Thursday, July 21, 2016

Teaching at International Quilt Festival

Registration for International Quilt Festival in Houston is open! 

You'll find me at these six events. I'm super excited about each and every one of them. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to see you! 

246 Small Stitched Landscape on Tuesday, November 1 from 9 to noon

Create small fabric compositions full of texture, color and stitching inspired by nature. Each student will design four 4x4 inch art quilts that can be mounted as an inspired grouping. Learn intuitive tricks for design and composition. Explore several hand embroidery stitches. Combine various fabrics for maximum effect and detail. Composition and some stitching will be completed in class.
This class is going to so relaxed and fun! I'm going to have tons of nature-inspired fabrics and threads to choose from and we'll start Quilt Festival week stitching with new friends. 

265 Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice, Tuesday, November 1 from 2 to 5 pm

Learn to fully utilize your head, heart and hands in your creative process as you develop your own unique and original creative voice. Prompts, lists, exercises, mind-maps and lots of Q&A will generate lightbulb moments for understanding your art. Students will share finished quilts and discuss themes, possibilities and potential in each other's work. "He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist." — St. Francis
This is my newest passion! Helping artists understand, develop and focus on their own personal unique voices! You will come away with new insights about yourself and where to go with your art.

309 Creativi-Tree Art Quilts, Wednesday, November 2 from 8 am to 5 pm

Create a small art quilt with a delightful tree using a simple formula plus interchangeable patterns. Explore layers of design and hand stitching. Try colorful, surface design printing. Super fun, uncomplicated process makes this a great project to explore the possibilities of fabric, paint and stitching. Students can add machine stitching at home.
This workshop includes a variety of super fun fabric kits to choose from. It's amazing to see how many unique trees are created by different students... even though we all work through the same steps!

555 Friday Sampler, Friday, November 4 from 10 am to noon
Captivating Compositions: Ideas and Inspiration for Design

Many artists have a hard time getting started. Deborah shares eight design guides that can be used as templates or possibilities for design and composition. She'll demo tips and tricks for creating quilts with great design.
I'll be designing on the fly! Come watch me create with fabric and talk through easy ideas for composition and deciding "what next!"

561 All About Art Quilts Lecture, Friday, November 4 from 2 to 3 pm

What exactly is an art quilt? What can you look for in the art quilt category at a quilt show? Deborah will share a fun overview of art quilting including lots of pictures and examples. She'll touch on style, techniques, history and prize winning quilters. Art quilters and traditional quilters will enjoy this casual, fun, fast-paced, informative program.
This lecture is great for traditional, modern AND art quilters! It is full of tons of beautiful images. You'll come away inspired.

740 Saturday Sampler, Saturday, November 5 from 10 to noon
Creating and Printing with Foam Stamps

Deborah will demo creating original stamps using sticky-back fun foam. Tons of ideas for patterns, details, and design. Print fabric with these stamps to use in art quilts, collage and mixed media creations. Tips and tricks for maximizing creativity and fun!
Simple tools and techniques for stupendous results. Surface design doesn't have to be complicated. I'll be wearing my apron, stamping a bunch of fabric and sharing tips for creating unique fabrics.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Liberating Composition... an article in Quilting Arts magazine

I'm in the newest issue of Quilting Arts magazine!

My article is titled...

I created four quilts using the same composition. Here are two of them hanging in my living room.

I am especially thrilled that they included my little thumbnail sketches. You can see them on the bottom of these pages.

I think it helps explain my process. Plus, I always love looking at sketches. I hope others do too.

I also love looking at in progress shots. Those weren't appropriate for this article, but I can share some sneak peeks with you here.

You can easily see the similarities in composition here, right? It's the stitching and details that make them unique.

Have you read the article? I'd love to know what resonated with you. And I'd LOVE to see a collection of quilts using this idea!

You may remember in early May that Quilting Arts had a survey asking readers to pick their favorite cover. I was thrilled to be included, but ultimately not surprised that they picked the birds. They are beautiful and unique! I think realistic imagery probably sells better --- and that's what the cover is all about.

I'll just have to keep submitting work and hope to be a cover girl someday!

It is especially delightful to be in an issue with so many other artists who I am honored to call my friends including Susie Monday who's back page column is profound and beautiful. Susan Brusker Knapp shares several awesome free motion quilting motifs. Frances Holliday Alford has a great system for sewing on the go. And Lorie McCown sings the praises of hand stitching -- I'm singing along with her, you know!

Did you notice my new book is mentioned in my bio?! I still can hardly believe I wrote a book.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Another Bowl Quilt!

I am thrilled to share my newest art quilt, Provisions.
I'm also thrilled to say it's been juried into the Dinner at Eight special Exhibition: Patterns. It will premier at International Quilt Festival in Houston in October. It's 40x40. Here a short statement about the patterns I was thinking of when I created it. 

People create consistent patterns of seeking and finding nourishment. We need to provide for physical, emotional and creative sustenance. Sometimes a seed grows into a plant and makes its way to the dinner table. Sometimes a seed grows into an idea that cultivates inspiration.

I'm continuing with the bowl thing. And always exploring new ways to layer fabric, paint and stitch.

Here's an early in-progress shot where I was considering including a giant spoon. 

Thankfully, I realized that was a terrible idea.

Another in progress shot where the major elements are just being refined.

Here I've added the small sprouts along the "horizon" line. And the stem of the wheat. At this point, I'm envisioning what it needs with surface design and stitching.

I made a foam stamp with this fork, spoon and knife imagery and used a bit of tan and navy paint to make the prints.

I machine stitched stones into the ground sections.

I hand stitched my beloved Ys. Plus machine stitched outlines of the sprouts, both the fabric sprouts and some with just the machine stitched outline.

