I put together a list of the many resources I’ve created over the Color Mastery journey and put them into one place for you. Wow. No excuses not to have outstanding color in your quilts any more!
The cupcakes were baked, decorated, and ready to be nibbled on in a ladylike manner. My studio was sparkling, ready for the Mom & Me Quilter’s Tea guests to take a tour. Their parents won the experience at a silent auction for my son’s school. Books autographed, check. Camera, check. All done a day before.
My elder son and husband were away at a Boy Scout caving trip, so it was just me and my younger son. Who came to me in the middle of the night saying, “Mom, I don’t feel so good.” Poor guy. He was up all night with a stomach bug.
Tea postponed, check. After all, fiddle-dee-dee, tomorrow is another day.
Like the frosting on those cupcakes? Then you won’t want to miss February’s Color-of-the-Month show. It’s the first Tuesday in February, only 7 days away!
After I shot this video at Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA, I gave a lecture to the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild in Athens, and drove home for a late-night arrival. The same day, my elder son attended a workshop at the local Apple store on how to use iMovie.
I’ve been the computer expert in our home for a long time, and I taught my son how to use Word, how to navigate the internet (with supervision), and even how to create a blog for a math project. So he was excited to help me with my video.
I planned on creating a black screen with a white title for the Title screen and ending credits, which I can do with the Flip software that came with my camera. But after he saw my results, he offered to help me do much better.
He showed me how to create the fancy title screen with my book’s cover and the white title superimposed over it, and the ending black frames with the credits on them. Actually, he wanted to do it all himself, but I’m trying to teach him how to educate others: never do for them what you can help them to do themselves.
That’s my same motto for my classes. I never do the work for my students, or else they won’t be able to replicate their experience when they get home. I gently guide students as to how to achieve results, and everyone’s path there is different.
So thanks, son. My video looks oh-so-much better. Who knows what you’ll be teaching me next?
Last weekend I attended the fall convention of the Georgia Quilt Council in Carrollton, GA. After all the years I’ve been quilting, this was my first time attending the council’s meeting, and I was impressed. These ladies know quilting and know Georgia. I met many wonderful quilters, appraisers, shop owners, historians, guild officers, and teachers. It was a “who’s who” of quilters in Georgia. I was so busy in my booth I didn’t take photos of the speakers, but here’s peek at one of the quilts displayed at the convention:
Carrollton welcomed us with quilts hung in the shop windows on the town square:
Next was a tour of the facility that will house the new Southeast Quilt and Textile Museum:
The above photo is of an interior wall of the facility, which used to house cotton bales for GoldKist. The building was badly burned in a fire in the early 1900’s, and you can still see the outline of the hay bales on the walls.
I had a lovely time at the fall convention, and here’s a quick bulletin of events coming up and an invitation to join me. If you can’t, hop on over to my Color Mastery blog and enjoy the resources there until you can attend one my lectures or workshops:
Oct. 13, Creative Quilter’s Guide to Color, Cotton Patch Quilters, Athens, GA
Oct. 17, Machine Quilting Mastery, Sew Memorable, Dawsonville, GA
Nov. 7, Color Mastery for Any Quilter, Quilt Shop on the Square, Ellijay, GA
Hope to see you soon in one of my workshops – let’s make a colorful quilt together!
I want my work to last. Longevity is one of the three main goals I have for my books. The other two? A post for another day.
I realized long ago that it took just as long to write a book that was trendy and out of print after two years as it did to write a classic. And as a quilter and artist, I appreciate books that provide me with lessons for years to come.
I often hear people complain about how expensive books are, which is why I go for those that provide me with lasting value. I enjoy patterns, booklets, and other fun diversions. But they don’t have the lasting value of a book.
Color Mastery has nine quilt projects. If you bought them individually in a pattern, each would average $15.00. Multiply that times nine and you get $135.00.
Color Mastery also has 11 exercises, and has twelve months worth of class material. I teach shop owners how they can offer a different class each month using the exercises and projects in the book. A full-day class averages about $60.00, and 12 of them would be $720.00.
$135.00 worth of patterns/projects, and $720.00 worth of classes is a total of $855.00. Still think a book is expensive? Look’s like the world’s best bargain to me.
The real test of a book-lover’s book is this: does it provide those things that make a reader’s life easier, that will make the book last, and makes it easy to find, or get more information? I printed Color Mastery on museum-quality paper using the best photographer and printer in the industry.
