Friday, April 29, 2011

Australian Supplier of Twelve by Twelve Book

Twelve by Twelve on sale at Can Do BooksA major shipment of the book Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge has arrived in Australia - at last!  Kirsty and Brenda are prepared for in-person sales but, when it comes to mail order, we leave it to the experts at Can Do Books in Hawthorn, Melbourne. They have the book in stock and, if you order from the Can Do Books Website before noon, they ship the same business day.

Can Do Books also sell at the Craft and Quilt Fairs throughout Australia including the Tasmanian show that is on this weekend. Pop into Stand D14 at the Superdome in Launceston and take a look at the book!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crescendoh Spotlight

I am thrilled to announce that Crescendoh is hosting a four-week special feature about us and our book! Crescendoh is Jenny Doh's amazing website dedicated to "creative passion, authentic community and focused compassion." I think our 12x12 group fits this poignant description perfectly, and we are honored that Jenny was eager to share our project with her readers.

Each Monday (starting yesterday), three of the "twelves" will be featured on the Crescendoh home page. Just scroll down until you see the image of our book cover, then three of our smiling faces. You can read the first few words of an essay written by each artist, then click on the ... ellipses and that will take to you to a page with her full essay and some bonus pictures of her artwork.

Karen, Kristin and Helen are the featured artists this week. Be sure to check Crescendoh over the next three Mondays to read more thoughts about art and community from each of us.

Aside from checking out our spotlight, be sure to peruse all Crescendoh has to offer. It's an astounding collection of ideas and inspiration about art, plus classes, book reviews, stories and even a shop filled with arty goodies. Whenever I have a few minutes and I'm looking for insight or inspiration, I always scroll through the Crescendoh archives for beautiful essays about living a creative life.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Look what Mr B has...

Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights is an independent book shop in Bath. Last year it won the prize for the best Independent Bookshop in the South West and in 2008 it was the best Independent Bookshop fullstop as voted for at the British Book Industry Awards. It is a beauiful place to browse wth leather chairs to read in by a fire, and free coffee and staff who know more about books than you thought it was possible to know.

And look what is in the window. Can you see it?
No? Shall I go closer for you?

There is our book - prime place right by the door. No missing it :)

Midsomer Quilting Exhibition

Our Theme Series are currently on show at Midsomer Quilting. De Pickford and Chris Howell transformed their classroom into a great exhibition space and the simple method of micro-tackinng the quilts to black curtains worked very well for our twelve inch quilts. I have been popping into chat to visitors and answer questions and have had a great time. The exhibition is on until tomorrow (Saturday 24th April at 4pm)  and I shall be there tomorrow afternoon - last chance before Festival of Quilts in August to see the quilts and get your book signed!
De and Chris ready to begin work
The first quilt is up!

Soon the room is full.

And then the people came...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Twelve by Twelve Art & Soul Radio Podcast

Four of the Twelves, Deborah, Diane, Nikki and Kristin are interviewed by Lesley Riley on Art and Soul Radio about our project and the book.

Download the Twelve by Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge podcast (18.3MB).

Chartreuse Colorplay Website Update

The website has been updated to display our Chartreuse Colorplay quilts:
The individual Colorplay Artist Galleries have also been updated.  These updates have been prepared on the run.  Please e-mail Brenda if you come across any broken links or other glitches.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Spicy Roving

I do believe that somewhere in this pile of roving are the colors that Helen has given us. I think I will do another felted piece.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spice spice baby!

Here' s my colur theme: Spice.
Which as you can see is a tasy way of describing the womderful ranges of burnt umbres, tans and bronzes, mucky greens and soft mustardy yellows that exist in the plant world.

And if you want to throw in some coriander into your massala quilt, feel free!

