamboree class through PTQG.  Pat began with a 'dirty' style acrylic technique on painters' canvas.  She took a picture of the finished canvas, sent it to Spoonflower, and had it printed on satin.    She found the satin difficult to work with as the fabric would run every time the needle hit it wrong.  Using spray basting, she backed it with voile for support before doing the beadwork.

This quilt was created using scraps of silk.

This was Pat's first ever MAQ challenge piece.  She used a photograph transferred to fabric, embellished with lace and beads.

Pat frequently uses beads to embellish her quilts.

This wall-hanging by Pat uses a cabochon as a focal point.  The wings are heavily beaded.

Pat's beadwork isn't limited to fiber arts.  These are two of her bead-encrusted boxes.  They were originally made for needlework and were beaded on buckram or Lacy's Stiff Stuff foundations.

Pat does amazing pine needle work as well, incorporating shells and beads in her work.

Show and Tell

This quilt, by Maria Billings, was created with hand-dyed cheesecloth.

Close-up of the work by Maria Billings

This quilt was a collaboration between quilt artist Kate Grant and her cousin, who does tile work.

This framed quilt was created with small pieces of fabric; it was created by Patti Blesso.

Carole Rossi made use of a Tommy Bahama shirt to create this wall-hanging.  She was inspired by the SAQA 'deconstruction' category. 

Another quilt by Maria Billings -- this one recreates the view of trees visible from her house.

Karle deProsse created this political satire quilt depicting Judge Kavanaugh.

"100 Stories"
by Jane Haworth
This colorful quilt was inspired by an article in Art Quilting Studio magazine -- the 100 day project.  Jane used craft felt from JoAnne's, findings she has saved over the years and name labels from men's ties.  How fun!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

January began a new year here at Mountain Art Quilters, as well as bringing a special treat. Sandra Bruce, a former MAQ member and quilter extraordinaire, gave a slideshow presentation on "Art and Fear." We also completed our second name tag exchange, welcomed a new member, and strutted our stuff. Please join us for a wonderful journey through quiltdom!

Art and Fear

by Sandra Bruce

We were fortunate to have Sandra Bruce as our presenter this month.  She shared her journey in art, the lessons she has learned along the way, and the fear that dogs an artist on that journey.  Sandra did not start out as a quilter.  She had been drawing since the age of six and suggests that by drawing 'what is in front of your face,' one can become skilled.  Her art career began with illustration and lettering and has embraced wearables and polymer jewelry as well as quilts.

Sandra's first quilt was hand-pieced and hand-quilted, and a showcase of traditional blocks.

"Color Dance"
"Color Dance" was Sandra's transitional quilt, a bridge between traditional quilts and art quilting.  Art making involves skills and knowledge (such as color theory) that can be learned.

Sandra reminded us that failures are an essential part of the creative process.  This octopus quilt featured a slew of yo-yo's, painstakingly sewn on to the quilt surface.  But Sandra soon realized that the yo-yo's had become the focal point and that wasn't the effect she wanted, so the yo-yo's had to go.

This is the finished quilt after the yo-yo's were replaced with circles of hand-dyed silk organza.  To others, the final the finished piece is 'the thing,' but to the artist, it's all about the journey and the learning that takes place.

"Matteo 2014"
This quilt explored the importance of value in a study of black, white and grays.

"Dame Lorraine"

This intriguing figure was based on a photo taken by a friend of Sandra's.  Sandra removed a distracting background and then focused on getting the eyes right.  Perfect Circles were used to create the 'beads,' and the quilt was enhanced with hand-embroidery and hot-fix crystals.  Sandra entered the quilt in the Houston show and received some critical comments from the judge.  Sandra took the criticism in stride and reminds us to "do what you are happy doing" and that "Simply courting approval, even that of peers, puts a dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience.  Ben Rosenfeld, Art and Fear. 

One last bit of advice -- do something that scares you, such as appearing on "Quilting Arts TV," or going zip-lining, or even braving the existential terror of a car wash.


And a last look at a few of Sandra's matrix quilts.  This quilt, based on a photo of a Syrian refugee, has travelled all around the U.S.

If you look closely at Zara's eyes, you will see both the photographer and the desert sands reflected there.

"Summertime," a commissioned quilt

And a work in progress . . .

Name Tag Exchange

We did this project a while back -- write a few little-known facts (or lies!) about yourself on a slip of paper, throw it in the hat, and draw out the name of one of your fellow members.  Then create a name tag for that person using any or all of the information provided.  Well, with so many new members, it was time to repeat the project.  Some of us had so much fun the first time around, we participated again just for the heck of it.  As you can see, the name tags are a varied as their creators!

New Member Showcase

by Ginny Petersen
It seems we have new members just about every month now, and we are thrilled to have the energy, talent, skill, and interest they bring to the group.  Our newest member, Ginny, shared this quilt she made, which was quilted by Cherie Shaeffer of Quilts in the Attic.

"The Barn"
Another lovely quilt by Ginny.  This one was begun in a class at Whistle Stop taught by Candy Brown.

Show and Tell

"Sunset Squared"
by Shelli Fried
One of our newer members, Shelli was unable to participate in October's challenge due to an injury.  This quilt had been destined for the "Driven to Abstraction" challenge and was inspired by a class at Asilomar.  Shelli created this quilt as a series of mini-quilts, some of them sitting on top of the larger background quilt.  This is the first quilt she has completed entirely by herself, and Shelli credits Michelle Peerson for having given her the support and encouragement she needed.

"Message in a Bottle"
by Jane Haworth
Several of our members entered the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) challenge this year.  The theme, "Shifting Tides," inspired this quilt by Jane.  The quilt features the Mid-Way Atoll where plastic debris has become a huge problem.  Jane quotes a CNN report from December of 2016: "The Eastern island is now littered with tiny fragments of plastic. The birds die and decay, but the plastic inside them stays forever in the sand -- a layer of man's doing that will never go away.  Midway will probably vanish under rising ocean levels before the plastic decays."

by Ann Sanderson
Ann's entry into the SAQA challenge was this depiction of eel grass, painted on fabric.  It took Ann three tries to get the effect she wanted -- she ended up painting on linen fabric and adding some interest with commercial fabrics.  Ann was inspired by her concern for Bodega Bay where the eel grass, a critical habitat for dungeness crabs, salmon, and oysters, is dying off.

"Pacific Garbage Patch(work)"
by Lynn Tubbe
Lynn's goal this past year was to show her quilts in new venues, and she succeeded with this entry into SAQA's "Shifting Tides" challenge.  This quilt includes a little fish made in a sun-dying class, and pieces of plastic painstakingly hand-stitched with mono-filament thread.  Congratulations to Lynn, as well as Sig Simonds and Jackie Manley for having their quilts selected for the traveling exhibit!