Monday, August 29, 2011


Who hasn't been seduced by flickering flames? This is not my orange quilt but, as you will see on the 1st of September, my piece does have a connection with fire.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New blog on the block : Tea and Talk For Two

Although the miracle of the Twelve by Twelve group is that we have gelled together as a family, it is perhaps inevitable that within the larger group some more closer connections will be forged based on geography or personality. I have been priveledged to spend more time with Diane Hock than any of the others so far, wth two visits to California and a recent three week period hosting Diane and her family in the UK. We have found that we have much in common, not least a love of taking unrealsitically large baskets of books and journals ( and ipads and kindles and pencil boxes) to coffee shops and just hanging out enjoying tea and solitude.

I took it as one of the greatest compliments possilble when, after one such shared session Diane said to me "Being with you is as good as being alone."

Although we like to be in the same space when we are both engrossed in or own thoughts we found that we also enjoyed sharing a pot of tea (preferably with cream scones) and discussing creative matters. It was in my local cafe Bocboc, whilst lamenting the fact that we would soon be separated by the Atlantic that we came up with the idea of continuing the conversation by blog and letting you all eavesdrop from a neighbourng table

So we invite you to come on over and join us at where we plan to post about once a week each on whatever topics pertaining to creativity and the creative process are on our minds. The idea is that the blog will be a dialogue between us. Comments very welcome.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seeing Orange in Tacoma

Terry and I went to Tacoma, WA on the train to attend the APWQ show. We were so excited to have Nikki come down and hang out with us for awhile. We were having so much fun chatting, that we did not take a photo of the three of us. Sorry!! We also got to see Del Thomas and got to introduce her to Nikki.

We saw our book in one of the booths, and we had several people recognize us and tell us how much they enjoyed our blog and our book.

This morning, we went to the Tacoma Art Museum. In the lounge area, I noticed the orange pillow and the orange rug!

The Sun Came Out

After the frustration of my last two posts here and here, I am happy to report that the sun came out -- both literally and figuratively.

The sun appeared and I was able to burn another EZ Screen (interesting product, but a bit finicky regarding exposure times). It's not perfect, but was sufficient for what I wanted to do. I also brought out my new orange Inkodye and Inkodye resist, which I am happy to say I like. It's fun to watch the color develop in the sun. Next time I want to do some fabric painting I think I will be willing to invest in more colors. I also fell back on my old standby Setacolor Transparent. I'm close to stating that these are all I need in my surface design toolbox.

Anyway, I did some "serendipitous screen printing" from the 10th anniversary issue of Quilting Arts magazine, and painted some orange-crate-inspired graphics with the help of freezer paper stencils, my EZ Screens, and some net clementine bags. None of the pieces are finished in and of themselves, but that's OK since I've wanted to layer some elements from the beginning. Now I'm off to the comfort of my sewing machine, scissors and commercial fabrics to really pull all these pieces together!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Printing Orange

Yesterday I messed about with textile paints and some thermofax screens I got at Festival of Quilts (from the Committed to Cloth booth).  I had a grand time and you might be seeing some orange printing in my final orange piece. 

But the best success happened when I decided to experiment with some rather ugly fabric (which was the result of dying gone astray for the "gray" challenge").  I screened with the plain DeColourant and then set the fabric out in the sun for the afternoon. And now I actually like the fabric!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Orange Process (but not exactly progress)

Last I posted, I was overwhelmed by paint and Procion, gelatin plate or monoprints on glass, silk screens and freezer paper masks. I decided to simplify a bit and use paints instead of Procion dyes, and a glass plate for monoprints instead of a gelatin one. I cut out a lot of prep work by not trying these this time, and I suspect I've averted a gelatin disaster since it's very hot and humid here and I doubt the gelatin would have set well.

Alas, monoprinting went OK at best. In some cases the paint dried too fast (retarder helped, but...), in others I just didn't like the look.

