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Archive for the ‘International Quilt Festival’ Category

Unboxing Minerva: the new Janome M7 Continental!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

What a BEAST! I think this machine may be able to do everything but cook and do the dishes (Janome: hint hint LOL!). While visiting with Janome America staff (Regena, that’d be you) at International Quilt Market in Houston, I was thrilled to learn that Janome wanted me to take this beauty for a test drive, blog and share and sew on it for the next year! THANK YOU JANOME, and yes indeed-y I am shouting! I’ve been beyond lucky to be a Janome Artisan since 2003–don’t ask me how I’ve lasted this long, I’m not sure, but I’m just really proud to be affiliated with them (I’m not an employee but all opinions are honest and unvarnished).


Today I’ll share a quick video of the unboxing. Then I have Christmas gifts to make, so I will share various things and features that I have found. So far I know I’m going to miss the flip-up chart of the stitches, but there are so many other beyond **amazing** features that I can cope–and photocopy the pages in the manual for ready reference! I’ll get to learn about the new AcuSpark phone app that one can use for tutorials and tips using the on-screen QR codes on how to use the machine, and I am in love before even turning it on with the new built in antenna thread stand, the fact that the antenna collapses so I can actually USE the COVER on the machine easily, not to mention the massive harp space. One bit of advice: you may need help hoisting this machine onto your table!

This box is so big that *I* could fit inside it! Widgeon is so impressed (and deaf and nearly blind) that he doesn’t realize he has a cookie on the floor in front of him!

As for the name: the Janome 7700, from some years ago, was the most beautiful ruby red on the front. I’m not much of a red fan but boy do I miss that face plate! So, as a fan of the Harry Potter books, I named that beastie Rubeus Hagrid (the gamekeeper). When I had the 15000 top of the line on loan, of course it had to be Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of all time. Later, the silver-faced 9400 (and its heir the 9450) became Gandalf the Grey, because we love the Lord of the Rings, too.

BUT, I decided it was time for a POWERFUL WOMAN, so I have named her Minerva McGonagall, headmistress of Gryfindor and one of the bravest, stronger, most powerful and wise witches of all time. Here’s to Minerva!

Int’l Quilt Market Part 2

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

So I actually did see things besides the productive visit in the Michael Miller booth (previous post). The Martha Negley quilt and fabrics were across the avenue in the Free Spirit booth:

I had so much fun tootling about and was delighted to see that Martha Negley fabrics are again available…she is one of my favorite designers.
In the Free Spirit booth. I also saw this amazing quilt across from the Martha Negley display:
Calico Horses by Lorraine Turner has all sorts of cool stuff including wool roving and yarn as well as regular cottons. Free Spirit booth.
The feel of the scissors in this booth were amazing quality for price. Based in Toronto, Canada, I think this young couple is just adorable! Here’s to their success! And yes, I bought a pair of scissors for me. https://shopldh.com I put them in contact with SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) which is looking for vendors for the conference in Toronto in March.
They even have a few kitchen items (not all on their website yet). I bought the wood-handled poultry shears for Joshua’s birthday. Even if he just hangs them on the wall they are beautiful, but they work. AND the two on the right separate easily for cleaning kitchen yuck!
Denise Burkitt’s fabric for Free Spirit made my heart soar! I just fell in love with everything about it. She is a fabric dyer, so I totally swooned over the original pieces and the phenomenal printing that captures the hand of the artist in the cloth. WANT! And want to channel her muse when I’m next in the dye studio.
Alas, my photo of Denise is blurry. She made a shirt out of some of her fabric — it is her own design but I’d love to find a pattern like it, the collar is so flattering and versatile (wear long sleeve underneath in winter). And I’m really loving what Free Spirit is selling!
Tula Pink is always amazing, with a beautiful booth. (this is a visitor in the booth, not Tula)
In Tula Pink’s booth: I WANT THIS. I have been thinking of re-doing our cushions for the porch rockers and settee. I’m now thinking pieced!
I wore my Vogue 9112 dress made from a fabric by Brandon Mabley that I have hoarded for years…I love it! Well, as I’m walking market who do I see taking a bit of a short rest in the Kaffe Fassett booth but Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mabley and Liza Prior Lucy. So as I walk by I say loudly “Hey Brandon” and point to my dress. He came out immediately and we got this selfie even though he said he is usually reluctant to do them…thank you!

