Friday, February 26, 2010


Greetings from the "Dreams" Riviera Cancun!  Several of my husband's executive team are having a strategic planning session.  Naturally, I tagged along with our middle daughter .  All spouses are here, along with 3 daughters (the other two are significantly younger than mine!).
We arrived this afternoon to a lovely, cloudy and balmy day.

Tim and my daughter head to our rooms at the Dreams resort hotel
outside Cancun

I feel a bit guilty discussing the gorgeous weather here after finding out that the entire northeastern seaboard is under siege from the horrid weather.  Doubly so because, frankly, the weather in San Antonio is pretty easy to take this time of year!

My plan for the next several days is to read, read, and read.  I brought a small sketchbook that I plan to do some drawing and writing in.  I am currently reading Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" (how did I miss this one?  I LOVE Barbara Kingsolver's books!), and I'm listening to "The Girl Who Played With Fire", by Steig Larssen.  I have 2 other books.  Oh, the joy of it all.

I have a very slow internet connection so I may be limited in how many photos I can upload to the blog.
We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It isn't easy to imitate a painter's palette.....

my daughter is a little chameleon!

This girl has been making funny faces her entire life. She is such a crack-up! 

In the studio:  I've been working hard on a secret project.  As soon as I can I'll post photos....

Tomorrow I leave for a few days in Mexico, then on to Washington DC to the Alliance for American Quilts board meeting.  I hope to see a few of you there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Beneath The Surface" has sponsors!!!

Beneath the Surface-debuting at the Long Beach Quilt Festival, July, 2010

From the roots that anchor a majestic tree, to a song by Kings of Leon, "Beneath the Surface" has many connotations. We look into dark water and wonder what lies beneath. We long to understand the meaning of a cryptic statement. What comes to mind when you ponder what is "Beneath the Surface?"

This is our theme for 2010 and the exhibit will debut at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, CA - July 24-27th. Beneath the Surface is a juried invitational. An announcement of the artists whose work will be in the exhibit will be posted in late March. We are happy to report that our exhibit will be sponsored by Moore's Sewing Centers andBrother International.
Moore's Sewing Center is a 3rd generation family owned business that has been serving Southern California for 55 years. They have five (5) locations in Mission Viejo, Riverside, orange, Apple Valley and Huntington Beach. They sell sewing machines, vacuum cleaners and energy efficient fans. They offer classes, sewing machine repair, thread, notions, etc.

Brother International/Home Sewing offers a full line of sewing and embroidery machines, including the special edition "Project Runway" machine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Art Cloth Extravaganza: A Surface Design "Dream Tote" to a new home

Fantastic news!  Our Tote Tuesday Dream Tote raised $1000 for the American Cancer Society today!
Congratulations to Lynne Allen, who contributed in memory of Karen Peck.
All of us at Art Cloth Studios are anxious to tuck extra art cloth and other art work into this tote for you, Lynne!

Art Cloth Extravaganza: A Dream Tote
Sponsored by Art Cloth Studios
(Laura Ann Beehler, Linda Charlton, Jane Dunnewold, Martha K. Grant, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lisa Kerpoe)

Lynne Allen donated $1000 to the ACS In Memory of Karen Peck

Tote: Large tote bag with the Art Cloth Studios logo
*Numerous pieces of beautiful, one-of-a-kind art cloth created by members of Art Cloth Studios(including cottons, silk broadcloth, silk organza, silk charmeuse)
*Complex Cloth Workshops DVD by Jane Dunneword
*Frame It! Easy Solutions for Framing and Finishing Art Work DVD by Jane Dunnewold
*500 Art Quilts book
Bag (green, at top of photo) created by Laura Beehler from her beautiful art cloth, made from a pattern by Terry Grant.
*Paper & Metal Leaf Lamination: A Mixed Media Approach with Cloth by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn, & Leslie Morgan
*Metal leaf for lamination or foiling
*Chinese Joss paper for lamination
*Succulent Wild Woman: Dancing with Your
Wonder-full Self! 
by Sark
*Glass beads
*Procion MX Dye Print Paste
*Soda Ash 

*Textile Paint
*Fabric crayons
*Thermofax screens
*Prepared for dyeing cloth, white

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kathy York's new fabric line!

