Insalata, a Food for Thought Quilt

April 17th, 2015

A short while ago I shared with you a first peek at my new quilt, Insalata:

Insalata, (c) 2014  Sarah Ann Smith.  Premieres April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

Insalata, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith. Premiered April 10, 2015, at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.  Size:  40 x 42.5 inches.  For sale.

When I made the tomato quilts that were the featured project in my workshop DVD for Quilting Arts, From Photo to Threadwork, including fabric collage and machine quilting (see here for the DVD or here for download), I knew I had one more tomato quilt in me.

I grew up in a town called San Anselmo, California, and mom lived there until she moved to Maine in 2008.  She and two friends would go out for lunch once a month, and often went to a restaurant called Insalata.   So she took me there, too, when I visited.  I LOVED the Chicken Fattoush salad, inspired by Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean cuisine!  I also loved the artwork.  The restaurant is in a building that, when I was a kid, was the Crocker National Bank.  If you were alive in the 60s you remember those banks with the really high (like 2-story) ceilings!  What to do to decorate the place?  She painted the ceiling a dark brown, used something warm colored on the walls (don’t remember what) and had some over-sized paintings made including some of persimmons that were each larger than a beachball.  The canvas wasn’t stretched, but hung from gromments/hooks on the wall; these pieces were easily 4-5 feet tall and over 12 feet wide.

Detail of raffia "roots" on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014

Detail of raffia “roots” on the shallots. Insalata by Sarah Ann Smith. (c) 2014  Click for larger view.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.  Click for larger image.

Detail photo 2, Insalata, by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014. Click for larger image.

Each of the tomatoes is about the diameter of a beach ball!   So now I think I’ve finished with tomatoes.  For the time being.  Hope you enjoy!  And if you like this one, please be sure to visit the slideshow on the SAQA website of the entire Food for Thought exhibit, here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Available to order here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates. Available to order here.

My pages in the catalog.  Great layout and design on the pages--love the enormous detail photo on the left.  The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

My pages in the catalog. Great layout and design on the pages–love the enormous detail photo on the left. The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

A little bit of Art

April 15th, 2015

To jump around in time and take things out of sequence, the day after I returned from Florida I got together with my older son’s girlfriend, Ashley, to work on an assignment for her college art class (I LOVE getting to share in my son’s and her assignments and learn stuff).  I lent Ashley some art supplies to save her the expense since I had plenty.  I hadn’t used my gouache much, so when that assignment came up, she asked if I would like to do it with her.  YES!

Ashley's finished self-portrait..isn't this fab?  This beginner has great potential!

Ashley’s finished self-portrait..isn’t this fab? This beginner has great potential!

The assignment was to take a black and white photo of yourself–a head shot (or color and then remove the color) with good contrast.  Size:  about 8×10 or a little larger.  You were then to trace/copy the shapes in various values onto bristol board (a card-stock weight paper with a shiny finish) and use black, white and one other color to create a monochromatic self-portrait.  Ashley did the assignment as given (good decision–see above), but I decided to muck around a bit (see lower down).

Here's Ashley's in progress.

Here’s Ashley’s in progress.

At first, I thought I’d do the portrait as a “grisaille” or toned underpainting, then go over it with a single color.  But once I got it done, since I don’t really know what would happen with the gouache–likely it would either lift the grays underneath or just cover them up–I left it grayscale.

My first effort.  Clearly I need a bit of instruction in handling gouache, but not too bad.

My first effort. Clearly I need a bit of instruction in handling gouache, but not too bad.  I kinda messed up the eyebrow and lid crease on the left, but it could be a lot worse.

I finished a bit earlier than Ashley, so decided I’d do a second, much faster, and be more loose in my application of utterly non-realistic colors.  You could scare a child into blindness or nightmares with this!

My two self-portraits.  The upper one isn't bad.  The lower one, just plain freaky!

My two self-portraits. The upper one isn’t bad. The lower one, just plain freaky!  But they do look somewhat like me.  Just hope I don’t look as saggy-chinned and jowelly and scary as the one in color!

 

Next post:  More Hawaiian applique in Florida!

Hawaiian Applique in Florida! Part 1

April 12th, 2015
With the ladies of the Gold Coast Quilters of Boca Raton.  I was so busy I think this was the only photo I got that day!

With the ladies of the Gold Coast Quilters of Boca Raton. I was so busy I think this was the only photo I got that day!  Because my Nourish quilt and the machine appliqued Haleakala Sunrise are touring with the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit put on by Quilts Inc (the wonderful folks that bring you International Quilt Festival in Houston and other  locales), I made two new, pillow size Taro blocks.  This one will fit a 26″ Euro Square pillow.

So there’s a reason why I haven’t been blogging much–I’ve been too busy!   First I had another kerfuffle with the person who made the apparently derivative copies of my A Sense of Place art quilts (blogpost a couple of posts below this one in early March).  She sicked an attorney on ME (!!!) for saying that she appeared to have clearly copied my work!  She made all sorts of demands, only one of which I agreed to:  I removed the letter she wrote to me from my original post.  I had to spend two full days, right before the trip to Florida, dealing with this nonsense because they wanted a reply within  8 days–days when I would be away teaching!   Sheesh!  Anyway,  I refused all requests other than the one above, such as I refused to retract my assertions that her works were derivative, refused to request the removal of the discussion of copyright from both of the closed art quilt groups on which I mentioned it (without EVER mentioning her by name or identifying her site!), refused to retract my requests to Etsy and Pinterest to remove her apparently derivative works.   I wrote the attorney a LONG letter, starting with images of my works, a photocopy of a widely distributed book in which one was published (500 Art Quilts), and basically said “can you see what the problem is?  Can this end now?”  So…no reply to date from either of them so hopefully she will go away and learn  her lesson.  And I can get on with FUN STUFF!  Like Florida.

