Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I've Been Keeping Something From You...

I originally made this quilt for our orange theme. I was feeling celebratory about our amazing 12x12 project. I wanted to express my joy about the art and the experience.

It's called Overflowing. After four years of working with the other twelves on this project and 24 small art quilts, I feel my life is overflowing with such an interesting variety of experiences, ideas, thoughts, inspirations, friends and creativity! Certainly worth celebrating, don't you think? 

So I created this wonky jug and filled it with fun stuff and stacked a bunch of this-and-that around it.

That spider-webby ribbon is from my trip to NYC where Kristin and I shopped together at M&J Trim. Isn't it fantastic? That sheer bit with the orange dots was also from our shopping trip in the NYC garment district.

I couldn't resist letting the fish jump out of the jug.
Then I looked at the quilt and I thought I hadn't really used enough orange. I also thought the quilt was kind of wacky. I wasn't sure I really liked it. So I made the hibiscus which I was very happy with.

But now that I look at Overflowing again and write about the ideas that were behind the process of making it, I like it! I hope you do too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting ready for Houston!

Hi. Terry Grant here. I have nearly all the quilts from both series of 12 by 12 challenges at my house right now. It would be awful if my house burned down. Oh, no, wait! Why did I even think of that?! Erase, erase. Forget I even said that!

Anyway, I am getting things organized for the showing of both series at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November. Gerrie Congdon and I are going to be attaching all 288 pieces to black felt panels that will be hung in Houston. Today I opened all the boxes containing the Colorplay series quilts, which each artist has been individually sending me, and I started sorting them into challenge groups.

What fun I have had today, looking at each piece. It is like seeing them for the first time. There really is so much more to see in person than on our blog. And while some of us thought the Colorplay quilts were not as interesting as the Theme series, I am not so sure. Really folks, they are wonderful!

Here they are, bundled by challenge, ready to take to Gerrie's later this week for attaching to the panels, packaging and shipping.

I can't wait to see them all hanging in Houston. It gives me chills to think about it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

SAQA Auction

Several of us "twelves" made donations to the annual Studio Art Quilt Associates auction which kicks off on September 12. SAQA is an amazing organization that promotes art quilts in many innovative ways. Over 300 small art quilts have been donated by SAQA members all over the world. It's a fantastic opportunity to see and own some excellent artwork.

The auction is very exciting! There are three sections of quilts. On the first day of each section's auction, the price for each piece in that section is $750. The next day (at 2:00 Eastern), the price drops to $550. The third day, it drops to $350, then $250, then $150, and finally $75.

Check out all the quilts in each section here. Section 1 opens on Monday, September 12! (None of the "twelves" have quilts in this section, but there are several amazing quilts in the group.)

Section 2 opens on September 19 and includes works by Gerrie Congdon and Terri Stegmiller.

Klee's Castles
Gerrie Congdon

A Little Birdy Told Me
Terri Stegmiller

Section 3 opens on Sept 26 and includes works by Brenda Gael Smith, Helen Conway, Terry Grant and me, Deborah Boschert.

Kia Kaha (Be Strong)
Brenda Gael Smith

Border Crossing
Helen Conway

Terry Grant

Purple with Lotus
Deborah Boschert

I hope you'll take some time to browse through all the offerings before the auctions kick off on Monday. Purchasing a quilt is a great way to support SAQA and encourage art quilters. You might want to make some notes about the quilts you like and which price range might fit your budget. It's fun to watch the quilts get marked as "sold" as the auction progresses.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Helen's Quilt in Vid Cast

Bonnie McCaffery has posted a videocast of Festival of Quilts, and if you look as the quilts go by, you'll see our own Helen's African Ladies quilt!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Working on the Felt Panels

This is a pile of 38 felt panels for displaying our quilts in Houston. Terry cut them and handed them over to me a couple of days ago. With the 3 that Deborah has, we are more than half way to having them ready for attaching the quilts.

