Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Howloween!

A few of my creepiest things.....

Wall-e and EVE took top prize.  Cool!

This washer/dryer duo won a prize at the Newtek Halloween party!

Some BOO peeps make an appearance in Goodnight Moon
(photo courtesy of my friend, Billie Hall)

My dining room table
(note all the ancient, Halloween party constructed spiders and ghosts that grace my light fixture?)

I love Halloween, and I miss having little kids around to share the excitement.  It was great to see all the excited kids (large and small) at Tim's office.  There was even a costume contest!  I wonder if we will get any trick-or-treaters tonight?  I haven't been home on Halloween in quite a while because of the Houston quilt festival, so it will be fun to see if we get any customers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another daughter's artistic talent "shines through" for the holiday..

Here is my oldest daughter's surfer-dude pumpkin carving
(She used her clay-carving tools to make this)

Life Drawing

My second daughter has moved back to TX from Brooklyn for a few months to work as a production assistant on my husband's project.  It is such a delight to have her back home for more than an extended period!  Other than holidays she hasn't lived here since she left for college in 2003.
As a visual art student at the local magnet school for the arts she was encouraged to attend life-drawing sessions that are offered twice-weekly at a local art academy.  Actually, all 3 of my daughters, all visual art majors in college, took advantage of these drawing sessions over the years, and I would occasionally go with them.
We agreed that we should take advantage of this opportunity and last night was our first evening of life-drawing at the Coppini Academy since she graduated from high school.  I'm going to share a plein aire oil painting that she did of her father when she was in high school.
Tim, sitting in his ancient (and now dead) pick-up truck.
I remember when she painted this because it was cold outside!

Sketching at the life-drawing class

Thursday evening life-drawing sessions are set up in the following way:  15 one-minute poses, then 12 five-minute poses, one 10-minute pose, and finally a 20-minute pose.  The drawing session lasted 2.5 hours.  I worked with both an ebony pencil and charcoal.  The following are selected poses of all my drawings (these in charcoal) from last night:

5 minute pose

5 minute pose

20 minute pose

We hope to make this a regular habit.  The Wednesday evening sessions consist of longer poses.  We think we need to do a couple more Thursday sessions which, frankly, are more challenging than drawing longer poses, in order to get our drawing juices flowing again.  It was so enjoyable, and the perfect follow-up to my portraiture workshop in September.
My goal is to start painting regularly again.  I hope to paint in both oil and thickened dye.  I have a few plans "up my sleeve" for pieces I want to do on cloth.  I miss painting.  It must be time to return to it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alliance "Crazy For Quilts" auction starts today!

First week of eBay Auction Starts Today!
Crazy for Quilts logo   ebay logoSynchronize your clocks! The first of three weeks of quilt auctions begins at 9 pm (Eastern), tonight, on   
We're hoping all our members and supporters can help boost  auction sales: this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts, and all the proceeds help fund our mission to preserve and share the stories of quilts and quiltmakers.

Any of you who saw these 85 quilts on exhibit recently at the IQF Crazy for QuiltsInternational Quilt Festival in Houston  know that the photos don't do justice to their craftsmanship (IQF exhibit pictured at left). All are just 16 inches square, giving people a chance to buy an affordable work by a major art quilter or buy an up-and-coming quiltmaker's work, often for less than $100. Bidding begins at $50.
Please note that the quilts won't pop up on the auction website until bidding begins at 9 pm, but as in previous years, you can go to the Alliance for American Quilts website and download a pdf file with photos of each weekly auction. Once the auction starts, simply go and search for keyword "alliance for american quilts." You'll find complete auction how-tos on the Alliance website. The first week's auction will end at 9 pm (Eastern) next Monday, Nov. 2. 

CFQ_KathrynWagarWrightAmong the 29 quilts in the first week's auction are 3 of the 6 quilts that won major prizes in the contest, including the whimsical first prize quilt, "Crazy Cow Polarity" by Kathryn Wagar Wright. Here's a photo of that quilt (at right) and a couple more to tempt you.

Honorable Mention winner Amy Munson's "Crazy for Beads(at left).


Another Honorable Mention winnerSandra Starley's "Crazy for Pink" (at right).

Happy bidding! We'll be back in your in-box soon with a report on our recent reception in Houston and other news.

Gratefully, Meg Cox

President, The Alliance for American Quilts

The Alliance for American Quilts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Membership dues and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you no longer wish to receive e-mail from the Alliance, please click on the SafeUnsubscribe link below. Please remember to update your registration if you change your email address; just click here to go to our sign-up page.

Grandma Jenison's Bread

A much-used recipe for bread is hand-written in the front of the bread cookbook

Although my mother-in-law came to bread-baking somewhat late in life, she rapidly excelled at this skill.
Her bread, rolls, and pastries are the delight of all who have the pleasure of tasting them.  While in Iowa this summer I observed her working in the kitchen and took this photo.

I was reminded of another photo, taken many years ago (circa 1986) at this very same spot:

These are my 2 oldest daughters
helping their grandmother bake bread

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Toast to Women

Rachel Parris, a good friend and fellow Houston festival late-night celebrant, taught us a marvelous toast a few years ago. We try to recite it at every gathering. Pokey Bolton, founder and editor of Quilting Arts Magazine, took a video of the toast during one of our nightly painting sessions in our hotel room. I think it is worth sharing!

To Strong Women: May We Know Them, May We Raise Them, May We BE Them!