I was very excited about using water soluble crayons on my silk screen and transferring the color to my masked fabric with a gel medium. However, my pastels were oil based, as was the kids' set; and my fabric crayons apparently are too. My watercolor pencils didn't work well at all, and on top of that, the mediums I had make the fabric feel all weird and plasticy. I got what I could at the art supply store here, but they didn't have any of the products suggested in the article I was following. I could try the craft store, or mail order, but I'm tired of shopping for this project.

On top of all of that disappointment, my ever present sun disappeared behind rainclouds and my second sun print didn't turn out. At least the color of the paint is nice, even if it doesn't have the intended leaf pattern on it.

I had some success making thermofax style screens with a product called EZ screen, so my plan now is to make one more screen and try my hand at some modified silkscreening.

I must say though, as disappointed and frustrated as I am right now, it's not permanent, it's not brain surgery, and I can't blame the how-to articles that inspired me. No -- it's all just part of the work that needs to be done to find out what works for us, and what works for each individual piece. Everything isn't going to be predictable or perfect. It's all a process.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chevy Orange

One of the many fun things about these Colourplay challenges is seeing what others associate with a particular colour. For example, my husband immediately came up with Chevy Orange:
He is enthusiastic about this shibori piece as an abstraction of an engine block (or something!) but I've gone off on another tangent...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beautiful books

I bought a beautiful journal a couple of weeks ago made by Artbox Design Mine is silver but I see today they have plenty in orange.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Drought map

My orange quilt is done and was initially inspired by this map. But I am giving nothing away as there is no trace of a map in the actual quilt!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Twelve by Twelve at Festival of Quilts, in Pictures

I thought I'd share a bit of my experience at the recent Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.  It was so fun to be there, and especially to be there as one of Twelves while all 144 of our first challenge quilts were there on exhibit.  So, let's go inside, shall we?
Helen and I arrived and immediately got excited to see our name on the wall, gallery-style.  We had to pose next to it and couldn't stop grinning.  (Do you think they put that orange carpet down in our honor?)
Helen posted some pictures of how the quilts looked when they were hung, but here's another.  Don't they look lovely?  Several people who'd seen the quilts on exhibit at Midsomer Quilting remarked over how different they looked on a white background than on black.  Not better, not worse, they added, just different -- different quilts came forward, I think.
Here are Dennis, Helen, and Francoise, ready to talk about the quilts and sell books.  It was lovely to have 3 twelves together (so I guess that made us 36!) and I really enjoyed my first in-person meeting with Francoise. (Sorry, but I just can't get the cedilla on the blog drafting page!)  And Dennis was so great at talking about the quilts and selling books that I think he should be made an honorary Twelve.  Perhaps we can call him "Thirteen?"  (and doesn't that sound like a James Bondish sort of nickname?)
Here are Francoise and Helen, chatting while signing books.
I've told all of you how fun it was to sit at the table and watch people look at the quilts.  They'd get up close and look at the detail, they'd pull out cameras to take photos (and many expressed appreciation for being able to photograph them), they'd back up to look at them from a distance.
And yes, there were men looking at them, too.
We had two chairs that we placed so visitors could sit and look at the quilts, and many people took advantage of the opportunity to sit and gaze.  One woman pulled out her knitting, and sat and looked at the quilts, knitting all the while.
This woman gazed thoughtfully at them for a long time.  Dennis (oops, I mean Thirteen) went over and offered her the mosaic summary pages so she could read the quilt stories while sitting.  She told him she'd been trying to guess what the challenge themes were for each set, and was right except for shelter, which she'd guessed was "weather."   
This is a picture of Marete Viean from Norway, who came and visited the exhibit several times.  She'd had the book and is a regular follower of our group and personal blogs, and she was so nice to tell us how much the project had inspired her.  I happened to capture here while she was being a helper to Claire Benn in the Virtual Studio, so she got to help place fabric on the print plates and do rinsing.  Look at her intense concentration, watching Claire's every move!
Helen and I happened to be walking by when Claire and Marete were crossing with this freshly printed piece of fabric, which they were taking to be rinsed.  Gorgeous, yes?
By the end of Festival, my head was spinning with so much visual inspiration.  As a result, I was seeing almost everything as inspiration for a fiber creation, including the velcro dots remaining on the wall after we took down the quilts:
I call this "Velcro Dots with Orange Accent."  They look vaguely like braille, don't they?  And rest assured we were not slacking -- we were told to just leave them on the wallboard.
And this is for Gerrie.  Helen and I both spotted these stacked chairs during the tear-down and reached for our cameras:
It was an absolutely exhilarating four days and being one of the "hosts" of the 12x12 exhibit was an experience I'll never forget.  PLUS there was this exciting memory:
I wish all of you could have been there.  But I want to send a big thank you to everyone who stopped by to tell us they liked the exhibit and liked the book.  It was so nice to find friends who knew us and liked our work even when I was so far from home.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Slow moving

