Last June the Northwest Quilters Guild of Portland asked me to be the featured quilter at this year’s show, which was May 11 and 12. I was surprised and honored to be selected. I was planning to do a new quilt or two along the lines of “Z is For Zinnia, C is For Cosmos,” but selling my home and buying a new one derailed that plan. The entire process took much longer and involved more work than I had ever anticipated. As the show drew closer, the show chair contacted me and asked me to fill 90 linear feet along one wall. The guild had a bigger hall than last year. So me, I had been thinking of selecting ten or twelve quilts. Now I was going to need a lot more than that, especially since I don’t do large, bed-size quilts. I hit upon the idea of showing some early quilts. That turned out to be a better idea than I had thought. Not only were two of the quilts bed-size, but the first one showed how both fabric colors and background quilting have changed over the past twenty plus years.
Here’s the first quilt in my exhibit called “The Country Bride Quilt.” It’s queen-size, hand appliquéd and my only entirely hand-quilted piece. This particular design came from a book of the same name and was extremely popular in the early 1990s. Please note that while the background around the blocks needs more quilting by today’s standards, my quilting followed the quilting design in the book.
The next large quilt I showed was paper-foundation pieced. It’s a traditional pattern called Brave World. While living in Montréal, our guild Beaconsfield Quilters’ Guild, invited Jenny Beyer from the USA to teach workshops. She stressed using a combination of light, bright, medium, and dark values in your work. I paid attention to this lesson, which is why I think this quilt visually pops.
While my goal was to fill 90 linear feet, I actually did better than that. In planning my exhibit, I created “rooms” with quilts on three sides that complemented one another in some way, whether theme or color or style. So every ten feet, there was an “arm” extending out as you can see in this photo.
I have taken three five-day workshops from Nancy Crow. Although I don’t work in her style, I gained great knowledge in composition and value. I showed several pieces from these workshops. Here are two.
I use commercial fabrics, hand-dyed, or hand-painted, depending on my design. I particularly like working with Pro-Chem Textile Paints. I draw the design on PFD (prepared for dying fabric) then mix the textile ink with a base extender and paint, just like I’m painting on canvas.
The wall hanging below is hand-painted with Jacquard Silk Dyes, hand-embroidered and machine couched.
Here are two wall hangings I designed for themed exhibitions. The first was done for a traveling exhibit done by the National Association of Certified Quilt Judges, of which I’m a member. Our theme was Coastal Journey.
The quilt on the right was created for “Women Go For Red,” a group promoting heart health for the American Heart Association. The quilt features the satin stitch techniques I’ve developed. Here are two detail images.
I also showed some other experimental samples. These trees feature satin stitch beads and sheer appliqué done with drizzle.
Last year, the Northwest Quilters Show had national teacher Melinda Bula teach three workshops during the show. I had taken two classes with her during a quilting cruise through the Panama Canal at least four years ago. I never finished the quilts, having taken the classes to learn her appliqué technique. It dawned on me I had both tops started and had just enough time to finish them for the exhibit. Plus, it was a good way to show the kind of classes Melinda taught for us.
In an effort to make my exhibit as interesting as possible and encourage questions and comments, I set up two tables. One held step samples of quilts published in American Quilter magazine along with the issue of the magazine for reference. The other table held two pieces from my London City and Guilds program of design and embroidery, as well as pieces done since then. I had a lot of discussion, questions, and even requests for classes.
This first piece was inspired by my design work with prairie windmills. It features dimensional work using twin needles and bugle beads to raise the motifs from the artwork’s surface. All is hand-painted using Pro-Chem textile paints.
This piece arose from a workshop with Richard Box, British embroiderer extraordinaire. It is my first Zinnias and Cosmos work.
During City and Guilds we did a bit of work with felt. I thought there were some amazing possibilities to extend what I had done with my felt samples–this is using commercial wool felt, not wet or dry felting wool. Here is a sampler I created and some examples of items featuring some of my ideas.
Amazingly enough, I get to do this again when I’m the guest artist for the Columbia River Piecemakers in Scappose in October!