Archive for the ‘art quilting’ Category

Words –> Power –> Action

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Two and a half weeks ago, I came across a Jimmy Fallon re-working of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ on Facebook and Youtube (hear it here–really LISTEN to the lyrics).  I was so moved by it that I wanted to create a quilt based on the song, but realized there were all those pesky copyright issues with using Fallon’s lyrics, so instead I created this quick piece to capture the spirit of the re-worked song. I pretty much never just drop everything and make a quilt this rapidly, but I just had to do it. I have titled it Words –> Power –> Action because, as our mothers told us, words have power.  Over the past two years, the election cycle, the results, and the first year of the current Presidency, have galvanized many so many of us. I have changed.  Legions of us have changed.

Words–>Power–>Action, © 2018 SarahAnn Smith


As a US Foreign Service Officer, I was not allowed to participate in partisan politics (federal regulations) because our job was (and should be) to serve ALL Americans.  I was used to keeping my mouth shut.  As a national level quilting teacher and artist, I felt it was better to keep politics and religion out of the classroom (and still do), so I kept my mouth shut.  But the past 20+ months have convinced me that I must speak out.  My quilt about the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017 was my first overtly political quilt.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017.

I’ve been so distressed about the polarization and apparent lack of civility, compassion and understanding, of tolerance for differing views, that the past two years have been pretty depressing.  Our political climate has made me angry and galvanized me to take action and speak out.  Inspired by Fallon’s lyrics I went in search of quotes.  I’ll share all of them after each detail photo in which they appear.

I began like our nation, with revolutionary words from the US Declaration of Independence, which are written at the top of my brick wall (yes, I have the Pink Floyd lyrics “another brick in the wall” running on loop in my head, along with the phrase “the writing is on the wall”–I resisted the temptation to use that as a title!).  I dyed fabric to be a wall, using cold wax (from ProChem, and can’t find it any more on their website!) to create a resist for the mortar.  The backing is dyed cement grey.  The edges are raw, like my nerves and emotions (and those of so many others), torn on both the top and backing, with a tiny bit of batting peeking out and scruffed up.

The top portion of Words–>Power–>Action . There are more visible bits of words and phrases, and longer quotes written in lighter ink behind, as if they were fading graffiti.

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Speak Up, Speak Out
  • get woke
  • We the People
  • Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.  Barack Obama

Background quotes:

  • Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedwhenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  US Declaration of Independence
  • We did not come to fear the future.  We came here to shape it.  B. Obama

Closer view of the center of Words–>Power–>Action with quilting that I hope simulates the rough texture of brick.

Center portion of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Take a knee
  • Listen
  • Reach Out
  • #metoo
  • When they go low, we go high.  Michelle Obama

Background quote:

  • We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.  B. Obama

Center bottom of Words–>Power–>Action .

Bottom right of Words–>Power–>Action

Prominent phrases and quotes:

  • Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.  Hillary Clinton
  • Vote!  Get Involved
  • Courage can be contagious.  Michelle Obama
  • e  Pluribus Unum (for non-US readers, this phrase comes from our Founding Fathers and means out of Many, One which represents who we are as a nation, a government of the people, by the people and for the people)

Background quote:

  • here in America we are waging a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thanks for reading this far.  I hope you like it.





Inspiration in the Ordinary, links and sites

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Hi everyone!   Thanks so much to those of you who were able to attend my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary.  Thank you so much to the many guest artists who allowed me to share their work in my lecture.  You’ll find them below, along with links to a couple apps that I mentioned in the lecture as well as website links to two exhibits and several books, including The Art of Sarah Ann Smith…so far.  

Street shots from Lowell, Massachusetts. All images (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Inspiration in the Ordinary                   A lecture by Sarah Ann Smith


Guest artists, apps and websites


Deborah Boschert


Kathy (Kate) Daniels


Louisa Enright


Bonnie K Hunter


Kristin La Flamme


Heather Pregger


Wendy Caton


Teri Sontra

Purple Moose Designs

  • Sandy Toes pattern is here


Timna Tarr


Jim Vander Noot


Angela Walters


Websites and apps:


Pantone  app

Pic-Collage app

PicStitch app


The Art of Sarah Ann Smith, so far


Inspired by the National Parks


Threads of Resistance


Here’s a downloadable Inspiration in the Ordinary PDF of the information above.  Thanks again to all my visiting artists!



