Friday, October 31, 2008

PIQF's Quilts Begin

Hi Everyone!

It has been a very busy and exciting time. I see no end in site and I do apologize for the delay in sharing pictures of the stunning and fascinating quilts I saw on display at Pacific International Quilt Festival earlier this month.

Starting today I'll share them with you on a more frequent basis than usual for QS. There are so many and I can't just show you one full shot- No Way! I would hear you yelling through your monitor "tease, selfish, oh come on now" and I don't want that! I want you to send me happy, upbeat, WOW thoughts of gratitude and that's what I'm sending your way too.

We'll begin with this crazy style modernized quilt of a flag. Nancy K. McLerran made it. She named it "Betsy Ross Never Imagined This." Aptly named I say. Nancy embroidered minature symbols of the America Revolutionary War such as the Liberty Bell, flag, Washington's profile...

Nancy is from from Santa Rosa, in the wine country of California.
I think she did a great job of blending new and old and older styles of quilts. Notice the reproductions indigo fabrics in the canton. Very cool quilt!

Tomorrow I'll send some more pictures. This quilt will use loads of my favorite early 19th century reproduction fabrics!

Boo! from your Patchwork Queen (tee-hee)

Happy Halloween everyone- don't get a tummy ache.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Harvard Student Reviews Gee's Exhibition

Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt' displays quilts from the 1930s through the 1970s and some quite recently, post the first exhibition in 2002. In A Cultural Patchwork,The architecture of the quilt, student PIPPA ECCLES today wrote an article and review for The Harvard Independent.

Pippa is fond of quilts and they are her thesis topic. She gives a condensed and precise overview of the history of the origins of quilting in Gee's Bend, from the 60s into the present. She hits on the controversy or controversies, including the ongoing, (pre-Gee's) debate about whether or not quilts are art at all. She gives her view of the exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is inspired by her personal take and the quilters history.

I digress for a moment- it is the quilter's history that has always grabbed me and my attention on the quilts too, admittedly, more than seeing the quilts in person. I like them better in books than in person myself. I made a reproduction of one I particularly liked in the big blue book. The top is made of three high contrast fabrics in all long narrow rectangles. I used older fabrics, used from clothes made in the mid last century and a sheet. I cut the pieces by scissors and made the pattern look the same, but it just didn't have the zing. It was harder than I had imagined to achieve the "awe" factor and in fact I did not achieve it all all. My respect for their artistic eye and creative thinking remains high, along with being inspired by their historical underpinnings beginning last century.

Pippa's article is worth your time to read. Here are a couple of out takes

"Their display is evidence of how far we have already come. However, it is hard not to feel like a true triumph of the quilting medium would allow the quilts to exist as artistic masterpieces without the justification of museum walls. "

"Despite the tendency toward improvisation and originality, many of these quilts are also based on patterns and display both a remarkable ability to innovative within boundaries as well as the inherently communal aspect of quilting. The “Housetop” pattern (a variation of the traditional Log Cabin) is a favorite amongst the women of Gee’s Bend. Other quilts are based on traditional Euro-American quilting patterns, such as Wild Goose Chase and Bethlehem Star, but still maintain the Gee’s Bend’s penchant for creativity and innovation."

This last one may have our dear late Cuesta Benberry rolling over in her grave- she was not a believer that African-America quilts were all asymetrical, not at all. Her books show us many quilts made in traditional block styles, including appliqué. Pippa writes "Even if seen in the light of the African American quilting tradition, one that has always favored asymmetry and improvisation, these quilts demonstrate a truly remarkable degree of originality." Pippa's statement indicates how embedded this belief is in American culture.

Have any of you tried to reproduce a Gee's Bend style quilt? Tell us about it, send photos.

I will soon post photos from PIQF. It was an amazing show and I took lots of pictures with you in mind. I have to catch up on biz first and then your show will begin, with all credits given!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Announcing Guest Interview

The first guest interview on Women On Quilts is

Pat Sloan On Balancing Her Creative Arts

How does she stay inspired with fresh ideas, make one artistic expression lead to another and have the energy to handle it all? Plus live Q&A time.