I am so happy that I am able to help do this project. We are finally getting summer here in Portland. It was nice to sit in my cool basement studio and stitch.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Orange Colorplay Website Update

The Orange Colorplay works are now posted on the website. The Artist Colorplay Gallery pages have also been updated and it is fascinating to look through and see the work of each Twelve in this second series.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I have to say that my first association with the colour Orange was the livery of the European Airline Easyjet. I have not always had happy experiences in my dealings with them and have long said that for a comoany who seem adept at failing to give customers information,surrounding said frustrated passengers with livid orange does not seem to be the most calming of environments. It has certainly created within me a deep seated negative association with bright orange so perhaps I can be forgiven for not being immediately elated with the firm instructions given that I was not to ammend the hue to the beautiful burnt umbers or autumnal tones I do love so much.

So what to do? Turn to Google Images of course. Some combination of words like orange and Africa led me to the drought map I posted earlier. Of course, that harsh unforgiving orange is just right for the destructive, unforgiving equatorial sun. Having got my idea, I inspected my stash. Hmmm. I have not been taking Easyjet aversion therapy and buying nasty orange fabric. Nor, due to the delayed state of my studio construction and consequent strewing about the masterbedroom in teetering random piles of my quilting equipment was I in a positon go and easily dye any.

So, taking my life in my hands I reached into the bottom of a pile of boxes and extracted some orange acrylic paint and a brayer. I took a piece of fabric I had dyed for the spice challenge but had never ironed. ( And possibly never rinsed. I forget). I sat on the bedroom floor (paint can only improve the hideous inherited carpet) and set to. I put some electrical cables that were lyng around under a plastic bag in which a duvet had been delievered placed the crinkled paper on top , squeezed paint onto another bag, coated the brayer and ran it over the fabric. Voila parched earth. The quilting was done to emphasise the bumpy surface .
The composition thereafter was inspired by photos of the refugee camps I had been looking at when browsing Google and thinking about a theme of borders and fences. Is the fence keeping them in for security purposes? (Fences in these camps are not about protecting from theft but women from sexual assault from men roaming outside). Or it it a more metaphorical barrier standing between them and the life they left behind? Either way it is likley that these women walked many tens of miles burying children along the way.

Enjoy Delicious Twelve Brand Oranges

I'm a Southern California girl. Fourth generation born in Los Angeles. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which, like much of Los Angeles and Orange counties was predominantly orange groves at first part of the twenty first century. To me, "orange" means oranges, and of course, the graphic labels of the crates they used to come in.

I started by drawing my version of a crate label. Then I experimented with a variety of painting, printing, and silkscreening techniques using that basic imagery. I collaged all my favorite bits together to create my homage to the orange.

The process I took was not my usual and I procrastinated a lot, trying to wrap my head around what I wanted to do, in what order it needed to be done, and what it might look like in the end. But, it was worthwhile as I am very happy with the final product, and may even incorporate some of what I learned into future projects.

Orange You Glad I Made Two

The first piece that I made is titled, Endless Summer. I painted raw silk with Dynaflow paints and cut strips which I assembled by fusing the composition. While I was making it, I knew that it reminded me of something. It finally came to me. When we were a young married couple, we had this poster hanging in our family room.

Here is a detail:

The second piece I made should be titled insanity, but I have named it Fiesta.

I had painted a piece of silk organza with Dynaflow paints and scrunched it up on batting that I had painted orange. I ironed it and pinned it and started stitching with Perle cotton.

Here is a detail of the stitching:
So, now I need help deciding which one will join the other orange quilts in the Twelve x Twelve mosaic.

John Lennon's Spectacles

I've never been a huge Beatle's fan.  Sure, I like their music well enough, and like everyone else I've had it playing around me in some form or another for most of my life.  Aside from that brief period in 2nd grade when my friends and I argued over which Beatle was cutest, they just didn't mean that much to me.  My husband, however, is what you might call a dedicated fan.  Make that Very Dedicated.  He will argue seriously that few musicians have impacted music the way they have.

So it is no surprise that when we were in England and staying just outside of Liverpool, we scheduled a day to go into the city to see the famous places in Beatles history.  We trooped around and saw the sights and learned things about them that even Roger didn't know. It was very fun.

