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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Free for ONE Week, my episode on The Quilt Show

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

For just ONE WEEK  from October 13-20, viewers anywhere with the not-so-secret code will be able to see my episode, No. 2508, on The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, will be able to see the episode for free!    Just use this code:  {  http://thequiltshow.com/watch/show-list/video/latest/show-2508-sarah-ann-smith?artist_coupon=25081013  }  from the 13th to the 20th–I so hope you enjoy it!   Free Viewing time starts at 12:00:01 a.m. Sunday October 13, 2019!  
I will confess–I was mightily relieved and happy when I saw it on the 6th when it went live for members of The Quilt Show.   It looks great, I didn’t look or sound like a total dork, and I packed in a lot of information!

First it was live, now it is free for ONE WEEK ONLY! Click HERE to see it before it turns back into a pumpkin/Members Only viewing!
Taping was such an amazing experience…this vast soundstage, seeing the huge booms with the cameras (you can see one coming in from the left), how they project the logo onto the wall and faux brick wall, how the massive counters just roll around the space, how a longarm can easily be rolled hither and yon. Behind photographer Adele Merrell (thank you AGAIN for these fabulous photos and memories), to her left and back, are the risers with seats for the audience. And on the right, one of the two large monitors, one on each side, so the audience can see what the camera sees (in case the camera is blocking their view).
The audience, watching Alex and Ricky talking about how to get perfect miters on borders.
The impressive array of monitors in the control room where the producers sit. The communicate with the cameramen and crew through headsets.
Justin, Alex, me, Ricky and John, the four principals (the ARJJ in the Quilt Show ownership) in the TQS logo aprons I made for them with custom thermofax screens. I was delighted they were in use on the set within days of taping!
At the very end of the last segment…can you tell I was happy and relieved it went well?

Here’s that special link again… it will ONLY work from midnight a.m. October 13 through October 20, 2019. It means anyone can watch the episode, not just TQS members. But I gotta say, I have been around a long time, know a lot, and yet I LEARN a lot from watching The Quilt Show. I’m proud and pleased to now be a part of–as they put it–The TQS Family. Thank you Ricky, Alex, Justin, John, Shelly, Lilo and all the gang!

On Creativity

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Always more to learn. And Omahi’s absolutely right about equipment vs. imagination (link in caption). Sometimes the true creativity comes from figuring out how to make your vision come to like with the materials and skills you already have . . . No excuses! Plus, the Guy has good Photoshop skills with fire!

https://mymodernmet.com/omahi-behind-the-scenes-photos/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_term=2019-04-30

The Quilt Show–Sarah’s Episode!

Friday, April 12th, 2019

What a delight it was to be invited to tape a show for the Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson online “tv” show, The Quilt Show (TQS)! In the past I have taped for two seasons of Quilting Arts TV (on PBS) and did a video workshop for Interweave (Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork, available as a download), but TQS is on a whole other level of professionalism. It was filmed in the Comcast center near Denver…as you walked by the main office there was an entire cabinet of awards including a few Golden Globes! And to get it up front: THANK YOU ADELE Merrell for all these great photos and Gayle Schliemann from Bernina for a bunch more!

Intro segment with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims…yes, they color coordinate their tops with the guest’s outfit! My dress is a Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 9112
I was so excited that I was able to pull off my surprise gifts for Alex, Ricky, John and Justin: custom TQS aprons made with a thermofax screen I made for them (with behind the scenes help from Producer Shelly to help with a graphic and favorite colors for them).
After the intro we got together and everyone modeled their custom TQS aprons. Sorry folks, there are only four of these that exist, but I’m delighted they are already using them with other guests. I bought all cotton colored aprons on Amazon (where else?). If you like the milkweed design on mine, I am selling my custom screens on my website for a limited time (maybe six to 12 months) so you could make your own!
There are two guests taped each day–I had Saturday morning. They hang the quilts first as all the other prep begins, and well before the audience comes in. The lighting is SUPERB…both of the guests and the quilts. There are light colored walls behind the seat walls with bounce diffuser lights that reflect off the exterior studio walls to create a smooth even light, then each quilt has a spot…there wasn’t a single “hot spot” or deep dark area (unless it was intentional)