Pat carries more roles than you can imagine and this is just for her work! Her quilt businesses are family owned and run, but she is the creative brains, teacher, quilt maker and designer behind it all. Tell me more...

You must register for this interview to receive the phone number and code or link for webcast get in. The live interview is

Please join us on the teleclass or webcast on a November evening. There is time for live Q&A and your questions will make this aspect fun for everyone.

Women On Quilts


PS When you go to the WOQ page, please cast your vote for the best day and time for you to attend future interviews.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heading north to PIQF

I am leaving early tomorrow for northern California to attend a wonderful quilt festival. They bring in quilts from all over the world, hence the name Pacific International Quilt Festival. This is a Mancuso Brother's event.

I'm taking a full day's class with Barbara Olsen about breaking out of your box and trying something new and arty. Barbara is known for her black and white spiral quilt among others. Before I return I'm teaching at guild near there about my other favorite subject- antique quilts. It's going to be a great get-away with wonderful people, who knows who I'll meet? I'll post pictures and tell you all about the event when I return next week.

Speaking of that, today I announced the first guest I'll interview on Women On Quilts. I emailed those on my VIP list and registrations are coming in. If you sign-up now you'll receive her name, topic and all the info right away. If you want to be there you'll be assured of getting a "seat." Its There are other benefits, besides first notice, to being on WOQ's VIP mailing list. Hope to "see" you there.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Quilting Through Crises

Last week I sought out news on the economic sitations on the TV, radio, Internet and LA Times, as I imagine many of you did too. During critical events happening in the world, or the US like this, I tend to start a new quilt from scratch, no pattern.

The trend to quilt at times like this began for me when the Oklahoma City Federal building was bombed in 1995. Choosing or drafting a design and auditioning fabric gets the most consideration from me and this stage gives me the greatest push into creativity. I used a pattern and made a brightly colored quilt with an Escheresque pattern. Using a design wall was essential because the colors of a block flowed into the next block in order to get the effect. It took lots of time to figure out.

Creative thoughts are the opposite of depressed, helpless, hopeless, and mad thoughts. Opposite thoughts with their accompanying feelings don’t exist in your mind/body at the same moment. Engaging in creativity is one way of coping with feelings that come up at times like these. Sure I cry and pray as I go along too, but I keep my mind moving along with the quilt on its path to completion.

Making a quilt kept my mind from concentrating solely on the devastation and my feelings of helplessness and powerlessness to help. The news kept me involved with the story and able to hear the people interviewed. I could send "God Bless yous" from my heart to theirs as I moved pieces for the color arrangement and sewed the pieces together. The same calling to be creative came forth as other disasters struck.

When I'm sewing by machine I feel less involved with the information (partly because it's hard to hear or read while doing it) so it is the best remedy when I need a break from it all. If the sewing is simple, my mind can wander and send energy to the struggling people. I also go through my attitude of gratitude list while sewing. There is so much for which to be thankful. By the time the quilt is completed, I feel some relief from the intensity of the days before. I have worked through a great deal of feelings and gained a life awareness I didn’t have before the crisis. The quilt always reminds me of the new awareness I gained and how fortunate I am, providing another opportunity to say a little blessing prayer for the people who died and their families.

Because I lost my voice, got a sinus headache from the hot dry winds and the economy was tanking, I figured the spirits were talking to me to take off a couple of days to design a new quilt project. I also needed to separate from predominantly left brained activities to open up the right side – wide. As a result, time flew buy, my body relaxed and I felt calmer and more creative thanks to designing a quilt block and auditioning fabrics.

This is a picture of one block showing where I am in the process right now. A stained glass panel is the end goal made with 8 blocks.There is a bit of a twist, but I'll keep that to myself until it's finished. How I will cover the seams on this one I have not decided just what yet. Since I awoke to good news about the stock market, I worked all day on the computer. (Hmm, is this a no win situation??)

