Tag Archives: artist date

Arbor Lane Initial Sketch

Arbor Lane’s humble beginning started with this lovely rough sketch.  Every one of my quilt designs starts with my own hand, pencil, and paper.  I spend so much of my day at the computer, I welcome the back-to-basics of sketching and playing in my journal.  And that’s exactly what I was doing here:  dreaming of a medallion design I would love to make.

I wanted it to be a quilt that a beginner could make, especially since the blocks are pre-cut.  While the piecing and applique would be simple, I wanted a sophisticated look to the quilt.  No sampler look here:  I wanted a beautiful harmony in the design.

Ten designs were ultimately offered to JoAnn’s, and they selected mine.  The process was much like Project Runway, but we were each in our own studio, sketching, measuring, coloring, and giving it our all.  Our own version of Tim Gunn would guide us in the right direction:  center design too similar to what had been done before, tweaking color schemes, sending block designs every week to my tester Scarlette for her wonderful work.  Every moment of dreaming, design, and making Arbor Lane was a joy.  I learned much and grew as a designer and an entrepreneur

See that vase and those birds?  While JoAnn’s didn’t use them, I did later in my table runner series.  The vase shows up in Petite Pineapples and a simple version of the birds is in Winter Bird and Petite Pineapples.  You never know where a creative journey will take you.

Remember, you have until the end of the week to guess how long it took me to make Arbor Lane:  cutting, piecing, and applique.  Some lovely fall fabric could be coming your way!

Colorful Quilt Inspiration

One of the questions I’m most often asked is “Where do you get your inspiration?”

My short answer?  “Everywhere.”

That’s usually not the answer people are looking for.  They want specifics, like publication name, date, and page number, so they can see it too.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I don’t rely on any one source for inspiration, as I don’t want to be too heavily influenced by any one artist, quiltmaker, or writer.  I want my work to be uniquely my own, taking inspiration from the corner bakery, blooming Tulip Magnolia, sunset over the Appalachians, and smiles on my beautiful children’s faces, as only I see them.  My quilts are an expression of the beauty I see in everyday life.

I do capture much of that beauty in my journals, so I can refer back to it later.  That’s where photographs, magazine images, fabric swatch exercises, and sketches come to live and gather and multiply into stunning quilts.

I’m truly amazed every time I sit down to design a quilt.  I never run out of ideas, color palettes, or possibilities.  I’ve heard other writers complain of writer’s block, but that was never a luxury I allowed myself.  I continued writing, pushing through the fear of “this sounds awful” to some really great stuff.  That doesn’t happen when I design a quilt.  It’s all joy.  Playing with color, shape, and fabric is as good as it gets.

Watercolor Inspiration

Great art often inspires great art, and I’ve been inspired by my Color-of-the-Month table runner patterns to capture them in watercolor.  I’m delighted to create in both media, as they complement each other.  Quilting is a precise, geometric discipline, whereas watercolor is a loose and often uncontrolled process.  Watercolor has a mind of its own, but I can make an exact 12″ block for my runners.

While the fabric version of a quilt and its watercolor counterpart both present the same colors, achieving them couldn’t be more different.  As a quilter, I go into the fabric shop and select exactly the colors I want, and plan my quilt from those unchanging swatches.  As a painter, I create my own versions of those colors by mixing different pure hues:  Aliziran Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre.  They even sound beautiful, don’t they?

I had intended for this watercolor series to be my own private playtime, a creative exercise just for me.  But I just have to share!  So, I’m making these watercolors available on note cards, a set of 10, with envelopes, in my store.  Look for them here in the online store.

Do I Need an Excuse to Visit a Quilt Shop?

More photos from my trip to Athens and Dragonfly Quilt Shop.  As you walk in the shop you’re surrounded by gorgeous fabrics and samples that you can’t wait to make!  Love the beautiful white armoire filled with goodies.  The shop had a Kaffe Fassett table to get quilters excited about his workshop at Dragonfly.  Deb stands next to her quilt made with Kaffe fabrics.  I loved the Dresden Plate quilt – it looked totally vintage.

After I gave Annette her color consultation and we recorded the video, the Cotton Patch Quilters and I went to dinner at Loco’s, which started in Athens.  The moose tells their story.  Later I gave my Creative Quilter’s Guide to Color lecture, but no photos:  it was a whirlwind to end by 9p.m.!