I love the colour orange but I feel like I'm dragging my heels on this one..

Friday, August 12, 2011

Festival of Quilts in pictures

Three happy Twelves...Two famous Twelves...
with Pam Holland. (scroll down a bit on Pam Holland's blog to read what she says about us.)

More pictures later...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Orange Box

I've been thinking about my own artistic comfort zones. Usually I'm up for any style or technique that suits the message I want to convey, so I was thinking that maybe I didn't have a comfort zone in the sense of preferred colors, styles, or techniques.

But I am procrastinating like crazy on this orange piece. It's not teh color, it's what I want to do with it. I decided that I needed to try a collage-y, printed, layered look that I so admire in other artists' work. I made notes in my magazines, gathered supplies, bought more supplies, made silkscreens, cut masks, and am still not sure where I am going with this.

I am finding that I enjoy starting with a pile of already colored and patterned fabrics. I like that I can add and subtract with sewing and cutting. I am comfortable in my process of piecing and occasionally painting or dying fabrics to be pieced. I feed my stash and my stash feeds me.

What I am not comfortable with is the planning by way of cutting masks or making screens, combined with the element of serendipity that comes with the unconventional use of those tools like using wet media to transfer crayon color, or dried dye, or newspaper clippings. I'm annoyed that I need to prepare my fabrics with soda ash if I'm going to use dyes, and that I need to make only as much as I plan to use before they spoil. I don't like that I need to seal my silk screen with duct tape and I don't have any at home, or that I have water soluble crayons for one technique but not the soft gel medium with which to disperse them. There's so much to plan and purchase for. I know that if I try these techniques and like them, then I will have the supplies on hand and not be so frustrated, but right now all the prep work is engendering procrastination.

I've come to the realization that my comfort zone is my boxes of fabric that I can reach into at a moment's notice and combine in any way that my thread and needle allow. I like the direct. Pencil on paper, blade on fabric or paper, hook to yarn. Much more than that -- preparing the ground, mixing the pigments, determining layers and masks -- is generally outside of my box.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All hung

The information from the Festival organisers was that their hanging team would hang all our quilts on wooden battens. We were a little surprised to find that we had plain walls and no rods when we arrived. When the hangng team turned up they were rather suprised by the suggestion that they screw so many battens to the wall as no one had told them this would be required. To be fair they were willing to take on this mammoth task but suggested that maybe we would like to hang them ourselves using velcro dots.

In fact, this turned out to be a great way to hang them. Diane and Francoise did a sterling job of sticking on some 1500 individual sticky dots while I stuck most of them up. They look good we think and we are delighted to have such a wide gallery for people to spend time in.

We are now looking forward to seeing it populated with people.

We are here!

So, here we are at the NEC all ready to go. Just waiting for the hanging team to get to us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I usually buy only red peppers, but these orange ones were so beautiful and *orange* has been on my mind, so they jumped in my grocery cart last week.