Nénuphars in Sapporo

I had never really cared much about the colour chartreuse before this challenge. But when Gerrie picked it as our new colour scheme, I suddenly discovered that chartreuse was everywhere, even in my collections of pictures. I also found out that this colour was going well with many others and, eventually, that I rather liked it.
I chose a few photos that inspired me, some taken during my trip in Japan last year, and I finally decided to concentrate on water lilies photographed in Sapporo.
And here is my chartreuse quilt...
First, I hand-dyed many shades of chartreuse. (I've got a lot of chartreuse fabric in my stash now!). I added dark green and purple as I found these colours made a nice contrast with the light shades of chartreuse. The water lilies, flowers and leaves, are stitched through all layers. The quilt is completely quilted by machine except for the three little hand-stitched flowers on the upper left side.
Here's a detail of the quilting...
"Nénuphars" is the French word for water lilies. When I see water lilies, I often think of Claude Monet's Nympheas. I fell in love with them, and with Impressionism, 35 years ago in Paris, but I still have to visit Monet's garden in Giverny.
I will post more pictures later today, or tomorrow, on my blog.

Chartreuse is a Neutral

I may not love chartreuse as much as Gerrie does, but it is one of my favorite colors. When she stated it was her favorite neutral, I knew exactly what she meant -- it plays well with others.

I also thought about Rene Magritte's painting, "This is not a pipe." But there's a pipe. It's a painting of a pipe!

So, while chartreuse isn't actually a neutral (how wonderfully audacious to call such an intense and unique color a "neutral"), it does act like a neutral.

So here is my chartreuse (beautifully hand dyed by my local friend Joan) playing well with other colors, as a neutral should.

Play, On a Mossy Day

I really wish we had more time for this challenge.  Reveal day snuck up on me and I really wanted more time to play.  Our gray, wet days had me uninspired and depressed.  Once again, making myself get to work on my Twelve by Twelve quilt help tremendously and the hope that spring will return is renewing.

I really didn't have a plan when starting this quilt.  I began with quilting the background and painting.  I tried Terry's method of mixing yellow and black to form chartreuse, but I didn't like the results.  I prefer a clearer color and mine just turned muddy.  No problem, I just added more paint, yellow-green, yellow, gold, citron.   I pulled out all my chartreuse embellishments, hoping for inspiration.  I had fun coloring anything metal with alcohol inks, but still didn't find direction.  I knew I would need to add other colors -- straight chartreuse may be bright, but not very interesting.  After much experimenting, I fell in love with the purple, orange, chartreuse combination.  My plan of attack was to cover the quilt in orange and purple circles, perhaps add in some of those embellishments.  The trouble was that after sewing  down all those circles it lacked a focal point.  I found the Textiva film in a box of long forgotten materials.  It's perfect for the color scheme--all three colors depending on how the light hits it.  I didn't have the right color of fabric paper made for the chartreuse circle so I used hand dyed wool felt.  And of course, I had to include one of those dyed washers.  My final question was how to finish the edges.  I like the look of a pillow case finish that so many of the other Twelves use.  Didn't work so well with this one.  The fabric paper circles along the edges perforated and it was just a mess when I tried to turn it right side out.  I cut off the backing fabric and pulled out some ball chain.  Into the alcohol ink it went .  I carefully machine stitched around each little ball to create the beaded edge. 

In the end, I love how this little quilt turned out.  I went to my husband for help naming it.  His thoughts were about fish eggs and fertilization.  It wasn't working for me.  Instead I just went with "Play" because that was what this quilt was all about.

First-Class Chartreuse

I've always loved postage stamp art, no matter if it was on an actual official stamp, a custom created stamp, or just postage-inspired art work.

Fused and machine piecing, free-motion quilting and embroidery, couched fibers, ink shading

The idea to create my quilt as a postage stamp came to me quickly when this color was presented to us. I envisioned what I wanted and sketched it to actual size.

The quilt I'm officially submitting is the second version I made (shown above). There were many things I wasn't happy with on my first version (shown below). The chartreuse background didn't turn out quite like I had pictured in my mind. Next, I wasn't happy with how I had quilted the background. And the outer edge had some areas that bothered me.

