AQC 2017 Day 3 – Play Day

My morning walk thought…wouldn’t “Wheatstalk” be the best name every for a huge country music festival…just sayin. I’m sure someone out there has already thought of this but it it cracked me up when it crossed my mind and I had to share. 🙂

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Maybe it’s the soft hues of the wheat influencing me but yesterday I played with a much more subdued color palette than usual. Below are  images of the collage that’s emerging.

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Art Quilt Campus 2017- Day 1 Highlights

My first day at Art Quilt Campus (AQC) 2017 was as bright as the morning sun promised it would be. I’m attending a week early this year so have had the pleasure of meeting a new group of artists and seeing their work. Amazing sums it up. The people are wonderful and their work is innovative, exciting and inspiring.

This being my fourth year attending AQC, it all feels so comfortable and everything runs like a well oiled machine thanks to Anna’s close attention to the details of hosting and leading the week long fest of creativity. The personal touches make all the difference.

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I am in the midst of beginning several new pieces, most of which are still in the design phase. It’s hard to choose which one to work on first so I ‘ll work on several at the same time so I can switch back and forth between pieces when I get stuck or just need a change of scenery.

Here’s a glimpse of a fabric audition for a pieces that will employ my hand dyed fabrics. I’m still deciding on the final cast of characters.

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After all our hard work yesterday we reconvened after dinner for the chance to show a piece we’ve each created over the past year and to share techniques, challenges and solutions, and other insights into creating with fabric and fibre. It was wonderful to fall asleep last night with those beautiful images dancing in my head.

If you want to know more about Day One at AQC check out Anna Hergert’s blog post Old Home Time: Art Quilt Campus 2017 off to a great start!.

Inspiration Kantha by Anna Hergert

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If you love all things textile, and particularly slow stitch mark making like embroidery, be sure to check out Anna Hergert’s new book Inspiration Kantha – Creative Stitchery and Quilting with Asia’s Technique.

In her book, Anna, an accomplished textile artist and teacher, opens up the world of kantha by sharing the mystery of this ancient technique that is at once sublimely complex and simple.

Step-by-step instructions accompanied by professional photographs will guide you through several projects to get you going on your personal discovery of this beautiful art.

A Few Little Pieces

I’ve been working on  some small pieces over the past few weeks. Here’s a look.

The piece on the left entitled Testing the Water #1  is the 6″ x 8″ piece I’ve contributed to the SAQA Spotlight Auction that will be held during the SAQA Convention in Lincoln, Nebraska at the end of April 2017. Go here for more about the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).

The piece on the right entitled Three Fridays Intersect is a 7″ x 10″ piece that will be part of the SAQA-Atlantic 2017 Trunk Show to travel throughout the Atlantic region in the coming months.

Last but not least is something in a more traditional vein. Below is the 10″ x 10″ block  I have contributed to the group quilt being made by the Celtic Quilt Guild in celebration of Canada 150 – the sesquicentennial. (How could I resist a chance to use that word!) The quilt will be made up of original designed blocks featuring each province and territory. My block represents Manitoba. I have attempted to capture the wheat fields, the water, the hills and the unique Red River cart that played a significant role in land transportation in the area that eventually became Manitoba. The background of the block is hand appliqued. The cart is machine stitched and the cattails are embroidered and embellished with wool needle felting for the fuzzy tops. A fun project!

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Your Face Here?

…or maybe someone you know?

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Mental health challenges are a big deal, a really big deal, that often seem to hit with a bang, seemingly sneaking up from nowhere. But look closer.

I’m fine thanks. How are you?  is a piece I worked on last year when mental health weighed heavy on my mind for many reasons. I started and worked on it under the tutelage of Anna Hergert at Art Quilt Campus in Saskatchewan last July. For the piece, I needed a face and mine was conveniently located so it’s me you see but it could be the face of anyone.

When I started working all I could focus on was the dark, dark side of mental health. However, an inspiring and creative woman whom I consider both a mentor and a friend, reminded me that there is always the hope of good health. Her words guided me as I continued.

The result is not a masterpiece but I share it for two reasons.

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First, it’s a not so subtle opportunity to discuss a subject that’s hard to talk about and that makes people uncomfortable. The reality is that there’s a lot of shitty feelings, and anger, fear, pain, sadness and despair that goes along with poor mental health for those dealing with it directly and for their families, friends, and colleagues. But we can’t do much about it until we recognize it. So, this is my effort to get you to stop and look closer. Don’t choose to be blind to it. See it, think and talk about it, and act positively however you can. It’s better than doing nothing and could help lead to understanding, joy and healing.

Second, in making this piece I learned that creating helps. It can help when all the thinking, talking, analyzing, yelling, crying, or silence in the world can’t. I don’t know why but it does. Try it.

That’s it.

(For those interested…I made the piece using cotton, wool felt, transfer paper, synthetic thread and vinyl mesh screen.)

50 Birthday Wishes

I’m often amazed at the creativity and thoughtfulness of my friends. Late last Fall my friend D. shared a birthday surprise she was planning for her friend A. who is celebrating 50 years today. My friend D. arranged for 50 of her own friends and family to send a birthday card to A. from various locations near and far.

Although I don’t know A., I happily and eagerly agreed to be among the co-conspirators and decided I would make a textile birthday card. I had a vague notion of what I wanted to create but to my dismay, as the date by which I needed to send the card neared, my idea hadn’t morphed into anything concrete. I was about to just try to run with my initial unformed idea when the appropriateness of “tree of life” imagery struck me. As soon as it hit I did a quick sketch of what I was hoping to recreate with fabric and thread.

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Fifty circles of various size supported and surrounding that tree representing 50 years…some of great significance and others less so. The piece came together quickly with remnants from another project and a  blue cotton dyed this summer.

Then it sat, waiting. I pondered how to quilt it. Generally, I prefer hand-stitching because of the control of where to place stitches but with time ticking on, I decided on a quicker approach of highly random free-motion machine stitching. It also seemed a better choice to reflect the often random and unexpected events that add depth, detail and color to our lives.

I finished the card in a flurry and sent it off in the rush and hubbub of pre-Christmas preparations and hadn’t thought much of it again until today… the big “5” “0” for A. 

So, to A. …Happy Birthday and here’s to many more years of growth and color. 

And to D. …may everyone have a friend like you along the way.