Monday, December 11, 2017

Deck the Halls with BOOKS

Adding a couple of books to the library is a holiday tradition. This year I am returning to some classics that were not yet in my collection. I found, rather, Santa found good used books and I will act surprised when I open them, given from the dog with love.

hand carved by a friend

AMISH The Art of the Quilt by Robert Hughes and Julie Silber, 1990 promises stunning photos of the Espirit quilt collection with interpretation by Art Critic, Robert Hughes, and curator of the collection, Julie Silber. I will be lost in these pages for some time.

The Quilt Digest, Revised edition 1985, volumes 1-4 are in the sleigh. The Quilt Digest was an annual publication started by Michael Kyle and Roderick Kiracofe appealing to enthusiasts of antique and contemporary quilts. They weren't afraid to mix it up. Yes, that Roderick Kiracofe and he is well represented in my library.

In my search, I discovered a few copies of Quilting with Style by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham, 1993. I have had this book for several years now, but it was difficult to find then. 

Now for a few more in my possession. This short stack, old friends now, document pieces of our vibrant and rich tradition, reporting on the acceptance of quilts as visual and expressive objects. Art. Consider how making art would be unintentional to many of these makers.

A Communion of the Spirits, African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories by Roland Freeman, 1996 is a gem. Mr. Freeman, an award winning photo-documentarian and field research photographer for the Smithsonian Institution, completed this national survey of African-American quilt makers. In these pages, the reader will meet Fannie Lee R. Chaney, the mother of James Chaney, Maya Angelou, Faith Ringgold, Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, Rosa Parks, Michigan quilter Carole Harris, and, and, and! This documentation continued for 20 years and covered thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia. 

Enjoy your holiday quilt traditions. Deck the halls. Gifts are in need of finishing stitches. The good books, old and new, will be waiting. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017



I GOT THE BLUES.....and it ain't bad.........................................................

QUILT EXPO September 2017

The awards are appreciated. The rewards are plentiful. 

My quilts were selected to be on exhibit with the work of my quilt making sisters and brothers. My quilts prompted invitations to fine venues where I met imaginative, energetic, creative, thoughtful students. They were a gift, as if in a pretty package with a multi-colored ribbon. 

Experiencing and expressing gratitude.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017


A focus on MINIMALISM in quilts. A five day workshop for maximum discovery.  

Join me at Woodland Ridge Retreat Center June 5-9, 2018  Minimalist Design Maximum Impact  woodlandridgeretreat

Explore a subtle challenge. Simplicity is deceptively complex. What do you place on an uncluttered center stage? What is enough? Interpret minimalism as you consider color and contrast, composition and the essence of what is important. Consider influences from our quilting tradition, modern art and design, and the natural world. Consider the influence of using material at hand, simplify and repurpose. 


composition influenced by Marge Tucker, another quilter published in Minimal Quiltmaking
Perhaps some minimalist quilts are unpretentious with Wabi Sabi, a Japanese concept and appreciation of the beauty of things imperfect. 

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston included several of my quilts. I will share my interpretation of Gwen's Liberated Quiltmaking methods. Working without a pattern invites creativity and liberates the imagination. 

In five days together, maybe you will explore a series of small studies playing with a minimalist vocabulary. Maybe you will do as Gwen did at the conclusion of Minimal Quiltmaking and explore minimal piecing with maximum quilting. Maybe you will follow what develops in the moment. 

I welcome you to join me!  

                  optional resources:

Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston, AQS 2014

Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren; Imperfect Publishing, Point Reyes, California

Marge Tucker

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Attention Quilt Collectors---Gwen Marston is now represented by Northern Daughters and you can own one of Gwen's quilts!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Mark making in quilts---lines

pieced small squares make subtle lines

marks in lines

pointed marks

floating marks

circular marks

dense marks

marks punctuated by moonset

Madeline Island School of the Arts provided an exceptional experience. The students expressed a zest for learning and liberated their creativity. Their quilts amazed and delighted me. As cloth was stitched together in imaginative ways, we too became stitched together. 

class dismissed

Sunday, September 24, 2017


When sewing without a pattern, a theme is one way to get started----

A curiosity about mark making originated when I took a nonrepresentational drawing class. Mark making is practiced usually in the context of drawing, painting or marking other objects. I think marks can also be seen in quilts as we consider lines, squares, triangles, circles. Explore these links and see what you think.

Rothko to Richter

In reference to the mark, "...a one to one correspondence between every stroke of paint and every movement of the artist's hand." When something is made by hand, it is nice to see evidence of the work by the hand. 

Marks can be made by scraps of fabric. Here are marks in leaves offered by my favorite historic quilter.  Vine quilt by Susan McCord

Multiple little abstractions, many marks and I find it hard to stop thinking about Erin's work.   Erin Wilson Quilts 

Amish quilts were some of the first to gain attention from the art world. Here are some of my favorite Amish quilts showing off their graphic style. Marks can be on a grand scale as well as small. Note the simple Chinese Coins Quilt near the end. There is even one "small study". 

Darwin D. Bearley Antique Ohio Amish Quilts

After all the piecing, the quilting stitches present tiny marks sculpting the surface, but that is a subject for another day----and another class.  

Monday, September 18, 2017


MENDED---That moth was no match for a few marks

Sewing little things together to get little things per Gwen Marston's notes. Plus there are big things to pack for the gathering at Madeline Island School of the Arts where I know students will be doing big things. In two weeks, class will be underway. A reunion with returning students and meeting new students adds to the excitement of all the quilt making that will follow. The last minute preparation will fill my two weeks. 

Today my quilt greeted me from the pages of the QuiltArt engagement calendar, marking time, reminding me of what a fine year it has been in my quilt world, and of the fine time to come in just two weeks!