And a panorama shot…the detail isn’t great because of the re-sizing I had to do for the blog, but I am standing in the center of the audience area. There were four large quilts including this year’s BOM, Sizzle, then the door to the Green Room, a monitor, the areas of the set from the “brick” wall, seating area, gallery space. The big tables are all on rollers as is the longarm and Q20 so everything can be moved easily for each segment. Another monitor on the middle-right, the staff and guest cubbyhole is behind that wall, you can see a long light thing that is the longarm, then Alex’s quilt (which is gorgeous in person) and right bank of the audience seating. There are usually 50-70 guests for each show. Tickets are free but you must reserve in advance…check the TQS website for info.
Justin Shults, Ricky’s partner, consults with the team in an area to by one side of the set where they collect the guests’ “stuff” for the episodes and serves as staff work space. I love that they said “welcome to the family.” Everyone staying at the DoubleTree collects in the same zone of the restaurant for breakfast (travel, meals, hotel are on your own dime, but it is so worth it!) and eat together. It is a delightful way to get to know the crew and principals. Left to right: Lilo Bowman, Justin Shults, Mary Kay Davis and Katie. Justin is the guy coordinating things on the set while Shelly Heesacker, the Producer, is in the control room. They communicate by headsets.
This is pretty close to the image folks will see when the show airs online sometime this autumn.
And here’s what that looks like from the sidelines
Sarah Ann Smith visits The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims
My first segment was about using paint on cloth (and I now have custom paint kits available here) and using shrink fabric to make my sunflower quilt (a blogpost to come). Here Ricky and I reviewed what I brought and what we could fit into the 10-14 minute segment. While the guest and hosts review the segments, groups of folks from the audience are allowed to come up and see the quilts up close.
In the breaks between segments, John Anderson (Alex’s husband) keeps the audience entertained, shares quilts from upcoming guests and more. This one is at the end of the day when Ricky came to chat with the audience.

Rehearsing for the thread segment: Ricky, Alex, me and Mary Kay Davis taking a close up photo.
Thanks SO MUCH to Adele, who dresses the set, for taking a billion photos for me. I especially wanted this one from inside the control room that shows what a polished and complicated production this is. Producer Shelly Heesacker is in the bottom left and she crafts each episode and runs the show.
And a close up of the screens as I am taping my second segment, with Alex, on how I do my Threadwork.

After-taping shots: here, I am holding a photo by Chris Maher from the online Photo Critique Group–it is a mock movie poster, with Ricky, Justin and many of our classmates in the assorted cast and crew roles. Too much fun!
I made TQS screen prints on my hand-dyed fabric for the audience as a little gift. MAJOR thanks to Iris Karp of MistyFuse for donating a package of MF (which changed my life and makes what I do possible!!!!! and that is NO exaggeration) so I made up a pattern for the sunflower that I demonstrated on set.
Time for some portrait shots with my quilts…this was one of the best!
Going to use this one for my FB profile photo for a while…THANK YOU ADELE!
Question and Answer session with the audience (and you can see that fun dress!) after taping.

I have to say, I wasn’t all that nervous thanks to being UBER prepared and having done Quilting Arts before, but I was wired for sound LOL..by the time of the Q&A I was relaxed and ready to have even more fun sharing.

At the end of my segment saying “It’s a new day EVERY day,” the TQS motto. Can you tell we were having fun?!!!!


My episode will air sometime in late summer/autumn. Star Members of The Quilt Show will have the first view, then there will be one week where the episode will be free to everyone. I will be sure to post, but gosh there are so many wonderful guests that I am so glad I am a member–and did you know I joined the very first day TQS began: January 1, 2007? And now, here I am as a guest! WOOT! Life is GOOD!

Photo Challenge, early April

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019
In 72 hours I’ll be in The Quilt Show studio, prepping to tape on Saturday. That meant do this week’s photo for my weekly photo challenge/critique group quick! My first thought was found letters, so I took a quick jaunt two miles to Hope Corner, the seat of town government (it’s ok to giggle). In the panorama, you can see the road to my house on the left, the Pinchbeck’s home, bagpipe business (Pinchbeck Pipes) and Sweetland Center (school, events)–black and red buildings, Hope General Store (big gray building in the center) which has been in pretty much continuous operation since 1832, the Town Office (tan building mostly obscured by the General Store), on the right barely spy out a red barn for Hope Orchards (you-pick mostly), and Benjamin Leavitt’s metalworks. I have often said a town in Maine is where two roads interset and there are at least two buildings. We have more than two!

The caption sums it up–I’ve been BUSY, so I am actually looking forward to sitting in an airport and on a plane! I’m also really excited about the opportunity of being on The Quilt Show. I’ve got samples and step-outs prepped: when you demo something you have to make a zillion versions of it, one for each stage of the process since there isn’t time to do the work while being filmed. I’ve even thought to the week after when I have a teaching job in Portland and another the following week in Massachusetts. I’ve got about five big events this year, and three of them are between April 4 and 18! Sheesh!