So that is part 2… I think I’ll save the rest for a third and final post about Market. And no, I didn’t really get to see many of the quilts at all–I was having way too much fun doing Market!

Int’l Quilt Market Part 1, a sale and a win!

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

So much has happened in the past 2 1/2 weeks: International Quilt Market, International Quilt Festival, and a whopper of a cold, a lovely weekend with my older son and DIL, and some home improvements. So I’ll start at the beginning…with one detour: I sold a quilt at Festival after all! I’ll post on that in a few days (I shared on FB), but first let’s start with Market. And read to the end for the big surprise!

I arrived on Sunday of Quilt Market–usually I fly in on Tuesday or Monday and begin teaching the next day. It was wonderful–so much less stress about finding my boxes of stuff shipped and making sure everything was there and organized for each day of classes! Then, following my roommate’s example, I planned to see all the quilts BEFORE Festival when I wasn’t tired from teaching. Well…instead I got sidetracked by the lure of Market. I had SO MUCH FUN visiting the booths. One of the first was Michael Miller Fabrics.

While in the booth, I was mulling over how to bump up attendance for a workshop, and have finally conceded that I have to offer half day classes with complete kits. I have always loved the hand of the Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids, so I was brainstorming in the booth. Since it was late on Monday, the final day of Market, it was quiet and two staffers came to chat. I asked about purchasing fabric wholesale to use in kits, which led to a wonderful and productive conversation.

First I spotted this eye candy…don’t you just want to dive in face first? It is a box of one fat quarter of all 214 — yes TWO HUNDRED FOURTEEN — of the Cotton Couture colors. And they were having a giveaway…fill out the form, and if you got all the answers in the quiz (fun stuff about Michael Miller Fabrics) the winner would be drawn from those with correct answers. Of course I filled it out with what I already knew…I googled up their website and found some answers I didn’t know, and with paper in hand, asked a staffer if I could ask Michael’s favorite dessert–luckily I had guessed the correct answer. Turned it in, and moved on.
Can you believe this is that glorious soft Minky fabric???? I had to walk up to 12 inches away and indeed it is…looks like indigo shibori on cotton! I so want some of this…I need an alternative to my wintry sofa throws. I’d make a top, quilt it on the thinnest cotton, the back with this and bind. LOVE IT!
They also had this really cool teaching tool for new quilters to learn color. I don’t teach that sort of class, locally or on the road, but it’s a brilliant idea for a shop.

Can you tell I spent a lot of time in the booth…today’s post will be all Michael Miller, then I’ll do another about the rest of Market soon!

The quilting on Modern Quilts enchants me–perhaps what I like best about this fresh approach to quilting. Not to mention these are SO my colors. And yes, I am a member of Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild and the MQG itself!

Well, after I got home, and spent several days first doing bookkeeping (ugh ugh UGH and may I say UGH) and then feeling sick….I got laryngitis on about Tuesday on my first class day. By Weds. I was feeling worse. By Thursday I could barely squeak—ladies in the audience at the Machine Quilting Forum were dropping cough drops on my table! Then it morphed into a sinus infection. I soldiered on through my last class Saturday, but was honestly glad it has lightly attended. I wouldn’t have had the energy for a full 24 and it was a FUN group of students as it was. So when I got home, I went into chair-potato/get well mode.

Then I got an email from Michael Miller: I WON THE 214 FAT QUARTERS!!!!!! They arrived about two days ago. I mean, first I sell a quilt and THEN I WIN THESE????!!!!! I need to go buy a lottery ticket.

Yes, I am HAPPY! I just can’t believe it…I never EVER win stuff…so what a boon! And yes, there is a quilt coming! 214 fat quarters…over 53 yards!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU to Michael Miller Fabrics…you ROCK. I am so thrilled to have this bounty. I’m already planning a quilt called 214…and one that isn’t too complex, one where I can have FUN and get it done and revel in color!

