Quilting the Garden Workshop and Giveaway

July 11th, 2014

The Giveaway is now concluded. Any comments left after 12:13 pm today, July 19, will not be part of the drawing, but comments are still welcome!  The winner is Phyllis Carlyle, comment #36 (picked by an online random number generator)!  Congrats and THANK YOU to all!

Hey I need some advice!  I’m putting together a new workshop and/or class called Quilting the Garden (part of my Quilting the Good Life series). I need your help picking which colors and flower images to use for the class.  In thanks for your help, I’m offering a free copy of my Quilting Arts video workshop, Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork (read all about it here), for someone who answers some of my questions here on my blog (not Facebook).   I’ll choose a winner in a week’s time, on July 19th.  (See last paragraph for The Fine Print.)  Read on!

My questions for you, dear readers are these:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options, such as Multi 1 below?
Purple, Multi and Green images

Purple, Multi and Green images:  four purple or purple and white Iris, a zinnia and hosta leaves.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

Some background information

Most students can either put together a top in a day class OR do some quilting in a day class, but not both.  And most guilds and shows won’t book multi-day workshops because students tend not to sign up for them.   I would dearly LOVE to teach 3-5 day workshops, but in the meantime I’m working on a one-day exercise which can be a standalone class also.

My solution to the “can’t do it all in a day” issue is this:  I will provide a kit for a modest fee including a photograph printed on cloth (from Spoonflower, my photos, about 8×10 or 12×10 printed size, or a tad larger) plus an 8 1/2 x 11 color photo, page protector, and possibly several color photos–one of each of the three options offered in the class.  The photos will come from the ones on this blogpost (or perhaps a different red, keep reading).  And what size is good?  is 8 x 10 too small, perhaps 10 x 12 or a bit bigger?  Or as large as 17 x 21 (which of course costs more to print)?

Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily

Pink Kousa Dogwood, Water Lily, apricot Lily, closer view of apricot colored Lily.  Right Click on image to see it larger.

For the class I want a relatively uncomplicated image that will allow students to learn to use thread colors to shade and paint and color their artwork.  By working on top of a photo, the imagery is provided.  They can then use my collage process, taught in my DVD (info here), to create their own imagery in cloth rather than using a photograph.  But they will, having taken this class, have learned the skill to interpret the photo into color and thread.  A multi-color flower may be best, but not many fit that bill.  The simplicity of a lily is perfect–only six petals!  Too many petals make it more complicated.  Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?

Reds, alas I don't know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist).  Should I find a different truly RED flower?

Reds, alas I don’t know the names of these glorious flowers (sending email to the Botanical Gardens horticulturalist). Should I find a different truly RED flower, as these are burgundy and ladies who love red want REALLY red?  Right Click on image to see it larger.

In the red collage, photos 3 and 4 are intriguing, but probably not the best for this exercise, but I couldn’t resist including them.

Are whites too hard for thread selection?  Right click on collage to view larger.

Are whites too hard for thread selection? Right click on collage to view larger.

I’m also thinking that white flowers are not the best choice, but would like feedback.

Lots of yellows that I love.  The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above.  The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers--I'm working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

Lots of yellows that I love. The solution to the white question might be to choose the cream lily above. The yellow rose will be one of my sample flowers–I’m working on another project for an article that involves this sample, so students may want to try this one. The coneflower photo may be too complicated for a classroom, especially the cone.  Right click on the collage for a larger view.

And:

A selection of  popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn't sell, people don't like orange.  What do you think?  I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the exercise, but....

A selection of popular flowers, but the owner of the local gallery that has sold my work tells me orange doesn’t sell, people don’t like orange. What do you think? I think the lily would be a fabulous one for the purposes of the exercise, but….Right click on collage to view larger.

And there is the question of thread:

I use and teach using 40-wt poly thread, which shows up beautifully.  But some people prefer cotton, only cotton.  If students do not pre-order the photo, they won’t know what color they will get in class.  That means they would need to bring a LOT of thread:  for the orange lily above, for example, if at home I would use at least 3-4 shades of orange (pale to rust), yellow, yellow-green, and the background greens.  Is it better to kit the thread with the photo? Or allow students to bring their own, but perhaps be frustrated because they don’t have the right colors?   Me taking a thousand spools of various colors without requiring a purchase is, alas, not an option because I can’t afford to have so much money tied up in inventory.  So, what would you prefer from a class/teacher?

So tell me what you think:

  • What color flowers do you think the majority of students would pick, including you?
  • Should I include the green-only hosta leaves?
  • What is a comfortable size for you?  Is 8×10 too small? 
  • Which individual images would you most want to do in a class?  Tell me your favorite three (use the names I have given to each such as Purple 2, Yellow 4, and so on). 
  • Would you want a complicated image as one of the options? Or should I keep all the images relatively simple?
  • Should I include a thread as part of the kit?  Each one would probably need at least four shades of thread at $6-8 per spool of Superior 40-wt polyester plus a pre-wound bobbin of  blending fine thread, so that would be an additional $25-33 on top of a kit fee for the fabric and color photocopies of about $10-12.

