Monday, July 31, 2017

Quilt Camp 2017 - Maine Quilts

Sue made it to New Hampshire on Friday for the 2017 iteration of quilt camp (meaning there's no specific plan so we'll see what inspires us!)  We started off on Day 1 by heading over to Maine for the Maine Quilts show.  We'd been there 2 years ago on a road trip for row-by-row and enjoyed it, so thought it worth a return trip.  It was also the 40th anniversary year of the show.

 This show is very traditional, for the most part, though there were some art quilts. 
What you're seeing are Sue's selection of favorite quilts in the show.  Above is Grandma's Scrap made by Lauraine Doyon, quilted by Diane Dixon.  If you enlarge the photo you'll see that it uses a lot of shirting stripes and plaids, and the quilting complements it very nicely for a soft, subtle effect.
This quilt is by Sarah Ann Smith (untitled) and won Best of Judged quilts.  Again, enlarge to see detail.
Calm Seas, and it's mini version, are made by Dan Perkins.  Quilting is by Carol Perkins.  The design is by Michelle Renee Hiatt of Sew on the Go.  That's a lot of piecing, especially the mini version!
Wallagrass Buckwheat and Barley is by Nancy Thibodeau and won a second place ribbon.
This 3rd place winner in the modern section is called Bosque Del Apache and is by Diane Dixon.  This one has really amazing quilting.
Another art quilt is this one called The Shack by Carol MacDougall.
In the very large section of red and white quilts on display, this one caught Sue's eye.  It is called Scarlet Letter by Merry Harkins, quilted by Linda Carey.  Design credit goes to Tara Darr of Sew Unique Creations. 
Among the many vendors, we spotted a number of pop-ups "in the wild" (various sizes of the Fat-Quarter Pop-up designed by the Fat Quarter Gypsy, our friend Joanne Hillstead.)

Though we didn't feel there were as many inspirational quilts as 2 years ago, we still enjoyed the show and vendors and visiting with a few of the vendors we know from attending the Creative Arts Business Summit.  And the weather in Maine was gorgeous!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Yvonne Porcella - Live Your Brightest Life

One more special exhibit at Sacred Threads was a tribute to Yvonne Porcella, a quilting legend who passed away in February of 2016.  Yvonne was an art quilter who was the founder of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).  In 1998, she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame.  Her work was colorful and vibrant, often incorporating red or pink with a black and white element.  Yvonne fought stage 4 cancer for 6 years, but that didn't slow her down one bit.  This exhibit was curated by Pokey Bolton inviting quilters to celebrate this icon of the quilt world and interpret what living a bright life means to them.  You can read more about Yvonne on the Quilt Alliance Blog and on her website.  Here are some photos of the vibrant quilts in the exhibit.

And some individual favorites...
Above is one of 2 quilts made by Libby Williamson of Villa Park, CA.
The above quilt is by Teri Lucas of New York, NY.  Look closely at all that quilting!
This bright life quilt was made by Victoria Findlay Wolfe of New York, NY.

You can also see a brief video of the exhibit on the Sacred Threads Facebook page.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Postcards at Sacred Threads

One of the features of the Sacred Threads exhibit this year was a display of postcards contributed by artists across the country.  The cards were to reflect the artist's hopes and dreams and were anonymous, with a message about their hopes and dreams on the back.
The cards were hung from bicycle rims making for a novel (and space saving) display.
Sue contributed 2 postcards to the show, which are shown in the pictures below.  Both include the words Hope, Peace, and Joy.

Have you ever tried your hand at making postcards?  It's a great way to try out new techniques on a small scale.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Indigo Dyeing

Sunday was a beautiful day on Lake Winnipesaukee.  After several damp and gloomy days the sun shone brightly and the lake had calm winds blowing gently across it.  Our friend, Terri Sontra from Purple Moose Designs joined Elizabeth for the day to create and explore with indigo.  We began by making up our pot of indigo using synthetic pre-reduced indigo from Pro Chemical and Dye
After mixing, the vat of dye needs to sit so we moved on to tying, folding, and clamping our fabrics. 
When we first made the vat, the mix was so clear we could see the reflection of the trees above as if it was a mirror.  By the time we were done with the fabric preparation the vat was ready to try.  Here are some of our results. 