I was having a nice time, enjoying it all in a "isn't this interesting pop-culture history" sort of way when a few things stopped me in my tracks.  One was a piece of handwritten sheet music which turned out to be Paul McCartney's handwritten early draft of "Yesterday."  There was just something so immediate and real about seeing these messy penciled scribbles, and knowing that it was Paul's actual hand that had written it.  (This picture was heavily adjusted in Photoshop, by the way, so you could see the music markings.  The real thing was done in very pale pencil.)

And then, at a Beatles' museum sort of place called "The Beatles Story" (which was WONDERFUL and really full of fascinating things), I came upon a small glass display case containing John Lennon's orange glasses.  The fact that they were orange totally surprised me.  (See?  Your major Beatles fan would have known he wore orange glasses, I guess.) 

But what hit me was how ordinary they looked sitting there.  A simple pair of glasses, imbued with such magic because of the talented man who'd worn them.  And that, more than anything else I'd seen during that whole day, made John Lennon real to me.

 So that's a long explanation of what this piece is about:  the glasses and the handwriting that transformed the Beatles from rock music icons into real people for me.

In terms of how this was made:  I screen printed text onto fabric with textile paint, and then painted the glasses on free hand.  The word "Imagine" is orange organza stitched on. The piece is machine quilted, mostly with white thread for texture between the lines of writing.

Short Summer

Now, this is the flower garden I wanted but didn't have this year!  Summer didn't arrive in the Northwest until about  three weeks ago and the garden never quite did anything.  I don't even have much research for dandelion this year.  I can't blame it all on the weather though since I didn't get out there to help it along. 

Once again, I was behind on time and inspiration (I think I need to go back and read the sidebar in our book about creating time and space for art! and that was in my chapter) and didn't really get started until last week.  Luckily, Terry and Gerrie invited me to meet them at the Pacific West Quilt Show where I was reminded about how much I love playing with color and embellishment.  Seeing Gerrie's quilts in person especially helped.

I decided to do an embellished flower garden.  We had warm, sunny days last weekend so I was able to get outside on the deck to create some bright orange fabric paper.  I had to add a few hints of pink ever since  Terri introduced me to the color combination of pink and orange.  I did take pictures for a blog post but before I could get it done hubby had us off for a late afternoon sail and the rest of my time was dedicated to getting her done.  I thought about going all orange for the quilt and using soft orange for the background, but I was worried it would all blend together.  I didn't have time to start over if it didn't work, so I went with the same color scheme as my chartreuse quilt: orange, purple and green. After sewing down the fabric paper flowers, I started adding embellishments.  That was when I discovered that I have used up most of my orange beads--either that or I didn't have many to begin with.  I looked for orange yarn, wire, miscellaneous fibers--nothing but a couple vintage buttons.  So here is about my entire stash of orange embellishments.  I had to turn to copper a bit, so I hope that isn't too brown.  I really like how the quilt turned out.  I really need to create a whole series of embellished gardens.  Maybe now that all the kids are going back to school full time.

Central Park

One of my strongest childhood memories is of my mother taking me and my brother to the library. We did it at least once a week and I loved to sort through the books and choose some to take home. I was less than five in these memories. I always chose books with beautiful illustrations - they mattered to me far more than the storyline! - and my favourites were the most richly coloured. This was the late sixties and there was a fashionable style of illustrating then that now seems to me to have been strongly influenced by linocuts and woodcuts (in fact, many of the books were illustrated with prints). It was the simple shapes and intense colour that I loved and the orange that Terry assigned for us immediately reminded me of those books.

My quilt is what I remember of the picture books from when I was four. I have no idea why but, as I made the quilt, this image declared itself to me to be Central Park (where I have yet to go). Maybe I have hiding, somewhere deep in my memories, a picture of Central Park from one of those books. Good heavens, it may be subconscious plagiarism! I hope not!

ps: Terry, while the trees look kind of red-orange in the photo, I swear the oranges are the correct colour! ;P


Summer is over and we are easing back into our normal routine of school, work and regular day-to-day life. But, I am still full of joyful memories of our family vacation to Hawaii. With that in mind, I couldn't resist using the orange hibiscus as the inspiration for my 12x12 quilt.

