This is my sister Cheryl (of Silly Dog Art Glass) who had a special birthday in June. I made this cat quilt for her with a technique new to me, but lots of fun. This design is from the book Crazy Favorite Things by Janet Nesbitt of One Sister Designs. I won the book at a guild meeting and within a week had this piece done, including hand quilting. This piecing method seems to be somewhere between a pattern and liberated piecing. If you have only used patterns before you might find it a nice way to dip your toe in the liberated water, so to speak.
Every now and then I get a really good idea when I'm in the hot tub late at night. Sometimes the ideas are really quite harebrained, but I do a lot of thinking in there. Last night I got the idea to do a Novel Idea quilt post so I hope you think this is a good idea too! Each quilt is labeled with the title of the quilt and the title and author of the book.
I've included all the Novel Idea quilts I've made over the past 8 years and a couple of extras. Imagine (above) was the first. It is completely hand stitched using cloth weaving and embroidery techniques learned from Jude Hill.
The Novel Idea program with the Deschutes Public Library is a community read program. The book is usually announced in December and we have about 4 months to read the book (less if you are going to be creating art, of course) and then there is a month of group activities offered by the library which culminates in the author visiting town to do a lecture. As a life-long reader and lover of books, this has always been one of my favorite things about our library. I was thrilled when Marilyn Forestell (also a book lover and owner of QuiltWorks) suggested starting the Novel Idea Quilt club which gets together just for the purpose of creating quilts and textile art for this program. Often the author has been able to visit the quilt gallery to see the exhibit and they've always been so thrilled to see it. That first year Teddy Wayne was able to see the quilts and I was there. It was so great to be able to meet the author and discuss how I was inspired to create this quilt.
Tea is No Minor Beverage is not actually a Novel Idea quilt, but it's here for a reason. During that first year everyone was so fired up about making book quilts we decided to do a second project that year and we chose The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I didn't realize until doing this blog post that I've done a tea cup before! After this one extra book we went to just doing the Novel Idea quilt each year. It was never a cohesive group to begin with and many of us are now in other small groups which make book quilts. Mine is The Undercover Quilters which I've mentioned many times before.
The third year we read Rules of Civility which was a favorite with many. One of the things I love about book clubs of any sort is that I am introduced to books and authors I don't know about. I became a fan of Towles with this book. His more recent novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, is one of my favorite books ever.
You may have noticed that this piece is made with silks. Also, many of these are hand stitched. One thing about the Novel Idea quilts is that there are no size restrictions. When creating for most quilt shows, your work must meet a minimum size. When I'm doing hand stitched art pieces I prefer to work small, so I love that I can work with any size that works for me. There also also many hand dyed fabrics in these pieces. I tend to use my most favorite pieces of fabric for these small gems.
Of all the books we've done for the Novel Idea Quilts, I think The Snow Child was the most loved by the quilters. It's such a visual book with themes that appealed to many. I had so much fun with this piece. I used hand dyes and vintage linens and it's all hand stitched. I did get to meet the author, but it was at the book signing rather than the gallery. She did see the quilts and was very touched by the whole exhibit.
If you haven't read The Dog Stars, it's a novel about a post-apocalyptic future. Many people I know in town as well as many quilters were put off by the theme, but I actually really loved this book. There were some lovely moments including a passage which included a poem by Kim Stafford, one of Oregon's past Poet Laureates. This quilt, which is quite small, was inspired by that poem within the book. I was able to meet the author at the book signing and to tell him about my quilt. He saw the exhibit and was so inspired he asked if any of the pieces were for sale. In the end he bought several of them including mine. What an honor!
A Tale for the Time Being was such an interesting book. The author talk was also fascinating. Like I said in the previous post I am always on the lookout for nature themes, wildlife and especially birds when I read a book for a quilt. This one did not disappoint with a Jungle Crow that keeps returning to visit one of the main characters. This one is machine pieced, hand appliqued, and hand embroidered using many hand dyed fabrics and some vintage linens.