Clothworks is producing a line of Kathy York's amazing designs, called "Urban Landscapes".
Here is one of many images found on the Clothworks blog, as well as a great interview.  Follow the link at the end of this post to read the interview and see more images of Kathy's work:

Kathy’s first collection with us comes out in June 2010, and is called Urban Landscapes.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

Art Cloth Extravaganza: A Surface Design "Dream Tote"

Art Cloth Studios is donating a fantastic tote for the Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser next Tuesday, 2/23/10.
I'll put better photos up on the blog this weekend.  
We have included a huge variety of items for the aspiring (or experienced!) surface design artist:
a beautiful tote created by Laura Ann Beehler from her own art cloth
finished art cloth created by members of Art Cloth Studios
prepared-for-dyeing cloth (blank)
procion MX dye, soda ash, & print paste
textile paint
packet of metal leaf sheets
packet of assorted joss papers
Complex Cloth:  the workshops dvd by Jane Dunnewold
Frame It! (Easy Solutions for Framing & Finishing Art Work) dvd by Jane Dunnewold
500 Art Quilts book recently published by Lark Books
"Paper & Metal Leaf Lamination":  A mixed media approach with cloth by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn, & Leslie Morgan
"Succulent Wild Woman:  Dancing with your wonder-full self!" by Sark
thermofax screens & small squeegee
glass beads

PLUS:  if our tote wins the highest donation of the day we will contribute additional art cloth and/or finished pieces of art worth at least $500!  The challenge is on!

The photo and info below is taken from Virginia Spiegel's blog.

*Art Cloth Extravaganza:  A Dream Tote (Sponsored by Art Cloth Studios Collective) – A surface design extravaganza from the famous collective in San Antonio, TX. Beautiful one-of-a-kind art cloth created by member of Art Cloth Studios (including cottons, silk boradcloth, silk organza, silk charmeuse) is just the beginning of what Laura Ann Beehler, Linda Charlton, Jane Dunnewold, Martha K. Grant, Leslie Tucker Jenison, and Lisa Kerpoe have donated to this tote.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Color Challenge & kidney stones

I am part of an ongoing workshop-series facilitated by Hollis Chatelain.  The first 2 years were drawing, last year was color theory in February and Portraiture in the fall, and this year was Color Challenge.  Color challenge is the first of two workshops utilizing the information from the color theory course using fabric & quilting.  Students are challenged to create one quilt per day.

We brought our sewing machines and supplies, & a selection of fabric.  We learned upon arrival that we would not be able to trade or borrow cloth from anyone else in the workshop.  Bummer.
The first 2 days we were required to use a "feature fabric", selected by Hollis.  Most of us developed a love/hate relationship with the fabric, but most of us had to admit that the stuff was quite versatile, if ugly.
The first day we were challenged to create a quilt at least 18 inches, but no larger than 24 inches on any side that would "stop you at the door", either through color, design, or a combination thereof.

This task was quite difficult for me.  The instructor told me at least once to "start over".  Without being unkind about it, she was very interested in pulling us out of our comfort zone(s), to simplify.
While I'm pretty sure my quilt didn't quite accomplish what it was supposed to, I finished it.  If I had kept the background quilting simpler it would have been more effective.  I think it will actually look pretty good if I mount it on black felt-covered canvas.

"feature fabric" is heavily quilted with flourescent pink thread in center-left

Day 2:  The Challenge:  create a quilt, same dimensions, using color/design to draw the viewer into the piece.  The feature fabric must be used again.  This one wasn't as difficult for me, for some strange reason.  I used value to recede the piece inward, using large section of light value and moving progressively darker and thinner bands toward the center.  Then, I did the opposite with the stepstones, using the beloved "feature fabric", moving from large dark pieces in the foreground to small, thin, light pieces toward the horizon line.  I thread-painted the stone in the lower left portion of the foreground:

Day 3:  We were shown a photograph of an urban landscape:  freeway pillars, graffitti, some vegetation in the distance, and a rather surreal light cast upon the scene.  We were asked to create a piece based on the impressions or feelings the photo brought forth, without actually repeating a likeness of the photo.