If this class is a go, I will offer at most three flower options.  IF students register for the class 2 months in advance, they may write to me directly with their choice of flower and I will make sure they get their first choice for the workshop.  It takes that much time for me to order the fabric, have it printed, and shipped back to me and be ready in time for the class.  The remaining students would have to pick a color from what is available at the class.  That means they’d need to bring thread for multiple colors (at least four shades of each colors) if thread is not part of the kit.

THANKS!

The Fine  Print: 

  • Remember to comment by 8 a.m. Saturday, July 19th (US East Coast Time) for a chance at winning my DVD in thanks for your taking the time to read, think, and comment here on my blog!
  • If you are outside of the US, you may comment but I’d appreciate a little help with the postage–I’ll pay up to $5 in postage.
  • Comments must be here on my blog, not a feed reader or facebook!
  • Comments like “gee I’d love to win the DVD” won’t work–I’m really looking for feedback on the images and questions I asked.

 

How Scissors Are Made (by Hand)

July 9th, 2014

I’ve been on the QuiltArt list for over a decade now, and every once in a while something wonderful pops up.  Thanks to Susan Lenz Dingman for sharing this find:

The Putter from shaun bloodworth on Vimeo.

Dog Walkies beauty

July 6th, 2014
Dog walkies

Dog walkies–sweet doggie is usually patient as I stop–almost as often as he does–to snap a pic on my phone

A number of you are my FaceBook friends (and if you’re not already a FB friend and are on FB, for heavens sake find me and send a friend request!), so you may have seen some of my dog walkies photos.  I decided that not everyone is on FaceBook, and everyone can use more beauty, so I’m sharing some of my favorite late spring and early summer photos from my daily walks with our pug-love!

Blackberry blossoms and bee

Blackberry blossoms and bee

And this one is for Gloria Hansen, who loves butterflies and takes far more accomplished shots than I do!

Butterfly and clover.  This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone!  I couldn't get that close without scaring the critter off

Butterfly and clover. This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone! I couldn’t get that close without scaring the critter off

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

And even the weeds/wildflowers are pretty:

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

And who can resist the sunsets:

June sunset

June sunset.  Makes me want to dig out the dyes and cloth!

Welcome Albus, the 15000!

July 2nd, 2014
An old/new project

An old/new project

Quite a number of years ago, before I taught at my first national-level show, I had a rare opportunity in about 2007.   Dianne Hire, author, teacher, quilter, artist, gardener, lives nearby me here in Maine.   Alas, she hurt her back–badly–just a wrong move picking up a light stick.   And she was scheduled to teach at her favorite retreat in just a few days.  She needed someone to drive her and help schlep all the teacher stuff.  Luckily for me, my name came up as one of two folks who might be able to help her.  The other person couldn’t do it, so I finally got to meet Dianne (we have a mutual friend but had never met) and in the one week of summer where I could take a break from Paul and the boys and go.  So I drove her to Paul Smith’s College (!!! Yep, can you believe it, a college with that name in upstate NY near Lake Placid) and got to sit in and take all her classes.   I began this project back then, but never finished it though I always liked it.

Another bit of astounding good luck:  I’ve been affiliated with Janome America in their artists and teachers program for a decade now.  Can you believe it?  I can’t, but they seem to be happy with me and willing to keep me on.   I had never really wanted or liked the high end machines that do fancy embroidery software etc.  Then at International Quilt Festival in Houston last year I taught a class in a room with Janome’s new top of the line machine, the 15000.   WOWIE ZOWIE is it a BEAST!  And much easier to use with all sorts of cool features.   Even more astounding, Janome is lending me one!   Here it is, newly set up in my studio:

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, because the Janome 15000 is of course the great White Wizard, the most powerful wizard ever

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, because the Janome 15000 is of course the great White Wizard, the most powerful wizard ever

I decided to finish the quilt above (I won’t show the whole thing because Dianne is working on a book with the pattern) as my first project on the machine so I could get to learn the machine and make friends with it.  THEN I’ll move on to the Embroidery function learning curve!  Here are some close ups of the fantastic satin stitching I’ve achieved on this beauty!  I was able to taper (adjust) the width of the stitch as I stitched to get smooth thicks and thins in the satin stitched line.  WOOT!

Satin stitched, quilted, then the applique was outlined to make it pop.

Satin stitched, quilted, then the applique was outlined to make it pop. The large motif in the center is stitched in the ditch, but the motifs in on the right aren’t yet outlined.  It really makes a difference!

