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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Canticle of the Stars

Monday, May 11th, 2020
Canticle of the Stars, or should I call it Anthem of Light? Chime in!
Completed May 2020, 36 tall x 46.5 wide.

There is a thing called star trails photography (just google it…it’s really cool). The earth rotates on its axis. The North Star is static in our northern skies. If you take time lapse photos and then “stack” (merge) them, you get star trails….images that describe the lines created by the light of the stars. Did you know that starlight comes in different colors??? It does… I love the feeling of the vastness of space. When I went to college, I comforted myself knowing that my then-boyfriend and I could both look up at the constellation Orion in the sky even though we would be 3000 miles apart. I love wondering what is out there, and feeling snug and at home in my own world. The universe is Out There and it is Within Us. I love the resulting art quilt. While trying to figure out the title (star trails was too boring), I wrote a poem to go with this quilt:

As many of you know by now, I was selected to be a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador this year. At the start (last December) we received a box STUFFED with goodies (post here). I decided to challenge myself, using items ONLY from this box to make an art quilt in my style, but using fabrics that are totally not in my usual wheel house: commercial solids, prints, and bling. I love the result…in trying to figure out the title (star trails was too boring), I wrote a poem above. Help me decide should the title be Canticle of the Stars? or Anthem of Light? Leave comments and thoughts!

So, how do you make an image that is DARK work successfully as an artwork? In this case, the answer is a lot of quilting with light thread in seven shades from pink to peach to green to blues! Here are the fabrics I used:

The quilt is under the fabrics, with the top visible in the upper half and the backing below. The Michael Miller Fabrics are from left to right: Michael Miller Krystal in Aubergine 1278, Wine 2248, Coal 1302 and 1257 Evergreen. Fairy Frost in Black. Cotton Couture SC5333 in Midnite and Ink. Marble CX1087 in Stone, graphite (or onyx) and night (I think on the denim blue). Michael Miller Jet Black which is part of the Cotton Couture line. I overdyed the green with a navy dye to use as the backing.

The quilting was done entirely on my Janome M7 Continental. The sky was done with the walking foot and the trees was free-motion quilted. It has been eons since I did walking foot quilting…I may do more of it soon! And the threads I used:

It is VERY rare for me to use a walking foot for quilting, but for the sky on this one I did. I used the dark blue So Fine to help hold down the Mistyfused pieces (cut curved, but on the bias so I could adapt their arc) and solid black (I can’t remember if it was the Mettler or So Fine) for the treelike silhouette. The six colors are the star trails in the sky. I used both regular straight stitch and the triple-straight stitch with the walking foot.
Detail, Canticle of the Stars. The edges of the print fabrics are definitely rougher than I am used to with the batiks and hand-dyes I use due to the different thread count, but I think they work because the light edges become another star trail.
And a very close up of the raw edges, some wool lint (sigh…do you know how many times I vacuumed and lint roller this quilt??????) from my pressing surface, and the quilting. The pale green turned into that creamy yellow color when quilted. It’s amazing what thread will do!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey to the stars, and back to home on Earth.

Mastering Metallics

Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Mastering Metallics is a half day workshop which will teach students to use metallic in both the needle and the bobbin. The workshop will debut at International Quilt Festival in Fall 2020, and is the half-day version of my Tame Fussy Fiddly Threads class. The class is Wednesday afternoon. Fly in Tuesday, join me in the Machine Quilting Forum (there are TWO this year!) Wednesday morning, then come take this workshop with me on Wednesday afternoon. We will finish up just in time to get to Preview Night at 5!

Ta DAAAA! A month or so ago, I asked for input from folks on Facebook about which color to make my project for my new Mastering Metallics workshop. Folks liked pretty much all THREE versions. I ordered up samples from Spoonflower:

Here’s the rather spendy order testing all three color ways and three fabrics: Petal Cotton (the basic), Cotton Poplin and Organic Cotton Sateen. Left to right colors are blue, sky blue and aqua, with the later two being VERY close…the aqua has just a bit more yellow in it.

I am hoping to sell the fabric on Spoonflower later this year–if anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll email you when it is ready. I am planning to offer the blue and aqua (but if someone REALLY wants the sky blue, in the middle above, just ask and I’ll add that also). I need to re-do the master graphic file to be 44″ across rather than 36″ vertically–I will need to add some larger snowflakes so they fit a 12 x 44″ space nicely without getting cut off at a 12″ line. This way, one yard would yield a table runner and four to six placemat tops. The Blue works perfectly with Michael Miller Cotton Couture Sailor, which I will use in class kits for the back and binding.

I ordered a full yard of the Sateen, which is what I used for my Thread-Coloring the Garden workshop which features a photo printed on fabric. I was delighted that the new Cotton Poplin showcased the snowflake design as well as the more expensive sateen, so I’ll use that in the workshop. That also means the table runners will be width-of-fabric, not the shorter 36 inches (I learned the hard way you need to print designs so the lengthwise grain of the fabric is vertical on the photo image with the sateen!).

First I used two of the less expensive 8″ samples to test various threads. The Petal cotton has a coarser weave–not as clunky as Kona Cotton, and the image is nice and crisp. The Cotton Poplin is softer and has a lovely hand to it, so I will choose that for the class kits.
The workshop kit will include Silver metallic (the snowflake being quilted here) and Halo used in the bobbin (upper snowflake). I’m also showing how to use the very heavy Razzle Dazzle on the sample, but to keep kit costs down won’t include it since the class time is just 3 hours. I will have some for sale, and it is of course readily available from Superior Threads. The heavy sateen is gorgeous, but given the cost I’ll use the still very nice poplin for class kits.
Detail of finished tablerunner. The crinkly looking snowflake is the Razzle Dazzle used in the bobbin. The others are done with Silver Metallic or Halo.
The quilting on the back looks awesome if I say so myself. LOVE my Janome M7 Continental! I’ll be teaching in Janome classrooms, so I wanted to fine tune settings to share with class by quilting this on my Janome. I ended up dyeing this fabric to sorta match. Because of the COVID-19 shut downs, I was unable to order the Cotton Couture Sailor (blue) fabric and receive it in time, and I needed to get the sample done quickly for Quilts. Inc to put in the class catalog. Kits will include backing, and I will have some extra if folks want to buy enough to bind the quilt. You can also order — Michael Miller is AMAZING at getting perfect color matching so one can also order the Cotton Couture Sailor to use on the back and bindings without worrying about color matching.
And one end of the table runner after I finished the binding and a little extra how-to tip that I’ll share in class.

I hope some of you will want to join me in class at International Quilt Festival–this pandemic physical-distancing should be well over by then! Sign ups usually go live in July, and I will be sure to share with you my teaching schedule, times, class numbers and so on. In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing fabric from Spoonflower, let me know! If there is a fair bit of interest I’ll move that to a front burner on the to-do list.

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