Thursday, December 29, 2016



Return invitations are really nice!  In 2017 I will be returning to teach with the American Quilter's Society at Quiltweek in Grand Rapids, MI---August 16-19. Stay tuned for details


Madeline Island School of the Arts, October 2-6 for a 5 day workshop. 
A Quilter's Mark Making Study

Wishing you big times at the quiltings in 2017----"We had big times at the quiltings and big eatin' afterwards. They would make two quilts a night and they were nice quilts too with hems and everything. The Nine Patch pattern was a beauty, with little squares no bigger than your thumb nail."  From an interview with Lizzie Fanta Brown at age seventy-six, Mississippi, in Cloth and Comfort by Roderick Kiracofe,1994

CHECKING THE STITCHES ON THE BACK OF THE QUILT...and he doesn't look impressed

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Once upon a time, my quilting library was growing with books reflecting my roots. I was delighted to find Old Swedish Quilts by Asa Wettre, English language edition 1995, Interweave Press. I turned to this book recently to study a few quilts which promise to influence some aspects of my next quilt. Old quilts have much to offer our modern imaginations and efforts. 

If you look closely, you might be able to see that I "marked" a page with a quilt I thought had mark making appeal. Some of you already know that I am offering a 5 day workshop at the Madeline Island School of the Arts in 2017

On this winter solstice (a popular mid-winter festival for Scandinavians) let me introduce my Papa, my grandfather Knute Johnson. Born in Boras Sweden in 1893, Knute arrived at the port of Boston in 1912 and in Muskegon Michigan in 1913. He served in the US Army Air Force in WWI. Here is Papa photographed in his uniform.

Two buttons from his uniform were found in my grandmother's button box. Imagine, I held them in my hand and they stepped out from the photo and pulled me back in time. Knute and Rena were married in 1919. They survived the flu pandemic, and Nana was among the first women allowed to vote in US elections. 

Charming sayings and wisdom embroidered on a Bride's quilt caught my attention, Old Swedish Quilts p. 134,  "A hut a heart and a potato" "Do not complain at the wrong moment" "The one who does not go forwards goes backwards" "Rest is sweet after finished work" and "Poor Zaar!" 

I might not have been interested in Swedish quilts if not for Papa's roots. Family heritage and quilt tradition can intersect making rich pieces to stitch together. Each piece is important to the whole. Story telling, sharing and making quilts might stitch us together. 

a peek at a selection from my stash to get me started on my new old Swedish quilt----

Friday, December 9, 2016


FAR AFIELD  12" X 14"

Presenting........a collaboration by Wayne and I. Now available in our Etsy shop  to "wrap up" the holiday shopping season.

In this piece, Gwen Marston's liberated quiltmaking ideas migrate from the sewing room to the wood shop. Explore, make it up as you go along, be inspired by the materials at hand and enjoy the process. Improvisation is engaging, liberating.   Seasons Greetings!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


A QUILTER'S MARK MAKING STUDY--5 day workshop October 2-6,2017 

Think of improv piecing and appliqué as invitation to add marks to your quilt creating visual interest and movement. Consider lines, squares, triangles and circles as the vocabulary of mark making. Little pieces and parts coming out of nowhere, seemingly going nowhere. The very curiosity of it interests the maker and the viewer.

I would be delighted to see you in class!

And a fine time we had! Thank you for joining me. Now is the time to plan for next year, October 1-5, 2018-----STUDIO HAND QUILTING where students will discover their preferences in creating the quilted line, explore embellishment with a variety of thread, and learn or enhance the fundamentals too.  pjb

Monday, October 31, 2016


Time for reflection is a gift.  My thoughts have remained on the recent Gwen Marston extravaganza at the Madeline Island School of the Arts with Gwen and yours truly. There is pleasure in watching students experience Liberated Quiltmaking. Gwen introduced her book in the mid 1990s, and has delighted in sharing her ideas ever since. Many students were accomplished quiltmakers, some were also instructors. Observing their ongoing enthusiasm for this process confirms the staying power of Liberated Quiltmaking.

Gwen and I offered a gallery of inspiration, demonstrations and opportunity for students to explore and develop their ideas.

small study 10 1/2" x 11 1/2"
by pam beal

Here is a little fun...someone really got the point!

working with 3/4" strips
As many quilters know, we have a fine craft and we enjoy each other's company. Time together is a gift. Thanks again to everyone who joined Gwen and I at the Madeline Island School of the Arts.  ---pjb

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The Madeline Island School of the Arts was the site of the Gwen Marston extravaganza. Small Studies with Gwen Marston & Pam Beal was Gwen's last workshop as she sails into retirement.  An island in Lake Superior offered the perfect setting to allow this creative group the opportunity to, well create!  And celebrate Gwen, and enjoy friends and make new friends, and benefit from the sincere attention of the MISA staff members.  Thank you MISA and all of the fine students who joined us.

Now for a few of the quilts, and I should mention that many students were mostly new to Liberated Quiltmaking.  (apologies--my photos are only sew-sew)

Gwen & I posing with her book Minimal Quiltmaking
Her quilt and mine are on facing pages
Photo credit: Lisa Taglia

Marge Tucker & I
We go back to Beaver Island Quilt Retreat days
Must be an island theme with this crowd
Photo credit: Cindy Bowker

Saturday, September 17, 2016



Master free form hand quilting--then design a quilt to feature your signature stitching style. Adapt the fundamentals and create expressive stitches by hand. Our week will focus on hand quilting a whole cloth wall quilt as you explore and discover your style. Then choose to design your next quilt to show off your hand quilting, signature stitching. Alternating between hand work and machine piecing will keep you, dare I say, in stitches.  Class information and registration  

Consider free form, random stitches and a variety of thread to add texture to your quilt. I'm serious about you developing your style. You will be free to work at your own pace, in as refined or as organic as you choose. You will be supported in discovery and exploration, inviting your imagination to the process. In the samples below, I have used variegated thread, linen, pearl cotton, and yes a few seed beads. MACHINE QUILTERS are welcome! Augment your machine quilting with expressive hand stitching. Don't be shy. No one is too much of a novice.