But I’m happy excited, the income from teaching will pay for the cost of the trip to Colorado–airfare, hotel, Uber to and from here and there, seeing some internet friends, meals, and shipping two boxes. Since I live in Maine and take Cape Air from here to Boston, we are limited to just ONE full-size suitcase per passenger. There are only 9 seats plus the pilot’s on the plane, and cargo is in the nose cone, small carry-on items go in the wings of the plane, and there is a netted area behind the last seat. That meant an expensive FedEx of long/large quilts and a flat rate box of goodies to give to the audience. But I’m READY! I’ll share pics on Facebook and Instagram and blog when I’m home and have had a brief collapse LOL!

Cross Pollination

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Sometimes you need to do something else. You totally love your main “thing” (in my case it is clearly art quilting), but you need a break. And sometimes, that makes your main “thing” even better. I’ve learned over the years that good design is good design, whether it is landscape, interiors, architecture, photography, painting, sculpture, apparel, the principles are the same. So I have taken online classes in drawing and photography and been enriched.

At least ten years ago, I sat down between Christmas and New Year’s desperate to do something creative. The boys were still pretty young so time was scarce. I grabbed a pile of magazines and started tearing out words and pictures and glued them into my sketchbook. That has become an annual tradition…at least most years. This year Widgeon decided he needed to see if the collage passed inspection. Happily, it merited a wag.

I don’t know if I’ve done it every single year, and some years — like this one — it was done in (late) January instead. But I like reading what words have called me to use them and seeing where my head was in a given moment.

This year, I made sure to add information about whose artwork or photo. As with most years, a lot of my fodder comes from Down East magazine. North by East is a monthly column, and in December they featured work by Ryan T Higgins, a Maine Children’s book author. I must now go to the Library and see what they have of his. I was also stunned to see the “Sarah” quote, obviously about another Sarah. I covered up the “big” before dreams, but otherwise I really liked it.
This page got pretty dense…but I liked the quote at the top (from an ad for something). I also liked the bit on the pink, but it was too much pink, so I covered it up. Using blocks of text upside down or sideways works. And I LOVE torn edges…LOVE LOVE LOVE…that exposed white framing the image or words. I also dug out my circle punches. Have some circles and a few squares.

I’ve also taken a number of outstanding art classes from Val Webb over the years, ranging from birds to children to faeries to animals, using pencil, ink, watercolor, colored pencil…I learn so much, both about materials and tools but more importantly about SEEING. Observing. I’ll never want to be a colored pencil artist, but taking birds in colored pencil with Val taught me about patience and layering. I found I now do that with dyes, with paints on cloth, with thread, in my art quilts. And this year I also took a brilliant course at Sketchbook Skool, Watercolor. I always want more watercolor!

Over the past 8 years or so I have learned about the difference between student grade and artist pigments, that using quality paper makes all the difference in the world, and using pure pigments and mixing your own (just like dyeing fabric!). I decided I needed to get a bit organized and SEE the actual colors painted out from each tube. I had bought some icky (Bienfang) cheap watercolor paper that I will never use for a finished anything, not even a class practice piece. So got out my “tag” punch and did a paint out of every tube I have. Then ordered two more tubes! In search of the perfect pink…..and replacing one teeny tiny tube that is almost done. Each tag has the name, code for the manufacturer, and the universal pigment code (PV 42 for example is Permanent Violet 42). Yes, you can go wwwwwaaaaayyyyyy down the rabbit hole with this stuff!
A good mail and watercolor day. Turns out quilting templates and rulers have lots of uses, of course we all know that! I saw the clamshell cases at Jetpens.com and couldn’t resist. When I went to order, I discovered I had left that awesome washi tape in my cart, so it had to come to me also. And then there are those two tubes of watercolor and some empty half pans. That’s another thing I learned: make your OWN palettes with your favorite colors, use magnetic tape that sticks to the bottom of the pan, put inside a palette or metal tin. And then I used my quilting rulers and circles to mark a grid in my notebook/sketchbook.

I used to have both my to-do-etc notebook and a sketchbook. I never had the one I wanted handy. So I said to heck with the cost, and bought a GOOD sketchbook and use that as my “everything” journal. I write lists, take notes at SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) meetings, suss out ideas for quilts, and sometimes even sketch or paint in it! Now I will start filling in the circles with words, quotes, ideas, images/sketches, may fill the white backgrounds with ink textures…we shall see!

So that’s what I’ve been doing…along with quilting. What about you? And here’s an end of the day/blogpost dog walks photo from yesterday:

Sunset from the bottom of our driveway.