I had a tough time deciding how to quilt the background and what color thread to use.

I ended up stitching a grid-like pattern inspired by the cross stitches. You may be able to see the faint blue marked lines above. I used those as a general guide. You can see the subtle motif here.

The idea of free motion stitching a motif within a marked grid is a new technique for me. I like it! I'll definitely do that again.

I toyed with the idea of titling this piece Need Seed Feed. I like the simplicity of the rhyme and symbolism. But, I just never really warmed up to it.

Then I spent lots of time jumping from one word to another on an online thesaurus and ended up with Provisions, which actually has many slight variations in definition. I like the sound of it and I hope viewers see the quilt and the title and make their own connections.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Visit to the Frank Stella Exhibition

Our local Studio Art Quilt Associates group arranged a docent-led tour of the Frank Stella exhibition at the Modern in Fort Worth.

Aren't we an awesome looking group?!

This exhibit is unique in that it covers such an incredibly long span of time and work -- 60 years. Such a long productive creative life. And he's still creating! I wish for the same when I'm 80. (Not the solo museum exhibit, just the continued creativity!)

It's somewhat organized chronologically. Here are some early works. I am stunned by the power of yellow in this picture. In my mind, it jumps out more than anything else. (Maybe that's why I rarely use yellow in my work.)

There were several examples of maquettes, sketches and notes in the alcove where Anselm Keifer's Book with Wings is normally displayed.

I love looking at artist's notes! Here I even love the yellowed edges and the way the graph paper lifts off the backing in this frame.

We quilters appreciated this star painting.

But the most interesting thing about that star is this edge treatment. He couldn't figure out how to neatly wrap the canvas around the frame, so he just sliced it and left it frayed and uncovered.

I have spent so much time trying to make nice clean edges on my wrapped canvases and I still haven't mastered it even though I've pinned several examples on Pinterest. Should I just give up?

His more recent work includes giant three-dimensional structures of various materials. If they touch the ground, like these two, he calls them sculptures.

If they are wall mounted, like this one, he calls them paintings.

I liked the way the silver and red stripes of the "painting" mirrored the red and white stripes of Debbie's shirt.

I'm not sure I really loved his work. I liked the early work more than the later work. I was struck by the fact that as he became more successful he had the resources and connections to hire apprentices. I think that's part of what allows an artist to work bigger.

But I loved being there. And I loved going with a group of artists.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Brief Blog Discussion and Tons of In Process Shots

I've been blogging and reading blogs for more than eleven years. I always hate blogs that start off with something like, "I've been a bad blogger." Really, as a blogger you just have to chose to blog or not. Readers can clearly tell which choice you've made. You don't have to tell them.

And yet, I can't figure out that choice for myself and I really have been a bad blogger. I'm not apologizing to you as a reader (if you're even out there), I'm just trying to figure out what I'm doing here.

As you know, I have a book coming out in the fall. I'm teaching and lecturing more. I'm showing and selling more work. I love all of this! I really do. So, it makes sense that my blog would complement those activities. But, then it starts to feel like a marketing tool rather than a personal journal. So, I'm seeking a balance. 

How about some images of an in progress work? I always enjoy writing about my process and readers seem to enjoy it too.

I love the Tactile Architecture special exhibit at Quilt Festival in Houston every year. I love architecture and I think it's a never-ending well of inspiration for design. I've had the pleasure of being included in the exhibit a few times and I'd like to enter again this year. So, I set out to create something to fit the theme and size requirements.

I began with some brown, gray and black fabrics. I'm having a moment with neutrals this year. I added an orange mono-printed square... which looked awful.

I adjusted the proportions of the fabrics, cut the black to suggest a tree line, added a pop of red and swapped the orange mess for an off white fabric.

Crop lines?

No, but those lines could become a fence. Off white fabric gets folded into a house shape.

Brown bush on the side of the house? Hmmm. Looks like a pile of mulch. Or a pile of something else.

Pop of color with a blue door?

Would more "mulch" improve the design?

Definitely not. How about adding a branch? (You can see the bits of handwriting I've added to the brown section?)

Two branches suggesting my beloved arch over the top of the composition?


This is the first stage in my process. I've settled on the fabric foundation (and added just a tiny bit of surface design with the handwriting). Some of the fabrics are fused to each other at this point. The next step is to make sure every piece is the shape I want and ready to fuse to batting. 

Then I add more surface design. Then hand stitching. Then machine stitching. 

Actually, I created a video about this quilt and another follow-on quilt. You can watch it here.

So, should I keep blogging? More personal stuff? More process stuff? Just whatever comes to mind?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Out and About

Claire and Benjamin and I had a fun weekend!

Benjamin and I went out for lunch at a new fancy restaurant I've been wanting to try, The Theodore. I started with a lovely latte. With a sugar cube!

Amazing sweet little donuts.

Eggs Florentine... on a plate with a bison.

Need some salt and pepper?

It was super fun to eat and chat with this amazing person.

The decor and atmosphere of the place was clever. Abraham Lincoln was peeking out at us from a secret room behind a bookcase.

We got close up with Lincoln after our meal. Washington too... over on the right.

Protect the Parmesan!

And Claire went to Prom on Saturday!

She went with a group of beautiful friends.

They went to the Dallas Museum of Art for more group pictures. I love this stunning image against the beautiful DMA mosaic.

A mother-daughter selfie.

And so it's not just about the kids...

My quilt, Rising and Setting is published in Machine Quilting Unlimited! It's part of a lovely article about quilts in the Matter of Time textile exhibition organized by Brenda Gael Smith. It's always such a thrill to be published. (Hey it's fun to be next to my long-time art quilter friend Sarah Ann Smith.)