As I was walking down the street in Waikiki, I was stunned by the beautiful hibiscus bushes in the street planters. I don't remember seeing any orange ones, actually. So I took some creative license. I was also inspired by other orange flowers all over Hawaii. Several have bright yellow accents and look amazing in and amongst green leaves.

It's reminiscent of my Passion 12x12 piece, don't you think? I cut some pattern pieces after looking at several hibiscus images online and making some of my own sketches. Then I added several of my personal accents and symbols.

I felt like the composition needed some additional detail and layering on the right in the center, so I created a stencil of the silhouette of Diamond Head crater and painted over it in white. It's subtle. Can you see it here?

Here's the image I used. That's Benjamin in the water with his arm out stretched.
My quilt is made of an unabashed collection of memories of our summer vacation. I don't usually make quilts using specific events or memories as inspiration, so this was a wonderful new way expressing my creative spirit.


I know that's not a very orignal title, but it kind of of sums it up, doesn't it.  It took me a while to come up with an idea for this challange, not because of the color, I love orange, but because it's the last in this series, and I was feeling a little nostalgic.

Before Diane asked me to join the group,  I made a series of 12 inch pieces using linen napkins a friend had given me. You can see a picture of them here
I always loved the techniques I used on these and decided to use them again in this piece.  I painted some iron on interfacing, added some cheesecloth and some little strips of blue fabric, then had fun machine stitching everything together.
I have to admit it's a bit of a relief to finish up with the color series.  I've never felt comfortable designing around a color and I still don't, although I do think it's become easier. That's because I realize these are all exercises, not masterpieces, and I've given myself permission to just play around.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I am looking forward to our next adventure together.

Orange Lilies

As I began to think about what I might do for the orange challenge, my front garden was beginning to bloom with a riot of color. Prominent in the mix were orange lilies and they called to me. As I had considered what color or colors I would propose for my challenge, my first thought was cobalt blue. The more I thought about it the more it seemed that we had used blues in several challenges already, so I switched my attention to orange. Still, I had that blue in my mind and it seemed to sing with the orange.

I wanted to use some bolder printed fabrics and among my stash I found what I felt would help portray the energy of my wild and untamed garden.



I love the color orange and when I was trying to come up with ideas for my quilt I found myself looking through my sketchbooks and idea books. When I came across a journal page I had done a while back that was basically reading orange, my idea hit me.

Original sketch from journal page

I played with the sketchbook image in PhotoShop....resizing it and removing all the color. I then printed it out onto four sheets of paper and taped it together to create my 12 x 12 design.

I prepared my background of neutral fabrics by machine piecing them and then free motion quilting. I then pinned my paper pattern on top of the quilt and with black thread, quilted all the sketched lines. After all the design lines were stitched in I removed the paper.

Next I added the color using Neocolor II watersoluble crayons and textile medium.


This is my Orange Colorplay quilt.
Its starting point was a picture I took in Holland a few years ago. I was walking on a seawall path with fields on the left side and water on the right side. I liked how all the lines seem to converge.
This is why I named my quilt "Focus".
Focus is something I've been missing in the past months (years?). Too many interests, not enough time. I know I'm not alone here.
Here's a detail shot of the quilt...
As usual, I hand-dyed all the fabrics.
More on my blog here.

Firewheel Trio

Firewheel Trio
The Firewheel Tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus) is an Australian rainforest tree with stunning ornamental flowers.  The Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella aka Indian Blanket) is also a Texas wildflower which seems very fitting with the our Twelve by Twelve quilts coming up for exhibition at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November 2011. So take your pick! Either way, I am so pleased to have, at last!, squeezed in a shibori piece in the Colorplay series. 
image by Cas Liber via WikiCommons image by Susulyka via Wiki Commons
Although I had plenty of orange fabrics in my stash,you can see that I succumbed to the lure of a vermillion and orange dyeing session.  Here's how my design wall looked a week or two ago.

Initially, I was going to hand quilt this piece with orange and chartreuse heavy weight threads. That didn't work and I almost discarded the piece in favour of Pyromania.  However, once I changed to machine quilting with variegated thread, it was no contest.  It seems felicitous to finish off the second series in a way that echoes my very first Twelve by Twelve quilt from November 2007 - Pièce deRésistance.