Archive for the ‘Mistyfuse’ Category

Registration is open–Teaching at IQF Houston 2018

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Interested in trying your hand at art quilts? Not sure where to start? This class has proved a perennial favorite at IQF Houston (and elsewhere)–sign up soon!  

Yes, registration is OPEN for classes for International Quilt Festival Houston 2018, including my four classes.  Over the next week, I’ll recap my four classes (well, three full day classes and the Machine Quilting Forum).  I hope to see some of you  in those classes!

On Tuesday, the day between Quilt Market (open to the trade only) and Quilt Festival (open to anyone who pays admission), I’ll be teaching Birch Pond Seasons.  The wonderful thing about this workshop is that you can bring a photo of your own favorite pond or hills and morph my pattern into your special place!   The class is always full or almost full–I’m hoping that with it scheduled on Tuesday I’ll be able to entice some Market-goers to stay over for a workshop.

Here’s the summer version:

Summer version

And autumn:

Autumn at Birch Pond

You’ll learn basics of fusing, working from a pattern without having to cut a bazillion pattern pieces, working a bit more free-form and improvisationally, how to “strip fuse,” fusing easy-melt fabrics like synthetic sheers, fabric selection, and time-permitting in the afternoon we’ll talk about quilting.  The class includes a kit fee that covers handouts, pattern sheet, a full package of white Mistyfuse, and a few tidbits.  You bring a range of fabrics but not a ton of any one fabric (maybe a fat quarter for sky and half that for the pond)…a range of fabrics is more important than a lot of any one thing.

Here is a blogpost about students taking this class some years ago.  This post will give you a feel for the class.

If you click here to get to my classes page, scroll down to Birch Pond Seasons class and you can click on the link for the PDF Class supply list, too.

Sign up before it fills!  If you have questions, just leave a comment or contact me via the Contact page (link up top).  Here’s the link to IQF enrollment   again.  See you there!

She persisted/Ocean quilt published in Quiltmania

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

My ocean quilt, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, was one of 16 quilts featured in an article on the 2018 Road to California shows (where it won a First Place art quilt ribbon no less). The other quilts in the article are all stupendous, so I am quite blown away and honored to be included.

Thank you so much Martha Sielman, Executive Director of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and Quiltmania! Martha emailed a couple days ago asking if I had seen my quilt, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, in Quiltmania. I had no clue and the nearest place that might (?) still have a copy of this issue is over an hour away. So Martha sent me her copy which I’ll now add to my groaning (lucky me!) shelf of published works. Sixteen quilts, all wonderful, widely ranging in style, were published from the Road to California 2018 show. I SO need to go see this show. Maybe I need to apply to teach! Thank you again, Martha!!!

Quiltmania, a French magazine that is also published in English and available in the US

Getting ready for the next quilt….the herald of summer in Maine

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Before I can start in on the fusing and collaging process, I find that I now need to dye fabric specifically for a project.   While working on my Lilies of the Valley Quilt, I used up most of my good “summer” greens.   My next piece is for Explorations at the New England Quilt Museum (in Lowell, Mass.), a regional SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) show.  I’ve had several ideas I wanted to try for this piece, and really wanted to push myself to do something different and unexpected.  Unfortunately, those ideas are just not wanting to fit into the required vertical orientation and size required!   So I’m going to do a large piece on something I’ve been wanting to do for a while:  Maine’s lupines that bloom in late May and early June and herald the summer.

SAQA members from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were invited to submit a body of work.  If selected, artists would then make a 30×50″ art quilt featuring a specific technique.  We were advised to submit several techniques, so I suggested dyeing, fused collage and machine quilting/threadwork.   I am delighted that I am one of 24 artists selected!  There will be two exhibits of 12 artists each.  We won’t know whether we will be in the Oct-Dec 2018 exhibit or the Jan-April 2019 exhibit until the works are completed and submitted August 1.  That means I need to work FAST!

I was chosen to showcase fused collage.  The exhibit is about techniques, with in depth information and supplementary materials.  From the acceptance letter:

In the exhibit, your piece will be accompanied by a number of items, including your artist statement, a brief bio, a photo of you in your studio, and materials which explain your technique. Each artist has a 20″ x 50″ area that they can use to explain their process. You can use process photos, sample pieces, written materials, even video presentations if you can figure out how to make it work.

But before I can fuse, I need the right COLORS to fuse.   Some years ago I made some cloth that I gave to my friend Kathy, who used it is a fabulous portrait of her granddaughter.   I thankfully kept notes of which dyes I used, and I call this combination “Kathy’s fabric.”  This time, I decided to make it not as dark—summer meadow greens instead of piney woods greens.

I start by dotting dye on, both navy and basic blue. I literally stick my latex-gloved fingers into the dye and daub it on. MANY classes with Carol Soderlund and many MANY yards of fabric and miles later, I can begin to predict what I will get because I tend to refer to my notes and books from the workshops, then go improv.

