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Archive for the ‘Professional quilting’ Category

Website Makeover! Please VISIT : )

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Those of you who have surfed into my blog over the past two weeks or so will have noticed a completely new look to my site. Thanks to Derry Thompson of GloDerWorks and inspiration from several top art quilters with great sites, I think Derry and I have come up with a gorgeous new site–my first complete makeover since creating the site in 2004. I am responsible for (guilty!) the visuals, and Derry has done all the brilliant work behind the scenes to bring my vision for my site to life.

I still have a LOT of work on my end: thanks to the vast changes in the internet since 2004, I pretty much need to re-do ALL of my photos for larger size and crisper photos. Thankfully, I have a better camera, a tripod, lighting, and better skills at both photos and Photoshop so the image looks most like the real quilt. But I didn’t want to wait for months before sharing the “New Look” with all of you. Stay tuned as I update one gallery at a time.

Here is the Nature Gallery: just click on an image. That will open a filmstrip that allows you to scroll through larger images. One more click will then take you to details about each artwork.

Some of my favorite new things:

  • The clean look
  • The colors (I gave Derry a specific palette of colors)
  • The font (Josefin Slab and Josefin Sans)–now updating all handouts etc, too!
  • The multiple ways to navigate the images: gallery, filmstrip, arrows on the sides
  • The FOLLOW social media buttons (square) at top right
  • The SHARE social media buttons (rounded)
  • The BIG IMAGES!
This is the filmstrip view–thumbnails at a glance (love the way Derry made them top justified–makes it so neat and nice!), click on the image you want or use the arrow to scroll in either direction.

My inspiration came from many sites:

  • Jane Dunnewold‘s clean look to her site is a breath of fresh air. I love the font, but decided to go my own route. My green is similar to hers…one that I use in much of my art
  • Hollis Chatelain’s Gallery layout is wonderful, not to mention that she has been an inspiration to me for nigh on to two decades now.
  • Sue Benner’s crisp, clean site with crisp, clean color makes my heart go thumpety thump. I love the photos of her on her About page, down on the floor with the iron (been there, do that). I thought about an entire page for my Instagram feed, as on her Connect page, but opted for just the most recent IG image at the footer of everything but the blog.
  • Deidre Adams way of watermarking consistently on her images–more PhotoShop work for me but worth it!
  • And many thanks to Holly Knott for creating the SVG file for my signature, which is used in the header as well as on labeling (my paint kits for example). Someday I will learn Illustrator and InDesign, but Holly’s prices are so reasonable and she was so fast (same afternoon!) it would’ve been crazy not to use her skills. Holly has a brilliant page about photographing your quilts, Shoot That Quilt, and also designs websites.
Look at the detail you can see! Scroll down to see the info (see image below)
And lower down on the individual artwork page

Endless thanks to the long hard work Derry put in creating this site so that it is JUST PERFECT, beautiful, and works well. I am pretty much an “I do it all myself” business….except I made a smart decision in 2003: to go with Gloria Hansen and Derry Thompson to design and host my site. I have learned so much since 2003, a lot from these two. I never have to worry if a glitch happens, Derry fixes it. I actually scold him for answering late at night and on weekends: dude, you need to take some time off! Hoisting a pint to you!

Thanks for looking and reading this far….I hope you enjoy the new site!

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!

The Quilt Show–Sarah’s Episode!

Friday, April 12th, 2019

What a delight it was to be invited to tape a show for the Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson online “tv” show, The Quilt Show (TQS)! In the past I have taped for two seasons of Quilting Arts TV (on PBS) and did a video workshop for Interweave (Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork, available as a download), but TQS is on a whole other level of professionalism. It was filmed in the Comcast center near Denver…as you walked by the main office there was an entire cabinet of awards including a few Golden Globes! And to get it up front: THANK YOU ADELE Merrell for all these great photos and Gayle Schliemann from Bernina for a bunch more!

Intro segment with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims…yes, they color coordinate their tops with the guest’s outfit! My dress is a Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 9112
I was so excited that I was able to pull off my surprise gifts for Alex, Ricky, John and Justin: custom TQS aprons made with a thermofax screen I made for them (with behind the scenes help from Producer Shelly to help with a graphic and favorite colors for them).
After the intro we got together and everyone modeled their custom TQS aprons. Sorry folks, there are only four of these that exist, but I’m delighted they are already using them with other guests. I bought all cotton colored aprons on Amazon (where else?). If you like the milkweed design on mine, I am selling my custom screens on my website for a limited time (maybe six to 12 months) so you could make your own!
There are two guests taped each day–I had Saturday morning. They hang the quilts first as all the other prep begins, and well before the audience comes in. The lighting is SUPERB…both of the guests and the quilts. There are light colored walls behind the seat walls with bounce diffuser lights that reflect off the exterior studio walls to create a smooth even light, then each quilt has a spot…there wasn’t a single “hot spot” or deep dark area (unless it was intentional)