Last, but not least, my Machine Quilting students at Sew Memorable Quilt Shop in Dawsonville.  We had a full house and ladies came with all-metal Singer sewing machines to the latest new Viking, and you know what?  They were all successful!  Can’t wait to see those quilts, girls!

Beautiful Mondays

Amicalola Falls on a Sunny, Fall day

Most people dread Mondays.  After all, they mean back to work, away from home and family.  And rainy Mondays are the worst – as it’s doing here in Georgia today (the photo is from Amicalola Falls on a sunnier day).

I’m deciding on a different outlook.  Mondays present a great day of opportunity.  Monday is a day to start fresh, with an entire week of possibilities ahead.  I can’t wait to see what this week brings.  I’m looking forward to new quilt design ideas, fun business opportunities, friendships, and time with my family during Fall break.

What opportunities await you this Monday?

Okay, here’s one:  I produced a new video on fall’s two hottest colors this season, and it’s over at my Color Mastery blog.  Check it out.  Who knows what possibilities await in your stash or the quilt shop?

Side Trip

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We spent last weekend with family attending my father-in-law George’s funeral.  My boys were dreading the long drive home, so I scheduled a side trip to break up the drive and work in a little history as well.  I guess once you’ve been a homeschooling mom, you’re always looking for those teachable moments.

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We decided to stop at Andersonville, the civil war prison site for Union soldiers.  It wasn’t exactly on the way, but we felt like it was important enough to make our trip significantly longer.  My younger son did the Junior Ranger activities and earned his badge, while my older son enjoyed our driving tour, stopping at sites to look and learn.

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13,000 soldiers died at Andersonville, and many states whose dead were among those later erected monuments in their memory.  The Womans Relief Corps had more than one statue, and I did a rubbing of their insignia.

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Of course, I had to know if a quilt had been made to honor any of these soldiers, and there was (please see update below).  James George, a Union soldier who had been captured and stayed at Andersonville six months, later recovered at a Washington D.C. hospital, where Boston women made James an album quilt.

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From the Permanent Collection of the New England Quilt Museum, Photo by David Stansbury.

I have received an email from Judy Schwender, Curator of Collections at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, which offered the following:

There is no definitive evidence that the quilt was given directly to the Union soldier James George by the makers. Since I first saw this quilt ten years ago, I have been gathering information on its history. There is no indication from either the family history, including documents, which states this was the process. If you wish to read what has been uncovered to date, please see the book “Massachusetts Quilts Our Common Wealth”. An essay written by Anita Loscalzo and myself, along with wonderful photographs, can be found on pages 252 through 256. I am continuing the search for information and hope to complete a paper on this wonderful quilt in the near future.

Both Anita and Vivian are skilled quilt historians.  An excellent resource for quilt history is Uncoverings, the journal of the American Quilt Study Group.  You can find out more about articles from this journal athttp://www.americanquiltstudygroup.org/uncoveringSearch.asp .

Seems a bit of controversy surrounds the origins of this quilt and no definitive answer exists.

Anatomy of an Art Quilt

My lecture at Ann Litrel’s gallery last Friday was delightful – thank you to so many of my friends, readers, and students who came out and supported me.  I talked to gallery visitors as they stopped in and then my lecture was at 7p.m.  I talked for only a short time about each art quilt, the inspiration behind it, and how I approached color in each.  I’ll be premiering a new video from the lecture each week, and this week’s is about my spiritual art quilt, Redemption.

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, one of the inspirations I mention in the video, says of their facility:

What matters most about the monastery is precisely that it is radically different from the world…
In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace.
– Thomas Merton

Woodstock is a delightful town with so many great shops and restaurants.  After my lecture we headed over to a great burger place that had the best black bean burger ever (I don’t do red meat).

Art Week: Gee’s Bend Quilts

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Today’s the final day in the Quilts & Creativity Art Week, and I’m concluding with a bang:  quilts from the Gee’s Bend quilters.  I’ve featured works of art from the Big Canoe Fine Art show in honor of my own art quilts that are on display at the Ann Litrel gallery in Woodstock.  Previously I featured works of sculptureglass, and wood.

Even though the Gee’s Bend quilters are from our neighboring state of Alabama, I’ve managed to miss every gallery showing of their quilts.  When they were at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, our family was in the middle of a move.  When a play based on their story was featured in Dahlonega, I was teaching.  I’ve finally gotten to see their quilts in person!

