Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quilt Alliance Recap for 2014

Please visit this link to see all the great things that have happened through the Quilt Alliance this year.  

The Alliance is in the wonderful position of having a dollar for dollar matching grant from a private family foundation.  I'm so proud to be supporting this wonderful organization.  Please consider a tax-deductible contribution.  Thank you.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Thank You.....

from the Quilt Alliance

This is the time of year that many of us reflect upon the events of the year as we head into the holiday season.  As an artist who makes quilts I like to reflect upon my path and give thanks to some of the individuals who made a difference along the way.  There are so many!  
If you are like me, there are a few standouts:  those instructors or perhaps even a family member who influenced you to become an artist.  
Here are a few of mine:
A rare photo of my grandmother working on a quilt at her sewing machine.
circa 1968

My grandmother, Maude Alice Mundell Tucker.  By the time I came along she was no longer a farm wife.  Instead, she had become the town seamstress in a small north central Kansas town.  She made every piece of clothing I wore until I convinced her to stop making double-knit pantsuits for me (I tended to be more of an Esprit de Corps-girl).  But my grandmother always had a quilt upstairs in the frame.  Unfortunately, I did not learn to quilt from her, but her love of textiles and quilts absolutely influenced me and drew me in.

Edith York.  Edith worked on the night shift in Labor and Delivery at the hospital where I practiced as an RN from the late 70s through the early 90's.  She was the second quilt maker I was influenced by as she would come into the lounge and work on her quilts before her shift began.  When I expressed interest, she encouraged me, even suggesting that we attend a block of the month series together.  I consider her my first real mentor.  She died a few years ago, and I miss her.

Ardeth Laake.  Ardeth is my husband's aunt.  Also an RN, I took a real shine to her when I married Tim.  Ever-humble, she was probably one of the most amazing quilt makers I have ever known, to this day.  She was a needler for Elly Sienkiewicz, the renowned author and creator of so many Baltimore Album quilts.  Ardeth attended the IQF with me in 1992 and it was the first time for both of us.

Libby Lehman.  When I attended my very first International Quilt Festival in 1992 I listened to her speak as part of a lecture series that also included Debra Lunn (another artist who influenced me to begin dyeing my own cloth, but that is another conversation).  Libby's unconventional take on creating quilts that had traditional roots really turned my head.  Later, when I was able to take a workshop with her I realized what a patient, giving instructor she is.  I like to believe that her style of instruction has influenced my own.

Hollis Chatelain.  Over the past 10 or 11 years I have taken an annual series of workshops with Hollis.  Taught in a series, these range from drawing, color theory, design, and more.  Hollis teaches them in the style of a college intensive.  For 5 days every year I buckle down and leave my ego on the doorstep.  As a result, I have learned to look at my work and consider it from a very different point of view.  The days are tough and the hours are long.  I always think of a line from the film, "A League Of Their Own", when Gina Davis says she is going to quit because "it just got too hard".  Tom Hanks responds, "Of course it is hard.  If it wasn't hard everybody would do it.  It is the hard that makes it GREAT".  I think that describes my time with Hollis.

Nancy Crow.  Although I have just begun to study with Nancy she is an artist I had admired and respected for as long as I can remember.  I took my first-ever weeklong workshop with Nancy in October of this year and I can honestly say I worked harder than I have ever worked and I adored every second of it.  I plan to continue studying with her and look forward to seeing how this influences my own artistic path.  Her passion is contagious.  I love her directness.  I think Nancy and Hollis are similar in their no-nonsense, direct styles and I find it quite refreshing.  I respect their honesty and their individual artistic voices.

Jane Dunnewold.  Although Jane is not mainly known as a quilt maker, she has made many quilts and has certainly influenced a legion of them.  She is really the mother of the art cloth movement.  I cannot really say enough about how she has impacted the scope of my work as an artist.  In addition, I have the good fortune to call her a close friend.  Her gentle style of instruction, her ability to summarize her thoughts and make sense of complicated information is truly admirable.  

My respect for each of these women knows no bounds.  I have so many more I want to add to my list, but these women influenced me at some critical juncture in my own path.  I urge you to consider who is on your own personal list.

