Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fooling around with water-based media

These are some very quick marks with watered-down acrylic paint on watercolor paper.  This will be the substrate for what I am certain will be a mixed-media something-or-other.  This is done on 140 lb hot press paper, and it was my intent to do a very quick, messy coverage of the paper, then stamp into the paint and allow it to run.  The parent sheet is 22x30 inches.  The following are details of the painted paper:

and here are detail shots of the back of the same paper:

Friday, April 29, 2011

You never know what makes a great printing tool......

Honestly, I didn't start out with this in mind:  I was simply doing something in the kitchen.  One minute, I was prepping vegetables for dinner.  Before I catch myself I was back in my studio with this in-hand, looking for my paint!  What do you think it is?
It is the base of some sort of leafy veggie that came in my local produce box.
It tasted like a cross between bok choy and chard.

When I got to the base of the bunch I loved the look of it!  Here are a few of the marks I made with it:

these are artist trading cards made with watercolor paper

here is a swatch of mulberry paper stamped with opaque white acrylic paint

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jamie Fingal wins (again)!

I am delighted to report that Jamie Fingal has won the Grand Prize for her quilt in the Alliance For American Quilts contest.  Jamie is my close friend and teaching partner, the other half of "Dinner@8 Artists", the umbrella under which we co-curate art quilt exhibitions.  Jamie and I frequently have email

"coffee breaks".  This little quilt sums up the joy of our virtual exchanges, and in a more general sense it celebrates the deep connection of women to their friends.  
Congratulations, Jamie!  The following is an excerpt from her blog:

"Soul Sisters" Grand Prize Winner!!

"Soul Sisters" is the Grand Prize Winner for the Alliance of American Quilts!!!  Second Year in a Row to win!  I didn't think it could happen!  I am so honored and completely overwhelmed by this award!  Thank you to everyone who voted for my art quilt.  I am over the moon about it!  

"Soul Sisters" is all about the friendship of two women who enjoy a 'coffee break' from time to time via e-mail.  There is nothing like good friends to pour your heart out to.  I am celebrating my good friend, and teaching partner, co-curatorfoodie, and maven of joy and laughter  -Leslie Tucker Jenison!  Here's to women friends!
16" Square; made with Commercial cottons, Hoffman Batiks and Mistyfused onto blended wool felt, hand painted, stenciled, free motion machine quilted , with a variety of colorful buttons hand sewn on, and the edge was finished with a hand sewn blanket stitch.  Rebel Quilter - no batting, no binding, no fabric backing
Detail of Red
Detail of me
My Inspiration was this photograph of Leslie Tucker Jenison and me -all ready for MIU's Surviving the Runway at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach 2010.  We have fun wherever we go!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beautiful new wood stamps!

I saw the coolest wood stamps, very similar to batik chops, at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.
I had the best intentions of returning to the booth of Colouricious, who was selling the beautiful stamps created by the Indian Block Company, but I failed to do it.  I was happy that I remembered their name so I stopped by and ordered several to experiment with.  The blocks are so beautiful that I could almost consider them decorative.  The nautilus shape is one of my favorites, so I had to have them!
I wondered how long it would take to receive them, since the company is based in the UK, but it was less than one week from online order to delivery. Amazing!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Tree of Hope"

"Tree of Hope"
completed 2003

After posting the images of blocks created for Melly's quilt I started thinking about the above-featured quilt.  I have better images of this quilt someplace, but they certainly are not residing in my current computer.  This was a collaborative quilt created by members of a small guild I belonged to a number of years ago.  Susan Bradley and I created the central area with the tree.  Other members of the quilt guild made the background blocks, and we all created one or more of the border pieces.  Memory fails me as to the name of the background block, but it has to do with sisterhood.  The words on the border of the quilt are English, Spanish, and German words for mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, friend.  
This quilt resides in the lobby of the Wellness Center of the Cancer Treatment Research Center of San Antonio TX.  
As you can see by the ribbon, it won first place in the San Antonio Quilt Guild show, but was declined in the group category for the World of Beauty contest in Houston.  I might have pursued it again the following year, but we were anxious to install the quilt before the grand opening of the new Wellness Center at CTRC.  I love this quilt.  It makes me very happy that it is in a place where so many people can see it and be inspired by it.
The following images were taken when we first took the quilt to the CTRC and presented it to the staff:
Two of the nurses hold the quilt up to its future home on the lobby wall.
One of the staff, a woodworker, built a beautiful "frame" to encase the quilt
as a sort of "shadowbox", which protects it from light and keeps it secure.

Patients and visitors stopped to look at the quilt
Before we knew it there were people photographing the quilt.