I included an index to make information easy to find. Look at the latest quilt book you bought: I bet it doesn’t have one. Publishers are skimping on this kind of stuff and betting you won’t notice. Bibliographies too. I want to know how to find out more information when I’m interested in a topic, and I know my readers do too. And librarians love them.
Does the book’s binding last? Is it sewn or glued? Color Mastery’s is sewn, of course. And it has a spine, so you can find it on a store shelf or your own.
Look for these qualities when you buy a book. Be a discerning consumer. Expect them in your books and ask for them. And support quilt book authors who give you the best.
Ann Litrell, a local painter in Woodstock, Georgia, invited me to speak at her gallery event to raise funds for charity. Here are the details from Ann:
Gallery Show and Fundraiser – The Colors of HOPE: Author and quilter Maria Peagler, with local quilter Mary Litrel, will show selected quilts from their collections at the gallery on July 2-4. Ms. Peagler will give a talk on Friday evening at the gallery for the Woodstock Friday Night Live event. “Color Artistry in Quilt Creation,” 7 pm.
A quilt by Mary Litrel, entitled ” Esperanza,” will be donated for a raffle, with funds being raised for the HOPE Center in Woodstock. The final raffle drawing and winner will be announced immediately following the Freedom Run in downtown Woodstock on July 4. Raffle tickets will be sold at Ann Litrel Art, and at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Canton, www.cherokeewomenshealth.com.
If you’ve never visited downtown Woodstock, you owe it to yourself to check it out: it is absolutely charming. Quaint. All those adjectives for a downtown area you can stroll through and never want to leave. It’ll be a great way to spend a hot summer day and evening.
Ann is an excellent artist, and has a collection of her paintings at her website. Don’t miss the Woodstock Depot series, where she paints the local train depot in the styles of great masters Monet, Van Gogh, and others. That takes talent. Then check out my own Learning from the Masters series on the great quilters of today and what we can learn from them.
Event: Color Mastery Gallery Lecture
Date: July 3, 2009
Location: Ann Litrel Art, Woodstock
Gather your quilting girlfriends and make it a girls’ nite out to benefit a great organization.
Sketching mesmerizes people. When people learn I’m a quilter, they often offer comments such as, “Oh, my grandmother did that,” or “I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that.”
But tell them I sketch, or even better if they see me sketching, and they are truly facsinated. They stop what they are doing to watch me or even come over to watch my penstrokes on the page. Sketching really does attract a crowd.
My friend Karin took these photos at Symphony on the Green, including these of my family:
An orchestra, art, family, and a beautiful day. A perfect summer recipe.
And a by-the-way note: Annette, one of my students at the Stitching Barn Color Mastery class, tried my recipe for the Five Bean Pot from my May/June email newsletter. She noticed, however, it called for only four cans of beans. The can of baked beans is the large, double can, and I count that as the fifth can of beans. Since I have kids at home, I try to make my recipes as kid-friendly as possible, so that’s why only four types of beans in the Five Bean Pot recipe.
February’s Quilts & Creativity newsletter went out this week, and I can’t wait for you to see it. It includes last-minute details on my book launch this Friday, an opportunity to win a color consultation with me, the scoop on fresh, innovative spring color palettes, a sneak peek at a new product I’ll be announcing at the end of this month, an opportunity for me to visit your bee group in March, and a fabulous burger recipe.
I’ve really changed the way I develop and offer lessons on this blog. I save the detailed lessons for my newsletter, as it’s easier to give a deep treatment to subjects in a format that spans several pages. I chat about personal stuff, announcements, ideas, and anything else that comes to mind on the blog. But if you want the lessons, sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the Newsletter tab at the top of the blog.
You can see back issues of the Quilts & Creativity newsletter here.
Ok, well maybe not everything. After all, it’s only an hour. But what an hour it will be. I’ll be chatting with Morna McEver Golletz in the Professional Quilter Cafe, and of course the topic will be my favorite: color in quilts. What an artist date!
What I’m most excited about is having a one-on-one where we can really dig deep into the subject. Color is so intimidating for most quilters that this is a jewel of an opportunity to really “get” color in a way they never have before.
And since this is a Professional Quilter teleclass, we’ll be talking about color not just for quilters, but also for instructors who teach color classes, pattern designers and how they can use color more effectively in their samples, and for shop owners and how they can really help their customers in choosing colors for their quilts.
