Archive for the ‘art quilting’ Category

Two of Us: published again in Inspired by the Beatles

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Looking back on it, this has been an exceptionally good year for getting published!   It has also been a bit of a challenge as I’ve had to keep three quilts and one watercolor unpublished for an extended time while jurying of exhibits was done or waiting for books to be published.  The first of the quilts was the one of Eli running during Cross Country season, which I wrote about here.   This is the second:  Two of Us,

Two of Us, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  Part of the Inspired by the Beatles challenge and an anniversary gift for my husband of 33+ years.

Two of Us, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014. Part of the Inspired by the Beatles challenge and an anniversary gift for my husband of 33+ years.  Of course, as soon as I gave it to him (late) I then told him he had to give it back for two years because it was going in an exhibit and book!

part of the art quilt challenge organized by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto.  The recently released book is Inspired by the Beatles:  An Art Quilt Challenge.   You can read more about the challenge here and order the book or read more about it here.  Even better, if you are lucky enough to be going to International Quilt Festival in Houston this year, selected works from the exhibit will be on display there, including mine!

Donna asked participants to choose a Beatles song title, then make a quilt with that same title, inspired by the song perhaps, but careful NOT to use any copyrighted lyrics, images, etc.   I had been wanting to make a quilt like this for Paul as an anniversary gift for a couple years–he is notoriously hard to get gifts as he always says he doesn’t want anything.  I wanted a scrapbook feel to this quilt, similar in some ways to the kimono quilt (you can see it here) that is pictured in one of the photos on the bottom right which I gave to Mother for her 80th birthday.

Detail of Two of Us, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

Detail of Two of Us, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.  These photos include the only two grandparents who were alive for  the boys to know, Paul’s dad and my mom.

I went through our photo albums and boxes of photos, picking pictures of us from the time we met until just recently.  Beginning in the top left corner, you can see photos of Bissau, in the west African nation of Guinea-Bissau, where I met Paul.  A bit of our wedding invitation, a wedding photo, our home on Capitol Hill in DC, from Canada, Bolivia, Machu Picchu, Gabon and our first generation of cats run across the top.  Moving clockwise down the right you can see our home in Arlington, Virginia (I still love this architecture more than any other home we’ve had), me preggers with Joshua, with the boys when they were little, pregnant with Eli, in the hospital when Eli was just a day old then the first ferry ride home, to our home on San Juan island in the bottom right corner.

Moving right to left on the bottom, pictures of the boys when little and life at home.  And up the left side, the boys as they grew,  moving to Maine, Joshua with his beloved guitar (and boy is he GOOD) and Eli, honor student and exceptional athlete.  Can I just say, Life is GOOD!

Here's to book, a 176 page hard-bound whopper.  Each quilt gets its own page (some get two), with a fun and extensive commentary written by Donna from our replies to her questionnaire that tell about our lives, inspiration and methods.  Click on the links in the first paragraph to learn more.

Here’s to book, a 176 page hard-bound whopper. Each quilt gets its own page (some get two), with a fun and extensive commentary written by Donna from our replies to her questionnaire that tell about our lives, inspiration and methods. Click on the links in the first paragraph to learn more.

The quilt is made with fused collage.  For the house, Paul, the pug and me, I sketched us on white cloth with colored pencils.  I hate to admit but since I made this over a year ago, I don’t recall for use WHICH pencils I used–either Prismacolor or Inktense.  I have since learned that some of the Inktense colors are not colorfast, so I HOPE it was prismacolor!  Total finished size, as required for all quilts in this exhibit, is 24×24 inches.

This is a typical two-page spread.  The book is organized alphabetically by title.

This is a typical two-page spread. The book is organized alphabetically by title.

And a shot of "my" page!  Artwork (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

And a shot of “my” page! Artwork (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

And since we are quilters, I must show you the back.  I did the threadwork at the top stage and did simple outlining around the photos.  But it is the letter and photo I want you to notice:

Paul and me on our wedding day outside the church, and a photocopy of the very first letter Paul ever wrote me.  Yes, we wrote snail mail.

