Category Archives: Journey

Isolation {a finish}

Idea

Have you ever felt left out, or just on the outside of a group or even cast out? I assume most people at one time or another have felt like that. I have at various times, more than once. This quilt was originally designed based on that feeling of being on the “outs” from a group.

Design

I started the design with an idea of a group people being represented by 10 lines; 9 black (representing the group), 1 red (representing me or the person who was feeling left out). The other big decision I made was on the placement of the red line. Originally, I had the red line to the right but still in alignment with the group of black lines.

Shunned-3

In the end, I moved the red line down 50% and decided to emphasize the mis alignment.

Create

The piecing was relatively simple. I did stitch the Width of Fabric (WOF) black and white strips together before I cut them to size to make it easier and more precise. I used Robert Kaufman Kona cottons for the piece; White, Black and Ruby.

Backing is Moda Fabrics Chicken Wire print. I choose this as it fit the theme of being in prisoned or cordoned off.

Quilt

Since COVID-19 isolation, I have been looking at this unfinished quilt top, and it speaks to me now of self-quarantine and the distance from our friends and family. As a person with Asthma, considered to be in a riskier group (if I catch COVID-19 my symptoms may be more severe), I am realizing I might be here in quarantine for a couple more months.

fullsizeoutput_1594

These feelings of being into quarantined introduced the idea of ripples and how things effect other elements. I decided to show this effect by using overlapping circular designs around the two groups. The top negative space is then finished with vertical lines and the bottom with horizontal lines, again showing different forces with the direction. All the quilting is 1/2″ lines.

fullsizeoutput_1596

Finishing this quilt did lift a weight off my shoulders, I did not know needed to be lifted. It was great being able to express yourself through art. The feedback from the community and how people have related has been so wonderful. Thank you all.

Details

Name : Isolation
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons White, Black, and Ruby
Backing: Moda Fabrics, Chicken wire
Binding: Carolyn Friedlander, Carkai
Dimensions:
34 x 41 in.
Quilted: 1/2″ Circular & Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

 

On the angle {a finish}

Just before Christmas, I made a couple of mini quilts as gifts. I have not shared those makes with you yet. One of those quilts was a striking black and white minimal quilt.

IMG_8960

Idea

This quilt was inspired based on a drain cover discovered on our family walk around the neighborhood. I loved the diagonal pattern of lines.

fullsizeoutput_e42

Design

During the design phase I used those 45 degree lines in the top part of the design. In the drain you have this bar 1/2 way across the lines, giving it a broken line feel. For me, that translated into this break a a random angle with the lines then being distorted back the opposite angle. fullsizeoutput_13c6

Create

The creation was relatively simple, using PBS White solid and black fabric at 1″ unfinished, I stitched 16 pieces together. Making sure the angles were at a 45 degrees I then cut an angle that closely matched the design above. The remaining fabric, I removed the excess lines and added a much larger white section to the stripes for the lower negative space.  I lined up and pined where the lines best connected. Once pinned, I cut the fabric at the appropriate angle and stitched the two pieces together. It was both liberating and a little scary as I did not measure or carefully planned these connections. Luckily, it turned out as expected.

IMG_8952

Quilting

As this was a small piece, I kept the quilting design simple. I stitched about 1/8″ from exhaustion of the stitched lines (both sides of the line). I did not bind the quilt to finish, as the final piece was framed and ready to be hung.

IMG_9034

I swapped this gift for 6 ginger pear galettes from a local baker, Meg. The family loved them. So amazing (including the extra banana pecan bundt cake that was added)!!

IMG_9036

Details

Name : On the Angle
Design:
 Original Design
Fabric: Black & White Painters Palette Solids, Paintbrush studios
Dimensions:
12 x 14 in.
Quilted: Straight line quilting using Aurifil #2021

Published!!

I have been a little on the slow side sharing some of the great news over the last 4 months or so. The first is that I was lucky enough to be included in Uppercase new encyclopedia “Quilted“.  This volume includes two types of articles, Artist Profiles and Interview and Quilt Stories. My quilt, Sunday Best, was selected for one of the quilt stories. I am so happy in getting to celebrate Sunday Best in this beautiful book.

The celebrations continues though. At QuiltCon this year, I shared a room with a friend who woke me up with gleeful text messages and then a wake-up call, to explain that Sunday Best published in Quilted was highlighted by Mel Giedroyc (on her new instagram account @melgquilting). I was like who??? Since then, I now know that she was one of the presenters/judges from The Great British Bake Off, who has started a new and the funniest weekly podcast, Mel Giedroyc is Quilting. I listen every week, and am honored for the mention.