Hope you can join us. It’s only $9.95 and that’s for both the teleclass and downloadable MP3. You can’t even buy a dinner out for that. So stay home on Thursday, Jan. 15 and join us at 8p.m. Eastern. Here’s the link. See you there!
The November issue is out, and I included some incredible articles:
- how to keep a color journal
- how to orchestrate the colors in a “blended-type” quilt
- a fabulous source for free machine quilting patterns
- my favorite cranberry sauce recipe
- details on my Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway
You are on the email list, right? Well, if not, you can sign up here. Really. Great stuff this month. Hope you don’t miss it.
The December issue of Mary Engelbreit Home Companion arrived in my mailbox, and my favorite part of the magazine is the artist profiles. But I had to share with ya’ll how much this magazine is now about quilting and fiber arts. Almost this entire issue is about fiber art of one kind or another, profiling Amy Butler and her home, the same way it did Heather Bailey months ago. Mavis Leahy, an art quilter is also featured, as well as some yo-yo-stockings. Wow!
Terrific potential for artist dates on these pages. Go pick up the latest issue and get inspired!
- black & yellow color scheme (look for these in Vera Bradley handbags)
- orchid (a dull, medium, red-violet for all you Color Masters)
- jeweltones in red, blue, and green
Why these colors? They trickle down from Paris runways, and seep into fashion, magazines, and the ultimate arbiter of all things designer: Target. Really. When you see Rubbermaid, Daytimers, and hangers at Target in trendy colors, you know those are what’s hot.
Katie Pasquini Masopust has a new book on creative quilt design called Design Explorations for the Creative Quilter: Easy-to-Follow Lessons for Dynamic Art Quilts. All about taking inspiration from photos and artwork and using them as a source for your quilts. Katie professes not be good at drawing realistically, so she takes her photographs and sketches and turns them into abstract art. How’s that for turning a challenge into an opportunity?
Also learned that Katie machine quilts her quilts in sections, Marti Michell-style: Machine Quilting in Sections. Her art quilts aren’t that large by most quilting standards, but she says it makes quilting much easier.
I have Katie’s previous book, Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter: Improve Any Quilt with Easy-to-Follow Lessons and enjoyed the quilts and the lessons in the book. Even though I didn’t want to make her quilts, I did learn from the exercises. That’s what I believe the best quilting books do: teach you how to improve the quilts you want to make, not how to make someone else’s quilt. While the Fall Quilt Market 2008 Schoolhouse session I attended was short, Katie showed impressive innovation, humor and accessibility. She doesn’t get so serious about her art quilts that she forgets to have fun with them and her students.
The highlight for Quilt Market for me was meeting Jane Sassaman and attending her session. Her quilts are always dramatic and graphically so well-designed, and here she shows off a super easy medallion quilt with almost no piecing, just a center piece of fabric and then added borders from her fabric line:
Here’s Bethany Reynold’s newest quilt from her book Stack-N-Whackipedia. Sounds like she’s made lining up the fabrics and cutting easier than it was before. I’ve never done her stack-n-whacks, but she sounds like she’s a great teacher. If you can take a class from her, do it.
Ever wonder what happens before all the glitz and glamour of Quilt Market? Here are two wonderful and generous ladies, Eileen Sullivan of The Designer’s Workshop, and Jennifer Armor of Jennifer Armor Garments, setting up their booth.
And here we are later when everything’s looking beautiful, well-lit, and gorgeous at a book signing for Color Mastery. Oops – our photographer was so excited she couldn’t stand still when shooting!
I’m in Houston, TX this week and I’ll be giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the giant trade show to the quilting trade: Fall Quilt Market. From this show come the new fabrics, books, patterns, and designers you’ll be seeing in your quilt shop in 2009. And you’ll hear about them here first!
All the commotion starts tomorrow, so today I hit three art museums in Houston’s Museum District: the Lawndale, the Center for Contemporary Craft, and the phenomenal Museum of Fine Art. It was there that I actually gasped when I turned corner after corner to see artists whose works I had seen scattered throughout different museums and exhibitions, but never together in one place: Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Van Gogh, Botecelli, Munch, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Carrie Mae Weems, Mary Cassett, Georgia O’Keefe, William de Kooning, and the list goes on. It was terrific and a great way to start this trip: inspired by the best.
In the photo above I’m in the neon underground tunnel connecting the two buildings that make up the MFA. Truly, if you are ever in Houston, this is a must see!