Paul and me on our wedding day outside the church, and a photocopy of the very first letter Paul ever wrote me. Yes, we wrote snail mail.

You see, Paul was working in West Africa and I was in grad school at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy near Boston when we met.  The letter is hilariously “State Department-ish.”  Paul was acting Ambassador (Charge d’Affairs, ad interim) for the first time, so for his first letter to me, he wrote to thank the American (me)  for her part in improving morale at post, in particular that of the admin officer (that would be Paul).  Then he added a note saying this would probably be suitably framed in something tacky and hung in the bathroom.  I vowed upon receipt to do just that–in his first apartment when he was back in the US.  Little did I know that in less than 10 months, his first apartment would be OUR condo as newlyweds.  The original letter still hangs in a tacky metal frame from the drug store (which is sorta falling apart, appropriately), over the toilet in our bathroom.  The signature on the letter has faded to near invisibility.

So that’s the “Two of Us.”  Plus kids, cats, pug, and assorted stuff from all over the world.

My DVD in QA’s Top 25!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Just a very quick note:  Interweave is having a 25 percent off sale on its top 25 products, and mine is among the top Quilting 25!   Check it out here.  The sale ends tonight, so move quickly.  If you do the download, I highly recommend the High Def version–it is really sharp and crisp. Will be back soon with some pics of teaching at Terri Sontra’s Purple Moose Designs inaugural retreat in the White Mountains of New Hampshire…so much fun!

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting.  Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting. Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.  Click to see larger.

 

Thermofax screens galore!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

I promised I’d share more of the thermofax screens I have designed and that Fiber on a Whim is making and selling, so here they are.  You can order these online or buy them at International Quilt Festival and other shows where Fiber on a Whim has a booth.

Onions is one of my favorite designs.  I used a small white onion to stamp, then fiddled with the print in photoshop to create this screen.  It makes a fantastic background print.

Onions is one of my favorite designs. I used a small white onion to stamp, then fiddled with the print in photoshop to create this screen. It makes a fantastic background print or part of a  layered piece of complex cloth.

I’m teaching two mini Whimsy-Classes in the Fiber on a Whim booth on the show floor at Quilt Festival, and we’ll be using the onion screen for oen of the two small projects in the classes.  For more information on this, visit here.  There is no advance sign up–come to the booth and the first 8 in line 15 minutes before the classes get in.  The modest $10 fee covers the kit fee–I provide everything you need.

The screens are so new I don’t even have some of them yet!

Squiggles thermofax screen by Sarah Ann Smith at FiberonaWhim.com

Squiggles thermofax screen by Sarah Ann Smith at FiberonaWhim.com 

Woven, thermofax screen design.  Sometimes you just want a bit of something.  This is a full-size screen  so you can print as much or as little of the screen as you like.  With the somewhat irregular edges, it is easily overlapped.

Woven, thermofax screen design. Sometimes you just want a bit of something. This is a full-size screen so you can print as much or as little of the screen as you like. With the somewhat irregular edges, it is easily overlapped.

One of FoaW's best-selling thermofax screens is an old French ledger, so we thought we'd try an alphabet, hand-written by me in a brush pen.  Again, a good background design, which is what I was going for with most of my designs.

One of FoaW’s best-selling thermofax screens is an old French ledger, so we thought we’d try an alphabet, hand-written by me in a brush pen. Again, a good background design, which is what I was going for with most of my designs.

Another vegetable--this time celery!

Another vegetable–this time celery!

The dagger-drops screen is a smaller size because you can easily repeat it.  It will be fun to play with this, alternating the direction of the print 90 degrees or at diagonals or every which way.

The dagger-drops screen is a smaller size because you can easily repeat it. It will be fun to play with this, alternating the direction of the print 90 degrees or at diagonals or every which way.

