Saturday, February 2, 2019

How I Display my Favorites!

South, Treasure
Time, Communications

Top: Harmony, Cell
Row 2: Surprise, Wilk
Row 3: Blues, Translate
Row 4:  Boundaries, Pun

Since the beginning of the Material Mavens online art quilting group and blog in 2011, I have displayed an ever-changing grouping of my own little quilts. Of course, these are my favorites!  I have a few favorites displayed in our summer apartment in Michigan.  Those tended to be the ones I thought my grandsons would enjoy seeing the most!

Anticipating a dinner party tonight in which guests might or might not (!) ask me about my quilting projects, I have tweaked the two display boards in and adjacent to my quilting studio.

The top photo shows the quilts that are right outside my studio.  There are quilts from Round One and Round Three of our group.  Top row are quilts inspired by the themes South (Round One) and Treasure (Round Three).  In the middle row are Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious [I spelled that correctly, right off the top of my head!] from Round Two and Comfort, from Round One,  On the bottom are Time (Round Two) and Communications (Round One).

The second display board contains quilts from all Rounds of our group.  At the top are two from Round One:  Harmony and Cell.  In the second row is Surprise from Round One and Wild from Round Three.  In the third row are Blues (Round Two) and Translate (Round One).  And then the bottom row contains Boundaries (Round Two) and Pun (Round Two).

One conclusion I can draw from these displays is that I favored the quilts from Round One (7 in all) and Round Two (5 in all) .  Why?  Did I think harder about the theme?  Work harder on the quilts?  Did I like the theme words better?  Perhaps all of the above!  Just to be fair--Round Three hasn't been going on all that long, so perhaps some future quilts will take the place of some of these.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Treasure Composite

‘Tis the season we all have so much for which we are thankful – treasures. Be they “stuff” or best of all, memories of family and friends, places, things we’ve done, folks we’ve lost, and yes, things. This month your 7 quilts and your narratives captured a life-time of living.
Row 1. What better way to begin a composite with the subject of Treasures  -- family you don’t even have to know any of those people, artist or individuals shown because the quilt just says, this is a treasure.
Row 2. Karen, I agree, may the sun always shine on Serifina’s smile. May we all learn to smile more. Smiles are contagious. Alice, thank you for capturing the reason for all our treasures, so your quilt just had to go next. Rita and I saw Christmas 2018 through the eyes of a bright 5-year-old grandson and those memories will be unforgettable.
Row 3. I’ve been researching the old documents at our church, dated back to 1888, and I know the thrill of seeing that original handwriting. Andrea and Judy’s quilts speak volumes to treasures from the past in the stroke of a pen. Best of all, the documents give us a tactile memory also and often even tweak your sense of smell. Hmm, how about an occasional grease stain on an old recipe?
Row 4. Rita and I are transplanted Texans – got here quick as we could – and we have no plans to leave. Kathy’s quilt is a memory to that pride.  Andrea, what a wonderful, creative way to “treasure” your charms. Too often, charm bracelets go out of fashion or end up in a jewelry box and the memories are hidden away. You have discovered a way to combine your quilting talents with your treasure box and reminisce while so doing. 
Job well done – all.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Alice #2 Treasure Quilt: Epiphany or the Coming of the Wise Men

I wasn't happy with my first quilt, and since I'd not yet notified Randy that the Reveal day had come and passed (and he'd not yet constructed our composite),  I decided to make a substitute quilt.  I'll take down my first quilt, since I really did not like it at all!  (This is the one I wanted all along to make but thought I didn't have time!)

This quilt was inspired, like the first, on the Three Wise Men who visited the Christ child, bringing gifts that were truly TREASURES, gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Wise Men had been told that the Christ child had been born and that they should follow a star to go to him.  Although many depictions of the newborn baby Jesus in the manger show not only his parents, Mary and Joseph, shepherds (who'd been told of his birth by angels), and also the Wise Men, the inclusion of the Wise Men at the stable is not really biblical!  A careful reading of the biblical account of the early life of Jesus reveals that the Wise Men came sometime later, and thus didn't see the child when he was a newborn.

