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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

A Snowy Owl at the Library of Congress!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

Well today sure started off well…. got an email from curator and exhibit organizer extraordinaire Donne DeSoto that my Snowy Owl, from Acadia National Park, will be on display at the Library of Congress soon! Here’s the LoC’s information on the exhibit–I SO wish I lived close enough to go see it!

Here’s my owl, based on photographs I took at nearby Clarry Hill Ridge. Of course I had to pick something from Acadia National Park, here in Maine. The fabrics are my hand dyes, include a little bit of paint, and lots of threadwork!

This quilt is part of the Inspired by the National Parks exhibit which debuted in the National Parks Centennial Year. The exhibit will finish its phenomenal run in February at the Mancuso Brother’s Mid-Atlantic show. Donna told me the exhibit has been to THIRTY ONE venues in the three years it has traveled! That is astounding! So many thanks to Schiffer Publishing for putting out the tome with all our quilts and to the other participants. But most of all, special thanks to Donna. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work it is to keep tabs on so many quilts and get them traveling so many places for multiple years. THANK YOU DONNA!

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.

Last free viewing day on The Quilt Show and puzzles of my quilts

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

Today is the LAST DAY you can see my episode on The Quilt Show for free…and you can also do what may be the most challenging of the puzzles, Pink Oyster Mushrooms. I’d really like to thank Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims, Shelly Heesacker​, Lilo Bowman, Adele Merrell​, Mary Kay Davis​ and all the gang at TQS for a phenomenal experience. I hope to do it again some day! If you’d like to see my interview with Alex scroll to the bottom of this post and click play! Here is the link for the last day of free viewing of my episode: http://thequiltshow.com/watch/show-list/video/latest/show-2508-sarah-ann-smith?artist_coupon=25081013

Here’s the link….you can select how may pieces, rotating or not, or automatic!
Descended From the Stars as a puzzle is Here.
Lilies of the Valley puzzle is here.
And the puzzle for Bijagos Warrior is here.

Again, HUGE thanks to everyone at The Quilt Show for the opportunity to be on the show. One last little bit of fun…a Skype interview with Alex! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_4zjksQZ5w

Exploring Paint on Cloth

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

I’m over the moon to announce my new three-day workshop, Exploring Paint on Cloth, debuting August 5-7, 2020, at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, Massachusetts. Signups start TODAY! We will explore ProSilk and Fabric paint (ink-like consistency), ProFAB Transparent Textile Paint and ProFAB Opaque Textile Paint. I’ll include a wide range of techniques from blendy to bold. You’ll learn which paints to use when, how to adapt paints to do what you want, and basically have a whole lotta fun, including some fun mixed media play. Click HERE to see more and sign up!

We’ll include both representational and abstract designs in our workshop. You’ll use thermofax screens, stencils, stamps, brushes, squeeze bottles and more.
And you’ll get to combine a range of techniques in this piece or one from your own imagination.
And we’ll try non-traditional surfaces including interfacing, and creating cloth that looks like it is hand-dyed, and feels like it is hand-dyed it is so supple, but is actually created with paint–in this small art quilt, the sky.

I’m so excited about the possibilities and hope you’ll join me! This week I am actually taking a workshop at ProChem, but if you have questions please do leave a comment and ask–I’ll try to answer as quickly as I can (usually in the evenings). And to make it easy for you, here’s the link to ProChem again, to sign up! I’d love to have you in my class!#sarahannsmithartist #artistauthorquilterteacher #sarahannsmithphotographer  #maine #surfacedesign #prochemicalanddye #screenprinting

Boo, J.D. (for Juvenile Delinquent)

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Boo, J.D. by Sarah Ann Smith, 2019

Boo’s portrait is the third part of this trio of quilts. I had considered doing a self portrait, Sarah and her muses, with the selfie for my local Coastal Quilters challenge due next May. But then hubby, who has never ever asked me to make an art quilt, said when he saw the ones of Yoda and Widgeon, “you should make one of Boo, too.” Boo, you see, is his Very Special Cat. So I did that instead. Much nicer than a selfie! And it turns out the portrait challenge doesn’t have to be a selfie, and can be a critter–way better!

Just to remind you, here are the three portraits in this series on La Familia Smith (furry edition). Each is a 20″ square and they are debuting at the Janome Institute this week! I made them in thanks for over 15 years as part of their Janome Artisan program. I love their machines and would say all the good things I do even if I weren’t affiliated and paid full MSRP!

I prepared blurbs for Janome to use for each of the quilts, in the “voice” of each of the critters. Here is Boo’s:

Boo, J. D.
 