On the day of the Wellness Center dedication, the quilt was covered with a beautiful drape and was "unveiled" as a part of the opening ceremonies.  It was a very emotional experience for those of us who had a hand in creating this piece.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quilt blocks for a special quilt

Many of you know my good friend, Melly Testa, and are aware of her recent breast cancer diagnosis.
Melly has a passion for birds.  They are a dominant feature of her art, and the well-being of birds and their habitat are a major focus for her.  So it seemed like a natural thing for a number of her friends to decide she should have a comfort quilt, something that she could take with her to chemo sessions, that reflected her love of birds.
I think a quilt like this is good for everyone:  the person who receives it feels all the love that is stitched into it and the people who contributed to it have a way to express their love and concern for their friend.  Maybe there are a few more ripples:  maybe others receiving their chemo can respond positively to the quilt and, with luck, have a bit of joy from it.
Here is the quilt.
Contributors:  Pokey Bolton, Jamie Fingal, Lyric Kinard, me, Tracie Huskamp, Alisa Burke, Jane LaFazio, Diana Trout, Judy Coates Perez, Nina Perez, Jill Berry, Gloria Hansen, Carla Sonheim and Kelli Nina Perkins
Lyric joined the finished blocks and created a "quillow", including a carrying handle.
My blocks include the one at the top of the page and below:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild Retreat (my first quilt retreat ever!)

Why did I wait so long to do this?  Maybe it was because I wanted to have the best-possible retreat experience!  The young SA Modern Quilt guild hosted a wonderful retreat in Boerne TX at Ye Kendall Inn from Friday through Sunday.  It seemed like a perfect experience to me:  a great location just up the highway from home (it only took me 15 or 20 minutes to get there), lovely accommodations and great food, and we had a nice conference room with everything we needed.
It seemed like I hauled everything I owned (again) out of my studio, but I was glad I took it because I used it all.  One of the fun new toys I played with during the retreat was my shiny new GO! die cutting system, now called "Go Get Em".  I got a great deal on it at the Cincinnati quilt festival, but frankly, I wasn't quite sure how I would use it.  As soon as I started playing with it the wheels started turning.  I have a LOT of plans for this guy.
This thing will cut strips and shapes, even difficult-to-cut applique designs.  Apparently one can get custom die cutters made for the professional model.  I love this thing!  I cut strips, and also cut pre-fused cloth for the appliqued pieces on my little quilt top.
Never able to leave well-enough alone, I cut up my strip pieced top and resorted it, inserting a thin strip of orange batik fabric into the mix.
Look at the cool die-cut applique pieces!
I used the negative space around the cut to fashion a second shape, which I like a lot.

Now, take a look at the facility:
 I had this 1850s-era cabin to myself, which had been restored and moved onto the property.
A claw-foot cast iron tub!  I loved it!

Here is the conference room.

Lunch on the patio.
We were fortunate to have pleasant weather all weekend.

We dined on the back porch.
The food was excellent and the service was equally great!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Do you live in or around San Antonio?
Want to try some fun mixed-media stuff?
Come to the first Sketch-In at 

Anna Luna (chief Crafty Girl) and I will be hosting a laid-back, fun evening of drawing and playing with mixed media goodies on paper.  If you have wanted to experiment with the idea of working in a sketchbook but don't know where to start, if you have been telling yourself you can't keep a sketchbook because "you don't know how to draw", this little workshop is for you!
Please contact Anna to sign up.  Space is limited so go for it!  Just do it!  We are doing to have fun!

.....if you can doodle, you can do this!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quilting Arts TV Series 800 taping in Cleveland

Way off in an obscure corner of the second floor of the convention center was a curtained-off area where a series of artists were taped for Series 800 of Quilting Arts TV.
I was doing a quick demo of paper and cloth lamination.  It was a very different experience from being in the comfort of the production studio in Cleveland (no green room here!) but still a lot of fun!
The entire convention center was stuffy and therefore one of my big concerns was whether I would do my own version of a nuclear meltdown during the segment.
 ....Pay no attention to the people behind that curtain...

Why Be Normal?

Friday, April 15, 2011

More images from the Cincinnati quilt festival

 The mounted police were posted outside the main door of the arena.
I guess they got the "heads-up" about this rowdy quilt crowd.
A bird's-eye view of a portion of the show floor.
Quilts were positioned on either side of the vendors.
The city of Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce threw us a party on Friday night.
In this photo (L-R) Jamie Fingal, Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts, Cheryl Sleboda (aka Muppin),
and IQA President Pepper Cory.  A fine time was had by all.
A. Really. Fine. Time.
Clearly, I get no respect.

 tickets in the foreground.  Everyone was giving us their tickets.
Cheryl and Kathryn having a good laugh.
Too bad we never have any fun.....

my foot (L) and Judy Gula's.  Barefoot dancers.

Band members pose with Judy Gula, Pokey Bolton, and Liz Kettle