As a board member of the Quilt Alliance I have opted to honor my personal mentors by making a contribution to the the organization.  What better way to honor them?  The mission of the Alliance is to preserve the stories of quilt makers and their work.  Stories of people who have made a contribution to our unique subculture no matter how small or widespread that mark might be.
Here is Tess Harper's lovely poem memorializing two of her personal quilt heroes.

Won't you join me by honoring your own with a $25 contribution?  If you do you will be eligible to win several wonderful prizes so it might be an early Christmas gift to you, as well.  Thanks in advance.

I would love to read who has influenced you along your path.  Please leave a comment here and be eligible for another giveaway!  I will draw a name from the comments left below on 12/15 at midnight.  Leave a comment prior to be eligible for the drawing.  Happy holidays.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Some Screen-Printing Serendipity on "The Quilt Show" right here in Texas!

Way back in February I had the pleasure of taping several segments with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson of "The Quilt Show" on the ranch of my dear friends.  It was a beautiful day and we were on the covered porch outside.  My friends had asked their neighbors to contain barking dogs during the taping, and that went well, but we couldn't do a thing about the (I think it was a student) pilot doing turns on a point within earshot of where we were taping.  The sound guy was more than a little frustrated with that little plane!
Click here for a preview of the show.

Here is a description:
While "on the road" near Mica, Texas, we caught up with artist, author, and educator Leslie T. Jenison, who shares her playful, "serendipitous" screen-printing techniques for transforming natural-fiber fabrics and paper with unusual materials such as plastic Fiesta flags, product packaging, common household items, and hardware-store finds. She also describes her experience as co-curator of the juried Dinner at Eight exhibits and companion catalogs with California artist Jamie Fingal.
Alex, Ricky, and I sat on the porch and talked about curating.

Ricky tries his hand at deconstructed screen-printing for the first time!

Also, if you are interested in becoming a member so you can access more of The Quilt Show online you have the opportunity to do so at a discounted price.  The coupon code to receive a discount of $5.00 off of a 1 year membership when joining is: 267993271286.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Introducing "Quilting: The New Classics"! Woo Hoo! Let's hop!

All quilters draw inspiration from the past. But how do today's artisans put their personal stamp on classic patterns? Twenty influential quilters from across the stylistic spectrum present their unique creative vision of timeless designs. Each pattern, Double Wedding Ring, Crazy Quilt, Dresden Plate, Bear Paw, Log Cabin, Nine Patch, Hexagon, Yo-Yo, Flying Geese, and Rail Fence, comes with step-by-step instructions for two adaptations, one traditional, the other modern.
The book also includes a history of each pattern, images of heirloom or museum-quality quilts for inspiration, easy-to-use templates and essential quilting techniques.

Forwards by Meg Cox and Janneken Smucker.

I was thrilled and honored when my dear friend, Michele Muska, invited me to contribute to her book, "Quilting:  The New Classics".  I began my journey as a quilt maker in the early 80's, inspired by the work of a nurse-colleague.  My paternal grandmother, Maude Tucker, was the town seamstress and a quilt maker of considerable talent.  Participating in this book as a contributing artist makes me feel like my grandmother would be proud of me.

I love many things about the style of this book.  First, the paper feels so great!  I think we are weirdly tactile creatures, us artists.  The paper quality is exceptional.  I love that the book has folds on the front and back cover which makes it easy to place-hold a page.

The matte finish is wonderful and so is the photography and layout.  Each quilt "style" is represented by a traditional interpretation as well as a modern translation, and they are featured side-by-side in the book.  I have never seen this done before and I love it.

Since I adore hexagon quilts of any size and shape it was great to be asked to create a 'modern' version of this classic shape.   As much as I love paper piecing hexagons I wanted to see if I could construct them in a different way.
First, I constructed a long section of strip-pieced fabrics.

After drawing and cutting several graduated sizes of hexagons from paper, I used these to cut my hexagons using a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the paper shapes.  I cut two in each size, front and back.

Placing the right sides together, I stitched the front and back of each hexagon together leaving one side of each open (in order to turn the shape right-side-out).

Before turning, the corners need to be trimmed close to the seam to allow a crisp point.

After turning the hexagon right-side-out, I turned the raw edge opening in so it could be pressed into place, then stitched it closed.

After the hexagon is stitched it was placed onto the quilt top surface and stitched into place all around the perimeter.  

Just for fun, and because I am slightly nuts, I added four octagons for a little visual confusion.
I like the result!  Hexi and Octi go out for a date!

