Thursday, March 31, 2011

Perhaps my favorite picture from NYC

Melly Testa and me, taken by my daughter 
in the NYC subway.
saying farewell to each other.  For now.

More images from "Infinite Variety"

 I was mesmerized by the cast shadows from the light fixtures

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Kind of Candy Store

My contribution to the fundraising quilts for the Alliance for American Quilts is late.  I'm a tardy girl.
I needed to make time for this project before the holidays, but that sure didn't happen.  In a way, I'm glad.
As part of a holiday gift exchange with the Austin bee I belong to I received a box of delightful goodies from my friend and fellow Alliance Board member, Frances Holliday Alford.  I received yoyos, small hand-embroidered squares, among other delights.
My 16-inch (still unfinished at the edges) quilt is called, "My Kind of Candy Store", which is a collaboration of sorts between myself and the queen of all bower birds, my friend Frances.  Frances has a collection of embellishments that would put any bead and embellishment store to shame.  Her new studio space in Vermont, aptly named "Embellishments" is a sort of wonderland that would bring any beading enthusiast to tears.  I was on hand to watch Mark Lipinski perform a sort of "self-baptism" into the bead religion at the altar of Frances' bead studio.  You think I'm making this up?  I have photos:
Mark's expression of amazement as he enters the "bead and embellishment" room
Mark immerses himself in the riches of Frances' 
color-separated bead drawers.  A separate drawer for every color.

Here is an image of the stacked jars of smaller beads and spools.
Here is the quilt I created with my Spoonflower cloth, beads, and Frances' yoyos:


An Infinite Variety (of red and white quilts)

I had a number of reasons to make a trip to NYC:  I have a daughter in school here, I have a dear friend who is in the midst of chemo here, I had a board-related function for the Alliance for American Quilts.
But if the only thing I had come to see was "Infinite Variety:  Three Centuries of Red & White Quilts", if I had flown in from Texas, gone to this exhibit, gone back to the airport and flown home to Texas, it would have been worth it.
Martha Stewart viewed the exhibit last Thursday, and wrote that it is the most breath-taking exhibit of quilts she has ever seen.
 the central circular column of quilts.
The lighting was extraordinary!  Each quilt was individually illuminated.
From a distance, each "column" of quilts appeared to glow.

This group of women includes New Yorkers, Australians, and British.
They traveled here specifically for the show.
Mark Lipinski (back facing the camera) kneels to chat with them in the refreshment area
My daughter is the hair-twirler in the foreground.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Come See Us in Cincinnati!

Jamie Fingal and I will be teaching in Cincinnati at the 
International Quilt Festival.

We still have openings in our class:
Sat, Apr 9th - 6 hour class
"Musical Chairs:  A Painted Canvas Adventure"  (Class #406)

Come play with us!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another avenue for sending "comfort quilts" to Japan....

This was posted by Valerie Hearder on the SAQA newslist.  It is another option for anyone who is considering sending a quilt or quilts to people who have been displaced due to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan:

This morning I received an email from Naomi Ichikawa, Editor of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin Magazine.
Naomi lives in Tokyo and her mother and brother survived the tsunami in Sendai.

Naomi asked me to please spread the word about the plea for comfort quilts.
I hope you can help with this.

Here is Naomi's request:

Dear Valerie
It is still bad situation now in Japan. 
We are still nervous about shaking and radiation,but no way to escape.

I start to announce to the quilters to send us comfort quilts for the
people who are suffered.I would like to do it to the world quilters.
We will deliver the comfort quilts to the people who are very difficult
Could you please help to announce it to the quilters?

We accept any size of quilts(baby to adult).new or unused.
The deadline would be the end of May or later.