This post has gone on long enough, so I’ll break here and carry on with the REST of International Quilt Market in my next post. But yes, Thank you to Michael Miller–stay tuned for what I do with these!

On display at International Quilt Festival Houston 2019

Friday, October 25th, 2019

I’m a bit gobsmacked to realize I have five, yes FIVE…5….5!!!!, quilts on display in Houston this year! If you are there, I hope you get to see them up close and personal…after all, we know what a world of difference it makes. If you’re not in Houston, here’s what I’ll have on display:

Rose Hip, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2019. 36″ square. One of my favorite quilts, in part because it is of my beloved Maine, but also because I’ve been able to meld my personal hand dyes, a hand dye by Lisa Walton, fabrics printed and over-painted by me, to create a cohesive image.
Coach’s Clipboard: Win by Fall celebrates family, hard work, volunteerism. Juried in to the Better World Exhibition, the quilt celebrates all those coaches all over the world who give of their time and expertise to help our children grow. Athletics teaches kids that hard work DOES pay off, they reap rewards by learning self-reliance, a work ethic, a healthy lifestyle. Here, my husband was in a final year after eleven years as a volunteer wrestling coach, first at Camden-Rockport Middle School, then Camden Hills Regional High School. But the quilt honors ALL of Eli’s coaches (yes, that’s him winning the match in red) in soccer, Cross country, Wrestling, and track and field.
Like Rose Hip, Lupines was juried in to the World of Beauty quilt competition. Sadly no ribbons for me this year (despite my hopes!), but I am ELATED that for the first time, BOTH of my entries were juried in to the show. Check off another bucket list item! I dyed the background to be blurred, like a photo’s shallow depth of field. And yes, once again I am celebrating my world in Maine.
I got to check off yet another bucket list item, being juried into the Hands All Around exhibit, which features the finest quilts from around the world. The quilt is named Insalata because it is salad, of course, but also because of the restaurant by than name in San Anselmo, California, where I used to go with my mother when I went home to visit. They had enormous (like 8 feet by 16 feet) canvas paintings of ginormous fruits and vegetables. I loved the oversized scale, so these tomatoes are the size of beach balls.
Last but not least, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea (a.k.a. the Surf quilt) is in the Sapphire Celebration exhibit, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of International Quilt Festival. I’m honored to be a part of it!

All of these quilts except the one of my husband and son are available for sale…. I’ve got my fingers crossed in hopes that the magic red dot will appear on the signage for one of them in Houston!

Tomorrow I will start the trek to Houston: driving to Portland to say with older son and DIL (sleeping on the sofa) so I can catch an early flight out of Portland. For the first time EVER, I’ll be leaving from an airport where I can check two suitcases. Our little local airports have tiny planes (9 seaters) where you can only have one large bag per person. What a difference this makes in going: fewer boxes to ship. Now I just have to hope they arrive without any detours. I’ll be back in about 2 weeks with pictures and reports about all my classes, friends and the fun that is Quilt Festival.

New England World Quilt Show Exhibit!

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

In a rather astonishing development last May, an earlier inquiry about teaching and exhibiting turned into an invitation to have a solo exhibit, The Art of Sarah Ann Smith … so far, at the Mancuso Brothers World Quilt New England Show tin Springfield, Massachusetts (this is the one that used to be in Manchester, NH). I hope you’ll enjoy this preview peek, if you’re in the vicinity can visit, and on Saturday I hope to post a Facebook Live or other video of the exhibit. I should arrive about noon (it’s a long drive from Maine). Click on this link to get info and directions to the show. If you can’t make the show, my book has a lot of what is there plus lots of other good stuff.

Sarah Ann Smith's solo exhibit at 2019 World Quilt New England
Sarah Ann Smith’s solo exhibit at 2019 World Quilt New England
This exhibit begins in 1998, when I made Happy 80th Birthday Mama. At that point I never thought I’d ever be published, exhibit nationally, teach nationally, have a book and all the zillion other wonderful things since I decided to “make a go of it” in art quilting in 2004. That’s why I’m so proud that this quilt was in Karey Bresenhan’s 2003 I Remember Mama exhibit and book: it taught me that I was good enough to indeed try to make it in this industry.