In many Christian traditions, this current season of the church year, the season following Advent,  is called Epiphany. One definition of the word epiphany that I found recently is one I really like: "a moment of sudden insight that is usually a great revelation."  Thus we can see why this time of year in many Christian traditions is called the Epiphany season.  For the Wise Men, seeing the child Jesus was a revelation, a true epiphany.

My quilt depicts the three Wise Men (or three kings or three Magi as they are often called) with their costly gifts. As I explained in my narrative about the first quilt I made, frankincense and myrrh were used as incense in biblical times, with myrrh often used in burial rites.  In another interpretation of the gifts, gold symbolized the kingship of Jesus; frankincense, his priestly role; and myrrh, his death.  These gifts were literal treasures!

I  drew and then cut out a paper pattern for the wise men and cut the body of their robes and sleeves from different fabrics, after applying fusible to the fabrics.  In a similar manner I cut out their faces, crowns, and the gifts they are carrying. These were fused to the starry background fabric. I also fused on a brighter star, to stand for the star that guided the Wise Men.  I echo-quilted minimally around the appliqués on the background fabric.

The 12"x12" quilt is layered with backing and batting and bound conventionally.  I am much happier now, with this quilt, the one I really wanted to make!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Andrea's Treasure Quilt

Treasured Memories/Little Treasures
11" x 14" screen-printed cotton, sterling charms

Although intrigued with the theme, no idea or concept came to mind, until I remembered a couple of sterling silver charm bracelets that I found few months ago when looking for something else.  At the time I thought I would never wear either of them again, and that they should be "re-homed", but of course I didn't do that!  When I realized they were actually "little treasures" from my first trip to Europe, I knew they could be re-purposed as embellishments for this quilt.  From that starting point I decided to go through my Thermofax screens to find images that would work together for a collaged background.  The charms were tarnished and at first I thought I would polish them, but then decided the darkened silver gave them a vintage look and more character.  However, I then needed to tarnish jump rings to match and found a "how-to" video online, which worked reasonably well.

Kathy's Treasure

Kathy's Treasure

TREASURE - What a wonderful choice for our first Theme in this brand new year !
I had many thoughts about how I wanted to ‘articulate’ this theme, and narrowed those thoughts and ideas down to a few that are so important to me.    God,  Family,  Country,  State…..

To me, our Dear God is represented in everything that surrounds us and is with us.   He has provided us with this beautiful planet we call Mother Earth.    In all her glory, Mother Earth provides us with an exquisite environment in which to live.  I chose to represent this environment with beautiful flowers.

Our Families are our first teachers, and from them we learn respect, appreciation, and a reliance on our God to guide us through life.  My truly blessed Grandmother taught me about Gardens, and as I toil away in the dirt, I often imagine she’s smiling at me, and is proud that I carry on her traditions.  I learned well from her !
“GOD BLESS AMERICA !”   Our beautiful Flag that “so proudly we hail,” makes me think about all that’s happened, historically, to make it possible for us to enjoy the Freedom(s) and opportunities we have in this amazing country we’re blessed to call home !
And “Texas Oh Texas,”  what a grand State to live in !    I was born in Texas, and even though I lived in California during my growing-up years, and then in Alaska for 35 years, I am a Native-Born Texas Woman, and am darn proud of that !   In this quilt, I think the Fancy Boot just about says it all  !

For this Quilt, I machine appliqued all the elements to the background fabric using Madeira Monofilament thread.   I free-motion quilted the background fabric to give this quilt greater depth.   AND – The Fabric on the back of this quilt….  Well -  it pretty much speaks for itself !

Nedra's Treasure - Rylma

To hold or keep precious - what an apt description of my inspiration for this theme.  When I was 3 1/2 years old, my sister died of leukemia at 13.  This was a tragic event in our family that I sensed despite not fully comprehending all of the implications.  Her death was rarely discussed by anyone in the family.  If it was brought up, my mother would start to cry and the subject was quickly changed.  I quickly learned I shouldn't ask questions.  As a result, I knew very little about her or her life. Some of her belongings were kept in a small jewelry box and only one picture of her was ever displayed.  Oddly, this seemed "normal" to me and I remember feeling that I wasn't really affected because I barely knew or remembered her.  