★Send the quilts to:
(until the middle of April)
Naomi Ichikawa,Editor of Patchwork Quilt tsushin
Patchwork Tsushin Co.,Ltd
5-28-3,Hongo,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo,Japan zip:113-0033

(after the middle of April)
Naomi Ichikawa
Patchwork Tsushin Co.,Ltd
2-21-2,Yushima,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo,Japan zip:113-0034

I will appreciate if you help me.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Quilts of compassion for Japanese children

I am posting this email (with permission) written by Luana Rubin of about  how we can help the children affected by the earthquake in Japan.  This was originally sent out on March 16th, which  was National Quilting Day.

eQuilter Creative Nudge - How Can We Help?
What a difference a week makes...

Last week I was sharing some delightful closeup photos from the Tokyo Quilt Festival, and a week later we are watching the news and trying to comprehend the enormity of the still-unfolding tragic events in Japan.

The best thing we can all do right now, and over the coming months, is to donate whatever we can afford to *trusted* disaster relief organizations. Not just today, or next week, but next month, and even a year from now. Mark the one year anniversary on your calendar now - March 11, 2012. I guarantee that Japan will still be struggling to recover a year from now. It is interesting to note that the 6 month anniversary will fall on Sept 11 - the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

For those of you who want to help right away, but can't afford to donate money, I know there is an intense desire to take what you DO have (fabric, and time, perhaps?) to make and donate comfort quilts to the victims of the quake and tsunami.

eQuilter is partnering with Mission of Love to send a container of disaster relief supplies, and donated quilts, to the victims of this disaster in Japan. It is going to take a little time to work out the details, but knowing the relief effort must be sustained past the first few weeks and months, I trust that we can all work together to send something meaningful to those who have lost so much.

We will ask you to either ship the donated quilts directly to Mission of Love in Youngstown Ohio, or deliver them *in person* to eQuilter in Boulder Colorado. DO NOT ship them to us in Boulder - any shipped quilt donations should be sent directly to Mission of Love.

Shipping to Boulder will only delay the arrival of your quilts in Youngstown Ohio. eQuilter will be happy to cover the cost of shipping quilts from Boulder to Ohio, but only if they are dropped off in person at our warehouse.

Feel free to send us some feedback on when you can get the quilts to us or Mission of Love. We want to give you some time to make simple quilts and get them to MOL in time to be packed securely in the container, but we don't want to wait 6 months either!

After 9/11, eQuilter sent out a call for donated quilts, and with the help of Mission of Love and hundreds of compassionate quilters, we collected and distributed 3000 quilts to families and especially children who had a loss on 9/11. The most crucial part is making sure the quilts are personally handed to the victims and survivors - not piled up and forgotten in a warehouse somewhere.

Other ideas for how you can help by making quilts to help Japan:

Watch for other Japan fundraiser events in your local area, and donate a special quilt to be raffled off to raise funds.

Go to your next quilt guild meeting, and talk about either making a quantity of children's comfort quilts for this project,
plan a fundraiser raffle quilt for your next big guild event, and have several people donate blocks which will be made into an exquisite group quilt...with a Japanese theme.

If you have a local group that is volunteering to go help with recovery in Japan, ask if they could take a few comfort quilts to distribute to victims.

Be sure to put your name, address, and a message of Hope on a label, on the backside of the quilt. Even if you don't hear back from the recipient, they will surely read your message of caring. Use a permanent waterproof pen like a Pigma or Sharpie, write on a light colored fabric, use a double-sided fusible and hand-tack for security.

Fabric suggestions:
Asian fabrics are nice, but young adults and children in Japan love Western fabrics. "Shabby chic" florals and "cute" prints are very popular for adults, bright happy prints are great for the kids, and traditional Asian prints might be most appreciated by the older generation.

To all of you who are willing to make and donate a quilt to a total stranger on the other side of the world who has suffered unimaginable loss - we will work to make sure your gift of love goes into the hands of those most in need.

I'd like to suggest that you make small personal-sized quilts for a child or small adult. That could be from 46" x 60" for a child's cot quilt, to 60" x 68" for a lap quilt, or 65" x 85" for a small twin size.

Consider backing it with flannel if you have it on hand, for warmth. Don't be afraid to piece together the batting from your batting scraps (butt the ends together and join with a zigzag stitch) or even piece together the backing.

