Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A post all their own

Because these quilts were so incredible, they get a post all to themselves. It's a series of 3 African Women quilts, by Belva Cauthen from Canton, and they took my breath away. I was drawn back over and over to examine them. I've probably looked at every stitch on them 20 times or more. Each time I would see a new piece of fabric, or a different quilting motif I didn't see before. I appreciated the fact that she didn't use only African motif fabrics (there was even some Chinese print stuff in there) but that everything worked together to give the overall effect she was going for. Belva (I was fortunate enough to catch her at the show and discuss the pieces in detail) designed her own icons and some of the little pieced parts. I adore the diamond in a square thing (the row below the houses in #2) and she came up with that herself. I love the way she carries the motifs from one quilt to the next, and the intuitive use of the icons. Sailboats! Who woulda thunk it? But it absolutely works in the context of the quilt. She also uses a VERY wide binding that adds almost an additional border. Very effective. I can't say enough about how much I love these quilts, and maybe she will take my suggestion and try to get them in a gallery somewhere to get her work "out there" for everyone to see.

Greater Jackson Quilt Celebration

Some random quilts from the show. Ignore the crappy photography and assume the quilts are absolutely wonderful, despite my tendency to make everything look like it measures 41x93 with an irregular edge. They're actually all pretty square, with straight edges and such. I'm beginning to think I accidentally bought the camera with the fun house mirror lens on it. A very well-deserved Best of Show, "A Walk in the Mountains and in the Valleys", by Lorene N. Paris of Brandon, MS.

Next up is Ann Fox's Judge's choice winner, "Peace and Joy" which is, as always, exquisite.

"Tropical Sunshine" by Jackie Watkins of Ridgeland just blew me away too. I LOVELOVELOVE that shot of yellow through the middle of it.

Another of my personal favorites is the fairly small "Ree's Rhapsody" by Sara Ridgeway Running of Jackson. She worked from a picture instead of a pattern for this one and I think it came out beautifully!

Marilyn Rose's "Southwestern Carpenter's Star" was hanging in front of a window and looked like stained glass with the sunlight flowing through it. Nancy McNally did an incredible job with the different quilting motifs in each panel.

And those of you who know of my obsession with Santa in all shapes and sizes will KNOW I went straight to this "Victoria Santas" by Nancie Jones of Madison. Perfect placement and use of the crystals too.

And no pictures from the show would be complete without at least one Of Dorinda Evans' Kaffe Fassett quilts. This is "Round Peg in a Square Hole" and it's one of my favorites. I get my Kaffe fix from watching Dorinda working with them, so I don't have to use any myself.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Look what turned up in today's paper! Page 2B of the Clarion Ledger, in State/Metro.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

rust staining workshop

We had a BLAST yesterday, even taking into account a mis-count of the number of students. It was a perfect, beautiful Mississippi day for it too. Mid-80s and sunny as all get out. It was nice under the trees though. I did a little show and tell with different methods I've used on my own fabrics, then some technical information about different ways to make stuff rust and how to neutralize and process the fabric afterwards, how to get different effects and add more layers of design. Then the fun began! We got out the fabric and the rusty items. Lordie, Lordie did they bring some great rusty stuff to play with too! Some wonderfully intricate pieces and some really great things like drill bits and old garden tools, along with the requisite rusty nails and bolts. We didn't even have to get into the meager supply of my own in-case-of-emergency rust. We tried white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a mixture of both, and some we weren't even sure what we were using. My motto was "try it!" so we did. It turned out that some of the pieces were the ones that stain immediately, so there was a lot of instant gratification as we laid the pieces out and wrapped them up. The timing was pretty good too since we finished wrapping the fabric and got it laid out in the sun to cook about the time we broke for lunch. It gave us a few minutes to sit down and visit (and cool off) before we ate. Lori laid out a veritable feast for us too. We did a little go-around during lunch introducing ourselves, and it turns out I was completely surrounded by "real" artists and BFAs and art professors! I spent about 5 minutes being really intimidated until it occurred to me that this is how they become real artists! By learning and sharing and doing and pushing the limits of technique and doing lots and lots of what-happens-if-I-do-this experimentation. It didn't matter if I have a BFA because I know how to do rust staining and I'm willing to teach them!

The afternoon was taken up with gelatin plate monoprinting. We did that inside and had more fun than should be legal on a Saturday. I demonstrated about three or four pulls and off they went! I wish I had been able to get pictures of us working and some of the final prints, but my camera would have wound up covered in paint if I had, so I'll have to just tell you how incredible some of the pieces were. Lots of foam stamps, leaves, a wooden cross, I don't even know what all, were used as imprints and resists. It took about 2 minutes for them to get REALLY creative with the positive/negative/direct methods too. We only had about 2.5 hours to work with the plates, but they all left saying they were making a stop at the grocery on the way home to buy gelatin. I just LOVE when students actually want to use the techniques more than just class samples.