About 15 years ago, certain events in my life made me realize how wrong I was.  I was starved for information about her, her personality, and the relationship she had with me.   Despite my mother's aging and lingering fragile emotional state about her, I gently started asking questions although her memory was starting to fade.  Things I thought I remembered about her and the situation she said had not happened.  I queried my sister's to try to fill in the blanks, with some success.   Though eventually I came to accept that I would never really learn all I wanted to know.   After my mother's death, I searched through family pictures and saved every one of her I could find.  To my delight, I found this picture of the two of us.  I believe it was taken in the last months of her life.   There I was with my doll sitting in the bed with her!!!  She has a big smile on her face and I want to believe I was the reason for it.  Forever will I treasure this tiny glimpse into our lives.

This picture, her baptismal certificate and several report cards are printed and fused to the seashell fabric.  Several of my seashell treasures are attached.    Gold Angelina fibers add to the look of precious metals.  It is minimally quilted.

Judy's: Family Treasures

Thinking about treasures, family always comes into the picture. Now I’ve never made
Schweinepfeffer (Soup from small bones of pork) but the other recipes I have made and shared good times with family as we made them. 

The other part of the recipes that make them treasures, is the handwriting. You hear so many people say, “My handwriting is so awful.” I use to say that too, but now I realize how special it is to see a handwritten letter, note, recipe, or even a list. To get these onto the fabrics I chose to trace them. As I did this I felt even more connected to the family members whose handwriting I was copying. Each loop, curve, crossed T and dotted I drew me into thoughts about them. To see and trace my Grandfathers handwriting “Schweinepfeffer”, my Grandmothers handwriting of the rest of the recipe writing that the recipe came from Mrs. C. Aulbur who was my Grandfathers mother. The C. stands for her husbands name Casper and her name was Elizabeth. The recipe came out of a plain little notebook that I was lucky enough to become the one who get to keep this treasure.

 The Sugar cookie recipe is in my mothers handwriting and one year our son Matthew told her that those were his favorite cookies. I added the cursive “Love, Mom & Grandma Grossmann” from this years Christmas letter so that it has both kinds on the recipe.

The Navajo Frybread is in my sister, Susan’s, handwriting. She found the recipe in the 17 Magazine in the early 1970’s and when she made it it was an event. We had never seen bread made that way and discovered it was delicious! She was always interested in things that were antique, old craft skills, and this recipe fit the bill on something old that was new to us.

 The last recipe comes from my mother-in-law. It is in my handwriting and such a simple recipe that it didn’t take up much space on the card. Every time we would visit she made these delightful corn cakes for breakfast. She always said that she didn’t make them as good as her mom did and when I made them, they definitely weren’t as good as hers! She grew up in Pennsylvania as a coal miners daughter and it is wonderful to have a recipe that she and her mother made in my recipe file.

On the back of my quilt I used a fun chair fabric because sitting around the table eating delicious food and visiting with family and friends is a treasure.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Karen's Treasure Quilt This is Serafina!

This is Serafina! She is her family's treasure. She is always stylish, including her hot pick wheel chair! 
May the sun always shine on her!!

I printed her picture on 'PFD' white fabric then cut along her photo. I used a  layer of Thermore batting behind Serafina. You can peel the two layers of scrim apart and each side had wisps of poly fiber that is just enough to trapunto. Background trees, road, grass and sun appliqued. I used the back side of the sky fabric to tone it down and the back side of the road fabric to show more texture.

(I am posting for Karen because her computer doesn't like the blog. Tricia)

Tricia's Treasure Quilt- Family Time together

With the theme Treasure- I kept thinking about the few times our entire family gets to be together in a year. With 4 children, one daughter in law, two son in laws, three grand children and two step grand children. One family is in Colorado, another in New Jersey and two daughters are in the Boston area.
Talking with my daughter Eliza about the treasure theme she agreed that at Thanksgiving we were all able to be here. We took this photograph for our Christmas cards.  It was even hard to get the photo because the youngest was napping and another was sick but we were able to do it!

Eliza suggested the phrase that I free motioned quilted into the border.

Treasure is when you map out and search for a time to get everyone together in one place. These are the moments that you Treasure. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The JOY Composite!

With just 7 quilts, you might think the composite would just fall together. I did, but then it didn’t. I had the 7 images on the page in what I thought was a neat “joyful” expression.
(Alice, I think that sentence works.)