The trip began with a flight delay leaving Maine (after getting to the airport at 5:20 am):  the previous day there had been yet another snowstorm that messed up travel up and down the  Eastern seaboard.  There was no problem, however, because I had a four HOUR layover in Boston which, thanks to delays on United, turned into a six hour layover.  Luckily, I was easily re-booked onto a later connecting flight and only got in about 90 minutes late, and didn’t have to teach or lecture until the following evening.  AND my luggage showed up!

I had down time the first day--we had me come down a day early just in case, as it turns out we needed, there were weather delays.  That meant I had several hours on Tuesday to tootle around Boca Raton.  So I went to an area called Mizner Park after my gracious hostess gave me a quick driving tour of downtown Boca.

I had down time the first day–we had me come down a day early just in case, as it turns out we needed, there were weather delays. That meant I had several hours on Tuesday to tootle around Boca Raton. So I went to an area called Mizner Park after my gracious hostess gave me a quick driving tour of downtown Boca.  Thank you Marlys and Chris for taking me around!

This was one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen…yes, that is a ROLLS ROYCE Pick-up truck.  One has to ask WHY?  The guy wandering buy seems as confused as I was!

So I saw this pick-up truck and figured I'd never seen anything like it.  It looked to be a Rolls, but do they make pick-ups?

So I saw this pick-up truck and figured I’d never seen anything like it. It looked to be a Rolls, but do they make pick-ups?

Here's a shot of the front--yes, that's the winged lady on the front with the RR.  One has to ask WHY?  I googled, and no, they don't really make them, but people "convert" them.  WHY?

Here’s a shot of the front–yes, that’s the winged lady on the front with the RR. One has to ask WHY? I googled, and no, they don’t really make them, but people “convert” them. WHY?

After months and months (literally) of single digit and below zero air temps and colder wind chill, it was lovely to sit in the air in shirtsleeves!

After months and months (literally) of single digit and below zero air temps and colder wind chill, it was lovely to sit in the air in shirtsleeves!

I’m also taking an online photography course with Ricky Tims, so I was on the lookout for “texture” photos, and loved these palm fronds:

2015.03.Florida.HawaiianAppl.Plus02

No idea why the (C) didn’t show on this image, but it’s mine!

The first day I had a light supper with the guild board at QuiltStitches in Boca Raton (FB link here) owned by Johanna Felderbaum.  It’s a great shop–stop in if you are in the area!  She has a great range of fabrics.  Waving hullo!   That evening I gave my “How did she do that?” lecture, followed by Hawaiian Applique the next day.  Then on Thursday, I flew from there (well, Fort Lauderdale airport) to Orlando where I was booked with the Ladies of the Lakes Guild in Lakeland, near Orlando.   More on that in a few days!

Food for Thought! A SAQA Exhibit

April 9th, 2015

The Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA)’s newest touring exhibit of art quilts debuts this month at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, just in time for the annual AQS Quilt Show in Paducah.  I’m thrilled to be among the 34 artists in this exhibit, and equally thrilled with the exhibit catalog (which just happens to be available for sale here on the SAQA website–thank you to Deidre Adams for doing such a great job on it.)  More information about the exhibit is here on the SAQA website.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates.  Available to order here.

The new Food for Thought catalog from Studio Art Quilt Associates. Available to order here.

My pages in the catalog.  Great layout and design on the pages--love the enormous detail photo on the left.  The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.

My pages in the catalog. Great layout and design on the pages–love the enormous detail photo on the left. The booklet is about 8.5 inches square.  Click to view larger.

When visiting my mother we would often go to a restaurant called Insalata, housed in a building that had been a bank when I was a child. The chef/owner met the challenge of the enormous ceilings by commissioning oversized artwork of fruits and vegetables scaled to fit the soaring walls. I loved the persimmons, especially, and remembered it as I made another quilt in my tomatoes series.   As I worked on these salad ingredients, I recalled the flavors of our food and the company of my mother and her friends as we lunched there.

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  First major presentation in public at lecture, Tuesday, How Did She Do That?

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  For sale.  40 x 42.5 inches.

My first tomato quilts became the basis of my Quilting Arts/Interweave video workshop which teaches my collage process.  As Helen Gregory, VP of content for F+W said, the title may be the longest ever:  Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting (link here, also available as a download here).  But as she also said, there is just so much in it!  Here’s one of the early tomato quilts:

Tomatoes425Green001

Insalata is made of Artist dyed and painted fabrics, commercial batiks, poly-wool blend batting, textile paint, Mistyfuse, crisp interfacing, Superior Threads 40-wt poly and 60-wt poly thread, raffia.  Techniques include dyeing and painting fabric. Fused collage. Intensely machine quilted.

The exhibit will travel to Great Britain (England and Ireland) next year, and additional venues thereafter. Sure hope I get to see it in the cloth somewhere!

 

SAQA Food for Thought Exhibit online!

April 6th, 2015

To coincide with the debut of the Food for Thought Exhibit ( blogpost coming soon), Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) has published an online slideshow of the exhibit!   The exhibit opens a multi-year run at the National Quilt Museum in  Paducah, Kentucky, and runs from April 10 to July 8.

Insalata, (c) 2014  Sarah Ann Smith.  Premieres next week at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

Insalata, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith. Premieres next week at the Food for Thought exhibit at the National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

If you love the slideshow, you can also buy the catalog, which is beautifully done.  I’ll blog about that later this month!