More pieces from the show:

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Gee’s Bend quilters rely on simple designs and piecing, coupled with bold color schemes for a dramatic impact.

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This is a Housetop design, a variation of Log Cabin, often seen in Gee’s Bend quilts.

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The exhibit is in a show home in Big Canoe, and this is one of its closets.  This would be my dream closet, full of about $35,000 worth of Gee’s Bend quilts, at least.

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So much of color is intuitive – even with no formal art training, this quilter used the complementary colors of yellow and violet for vivid contrast.

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A bold interpretation of a Bow-Tie quilt, done in black and white solids.  Wow.

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The red fabric in this quilt is satin and it practically glows.  You can see the sheen in the photograph, but it’s even greater in person.

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The fine art show included some smaller Gee’s Bend quilts in the $500 price range for people who wanted to start their art collections at a smaller scale.

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This quilt was my personal favorite, as it had so much going on I could have looked at it for hours and admired the fabrics and piecing.  The quilting was a simple cross-hatching, just perfect for a quilt that had such busy piecing.

The Big Canoe Fine Art show continues through July 19, and you can stop by and say hello to my husband David of Peagler Custom Homes.  He has two gorgeous homes, one on the golf course, and another on the lake, that are themselves works of art.

Tonight I’ll be at the Ann Litrel gallery from 5-9p.m., and I’ll be speaking on “Color Artistry in Quilt Creation.”  Hans Rueffert, the local Jasper chef and Food Network star will be cooking up dishes across the street at FoxTales Book Shoppe and signing his visual feast of a cook book, Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow.  I own a copy of his cookbook and you should too.  Hans found out he had stomach cancer after his stint on Food Network and has a philosophy on life that is not to be missed.  Tonight’s Friday Night Live theme is Beach Party.  See you there!

Art Week: Wood

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It’s wood day in the Quilts & Creativity Art Week.  I’m featuring works of art from the Big Canoe Fine Art show in honor of my own art quilts that are on display at the Ann Litrel gallery in Woodstock.  Previously I featured sculpture and glass.

The wood pieces in the Big Canoe Fine Art show ranged from furniture to instruments to models, and they were intricate, superbly-crafted, and sophisticated in design and theme.

The sideboard shown above housed beautiful stained-glass inserts in the doors, and the sides of the sideboard had concave curves instead of straight lines.  Not easy to do.

More pieces from the show:

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Twig chair with leather seat and carved back.

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Hand-carved barnyard and barn.

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Exquisite armoire with burled wood.

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Funky vanity with working soap dish and drawer.

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Beautiful chest with hand-forged iron detail.

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My favorite piece:  a handcrafted mandolin, lovely to see and hear!

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And a sneak peek at tomorrow’s quilt day from the show:  two Gee’s Bend quilts in a study with a desk that has a propeller in the top.

Quilt show this week at Ann Litrel gallery.  My talk is tomorrow, July 3rd, at 7p.m.  Friday Night Live in Woodstock runs from 5-9p.m. and it’s Beach Party-themed this month.  See you there!

Art Week: Glass

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It’s glass day in the Quilts & Creativity Art Week.  I’m featuring works of art from the Big Canoe Fine Art show in honor of my own art quilts that are on display at the Ann Litrel gallery in Woodstock.  Yesterday was sculpture and you can see it here.

The glass-blown artwork in the Big Canoe Fine Art show was gorgeous, light-filled, and oh-so-delicate!  I’m not in the right phase of life to have fragile sculptures like these in my home.  Two active sons and a dog don’t make for an art-display friendly environment.  That’s what made it so fun to view it in another home!

Two more photos from the show:

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Quilt show this week at Ann Litrel gallery.  My talk is Friday, July 3rd, at 7p.m.  Friday Night Live in Woodstock runs from 5-9p.m. and it’s Beach Party-themed this month.  See you there!

Art Week: Sculpture Day

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It’s art week here at Quilts & Creativity, in honor of my upcoming talk at the Ann Litrel gallery in Woodstock. I dropped off the quilts today and got a behind-the-scenes tour from Ann, and her gallery is gorgeous. Her paintings are luscious and color-rich.

I’ll be talking about my color inspiration, how I approach color in my art, and how color in quilts is truly unique from other art forms.  Join us for a fun night out on Friday, July 3 at 7p.m.  Woodstock will be hosting its monthly Friday Night Live, where shops, restaurants and merchants stay open late until 9p.m.  It’s a great family night out for everyone.