Kay Mackenzie, author of the upcoming book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes (Martingale) invited me to be a guest over at her fantastic All About Applique blog. I reveal my top three tips for getting great color in applique quilts, as well as some storyline about me. You can read my post here.
All quilted and ready for facing. Sometimes I love the backs of my quilts even more than the front, because I can see the quilting so much better. I don’t want the quilting to overwhelm the design and colors on the front, but I sure do love the machine quilting detail you can see in the back.
Hmm, sounds like series potential there, doesn’t it?
Today we have a special guest here at Quilts & Creativity: Elizabeth House, student and designer of the newly-released LizzyDish from Andover fabrics. I’ve always wondered how a fabric starts from an idea to actually making it onto the printing press, and Elizabeth shares her thoughts on design, color, and how she envisions using LizzyDish in projects. Enjoy!
Q: Please tell us a little about you: how did you get started in quilting and fabric design?
A: My name is Elizabeth House, and I am from Humble, Texas. I’m graduating in December with a BFA in Printmaking. I am also a book artist, and textile designer. I have a real love for Vince Guaraldi, beautiful design, cleverness, and sleeping.
I got my start in the quilting world from my mother (editor’s note: Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts). She has quilted for as long as I can remember, and for as long as I can remember I wanted to design the fabric she was using. I was very young when I decided that I wanted to design fabric, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually started quilting myself. I think almost a year to date! But I got my actual start in fabric design last year (2007) at Fall Market. You can read all about it here!
Q: What was your inspiration for LizzyDish?
A: I have such a fascination with images from the 1950’s and 60’s. I feel like if there was a time in this past century that I could have been alive, like 20-30’s it would be those decades. A kid in the late 30’s and working in the 50’s. Ok. I will put it like this: I would either like to have been a Vaudevillian, Fanny Bryce, OR, a 1950’s concept artist, Mary Blair. So, just add those things plus a love for entertaining, baking, cooking, all together party throwing and you have LizzyDish.
I wanted it to feel like you found it. You were handed down something or you went thrifting or garage sailing and there was a dish towel, a box of old recipe cards, a cook book, or a set of mixing bowls that reminded you of what was, how your mom, or your grandmother cared for things. I saw those things in my grandmother’s house. An exquisite attention to detail that we, for the most part, pay very little to no attention to. The mothers of the fifties were renaissance women. They wore aprons, everything matched, meals were timed. There is definitely a resurgence of this, the timing, the aprons, the details, but it was more of a calling then and I wanted LizzyDish to feel a part of that era. I want to be a modern renaissance woman of that same caliber.
Q: You’ve written in your blog that you keep about 3-5 journals going at the same time. Is one for color? How do your journals influence/inspire your work?
A: It’s gotten a little out of control, the notebook thing. I keep one for a specific project that I am working on, which has grown into large sheets of folded paper that I keep meaning to bind, but have really been liking the ability to just lay them all out and look at them together… one is for notes… but I seem to be getting lazy, because they are all starting to blend together which requires me to carry all of them at all times. They greatly influence my work, I would never throw away any of my journals or sketch books. They are like lessons and I am grateful to be able to turn to them to gain inspiration, as well as avoid previous pitfalls.
Q: You were inspired by Fiestaware, retro kitchen appliances, and the state of Hawaii for your colors. Can you elaborate on how you selected those colors? Do you choose colors intuitively or use color theory to guide you? How does your color chart guide you?
A: I feel like the more familiar you are with color the more intuitively it comes. I don’t go about things looking for a triadic color scheme or to be monochromatic. It usually occurs to me later that I have created split compliments or analogous color ways with no actual intention. I would say color is probably one of the most important things to understand. For this group, because the inspiration for the images was so strong I wanted to play with colors of the same era.
For the color way Kitchennaire I wanted it to be kind of girly. I took inspiration from popular Fiesta Ware of the 50’s as well as the idea of a Barbie Homemaker. I like the image of that. Appliance is the retro appliance, the avocado green, and the ochre yellow, as well as a touch of the Rock and Roll-Space Age. Sunny Side Up! is based on the new state-hood of Hawaii as well as the Beach Party Movie craze. Elvis Presley, Gidget, Franky and Annette. There is a definite reason to each color. It took a while to get correct, but it was worth it. I feel it is a very sincere fabric collection
The color chart is a guide, after I choose colors in the beginning I place them all in the chart, and I take away and add from there. It’s just a key to the whole thing, like a color map.