You can see in the photos above and below how the fabric oxidizes from the green color it is when you remove it from the indigo pot to the final blue color.  It's lots of fun to watch it happen!
We think Terri did a terrific job in her first experience with indigo dyeing.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Threads of Resistance at New England Quilt Museum

Elizabeth is in New Hampshire at the family home in Melvin Village.  It is hard to be super motivated for summer quilt camp when your "partner in crime" is absent, so she has been focused on working through an on-line course for her Babylock Destiny sewing machine.  So far, she has learned how to create an applique from the built in shapes within the machine and then to insert the fill designs to quilt around it.  They are Christmas ornaments that could potentially look like bombs, depending on your imagination.
But on Saturday she took a brain break from the on-line course and left early in the day to drive to Lowell, Massachusetts which is about 2 hours away just across the state line.  Lowell is a fascinating city with a rightful place in history, especially in the Industrial Revolution and the Textile Industry.  The history of water powered mils is strong enough that the US Park Service has one of their National Historical Parks there. 

The purpose of the trip was to attend the premiere opening of an exhibit at The New England Quilt Museum called Threads of Resistance.  You may have heard of the exhibit or if you read our blog regularly, seen a piece Sue made when the call for entries went out.  Sue’s piece is part of the on-line exhibit. 

Elizabeth was pleased to see the quilts selected for display.  They were grouped, lit and hung so that the colors were extremely vibrant.  12 of the artists were present at the premiere.  They were positioned around the room next to their quilts so they could talk about them with the guests which was extremely interesting as they spoke about their techniques as well as their personal motivation for making their quilt.  Topics ranged from the environment, women’s bodies, basic human rights, to the president himself and his words and actions. While the museum allows you to photograph the quilts it does not allow photos to be posted on social media so if you can’t see this exhibit as it travels in the next 2 years, you can see them on the website or buy the show catalog.

Although she bought the catalog, Elizabeth thinks that color pictures do not do justice to the quilts. Another aspect of the show which added more depth were 90 second recordings of the artists talking about their quilts which you could hear over a cell phone while viewing each photo.  These recordings are also highlighted on the website blog for the exhibit; don’t miss them if you view the quilts on-line.  They add a lot of understanding to the literal and figurative voice of the maker.

Sacred Threads 2017

It was quilt show weekend for PGFiber2Art as both Sue and Elizabeth attended quilt exhibits in different places, Elizabeth in New England and Sue in Virginia.  The Virginia exhibit is Sacred Threads, a biannual show that is an exhibition of quilts expressing life's journeys, specifically: Joy, Inspiration, Spirituality, Healing, Grief, and Peace & Brotherhood.  This is a show quite unlike others, not only for the subject matter, but for the way it is set up and the emotional experience it evokes. Unlike most shows where quilts are lined up in rows or alcoves where there is plenty of distance between the quilt and viewer, this show is much more intimate.  Whether by  space restrictions or design (or both), the Sacred Threads quilts are displayed in a maze (or labyrinth) where you walk through in twists and turns all the while calming music plays in the the background.  You are up close and personal with all the quilts.  It is quite an emotional experience, given the subject matter and personal messages provided by the quilters.  My only complaint is that sometimes it is also nice to be able to view the quilts from a distance as well as close up.  At any rate, this show never disappoints.  It continues through July 23 at Floris UMC church in Herndon, VA.  After that, a portion of the quilts will travel to other venues.  More info is available on the Sacred Threads website.  Here are some of Sue's favorites, though it is really hard to choose and limit the number.  The word in all caps is the category that the quilt represents.
JOY  Boundless Joy, The Red Balloon is by Jane L. King of Longmont, Colorado.  The child running through the flowers with her red balloon is the maker's granddaughter.
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Marafiki by Barbara Allen of Rensselaer, NY.  Marafiki is Swahili for friend.  Barbara says that racism is a product of broken adults.  We are all born brothers and sisters with love for each other.
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Our Girls are Gone by Meghan Welch Betts of Arlington, VA.  This is a tribute to the girls in Nigeria who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram and all the other women and girls stolen from their homes and villages around the world.  (The lighting doesn't show the background well; it is shades of green from light to dark.)
PEACE & BROTHERHOOD  Blue is Not My Favorite Color by Mary Ann McCammon of Sherwood, Oregon.  Mary Ann teaches quilting at a correctional facility in Oregon where the inmates must wear blue.  Consequently, it is not their favorite color and when quilting they are able to choose their own colors.  Words in the background are negative remarks that they associate with the color blue.
SPIRITUALITY  Pyrite Ammonites by Kimberly Lacy of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Says Kimberly, the structure of the shell provides a metaphor for life; it is forever moving in and out, staying shallow and digging deep.  Click to enlarge for a better look at the detail and subtleties of color.
HEALING  Birdsong VII: Forget Me Not by Sonia Grasvik of Burien, Washington.  This quilt was made in memory of Sonia's mother and sister who passed a year apart.
HEALING  Moving On by Maggie Ward of Warrenton, VA.  If you look at the right side of the piece, you'll see that the vertical line invokes the human figure.  To Maggie, it depicts the spirit of a friend who died of cancer.
INSPIRATION  Forget Me Not by Gerrie Lynne Thompson of Happy Valley, Oregon.  Gerrie depicts the feeling that as we age, we become more invisible - our hair greys, skin is less vibrant, we fade into the background; this piece is saying don't forget me, I still have value.
INSPIRATION  Love, Stinger by Kay Benedict of St. Albans, VT.  This piece begins with a favorite photo of the maker's father from WWII.  It is overlaid with a sheer layer on which is printer a letter that he sent to her mother during the war.  His nickname was Stinger.
HEALING  Despair...and Hope by Elaine J. Ross of Batavia, NY.  Elaine depicts what it is like to suffer from chronic depression - the highs and lows.  There are hands stitched onto the tree trunk depicting the days when she is able to climb up to find the light.
GRIEF  Off Her Rocker by Sandra Holland of Cortland, NY.  When her sister was diagnosed with cancer, her abandoned rocker was overgrown with ivy.
GRIEF  Missing by Karen S. Musgrave of Naperville, Illinois.  The empty chairs represent loss, longing, and memories of friends and family who have passed on.
GRIEF  Holding On, Letting Go by Laura Moss Gottlieb of Madison, Wisconsin.  Laura honors her mother, whose hands were capable of many things but seldom caressed; even though she couldn't hold close, Laura still finds it difficult to let go.