Emperor Yoda! Hah!  What does he know?  And why do they call me the Juvenile Delinquent?  Can’t they see that I am going to be KING of this realm?  I am young, I am strong, I speak, I jump, I am growing into being the largest and strongest in the realm, not like that tub of lard who is rightfully dubbed His Immensitude.  Stay away from my kibble, tubbo.  The humans love my chirpy voice and sleek, silky fur!  Now I will deign to let my human pet me and feed me my favorite wet food and pet me more.  All others, including the ostensible Chief Minion, be forwarned:  you are subject to attack!”  (Boo is a 10-month old Turkish Van. I am the ostensible Chief Minion.)

When I start a new project, I look usually at photos I have taken as “reference” photos. This time, hubby Paul’s photo was a better shape to fit into a square than what I had, plus Boo loves to sit with his paws hanging over the edge of stuff. I rarely use Photoshop any more to identify areas of light and dark, but I was curious to see what it would do. Meh. I like making the decisions as they are more nuanced than someone else’s software.
Step 1 is working on the collage with my reference images close by. I use Mistyfuse (my preferred fusible by far) and prefuse all my fabric, then cut the shapes I need, usually freehand but sometimes with other techniques that I share in my workshops. At this point the base layers just looks blotchy and blobby. It gets better.
Once the base layer is down, I start adding slivers of fur. Notice two of my favorite tools (and I’m not affiliated, just a fan-girl): Karen Kay Buckley’s purple-handled micro-serrated scissors (here) and Heidi Profetty’s awesomely pointy tweezers (here). The tweezers are new to my process and SO much easier than my old way of fingers, pins, skewer etc. Much easier and more accurate to place than to nudge! I like them so much I sell them in my workshops.
To tie the three quilts together, I took out all the fabric I would use for all three quilts at the start of the first one. The blue ocean-like batik plays a major role in all three: in Widgeon’s face, the background for Yoda, and here as the “bed” in Boo’s cat tree in the living room, and the other fabrics repeat. I liked the dark green in the background to pop Boo’s silhouette, but it was too much and boring as the entire top of the quilt, so I trimmed to have a “halo” of dark (no, that is not a commentary on the cat’s personality LOL!).
I selected assorted greens from my stash of prefused fabrics. I just didn’t like the way these looked–made the whole piece too heavy and dark for a rambunctious kitten.
So the dark greens, other than the “halo,” went away and my much-loved yellow greens (mostly my hand dyes in this set) came in.
The next step, as with Yoda, was adding paint via thermofax screens to refine the fur. Did I mention (another gratuitous self promotion here) that I’ll be teaching a 3-day workshop August 5-7, 2020, at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, Massachusetts, on using paint on cloth? Sign ups open on October 2nd and I’d love to have you join me. Here’s the link to the Workshops at ProChem–details on the 2020 workshops will post on or about September 3rd. Anyway…. you can see the difference between the right where I have screened to the left where I haven’t, also up on the upper vs. lower parts of his face. I used a temporary mask of painter’s tape to avoid getting paint on parts of the background.
Final phase: quilt it to death! This is the Janome 9450–I began on the 6500 when the Horizon series debuted back in 2003 and every time I think they couldn’t possibly make the machine better, yet they do. This is pretty much my PERFECT MACHINE! I pick more threads than I think I will need for a project. Since I was doing three quilts at once, that was a lot of thread. Luckily, the most labor intensive one was Widgeon because of so many different colors. The quilting on Yoda (a beige cat with some dark) and on Boo (a white cat with just a tiny bit of black on him) was easier in some ways, though finding six shades varying from white to cream was interesting….ended up using a very very pale green for example, which reads as a mostly white/gray for the under layer.
Then the stitching begins! Here I’m putting in the first of three layers of thread used in each area. I teach a workshop on this, too (Thread-Coloring the Garden, but the process is the same for flowers, pets, people, landscapes, etc.). I really love this new open-toe free-motion quilting foot. It was designed for free-motion zigzagging, but it is awesome visibility. I’m not sure but I may possibly like it as well (or even better? is that possible?) than my all-time favorite thin metal open circle foot.
In this photo, I’m up to about the third layer of threads. Compare how it looks to the previous photo. Also, I do minimal stitching on eyes!
An angled shot always shows up the quilting best. I used the same leaf/vine motif on this that I used in the background of Yoda’s quilt to tie things together.

So that’s my process and all three of the quilts. To read the blogpost about Yoda’s quilt: His Immensitude Yoda, Emperor of Minions and all He Surveys, click here for Yoda . To read the blogpost about Widgeon’s quilt: I Love, Therefore I Am, click here for Widgeon. Thanks for coming along on my summer quilting extravaganza!