email Youtube

Home
Galleries
Blog
Workshops & Calendar
Store
Resources
About
Contact

His Immensitude Yoda, Emperor of Minions and All He Surveys

August 17th, 2019
SarahAnnSmith © 2019 His Immensitude Yoda, Emperor of Minions and All He Surveys
Inspired by the one and only Yoda.

For many years now I have been so lucky to be affiliated with Janome America. As a Janome Artisan for over 15 years I have been thrilled to be able to sew on some of the best machines in the world. When they asked if I would make something special for this year’s Dealer Convention (later this month) I was thrilled to say yes! I ended up making not one, not two, but THREE insanely densely quilted 20 x 20 inch quilts…in about seven weeks!

SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda, Widgeon and Boo
The mischief makers: Yoda, Widgeon and Boo

Here’s what I wrote as my official “blurb” about Yoda’s quilt:

“At last my superiority, dignity and rank have been recognized appropriately!  The Chief Minion has done an acceptable job at capturing my likeness and the essence of my wonderfulness.  I have given her permission to scritch my chin.   She has also captured the spirit of my Beloved, the Dog, who is my one true love.  For this, the Chief Minion may pet my tummy.  The Usurper shall be dealt with appropriately for thinking that he stands a chance—he is so foolish that he does not understand an Emperor always outranks a King.  I shall seek out my Beloved for his love, comfort and as a comrade in fur.”  (Yoda is about 5 years old, Himalayan from the shelter.)

I started out with the idea of two quilts: Yoda and our pug as my muses, then for a local group challenge next year added a self-portrait. Luckily, I veered off and ditched the idea of the selfie and did out other cat, Boo. I’ll share the process for each of these quilts over the next few days just in time for the start of the convention.

SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
These are the two photos I took to use as my reference images.

The fusing process–as always using Mistyfuse which is BY FAR my favorite and only fusible!–began in early July. I was so worried about getting finished in time actually took Widgeon’s quilt with me while on a teaching trip, took my iron, fused stash and worked on the hotel room ironing board!

SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
This collage shows how I created a design for fur (lower left), then made a thermofax screen to print over the collaged fabric to add depth and complexity. I mixed a couple colors of cream–I’m actually going to teach a workshop on this and other techniques with paint at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, Mass. in August 2020–hope you might join me! Anyway, if you look at the upper left and lower right photos you can see the difference between the painted and unpainted areas.
SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
There’s a reason why I call him His Immensitude…there’s a lot of meat (and flub) under that fur and dignity. Plus he makes me LAUGH!
SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
Quilting on His Immensitude on my Janome 9450–LOVE the new FMQ foot.
SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
For me, this is relatively few colors of thread! That golden circle that you see under his chin, by the say, is his St. Francis medallion and name tag. The pale white chalk lines will be the finished edge of the quilt.
SASmith ©2019 Yoda
A view of the quilting done on my Janome 9450. The design was inspired by a photo of ironwork on a door that is on my Designs board on Pinterest (follow me! Links at the top of every page on my site).
SarahAnnSmith © 2019 Yoda
Mr. DeMille, Emperor Yoda is ready for his close up….

Check back in a couple days for the story about Widgeon’s quilt, then a couple days after that for Boo’s quilt. See you soon!

New England World Quilt Show Exhibit!

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!

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag class at Quilt Festival Houston 2019

July 22nd, 2019
Like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one! Learn to make these FAST, easy and FUN bags on Thursday afternoon at International Quilt Festival! I’ll show you how to adapt the concept into card cases (fast gifts!), tablet cases, sketchbook covers, you name it!

Come play with me on Thursday at International Quilt Festival…Easy Peasy Inside Out Bags, class 491, is in the afternoon, total play, and you’ll become addicted to making them. So far I’ve had every. single. student. nearly finish or finish a bag in the three hours including the quilting and zipper! Once you grasp the concept in the class, you can go home and make an iPad (or Kindle, nook, etc) case, a notebook cover, you name it. Here’s a link to registration and Thursday classes: http:// http://www.quilts.com/quilt-festival-houston-classes-and-events-thursday.html

Here’s the class listing. The Supply list is on my Classes page, here.
A whole buncha bags and a card case. Make them out of coated fabric for a make up bag (I use mine for cash when teaching…money literally stinks!) Make them any size, proportions, colors, embellish!

AFTER you get home, you can have fun spreading your wings and seeing how to adapt the pattern as I did with my notebook cover:

Opened up. With ribbon trim, zipper, couched perle cotton.
And inside! Love my pen pockets. Love that it zips all the way around and I don’t LOSE my pens!

If you’ve got questions, PLEASE DO WRITE to me…just use the contact button! Full class descriptions for all the classes listed below along with Supply lists are on my Class page. Here’s the list of all the classes I’ll be teaching…hope to see you there:

Solo Exhibit at World Quilt New England, Aug 15-17, 2019

July 20th, 2019

Trying to figure out something delightful to do in mid August? I’d like to invite you to see my solo exhibit of twenty-three art quilts at the Mancuso show, World Quilt New England, in Springfield, Mass. The exhibit will feature many of the artworks that were in my Houston Quilt Festival exhibit in 2017, where I was one of two artists in the debut of the Rising Stars exhibit, but includes new works as well. I plan on being there Saturday afternoon giving informal gallery tours–I hope to see you!

Rose Hip by Sarah Ann Smith, features Artist dyed fabric, commercial batiks, hand dyed fabric by Lisa Walton, screen printing, textile painting, and intense quilting; 36 x 36 inches.

All of the 2017 and earlier works are featured in my Blurb book of the same name, along with bits about my past, other works, and hints and tips about my creative process.

Back and front cover of my book, which is available here. It is available in both print or pdf editions.

Springfield is in central Massachusetts, which makes it a day trip for a whole lot of the Northeast (albeit a long day). Directions to the venue are here. I hope to see you!

Quoted in Quilting Arts Issue #100

July 8th, 2019

I’m thrilled, touched and honored to be quoted in the Centennial Issue of Quilting Arts magazine! First though, CONGRATULATIONS to founding editor and publisher Pokey Bolton for starting a classic, congratulations to current editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre and the entire QA team (including alumni members among others Kristine Lundblad, Cate Coulacos Prato, and Helen Gregory) at QA for what you have collectively created and given to all of us. The two-page spread on pages 86-87 of all 100 magazine covers gives me goosebumps: it is still on my dream bucket list to make the cover of QA — I came close once, was one of the top two choices, so I will strive! It’s good to reach for the stars–even if you don’t ever make it, you’ll enjoy the journey.

The current issue of Quilting Arts magazine, issue #100!

When QA began, I was living on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state. I was in King’s, one of the two main grocery stores on the island, and by mainland standards a pretty small store. It was the only store on the island to stock magazines, which I was browsing. I picked up Issue Number 2 of something called Quilting Arts, and the rest is history! I ordered issue #1 so I have every. single. issue!

A while back editor Vivika Hansen deNegre wrote many of us who have contributed to the magazine over the years (I KNOW… Me???? How lucky am I to have been published so many times?) to ask for quotes that might or might not be used. I was THRILLED when she said it looked like my quote would make it into the magazine, and indeed it did. Check it out on page 55!

I’ve blurred out most of the page…you’ll have to find a real copy, but left my bit un-blurred. But honestly, go find a copy and enjoy the whole thing!

When I got home, before I had even read the entire issue, I picked up the phone to subscribe. That was the first time I ever spoke to Pokey, and learned that she had attended San Domenico School in grade school, my beloved Alma Mater, and grew up in Marin County, California, where I did! She’s a good bit younger than I am, but what fun–and when I won a second prize at International Quilt Festival Houston in the Art Quilts Miniature category, it was sponsored by QA and Pokey presented the prize to me. What memories.

So THANK YOU QUILTING ARTS, and you betcha I’m shouting. Thank you for the opportunities you have given to me, including my own video workshop! (available here as a download), the opportunities and inspiration and learning you have given to legions. Here’s to issue #200!