I put the photo away and wrote some words describing my impressions of it.  I started thinking about how, when I drive over a freeway viaduct, I often catch glimpses of things such as signage, graffitti, shapes of buildings and windows, and occasionally a person can be glimpsed inside a window.  I thought about how the roadways often crisscross over and under one another.  Here is my piece, although it is not completely quilted yet:

While I was working on the quilting of this piece, my cell phone rang:  a friend called to tell me that my husband was in the ER having severe abdominal pain.  The consensus was that it might be a kidney stone.  I dropped everything and drove back to San Antonio from New Braunfels.  A CT-scan showed that he has a 4mm kidney stone.  They gave him pain medication and something to help encourage the stone to vacate the premises, and I took him home.  He had a rough night.  

The following day, while my daughter took him to the urologist, I drove back to New Braunfels to pack my bag, clean up my stuff, and bring Hollis back to San Antonio.

My homework for next year is to create a quilt that I missed out on for Day 4.  I couldn't tell you, at this point, what I'm supposed to do.  I hope I still have my paperwork!

Tim is feeling better.  We both wish the kidney stone would send him a postcard from its new location outside his body.  Where the heck is it?  Inquiring minds want to know.......

Friday, February 12, 2010

Exciting news: Art Cloth Studios will contribute a bag for "Tote Tuesday"!

The members of Art Cloth Studios are putting together a wonderful "Art Cloth Extravaganza" for Tote Tuesday, the newest fundraising event for Fiberart For A Cause.  Here are some of the items that will be included:

A beautiful hand-made tote by artist Laura Ann Beehler, created from her own art cloth
Complex Cloth dvd by Jane Dunnewold
"Paper & Metal Leaf Lamination", a book by Claire Benn, Jane Dunnewold, and Leslie Morgan
Art Cloth created by ACS members Laura Ann Beehler, Linda Charleton, Jane Dunnewold, Martha Grant, Leslie Tucker Jenison, and Lisa Kerpoe
Prepared for Dyeing fabric
Textile Paint
Procion MX Dye
Thermofax screens & frames & squeegee

Plus, if "Art Cloth Extravaganza" receives the highest bid for the day, we will donate up to $1000 worth of members' artwork!

Stay tuned for photos and more info about when this fabulous tote will be offered!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tote Tuesday, the next big fundraiser for American Cancer Society

Virginia Spiegel does it again:  another wonderful fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, as part of her Fiberart For A Cause.  To date, FFAC has raised over $190,000.  One hundred percent of the monies raised is donated to ACS, making this one of the top 10 fundraisers in the country for ACS for the last several years.  I have been a proud participant in all of the past events.

Tote Tuesday kicked off yesterday, with smashing results (this taken from Virginia Spiegel's blog):

The first ToteTuesday was great fun and raised an amazing $1518 for the American Cancer Society.  Thank you for your support!
An even bigger and more exciting ToteTuesday is planned for Tuesday, February 9.
1.  Expect MANY more totes up for bid.  More totes=More variety=More donations for the American Cancer Society.
2.  Stop by Monday, February 8 for a full preview of the totes that will be up for bid.  The opening bids won’t be shown only because that sometimes sets off a premature bidding war which is never a pretty thing.  You can check out the mini-previews of the more than 40 themed totes donated by generous artists and fiber-related businesses to ToteTuesday now.

Journey By Water by Laura Osborn (tote and accessories) and I.  I named this collectionJourney By Water because of this poem by the same name in my book:
Listen to the waves, the trees,
The cries of the loons.
Hear the stillness;
Reflect and discover
The currents within you.
3.  Here is a checklist so you can be ready to bid on Tuesday, February 9.
Questions?  Suggestions?  Please leave a comment or e-mail me, Virginia(At)

Grids, squares, and lines

There are so many rectangles and squares in this image,
even in the reflection on the water!

My husband observed this little quirky square of water as we walked down the street in Amsterdam last fall.  I wasn't conscious of the reflected image until I loaded it into the computer.  There is a lot to look at here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"The Secrets of the Zona Rosa...

....How Writing (and sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives", by Rosemary Daniell, is a book I picked up this weekend.
The first words in the book are these, by poet Mary Oliver:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

I believe writers and visual artists wrestle with similar issues.  Here is another perfect quote for both:
the great French writer Andre Gide advised: “What another would have done as well, do not do it.  What another would have said as well or written as well, do not say or write it.  Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself.” 

As I do more and more writing I feel the need to learn more about the craft.  I am looking forward to reading this book.  I wonder if anyone who reads my blog knows about this book, and, if so, what you think about it.