Sunday, August 11, 2019

Oh glorious day! It was our mid-summer reveal, and it did not disappoint. Our challenges this month were: "Out of My Comfort Zone," "Look Up or Look Down," and "All About The Thread." Please join us in a visual exploration of those themes.

Out Of My Comfort Zone

"Homage to Piet (Mondrian)"
40.5" x 42.5"
by Jackie Manley

Jackie was inspired by Emiko Toda Loeb, who often uses log cabin blocks as a foundation for her dramatic designs.  As Jackie was never a traditional quilter, she challenged herself to incorporate her design in a traditional setting using stripes and Piet Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie," with all of its movement, as her inspiration.  She found that the precision of traditional piecing was a challenge, especially as she varied the strips from one to one and a half inches and set them on a diagonal.  

"Outside My Box 1"
14.5" x 21.25"
by Shelli Fried

This project was started in a class with Katie Fowler at Asilomar.  Ever since Shelli was very young, she wanted to be an "artist."  She yearned to be able to draw and paint, to start with a blank piece of paper and create something wonderful -- and in this class, her dream came true.  Katie had the students paint on fabric, whatever they wanted -- mostly abstract -- and experiment with various materials and techniques.  This was not only out of Shelli's comfort zone, it wasn't even in the same universe!  Once the paintings were complete, Katie had her students cut them up, rearrange the pieces, and put them back together.  Shelli mounted hers on a black background, using minimal quilting in order to let the squares stand out.  Shelli says that this quilt represents a real breakthrough for her -- the freedom to experiment and not worry about the outcome.  As it turned out, whether the quilters liked their pieces or not, once they were cut up, something fabulous would appear.  Shelli tells us that this class was the most fun she's had as an adult in a very loooooong time.  She used PFD cotton with a variety of paints, sprays, gels, pencils, pens and markers.  She used commercial felt and commercial fabric for the backing, Superior Threads Fantastico 5007 for quilting.  

"Shadow Dancers"
31 1/4" x 34 1/4"
by Kathryn Madison

Joan Wolfram's book, Adventures in Design, challenged Kathryn to create a quilt that is the opposite of what she usually does.  So instead of a representational quilt, she created her first abstract, this one based on a doodle.  
Doodling was a new concept for Kathryn, who prefers to have a clear idea of her quilts before she even starts.  Just letting the pencil flow over the paper was uncomfortable at first, but now she enjoys it and always has a sketch pad with her.  This particular doodle was inspired by the theme, "We shine brightest when we dance together." She decided to use analogous colors for the background and black with white shapes and shadows in the foreground.  She used fabric painting, strip piecing, raw edge appliqué, machine couching and machine quilting to create her design.  Materials used were PFD cotton, silk organza, Mistyfuse, batting, commercial cotton, Inktense watercolor blocks, Tsukineko inks, fabric medium, monofilament and metallic threads, and Swarovski crystals.  

62" x 22"
by Karla J Rogers

Karla says it is out of her comfort zone to try new techniques, and it was even more difficult this time around as she was cutting up the gorgeous fabrics she hand-dyed in Ginny Lee's class last summer.  This original design was inspired by a week-long pulmonary exam at National Jewish Health in Denver.  The idea for this quilt began with the quote, "Inspiration might be described as a 'breath of fresh air,' and so it is appropriate that 'inspire' derives in part from the Latin word meaning 'to breathe:' Spirare."  Karla is inspired by color as well and used the bright hand-dyes combined with a shadowing technique.   The machine quilting was based on the spirometer readings.  In addition to the hand-dyed fabrics, Karla used Moda Grunge fabric discharged using bleach, sequins, beads, DMC floss, wool yarn, 80/20 batting and Omni thread.  

Look Up or Look Down

"Information Highway"
24 1/4" x 30 1/4"
by Kate Grant

Kate happened to look down while on a walk one snowy morning and discovered that there were raccoon prints outside her garage.  The more she looked, the more she saw -- tire treads that reminded her of a mosaic, people prints (including her own), a bird, and possibly even a deer. To create a focal point and create a bit of drama, she added a garden gnome hat.  It seems a garden gnome (wearing shoes that made bird tracks) was spotted by the raccoon, and the chase was on!
 This is the fourth in Kate's mosaic quilt series.  She used batiks, tulle, cotton batting and threads, and a Frixion pen with disappearing ink to draw the design -- but be careful not to erase lines you still need!  Her lessons learned (or relearned): 
1) Background color should be different as it forms the 'grout' color; white on white is extremely difficult to see.
 2) Batiks are preferable as they don't fray as easily.  In a pinch, Terial Magic will reduce fraying.
3) To use a golf analogy, a 2" putt counts the same as a 200 yd drive.

"Pattern Play"
18" x 19"
by Norma Keeley
Norma had the newly chosen challenge themes in mind when she looked down at the drain in the shower and found herself intrigued by its graphic design.  A fan of Andy Warhol and his color palette, Norma created this design using the element of repetition.  She began by making a freezer paper stencil of the drain image and inked it onto fabric circles.  She then machine appliquéd the circles onto a two-layer quilted background.  The middle piece was sewn separately to create more interest.