IMG_8927

In January, I received my copy of Curated Quilts issue 10: Black & White. Inside was my article on learning how to see the world around you to find inspiration for quilt design. This was the first time, my photographs were also published, which I was super excited about. The photos are my forever memories from a trip to New York, Morocco and a family beach vacation I took last year. When I saw Amy and Christine, they commented on how much they loved the photo’s. They also suggested I submit again. Yay!!

fullsizeoutput_1586

Lastly, in Curated Quilts Issue 11: Appliqué, Manicured Gardens was curated into the issue as one of Gallery quilts. This issue is so special, as it also includes quilts from my close friends, Ginny Robinson and Melissa Herboth (our quilts share gallery pages).

fullsizeoutput_abc

I am super excited to start my year off like this. Who knows what else will come for 2020?

Surviving COVID-19 Quarantine

Who knew that we would find ourselves self-quarantining for at least 12 weeks, wearing handmade masks when we go out, and worrying about 6 feet apart rules. Yesterday, here at home in NC, we finished 6 weeks of quarantine; my company has extended the work from home policy through May 31st; schools in NC are now finishing the year out at home until early June.  I am relieved and thankful that the government and my company are thinking of people’s safety. But y’all it’s been scary.

IMG_0721

I can honestly say that we are doing ok. It has not been all roses. There are days where anxiety gets the best of me and that usually means I can’t sleep. My husband, son and I, though, have got into a good routine. I am somehow, surprisingly, managing work (constant conference calls that can be from 8am – 9pm), supervising school activities, and getting food on the table.

We are adapting to talking to family in different continents at least once a week instead of one or twice a month. It is hard knowing that you can not see them in these times, especially your parents and for us when one of our siblings (my husband’s) is hospitalized, not for COVID other health issues. Thankfully, they are back at home and everyone is doing well.  We are still hopeful that we may make it home (NZ) for Christmas.

Adapting and managing would not be possible though, if I didn’t find balance in doing more creative things. I took a vacation day a couple of weeks ago and just enjoyed being out in the sun in our backyard, spending time collaging, stitching and drawing. It was very calming and stress free. Likewise, updating my quilting journal, cutting fabric swatches, gluing designs images and inspiration photos down, and making notes….it’s just enjoyable. FYI….I hit 50 quilts documented in my journal this week and amazingly I have 31 of those finished. The other 19 are at various stages from not started to tops complete.

And then what would you do without friends?? They are there when my day goes south, if we need to complain about our kids or just share good news. (BTW, if you have not seen John Krasinski’s Some Good News you should). FaceTime once a week with an alcoholic beverage has been a much needed touch point. We just catch-up on all the craziness in our lives.  A couple of weeks ago, we even got together over zoom and sewed a Juniper basket together. It was almost like being in each others sewing spaces, chatting, laughing and enjoying each others company (almost).

I have been thinking too, that I wish I had invested in a flour or yeast company at the moment. I did join the bread making movement this past week too. I have been finding baking, in general, has been rewarding. It has just been nice to have a sweet on hand every week that folks can grab and enjoy for snack. We have enjoyed Chocolate chip cookies, Oatmeal Raisin cookies, Orange Lightening cake, Chocolate nut and raisin bars and fresh No knead bread. This weekend, Lemon Pound cake is on the menu.

The only thing, right now, I wish I could improve on is exercise. I was hoping during this period that I would be able to walk more but that hasn’t happened as much as I wanted. So let’s see. My new challenge for myself, this week, is to get to bed between 10:30 and 11pm, and walk between 7-8 am every week day.

I hope you are all staying safe and doing what you need to get through.  Thinking of you all, especially my friends on the front lines, those in New York area, Italy and Spain. I would love to hear about your coping mechanisms.  What new skill are you learning? What are you, family and friends are doing to stay in touch? What are you baking? Any good recipes?

 

Artist Fundraiser Event @ NCMA

I have been working on transitioning more into being a textile artist lately which involved applying for an artist fellowship, putting a portfolio together, an artist statement, resume and thinking about pieces and project for a submission for a show.  I have to admit that I have had to think differently depending on event or application (below an example of one portfolio). It’s been a good process so far.

I also need more exposure as an artist and not just as a quilter. So, I decided to apply to participate in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s largest fundraiser event – Monster Drawing Rally. The museum is not big like the MET or SFMOMA but it is prominent in North Carolina. I was so thrilled that my portfolio was well received and I was given one of the seventy-five spots to participate.

The fundraiser was a 3 hour event where there were 3 shifts of artists. Twenty-five in each. Each artist had 50 minutes to produce one or more pieces (up to 4), no bigger than 11 x 17 inches. All pieces were sold for $50 and were “raffled” off.

I did prepare for the event and narrowed things down to 3 designs, worked on measurements up front and made sure I packed all the fabric, small iron and sewing machine. And yes, I was going to produce a stitched piece (not quilted) in 50 mins.