I also attended the Big Canoe Fine Art Show and was delighted with the vibrant colors, shapes, and textures contained in the exhibit.  I’ll be sharing photos with you each day, revolving around a theme.  Today is sculpture, Wed. will be glass, Thursday will be wood, and Friday will be quilts, Gee’s Bend quilts to be exact.  Don’t miss a single day!

Here are some of the sculptures by local artist Eric Strauss of Ellijay, GA:

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Artful gate.

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Gate detail.  The roses look like you could pluck them right off the gate.

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Reminiscent of Leonardo’s horse.

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Whimsical birds in a fountain.  The gurgling water sounded meditative.

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This sculpture greeted us as we drove toward the Art Show home.

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Oversized apple and pear, with blown-glass and metal sculptures in background.

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This bowl radiated color and light.

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Mother and child.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing glass pieces from the show.  Enjoy – and stop by for a visit if you live in north Georgia.  It’s gorgeous in the mountains right now!

Self-Portrait

I took this photo of me around Mother’s Day.  I’m in my bedroom, painted a creamy yellow color, which I love but so many find it difficult to get right.  Behind me is a quilt made for me by my bee group:  we each asked for specific blocks that we would put into a quilt, and I wanted house blocks.  The whole notion of home and nesting I love, and this quilt hangs in my room to remind me of home, family and friends.  Many made the traditional Schoolhouse block, but Ginger made a Mayan ruin reminiscent of her trips to Mexico, Cheryl made a birdhouse, and my funky home sits in the center.

My boys’ artwork and photos are tucked into every nook of my dresser, which we’ve had since our first apartment.  It was our first big purchase, and was oversized for a tiny apartment, but has proven durable and fit into our homes since.  The artwork is my favorite way to greet the day, and includes a bookmark from kindergarten, a Mother’s day bonnet made from a paper plate, a sonogram photo of a baby that didn’t make it to us, birth announcements, and even my own class photo from first grade.  I take a copy of this and show it to the students I speak to at schools.  Giggles abound as they try to pick me out of the class photos, and it helps to show them that even adults were kids once!

I could have all these precious items in an album, but I prefer to have them out where I can see them everyday, touch them, and remind me of what a delightful and abundant life I have.

Delightful Summer Days

One of my favorite summer events is Symphony on the Green in my community.  The local symphony orchestra sets up on the golf course, we bring our quilts, picnics, and sparklers.

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Symphony from the lake

These folks had the best seat in the house.  They were across the lake and could watch from the comfort of their back porch.

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My absolute favorite part of the event is making my sketches.  After all the cooking for the event is done and packed, we’ve set up our quilt on the ground, the kids are tossing the football, my husband is munching on the goodies, I can steal away and sketch.

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It’s a great way to remember the details of the day in my journal.  And you never know where these images will show up in my quilts later.  Maybe.  Or not.  That’s the great thing about creativity:  the options are endless.

A Color Feast at Sew Bee It

First impressions mean a lot, and I was greeted with a feast of color and a warm welcome as I entered Sew Bee It quilt shop in Ringgold, GA.  Owner Gloria Black gave me a warm hug, introduced me to her fantastic staff, and gave me a tour around her incredible shop.

If I worked at Gloria’s shop, I’d be broke all the time, because every dime of my paycheck would go for the fabric she offers.  Tons of Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Meinke, dupioni silk, beautiful threads and embellishments.  And the samples.  Lots of samples!  And book! I could go on, but you get the idea.  Gorgeous stuff.

We had about 70 quilters attend the lecture on color – a packed house for a small quilt shop!

I will definitely visit again when I have time for some retail therapy.  Until then, next stop:  Sew Much Fun in Columbus, GA!

Color Lecture, Southern-Style

All we were missing was a glass of iced tea as I gave my Color Mastery on the front porch of Magical Threads in Dahlonega, GA.  Pictured here with me are Betty, LeAnn, Anita, Cheri, and DeLynn.  Anita and LeAnn were just starting out as quilters, having made several baby quilts, while Cheri and DeLynn were art quilters.  And they were all thrilled to learn how they can each use their favorite colors in their own quilts, even though they all like different colors and have unique styles.

I’ll be away from home and the computer as I travel to middle and south Georgia this weekend and early next week, and promise more tour photos and news to come!