"Look Up or Look Down"
41" x 25"
by Julie Broughan (with the help of Trevor Brzyscz)

This quilt began with a photograph of Julie's grandchildren looking up at the sky (all but the one who is looking down).  Julie then used the photograph to create silhouettes of the children and their pets.  Her biggest challenge came when the gradient dyed fabric she had ordered for the background was not what she had expected.  With the help of Trevor, she over-dyed the top quarter of the fabric in an indigo dye bath.  Trevor continued to help her with some of the sewing and with the glitter glue used to paint the fireworks in the sky.  Julie shared a tip that she learned while constructing this quilt -- the mechanical pencil she bought at a Dollar Tree created lines that easily wiped off once she no longer needed them.

"Do You See What I See?"
26" x 21 1/2"
by Maria Brower
There are almost hidden elements in this quilt that you have to look up or look down to find -- a small man sitting on rocks, a two-headed creature, and a castle in the clouds.  Maria was inspired by this blue fabric with blotches in various sizes and shapes to explore those shapes and make them elements of her final landscape.  Her biggest challenge was removing most of the glitter that covered the original fabric.  The designs were enhanced with Arc and Metro embroidery threads, colored pencils, and diluted white paint.  

"Placer County Courthouse"
8" x 10"
Jane Haworth
When Jane first saw this image, she was struck by the contrast between the building and the sky, and as the angle of the original photograph fit the 'looking up' criterion, she decided to go with it.  Jane printed the photo on a Jacquard fabric sheet then used Mistyfuse to add a second piece of fabric before sandwiching with cotton batting and backing.  Using thread painting techniques she learned in a Sandra Mollon class, Jane spent 6 1/2 hours over-stitching the image with a variety of threads.  Permission to use this photo was granted by @J.BurkePhotos on the @Exploreauburnca Instagram page.  

28 1/2" x 40"
by Sig Simonds

The challenge, "Look Up or Look Down," reminded Sig of children's books she had read -- books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, so she decided to stay with that playful feeling to create this improvisational piece.  Sig interprets improv to be akin to make believe, a day dream or a fantasy.  She first laid all her pieces out on her design board and then had to find a way to keep her lay-out as she hand-appliqued the quilt top.  She says she had no plan for this quilt, she just relaxed and played.  

All About the Thread

For some years, Maria Billings has been working on representational quilts, often in a large format.  This time around, she decided to challenge herself to create 50 small (less than 24") abstract pieces in 2019.   She brought 15 of her pieces to today's reveal, all of them featuring thread, yarn and splashes of color.  She began by painting on cotton and silk fabrics using acrylic paints, then added hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns and threads to create texture and interest, drawing the viewer to look more closely.    These were improvisational pieces reflecting a playful approach to art quilting.  



Our own Lynn Tubbe had her quilt featured on the cover of "Stitching California."  Great going, Lynn!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Our June meeting featured guest speaker, Joanne De Sena, a psychologist who often works with Velda Newman during her teaching adventures. And, as always, we enjoyed a talented display of creative quilts during our Show and Tell and New Member segments. Please join us for a visual treat!

Featured Guest, Joanne De Sena

Joanne De Sena, our invited guest speaker, shared her perspective on quilt making from the viewpoint of a psychologist who often accompanies Velda Newman on her teaching jaunts.  Joanne has seen first hand how self-doubt can undermine the creative process, and she shared some of her wisdom with our group.  

Joanne's mantra, "Free to Be," aptly expresses her approach to the creative process.  She suggests that we approach art from the perspective of play -- leaving judgements behind, just having fun.  Confidence is built by striving over and over, using past experience as a guide, and does not rely upon the approval of others, which only interferes with the ability to play.  Joanne contends that nothing is right or wrong, it is all a continuum moving towards development and refinement, a process that proceeds one step at a time, and that if you find yourself saying, "I can't," try saying that to the image you see in the mirror and see how differently it plays. 

Some of Joanne's favorite quotes are, "Believe you can and you will."  "Get lost in the landscapes of your thoughts."  "I have only to let myself go."  And some of Joanne's favorite books are
Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss and The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel.

Show and Tell

Inspired by an episode of Quilting Arts, a mini group 'that plays together' decided to do a series of nests.  This one, by Marylee Drake, include eggs and fabric that she has had for years.  She stylized the tree branches and added a pieced background.

Julie Broughan added a shoe buckle, little cones and jewels to her nest.

Lynn Tubbe added a bird to give her nest more perspective.

Last, but never least, are these quilts by Michelle Peerson . . . 

and Jan Petrie.

This moving quilt, "Death Did Us Part," by Jackie Manley represents her struggle to deal with the death of her husband about 8 years ago.  The background fabric is an African fabric and the broken wedding ring was made from her husband's clothes on one side and hers on the other.  Her side is still intact, but his has been slashed.  Her clothing is worn, because grief is hard, and his is shredded as he was ripped away from life.  This quilt was shown at Sacred Threads a couple of years ago and was one of only two in the grief section.