Then I add two or three yellows, because not just one will quite do what I want. Sometimes, I do a second cloth, as here, where I have actually mixed some greens instead of just doing yellow on blue.

For dye geeks, most of the time I prefer to paint dye onto cloth, then paint soda-ash/fixer solution on top, but this time I soda-soaked first, then daubed on the color.  When I want significant patterning, it’s soda-soak first.

The photo at the top of this post is the one which began with blue dots, then yellow, then greens.

Once I’ve gotten the color on, the fabric needs to batch so it moves under the table for several hours before washout, sometimes (as this time) overnight. Had to make some of my bright spring greens, too.

Then I decided to try to make a field with lupines in it, but blurry, to use as background at the top of the quilt.  I may have messed this one up…..

Sky at the top–good until I put some plastic over the top to batch it overnight. Apparently SOB there were stray dots of dye that didn’t get washed off properly last dyeing session. SOB.

This is what it looked like about six hours later. I like the way the dye is seeping up into the sky. This is when I covered it. SOB.  And most of those dots got covered up. 

This morning when uncovered. SOB. Random specks of pink in the sky. SOB. Will have to see after washout what remains.  Cover it up with tall lupines perhaps.  SOB.

I also decided to try ice dyeing for the first time, inspired by my friend Jim Vander Noot. I used a magazine holder because it was available to keep the fabric up out of the pooling, dripping dye (instead of a screen). Put another piece of cloth in the bottom of the tub to soak up the drips. I use pure dyes, not mixes which is more typical for ice dyeing, so I kinda winged it on this one. I sprinkled the dyes in the picture below on, then dribbled some yellow dye solution I had already mixed up as well.

Dyes sprinkled on.

Today I washed out….stuff in the washer now.  OH MY I am SOOOOOOO gonna do more ice dyeing…totally hooked!   Hope they look as spectacular washed and dried as they did rinsed out!

Stay tuned for an update.

And…gratuitous cat pic of the new kitten, Zabu (named after the Leapin’ lemur on Zoboomafu which the boys watched when they were little)

Sweetness, to be followed when awake by zooming and cavorting and wreaking kitty havoc.

#saqa, #fabriccollage, #artquilt,#artistsoninstagram, #fusedfabric

#saqaexplorations, #neqmexplorations, #saqa, #neqm, #saqamari

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Speak Up, Speak Out

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Emerging briefly from the production tunnel to share my latest piece which, thankfully, I CAN share despite the fact I’ve entered it in the Threads of Resistance Call for Entries (Deadline in about 2-3 days)!  As many of you who have known me for a while know, I haven’t usually been politically involved or spoken out.  This is, in part, the legacy of being a federal employee, when you were not allowed to be political (there were ways you could do it, but it was such a fuss that it was easier just to NOT).   However, the last election cycle aggravated me so much I began making political posts and comments on Facebook and getting involved.   Even though I didn’t really have the time, when a group of art quilters got together with this exhibit concept and called for entries, I knew I wanted to try to make a piece.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017. Although the Women’s March imagery has become ubiquitous since the March, I decided to proceed with my concept because it was my experience.

It began during one of the debates last autumn (2016).  The then-Republican-candidate (I *refuse* to use his name) kept saying “Make America Great Again,” as if it weren’t great already!   I will be the first to say that we are an imperfect union, this great nation of ours, but that is part of why we are a great nation….or were and must recover from the collective idiocy currently gripping the country.  I started sketching during the debate and came up with two ideas for art quilts, one about Maine, one about our nation.  The latter was to have a border of hands, holding hands, and phrases and words that represented the US, but the center wasn’t yet clear to me.

With my soon-to-be daughter-in-law Ashley G., I traveled to the Women’s March on Washington on an overnight bus (overnight going and returning…LONG nights sitting up!).   I bought a cheap spiral notebook and asked riders on the bus, if they wished, to trace their hands so I could use them as the border in this piece.  Every hand traced is here (one twice, because I needed one more hand to make things fit properly).

At the March, I took many many photos and as the day wore on I knew that being in this sea of humanity, most in some sort of pink hat or cat ears (reference to the-one-who-shall-not-be-named joking that he would grab a woman by the pussy–slimeball! that’s sexual assault you jerk!) I had found my image for the center of the quilt.  The images of women and men marching, protesting peacefully (not a single arrest!), has since become ubiquitous.  So much so that I considered NOT doing this view because it has been seen.  But I decided that since I conceived of the quilt before the march and finalized during the day of the March as the images had barely first been seen on the internet, I decided that since it was also “my” March, I would proceed.

