Rain and Quilting

These two are a natural — rain and quilting. Here in Northern California we’re well into our worst drought on record so we’re especially happy to see the rain. Everything in the garden looks hopeful with a clean face. Click on an image for a larger view.

Sorrel, blood veined Blueberries in bloom Climbing camelia Cotoneaster Mandarin oranges PansiesAnd while the garden was getting a bath, I started quilting on Black Oak, a top I completed in August.

Black Oak being quiltedThis is part of my series on Native California plants. See the entire piece here.

More rain is predicted over the next few days so I am determined to make serious progress on this piece. Stay tuned.

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Hand of the Artist

I was at Art Quilt Tahoe last week taking a class with Lorie McCown. Lorie is a fiber artist and a painter so she brings a lot to the table. She is keen on creating work that reveals the hand of the artist. Her work is created by layering fabric which is held together with some machine stitches, but primarily hand stitches. She and I share an interest in how we create the quilt line in our work — I felt there was something to learn from Lorie.

Right away I was out of my comfort zone. Lorie uses a scissors for some cutting work but never a rotary cutter and mat and usually she snips and tears fabric. So, okay, I’m there to learn, so I dove in, snipping and tearing fabric and placing it on a background. Then I caved a bit, placed tulle on top of the 2 layers of fabric, batting and backing, and quilted the entire surface. This provided a nice flat surface to begin layering a design.

Here is where I dove into my box of threads: embroidery floss, yarn, hand-dyed collections from Oliver Twists and more. I was ready for the comfort of hand work. I started by couching down some hand-dyed ribbon, then moved on to other designs, working back and forth between hand stitching and hand-cutting leaves that I stitched onto the surface by hand. Lorie shared her method for leaf construction — it creates a leaf with real dimension.

Leaf detailI got to a certain point and knew that I had gone as far as I could: the next step needed beads and I didn’t have any with me. I was so in the moment that I completely forgot to take progressive photographs of the process. Here is the completed piece (Click on the image for a larger view):

Hand of the ArtistHand of the Artist measures 14 3/4″ x 15 3/4″. The list of materials is very long for this small piece: commercial and hand-dyed cotton, hand-dyed and silk-screened silk, hand-painted cheese cloth, tulle; commercial cotton embroidery thread, hand-dyed cotton embroidery thread, yarn; beads.

The bead leaves are heavy and thick and getting them to remain where I stitched them turned into quite a puzzle. I stitched several on using what I always use for beads: size D nymo thread. I didn’t like the thread showing and it allowed the beads to twirl. Off they came. I had to use a method that would keep them secure, no matter the orientation I placed them in. Aha! I said. Embroidery stitches. This allowed me to use some of Els van Baarle‘s hand-dyed embroidery thread (She was teaching at AQT and I bought several hanks of her thread.).

Els van Baarle embroidery-threadI used 2 strands of thread and a small embroidery needle. I came up through the hole in the bead, took a stitch to the right of the base, catching the top 2 layers of material and batting, coming up an equal distance to the other side of the base, then down through the hole to the back. Needle back up through the hole again, I created a double Colonial Knot (I stacked 2 Colonial Knot stitches on top of one another to create the depth I needed using a light-weight embroidery thread.) and tied it off on the back. I prefer the Colonial Knot to the French Knot because the Colonial Knot will stay upright and stationary wherever it is stitched — no falling over on its side like the French Knot. I first tried a single Colonial Knot but when I pulled the thread snug to the back of the quilt the knot slid through the hole — a double knot was necessary.

Hand of the Artist, detailThe leaf beads look as though they are wearing a necklace. Kind of charming. Most important, though, is that the stitches are intentional, serve their purpose and look good. Success!

This post is linked to Off the Wall Friday. Check out what other fiber artists are up to there.




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Arts Guild of Sonoma 2014 Invitational

I’m the lucky recipient of an opportunity to hang a piece of my art work at the 2014 Arts Guild of Sonoma December Invitational! This will be the second year I’ve received such an invitation thanks to Carol Larson, my friend and member of the Guild. You can see a portion of last years’ exhibit here.

Sunflower Scrap I will be part of a Salon-style installation in the front gallery.

Franki Kohler, Sunflower Scrap I, 12" x 12", 2012, For SaleArts Guild of Sonoma

140 E. Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

Open Wed-Mon, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Artist Reception: Friday, December 5th, 6 – 8 p.m.