While I think the outer edge on the first version looks more postage-stamp like, the second version was easier and is a little more stable.


I, like Gerrie, adore chartreuse and all it's limey, slimey buddies! It has long been my favourite neutral, too. SO this should have been easy...
Is anything ever easy in this Twelve by Twelve journey??

This was supposed to be moss. And bright, soft new shoots of grass. It isn't. Somewhere along the way it morphed into an algal bloom. Maybe it's a reaction to the loooong, WET tropical summer that we have had here in North Queensland.

The base cloth is very dark chocolate brown wool (what a right royal pain THAT is to remove fluffy stuff from!). The stitching is free-motion with the tightest top tension I can get on my machine and no bottom tension at all. Three different bottom threads -
regular sewing cotton, Koigu KPM 4 ply merino and a perle cotton. The fluffy stuff is some nasty acrylic stuff that I hand couched to give the image a bit more substance.

There are lots of beads and sequins scattered throughout which has made the thing an utter torment to photograph. The fluffiness seems to add to that problem as well. The camera doesn't know what to focus on (just like me!!) Minimal background quilting including a few lines of mother-of-pearl metallic.

Fun to make! I may well repeat some of these techniques. Sewing on the wool was particularly nice. I used an embroidery hoop to keep it taut and it was buttery to sew (as you would expect).


There are an estimated 300,000 child soliders in the world. Many have been caught up in comflicts in Africa - Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia for example. Some end up in the West as refugees - Staten Island,with its community of around 8,000 Liberian refugees probably has the highest conentration of child soliders in the West.

For those children, the line between being a perpetrator and a victim is a fine one.Some were captured after their parents were killed. Others joined opposing forces to gain food and care. Either way they often remain silent about the traumas of their childhood, their nightmares and terror camouflaged behind hip hop culture and street savvy.

The quilt is made from a piece of my hand dyed fabric with chartreuse silk strip and a 'blood river' strip of red. Get up close and you see,hidden between the trees, the AK47, the lightness of which weapon makes it easier for children to be armed and forced to take front line postions in war.

On a lighter note, I like to think that this quilt is one of mine (badly) camouflaging itself as one of Brendas!

Wistful Wisteria

I've become a lot more fond of the green family over recent years.  So when Gerrie chose chartreuse as our color for this challenge, the only difficulty I had was deciding which direction to pursue.  Especially at this point in early spring, I found myself surrounded by so many gorgeous shades of bright green!  But what came to mind early on was a photo I'd taken a year or two ago in my neighbor's backyard, of the baby leaves on their wisteria vine.

Before I spent some time photographing the wisteria covering their backyard arbor, I'd not appreciated how fuzzy wisteria leaves are, and how gracefully they curve as their viney stems shoot out new growth.  And of course, I loved the photographic effect of the purple bokeh (the fancy photography name for the blurry background) of the wisteria blossoms.

Using thread painting techniques demonstrated by my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp in Quilting Arts magazine and her thread painting DVD, I set out to "paint" this picture.  I started with large pieces of green fabric fused to the purple background fabric.  And, as I added color and texture with thread, I worked on translating the picture pretty literally to capture that fuzzy white glow around the leaves.  I had a great time using almost every shade of green thread I had in my collection, as well as some blues, browns, reds, yellows, and white.

Here's a detail shot:

I finished this with a simple facing.  I really enjoyed my thread painting experiment, and learned a lot about how much stabilizing is necessary for all this stitching!  (And I owe a big thanks to Susan for her email tips and encouragement!)

Approaching Departure

Years ago I was piecing a grid with precut 6 inch squares of hand-dyed fabric I purchased from Marcia Derse. As I was piecing, I discovered they were not all exactly 6 inches, so I had to trim off some edges. I couldn't part with the brightly colored skinny strips, so I grabbed a piece of equally bright fabric, lined them up and stitched them down. I had this improvisational stitched piece on my design wall in Texas for many months.

