Monday, September 12, 2005


Velda Newman came to teach and lecture for the Maine state quilt guild this weekend. I went to the lecture on Saturday afternoon. Wow. Impressive.

Her lecture focused almost exclusively on details about her techniques for various pieces. Study, research, paint, dye, bleach, tucks, stitching, embroidery, hand quilting. She uses every tool and technique at her disposal.

Talk about having a personal style. There is no missing one of Velda's quilts. There are two things that are most notable about her quilts: the realistic depiction of nature and the size.

Big big big...

The above quilt is Sunkissed. It's 168 x 65. That's Velda holding the mike.

This is her newest quilt. You won't even see this one on her website. It's called Foxgloves. It's big too obviously.

Here's a detail from Sunkissed. All those seeds on the pomegranate are individually hand appliqued onto the body of the fruit, which is appliqued onto the background. Yes, all those stems are individually needle turned.

Here's a detail from foxgloves.

And here's another detail. Now, I think this is interesting. She's all about the realism, right? Then she throws in those crazy blue dots and funky blue embroidery in the background. She said she wanted to give the idea of pollen. The stems have tons of texture created with tucks. Beautiful.

Oops. The picture is missing. I'll have to upload that later. Sorry.

The lecture made me think about a few things. Like, why so big? My goodness, what a committment. She said she lays the quilt on the floor on the first floor then goes upstairs and looks over the balcony to check the perspective. I think the smallest thing she showed was about 40 by 50. Here I am working on postcards and little 5x7 alphabet studies.

And what is life really like for a professional artist? She said she spends about a year and a half on every piece. Another work is currently for sale through the Revere collection. Wings is 62 x180, about the same size as Sunkissed. Current price: $33,500.00 That's a big number. But, I'm guessing sales of this size are few. But, of course, life is not all about the money.

Frayed Edges is meeting tomorrow. Yeah! Kate took a class from Velda today, so I am really eager to hear how it was and see some samples of what she created. I'll post pictures later in the week. We'll be exchanging the next round of our collaborative books. I can hardly wait.


Anonymous said...

Wow, must have been AWESOME to see these in real life - even when you look at the dimensions in photos, it's not 'til you see Velda standing next to the quilts you realise just how HUGE they are! thanks for sharing!

Melody Johnson said...

I have seen Wings in person about 6 years ago. I am always impressed by Velda's work. Overwhelming and impacting.

I am more impressed by the tenacity of sticking with one project so long. What an amazing attention span!

Deb R said...

I love Velda's work (have seen several pieces in person) and there's no denying the impact of something that size. It calls you from across a room.

But I'm not inclined to work that big myself. Impressive, yes, but not as accessible as some smaller works and I'd be bored to tears with it way before it was finished if I worked on one thing for that long. Yay for her that she can do it!

gabrielle said...

Not to drop names but Velda is one of my best friends....if you love her quilts you should see her house. She is the Martha Stewart of the quilt world...everything is gorgeous. I lovingly call her work "side of barn" as a reference for size. Yes, girls, she hand appliques and hand quilts...occasionally machine quilting but rarely.

Gerrie said...

I know Velda well also. Have taken a couple of classes from her. She is amazing - the vision she has to create something bigger than life and stay with it for that long. I'm all about the do something and move on!!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the pix! I am so impressed with her work. Now I don't feel too bad about taking a year + to finish my "good" quilts!