Plein Air Hand Quilting !!



Expressive Abstract Quilts: A Quilter's Mark Making Study  Mark Making Quilts with Pam

a few words about Mark Making quilts..............Think of improv piecing and appliqué as invitation to add marks to your quilt creating visual interest and movement. Consider lines, squares, triangles and circles as the vocabulary of mark making. Marks can be well placed or random, dense or sparse.  Little pieces and parts coming out of nowhere, seemingly going nowhere. The very curiosity of it interests the maker and the viewer.

Consider string quilts, liberated log cabins and one patch variations as familiar starting places. Improvisation often begins with the familiar.

10" x 11 1/2"
Making a small quilt to work out ideas is a practice serving as an artist's sketch. It also serves as play in the sewing room. I'm from the Liberated School of Design. Experience studying and teaching with Gwen Marston who is widely known for Liberated Quiltmaking, has liberated my quilt making. Gwen's approach frees you from following a pattern and engages you in designing and making your own quilts. Quilts and art are about what you bring to the process. My workshops encourage you to explore and work at your own pace and that's liberating.  

Friday, September 2, 2016


Anyone who has slept under a quilt, admired a quilt, or made a quilt will want to know about Gwen's latest book, a common thread a collection of quilts by Gwen Marston. The quilts tell the story of Gwen's quilt making over the decades--over 5 decades of discovery on a Liberated path.  

Gwen organizes the collection to, dare I say, "cover" Traditional Patchwork, Appliqué, Liberated Patchwork, String Quilts and Abstract Quilts in Solids. Glorious photos of the full quilt are presented with detail photos on the facing page. I enjoyed lingering with the quilts noticing the stitches and marveling at Gwen's imagination. Gwen makes quilts using self expression and improvisation naming her approach Liberated Quiltmaking. You can feel liberated and enriched looking at these quilts.

Gwen Marston is an important quiltmaker, teacher, award winning author and artist of international standing, but Gwen doesn't often talk about her importance. In this book, her 30th., she welcomes you to delight in some of the quits she has made.  Think of a common thread as a visit to Gwen's house. After a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, Gwen asks if you would like to see some quilts!    pjb 

published by Martingale 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Breaking Trail 27" x 26"
by pam j beal
Visitors to Artistree Gallery told me they had visited the Milwaukee Art Museum, and my quilt reminded them of Miro's paintings.  That is company I would like to keep!  I better get to work.   Artistree Gallery is a member owned artist cooperative in Land O' Lakes, WI.  We rent our gallery space from the non-profit Land O' Lakes Artisans. The building is dedicated to the arts and is a lively place to visit.  Please stop in if you are in the area.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


SAVE THE DATE-- I will be returning to teach at Madeline Island School of the Arts  
October 2-6, 2017.


follow the link for more information Madeline Island School of the Arts

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Cloudburst 50" x 51" is a semi-finalist headed to QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, MI August 10-13, 2016. Machine pieced and hand quilted. Improvised small quilt studies were the inspiration to explore shapes and use of space. A fair amount of open space allowed me to really play with the quilting! I thought the color palette suggested the misty look following a sudden downpour, and the name Cloudburst was given to the quilt. I find the last stitch is often followed by the naming of the quilt. Mom and I are looking forward to another exciting time with our AQS friends in Grand Rapids MI!  Learn more about the show here  quilt week

CLOUDBURST 50" x 51" by pam j beal
Hopefully some of the quilting is seen in this detail photo. You might be able to see that the batik in the lower center of the photo is the model for a section of quilting in the upper right of the photo.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Dog Walks Girl, the quilt, is well traveled now.  After a little Florida spring break at the AQS QuiltWeek Daytona Beach show, it is at the Paducah show which opens this week-- April 20-23rd.  I just learned that Dog Walks Girl is a winner, but the fiends at AQS...whoops, FRIENDS are building happy suspense by not yet revealing where the quilt placed.  

The Awards Presentation is available online Tuesday April 19 at 5 pm CST.  Join me and watch it here   

On Wednesday April 20, the full list of award winners and photos of quilts will be published here  Dog Walks Girl was awarded the Honorable Mention in the category.  Thank you for the honor!  I should mention that AQS publishes a show catalog of the Paducah QuiltWeek, available at the American Quilter link below.

Up next, Dog Walks Girl will appear with AQS at QuiltWeek Syracuse, NY July 27-30th. 

The quilt arrived home in good shape, and I am enjoying the Catalogue of Show Quilts.  

Not yet through with adventures, Dog Walks Girl was selected to be published in the QUILT ART engagement calendar 2017 by Klaudeen Hansen.  I have been using this calendar for years! On a September 2017 page, I will be greeted by my own quilt.  You can order your copy here

Now the dog is ready to walk the girl.  pjb  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Thank you American Quilter!  My article, Improvisation on a Small Strip is in print.  See the May 2016 issue.    AQ American Quilter