Q: Have you made any projects yet with the LizzyDish fabric? How do you envision it being used? What fabrics would you recommend to use with it?
A: I have designed several projects, but I currently don’t have the fabric in my hot little hands. As soon as I do, all my sketches will come to fruition. As far as how I see it being used, I see it as much more than novelty prints. It would work in anything from quilts, to aprons, all the way to children’s wear. There are no limits to what LizzyDish can, and should be used for. I would use it with solids. But I am very excited to see what people create. If I had a house, I would upholster a breakfast area in it. I’ll be saving some yards for when that day comes.
Thanks Elizabeth for stopping by today and chatting with me about designing fabric. It’s great insight to peak into the mind of a designer and see how a fabric goes from idea to the quilt shop!
My favorite insights as an instructor are when I see the actual moments my students really get it: that singular moment when they realize they’ll never see color, fiber art, or quilting quite the same way.
We had lots of those moments in my Color for Fiber Artists workshop at the Sharptop Arts Center in Jasper. This was a two-day class, and the first day is learning the vocabulary of color. It can be a bit befuddling, as there are lots of terms to understand. But the second day is when the light bulbs go off and I hear things like:
“I realized I was making the same quilts over and over again, using the same colors.”
“I’m so glad I took this class. I never would have imagined putting those colors together.”
We created one of these fiber art pieces for each color harmony, starting with the same main color. When you finish, you have a sampling of what’s possible around the color wheel using the same color as the starting point. It was an exercise that really opened the eyes of the fantastic ladies taking the class.
These are my birds, and I started with the same red-violet fabric each time. Because it’s a tertiary color, it’s difficult for most people to identify, and it’s complement is yellow-green, also a challenging color because it’s so bright. I pulled off the contrast well, but they are all too cool. Too much green, and not enough reds and oranges for me. The challenge is to use fabrics in your stash, and I brought my scraps with me and let students use those as well as their own. I will probably tweak these later.
I took these photos on my camera phone and uploaded them via Flickr, all from my cell phone. Technology makes my life and my work so much more fun!
You can now sign up for my brand new monthly email newsletter and have it delivered directly to your Inbox. Each month I’ll be covering quilting techniques, news, and opening up the world of creativity and color to my subscribers. Note this is different than subscribing to this blog: the blog I update several times a week with news about my life and quilting; the email newsetter will be more how-to type information, including:
- a breakdown of a popular trend in quilting and how you can achieve those same color results (next month: Blended Quilts and How You Can Get That Look!)
- latest quilting news
- upcoming classes and shows
Click on the Email Newsletter tab in my blog header to sign up. Let’s make a date to meet in your Inbox!
Over at Making a Mark, Katherine Tyrrell has seven pointers for getting to the gold medal standard in your art – her steps are a thought-provoking way to get to the next level in your quilts. Here’s the link:
(You’re gonna want to scroll down for this one.) So what does all this stuff about sketching have to do with quilting? It prepares you for the single moment that inspiration strikes. I want to make a quilt of a house, a bird, a cup of coffee. I want to make a bow-tie quilt, log cabin. I can’t wait to use that new fabric. Now you have a rich repository from which to draw images from. You’ve “filled the well” as Julia Cameron would say in her seminal work, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition] .
Here’s one path from sketch to original art quilt. I started with several thumbnail sketches, not really sure how I wanted to capture this gorgeous valley.
I went with thumbnail #3, as I loved the vertical composition and the feeling I was at the top of the peak looking down. I captured the image on muslin using watercolor crayons, and here it is being auditioned for a border to serve as a frame:
And here it is on my design wall ready to be quilted:
All the preparation in my sketchbooks readied me for this quilt. Funny, it didn’t feel like preparation. It felt more like time was flying by, being the in flow, capturing the images and moments that held meaning for me. Truly, the best part of being an artist. Dreaming, sketching, and quilting.
I love my job, don’t you?
Note of interest: The tiny building in the background (best seen in Thumbnail #1) burned to the ground months after I did this sketch. It was a local restaurant that held many memories for me and neighbors in my community. Now it has been immortalized in a work of art. See what I mean by capturing meaning? I had no idea of the unfortunate event that would come, nor do you ever know all the layers a work of art potentially holds. Until you actually create it.