Wednesday, April 28, 2021

 Mountain Art Quilters had our first reveal of 2021 today.  Due to ongoing covid restrictions, we did it via a zoom meeting.

Challenge "Elemental" 

'Fire' by Holly Miner

Artist Statement:  The Four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water are a interpretation of Elemental. I am one of four, Sophia Day, Sue Marshall and Robi Holmen who wanted to do a group challenge and use improvisational design. We used our birthdays to figure out who would do which element. Each of us started with a piece of special hand-dyed fabric provided by Sue as a color inspiration. Everything else is regular quilting cottons and batiks. 80/20 batting. Quilted with Microquilter and Sew Fine. I did color in some of the white dots in the smoke area with Sharpies and Tsuneko inks. I enjoyed collaborating with my friends. Also, thanks to Robi, I learned a new technique for making a better facing.

'Air' by Sophia Day

I chose the element for my zodiac sign; air. 4 of us decided to do the 4 elements; fire, air, water, earth, based on our zodiac signs.  We each started with a focus fabric to decide the colors. The materials were Commercial cotton, hand dyed cotton, aurifil thread, 80/20 batting. We choose a common fabric for linking curved lines to tie the quilts together.  We also each added some fabric from the other elements to tie ours to theirs.  The only criteria we had was improv, which is new to all of us. Getting our lines to match across quilts was challenging.  I think if we did this again, we should have stricter requirements to tie the quilts together.


'Its Essential' by Sue Marshall

Artist Statement: I really feel parts look like water to me. Sophia M, Holly M, Robi H and myself decided to challenge ourselves with a group quilt project, using “Elements” as the topic.  We went with our zodiac signs to pick who got which element.  Inspiration for water, trips to Lake Powel, fishing at Lake Oroville, boating at Lake Tahoe, even walking the NID on our property to the water we drink everyday, just about everywhere. I used commerical, batiks, hand dyed fabrics (some I even did just for this project).  So that was new for me to do on my own.  Thread – Superior King Tut, variegated white/gray/blue, So Fine for the bobbin and Glide gray. We met twice to help with how to make our pieces cohesive.  Came up with a plan for connecting lines at specific points and pieces to be improv pieced.  We also share some fabric to bought the same fabric for the line segments.  The biggest challenge for me was getting the lines at specific locations and getting inspired for how to tie the pieces together.  I also tried to incorporate colors from neighboring pieces into mine.  I figured the water would reflect it’s neighbor.  

'Beautiful Earth' by Robi Holmen

Artist Statement:  This is made as a group challenge to depict one of the four elements; fire, air, water and earth.  This is my own design, from head, to hand, to paper, to fabric.  I used mostly batiks, a few silks and some cottons.  A couple of fabrics were stitched diagonally with metallic thread.  80/20 batting and wool were used to give the agricultural plots dimension.  I was intimidated at first to join three very accomplished improvisational quilters.  The four of us met to determine connecting points in using the tan fabric.  I drew a few different designs on vinyl with dry erase before the final design.  

'4 Elements' by Holly Miner, Sophia Day, Sue Marshall, Robi Holmen

'Earth Alchemy' by Shelli Fried

Copper, silver, and gold are elements created by our planet that are hidden in the earth until we find them and bring them into the light. I looked at the Table of Elements (my interpretation of the topic) and thought these would be fun to play with. This challenge topic spoke to me because I have been collecting fabrics that represent some aspect of nature and its beauty and mystery. The design evolved significantly. It started as one big piece of layered strata meant to set off a piece of felted wool I created. It sat on my design wall for three weeks while I tried to figure out what wasn’t working. Finally, I cut the piece into three panels and flipped the middle one upside down. The felted piece no longer worked so it will show up somewhere else in the future. I planned to have the piece hang freely without a background and then realized that meant it could end up against a background that didn’t support the design, hence the black…I used commercial fabrics, batiks, metal chains, silver cord, Angelina, gold lame, stone beads, Superior thread, beading thread, black cotton batting, Eileen’s Tacky Glue, E6000 glue. The first major challenge is mentioned above in “Inspiration.” The second relates to the silver panel. After attaching the chains and seeing the panels together I discovered that the silver chain blended into the panel background and was lost at a distance. I experimented with adding glittery beads, reflective paint (that actually wasn’t), and glitter glue. Finally, the second row of chain was added and the silver cord doubled to create more weight and presence. I am happier with it now although from a distance the copper and gold chains still stand out more. The reflections from the silver chain only works well in very good light. This was a great learning opportunity for me and a great experience in letting a piece evolve over time while staying open to possibilities.

'Earth Alchemy' Close Up

'Earth Alchemy' Close Up

'Earth Alchemy' Close Up


'Diminishing Returns' by Joan Dyer

Artist Statement:  I just started piecing the blocks and developed the design as I went along.  I used hand dyed fabrics, scraps from my stash, polished cotton sashing and borders.  I made this for my friend and tax consultant, who has given me so much help over the last couple of years.  This is back to basic square blocks, and a straight setting - where my quilting began 30+ years ago.

