Thursday, November 19, 2015

Modern Workshop at Vernon

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the day with the ladies of Vernon Nutmeg Quilters. We worked on mini projects from Elizabeth Hartman's Modern Patchwork book. (It has been three years since I discovered this little gem, and I am still using these patterns all the time...way to go, EH!)

We had a lot of fun playing with color to make the Roller Rink projects. There is so much potential for unique variation on such a simple concept; for example, Maureen (far right) got an interesting fiery effect by using a graded floral fabric instead of pieced squares as her block centers. I believe Tammy had hers quilted by the time we wrapped up. (Nice job -- nobody needs more UFOs!)
Vernon Nutmeg Quilters with their spectacular Roller Rink minis

The Neighborhood projects were adorable too--look at that fun little quail! This is a project that I like to make as a housewarming gift, sometimes customized with the new address.
Vernon Nutmeg Quilters' Neighborhood minis

My own "Mother of the Year" Neighborhood mini -- no need to stick with birds in the center panel!!

As we move through this season of giving thanks, I want to make it clear how grateful I am to have the opportunity to lead workshops like this one. Thanks, everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2015

In Which I Announce My Seasonal Charity

Over the past few months, I have spent some time photographing things and putting them into my shop; I'm still adding things a few at a time, as opportunity allows, but there's a nice selection in there to get started. I'll be taking some small items to the Underground Gallery in Collinsville on Sunday to try my luck there as well.

For all sales that I make through my online shop before the new year, I will donate 15% of the sale price to Days for Girls, a group that is doing critically important work to serve the needs of girls and women around the world. Apparently there is a team already in Connecticut that works on sewing and assembling the kits; I have an email out to the local contact and I'm hoping to meet up with some other people to work in a group. Even if I don't hear back, I'll dedicate some time over the next few months to sew a few kits myself. Here's a brief (heartbreaking) statement from the Days for Girls website:
Days for Girls was founded in 2008, when Executive Director Celeste Mergens prepared to travel back to Kenya to continue working with orphanages and communities in the wake of great political and economic upset. One night she awoke with a burning question: “Have you asked what the girls are doing for feminine hygiene?” When she asked the assistant director of the orphanage she was workingwith,  the answer was shocking: “Nothing. They wait in their rooms.” 
The conditions were cramped, unsanitary, and would leave girls without food and water for days unless someone brought it to them. Furthermore, sanitary products were available, but only if girls were willing to suffer sexual exploitation in exchange. This moment was the beginning of awareness to the vulnerability millions of women and girls face throughout the world every month, simply due to this basic biological function. These women and girls suffer in silence, due to cultural ideas and taboos surrounding this issue. Because of this, girls and women can feel that they are tainted, or fundamentally flawed or less in some way. Washable, quality hygiene kits and accompanying education changes all that.  Join us.
We take so much for granted, n'est-ce pas?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Party Games (with sewing!)

One (1) foam insulation-board design wall
+ one (1) Mr. Chillingsworth panel (Echo Park Paper Co. for Andover)
+ one (1) Hexed Heart ornament (design from Urban Threads, natch!)
= one ready-to-play "Pin the Heart in the Skeleton" party game for the spookiest little tricksters!
Pin the Heart in the Skeleton
Hexed Heart ornament, fun for parties!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

SAQA Trunk Show

The Connecticut regional chapter of SAQA has organized a trunk show that will travel through the northeast, and any other regions that request it. We were to create a 6 x 10" piece responding to the question: You're Doing WHAT?

Here's mine, along with the text that will be attached to the back.

We're doing WHAT? (2015, 6 x 10")
We’re doing WHAT? I started quilting just before the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, at which time I organized a massive worldwide effort to make quilts for the survivors and victims’ families. Only five years later, half an hour from where I’m raising my own family, somebody gunned down a classroom full of first graders. Since then – even by the most conservative estimates – there has been an average of another shooting every five weeks. I’m kind of tired of reading the same headline. I’m kind of tired of comfort projects – no quilt replaces a human life.