I was asked to be on in the last hour (8-9pm) which allowed me time to get food and walk around and see other folks. The Meltdown food truck made the best sandwiches and we had a great view of NCMA’s Ann and Jim Goodnight Park while we waited.

IMG_8438

Luckily, Nancy from @nancy_purvis, a friend and  a veteran (she also participated last year) was at the event too. She helped calm my nerves a little before the event and we were at the same table. She was on the hour before me stitching with paper.

fullsizeoutput_fe2

I was so nervous when my time came up. I set-up and got a good layout with the design on the left top, then below the cutting station, sewing machine in the middle and iron on the right. The pressure was amazing, I mean I have to produce something right there with people watching and asking questions.  Immediate lessons learned….Bring marketing (business cards etc) so people can walk away with your details and have a way to reach you later, precut what you can and change out the blade of your rotary cutter.

I worked on a blue and white minimalist piece. I made sure I did not rush, as I wanted a good quality piece. I thought it turned out well. The only thing I did not like was once I stitched it to paper it dragged the fabric slightly. Next time, I would use interfacing before stitching to the backing paper.

Once the piece was finished, it was place in a bag with two dots (red and green…meaning green was still available and this was removed once sold, leaving just the red). It was then walked to the “auction area” and folks opted in and pulled raffle tickets…highest number won. Below were all the folks that were bidding on my piece. Friends (as I was still in the artist area) reported back like 8-10 people were bidding!!!

fullsizeoutput_fe9

I was so thankful it sold straight away!! I was able to get a quick picture with me and the final pieces before leaving. fullsizeoutput_ff5

Below was the picture that is cataloged in the NCMA’s event. They sent out an image to every artist of all their pieces that were sold. I thought that was really nice. I think they will even connect you with the buyer once they get all the details collected. fullsizeoutput_fe8

I would definitely participate again next year as it was so much fun. It was great to see other artists. I hope my nerves are better the second time around as I would like to enjoy the other artists and the event more.

Community {Part II – Group Activity}

Part II of my community posts is about how you can foster your community with your own group activity, in this case a traveling quilt.  This past year, I had the amazing pleasure to work with Melanie, Valerie, Melissa, Jen, and Sarah in a traveling quilt group. I knew all these wonderful people before we formed this group and knew that we had similarities and an interest in modern quilting. I think its important to work with a group of people you know and and have common things like style, fabric choice and techniques.

Traveling Quilt Concept

How the traveling quilt group worked….well,  we each created a starter kit that described a theme and what we wanted to receive. This kit included:

  • A journal that described the theme, color palette, styles or techniques you wanted. Each person was to add their thoughts around what they created to the journal as it travelled.
  • A “starter” which could be a block or a row in the theme and colors that you chose, so that the person can have an example to work with.
  • Some additional fabric to work with, though folks could add their own as they created their work.
  • Some included a small gift but it was not mandatory.

fullsizeoutput_e1c
Each person (as there were six of us) had two months to add to the quilt. We knew life would get in the way so timings were flexible. Note though, communication was important and if you were late you needed to let folks know where you were up to and how late were you going to be.

Let me take you through a year in our traveling quilt experience (also check out #travelingstitches2018 for more progress shops by others in the group)

My Theme

So before we talk about my theme and project let me give you a little bit of an introduction to me, which I seldom share.

Many of you know I grew up in New Zealand, but I really have not shared my experiences of growing up. My parents were very young when I was born (Mum 18, Dad about to turn 21). They were just starting out, and their first house was in South Auckland, Papatoetoe. I loved growing up in Papatoetoe, and appreciated the education I got, the friends that I made and the opportunities extended to me (Schools: Papatoetoe South Primary, Kedgley Intermediate and Aorere College). What I didn’t realize, until I moved away from New Zealand, is what an amazing multi-cultural experience I was exposed too growing up here. To me this was just the community I belonged to and was welcomed into, it was Whānau. Exposure to the arts of each of the cultures – Maori, Samoan, Raratongan, Tongan, and Fijian has definitely influenced my design and quilting styles.

So what was my theme for my traveling project – was on Maori design. My goal choosing this theme was to share a little bit of my home with everyone and introduce them to a new language, culture and design aesthetic. Aspects that needed to be incorporated in their designs: geometry, black+white+splash of red, no improvisation.

fullsizeoutput_e23

My starter blocks were of a triangular design 60″ long representing a Tukutuku panel from a wharenui (Meeting house) and a design inspired by a Moko (tattoo).