As I was poking around in my boxes of in-progress, stalled and unfinished projects, I found it. Chartreuse! It was really fun to use it as the focus for my 12x12 piece.

Approaching Departure
The center panel is the piece that was created years ago -- probably 2007. I paired it with the teal vertical borders and added just a tiny bit of machine stitching in the arch over the top. The long red thread tails were interesting back when I first created the chartreuse piece and I knew I wanted to keep them and the textural quality they added.
I considered whether I should add some surface design or some hand stitching. But I couldn't come up with any motifs or colors that didn't fight with the interesting staggered composition of the center panel and the variety of bright colors. I decided on just a few purple square sequins to contrast with the thick columns of the rest of the design.

I think it looks a bit like a set of wonky steps or a pathway. It's a little different from most of the work I've done lately, but not entirely out of place. Is it a departure from the style and techniques I love? Or am I just approaching them in a different way?

Chartreuse Line Study

Chartreuse is one of my favorite colors, so when Gerrie picked it,  I had lots of ideas in my head as to where to go with this.  My first experiment is the last picture on this blog post, but I'll start with the winner.  Right around the time I started thinking about this piece, I read a blog post by Terry Jarrard- Dimond here

I was reminded I had the tools to monoprint, and hadn't done it in a while and I actually love the results you can get.  I first tried it out on my canvas dropcloth which you can see below, but it wasn't crisp enough for me.  So I printed it out again on cotton sateen above.  I added the handstitching in red and the little black sheer squares.  This is another line series, it doesn't have any meaning, I just like the way it came together.

Below is the first thing I came up with for chartreuse, and it doesn't really do anything for me.  It started out as a densely stitched piece of cotton that I painted over several times.  As you can tell, I like the combination of chartreuse, black and red.

In this instance, I think simple worked better for me.

Chartreuse Makes Me Happy

I really enjoyed playing with chartreuse silk fabric. I think this square in a square piece illustrates how nicely chartreuse works with almost any other color. I am not really happy with the way these colors photographed so I may need to do it again tomorrow in daylight. I drew a grid of various sizes of square in a square that would fit into a 12 inch square and then fused the pieces in place and machine stitched.

Here is a detail.

The piece below is the first one that I did. It is a riff on a Paul Klee painting. I thought it needed something more so I added the x's with some dangling threads for texture.

Here is a detail.

So, now we need to decide which one goes into the final Twelve by Twelve mosaic. What do you think?

The moon is made of green cheese

There is no deep meaning in this, no message. It is just a happy, playful contemplation of color, shapes and fanciful stitching pattern. It was great fun to make and has inspired me to make a larger piece with some similar elements. I remember hearing, as a child, "the moon is made of green cheese." When I finished this I could see a moon in the circular focal point of the piece. I hadn't noticed the serendipitous crescent shape in the piece of beautiful marbled fabric until I was finished, but there it was—almost certainly the moon shining through.

Panda Chocolate

I have a whole series of quilts inspired by the organic splendour and variety of grasses and this seemed like a splendid occasion to add a touch of chartreuse to the collection. When I was visiting Kirsty for the Australian launch of our BOOK, I spied a rich chartreuse and brown pair of fabrics in her shop.  I started sewing them together in strata layers. I then cross cut some strips and added insertions to make two quilts.  The first was Chocolate & Pistachio, the second is Bamboo:
Bamboo by Brenda Gael Smith
It's fascinating to see how small changes in proportions can radically change the positive and negative space in a piece.  Bamboo is much more gentle on the eye in real life than this photo would suggest.  You'll just have to view the Colourplay quilts at Houston to see if you agree!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book signing for Clark County Quilters Show, Vancouver, WA

Do these two women look like famous authors?? That's what we felt like!