In 2015 my sister, glass artist Cheryl Chapman, moved to town. She also loves books and is a quilter so I thought I'd better get her involved in the Novel Idea quilts. We both made quilts for the exhibit, mine is above. I was inspired by the cover of the book and also a passage about the rainbow gum trees. In addition to that Marilyn had an idea for folks to make masks as part of the exhibit. It was a theme that related to the book and many people did so. Cheryl came up with the idea of making glass masks. We had so much fun getting together to do this. We created the glass forms in her workshop and she fired them. Then we had a day in my studio creating the fabric additions for the top of the masks.
Last year the book was Homegoing which had a multitude of characters, time frames and locations. In end I decided to put this quilt in the exhibit even though it wasn't made just for the book. I had actually finished it a couple of months before with no other inspiration than seeing an old H quilt and thinking it would be cool to try it in an improv manner. Plus, my maiden name starts with H. As it happens, one of the main characters in the book was called, simply, H. How coincidental is that?
You can read yesterday's post to find out about Ranjana's Chai (below). If you haven't made a book quilt yet I highly suggest it as a jumping off point. My rule with them has always been that my quilts are inspired by the book. They are not necessarily illustrations of the book. You can take a feeling, phrase, sentence, word, color scheme, character, animal or object for your inspiration. It is really fun though and maybe you'll even meet the author some day! I have done 19 book quilts so far (wow!) and am making plans for my 20th for the Undercover Quilters. This year our book choice is Martin Marten by Brian Doyle. I can't wait!
Hello! It's nice to catch up on here again after a super busy summer. We were gone for a while this month as we took a road trip to San Diego and did some sight seeing along the way. We took the trip so we could help Chloe move to San Diego for graduate school. She will be pursuing a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience.
If you keep up with my Instagram account you will have seen many photos from the trip as well as glimpses of my sketchbook. The photos here were the only ones I took with my Nikon camera and it was while we stopped at Mono Lake. It was beautiful, but we were pursued by thunder clouds so we didn't stay too long.
It was so nice to have a family trip again with all 4 of us. It's so rare that Chloe has the time to join us. She will be dedicated to research for the next 6 years at least, so we had to make the most of our time. We were able to visit Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and other points on the way south. Then we had a few days in San Diego before we left Chloe behind and went back north along the coast. Road tripping is one of my very favorite ways to travel, so we had a great time and had good weather for nearly the whole trip. On the way back we stopped in Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Carmel, Los Gatos and Redding. We saw our favorite places and also some new places.
Now that we are back I'm trying to get back into a regular routine again. I have something new to share in the next blog post. This fall I want to work more with acrylics, gouache and watercolor. I am also doing some small textile art pieces, but I am having more hand and arm pain and so I'm wondering how long I'll be able to do that kind of work. I have one quilt I'd like to finish so I can enter it in QuiltCon next year. More soon!
The total solar eclipse last week was the talk of the town for pretty much the whole summer. I remember hearing dire predictions about crowd size last spring and it only got worse as time went on. By the week before the eclipse we had taken all precautions- gassed up all the vehicles, filled the pantry, and scouted out all the back road routes we might need to take to avoid traffic. Mark was out of town, so it was just Ryan and me making plans to head to the total eclipse zone for an overnight.
At our house we could have seen a 99% solar eclipse. At first it was my inclination to be satisfied with that, but after hearing my Dad's argument (and pretty much anyone who has seen a total eclipse) why we should go the extra mile (or 30) to see this once in a lifetime spectacle, I relented and started making plans.
As it turned out, while there were localized traffic jams, including a really awful, hours-long jam east of Prineville for folks going to the Symbiosis festival, in Bend we actually had very light road traffic. Our route to the eclipse would take us to Sisters and then north to where we would have 1 minute and 24 seconds of totality. But, like I said, I scouted out the back roads that I'd never tried before and since this was an adventure, Ryan and I took those back roads even if we didn't need to. It was fun to see a part of Central Oregon I'd never been to. We loaded up the pickup with camping gear and lots of food and drinks and headed to a private ranch for the eclipse party.