I've pulled out some orange fabrics and I've been thinking about how to represent the celebration I feel as we complete our ColorPlay series.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Surrounded by orange

The lilies in my yard are amazing right now. These orange ones just sing. I really think there will be orange lilies in my 12 x 12 quilt, but since I haven't even begun to begin, who knows?

These red-orange ones are pretty great too.

I really haven't even begun my orange piece. I have a stack of fabrics I am thinking of using and a few ideas in my head, but things have been way too busy around here. One of my priorities right now is to try to finish a quilt for my grandson, Marco's first birthday, which is only a week away. I don't think I'm going to make that deadline, but he will get it soon enough. It's too hot for sleeping with a quilt right now anyway. But I am loving the way it is coming together. It occurred to me today that I could throw a few of these blocks together and have my 12 x 12 orange quilt done!

Further proof that orange looks good with everything. Loving the orange and turquoise combo.

Where's the Orange?

I started my quilt, finally, and I'm actually almost done with it. My quilt started with the fabrics above. I'm looking forward to reveal day!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Orange Out Take

I have one orange quilt just about finished. This is a left over! I am working on a second one which will have handstitching and maybe some beads. I will take it with me next week when I travel to New York for my niece's wedding.

Come and meet us at festival of Quilts!!

We are excited to be bringing all 144 Theme series quilts to Festival of Quilts at the NEC this year from 11-14 August.
Come and meet Diane Hock, Francoise Jamart and Helen Conway on Stand A60

We are taking turns on the stand (assisted by Helen's Best Quilting Buddy Lesley Hagon and Best Quilting Husband Dennis Woodcock) to enable us to shop and take classes and shop and see the quilts and,!

We will be selling copies of our book and would be delighted to sign your purchase for you.

Want to meet one of us in particular?
Our schedules on the stalls are as follow:

Diane Hock
Thursday 10 - 1 and 2.30 - 3.30
Friday 11.30 - 2
Saturday  3 - 5.30
Sunday 10 - 11.30

Francoise Jamart
Thursday 10 - 1 and 2.30 - 5.30
Friday 10 - 1

Helen Conway
Thursday 1 - 2.30
Friday 10 - 11.30 and 1 - 2
Saturday 12.30 - 1.30
Sunday 10 - 11

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Twelve by Twelve: Australian Book Vendors

For readers wishing to purchase the book Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge in Australia, here is a selection of suppliers that have the book in store and online for A$24.99 or less:
  • Dymocks - this photo was snapped at the George Street store in Sydney this weekend;
  • Abbeys Bookshop; and
  • Can Do Books (Hawthorn, Melbourne) selling at the Craft & Quilt Fairs throughout Australia in 2011 with a book signing with Brenda at the Canberra show at 1pm this Sunday, 14 August.
In addition, Kirsty sells the book at her fabulous Townsville craft studio and shop Pompom Rouge and Brenda will have copies available at the Quilters' Guild of NSW Inc market day at Burwood RSL, on Saturday, 20 August 2011.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I painted some raw silk and organza with dynaflow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Orange and Blue?

I've been thinking about what to do with Terry's Orange theme, and became frustrated with my self over the hard time I was having deciding. Finally I thought, just make an orange, duh!   And, it's the  perfect opportunity for some Kantha stitching.

This blue silk seemed the like a great background, so I started stitching away, using three different thicknesses of thread to emphasize and diminish certain areas.

The fact that you are seeing it now tells you I'm not crazy about it.  Probably this blue silk is to rich looking, and then there's the possibility I don't usually work literally, so it's back to thinking about orange, abstractly this time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Orange & Green

I thought I might do some orange dyeing but then I checked my hand-dye stash.  This is just a small portion!

The orange and cobalt/blue combos shown by Terry in her earlier post exemplify the calming power of blue.  Pair orange and green and a different dynamic emerges.
Over on the Canton Village Quilt Works blog, you can view some high energy orange quilt blocks.