Sunday, December 20, 2015


An unexpected phone call interrupted the sewing and minutes later I was scheduled to team teach with Gwen.  

SMALL STUDIES WITH GWEN MARSTON & PAM BEAL----Madeline Island School of the Arts
October 10-14, 2016.  Small Studies, the practice most important to my growth as a quilt maker.  Small Studies, the subject of Gwen's award winning book, 37 SKETCHES.

Ontonagon Clay 9" x 11 1/2" by Pam Beal
Published in Minimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston
I hope you can join us!  

Small Studies with Gwen Marston & Pam Beal

Thursday, November 5, 2015


announcing..........pambealquilts      When you can't visit our gallery, Wayne and I have some of our work available on Etsy.  Please pay us a visit.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


A sold out Small Strip Study class was the highlight of my experience at the AQS QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, MI.  Thanks to all who joined me!  This was a talented group who really made me look good during my debut as an AQS instructor. My mom enjoyed 'take your mom to work' during QuiltWeek, and it was my pleasure to have her along.  Mom offered an observation about our work without a pattern, our improvisation.  She said she had been advised to encourage children to use their imagination, give them crayons and blank paper instead of always offering a coloring book.  Watching the class, she saw people using their imagination and having fun doing it.  

As side entertainment, my class was the stage for a reunion with my college roommate Ellen!  We had not seen each other since graduation all those many years ago.  My Beaver Island Quilt Retreat friend, Karen, gave me another happy reunion opportunity.  Ellen and Karen have generously shared photos of their small strip study quilts.  

JOUEZ (Francais for "go play")
by Karen Duling
Ellen's work in progress-above & below.  Approximately mid-right, a gap was produced via improvisational piecing giving the opportunity to add another design element.  Ellen experimented with an oval appliqué pierced with a small strip.  Nice work Ellen!  I should add that this is Ellen's first experience working without a pattern, and I think she has an exuberant and successful start.

Several students offered kind words:  Overheard............."great energy in here-a positive, joyful vibe"..."I loved this class"..."I can't believe I made this"..."I had so much fun"..."I thought I had made a mistake, then I decided I liked it"..."I was way outside my box & loved it"... 

Thanks everybody!  pjb

and just a little more about Karen Duling, an AQS published author:

Quilting for the Paws by Karen Duling & approved by quilters and their 4 legged friends--
    White Chocolate Mocha Joe seen here, tips from Merle inside.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Dog Walks Girl in Uptown Grand Rapids.  My quilt was a semi-finalist at the American Quilter's Society international show.  It was displayed in the Hand Quilted category, which was on exhibit right next to the group of Large Quilts-Longarm Machine Quilted.  Dog Walks Girl 49" x 54" was one quilt away from Lace 86" x 86" by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  Now that is uptown. 



Here is a look at the ribbon winners in the Hand Quilted category...............

Chieko Shiraishi, Saitama-shi, Japan
3rd Place Award
Antonia Hering, Hoorn, Netherlands
2nd Place Award
Peggy Green, Sparta, TN
1st Place Award
(with apologies that the photo is poor)

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Dog Walks Girl 49" x 54"

pam j beal, quiltmaker

Inspired by vintage silk kimono, yukata cotton and walking my dog, I improvised the piecing and quilting, played with funky shapes, then chased a ball.

AQS QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, DeVos Place Convention Center August 12-15, show hours W-F: 9-6, Sa: 9-5.  My quilt is #301 on display in the hand quilted category.  

I will be at the quilt Wed. afternoon around 3:30 if you would like to stop by and chat.  pjb

Monday, August 3, 2015


Free Range Triangle Quilts by Marston and Jones, published by the American Quilter's Society will be available soon.  Gwen Marston and Cathy Jones promise a free wheeling, free form, free ranging look at triangle quilts.  My quilt has a gig in the gallery of quilts, in the company of several quilts made by liberated quilt makers.  