The last item on the agenda was to go unwrap the rust and see how much progress it had made. A lot in some cases, very little in others. We corrected some problems and I gave some tips for finishing it up at home, but all in all, they looked good for the first 4 hours. Some looked absolutely incredible already, including Lori's curtains that were wrapped on the frames of old car seats. Those are going to be VERY impressive when finished.
A beautiful piece gifted to me by the hostess, Lori Felix http://www.lorifelix.com/ and trust me, the photography on her website is MUCH better than the shot I took of my own piece. Her colors are so rich and deep, and they don't show very well in my photo. Go look at her work if you get a chance. It's beautiful. Or buy some if the spirit moves you! http://www.cafepress.com/artwithpassion

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Special Judge's Recognition"

Gye Nyame has an extra blue ribbon on it! A big one! Made with real satin ribbon! Machine embroidered! I'm not sure exactly what defines it since it's sort of a made-up award as far as I can tell, but it's one of five "extra" ribbons. Best of show, best use of theme, 2 judge's choices and this one. However they decided on what it means and how to award it, it wound up on my quilt! Everything I entered took a ribbon (2 blue, 4 red) which truly surprised me. I'm not arguing, mind you, or offering to give them back, but there were some things I would have changed/fixed/improved if I'd had the time. The stuff I agonize over as important to me frequently doesn't hold as much weight with the judges. I was just happy to be able to hold my own with the quilting aspects of the judging though. I never really worried about the art aspects. Between the ribbons at the show and being accepted for the craft guild, I'm walking on air this week. Strangely enough, I'm excited about being asked to chair the Ed Committee for MQA too.

The reception went well and the quilts were gorgeous. The women who spent the last 2 days hanging (and un-hanging and re-hanging) all 200 quilts deserve a raise or a gold watch or something. The building is beautiful and showcases the quilts very well. I managed to only spend about $50 at the vendors too, and that included a book, so I did ok. I got some more pictures of other people's quilts too, but seeing as how this is my blog, I get to show and write about mine first. I'll post some of the other ones tonight when I get back from Magnolia, and of course I'll have pictures from that class to post later too. Pictures are always good on a blog!

Friday, September 14, 2007


The "fat envelope" arrived from the MS Craftsmen's Guild (http://www.mscraftsmensguild.org/main.cfm) Wednesday and I'm now officially an exhibiting member! My friend Dorinda applied at the same time (she's the one who forced me into applying too) but since she lives on the back end of nowhere, her fat letter didn't arrive until yesterday. We've already informed the spouses that we WILL be celebrating, and it will probably include some fermented fruit. I know it's a lot to ask, but I wish there had been some sort of comment sheet attached after the jurying process for those. I also realize that comment sheets are a "quilt" thing, and not an art thing. It's hard to stand with one foot in each arena sometimes. I am consoling myself with the fact that the jurying was done by professional artists and crafts people, and they had my quilts for 3 weeks to poke and prod at as much as they liked, and STILL said "due to the excellent quality of your work" anyway!

Today, we're off to hang the remaining quilts for the show to open tomorrow and then the reception is this evening at 5:30. The workshop tomorrow in Magnolia and then back to the show Sunday to actually see it all set up and then help with the live auction at 2:00. I have a jury summons for next week so I have no idea what my schedule will look like.

The craft guild is having a reception for the new members on Oct 12, and the letter says we can show some of our work at that time. No idea how much we can show, but I probably have a few pieces small enough to use. Next month, I'm scheduled to do a lecture for a local stitchery guild and then the big Fall gathering of MQA (http://www.mississippiquilt.org/) in Oxford, where the quilts from the Quart Bag Quilt challenge will be debuted. And unbelievably, I already have 3 presentations scheduled in November.

I'll try to get pictures posted tonight or maybe tomorrow night of some of the quilts at the show. We had some incredibly beautiful pieces submitted this year. I was also amazed at the total and complete cooperation of all the volunteers who got it from the good idea stage to the final show! The days I was there to help, not only did everyone immediately do what was asked of them, but when they finished that task they came back and asked for more! There wasn't a lot of standing around chatting unless we were waiting for something specific. I have gotten to know some of the women better, and met some I didn't know before but want to get to know better. A sea change from 6 years ago, that's for sure. I think there are a few who have decided that maybe I do make 'real' quilts now. I'm also looking forward to the comment sheets from the judges. That will give me a little better idea of what needs work and what looks good. What would really look good is colorful ribbons hanging on the quilts! Wish me luck on that. I have confidence in most of the 6 I submitted, but a couple of them are not what I would have liked them to be. Hopefully, that's just my perfectionist gene kicking in and not something that is a glaring error to everyone else. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Until I actually have something to say, I'll just post a couple of pictures of framed minis I did for the 80/20 auction. These are completely finished small quilts, about 7x9, mounted without glass in frames. Any idea what to ask for as a minimum bid at the auction? Even if they don't sell, these are 2 I'd be happy to bring home.
The African piece is rust stained fabric with the African skyline cut from a piece of commercial fabric, a leftover flower from another African piece I did last year, and a mask cut from a commercial print with frayed burlap beard. The white elephants are beads and the whole thing is free-motion quilted.
The sax piece is a glittered sax Christmas tree ornament, the hands and face are black polymer clay and the background is a commercial print with music notes on it. Sheer metallic gold netting with an overlay of heavy black mesh. 'Liquid gold' applique notes and echo quilted lines.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Just take a deep breath"

As soon as I get a few minutes to take my own advice I'll get a new post up. For right now, a quick hit-and-run 'hello' will have to do. Our big local show is in 2 weeks so I'll have pictures then.