We’re doing a lot of crying, hugging, hand-wringing, blaming, blogging, memorializing, promising, hiding, waiting, bleeding, and dying, but overall? We’re doing NOTHING to prevent the next incident.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

My First Juried Show

This was an exciting week for me, as three of my original pieces were juried into a Celebration of Fiber Arts show at the Arts Center East in Vernon, CT. None of my pieces won any of the prizes, but it was exciting to see them displayed and lit so professionally and beautifully. The pieces selected were:

The River Hexx (MCXI) (2013), which I created with 1,116 paper-pieced 3/8" hexagons and hand quilted. I loved how the lighting cast the shadow of the hex-shaped edge in the gallery.
The River Hexx (MCXI) (2013)

Nut and Geb Create the Earth (2015) is based on an ancient Egyptian story of the night sky and her earth lover being held apart (spoiler: they tricked Ra and ultimately had five children). It's a really beautiful story, and I love how this quilt illustrates it. I freehand-drew the shapes of Nut and Geb (no tracing!) using fabrics that must have been designed especially for this purpose. I made fabric beads and strung them together to evoke the carnelian tube pectoral collars that we have seen in a number of art museums. Arcs of lotus/palm leaves frame the central scene.
Nut and Geb Create the Earth (2015)
Perfect Square Dissection: 21 Black-and-White Squares (2012) is a solution to a mathematical puzzle. It's pieced from 21 squares, all of different sizes, and finishes as a square as well.
Perfect Square Dissection: 21 Black-and-White Squares (2012)

Yours Truly, with Nut and Geb Create the Earth
The show will hang until November 7 at Arts Center East, which is open Thursday through Sunday from 1-5 pm. Let me know if you go to see it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Modern Quilt Guild meeting

Yesterday I drove to Northampton to attend a meeting with the local group of the Modern Quilt Guild. So glad I did! Their meeting space is the common house for the Rocky Hill Cohousing community just outside of Northampton, and it's spectacularly beautiful. Timna Tarr spoke about choosing quilting motifs that best finish a particular project, a topic that I've been particularly interested in recently. I shared a few of my Sol LeWitt projects that were inspired by my trip to MassMoCA several years ago, including my bed-sized replica of Wall Drawing #1112.

Wall Drawing 1112 (Sol LeWitt, MassMoCA 2003 installation)
"Log Cabin a la LeWitt" in situ (90 x 90")
This was a really fun project to work on. I cut the six basic colors of Kona into 3.5" strips, then rolled them onto empty paper tubes threaded onto an old broomstick. Starting from the middle (four squares), I determined which patch to use next by rolling dice: A six-sided die determined the color, a 12-sided die for the strip length in inches, and an 8-sided die for an extra eighth-inch measurement. The only limitation I put on the process was that a color was not allowed to touch itself in a previous row (from LeWitt's original rules for this piece). Once I had the 90" log cabin sewn, I quilted it using the lines in another of his wall drawings, concentric circles from the center and arcs from all four corner points. Again, I rolled a 6-sided die to determine which color of thread to use in each ring. LeWitt's work is perfectly "quiltable" -- about half of his wall murals are suitable as patchwork, and another set of his works are simply rules for groups of lines, perfect as quilting motifs. A complete quilt project like this one, then, superimposes the lines over the color patchwork.

I had initially made a smaller version of this same wall drawing as a sort of "test run" for the process. For the smaller one (1" strips, 27" finished), the quilting lines were from another of LeWitt's line pieces: 10" straight lines, overlapping in all directions.

Wall Drawing 86:  Ten thousand lines about 10 inches (25 cm) long, covering the wall evenly. (Sol Lewitt, MassMoCA 2003 installation)

I painted the tiny pig for the New Britain Youth Theater's fundraiser that year.

(I confess that I went through a really serious Sol LeWitt phase right after that first museum trip.)

I won't be able to make the NMQG November meeting way up in Shelburne, but once I see how the full-time spring schedule is going to treat me, I might try to go again...visiting Northampton once a month doesn't seem like a huge hardship. Thanks to the NMQG for their kind welcome!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Donation Day

I just shared half a dozen quilt tops (maybe eight? I already forget), along with a huge box overflowing with yardage, with Quilts2Heal. Here's hoping they end up finished nicely and in the homes of people who need them.