Monday, April 24, 2017

Our Mt. Magazine, AR, Retreat!

Eight of us Material Mavens had a wonderful time last week from last Monday through Saturday at Mt. Magazine state park in Arkansas.  The four Arkansas members were great hosts, and the four of us from Texas were amazed at the beauty of this location.  The Texas Mavens stayed in the lovely lodge in excellent hotel rooms, and the four from Arkansas had rented a two-bedroom cabin.

We shared art quilting ideas and techniques, and many of the most industrious members worked on individual projects during our "free times."  And we spent many hours visiting and having fun!

I'll try to recount briefly some of the sessions we had:

1.  Gail Bradney talked to us about the importance of value in quilting.  She showed many examples of her own work, and members shared their own experiences in the use of value.  I personally showed photos of one of my own quilts that "breaks rules" in that it was purposely designed as a quilt with little or no contrast in value.

2.  Jane Hartfield led us in a great session of ice-dyeing.  Before we started work, Jane showed us beautiful examples of her own work.  Some of us had never worked with dyeing whole cloth quilts.  All of us were excited and amazed by the results.

3.  I led the group in sun printing, which following Jane's sophisticated technique I described as "going back to kindergarten"!  Despite the simplicity of the method, the eight of us enjoyed the magic of painting damp fabric with Setacolor paints, placing leaves or other "masks" on the fabric, and then setting it outside in the sun to dry.  Eventually with rain threatening, we brought the fabrics inside, but once all had dried, the results were fun to see.

4.  Teresa had a most informative session on using Spoonflower ( to print your own fabric from digital images.  The examples she showed of her own products were beautiful and inspiring!  Teresa and Jane both were most generous in demonstrating how they quilt either the dyed whole cloth quilts or the thread painted fabric from Spoonflower.

5.  Rita demonstrated with enlarged photos how to create the amazing 3-D quilts such as the one she produced for our Pun challenge.  She took us step by step through the process, using paper rather than cloth.  To see this results of this technique, you can go back on our own blog to
Rita made what appears to be nearly impossible look doable and fun.

6.  Candy showed us how to make stamps to use on quilts using the sticky-back foam sheets you can purchase at any hobby store, attaching designs to leftover meat trays from the grocery store.

In addition to these demonstrations and lessons and, in some cases, hands-on experiments, we went on a field trip to Mama's Log Cabin quilt store, a store out in the country outside of Ft. Smith.  Owner Kay Voss prepared a delicious lunch for us, and many of us were delighted to find "just what we needed" or at least wanted at Kay's store that is crammed with beautiful fabrics and a huge variety of books and patterns and other quilting necessities.

Every evening we enjoyed fellowship at the cabin that the Arkansas Mavens had rented, having Happy Hour with wine and snacks.

All in all, a great retreat.  I'll try to follow up with more photos later!

Candy, Judy, Carolyn, Rita, Alice, Jane, and Gail on the porch at the cabin.   Teresa took this photo! There's another that Gail took with Teresa in her place.  I'll try to locate and add that one!

Our ice-dyed fabrics!  Bottom row:  Jane, Rita, Alice, and Carolyn.
Top row:  Judy, Teresa, and Gail.  (Sadly, Candy had already left and didn't get in this group shot!)

Our sun-printed fat quarters!   Top Row, Judy, Teresa, and Gail.
Botom row:  Rita, Jane, Alice, and Carolyn.