 Nedra and Alice were in the bottom row around Andrea, the 3 Joys were in the middle row, and Kathy and Andrea were on the top row. But somehow, that just didn’t work.  I leaned back in my chair and had two thoughts. Judy’s reversed “Joy” needed a space. Nedra and Alice needed to be shown together, as did the two dogs. My next step was to start moving images, and now I hope you see a better result:

Row one:  The quilts with people are now together 
and those personalities will melt your heart.

Row two:  Gives me a grin, joy first and last, then they fold back into the heart, as they should. What better way to say, as we approach the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons, Joy to ALL!
Row three:   It always amazes me the joy pets bring to people. Just look at the expression Tricia and Carolyn have captured on the faces of the dogs, signifying the joy people bring to pets. Andrea, I agree, no matter which way you turn, there is joy. And, simplicity often tells the story the best.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Great job all.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Judy Steward and her One Woman Show!

Judy has had a one-woman show of her quilts for the last few weeks and has several more weeks to go.  A friend of mine and I went to see them today.  We were delighted that Judy was there to walk with us through the gallery.  I had seen the majority of them, either at her home or studio, and of course, I'd seen all the MM quilts.  But I was amazed at how many were NOT familiar to me!  Judy is one prolific fiber artist!

In the photo at the top, Judy is standing in front of the quilt she calls the Flag Quilt.  It is made up of hundreds and hundreds of tiny 2 1/2" squares that she acquired years ago in an exchange with other local quilters.  This quilt was a long time in process, but the final result is stunning!

In the second photo, Judy stands in front of all of her MM quilts, plus a few additional ones.  This is a double row of the little quilts, hung in the middle of this big room, and this is such an effective way to display these quilts!  I asked her to stand so that you could see the quilt that's just above her right shoulder.  This isn't an MM quilt, but it's one that ought to be, if it had fit any of our themes!  Actually there are two other little quilts in this display that aren't MM quilts, but I couldn't get all three of them into this picture.  The boot quilt at the far right is one of them, but the other didn't make the photo shoot!

I know that all you Mavens are as proud of Judy as I am.  This is quite an honor, for this gallery to feature her work.  Congratulations, dear friend and fellow Material Maven!

I just realized that I have now known Judy for over 20 years!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Judy's "Joy Dances"

There are so many things that I am joyful about and it was a struggle to choose. The joy of raising our 3 sons and now adding the daughter-in-laws and the grandson to this joyful mix makes me smile. 

Then there are the memories of growing up on a farm. Right now the fall weather brings back the times we had bonfires, weiner roasts, smores, and the wonderful wet days with the fall leaves glistening in red, yellow, and orange.

Going to an art museum, zoo, aquarium, concerts, plays, riding the train, traveling by airplane or car to places I get to see and experience were also up for the Joy challenge. Rainbows, flowers, good meals with friends and family. Being outside, hiking in the mountains, walking along a creek, snow shoeing as the snow gently falls from the sky. 

The quilt world full of fabulous fabrics and friends. Quilt shows, the artists, vendors, and the festival feel in the air. The email with a “Congratulations you got in AQS and Houston shows” makes me squeal and do a jig. I could go on and on, so I stopped and decided the word “Joy” needed to just be colorful and fun.

I was going to just put the word on a piece of fabric and add celebration streamers, but I love cutting holes in quilts and “Joy” could dangle from the middle! I actually chose the back fabric first for my front, but when I found the fabric with the flowers I knew that had to be the front. I actually stitched and turned “Joy” right side out which was a serious challenge. It does have batting in it, so that made it even more difficult to turn through that tiny hole. Ugh! (I have ideas on other ways to achieve the same look which might be easier.)

When I sent the video of the finished quilt to my daughter-in-law, Ashley, she came up with the perfect title for this. Enjoy!

Kathy's "JOY" Quilt !

Today is October 15, and obviously our "Reveal Day !"

Tomorrow, October 16, our family will celebrate with much JOY what would have been my son, Ian's 39th Birthday.  Tragically, we lost our Precious Boy 15 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don't think about him and cherish his presence in my life.

Rather than focus on his absence, I choose to celebrate his life with much JOY Ian was a vibrant young man, had just graduated from college, and was about to embark on the rest of his life.