I continue to have an intense love affair with all shades of gray.  Fifty?  Why limit oneself to so few?!

(Side-note:  I was just in a class with a woman who told me she loved this shade of Kona gray so much that, if this color of fabric were a man, she would marry him.)  I sort of understand.
Apparently the book also functions as a hat.
Here is Michele, posing with our fellow Quilt Alliance board member, Mark Lipinski.

There is so much great stuff in this book, and you could WIN one by leaving a comment!  I will be doing a drawing to give away a copy of this gorgeous book from those who have written me a note here.   You must comment by November 1st to be eligible for the drawing.
Please use the following link to order your own copy of this gorgeous book:

Stop by all these amazing artists for more inspiration:
Oct. 20th Michele Muska
Oct. 21st Leslie Jenison
Oct. 22nd Janneken Smucker
Oct. 23rd Valerie Bothell
Oct. 24th Kaari Meng
Oct. 25th Elisa Sims Albury :
Oct. 26th Heather Jones
Oct. 27th Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Oct. 28th Amy Smart
Oct. 29th Jackie Kunkel\
Oct. 30th Pat Sloan
Oct. 31st Shelly Pagliai
Nov. 1st Allie Aller
Nov. 2nd Kristin Omdahl
Nov. 3rd Pat Sloan 4:00pm eastern time
“The Voice of Quilting” American Patchwork and Quilting radio show 

Also, stay tuned for some great inspiration and ideas from some of our contributors’ newsletters and social media platforms!
Meg Cox with Quilt Journalist Tells All
New York times Best Selling Author Marie BostwickMegan Frock of Downtown Housewife
And more from Marci Elmer Warren, Linda Pumphrey, Bonnie Bus and Darlene Zimmerman!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Italy, Part Two...Chianti

We ventured into Chianti twice during this trip.  Thanks to Jeannie, who had done extensive research before we traveled, we were able to have a wonderful day at Casamonti to have brunch and visit the home of the Cinta Senese, or Tuscan Pig.  These pigs were nearly extinct by the late 80's.  The owners of Casamonti formed a Consortium to bring it back from the brink.  The raise the animals for the typical Tuscan products that include salami, finocchiona, fresh sausage, seasoned pork loin, salt bacon, capocollo, cured lard, and the famous prosciutto and also grow grapes and olives.  We sampled all their products and I even ordered some to be shipped home.  Here are some images:

Anna Rita, the co-owner of the vineyard, talks to us about their wines and how to read the labels.

After lunch she walked us down to her kitchen garden.

She encouraged us to pick some vegetables!

Look at these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  
They were delicious!

One of their pigs.

And a piglet.

Chianti was simply breathtaking.

The colors of the grapes and the leaves, just beginning to turn red.

We took our beautiful vegetables, including squash blossoms, home to 
cook for dinner that evening.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I've been traveling.....

Viva Italia!  I really love to travel and Italy is one of my favorite places to visit.  There is something about it that speaks to me on the deepest level.  The land, the people, the food.  There is a simplicity and earthiness that I adore.
Early this year my artist friend, Jeannie Moore, started talking about her desire to find a house in the country to rent for an extended period of time.  It sounded so great.  They had family and friends coming for a portion of their stay, and there was a week at the end that was "open".  My husband and I joined them for the final week of their stay in a house near the town of Orentano, in Tuscany.
I have only visited in summer months, so being there in the fall was pretty great.  Here are a few images from our time there.

Look!  On our flight over, "Tim's Vermeer" was one of the featured documentaries!

Tim is trying to sort out the wireless internet in our house.

The grounds were gorgeous and we could leave the doors open and let the sun come in.

I love these small roadside shrines...

and the beautiful old stone walls.

and the soft, bright colors and narrow alleyways.

Jeannie walks along a lovely stone fence.

The Duomo, Florence, Italy

Clotheslines on the sides of buildings.

Beautiful vegetables at the market....


visiting vineyards where the grapes were still on the vines.

I'm not the only person who photographs her food!

walking through the old city of Lucca

Those Italians think of everything!

A frescoed ceiling in a church in Lucca

a small market

friends or sisters

my guy!

Jeannie and I both love to cook.  One of the joys of this trip was to have lunch out and then go to the market and cook our evening meal at home.