The Flakes of Christmas Past

tis the season 005Tis the Season 017As a child, the coming of Christmas meant it was time to get out the paper and scissors and cut snowflakes of every shape and size. They were then taped to all the windows in the house. What a beautiful sight! This tradition continued in my home with my own 5 children. They are now cutting snowflakes with their children

When I was asked by the DMC Corp. to create a piece for a holiday display at The National Needlearts Assn. trade show, my childhood memory of Christmas came back to me. Snowflakes!

I initially cut the snowflake from paper then traced it onto my shimmery fabric. The 3D poinsettia was also my own creation. I used a deep red ultra-suede for the double-sided petals. DMC’s Memory Thread, which holds its shape because of the fine wire at its core, was machine couched around the edge of each petal. The flower was then assembled and attached to the deep blue glitter-strewn background fabric. Glass beads were scattered about to further give the illusion of snow. The piece is entitled ‘Tis the Season.

I have received compliments from my Jewish friends who were impressed by my use of the Star of David at the center of my snowflake. I had to admit that it was not planned. Anyone who has ever folded paper and cut out a snowflake will tell you, you never know what you’ll get until you open it up. The element of surprise adds to the fun. My hope is that our family tradition will continue for many generations to come. Happy Holidays!

My Love Affair with Gustav

klimt 005At college, three of my five children majored in art in one form or another. Through them I came to know the work of Gustav Klimt. My love affair began in the mid 1980s when  I walked into my daughter’s dorm room and spotted the poster The Virgin. I was immediately enthralled!  Who had created this masterpiece of pattern and color?  I had to know more.  From the minute I laid eyes on his work, I knew I would one day attempt to capture Gustav Klimt’s art in fabric. I “borrowed” and have never returned my daughter’s copy of Gustav Klimt 25 Masterworks.  Many times through the years, I studied each and every page noticing new details with each viewing.  It was some 20 years after my introduction to him, that I finally attempted to create my version of his art.  His work “Fulfillment” was a favorite of mine so I chose that one to recreate.  My piece is entitled “Gustav, You’re My Kind of Guy.” I once was described by an artist friend as someone who had a “busy eye.” I think of myself as very detail oriented….just like Gustav, thus the title. My creating motto “Whatever works” came in handy during this project. Using techniques I had never attemped, I stenciled, painted, did needle turned applique, patchwork and embroidery to duplicate what I saw in his painting.  This is one of my all time favorite pieces. I like to think that Gustav would approve.

Log Cabin Challenge

purse Harlequin Chic 003fascinator Harlequin chic 009As a person with a hyper-active imagination, I absolutely LOVE a challenge. Our local guild, as part of its bi-annual quilt show, has a log cabin challenge with 3 categories; bed quilt, wall quilt and clothing. All entries must be at least 75% log cabin. Bed quilts are not my thing, so I usually design entries for the other two categories. I lay awake nights dreaming up something that will WOW the judge. Since I like making evening purses,  that’s where I began creating my challenge entry, using diamond log cabin blocks in silk and satin. Once the purse was completed to my satisfaction, I felt  it needed an accessory to complete the look. That’s how the headpiece came about. Each of the petals is made of two diamond log cabin blocks, back to back. Except for the lining, the headband is also completely log cabin. I named the entry Harlequin Chic. Yes, it caught the judge’s eye and it was awarded 1st Place in the clothing division. My sleepless nights have begun anew as I dream up something for this year’s challenge.

Under Cover

My textile artists’ group, ARTAA, was asked to participate in a gallery exhibit entitled Under Cover. I believe the curator assumed a group of “quilters” would enter bed quilts in the show. Under Cover…blankets.  I find that art quilters  typically don’t think along the same lines as traditional quilters do.  My brain immediately thought “Under Cover…..umbrella.”  saratoga silksumbrella Saratoga Silks 008This was, without a doubt,  one of my most challenging pieces.  I deconstructed a large umbrella and reconstructed it in patchwork of my own design using silk in many vibrant colors.  As always, I never know if my ideas will work until the very end.  I was beyond pleased when, with the push of its button, I was able to POP the umbrella open.  There it was in all its glory!  WHEW! Because the gallery show was in Saratoga Springs, NY, home of the Horse Racing Hall of Fame, I named the piece Saratoga Silks, inspired by the brightly colored jockey silks at Saratoga raceway.  At a recent lecture of mine, I was asked if the umbrella is water-proof.  I must admit, I haven’t tested it yet.

“The Pig Lady”

You Cant Make a Silk Purse From a Sow's Ear.  Says Who?I’m sure other quilters have noticed that they are known, not by their names, but by their most popular works. Unfortunately, I shall forever be “The Pig Lady.” Several years ago a group project to make Victorian evening purses turned into an obsession for me and I made LOTS of purses. What to do with them? Silk evening bags didn’t fit my lifestyle. Since, to my eye, they were in the shape of a pig’s ear, I created my most popular quilt, “You Can’t Make a Silk Purse From a Sow’s Ear. Says Who?,” just to have a place to hang them. And the rest is history.

Une idée par mois

As a designer for the DMC Corp.,the embroidery thread company, I occasionally receive a “surprise” package from them. Today’s mail brought me an especially beautiful calendar along with Christmas greetings from the members of the staff I most often work with. One small problem…the entire calendar is written in French. Thanks to Google, I’ve had my mini French lesson for the day. ONE IDEA PER MONTH. Each month’s page features a project complete with instructions….all in French. So, if I can translate a couple of sentences per day, by the time next year’s calendar comes out, I’ll have this year’s all figured out. However, anyone who has ever held a needle and thread will totally enjoy the eye candy. Gorgeous needlework on every page.

I Much Prefer Sewing

I know my sewing machine and it knows me. The same cannot be said of my computer. Sewing gives me JOY! “Computering” gives me a headache. I now have the beginnings of a gallery thanks to my ever patient son-in-law who, via long distance phone, walked me through the process. We shall continue to tweak, but at least you have a better idea of who I am and what I do. Check out my gallery page.

Whatever Works!

Although I began my quilting life as a traditional quilter, I’m best known for my unusual, innovative “way outside the box” art quilts. I live by my motto “My Quilt, My Rules.” My eldest daughter, Lisa, lovingly refers to me as a “nutbar.” The name fits. I’ve been known to use everything from a corrugated heat vent, to real birch bark, to a crushed beer can to achieve “my vision.” I prefer thrift shops to quilt shops and often use my “finds” to create one-of-a-kind art quilts and clothing I call “Fantasy Wear,” beautiful to look at, such fun to create, but not something I’d ever wear in my everyday life in the Adirondacks.

My “New” Old Sewing Machine

singer genie 004For far more years than I care to mention, I have been creating on a 40 year old Montgomery Ward Signature stripped down model machine. I recently “updated” to a 1973 Singer Genie which I found at a garage sale. This machine is a wonder! What a workhorse! It is also the cutest “retro” machine I’ve ever owned. My research led me to discover the Genie was made by Singer for just two years, 1972-73. Should you ever find one, make the investment. You won’t be disappointed.

Vermont Quilt Festival

I’m very excited and pleased to report that my classes for the Vermont Quilt Festival 2013 have been decided upon. I will be teaching 3 full-day classes. Landscape using Woven Fabric-2 Weaving Techniques will be taught on Thursday, June 26, Satin Stitched Stained Glass Poppy on Friday, June 27 and How DID She Do That? on Saturday, June 28. Sure hope you can join me.