I present BREAKING TRAIL 26" x 27"

The name of this quilt was inspired by two grand, bright, free range loving girls who have many "bentures", translation-adventures on mountainous trails.  These two are grand daughters in fact!  

Consider this a sneak peek, and I'm sure you will want to add another book to your library! pjb

Watch these sites for more information-

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The quilts are gathered in Paducah.  Next stop, Grand Rapids where they will look spiffy for the judges and await their fans. More than 15,000 fans.  

Here is the scoop from the Press Release: Paducah, Kentucky, USA--  Pam Beal from Mass City, MI is a semifinalist for the 2015 AQS QuiltWeek-Grand Rapids, Michigan August 12-15, 2015 at DeVos Place Convention Center.  Pam has been chosen to display the quilt, Dog Walks Girl, along with 311 others in this AQS contest.  First, Second, and Third Place prizes in seven categories will be awarded, along with six overall awards including Best of Show. Winners will be announced at the show and posted on the AQS website, More than $50,000 will be granted, including $10,000 for the Best of Show and $3,500 each for Best Wall Quilt, Best Use of Color, Best Original Design, Best Hand, Best Home, and Best Longarm Quilted.  Regardless of how Dog Walks Girl places in the final judging, all semifinalists' quilts will be displayed at the show, which is expected to draw more than 15,000 people. 

AQS Founder and President Meredith Schroeder says, "Extraordinary quilts are being made by today's quilters, and the contest quilts represent an extensive variety of styles, sizes, and techniques  Each quilt in the show is an intricate, creative work of art to enjoy."

Quilts were entered in this international contest from 38 US states and 10 other countries. Come see a wide range of special exhibit quilts including: Living Colour!; SAQA Wide Horizons IV; Stitch Like an Egyptian; New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Nine Patch; Red, White, and Quilted; The WICKED-TM Cherrywood Challenge; and the AQS Authors' Exhibit.  

The American Quilter's Society hosts several shows annually, each with its own quilt contest. Besides the Grand Rapids, Michigan show, AQS hosts other prestigious shows in Paducah, Kentucky; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Syracuse, New York; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa and Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information, please go to


I'll share a full photo of Dog Walks Girl, 49" x 54" just before the show opens.  It's fun to have a secret!  pjb

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Today my thoughts are with people in Charleston.  

Thirteen years ago today, my family gathered in memory of my brother.  I remember people in Detroit and Dearborn offering kindness, treating me gently as I attempted to function in my state of shock.  Their compassion mattered.    

Today I join a project, a gesture of compassion extended to the people of Charleston.  The Charleston Modern Quilt Guild will make a quilt from pieces of cloth sent by people like me. The quilt is a symbol wrapping the people of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in good will.  

Symbols matter.  People matter. pjb

to August 1st, send a 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece of solid cloth in a solid color or a print which reads as solid---a message can be centered in the block with your name & location, but please add your name & location
   Charleston Modern Quilt Guild
   P.O. Box 723
   Sullivans Island, SC 29482

Friday, June 19, 2015


Camp Earth Connection....Gwen has donated a quilt to raise funds for the Village Camp Scholarship Fund.  As reported from their site, Camp Earth is "a place of acceptance, diversity and community where respect for each other and nature is taught."  I think we could use a little of that about now, and I'll bet they all have a great time too!

Do I need to say it is a fabulous quilt?!  Learn more, see the videos and the quilt at  

Gwen & I and a few friends at Quilt Camp

Monday, June 15, 2015


Dog Walks Girl 49" x 54" will be at QuiltWeek Grand Rapids, MI.  Hot diggity dog!  

detail of upper quilt

detail of mid-quilt
Meet me in Grand Rapids, August 12-15, 2015.  Dog Walks Girl will be displayed in the Hand Quilted category and I'll plan to be at the quilt on Wednesday & Friday.  Stop by and we'll talk quilts!  I'll post hours closer to show time.  

