Pretty Little Mini-Quilts book

When Lark Books invited me to submit work for two publications, both entitled Pretty Little Mini Quilts, I selected three from my American Family Album series.  Since many of the quilts in that series are larger than required for this book, I went to my 'Snapshot' section of that series. I based these little gems on two non-professional style photographs; the old photo-booth style pics or snapshots taken by family or friends.  I love the 'posed' nature within these otherwise casual moments.  Lark chose the piece entitled 'Portrait of Velma'.  An avid quilter before she lost the majority of her eyesight, Velma was my fathers mother.  I was especially thrilled that this was their choice.  Commemorating a loved one in these little art-quilts portrays the subject beyond the image in the photo; the personality and idiosyncrasies truly come through. And while all my pictorial art-quilts do this in some way or another, these little ones offer a type of fine-focus aspect that larger more complex works don't invite.  Measuring 12" wide by 17" in length and heavily embellished with beading, embroidery and of course quilting, I loved doing these so much that a new series has emerged.  Entitled 'Snapshots' this work eventually moved beyond my own family photos and commissioned works, now including any found snapshots that captivate my imagination.  Only one many photos, so little time! :)

Affordable and whimsical, if you are new to commissioning art work, or new to art-quilts, these are often a good place to engage the process. My 'Snapshot' art-quilts are so popular in fact that I now offer gift certificates for those wanting to introduce friends and family to this wonderful unexpected art form. In my next blog post I'll feature a few more from my last American Family Album exhibit....  just to share the fun of these tiny textile treasures.

Something A Little Fishy

Tsukineko Ink on pale Batik fabric,
here is the work at the drawing stage.

From the drawing board....literately!  Since drawing is my first love, bringing my sketches to life in hand drawn art-quilts is always fun.  I wanted to post a few 'before' pictures to share the drawing part of the process before I move to the quilting stage. This drawing was done with blue Tsukineko ink on a piece of pale cotton batik fabric and measures 40" wide by 18" tall. I have a bit more painting to do, but only deepening blue of the border. A few other colors will be added in the quilting and embellishment, but for the most part this will be a monochromatic piece resembling a carved relief.

When I began painting this piece all I had worked out was the woman and fish.  I drew those onto paper first, then transferred them to the fabric with a pencil. Because I prefer to work intuitively rather than have everything planned out, the rest of the image evolved from my imagination as I painted around these central figures. Above is a detail photo.  The background will recede a bit more because I plan to quilt it with dark thread.  This will allow the figures to be featured even more, and they will be quilted with lighter threads.  I'll be posting the finished piece as soon as I have it's done

The quilting completed and the facing applied, I have chosen the title, 'Something A Little Fishy' for this title of this new piece.  As you can see I made a few changes to the right side of the drawing before quilting.  I felt that darkening the right border to match the left  helped balance the piece better.  A bit of beading and embroidery will finish it off. But first...a few detail images to give you a better look at the free motion quilting....

The finished piece and detail images.

New Venue

I am so pleased to be included as one of the artists at the new venue in Houston, Sparrow and the Nest.  I have chosen this wonderful space to preview a new series and am also offering some original ink paintings from my Zen Stones series exclusively at Sparrow and the Nest. Stop by their website for a peek and if you are in Houston it's well worth your time to check out this treasure of a shop.  The owner, Stephanie Lienhard is such a visionary.  Offering only artisan crafted items in every price range, she truly supports the 'handmade' movement and gives everyone the opportunity to own and collect one of a kind pieces of art and treasures for the home.

The Bee Holder

Entitled, The Bee Holder, art-quilt 30.5"x30.5"
This piece was purchased by the University of Houston and
hangs in the U of H Women's Resource Center.
Picasso meets Klimt was the initial inspiration behind the imagery of this art-quilt. However, as the work evolved I began to receive symbolic nudges.  Thinking about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, the phrase 'bee holder' flashed into my mind and I was off to research symbolism associated with the bee.  I learned that just one of the many associations was 'right use of creativity and imagination'.  That did it!  I adjusted my pattern to include two arms wrapped around the woman's knees rather than one, and placed a vintage bee stickpin between her thumb and fore finger.  The orange hair, which was part of the original design, fit perfectly with the representation of creativity as orange is the color of the chakra associated with creativity.  I plan to add beading at some point but think this piece actually reads well without it due to the gold fabric of the spirals and small squares.

Update:  Purchased by U of Houston in the fall of 2013!!!

Journey Women

Entitled, Journey Women,(aka Lady Blue) 12"x30" art-quilt
This piece was done to commemorate the sixteenth anniversary of a women's circle that is dedicated to personal and spiritual growth.  This was a circle I gave myself for my 40th birthday by extending an invitation to four women.  We gathered together monthly for the first four years and continue to do so several times a year.  Symbolic in nature, the figure represents each of the women as individuals while embracing the five member group as a whole, represented in the bouquet she holds in her hands.  Free motion quilting extends the bouquet into a garden of flowers that cover the entire area of her dress.  Leaf and spiral patterns within the body symbolize the ever growing nature of their commitment to introspection and evolution. The batik background was echo quilted following the floral pattern in the cloth.

It was great fun designing and executing this piece and it has proved to be the jumping off point for several works in this style that feature women as the main subject. Upon completion the figure resembled one of the group members whose birthday happen to fall on the month of our next gathering.  Synchronistically, the flower symbolism also represented her family.  Therefore it seemed only fitting that this piece hang in her home.

Deep In The Heart

Entitled Deep In The Heart, this entire piece was created using only one fabric, manipulated with ink and fused to the dark black background.
Homesick for the star studded country sky that eludes me in the city, I was inspired to bring the feel into my studio.   The title is a nod to the song lyrics "The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas."  However, no matter how many photos I take they just don't convey the feel of this art-quilt in person.  The realism of the tree bark was achieved by shading a single print fabric that I cut into this interesting twisted branch.  A handful of multifaceted crystals are scattered among tiny silver seed beads to suggest the stars in the night sky.  They twinkle and gleam as it is viewed from different areas and that adds such a dimension of interest and fun.  This 3-D quality creates quite an illusion when viewed in person.  This piece has inspired a nature/woodlands series that I am considering exploring in the next year or so.