And a panorama shot…the detail isn’t great because of the re-sizing I had to do for the blog, but I am standing in the center of the audience area. There were four large quilts including this year’s BOM, Sizzle, then the door to the Green Room, a monitor, the areas of the set from the “brick” wall, seating area, gallery space. The big tables are all on rollers as is the longarm and Q20 so everything can be moved easily for each segment. Another monitor on the middle-right, the staff and guest cubbyhole is behind that wall, you can see a long light thing that is the longarm, then Alex’s quilt (which is gorgeous in person) and right bank of the audience seating. There are usually 50-70 guests for each show. Tickets are free but you must reserve in advance…check the TQS website for info.
Justin Shults, Ricky’s partner, consults with the team in an area to by one side of the set where they collect the guests’ “stuff” for the episodes and serves as staff work space. I love that they said “welcome to the family.” Everyone staying at the DoubleTree collects in the same zone of the restaurant for breakfast (travel, meals, hotel are on your own dime, but it is so worth it!) and eat together. It is a delightful way to get to know the crew and principals. Left to right: Lilo Bowman, Justin Shults, Mary Kay Davis and Katie. Justin is the guy coordinating things on the set while Shelly Heesacker, the Producer, is in the control room. They communicate by headsets.
This is pretty close to the image folks will see when the show airs online sometime this autumn.
And here’s what that looks like from the sidelines
Sarah Ann Smith visits The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims
My first segment was about using paint on cloth (and I now have custom paint kits available here) and using shrink fabric to make my sunflower quilt (a blogpost to come). Here Ricky and I reviewed what I brought and what we could fit into the 10-14 minute segment. While the guest and hosts review the segments, groups of folks from the audience are allowed to come up and see the quilts up close.
In the breaks between segments, John Anderson (Alex’s husband) keeps the audience entertained, shares quilts from upcoming guests and more. This one is at the end of the day when Ricky came to chat with the audience.

Rehearsing for the thread segment: Ricky, Alex, me and Mary Kay Davis taking a close up photo.
Thanks SO MUCH to Adele, who dresses the set, for taking a billion photos for me. I especially wanted this one from inside the control room that shows what a polished and complicated production this is. Producer Shelly Heesacker is in the bottom left and she crafts each episode and runs the show.
And a close up of the screens as I am taping my second segment, with Alex, on how I do my Threadwork.

After-taping shots: here, I am holding a photo by Chris Maher from the online Photo Critique Group–it is a mock movie poster, with Ricky, Justin and many of our classmates in the assorted cast and crew roles. Too much fun!
I made TQS screen prints on my hand-dyed fabric for the audience as a little gift. MAJOR thanks to Iris Karp of MistyFuse for donating a package of MF (which changed my life and makes what I do possible!!!!! and that is NO exaggeration) so I made up a pattern for the sunflower that I demonstrated on set.
Time for some portrait shots with my quilts…this was one of the best!
Going to use this one for my FB profile photo for a while…THANK YOU ADELE!
Question and Answer session with the audience (and you can see that fun dress!) after taping.

I have to say, I wasn’t all that nervous thanks to being UBER prepared and having done Quilting Arts before, but I was wired for sound LOL..by the time of the Q&A I was relaxed and ready to have even more fun sharing.

At the end of my segment saying “It’s a new day EVERY day,” the TQS motto. Can you tell we were having fun?!!!!


My episode will air sometime in late summer/autumn. Star Members of The Quilt Show will have the first view, then there will be one week where the episode will be free to everyone. I will be sure to post, but gosh there are so many wonderful guests that I am so glad I am a member–and did you know I joined the very first day TQS began: January 1, 2007? And now, here I am as a guest! WOOT! Life is GOOD!

Solo Exhibit at World Quilt Show New England

Monday, March 18th, 2019

I’m thrilled to share that I will have a solo exhibit of my work, The Art of Sarah Ann Smith … so far, at the Mancuso Quilt show, World Quilt New England, from August 15 to 17, 2019, in Springfield, Massachusetts! Now that it is listed here on their special exhibits page, it is official!

Most of the quilts on display will be those that were in my Rising Stars exhibit in Houston in Fall 2017, except those that are sold or are in a touring exhibit. This exhibit will also have at least one or two new works (to be determined). I’m pleased that I will be able to help hang the exhibit. I may be able to stay over night or come down on the 17th to be at the exhibit and give gallery tours. Stay tuned for more info as we approach August.

If you’d like a sneak peek, you can check it out in my book of the same name, The Art of Sarah Ann Smith … so far on Blurb. The book is available as a hard copy or PDF.

I hope you’ll get to see my quilts and that I might even get to meet some of you at the show!

Sarah on The Quilt Show!

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Yep, 2019 is shaping up to be a great year because I’ll be able to tick off a Bucket List item: in early April I’ll tape an episode of The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson! Here’s a preview I taped with Ricky while I was teaching at International Quilt Festival 2018 in Houston last November. I’m so psyched–gosh they made my work look SO GOOD!

Interview with Ricky Tims about my upcoming visit to TheQuiltShow.com . I’ll tape the episode in April and it will air later in 2019, I’m guessing towards late summer or fall (August to November for those not in the northern hemisphere). If you’d like to get my monthly newsletter, sign up on my home page, here.

 We haven’t finalized the topics yet so can’t share what it will be, but it’s bound to be something along the lines of art quilts, painting, fusing and/or quilting. I know I can’t fit in everything, but I hope to inspire you and maybe even generate some teaching jobs. If your group or show is interested, please contact me using the contact page on my website. And if you’d like to follow this blog, please click on one of the options to subscribe in the sidebar to the left.

And OMG: SEE YOU ON THE QUILT SHOW! Yep, I’m shouting in delight!  Thank you Ricky, Alex, Justin and John–can’t wait, and some quilty friends will be there for taping too…SQUEEEE!