The exhibit has its roots in my 2017 Rising Stars exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I had been invited to submit a proposal for a solo exhibit. Karey liked what I suggested and how I would market it to our mutual benefit, and ended up creating the Rising Stars exhibit (which recurs every year now) to showcase two or more quilters. This exhibit is slightly different, as some of those quilts sold, and this one has new work.

Alms, Kyoto 1996 is on the far left, and started with my photo (taken in 1996 on a trip with my mother) and a workshop with Hollis Chatelain to learn how to dye paint. It was my first quilt ever juried in to Festival/Houston, and it took another six YEARS before I had another quilt juried in to the judged show, though I was lucky to have work in special exhibits in Houston. I think Bijagos Warrior, on the back wall, is one of my best quilts ever. Made in 2004, , it was declined by Houston (Sob, still), but he finally got to hang in Houston in 2017 Rising Stars. It was while working on Bijagos Warrior that I realized my sewing machine wasn’t helping me; I researched and came upon Janome machines. I couldn’t afford a soda fountain cola in those days, so I approached them to see if they had a loaner program. To my utter astonishment Janome America took me on. I have since late 2003 been a part of what is now the Janome Artisan program, and I am forever grateful for their support and sponsorship. Yes, I get free loaners, but I’d say all the wonderful things about their awesome machines if I paid full MSRP!

The exhibit runs in chronological order (though within a given “bay” of quilts they may be slightly out of order so we got a nicer looking display) from 1998 to 2019. Gosh….I just realized this is two DECADES of my work and evolution…and that I can now, with a bit of a gulp, call myself an artist.

The quilt on the left Earth & Turquoise, almost never travels to shows because of the sticks, stones and feathers, but since I drove to deliver and hang the quilts, it was able to go! I’m thrilled! And the back wall, let’s just call that a Mother and Child Reunion. This was the time when I was first invited to be in the Dinner@8 exhibits. See more about them below. During the middle of this century’s first decade, I was learning my craft, refining my voice, improving my technical and design skills.
These quilts range from 2013-2015 or thereabouts. Insalata, the ginormous tomatoes on the back (about the size of a beach ball) is the most recent of this batch, but otherwise these are in order.

The Dinner@8 exhibits were such a phenomenal opportunity and formative experience. For years, I have thought this 10-year run of special exhibits presented one of the best exhibits in Houston, which is saying a lot. To be able to be in them for eight years just amazes me, that I made the cut. But my best work by far was made for these exhibits. The level of excellence rose each year, and like the rising tide that floats all boats, I think ALL of us who were fortunate to be in the exhibits grew immensely in our abilities. Conceived by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison, they were juried invitationals. That means you were invited to participate–it wasn’t an open call to the public. You then made a quilt to the specific theme and size, entered it, and waited to see if it was accepted. I am so grateful for the chance to be a part of this group of strong women, and feel a bit adrift that the series has come to an end with the 2018 exhibit. BUT, that meant I had to look forward and come up with my own ideas, not be dependent on Jamie and Leslie, and I’m excited to move forward with my own plans.

Amaryllis toured extensively in Australia and New Zealand in Brenda Gael Smith’s Living Colour Textiles exhibit. Eli, Cross Country 2013 is my other son and one of my favorite of his sports. Descended From the Stars on the back wall, is another favorite of my quilts because it covers so much of my life, from my high school to imagery related to my children to calligraphy and more. Peony is on the right.
2017 to 2018: I can’t say that I have achieved mastery–there will always be more to learn and explore. But I think I have finally achieved competence, and certain techniques have become integral to my art: dyeing, painting, fused collage, representational imagery. From left to right: Stand Up, Speak Out; Pink Oyster Mushrooms; Lupine. My work now focuses very much on my work–my days traveling the world as a US Foreign Service Officer (diplomat) are ancient history and I have now spent more time as a quilter and artist than I did as a diplomat!
The Art of Sarah Ann Smith...so far, a solo exhibit at the 2019 World Quilt New England show
And the view from the present to the beginning of my art quilt journey…so far! There’s more coming!

Thanks so much for sticking with me! I’ll post a few more shots after I get to see the exhibit with the show open on Saturday!