On Thursday I teach.  Small Strip Study (registration #55502) is a three hour class.  There will be quilts, a trunk show of small studies, then you will get busy making your own small quilt.  I would be pleased to see you in my class!  Registration is open now.  

This is who you will be looking for.  Many thanks to my great friend Dennis B. Murphy of Grand Rapids, MI for the photo.  pjb

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Excitement builds.  The sewing room hums with improvisation while I play with strips, slivers, squares and points.  I'm busy making more class samples for the Small Strip Study class offered at AQS QuiltWeek Grand Rapids August 13, 2015


A small study quilt is a useful way to explore design and try something new.  Small strips create texture in the quilt surface and interesting lines in the design.  Calling adventurous students of any level.  Explore original design, free cutting, and experiment with accidental happy surprises.  I will use a brief trunk show of small strip studies to outline the process and spark your imagination, demo a step or two, then we'll get sewing!

P. S. Thanks to 37 SKETCHES by Gwen Marston for first introducing the process of small studies.  If you want homework, I highly recommend this book!  pjb

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


AQS QuiltWeek in Paducah has closed.  "Playing It" with it's 3rd place ribbon has retuned home.  I have been engrossed in the Catalogue of Show Quilts 2015.  Receiving an award in this show is an honor and my great pleasure!  Congratulations to the other award winners:  First Place, Elisabeth's Garden by Elisabeth Frolet; Second Place, In Tribute to Margaret by Virginia Davey; Honorable Mention, Chardonnay by Jenny Bacon.  Our category, Small Wall Quilts-Hand Quilted consisted of 18 quilts from the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany and Brazil.  Five quilts were from Japan and two were from Michigan.  Tim Latimer and I will take a bow for Michigan!  I have long been thrilled by the style and attention to detail accomplished by the quiltmakers from Japan, and I can't get enough of their work.  With appreciation:  The judges were Scott Murkin, Melinda Bula and Donna Wilder.  The sponsor of our category was Panasonic.  The staff and mission of The American Quilter's Society bringing us together to celebrate and promote the art and craft of quilting.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Quick update:  Playing It was awarded a 3rd place in the Small Wall Quilt-Hand Quilted category at the AQS Paducah show!  Yes, I am really thrilled.  More comments soon...........................................

Monday, April 20, 2015


Presenting the American Quilter's Society Press Release:

Local Quilter Semifinalist in International Quilt Show

Paducah, Kentucky, USA- Mass City area quilter has been selected as a semi-finalist for the 2015 AQS QuiltWeek(trademark)- Paducah, Kentucky, April 22-25, 2015, at the Paducah Expo Center in Paducah, Kentucky.

Pam Beal has been chosen to display the quilt, PLAYING IT, along with 404 others in the annual contest, now in its 31st year.  Three quilting authorities will judge this elite group in Paducah, awarding first, second, and third-place prizes in 16 categories, along with nine overall awards.  Winners will be announced at the 31st AQS Awards Presentation, which takes place at the Carson Four Rivers Center in Paducah at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.  Cash awards totaling $125,000 will be granted, including $20,000 for the Janome Best of Show; $12,000 for the BERNINA Machine Workmanship; $12,000 for the AQS Hand Workmanship; $12,000 for the APQS Longarm Workmanship; and $5,000 for the Moda Best Wall Quilt.  Regardless of how PLAYING IT places in the final judging, all semi-finalists' quilts will be displayed at the show, which is expected to draw more than 30,000 people.

AQS Founder and President Meredith Schroeder says, "Whatever type of quilts you enjoy, traditional, modern, fiber art, or miniature, Paducah QuiltWeek will have them all. You will be inspired and intrigued by these amazing works of art.  Plus, our vendors will have every conceivable new product to make your quilt the best it can be."

