Friday, July 21, 2017


maker unknown, c. 1920-1940
Gwen Marston taught me to see the possibilities in old quilts, pointing out the rich tradition on which to improvise. The quilts of interest to Gwen were quilts with visual impact and surprise---something random, something clever, something irregular and a means to an end. Random and irregular design was the result of available material and scraps, and clever construction designed to finish the job. 

Look carefully at the seam lines. Look at the fabric and shapes and wonder about how it came to be in a quilt. The quilt will tell you a lot about the quilt maker's decisions. Choices about color and design, placement of pieces really, showed individual preferences of the maker and overall utility. No prescribed formula or pattern guided this process.

Here is what Gwen had to say about this quilt: "The Crazy Cotton Quilt an example of the free-spirited quilts that I found intriguing. Because there is more to see and more to figure out, quilts like this hold my attention longer than their predictable, well-organized, color-coordinated, pattern-based, uptown sisters." Gwen Marston in Liberated Quiltmaking II, AQS 2010, p. 6. 

Crazy Cotton Quilt Top, published in Liberated Quiltmaking II and formerly Gwen's, now lives with me. This old quilt is now my new teaching companion from one of my favorite companions. 

Take a look at White Chocolate Mocha Joe studying this old quilt. He is the in house quilt expert, supervisor of time management-studio boss, and top dog.

Monday, July 3, 2017


FANFARE  small study
10" x 11"

This small study, FANFARE, was inspired by Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.     My days in the French Horn section were superb in the brass choir ensemble where brass fanfares were standard fare! Fanfare for the Common Man is spectacular to play and I became moved to try to interpret it in cloth. Hence this abstract miniature quilt with the bold colored area representing the rhythm and overall sound of the music, as I experience it. 

The radio program, On the Media, had a wonderful biography of Aaron Copland, "The Sound of America". I learned that Copland's working title, or a title he considered for the fanfare, was Fanfare for Democracy. To celebrate Independence Day, I'll celebrate democratic values: self governance, equality, liberty and justice for all, and a great American composer who wrote a fanfare---Fanfare for the Common Man. listen here    

*and about those horns, "If there exists a more noble sound than eight horns singing a melody fortissimo in unison, I have never heard it." __Aaron Copland