And my border design

And my border design.  Here, the motifs on the right are outlined, the ones on the left are not.  The ones on the left kinda ripple.  By outlining, you really define and refine the shape.  Getting the tension just perfect was a bit fiddly.  I have found that the more complicated the machine, the more delicate they are in their settings.  Once you get them set, they are perfection, but you really need to understand your machine, be patient, and get to learn and know the way the machine works.  So often I hear students say “my machine won’t do that.”  Most of the time, I regret to say, it is operator error–not taking the time to learn and be patient.  So I am telling myself just that and hoping for LOTS of time in the near future to get to do that learning!

MASSIVE thanks to Janome America for their continuing generosity with me.   I hope to be able to give back to them and make some awesome, award-worthy quilts on this beauteous wizard of a machine!

Food! — a SAQA exhibit and quotes about food

June 30th, 2014

This autumn I will embark on something new:  curating a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit titled “Food!”  That actually sounds a lot more glamorous than it is:  essentially, I will be the behind-the-scenes person coordinating entries, notifications, getting the quilts, communicating with venues and such like.  The juror, the person who will select the quilts for the exhibit, is the irrepressible Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads.

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic, No. 1, the start of what I will call my Quilting the Good Life series!

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic, No. 1, the start of what I will call my Quilting the Good Life series!

This blogpost is to whet your appetite (pun totally intended) and get you to thinking about food and its portrayal in cloth.

I’ve used my small Tomatoes quilt (the one in my Video Workshop on how I create and quilt my collaged pieces) to illustrate this just so we’d have a tasty visual, but this post is all about ideas from words.   To find a full prospectus, you need to be a SAQA member; go to the Members login page to (duh) log in.  Then click on Calls for Entry (here), and then for even more information, click on “go to complete prospectus and entry instructions” or click here (remember you must be a SAQA member and logged in for that link to work).  In a nutshell, though, the exhibit will be about all aspects of food from production to consumption.  Finished quilts must be between 24 to 46 inches on each side; the variation in size will make it challenging for me to organize and hang the selected quilts, but will give artists substantial flexibility in size and orientation of their quilts.

While we were discussing the title and working on the Call for Entry, I googled around to find quotes about food.  Here are a whole bunch–do any of these inspire YOU to make a quilt about food?

  • First we eat, then we do everything else. — MFK Fisher
  • Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.  – Voltaire
  • We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.
    – Adelle Davis
  • One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  – Luciano Pavarotti
  • Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on the hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed,and puts them in your debt. ― Judith Olney
  • There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it, another heart to be warmed by it. ― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
  • Sitting on the porch alone, listening to them fixing supper, he felt again the indignation he had felt before, the sense of loss and the aloneness, the utter defenselessness that was each man’s lot, sealed up in his bee cell from all the others in the world. But the smelling of boiling vegetables and pork reached him from the inside, the aloneness left him for a while. The warm moist smell promised other people lived and were preparing supper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       He listened to the pouring and the thunder rumblings that sounded hollow like they were in a rainbarrel, shared the excitement and the coziness of the buzzing insects that had sought refuge on the porch, and now and then he slapped detachedly at the mosquitoes, making a sharp crack in the pouring buzzing silence. The porch sheltered him from all but the splashes of the drops that hit the floor and their spray touched him with a pleasant chill. And he was secure, because someewhere out beyond the wall of water humanity still existed, and was preparing supper. ― James Jones, From Here to Eternity
  • … food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.  –E.A. Bucchianeri
  • Jam on a winter took away the blue devils. It was like tasting summer. –Sandra Dallas
  • We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.― Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal. ― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. ― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • You know, the act of feeding someone is the ultimate act of care and affection…sharing yourself with someone else through food.” He held another mouthful of cake under her nose. “Think about it. We are fed in the Eucharist, by our mothers when we are infants, by our parents as children, by friends at dinner parties, by a lover when we feast on one another’s bodies…and on occasion, on another’s souls. ― Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno
  • Southerners are known for their hospitality and the foremost way of exhibiting it is through food. ― Cicely Tyson
  • There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. ― M.F.K. Fisher
  • Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts. ― James Beard
  • I’m pretty sure that eating chocolate keeps wrinkles away because I have never seen a 10 year old with a Hershey bar and crows feet. ― Amy Neftzger
  • First we eat, then we do everything else. ― M.F.K. Fisher
  • Red onions are especially divine. I hold a slice up to the sunlight pouring in through the kitchen window, and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass. Cool watery-white with layers delicately edged with imperial purple…strong, humble, peaceful…with that fiery nub of spring green in the center… ― Mary Hayes-Grieco, The Kitchen Mystic: Spiritual Lessons Hidden in Everyday Life
  • The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture. ― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
  • To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day. ― W. Somerset Maugham
  • Bacon is the candy of meat. — Kevin Taggart
  • It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one. ― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion. ― Ambrose Bierce
  • your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride. ― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
  • I don’t know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it’s something that anyone can make – pancakes, meat loaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory. ― Mitch Albom
  • Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”― Alice May Brock
  • If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ― J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch. ― Orson Welles
  • After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. ― Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
  • I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”― W.C. Fields