Amen sisters!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Group quilt entry in "Quilts: A World of Beauty"

"Group Conversations", our entry into the group quilt category in
"Quilts:  A World of Beauty"

My photograph in the "Eye of the Quilter" exhibition

Amsterdam Alley

Of the 3 photographs I submitted for consideration in the photography exhibit, "Eye of the Quilter", I am very pleased that this one was chosen!  I took this photo one year ago while I was walking down a street in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  I love the graffiti on the walls, the angularity of the shot, and the cyclist in the center.  It was a fortunate moment for me!
Below are the other 2 that I sent for consideration.  Interestingly, the shot of the beach sand in Cambria was the subject of another photographer's submission in the exhibit!  It gave me goosebumps when I saw it!

windswept sand on Cambria beach, California

A view from inside the Seattle public library

Monday, October 19, 2009

Houston festival: Last Day

The contents of our packed "stuff", minus 2 bags!
Scary, isn't it?!

We had to check out early from the hotel as we were teaching a workshop and both had an Open Studio session this afternoon.  It gave us incentive to get things moving early on Sunday.  We had rolling bags stuffed with workshop/Open Studios supplies, so there would be about 25% more stuff on the cart otherwise.

Another view of the "Eye of the Quilter" photography exhibition

Kathy York poses in front of her wonderful quilt that was
in the "Edges" special exhibition

We finished our time at festival by wandering back through the quilt exhibits and spending time with all the wonderful artwork.  I managed to spend some bucks at the Superior Threads booth.  I do love Superior thread!  In addition I bought 2 wonderful, lightweight shawls that are 80% cashmere and 20% silk.  Both have a gorgeous iridescent weave.  I purchased two heavier pashmina shawls from him last year and he recognized me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surviving The Runway

Surviving the Runway "Tim Gunn" wannabes:
l-r: Melanie Testa, me, Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates-Perez, Pokey Bolton

Barb Forrister unleashed her "inner Madonna" on the runway.
Look out John Paul Gaultier!

although this photo is blurry, I think it sums up the action!
Go Barb!  BTW:  congratulations on winning 1st place!!!

4 friends who participated in the insanity

If you were on the show floor about 5:30 on Saturday evening, you KNOW you heard something......
loud music, cheering. laughter, hooting:  in other words, you heard Make-It-University's "Surviving The Runway" challenge!  I'm never sure who has more fun:  the participants or the bystanders!  At one point in the evening I glanced across the aisle and everyone working in the booths nearby was dancing and singing!  My talented friend, Barbara Forrister, from Austin, really busted some moves on the catwalk.


Rayna stops by MIU

My friend, the talented Rayna Gillman, arrived at festival on Saturday afternoon with her friend and fellow artist Russ Little.  Jamie and I snuck out with them for a cup of Starbuck's coffee upstairs.  I haven't seen Rayna in almost 3 years and it was fun to catch up!  It was a great pleasure to meet Russ.  In addition to attending festival they have work in the "Unexpected Patterns:  Quake!" show at the Archway Gallery in Houston.
More information about the Art Cloth Network can be found here:

Open Studios

I am demonstrating deconstructed screen-printing using thickened procion dye.
Yes, I am that crazy.

Melanie Testa discusses her work with an admirer

Judy Coates-Perez & her daughter Nina

Frances Holliday Alford

Jamie Fingal

Lyric Kinard

Here are a few of the artists who shared their work in Open Studios during festival.  Open Studios was a wonderful opportunity to work while festival attendees stopped by to chat and ask questions.  I had a 2-hour slot on both Thursday and Saturday and it was a lot of fun doing de-constructed screen-printing with thickened dye.

SAQA sign

Here is the SAQA sign above the booth on the show floor
My quilt, "InVitro #5:  Microscopy" is in the lower left corner

Although this photo isn't that great, I wanted to get a shot of it because my quilt, InVitro #5, is on it!
Woot Woot!

Saturday's postcard workshop @ Make-It-University

Student Postcards from the Saturday class

Students discuss their printing techniques during the postcard
workshop in Make-It-University Houston

Four friends show their finished postcards.

"Wish You Were Here:  A Postcard From Houston" is a mark-making workshop disguised as a postcard
workshop.  My goal was to introduce students to a few techniques for creating unique marks on the surface of both cloth and paper by monoprinting on gelatin plates, creating rubbings, stamping, and script.  These unique creations were subsequently cut and collaged together, then fused to create a unique construction.  Each participant wrote themselves a message on the back of their card.
Thanks to all my students:  you were awesome!  Keep playing!

Friday's Postcard workshop at Make-It-University

Here are some of the postcards my workshop students created in Thursday's
"Wish You Were Here:  A Postcard From Houston" @ Make-It-University

Workshop participants focus on monoprinting imagery onto cloth

I was thrilled with how great the students' work turned out at Thursday's workshop.
Thanks to all of you who participated!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday's Stamp-making/printing workshop at Make-It-University

A workshop participant constructs one side of her fun-foam stamp

Look what we did!

Jamie Fingal and I co-taught two Make-It-University workshops involving stamp-making and printing cloth with acrylic paint.  We thoroughly enjoyed our students!  It is such a pleasure to observe someone having an "aha!" moment in class:  the realization that this is a useful technique to add to their art toolbox.  As a teacher, nothing is more satisfying than seeing those moments.  Thanks to each and every one of you who participated in our workshops.  We truly appreciate you!

Celebrating Ten Years of Saving Our Stories: Alliance for American Quilts

The sponsor acknowledgement for the event

Frances Holliday Alford chats with Sherri McCauley and another friend
(Ricky Tims in background)

Jamie Fingal visits with Sherry Boram at the reception

Friday started with a friendly gathering of guests and "interviewees" of the Alliance For American Quilts' "Quilters:  Save Our Stories" ten-year anniversary celebration.  The gathering was an opportunity to celebrate the success of the program to document stories of quilt makers from all walks of life.

Late Night Fun in Our Room

A few of our feet around our painted canvas, a communal art project that emerged during the late-night gathering in our hotel room Thursday.