It is hard to believe that just 6 weeks ago I was in Japan, visiting with my quilter friends in Tokyo, and marveling at the handwork of the talented quilters there. One of our featured Japanese designers -Keiko Goke - lives in Sendai which was hardest hit. She is fine, but enduring loss of power, empty grocery stores, and the general chaos of the situation.

I have emailed my friends in Japan to let them know that we are all thinking of them, praying and sending them love, and that we will do whatever we can to help with the recovery.

We will keep you posted, via our newsletters, as the details of this project come into focus.

As I write this, it is National Quilting Day, and it seems like the perfect time to ask you to make a quilt full of love, for someone in need.

... sharing your passion for fabric...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flour Paste Resist Tutorial

I am fascinated with the effects of pressure on things:  cracks in surfaces are a source of endless inspiration to me.  I will often return from my travels with bizarre images of street surfaces and the sides of buildings.  I think this is the legacy of having an architect/structural engineer father.  How things fit next to one another (think piles of stones) is another  obsession.  But, I digress.
I tried and tried to get potato dextrin (potato starch) to play nice, but I never could achieve the desired results.  Enter the humble sack of flour.
Flour is cheap, accessible, and a wonderful surface design tool for the textile artist!  The results can vary depending on the thickness of the flour to water mixture.  For the following tutorial I mixed the flour paste to resemble thin-ish pancake batter.

The cloth I will illustrate is part of a round robin exchange.  The color was a bit muted for my personal taste, but a bigger concern to me was that the imagery on the cloth was of only one scale, and not really interconnected throughout the piece.  While not completely unattractive, it just didn't excite my imagination.

This is how the fabric appeared when it arrived in my studio:
cotton broadcloth with procionMX dye, DeColourant discharge, textile paint

fabric was tightly pinned to the padded work surface
that was previously covered with a dropcloth.
A thin layer of the flour mixture was spread on a limited area of the cloth with a squeegee.
Using a rubber-end tool for manipulating oil paint, I wrote into the wet flour mixture.
Note:  the tip of a brush handle works for this, too!
I might remove some larger lumps of flour mixture displaced during writing, but 
I don't worry about it too much.
The flour paste mixture begins to dry fairly quickly.
That is why it is best to spread the flour paste on areas of the surface when writing into the paste.
For an overall crackle, spread it on the entire surface.
As soon as the resist begins to dry, it will buckle.
Oh! Will it buckle!
It will pull your pins out from the print table, so you might as well pull them out as soon as you are finished spreading the flour paste and making your marks.
Once the piece has partially dried, you might want to gently lift it off the table and hang it someplace.
You want the resist to be completely dry before proceeding.
here is a detail of the dry resist on cloth
To create the crackled texture with dye, mix procionMX into print paste.
Push the dye mixture into the dried resist.  For this piece, I used a large round brush with plastic bristles and used a combination of brushing and "pouncing" motions to assure the dye penetrated through the open areas of the resist. process
Here is the back of the cloth during the dye application process
Once again, pick up the cloth (if possible) and hang it in an open area to dry.
If this is not possible, simply leave on the print table and allow to batch completely.
This is what the back of the cloth looks like after the thickened dye was applied.
dye painted cloth after drying with the resist still on the surface
It is very stiff and crusty!

To dissolve the paste resist, immerse the cloth into a bucket of water with a small amount (1tsp) of  synthropol or other surfactant, and soak.
Use care when disposing of the water mixture:  you may want to dump this out in the bushes near your studio rather than pour down the drain, depending on how new your plumbing is.  It is something to consider with many of the popular resists.
I soaked my cloth twice to remove as much of the flour paste and thickened dye as possible before washing in the machine.  A bit of synthropol prevents dye migration into the open areas of the cloth.

look at the beautiful crackled surface!
The script is lovely

so we went from this......... this

It just took a little flour and water, and a bit of time to dry between processes.

I hope you will try it, and let me know how your results turn out!