I have planned two different colorways for the blocks. The other color resulted in a private challenge when recently I was dared (in the good way) by a quilter whom I had the pleasure of staying with while teaching at her guild in Escondido CA. The challenge came from a quilt shop "ah ha! moment "when we fell for fabrics that were not the usual choice for either of us. Life is full of surprises. We agreed to make stained glass blocks we design separately using the same fabrics. This blue, green and gray one is a test quilt and i'm gald i took the time to do it as i will handle the challenge quilt differently. Fortunately I like both versions.

Would you like to share your quilt made in a crisis or your story. I would be very interested in hearing about your use of quilting and how it helps you. Post it as a comment or email me.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Introducing Women On Quilts: Interviews, Teleclasses, Webcasts

I have been working 24/7 and now I've lost my voice! Oh my gosh- I have just never been so a buzz with new ideas and projects that I can't wait to complete so I can get on to the next. I have been dropping hints about the imminent launch of my new project. After a critical week like this one has been for people around the world, I think it’s time for some good news.

Introducing (trumpets roll please) a teaching, learning, and sharing opportunity for creative women everywhere- Women On Quilts: Interviews, Teleclasses, Webcasts! From the comfort of your home, by telephone or using the internet, meet fabulous women who make their living or live their joy in the quilt world. Learn how they did what they do to pursue their goals and find succesful inside and out. My hope is you will feel a spark from these conversations and classes that will enable you to accomplish your dream too.

During this demise of our country’s economic fabric, I can't help but think about women living during the Great Depression and making quilts for covers and mattresses. I have to believe we will figure a way to avoid another Depression. Every day brings new information, new stock market numbers and experts discussing how we can save our money. Although I couldn't have known this when Women On Quilts was just a buzz in my head early this summer, what I am bringing to you certainly seems to be an antidote during this crisis and the ensuing months of the recession. Just think, from your home or office you can meet women working in the wide world of quilt businesses, designing, writing, leading & planning, teaching, quilt making, and so much more. I will teach how-to classes in research, quilt history and to spark your creativity & overcome challenges in your life, work & art such as

 building confidence
 fearless speaking in front of groups
 using perfectionism to your benefit
 using healthy attitudes & beliefs in your work and art
 releasing blocks, fears, and negative thinking
 finding approaches to living your life pursuing creativity ***

I so appreciate all of you that subscribe to my newsletter, read this blog, post comments and send me emails. You made WOQ happen. To keep up with my next interviews with well known and lesser known quilters, including the first women I haven't announced yet, opt-in to WOQ VIPs now so that you will automatically get the class and interview announcements. As a thank you, you will receive my E-article "Sparking Your Creativity." Yes, you want to subscribe to both QS and WOQ as they are completely different and WOQ VIP's get privileges non-subscribers and feed subscribers do not.

Look for QS newsletter on Monday when I will talk about my quilt making during this week of economic crisis and you'll get a glimpse into some of my thinking about the mind/body benefits of being creative. I will pull from my background in psychology for some of the classes I offer through WOQ.

***An interview Judy did with me reveals more about WOQ's purpose and goals on Womenfolk:The Art of Quilting.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Quilts

If you read these topic labels for an article "Environmental Politics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New Mexico, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Alabama, Missouri, Google Inc." would you think it was about quilts?

Here is a terrific take on recycled cloth, which starts by introducing the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit opening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From Recycled Scraps To Museum-Quality Quilts, by Sandy Bauers for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ok, that's not really new news to quilters, but how about this?
" Swap-O-Rama-Ramas started by New Mexico's Wendy Tremayne because she "wanted to find a remedy for consumerism."

"The idea is for women to bring in old clothes, experience 'total abundance' when the stuff is piled together, then start taking things to nearby sewing machines and design experts to learn how to alter them to fit or refashion them into other clothing."

Have you ever been to such a swap or heard of them? I read articles about people remaking old or out-of-fashion cloths into trendy clothes. It's chic. And there is an upsurge in sewing one's clothes at home. No doubt Project Runway has contributed to the surge in fashion designing at home and in schools with such a degree.

I wonder if this particular swap came from this trend or from the green generation who thankfully are taking our trash seriously too. Either way, its a fun and exciting expression in the wide world of fabric lovers.

A Google search is full of info. Wendy began the swaps in 2005.Please comment below if you have personal experience with the Swap-O-Rama Ramas!