My "JOY" quilt seemed to take on a life of its own as I was working on it !  The background fabric is kind of "glitzy" and reminded me of Confetti  - the kind we might throw into the air to celebrate New Year's ….. or a Special Birthday !     I stitched through the fabric, batting and background fabric with Madeira "Monofilament" thread … one of my most often used and favorite threads for machine quilting.  [I always use Madeira Monofilament in my bobbins !]

To 'construct' the Heart, I chose a patterned red batik that looked - to me - like it had life flowing through it.  The red batik is backed with a vibrant purple to give the "Heart" more depth.  I appliqued the heart onto the glitzy background fabric, and machine quilted it using a "cross-hatch" pattern.  And then the real fun began !   I "snipped" all the raw edges of the heart; soaked the quilt in water, squeezed out as much water as I could, then tossed the entire piece into the dryer with some towels.

It took several drying cycles, but the quilt finally dried, and the edges of the Heart gave me that "raggedy edge" I was looking for !  I attached the binding, the hanging "tabs," and the label.

We'll be able to enjoy this special quilt many times during the year:  Ian's Birthday; Valentine's Day (which our family celebrates as "Harte" Day !); and Christmas.     Thanks for letting me share my personal and very special story quilt with all of you.....      Peace and blessings,     Kathy

Andrea'a JOY Quilt

11" x 14"
stencil, screen printed, hand-dyed cotton, machine quilted

This quilt was inspired by a photo taken on a recent trip to France.  We spent two nights in the very magical town of Colmar, with its cobblestone streets, half-timbered buildings and flowers still in bloom.  No matter which way I turned, I couldn't help but smile.  

Even before starting this quilt ( I had a completely different idea in mind ) I made a line drawing from the photo of what I thought would give a "feel" for the architecture, then made a Thermofax screen of the drawing.  When preparing to do a "test" print of the screen on white fabric, there were small scraps of hand-dyed fabric on my print table and thought, hmmmmm...what would this look like if I place a few of these scraps randomly down and printed on top of them?  Nothing to lose, so I did and really loved it, so decided that this would be the beginning of my Joy quilt instead of my other idea.  Then the overthinking began: "I can't do this, it is just too simple".  OK, what if I add something to the background?  So decided to cut a freezer paper stencil of large run-on words of places and things that give me joy, to print on background which would add another layer.

This is version #3.  #1 was my experiment, #2 was on a light grey linen but the color I stenciled 
the background with was too dark and overpowered the other imagery.  The use of the grey also gave a different "feeling" that I did not like, even though I did like the texture of the linen.  I went back to look at version #1 that gave me so much creative "joy" and realized it was the black imagery on the white background with those few "blips" of color that I had lost by "overthinking"
Simplicity won!

inspiration photo

freezer paper stencil

Alice's Joy quilt: Grandchildren & Their Mothers

When I learned of the theme for this time, the first thought that came to me was how much joy our four grandchildren have brought to my husband Bob and me.  And so my quilt focuses on these four and their mothers.

I scanned four favorite photos of the children and their mothers and then printed these on EQ Printables.  On the top row, outlined in pink and then blue, are our daughters Kathy and Susan and their first-born babies, Lia and Malcolm (both born in 2001).

On the second row Kathy is holding her son Locke (10 months old) and the joy on her face and his makes me smile every time I see this photo!  (I've included a close-up of this photo.)  Next to it, outlined in black, is a black and white image of daughter Susan with her second son, Dawson; I believe he’s about two years old here.

I chose an exuberant commercial print for the background.  I’ve never been able to determine if it depicts flowers or fire-works, but whatever, it is a joyous product.  I fused the printed photos with Wonder-Under onto the background.  Then I outlined each one with several rounds of zig-zag stitching.  This stitching is the only “quilting” on the quilt.  I used the same bright print for the binding and the backing. 

Nedra's Joy- Noelle and Graham

Inspiration for this theme was not hard to find.   The birth of my grandtwins, Noelle and Graham,  3 1/2 years ago has provided so much joy in my life that there was no other choice for me!  The joy on their faces in this pic is so pure that it had to be captured in fabric!  