This photo became my starting point–it is the only photo I didn’t take (since I’m in it..someone on the street offered to snap pics for us):

Some of the ladies from the bus. We are on East Capitol Street heading toward the Capitol. Mainers were to wear blaze / hunter’s orange. I’m on the far right standing next to Ashley, who has her orange scarf on, and we’re wearing the hats I made us.  There is an odd aberration in the photo, but so it goes.  I printed this photo on the label.

Usually when you see photos of protest marches, so many of the signs are manufactured, a printed graphic done by someone professional (ish).  What impressed me about this March is that almost all–upwards of 95 percent–of the signs were homemade and many were clever and/or inspiring.   I selected my favorite ones and used them.  One of the signs in the quilt is the actual sign that I made and wore on my jacket during the March.

Left side of the quilt. I loved the sign calling for a return to civility, courtesy, charity and compassion.

In the sky above the marchers, surrounding the capitol dome, I quilted the Preamble to the US Constitution on the left.   Brief signs/slogans are under the hands at the top.  On the right I quilted the First Amendment’s four freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and right to redress the government for grievances (which is what we were doing!  Democracy living and in action!), as well as more slogans and thoughts.

There were three huge signs in the shape of cats, maybe 4 feet tall, so I appropriated one of them to use.

Center left. I LOVED the quote attributed to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (I think I am falling in love with that woman!) and made sure she really did say it before including “Better bitch than mouse” as one of the signs.

By the way, I used Fabrico felt tip pens and Pitt Artist pens (brush and bullet tip) for the signs.

When I graduated from Georgetown University (in DC) in 1979, a t-shirt was popular that said “A woman’s place is in the House, and in the Senate.”  At the time, no woman had been elected (or maybe just one or two…I’m thinking Margaret Chase Smith and Nancy Landon) to the Senate that had not gotten there by taking her late husband’s seat.  It was still common to be told that a woman’s place was in the home and the kitchen, not the office.  Now I’ve said “A Woman’s place is in the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Oval Office!”

Center of the quilt. I was really pleased at how the dome turned out. I used my photo as my guide and sketched out the pattern, cut the shape (as usual I am using Mistyfuse on fabric and raw edge collage; the dome is a rare case of me using a print fabric instead of a batik. The peach-yellow hand on the left is my dyed fabric, the salmon-pink-purple on the right is Laura Wasilowski’s, from a fat quarter from a class I took with her.  The fabrics in the signs are mostly my hand-dyes.

The coat hanger sign is a combination of two such signs that I saw.   I loathe the idea of abortions. But when I was in my 20s, I was a US visa officer.   I was processing the paperwork for a British man’s visa based on his marriage to a US citizen.  When you do that, you need to establish that the marriage is legal and valid, so you need to see if there were any prior marriages and, if so, that they ended legally.  He was a widower.  To break the tedium, I used to look at cause of deaths when these cases came across my desk.  His first wife died of septicemia (blood poisoning) from a self-induced abortion (because it was illegal in the UK at that time). Ever since, I have stood for freedom of choice because there will ALWAYS be women who are that desperate, no matter how awful I or others believe abortion to be.  Moving on…back to the quilt.

Center right. I loved the take on the Don’t Tread on Me flag from revolutionary war times that turned the snake into a uterus and says Don’t Tread On Me (on left, on Laura Wasilowski’s fabric).  The big pink sign with Michelle Obama’s mantra is what I wore at the January 21, 2017 March on Washington.  That’s my DIL Ashley on the left in this photo, me on the right. I modified a sign carried by a Vermonter to read (in the sky writing) One Maine snowflake in a storm.

Center bottom right. A bit sharper photo.  In the bottom left, under the copyright, you can see a “ribbon.”  The center woman I think of as “Everywoman.”  Then there is Ashley (DIL) in braids, and me on the far right.  Ashley’s hand is the purple one at her right shoulder, mine is the blue one next to Ashley, one in from the corner.

Some generous unknown-to-me person who couldn’t go to DC made and gave away these ribbons to those from Maine who marched. It was done in the Mainer’s blaze/hunter orange. That was pretty bright for the front of my quilt, and I didn’t want it to distract from the imagery. So I scanned the ribbon into the computer, then in Photoshop darkened the color so that it would work visually on the front. THANK YOU whoever made these!

Far right. My friend Gail Galloway-Nicholson used to be the Curator for the Supreme Court so is as familiar with Capitol Hill as I am, if not more so from having worked there for a good bit of  her career..  I worked for a US Congressman for two years, and we also lived just two blocks behind the capitol (yes, I got to see our old house).  She asked me to carry her name in my pocket since she couldn’t go to the March. I did, and added the names of more friends (some I’ve only known via the internet and quilty stuff).  Thank you all for being there with me!   I love knowing you and that you wanted to be there in spirit and on the cloth!