As you can see from these examples, "emotional" is probably the best word to describe these amazing quilts.  If you want to see more, check the exhibit schedule on the website.  A catalog of the exhibit is also available here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spring Postcard Swap

It was that time of year again for Sue's postcard swap group to send out cards by the end of June.  Now that one errant card has finally been received (it returned to sender and had to be resent), all are in and can be shared.  The theme this time around was "Mint Condition".  Somewhat predictable but all interesting interpretations of this theme - all but one related to food or drink!
Sherry was "first out of the gate" with her "mint julip condition" in time for Derby Day in May.
Cathy decided to "show me the money"  with Euros fresh from the mint!
Sue's card was a tribute to Girls Scouts' thin mint cookies, her favorite mint condition.
Paula introduced us to Mint Condition by Caribou Coffee, which is a mixture of coffee, chocolate, peppermint, and whipped cream.  Sounds yummy!
And Lois's card reminds us of the many choices when the mint craving hits!

Stay tuned for the fall swap due by the end of November, theme still to be determined.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Setting Up a Printing Station

As Elizabeth sets up for quilt camp in the hope that Sue can make it to New Hampshire this summer, we thought it might be a good idea to show you how we create our printing station.  First, a sturdy counter top or table is in order.  You don’t want anything that wobbles or anything that makes your back hurt from hunching over it.  In our temporary summer studio (also known as the garage), we use two saw horses with a thick piece of plywood on top.
Our next layer is a piece of polyester craft felt which can be bought off a bolt at fabric stores.  We bought ours at JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts.  You can see that ours has been well used over many summers as sometimes dye or paint will bleed through a bit.  Make sure it is a piece of felt you want to dedicate to this purpose.
The last layer of the printing station is a topper which can be switched out if it gets too wet with paint because you don’t want to get paint from a previous print on the back of your new one.  A simple piece of muslin will work, but we use a heavier piece of canvas cloth.  You could put a piece of muslin over the top of the canvas as well.  What you are aiming for in making this layered surface is something firm enough to push against but with a bit of give to it so that when you press the squeegee over the screen you will get an even perfect print. You can see that our cover canvas cloth is well used; once it is really saturated with paint you definitely want to change cloths so that it will have some absorbency for any leftover paint that might go through the fabric which you are printing.
Now you are ready for some printing fun…….