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Images from Luminaria

glass rounds, ever-changing internal color
seen at the entrance of hemisfair park
Several people asked many artists were present at Luminaria.  I honestly do not know.
I will share what is posted on the Luminaria website, which I read with interest:

Artistic Vision

Luminaria:  Arts come to light
San Antonio has been shaped by the elements: the earth, abundant water, clean air, and light which changes as the seasons come and go.  Artists move through this world seeking new forms of expression. In 1968, we opened our city to the world by hosting HemisFair ‘68, a world’s fair which celebrated The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas and changed the city forever, inviting guests from all over the world to come here and experience our unique culture, a blending of people, ideas, art, and architecture.
Luminaria 2011 is a child of Hemisfair ‘68, a glimpse of light and how it intersects and interacts with art in San Antonio.  Luminaria 2011 seeks to reignite that moment in time, by reimagining HemisFair as a canvas for enlightened, innovative, and interactive contemporary artwork from all artistic disciplines. It honors the past as it celebrates the future.  It weaves its way through the light, air, earth, wind, and water, illuminating the hidden secrets of a park in the heart of a modern  city.

Luminaria 2011 is a shared gift between artists and art lovers.  We dance through the light and the shadow.  We push creativity as far as it can go.  We present new art which astonishes, delights, opens eyes, and initiates ideas.  We offer flowing paths of light which delivers you through the corridors of artisticexpression.
Join us on this incredible journey of discovery.  Embrace the night and the light of Luminaria 2011, the intersection of art, and inspiration   
Curated zones:
To help guide our journey, we have asked four curator groups to design specific zones.  They have devised the following experiences:
Kathy Armstrong, Director of Exhibitions, Southwest School of Art
My focus is to fill the corridors of the park with artists revealing the materials, process, and soul of art. Through intimate interaction with artists and as viewers of spectacle, audiences will experience a revelation of their creative spirits. 

Cindy and Ray Palmer, owners of Highwire Gallery
Our desire is to discover artists to portray light in all its many forms: pure, reflective, ambient and  refractive. To witness particles of waves in motion – nature’s illusion –  to be shaped by the artists in ways that infiltrate the natural environment. To explore the shadow side of light and stretch imagination through holographic fantasy and enchantment.  And, to kinetically engage viewers into shaping light themselves.

Greg Hinojosa, Theater-OLLU and April Atkinson, Visual Art-OLLU
Illuminating our Past and Embracing our Future
Our corridor will bridge the traditional and organic carpas and contemporary uses of light in the context of artmaking in the 21st century.  The carpa, or traveling tent show played a critical role in the migrant experience.  As migrant families traveled from South Texas to California and the Mid-west, family circuses would follow, exhilirating them with daring acts of bravery, satirizing their brutal working conditions, and thus helping to create a shared sense of identity through resilience.  San Antonio was home to many carpa troupes, most notably, Carpa Garcia and Carpa Monsivais.

Chuck Ramirez and Chris Sauter, San Antonio Visual Artists
Instillation, Infiltration, Infestation
We will select artists whose work insinuates itself into the world, simultaneously reacting to and transforming its site.

Perhaps the most stunning visual of the evening came at the very end:
hundred of floating Chinese lanterns took to the air,
floating around and sometimes bumping into the
hemisfair tower:
lighting the last lantern!
just before release.

It was magical!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Modern Quilt Guild Event At Luminaria!

Luminaria is San Antonio's celebration of arts and artists.  This year the San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild participated in the action with a working "performance art" piece about how to construct a quilt.  Laurie Brainerd was the organizer of MCQSA's participation in Luminaria.  She invited me to participate in the free motion quilting during the 2nd portion of the evening.
my "credentials"
here I am, wearing my "credentials", prior to leaving the house 
(scissors in one hand, dog in the other).  Dog stayed home.
Posing with Carrie Beltran
people walking by.
We had an amazing number of people observing our work.
I was interviewed by a woman from Artists Magazine!
Backlit by the weird round lights
Shift over, I am tired but happy!  Fun!