Yesterday Gerrie and I went to the Clark County Quilt show in Vancouver, WA. We were invited to come and bring the Twelve by Twelve book to sell and sign. We decided to take along our Colorplay quilts (the current round of Twelve by Twelve challenges) too. We arrived about 11:30 and met Vonda, the show chair, with whom we had been communicating about the event. She is an energetic, upbeat woman, brimming with Texas charm, and she was ready for us. Before we sat down to sign books, we got to see the show and were treated to lunch. Another member, Sharry, who Gerrie and I both know from Columbia FiberArts was our hostess and helper for the day. I had brought the big poster that the book publisher sent me to use and we were set up at the front of the show in comfy chairs and a small table to spread books and quilts on.

We had lots of people stop by our table. We sold a few books and signed a few that people had already purchased. Mostly we just had a great time visiting with people, who were really interested in our book and the quilts and what "Twelve by Twelve" is all about.

You can see in the top photo that Gerrie and I are both wearing what sort of look like corsages. They are little doll pins, made by Vonda and the always amazing Elinor Peace Bailey, who is a member of the guild. Gerrie's has red hair, mine has white. They are quite wonderful and such a thoughtful surprise. I love mine.

The day was such fun and a bonus was sunshine and clear blue sky for a beautiful drive. Many thanks to the Clark County quilters and especially Vonda and Sharry. I think I now know what getting "the royal treatment" means.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Helen and Diane Interview on Quilting Stash Podcast

I've been friends with Annie Smith for some years now, and I'm a big fan of her Quilting Stash podcast.  (you might also know Annie from her feature on Ricky Tims' and Alex Anderson's "Quilt Show.")  I was delighted when Helen and I ran into her at PIQF last October, and even more delighted when Annie asked if she could interview Helen and me for the podcast.

Annie tells me that our interview will be posted as her new podcast TODAY, and to accompany our interview she is giving away a free copy of the Twelve by Twelve book.  Anyone who comments on Annie's blog through the end of the day Saturday has a chance to win the book, I believe.  Go check out Annie's site!

By the way, it's easy to subscribe to Annie's podcasts for free via Itunes.  Search "Quilting Stash" and it'll pop right up.  Annie has a lovely voice and chats about all-things-quilting, so it's like settling down to talk quilts with a lovely friend.

And thank you, Annie, for sharing this interview with Helen and me with your listeners!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Signing in Vancouver Washington

Terry and Gerrie will be at the Clark County Quilter's show in Vancouver, WA, Friday, April 8th from Noon to 4 pm. We will have books to purchase and will sign books if you already have one. We are bringing our colorplay quilts with us for a little show and tell. If you are in the area, please come and say "Hi!"

Gerrie, who missed a trip to Japan, is very excited to be going across the river to another state!

This is not my quilt

"Ceci n`est pas une pipe" by Rene Magritte (via Findig Art)

I've finished my Chartreuse challenge, and I have gone a bit Magritte. OK, not nearly as philosophical as he, but I do owe the man a nod for the inspiration. Five more days until Reveal Day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Chartreuse Boost

With a week or so to our next reveal on 12 April, it's that part of the challenge cycle when a little extra boost doesn't go astray.  Chocolate and pistachio anyone?


I picked up this "colorscope" at PaperSource years ago.

The idea is that you pick your favorite colors and then there is a personality description that should fit you. Obviously, it's not scientific, but it's fun.

Here's what it says about chartreuse.
My "grand adventure" of the moment is completely starting over on my chartreuse quilt for this challenge. I finished one quilt several weeks ago, but now that I've been looking at it for several days, I'm having doubts. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Warped mind

You've seen the other pretty pictures of chartreuse things by fellow Twelves have been posting. Me?
this is my inspiration this time around.
I do worry about my mind sometimes.
But I have been thinking about chartreuse things - see my pretty new dress?
And yes, we have bought carpet since this photo was taken and I did take the price label off before I actually wore it!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chartreuse Whimsy

I've collected a few chartreuse colored fabrics. I may only use one of them since the idea that I'm most excited about is pretty simple. Still, they are great fabrics to have on hand.

My daughter is lobbying for this idea though. Inspired by Terry's Chartreuse liqueur and our popsicles inspired byChartreuse, I'm toying with a little green love.