Tag Archives: Learning from the Masters

Some Good Financial News

As I climbed onto the elliptical machine this morning, my neighbor Sue was on the adjacent machine watching a financial news network.  I couldn’t help but quip, “So what’s the good financial news?”  We both had a good laugh, which is about all you can do when all you hear around you is “meltdown.”

I actually do have some good financial news to share with you.  My hope is that it will make a difference in your life as it has in mine and my family’s.  My husband is a builder, and right now he’s one of a shrinking minority in the Atlanta area:  last year there were 2400, now there are 1200.  Yikes.  What made the difference?  We follow a different financial philosophy than most families, businesses, and Americans.  We took a financial management course years ago at our church, using the Crown Financial Ministries curriculum.  It made a difference.  We changed how we thought about money, how we prioritized, and how we taught our children about money.

Check out their site.  It has some great tools, a radio show, and is chock full of articles to help during these rocky times.  Crown helped us.  If you’re looking for sound financial advice at a time when wisdom seems in short supply, try Crown.  They have my highest recommendation.

Quilt Project Runway: Katie Pasquini Masopust

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.

Quilt Project Runway: Jane Sassaman

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

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:

Behind the Scenes at Fall Quilt Market 2008

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

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!

From Sketchbook to Art Quilt

(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.

First Thumbnail

First Thumbnail

Second Thumbnail

Second Thumbnail

Third Thumbnail

Third Thumbnail

Fourth Thumbnail

Fourth Thumbnail

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:

Final Piece:  Which Border?

Final Piece: Which Border?

And here it is on my design wall ready to be quilted:

Art Quilt on Design Wall

Art Quilt on Design Wall

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.