Inspiration in the Ordinary Lecture on Saturday, January 27 in Waterville, ME

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Hi all…quickly popping in to say HI!  I’m debuting my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary, tomorrow at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild quarterly meeting in Waterville, ME.  To get directions, click here for more information.  Note, however, that the meeting has been moved down the hill to the auditorium.  Just look for where there are more cars parked!

From Sarah’s new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary. Many of you have seen my “dog walkies” photos…this is what inspires me, and a I’d like to inspire YOU.

Tomorrow I’ll have a follow up post with a PDF and links to the “visiting artists” websites, pattern links, information about apps, and the books mentioned in the lecture.   Hope to see many of you there!

And the last slide in the lecture


Where to find me at Quilt Festival Houston 2017

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

At the entrance to the Rising Stars exhibit. My work isn’t on the left, Karolyn Blue Lorenz is on the right. Come visit!

The fun has begun with Preview night yesterday.  I will be Doing gallery tours and more.  When I’m not doing what is on this schedule, I will be at the exhibit most of the time but seeing the show some of the time.  Swing by and say hi, take a look at my book of the exhibit ( on sale, link on my website Store page, ships direct from Blurb).  I will also do a Facebook live event at 8:30 or so Houston time, which is 9:30 a.m. East Coast US time!


Gallery tours:

10:30 Thursday and Sunday
1:00 Thursday, Friday, Saturday
6:00 Thursday, Friday, Saturday




9:30 Save Our Stories Quilt Alliance interview

10:30 Gallery Talk

1 Gallery Talk

4 pm ? Bernina booth Q20 meet up

6 Gallery Talk


9 Lecture-Katrina Walker, Cotton Chic! (garments in Q cotton)
10-12 Open Studios–Machine Quilting: Work Smarter, Not Harder
1 Gallery Talk
3 Lecture-Deborah Boschert Art Quilt
4 Gilbert Muniz, Wearable Art
6: Gallery Talk

7:30 dinner@8


9 Lecture-Martha Sielman, top 10 trends in art quilting
11:30-Noon Meet the Teacher
1 and Gallery Talk
2 pm ? Bernina booth Q20 meet up
2 Lecture-Deirdre McElroy, the Tifaifai Way
6 Gallery Talk


10:30 Gallery talk

4 Pack up quilts

First visitors Wednesday evening Preview night

On the right, She persisted in her quest to reac h the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, in the judged show


Rising Stars exhibit and more in Quilt Festival/Quilt Scene mag!

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Squee! Not only an article on the Rising Stars exhibit, but right at the front of the magazine! Thank you so much Cate Prato for writing the article and Vivika Hansen DeNegre for running it!  There’s a couple more pages of interview with both of us.

WOW…what a delightful surprise!  I knew I’d have a short 1-page article on “going pro” in Quilt Scene magazine.  I had forgotten the interview–THANK YOU Cate–with Cate Prato about the Rising Stars exhibit, which is on p. 15, right up front, and then to have Widgeon featured in the Special Exhibits section of photos, too…wow!

Can’t believe the contents, so delighted to share the pages with so many people whose work I admire. Can’t wait to see it “in the real” at Festival!

My quickie article with ten tips from the years I’ve worked in the industry on how YOU can make your dream come true, too.

Karlyn Bue Lorenz is the other Rising Star artist; her work is bold and colorful and abstract mostly, on left page. And of course that is our beloved Pigwidgeon on the right.

Come see me at Festival–I’ll be at my exhibit more often than not and will do gallery tours 2 or 3 times a day (schedule will be posted at the exhibit), will be doing a Meet the Teacher panel discussion, and two Open Studios demos.   See you there!

If you’d like to order my book, The Art of Sarah Ann Smith, you can do so with the hotlink on my store page or using this hotlink.  The book is way more than an exhibit catalog:  it includes all 24 works in the exhibit, plus 20 more, a bit about my life including photos of me as a wee kid, a senior in high school and a not-as-old-as-I-am-now mom, and some how-to tips and hints.

Back and front cover of my  book, a companion to the exhibit but a lot more. Available at