The Queen Anne's lace is from a photo I took, modified in photoshop elements, then scaled into three sizes.  We will use this in the mini Whimsy-Classes project you can see in this blogpost.

The Queen Anne’s lace is from a photo I took, modified in photoshop elements, then scaled into three sizes. We will use this in the mini Whimsy-Classes project you can see in this blogpost.

Another onion print, a full size (9x12 inch) screen, that I call Tossed Onions.

Another onion print, a full size (9×12 inch) screen, that I call Tossed Onions.

Grasses, a full size screen with two ends to use.  Kristin of FoaW requested this one--I had ordered it earlier for one of my own projects.

Grasses, a full size screen with two ends to use. Kristin of FoaW requested this one–I had ordered it earlier for one of my own projects.

And last but not least, another great background print design, corn!  Yep, I sacrificed an ear of corn on the cob for the sake of art.

And last but not least, another great background print design, corn! Yep, I sacrificed an ear of corn on the cob for the sake of art.

In a few days I’ll do a review of Lynn Krawczyk’s great new book, Intentional Printing.  It will give you TONS of ideas on how to use thermofax screens and other surface design techniques.  Stay tuned! Here’s a link to Lynn’s website in the meantime, and she’s a ton of fun and on Facebook here.

And just in case you don’t feel like scrolling to the top but want to see the website where the screens are sold, here’s the link one more time!  I can’t wait to go to Quilt Festival, but I’m also looking forward to returning to my studio and playing with paint and thermofax screens!

 

 

 

 

In a new Janome advert!

Monday, October 6th, 2014

What a thrill!  My copy of American Quilter, the AQS magazine for members of the AQS (American Quilters Society, as in the quilty folks in Paducah), arrived a day or two ago.  Yesterday I pulled it out of its wrapper and was leafing through it while making decaf tea last night.  I set it down, cover down and my eyes just about popped out of my head–there was the banner I made for Janome in thanks for their long-term support and loan of machines over the past decade ON THE BACK COVER in Janome’s new ad!

The back cover of the current issue of American Quilter with a Janome advert and MY quilted banner!

The back cover of the current issue of American Quilter with a Janome advert and MY quilted banner!  Right click to view larger.  They photography is great–it is really hard to photograph quilting on white fabric and show the depth and texture and they did a great job with this.

The banner was quilted on an 8900 to show what one can do with the machine.  It is a *brilliant* machine.   If you don’t want the top of the line 15000 (what I currently am using on loan and OMG is it a phenomenal piece of computer and machinery) and all the embroidery functions, the 8900 is tops and has a zillion options.   Anyway, here is a picture I took of Janome’s booth last year in Houston, with my banner hanging!

The banner in the Janome booth at International Quilt Festival last year (2013).

The banner in the Janome booth at International Quilt Festival last year (2013).

And some shots of the full front, back and a couple of detail photos.

The full banner.  Right click to see larger.

The full banner. Right click to see larger.

The back.  I LOVE the backs.  The more I quilt, the more I like the back even more than the front!

The back. I LOVE the backs. The more I quilt, the more I like the back even more than the front!  Right click to see larger.

And some detail shots.

Detail of stitching.

Detail of stitching.  Right click to see larger.  I really like the way the background quilting turned out.

And one more detail photo. Right click to see larger.

And one more detail photo. Right click to see larger.

Thanks again to Janome America for years of support and making the best machines ever.

Thanks are also due to Jenny Bowker, a fanatastic art quilter from Australia.   About four years ago at Quilt Festival I was chatting with Jenny Bowker, who was telling me about how she teaches free-motion quilting and invited me by her classroom to see her samples.  In my classes I have always suggested using a large print to free-motion practice, but Jenny had this great way of using a square of big print surrounded by a solid color then by white (like a log cabin blog of sorts).  I asked permission to use/borrow/adapt Jenny’s idea and, Jenny being the wonderful and generous person she is, instantly said of course I could.   When I started my samples and offering this as an alternative to the main exercise in my intro free-motion quilting class, I wanted mine to be different so I eliminated the colored fabric and changes the shapes a bit.  Think of it as big print meets Quilt Modern!

After Festival I made some samples and blogged about them and Jenny’s work.  This banner is an extended version of those samples.   Thanks again to Jenny for a brilliant idea and sharing it!  Do go visit her website and enjoy her artwork, here.  Warning:  do not drool on your computer…her work is what I aspire to be able to do!

Whimsy-Class and Sarah’s Thermofax screens at Fiber on a Whim

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

What FUN!   As a result of collaborating with Fiber on a Whim, I am thrilled to announce that they are now carrying a line of thermofax screens designed by ME!  Whooda thunk it?   Best of all, FoaW is debuting the screens with a sale!

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.   This piece was made (in part) with the Queen Anne’s Lace thermofax screen at Fiber on a Whim.

The collaboration began when Fiber on a Whim asked if I would like to do a mini class in their booth at Festival.  At International Quilt Festival I will be teaching regular classes (Intro to Machine Quilting, Birch Pond Seasons, particpating in the Machine Quilting Forum and giving a lecture on Tuesday), but I will also be doing two mini Whimsy Classes in the Fiber on a Whim booth #144 on the show floor on Thursday at 5 and Friday at 11. I’d love to see you in both the regular and the Whimsy classes!  The Whimsy classes (both the same)  will use thermofax screens and other paint processes to create your own cloth.  The booth is on “Main Street” (the big red-carpeted aisle in the middle) right next to the passageway/entrance to the quilts exhibits!  Read more about FoaWhim’s Festival plans here on their blog.

In the class I hope to have students do two small projects each.  In the class, students will create the Queen Anne’s lace background fabric used in this project along with the painted part of the nest, then finish the stitchery and quilting at home.  I will provide the materials you need in class, you add the rest at home.  Just show up, pay for the class (a very modest fee that covers supply costs), and play!  There will only be 8 spaces per class; stay tuned for details but I think you just need to show up about 15 minutes before class and the first 8 people in line get in to the classes.

The Queen Anne’s Lace custom stencil, which you can purchase from Fiber on a Whim not only at International Quilt Festival but also on their website is this one, which has the flower head in three sizes on a 9 x 12 inch screen.  (PS–did you remember all my screens are on sale right now?)  You can print with just a single size or use all three (or portions):

 

My custom Queen Anne's Lace screen that will be available from Fiber on a Whim, probably on their website later this week.

My custom Queen Anne’s Lace screen that will be available from Fiber on a Whim, probably on their website later this week.

I will also have students work on a piece of art cloth to make something along the lines of the piece below, which uses my Onions thermofax screen (I’ll post more about the screens once Fiber on a Whim is ready to sell).  This was like fingerpainting in kindergarten–pure play–but with cloth!

And some art cloth--this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style.  I wanted to have something totally "not me" though so that students get to try both representational and not!

And some art cloth–this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style. I wanted to have something totally “not me” though so that students get to try both representational and not!

Here are a few more images so you get the idea of what we will be doing–do come play!

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne's Lace stencil and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne’s Lace stencil and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!

My onion screen will also be available at Fiber on a Whim.  I simply overlapped it a bunch of times to create this cloth, again something that I can see using as background fabrics.  And what a variety you'd get depending on your base cloth (this was plain white) and colors.

My onion screen will also be available at Fiber on a Whim. I simply overlapped it a bunch of times to create this cloth, again something that I can see using as background fabrics. And what a variety you’d get depending on your base cloth (this was plain white) and colors.  This was layers 1 and 2 in the red-black-white piece.

Hope you’re intrigued.  Personally, I want to go play with paint and cloth!