Rimrock Ranch is private, but the owner coordinates tours with the Deschutes Land Trust and the Sisters Astronomy Club. My dad is a member of the SAC and so we were invited to join ranch owner Gayle for a night-before star party and the eclipse viewing the following morning.
Skies were rather smoky over most of Bend and Sisters, but luckily the ranch was a bit north of the smokiest part and we had pretty good skies while we were there. This field is the place where the astronomers set up viewing telescopes for all the celestial sights.
Sunday afternoon was pretty hot and spent mostly relaxing in the shade, but by the evening the temperatures had cooled enough to make a game of frisbee a pleasant pastime.
After sunset we were treated to a fantastic star party. We had views of Saturn with moon and rings, Jupiter with two moons, globular clusters, nebulae, and beautiful meteors. We didn't get to bed until rather late.
We woke up before dawn on Monday and caught these beautiful sunrise pictures. Ryan and I are really night owls, so this whole experience is something we rarely see.
By 9 am we were breakfasted and mostly packed and ready to watch the eclipse. As I said, my Dad is an amateur astronomer and retired physicist. He was over the moon (so to speak) about the possibilities of a total solar eclipse right in his back yard. He and several others from the SAC brought telescopes and binoculars with solar filters. Of course, we also had our solar eclipse glasses. The eclipse started shortly after 9 am, but it wasn't until about 10 am that you could notice a definite shift in the light and a cooling of the air temperature.
Everyone needs glasses, including Scrabble.
This was at about 10 am. The light was changing all around, the temp was cooling by quite a bit and Scrabble was loving it. I started drawing my sketchbook page, ready for the eclipse.
In addition to the astronomy club folks and their families, there was a tour group of volcanologists that had a tour at the ranch for the eclipse.
After 10 am the light became more and more eerie.
Once totality began I tried to take a photo of the sun, but my camera wasn't focusing. I gave up on that and got this one photo of everyone in the dark. The 1 minute and 24 seconds were going by so fast! I did get a video of all of us reacting to the eclipse which you can see part of on Instagram. In addition, my Dad made a time lapse video of photos he took of the eclipse. It was an amazing sight and worth all the trouble to get there for it. Makes me want to see another one!
Here are some of the pages from my sketchbook of the two days we were at the ranch. I'm glad I was able to record my thoughts soon after the event. It was truly spectacular. If you are ever in the path of one you won't soon forget it!
The Storytellers Book was a new fundraiser for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show this year. Dan Rickards, who designed the poster for the show this year, came up with this idea for a real oversized book (2' x 3') with pages made of quilts. Twelve quilt artists were asked to created pieces for the book, and one of them was me. It was an honor to be included in the inaugural year of this project.
Rickards worked with leather artist Julia Zell to create this beautiful handtooled leather cover. The pages were made with poster board and the quilts were attached with velcro. Each quilt was offered on silent auction with a buy it now price.
The book was located at Sisters High School in the week before the quilt show. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that, so I never got good photos of it before quilt show day. The first three photos here were taken by my friend Marion Shimoda. The others below that were taken on quilt show day with poor lighting, but I hope you can appreciate how big the book is and what a cool idea it was.
The people who turned the pages for folks to see the quilts were apparently quite exhausted by the effort to move the pages. I'm not sure if they'll change the process for next year, but it was created with the intention of having this be a fundraiser each year now.
What a treat it was to see my quilt in the book! You can read the story about my quilt here. I don't know who did the written pages, but they look amazing too. The photos below were taken in the courtyard of The Open Door cafe on quilt show day. Enjoy!
This is my friend Jan Tetzlaff turning pages on quilt show morning. She gave a little spiel about each quilt as she turned the pages. She can attest to the fact that these pages were heavy! I'm sure all the extra embellishments on my page didn't help.
Each of these quilts tell a little story about their makers. I wish I'd gotten photos of all of them, but trust me, this was a wonderfully unique idea and I hope it continues for many years to come!