Quilts were entered in this international contest from 50 US states and 12 other countries.   Come see a wide range of special exhibit quilts including: SAQA Wide Horizons IV; Stitch Like an Egyptian; 2015 and 2016 Pilgrim/Roy Invitational Challenge; Red, White & Quilted; The WICKED (trademark) Cherrywood Challenge; and the AQS Authors' Exhibit.

The American Quilter's Society hosts several shows annually, each with its own quilt contest.  Besides the Paducah, Kentucky show, AQS hosts other prestigious shows in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Syracuse, New York; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa and Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

For more information, please go to

PLAYING IT detail of hand quilting

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


This is no April Fool Joke, I will be teaching a class at the American Quilter's Society show in Grand Rapids, MI in August!  SMALL STRIP IMPROVISATION is the class I'm offering and it will be a good time.  More to say later but visit the AQS site for all the show information

Playing with 3/4" strips 
But here is a quick story about an April Fool prank.  I stood at the window and called, "Hurry up and you can see a bear."  Not very elaborate, but it was successful!  Here is why...

This handsome fellow was crossing our back field last summer. pjb

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


The quilt is rolled as the quilting progresses.    

 Here is a look under the quilt.

Using the frame is a good way to keep even tension on the quilt, to keep the quilt off the floor and your lap, and there is no basting before you begin to quilt.  

Now that the quilting is done, the binding is done, and the quilt has been entered to the AQS Grand Rapids show, I can't wait to start the next quilt.

Here is the upper left corner of Dog Walks Girl 49" x 54".   

I'll share the full quilt after the jury comes to a decision.  It's fun to have a secret. pjb

Saturday, February 28, 2015


HAND QUILTING........................................................................................

People say, "You must have a lot of patience."

Once, I was declared a Saint.

No marking.  The quilted line takes shape as it happens.

Thinking deep thoughts, and not so deep thoughts.

I watch blowing snow accumulate in a graceful drift.  Maybe the line of the drift is captured in a section of the quilting.

Auditioning names for the quilt.

Inviting ideas for the next quilt.

......back to the quilt frame...............pjb

Sunday, January 11, 2015


The old mixes with the new.  Reconnections with old friends is a welcome development in my new year.  A long time ago, there were 3 roommates almost inseparable way back when.  Time marches on and change is ever present.  2015 dawns with renewed friendships and that's something to celebrate.

I called mom and got the answering machine. Blah, blah, blah "have a nice day because it is later than you think!"  Really, what?  When I reached mom she said her morning routine was interrupted by a phone call and the salesman wanted to talk to her about funeral planning.  The experience prompted her to revise her message.  Thanks for the humor mom, and here's to good times in 2015.

Two new quilts are in the works.  Breaking Trail 26" x 27" has just been removed from the floor frame.  I hand quilt without marking the quilt surface, and the design takes shape as I work.  Here is a partial view.  This quilt already has a gig which will be revealed when the time is right.  I will say, I'm not working alone.  

detail of quilting-Breaking Trail
The next quilt is still in pieces on the design wall, and it may seem presumptuous to call it a quilt at this stage.  Having faith in the process, I will call it a quilt.  It was August 2014 when I began imagining this quilt.  I purchased vintage Kimono silk at the AQS Quiltweek in Grand Rapids, MI and I was smitten.

I had previously purchased vintage Yukata cotton when I visited the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner Washington.  The vintage cloth is the starting point for this quilt.

Fascination with simple shapes and lines is being expressed in the piecing, perhaps inspired by amusement with Wayne's Interactive Desk Sculptures.  Hand crafted, old technology, building blocks for adults.  Playing with blocks is a good way to spend time.
Some time ago I enjoyed a nonrepresentational drawing class with Richard Kooyman where we explored the beauty of shape and line, mark making, and immediacy in the work.  I continue to be influenced by the exploration that took place in this class.

I can lose time piecing shapes and quilting lines and texture. In time, I'll share more about "Breaking Trail" and "in pieces on the design wall".  In the meantime, I'm off to the sewing room. pjb

for more about Richard and Wayne: