Out of the Closet

 Inspired by Paul Klee

Inspired by Paul Klee

March was a busy month in the studio.  I made a goal to complete a bunch of UFOs that had been taking up space in the closet and I managed to get through 6 of them before having to move on to other projects.  The first one was an old project from a Rosalie Dace class 5 years ago.  This was a 5 day workshop where we were inspired by the artwork of Paul Klee.  This piece was a real favorite of mine until I started machine quilting it.  I made the mistake of doing that very heavy quilting in the circle and despite trying everything I could think of to flatten it out, I was never able to.  I started hand quilting the radiating lines, then added machine quilting between.  I also blocked it like crazy and nothing worked.  You can see that I didn't complete the hand quilting on the left side.  In the March madness of UFO completion I decided to do the binding and leave it as is.  It's wonderfully soft and I still love the design.  I'm not sure it will see the light of day, but it's now complete.

The second UFO finish is another one inspired by Paul Klee (Little Painting of Fir Trees).  This was also from the same workshop with Rosalie Dace.  In this case, the top was done except for some organza overlays that I had intended to hand stitch over the top.  It was that part that kept me from finishing it, so in the end I just quilted it as is.  I think this is more my style and I really like how it came out!

 Inspired by Paul Klee's Little Painting of Fir Trees

Inspired by Paul Klee's Little Painting of Fir Trees

 Studio dog Scrabble

Studio dog Scrabble

Quilt number 3 was this Starry Owl quilt.  The blocks were mostly done and I just needed to combine them in to this small community quilt that was donated to the guild.  

 Starry Owls

Starry Owls

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Quilt number 4 is called Autumn Baskets and it's a wall hanging.  These blocks were started several years ago when I taught liberated basket classes.  All the blocks were finished except for one.  I had to frame the blocks and put them together.  

 Autumn Baskets

Autumn Baskets

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The fifth quilt is another owl quilt and will also be donated to community quilts.  This one required more work as I had only the smaller squares that you see above.  I added strips to make each block 9.5 inches square.  This is a favorite size for charity quilts because I have a 9.5 inch square ruler, so cutting to size is super simple.

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When I'm making a charity quilt I like to keep things simple and having blocks of consistent size help with that.  I know that most people work with consistently sized blocks on a regular basis, but when you are a liberated/improv quilter you are often working with various sized blocks which is fun to do, but requires more time to puzzle together.  On this quilt I also used many of my most vibrant, rainbow colored hand dyed fabrics. I think these are beautiful, but I almost never use them in my regular work, so I was happy to use them on this bright and cheerful quilt.  I hope it brings some cheer to a child in my community.

 back of the owl squares quilt

back of the owl squares quilt

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 My Happy Stars

My Happy Stars

The last quilt for this March madness UFO series is called My Happy Stars.  It was made from some star blocks that were already finished. I also had some colorful curvy shapes made with wedge shaped pieces.  I ended up cutting those down to rectangles to frame the stars.  I really like how this came out and when I showed it on Instagram lots of other people liked it too.  In fact, one person asked about purchasing it and I was happy to take her up on it.  She even got naming rights!  I hope she likes it for many years to come.  

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2018 QuiltCon :: 5 :: Political and Social Justice Quilts

 She Was Warned by Liz Harvatine (Handwork) People's Choice Award

She Was Warned by Liz Harvatine (Handwork) People's Choice Award

There were quite a lot of political and social justice quilts in the show. I don't have photos of all of them, but these really stood out to me.  She Was Warned was a favorite and it really struck a cord with a lot of people because it won the People's Choice Award.  This wonderful quilt has been hand quilted with the phrase Nevertheless, she persisted over and over again in the penmanship of 60 different American women.  That's so cool!

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 America the Beautiful by Ann Guiam (1st Place Youth)

America the Beautiful by Ann Guiam (1st Place Youth)

A few posts ago I mentioned that the Youth category had some of the most exciting quilts in the show.  All of the youth quilts in this post were created as part of the Social Justice Sewing Academy which is doing some amazing work in California to empower youth through textile art.  It was these social justice quilts made by students that really struck a chord with me.  America the Beautiful won First Place in the category.  This quilt is so timely and sobering. 

 Born a Crime by Bryan Robinson (Youth)

Born a Crime by Bryan Robinson (Youth)

Born a Crime is a powerful piece created by a young black male student.  This piece so eloquently depicts the feelings of the African American community.  

 Education:  The Only Way Out by Jamia Williams (Youth)

Education:  The Only Way Out by Jamia Williams (Youth)

This student was inspired by this quote by Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  

 Gentrification: The New Colonialism by Juan Tapia (Youth)

Gentrification: The New Colonialism by Juan Tapia (Youth)

This quilt is not only Juan's first quilt, it's his first sewing project ever.  He was inspired by the gentrification happening in the SF Bay area.  He says this will not be his last quilt.  Of the many reasons to love the Social Justice Sewing Academy I think the most important is in getting young people to see textiles as a medium to explore their creativity and share their ideas.

 Social Justice Community Quilt by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Social Justice Community Quilt by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

This community quilt was created in art activist workshops with high school students.  Pretty cool!  I also love the design setting for the blocks.

 Say Their Names by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Say Their Names by Social Justice Sewing Academy (Youth)

Sadly, the inspiration for this quilt really doesn't need explanation.  I'll just say that it was created with reverse applique to great effect.  If you'd like to see more quilts from the SJSA click the link above and check out the quilt gallery.

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 Twitter Tantrums by Carina Cabriales (Youth)

Twitter Tantrums by Carina Cabriales (Youth)

This student has really hit the nail on the head with this one.  It is hand pieced, hand appliqued, hand quilted and hand embroidered with machine quilted overall.

 Feminist Quilt by Darci Read (Applique)

Feminist Quilt by Darci Read (Applique)

Feminist quilt was inspired by this quote from Hillary Clinton, "Women's rights are human rights and human right are women's rights." Sept 5, 1995.  This was made for the Women's March in January 2017 and the maker wore it while marching that day.  It was great to see it in person.

 Ms Conceived by Miriam Coffey (Use of Negative Space)

Ms Conceived by Miriam Coffey (Use of Negative Space)

This is such a great minimalist quilt.  I love the way the faded away part of the word has been quilted.  She made this in response to the word feminist being use as an insult and worse.  She says "we need to redirect the conversation back to what it means to be a Feminist- a proud human fighting for equality, opportunity and autonomy for all."

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 White America by Jessica Wohl (Applique)

White America by Jessica Wohl (Applique)

Jessica's statement says, "This work, and its message calls into question the role of Whiteness in our country and its relationship to who speaks and who listens, or who needs to speak and who needs to listen....Using reverse applique, the text cuts into the layer of white, like a skin revealing a blanket of red, a wound or bodily cut, addressing the physical trauma our country is enduring.  The "blue" section of the flag is comprised exclusively of men's business shirts, incorporating notions of labor, collared workers (white and blue), classism and capitalism."

Well, that's it for the QuiltCon posts.  I hope you've enjoyed them if you weren't able to attend the show.  The last thing I wanted to mention is that I have updated the Threads of Resistance gallery showing my own political quilts if you haven't seen them yet.  

2018 QuiltCon :: 4 :: The AIDS Memorial Quilt

One of the special exhibits I was really looking forward to was the AIDS Memorial Quilt: The Names Project.  I had never seen any part of this in person before QuiltCon.  This is a tiny fraction of the whole project.  This is just 12 sections and the whole thing weighs 54 tons.  One thing I never realized is how big the individual quilts are.  The standard size is 3'x6', the size of a coffin.

This was incredibly moving and so full of love.  Mary Fons curated this exhibit.  With something so huge I have no idea how she was able to winnow it down to just 12 panels.  Mary also did a lecture about this exhibit called The AIDS Quilt: Comfort, Compassion, & Change.  If you ever have a chance to see her do a lecture it's well worth attending.  She's so dynamic and even her serious lectures such as this one include humor and are very engaging.  She talked about this history of the AIDS epidemic, the history of the quilt project and mourning quilts in general.

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2018 QuiltCon :: 3 :: Color (or Not)

 Singularity by Jenn Nevitt (MQG's 2017 Quilts of the Month)

Singularity by Jenn Nevitt (MQG's 2017 Quilts of the Month)

Today's category includes those quilts that have a way with color (or no color), but didn't fit in the previous two posts.  Singularity was the very first quilt I came upon in the show and it is a stunner. Jenn's use of color is amazing!  I really have no interest in making this design (it's available for MQG members as a free pattern), but I can definitely be inspired by the color.

 Grandmother's Life on Mars by Diana Vandeyar (2nd Place in Modern Traditionalism)

Grandmother's Life on Mars by Diana Vandeyar (2nd Place in Modern Traditionalism)

This quilt is just so interesting.  It is created with an improv hexagon technique.  I have not heard of that before, but it's super cool and no surprise it got 2nd place in its category.

 Mod Drunk by Wanda Dotson (Modern Traditionalism)

Mod Drunk by Wanda Dotson (Modern Traditionalism)

Mod Drunk is a fantastic take on the Drunkard's Path block.  This quilt explores variation in value placement in a regular block.  This sort of concept is always interesting and a great way to break out of the box if you are a very traditional quilter.  You can have the most perfect points and stitching technique, but also play with color and design.  This quilt is also hand quilted which adds a lovely dimension when you get a closer look.