So that is all the details, well, most of them, of what went into this quilt.  Don’t know if it will get juried in–I know there is some awesome art being made for this that doesn’t use the ubiquitous image–but I am glad I made it!

And I have decided to get involved volunteering for my Town of Hope, Maine.  I decided that one needs to put your time where your mouth is, and as the saying goes, all politics is local.   Here’s to giving back to my adopted-shoulda-been-born-here home state of Maine!

 

 

 

 

A virtual visit to C3: Color, Cloth, Collage

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Well, I promised I would blog about the Artist’s Reception and take pictures.  So I remembered to take a picture of the food table (so boring it isn’t here), and as I was packing up I realized I hadn’t taken a single photo as I was busy talking with people, being the gracious hostess and…..I forgot.  But I CAN share the one photo we did get (thank you Terri Tooley!) plus the others I took not-during-the-reception.  And just for Patricia W, at long last a detail photo of the peony (OK, I was gonna share it anyway, but Patricia has asked and I’m happy to share now)!   Thank you so much to everyone who came on Thursday, has been, has visited virtually here and on Facebook, and will get here later this month.  For all the Library photos, if you click on them you can see them larger.

Click on the image to view larger!

Click on the image to view larger! I’m standing in the doorway to the Picker Room and got it all!

When I finally realized I had forgotten to take pictures, friend and fellow wrestling mom Terri Tooley was still there.  She stepped in to take a photo…Paul said, “this isn’t going to be shared is it?” to which I replied, of course it is!  So here is a RARE photo of Paul, and he’s even smiling!

Husband and wife, flanking their sons (in cloth). Both quilts were of the boys at age 16. Joshua is on the left, Eli on the right.

Husband and wife, flanking their sons (in cloth). Both quilts were of the boys at age 16. Joshua is on the left, Eli on the right.

This is the Rogue's Gallery, also known as the Family wall (and seen above). From left to right you've got Pigwidgeon (of the dog walks photos on Facebook), my hands, Joshua, Eli, me, a family "scrapbook" quilt called the Two of Us which was in the book and exhibit Inspired by the Beatles, the blue orcas quilt, an older painted silk sunset, and the "yoga" quilt.

This is the Rogue’s Gallery, also known as the Family wall (and seen above). From left to right you’ve got Pigwidgeon (of the dog walkies photos on Facebook), my hands, Joshua, Eli, me, a family “scrapbook” quilt called the Two of Us which was in the book and exhibit Inspired by the Beatles, the blue orcas quilt, an older painted silk sunset, and the “yoga” quilt. Unofficially, I am also calling this the Dinner@8 wall, since the five large pieces were all made for juried invitational exhibits put on by Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal.  You can learn more about those exhibits and this year’s here.  My best work over the past six to seven years has consistently been for this exhibit, and I’m honored to be a part of it again this year.

The far wall has two small pieces and my newest, the Peony. The center is challenging to hang, since there is a TV behind the quilt that is used a couple times a month, but it is THE most eye-catching spot.

The far wall has two small pieces and my newest, the Peony. The center is challenging to hang, since there is a TV behind the quilt that is used a couple times a month, but it is THE most eye-catching spot.

Detail, Peony. I think I need to take more and better detail shots!

Detail, Peony. I think I need to take more and better detail shots!  I believe I used 12 pinks, a white, and a couple variegated greens in this quilt.

The left wall as you enter is the second most visible spot after over-the-piano/in-front-of-the-tv. I knew I wanted my labyrinth, Descended From the Stars, to anchor that wall. This side of the room is really about my life, and my life in Maine.

The left wall as you enter is the second most visible spot after over-the-piano/in-front-of-the-tv. I knew I wanted my labyrinth, Descended From the Stars, to anchor that wall. This side of the room is really about my life, and my life in Maine and nature.

Between the entrance and the mini kitchen area, is a cabinet with a bit of wall.

Between the entrance and the mini kitchen area, is a cabinet with a bit of wall.

In the case, I put a few of the many books and magazines in which I have been published inside the case, along with my book ThreadWork Unraveled, my DVD workshop, patterns, some class samples and smaller pieces.

In the case, I put a few of the many books and magazines in which I have been published inside the case, along with my book ThreadWork Unraveled, my DVD workshop, patterns, some class samples and smaller pieces.

So there we are!

Thanks to all who could come in person, and to all who are visiting virtually.   I’m so delighted, relieved it looks good, and pleased.  Thank you to the Camden Public Library and Ken Gross, who is in charge of the exhibits among many other duties, for this opportunity. Thanks go to Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison of Dinner@8 Artists for the opportunity to create works for their fabulous juried exhibits.

And last but decidedly not least and so very important, MANY thanks to the companies whose products I use and who have supported me over the years including  MistyFuse, Janome America and Superior Threads.  I couldn’t do what I do without quality materials and machines!   I appreciate your support and encouragement more than you can know.