Challenge "New to Me" 

'Memories of Tuscon' by Maria Bower

Unable to get a good, sharp pattern from the metal wall art piece, I decide to scan the piece except it was too large for my scanner.  I took the piece to G.V. Blueprint and had them scan it and print it out on white cotton fabric. Years ago (when we wintered in Tucson for 11 seasons) I purchased the galloping horses piece that had an interesting rusty appearance.  My goal was to use it to make a quilt using the metal it as a pattern.  I used a cotton batik that I purchased in Tucson years ago (no fabric company name on fabric). Cotton batting, 5 colors of Arc Embroidery thread. Quit has a raw edge and an colorful backing.  I quilted the entire background free motion changing colors of thread to match the fabric and then fused the horses, flowers and plants that I fussy-cut.  I have a lot of flower and plant fabric that I purchased over the years for art quilts.  If I don’t have the right color need I use marking pens to change the color or enhance details.

Challenge "Speak Up" 

'Suture' by Tracy Visher

I used two different methods for adding text to this piece. One in the embroidered statements in the red and blue sections and I printed on organza for the words in the center. I was deeply troubled by the sentiments and behavior on both sides of the political divide during last fall’s elections. This was brought home 10-fold with the January 6th activities at the White House. I fervently wished for a way that America could find their way back to one more tolerant country. The label says it all: 
a: a uniting of parts.
b: the seam or seam-like line along which two things or parts are sewed or united.
How does our nation heal now? The divide between passions and ideologies is wide and ragged. It will take time, with many steady hands and open hearts to repair this great and tragic wound.
I used PFD cotton for background. Various cottons for red and blue sections. Embroidery thread. Printing on Organza. Finding a method that would “ read” for the text on the cotton prints was difficult. Most printing methods were too faint so I ended up embroidering (lots more work!), I burned the edges and sealed them with matte medium, which I also used to stiffen embroidery thread for the “sutures” across the center. This quilt led me to participate in the Violet Protest project which will send 8” quilt squares to every member of congress this fall, urging unity vs divisiveness.

'S.T.F.U.' by Michelle Peerson
Whenever I had to listen to him talk (which was a little as possible) my head was screaming S.T.F.U.  I used Commerical and hand dyed fabrics. Steam-a-seam 2 lite, Superior thread.  This was a good little piece of therapy.

Wildcard Challenge "2020" 

'Word Soup for 2020' by Trish Morris-Plise
19 5/8"x19 5/8"

Artist Statement:  My inspiration was thinking about the words I heard on a daily basis in 2020. I used PFD fabric, cotton batting, cotton thread and acrylic paint.  When I sat down to ponder 2020, words came to my mind.  So many words that described feelings and emotions.  I don't think I could have picked one to focus on.  Focus?  Oh that's a 2019 word.  The measurements of this quilt is a statement about 2020 also.  This quilt fits the subject as it accurately conveys my emotions and feelings and the words I heard most frequently in 2020.

'2020' by Diana McKeever

Artist Statement:  I think this quilt speaks for itself.  2020 was a difficult year that made many of us want to scream.  The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the topic 2020 was Edvard Munch's, "The Scream".  I borrowed the face from his painting, then depicted the things that made me want to scream.  I used cotton quilting fabric, steam-a-seam2, felt, colored pencils, a toilet paper roll, a disposable mask and cotton batting.  The wavy gray background represents waves of dark painful things that kept hitting us in 2020.  Specific items are depicted in arrows that are painfully sharp - shortages in the stores, the election, "peaceful" demonstrations, George Floyd, the coronavirus, and forest fires.  It is quilted with red dollar signs and red 2020s representing both individuals and businesses that went into the red.

'Who's That Masked Singer' Side 1 by Sue Serrano

'Who's That Masked Singer' Side 2 by Sue Serrano

Artist Statement:  This quilt is 20” x 20” and it depicts happenings in the year 2020. The inspiration was the song “Both Sides Now” and the year 2020. I used commercial cotton fabric (and a small strip of black satin); cotton and rayon threads. This small rendition of 2020 depicts that everything is not always as it seems on the surface and it might be too easy to get caught up in appearances or what seem to be initial “facts” that often turn out to be incomplete or inaccurate. Webster defines the phrase “both sides” as one “used to refer to the people who support a position together with the people who support the opposing position”. Giving myself 20 days to complete it, I wanted to create a piece that reminds viewers that we can support each other on both sides and perhaps come to an agreement, somewhere near the middle. The song, “Both Sides Now” has always been a favorite of mine. The title of the quilt alludes that the masked singer could either be Joni Mitchell, composer of the song, or Judy Collins, the first to record it; both have bright, blue eyes.  It could be either, and neither answer is wrong. The quilt is actually double sided wherein the flip side might convince you that the masked singer is indeed Joni Mitchell, composer of “The Big Yellow Taxi”. But that could just be an illusion. The allusions on the back side (as opposed to the ‘illusions’ on the front side) are as socially current today as they were in the 60s. While DDT has been replaced with Round-up, parking lots are still everywhere at the sake of living trees/plants/humans. The Truffula tree that The Lorax (written by Dr. Seuss—who has been canceled) tries to save in his community is just as important now as the foliage Mitchell sang about 60 years ago. And in the end, “It’s life’s illusions [that] I recall. I really don’t know life at all”. So, the question begs--who is that masked singer? My biggest challenge here was keeping the references to 2020 at a minimum and not getting carried away with the poetry of the song(s) and allowing it to become the focus rather than the support. That was sort of solved by using both sides; the music will always be the focus for me.  The second biggest challenge was how to finish this quilt with the open border. Initially, the entire left side was “open” but that proved too much for me, so I left just a small portion open. I found the fabric an appropriate background for the quilted text and symbols, reminding me how we often talk over one another.  In the end, I think my favorite part of the quilt is my big yellow taxi! Besides the fact that it was fun creating it, it is rich in symbolism.