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 Mirror Ball by Maria Shell (2nd Place in Piecing)

Mirror Ball by Maria Shell (2nd Place in Piecing)

My friend, Maria, got 2nd place for her quilt Mirror Ball!  I always take a photo of the quilt information, but often don't get a chance to read it until I do these posts.  Maria says that this quilt is composed of the remains of strip sets that she created for other quilts.  She says she often finds her next quilt in the scraps next to the cutting table.  That's true for me too.  How about you?  If not, are you missing your chance to make a fabulous quilt?

 Aerial Grove by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Aerial Grove by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Aerial Grove is another favorite from Carolyn.  I love the colored "squircles" and the neutral background.  I took some extra photos, again for quilting inspiration as I have something in progress inspired by this one that I started during the Maine retreat when I had a class with Carolyn.  It was my car sewing that summer as we drove across the country from Massachusetts to Oregon.

Aerial Grove is inspired by her having grown up in Florida citrus country.  She is also inspired by aerial views (see the last photos as well).   You'll also see this sensibility in her fabrics.  By the way, Carolyn was the featured speaker and her lecture was a very interesting retrospective on her life as an architect, fabric designer and quilt pattern designer.

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 Word Play by Jill Ault (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

Word Play by Jill Ault (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

The SAQA exhibit had many wonderful quilts, but this one stood out for me.  Jill says she "pieced a word chain of related words.  Each word is connected to the next in some way, although the spelling may change.  The letters are pieced as black on white, followed by white on black."  It can be challenging to read this one, but what an interesting concept!

 Bay City Balconies by Donna Brennan (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

Bay City Balconies by Donna Brennan (SAQA Presents:  Modern Inspirations- Art Quilts From the 1970s Through Today)

I also really liked this small piece.  This is created with just machine stitching on white.  It is based on a photograph taken by the artist's husband.  I love this quilt interpreting a simple line drawing.

 Maps by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Maps by Carolyn Friedlander (Carolyn Friedlander special exhibit)

Another favorite by Carolyn.  These are in her book, Savor Each Stitch, but I had not seen them in person until now.  This project was inspired by a design in her first fabric collection which was inspired by a drawing of a map of St. Louis.  I love that this triptych includes hand quilting, machine quilting and hand tying.  This inspires me to try something like it.

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2018 QuiltCon :: 2 :: Improv

 Altered Squares by Cathy Perlmutter (Small Quilts)

Altered Squares by Cathy Perlmutter (Small Quilts)

I have combined quilts from various categories to show my favorite improv quilts from the show.  This is not an exhaustive list though, I'm sure there were many wonderful quilts I missed.

Altered Squares is such a show stopper with those amazing colors.  I really love this one!  It really has a Gwen Marston feel too.  

 Clinging to the Edge by Irene Roderick (Improvisation)

Clinging to the Edge by Irene Roderick (Improvisation)

Clinging to the Edge is a playful and happy design.  These colors work perfectly together and the neutral areas have so much interest.  I love the variety of shapes. This is a great quilt!

 Desert Garden by Jennifer Emry (Improvisation)

Desert Garden by Jennifer Emry (Improvisation)

I like Jennifer's quilts so much that I've highlighted two of them here.  I like the shapes and lines in this one.   The color palette is wonderfully calming.  That hand quilting is something else too!

 Fractured Reality by Mary Elizabeth Kinch (Group or Bee Quilts)

Fractured Reality by Mary Elizabeth Kinch (Group or Bee Quilts)

Fractured Reality was created by a group that includes Elisa Sims Albury, Lynn Carson Harris and Chawne Kimber.  The title refers to what is happening in society today.  Future proceeds will go to the ACLU.  I was impressed by the unusual color palette and the combination of tiny piecing with string sets.  All those tiny triangles are pieced.

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 Serendipity II by Sarah Hibbert (Improvisation)

Serendipity II by Sarah Hibbert (Improvisation)

I loved Serendipity II as soon as I saw it.   It's the combination of the color palette and the fabric prints.  Sarah says this is made from her large collection of hand printed fabrics.  She incorporated two of her father's drawings which she photocopied onto white fabric and tea dyed.  I am not sure which fabrics those are, but I love the whole combination here.

 Strip Tease by Jennifer Emry (2nd Place winner in Handwork)

Strip Tease by Jennifer Emry (2nd Place winner in Handwork)

This lovely quilt by Jennifer won 2nd place in Handwork.  Again, I love the color palette and the arrangement of shapes.  The hand quilting is exquisite.