IMG_2365

After a year, you get back all your blocks. I was so impressed, everyone did an amazing job. I laid out all the blocks and worked on the final design for the top. This process was extremely emotional but helped me work through a lot of feelings around the Christchurch terrorist attack, that had occurred 3 days previously.
IMG_6856

Melissa

Melissa’s theme “Ode to the Rhombus”, was inspired by Josef Albers Ode to the Square and his interaction of color. She chose an amazing color palette mostly greens with some dark blues. It was such a fun project, I immediately had a plan and inspiredly our bathroom fan.

img_2452.jpg

With the blocks, I explored the impact on how colors interact with each other and enjoyed the discoveries along the way.

Melanie

Melanie’s concept was about interpretation. She provided everyone with the same instructions, but how you interpreted them was really up to you. At the time of reading the instructions, I was feeling like exploring maximalism within minimalism. Yes, my blocks are the ones where the white strips appear very wide (chunky). By using just black and white you could really see how interpretation played such a large role. At this point, Melanie, Melissa and I had contributed blocks.

IMG_4104

Jen

Jen’s project was one of the most challenging for me. She wanted us to investigate who we are and design blocks thinking about your soul and expression…..and using a yellow only palette!! As I thought about this over a course of a couple of weeks, two ideas emerged. One, that I wear my heart on my sleeve (I could never play poker). This idea was represented by having the seams visible (middle bottom block).

The second idea started with the fact I am a true introvert, most people just don’t realize it. The window block on the right, has the window frame (white) disappearing into the background….and that is so me in a group setting, especially with people I don’t know or a large group. More importantly, while making this block, I realized that I do like being in the background.

Valerie

Strips in navy, white and pops of yellow was Valerie’s theme. I played with a log cabin them and deconstructed it in a few different ways to come up with these blocks.

Choosing the navy as the negative space, I thought was important to the overall balance of the blocks that had come before me (Valerie, Jen, Melanie, and Melissa).  Here is what all the blocks looked like when I passed it off to Sarah – the lucky last to add to Valerie’s quilt.

IMG_5080

Sarah

Lastly, I got to add to Sarah’s quilt. Her theme was outdoor open spaces in the west and she talked about how inspired she was by Utah, Arizona etc. As I had just spent a week at the National Parks in Utah, I did not have problems coming up with inspiration.

The cairns block on the left is appliquéd and inspired by Leon Polk Smith’s work. The mountain block (right), I really wanted to added layers to the foreground to represent the soil or the modified vegetation. I thought this tied in Sarah’s job as an archeologist.

Fostering community with Group projects

This was such a fun activity and I can highly recommend it, but choose your participants carefully. Other ideas for group projects:

  • Choose a theme, and color palette, and just have folks send blocks to you instead of making it a traveling quilt or round robin like activity.
  • Organize a group to explore concepts with each other fostering feedback etc.; Quilt Design a Day for example (more on this later)
  • Charity quilts – making charity quilts for a common cause always pull people together.
  • Sew-ins or quilting bees or retreats with friends or guild members (more to come on this as well)
  • Instagram events like quilt alongs, or daily practice activities (#100days)

Also, don’t forget fostering your community does not always have to be sewing related. Try setting up just social events with your quilting community:

  • A potluck lunch or dinner.
  • Picnic at a local park with family included.
  • Visit an exhibit together at a museum, quilt show or state fair.
  • Movie night, this maybe at a local outdoor event, or rent “How to make an American Quilt” (still with a quilt theme).
  • Met at a local bar, restaurant or cafe.
  • Try other art activities together like pottery or art+wine.

These are just some ideas I have tried. What have you all tried to do as a group to foster your quilty community?

Community Posts:
Community Introduction – Part I

Community {Part I}

Sorry for the leave of absence. No excuses here, just life getting busy. I come back with a conversation dear to my heart, that I want to explore more with you all. Community.

IMG_6856

Quilting has provided me with an amazing community which I did not have before. I am extremely lucky to have a great group of women around me who I call friends. They are there to listen, offer support and laugh or cry. These women are not just local to me but are also people I met virtually online.

fullsizeoutput_e00

Isn’t it funny how some things have changed but others have not. Quilting not only has bought me my community but think of the quilting bees/circles of women who have come before us who also found community. You can easily find photos of women, in the past, sitting on front porches hand stitching and making quilts. It has been such an iconic past-time that a movie was made about it “How to make an American Quilt” (based on a book by Whitney Otto), then more recently, finding community via quilting has been the center of Frances O’Roark Dowell’s audio book (Quilt Fiction podcast) “Friendship Album 1933”.

IMG_2574

Looking back has made me ask questions about my experiences such as;

How did I become part of community and how did it start?
What have I contributed to the community? What can I do to give back?
What makes community strong and keep them going?

IMG_7086

I don’t have all the answers yet (and likely never will) but over the next few posts I would love to explore and share my own community experiences with you all. Also, I would love to hear from you all about your own experiences. Let’s explore similarities, how did you find your community, share things that worked for your group, things that didn’t work out (without it being at someone’s expense – always be nice) or are you still looking for your people?