Stephanie Bennett-Strauss brought two geisha quilts to share with us.  In making these quilts, she discovered that "if you put any fabric next to an Asian fabric, it turns it Asian."

This pillow, also by Stephanie, is her personal logo, "Inner Compass Healing Arts."  Playing off of Leonardo DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man," Stephanie has added a female body to the forefront with a line extending from her heart, indicative of a compass.

In this quilt, Stephanie's theme is that 'we medicine women do what we can to make others' lives better;' the vessels represent the vessels that we all are. She fell in love with the Indian women fabric in both dark and light and used them in the borders and sashings.    

New Member

New member, Karin Polli, brought several quilts to share.  This cat quilt, "Maggie," is the result of a pet portrait class with our own Jane Haworth.

This quilt, entitled "Morning on Wye," depicts a personalized version of a street scene in Wales.  Using the colors jade and coral, Karin created a street with personally significant store fronts.  Beads were added to the water for texture and a bit of sparkle.  This quilt was created for a challenge sponsored by the Foothill Quilt Guild.

In this final quilt, "Return to the Reservation," Karin depicts the 2017 release of buffalo onto the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.  This was the first time in 137 years that buffalo had roamed that part of the world and Karin took her inspiration from the articles she read.  The quilt includes maroon satin from a bridesmaid's dress, wool for the buffalo hides, Seminole designs on the borders, and flags to celebrate the release.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Our guest speaker this month was Professor Larry Ortiz from Sierra College. Professor Ortiz was kind enough to present a slide show at our May meeting on artistic principles and how they could be applied to our quilts. We also welcomed three new members, two of whom are featured in this month's showcase.

Our Program

Most of the lecture focused on creating depth and perspective, something Professor Ortiz feels is sometimes lacking in art quilts.  Depth can be implied in a variety of ways, beginning with one point perspective.  

“Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter” by Pietro Perugino is an early example of one point perspective.  Note how the lines converge in the central building.

“The Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci not only illustrates one point perspective but also shows how this perspective can be used to draw the eye to the focal point.

Two point perspective is just that — all lines converging on two separate points.  “Paris Street: Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte incorporates both one and two point perspective.

There are other ways of creating both perspective and depth.  Foreshortening is another approach, but one that requires considerable skill.  “The Lamentation of Christ” by Andrea Mantegna is an early, imperfect, attempt at foreshortening.  

Albrecht Durer came up with a grid method to help artists translate 3D objects into 2D representations.  This method is one that can be used by quilters as well.

Light and color can also be effective in creating depth.  Often, lighter, hazier colors in the background, a technique known as atmospheric perspective, can lend the illusion of distance.  The painting “Fishermen at Sea” by Joseph Mallord William Turner is a good example of atmospheric perspective.

There are other ways of creating depth as well - diminishing size, overlapping shapes, the use of color to bring some shapes forward or to make them recede (warm colors come forward, cool colors recede), the use of value (a light object on a dark background comes forward, as does a dark object on a light background).   Many of these techniques were used by George Seurat in his famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” 

Dr. Ortiz did touch on some other artistic principles — the use of positive and negative space, the difference between shape and form, implying mass through the use of highlight and shadow, tenebrism, and chiaroscuro.  

"Figure of a Woman" by Paul Colin illustrates the importance of light and shadow, evident here in the human face.

He also talked about the visual interaction of colors, which is not always what one might expect.  This interaction is apparent when colors are placed next to one another, overlapping, or one on top of the other.

In the painting, "Le Chahut," Seurat used tiny dots of complementary colors next to each other, expecting them to create a vibrancy.  The effect, however, was a muddying of the hues, creating the overall impression that looks much like brown.

Professor Ortiz concluded his presentation with critiques of several quilts brought in by members.

The program ended with an invitation to the members to focus on incorporating at least one of these principles in a quilt to be shown at a meeting next May.  The gauntlet has been thrown down, Ladies! 

New Member Showcase

New member, Susan Marshall, brought in some of her work to share.  This pet portrait, "Amber," was begun in a class with Jane Haworth.

She shared a top she created using tissue paper dyeing and water colors, techniques she learned in a class with Bonnie Lattin-Hensel.

Sue is currently considering how to turn her artwork into art quilts.

New member, Stephanie Bennett-Strauss, shared a recent fish quilt, still in progress.

Her farm themed quilt is entitled "Don't Count Your Chickens Before . . . "  Note the fabric choices for the eggs in the henhouse which seem to advertise the contents of the eggs yet to hatch, while some of the already hatched beings are a surprise (a flamingo and a dragon).  Also notice other reasons not to prematurely count ones chickens, with snakes, crows, and a waiting fox being among the reasons.  Stephanie had a lot of fun making this quilt!

The title of this abstract, retro-style quilt is "Mobilia -- Mama Rocked Calder. "  This is possibly the most difficult quilt Stephanie has ever done as she was working significantly outside her comfort zone.

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.