I used photoshop to posterize my picture.  My initial plan was to recreate the faces in fabric but  had limited fabric choices with me in Maine.  So, I enlarged the posterized image and printed it on fabric.  The image was cut out and fused onto the background.  Threadpainting was used for their hair, faces, hands and feet.  Some further stitching was done to give depth and texture. This is actually the second piece I made and I am happier with how the faces look on this reduced size.  The background  is quilted in straight lines.  JOY is fused and binding was added.  It is mounted on a fabric wrapped canvas for easy hanging.

This piece was done using a larger image which was printed on fabric.  It was fused onto a background and was threadpainted also to emphasize shading and features.  Echo quilting was done.  The frame is a wiggly striped fabric that I cut and fused to a stiff interfacing and then modge podged for durability.  Noelle's facial features didn't please me so I tried the smaller size which is the above version.  Hope this is all clear!  

I think I'll give one to their parents!!

Here is the original photo.

Tricia's Joy Quilt - Marley's Joy

This is my daughter and her husband's dog Marley. Marley just loves the snow.  This photograph was taken by another daughter of Marley out for a walk in the snow. Her expressions is of pure joy! Thinking about this theme I thought of this photograph and felt it was the perfect picture to create. 

I decided to give thread painting a try. I took a class from Jennifer Day several years ago. I dug out her book to reread.  I had the photo printed on fabric and went to work.

Here is detail of the thread painting.

I am amazed how much thread goes into the thread painting. This was a fun project. 
Here is a picture of the back which show how much thread there is.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Carolyn: Coco Is Our Joy

Coco - 11 Weeks Old
I knew immediately when this theme was announced that my quilt had to feature our dog, Coco.  She is a 2 year-old Havanese that we have had since she was 11 weeks old.  When a newborn, her coloring was chocolate and white - chocolate on her ears and around her eyes and middle.  As she grew she became a Golden Havanese just like her mother – mostly white with golden-tan markings. 

Havanese are an interesting hypo-allergenic breed that originated in Cuba. Intelligent, agile and quick to learn, they have strong hind legs and curly, soft hair rather than fur.  These attributes make them perfect circus dogs.  Coco loves to jump, play and learn new “tricks.” With her sweet personality and fun-to-watch antics, she has stolen our hearts and provides us with daily joy.

I used a Kaffe Fassett print and batiks for my quilt.  I took a photo of Coco playing with a ball, electronically eliminated the background around her, and transferred the image onto a VV Graphics cotton fabric sheet.  The photo was fused using Wonder Under 805 to the background.  I used the same fusing technique for the beach ball and the “movement” streaks in the design.  I hand-embroidered a zig-zag design onto the turquoise lines on the ball, and machine-stitched a scarf around her neck.

The image of Coco is machine-stitched using tan, peach and silver threads along with threads in corresponding colors for the rest of the design elements.  Once the stitching was completed, I used Prismacolor pencils to highlight Coco’s curly hair and to add dimension to her nose, mouth and eyes.  After heat-setting the colors, the quilt was bound in a golden/orange batik.  

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Wild Composite!

As usual, your art work is stunning. With just 7 quilters the layout was fairly straight forward this time.

Color and flowers dominate [really dominate] the top row.  The shapes set the stage for the second row - vertical in the middle, flanked by the remaining two horizontals, and the colors blend well. The "Pac-Man" character in Dee's quilt had to be on the left to "eat" his way [and take your eye] into the middle of the composite.

Alice, Thank You for placing the back of your quilt on black. See how it stands out in contrast and fills in the space surrounding the white space and compliments the bottom row and the vivid colors in your quilt. It pulls it all nicely together - top to bottom.

Teresa, the color in the titles is taken [cloned] from the color in your flower petals. Dee, the color in the Mavens title is cloned from the triangle in "Pac Man."

Another outstanding and creative beginning.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gail’s Wild Sunflowers

I’m a big fan of Andrea Brokenshire.  I was fortunate to take a week long class with
 her last year in Schulenberg Texas.   This is the 2nd quilt I have completed using
her method of painting on silk charmeuse with a freezer paper pattern.  The original
photo was taken by our own Teresa Schlabach.   Pro Chem transparent textile paints
on silk charmeuse.  I hope to do more of these.