I hope to see you there!




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1000 Quilt Inspirations Update

In early March I learned that my work will be a part of 1000 Quilt Inspirations, edited by Sandra Sider and published by Quatro Publishing Group USA.

1000 Quilt Inspirations, Book Cover The book is scheduled for release February 2015. Part of the publisher’s teaser reads:

As one of the core, traditional crafts, quilting is enjoyed by countless enthusiasts around the world – and its popularity is only growing. This collection of one thousand quilt details builds upon this interest, showcasing some of today’s most innovative and beautiful work.

I have no idea which work or works I submitted will appear in the book so I’ll be interested to receive a copy next year.

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SAQA Auction 2014

Each year Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) holds an on-line auction as a fund-raiser. Members of SAQA donate a 12″ x 12″ art quilt for the auction and purchases help to increase the recognition of art quilts and the artists who make them while supporting SAQA’s exhibitions, publications, and education outreach. Thanks to donors and bidders in 2013, the Benefit Auction raised over $65,000!

This year I was the very lucky bidder on two quilts. I’m so excited to share them here.

Here is Sing Praise by Suzanne Kistler. Click on image for a larger view.

Sing Praise by Suzanne Kistler, 12" x 12"Be sure to click on the image for that larger view where you’ll be able to see the details! Frankly, the image on the auction page didn’t reveal the wonderful scattering of beads on this art quilt. What a nice surprise it was to see this piece up close!

Sing Praise, detail 2This art quilt has a machine-pieced background, hand appliqued/hand embroidered bird. The beak, feet, outline and contour of the wing are all hand embroidered. A very nice touch. It is machine quilted and hand beaded.

Sing Praise,detail 1The back was clearly thought out and coordinates nicely with the design on the front. Notice how the quilting of the bird pops out.

Sing Praise, backAnd the label makes it easy to get in touch with the artist — very appreciated.

Sing Praise, LabelAnd here is Simply, Simply by Heidi Zielinski.

Simplify, Simplify by Heidi ZielinskiHeidi used hand-dyed cotton fabrics, free-motion stitching and beading around the edges to create this mini masterpiece. The back coordinates nicely with the design of the art quilt.

Simplify, Simplify, backAnd, again, a clear label makes it easy to contact the artist.

Simplify,Simplify, labelI couldn’t be more pleased with these two art quilts. They are truly stunning and I feel so fortunate to have been able to purchase them.


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Ginkgos in the Round Fini

I have made it a practice not to begin something new until I have completed the current project and most of the time I stick to that habit. I’m very glad that I broke from my routine and created Ginkgos in the Round.  It was a very satisfying project which I think could yield a fun series.

Ginkgos in the Round, 12" x 12", 2014, For SaleIt measures 12″ x 12″. I used a fat quarter of hand-dyed fabric and more than a full spool (164 yards to the spool) of 50-weight silk-finish cotton thread. And yes, I opened the spool for this project and had to go to the store to buy another spool to complete the thread painting.

A  detail

Ginkgos in the Round, detailYou can read about my shaky beginning here.

This posting is linked to Off the Wall Fridays.

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Ginkgos in the Round

I’m in the midst of a couple large projects and seem to be moving slowly on them. In the course of working, though, ideas keep crowding my mind. I truly believe that the more one creates, the more ideas come to mind — sometimes, though, it’s a bit overwhelming. One of the ideas I was contemplating called very loudly to me so I decided to listen to myself and take a little detour.

I haven’t designed with ginkgo leaves in a while, but the images seem to float in my subconscious all the time. I was thinking about a class I took with Libby Lehman many years ago. One of her exercises was to sketch simple shapes on paper — rectangle, square, triangle, for instance — then create designs within the shapes. I thought it would be fun to use a circle and fill it with ginkgo leaves.

I chose a hand-dyed fabric and started drawing. The blue lines (a little difficult to see here) will disappear with a spritz of water when I’m done thread painting. I like the variation in colors of the fabric and decided to create a bold contrast with a 50-weight, solid gray-blue thread.

Ginkgos marked, thread selectedI cleaned and oiled my machine and replaced the needle. Yes,  I make a habit of doing this after 8 hours of stitching and/or at the start of a new project. After all, I expect my hard-working machine to be there for me and I feel that this is my way of meeting it half way. Next I did a test drive of the design on a fabric sandwich with the same weight fabric and batting I’m using for my project. And, boy, was I ever glad I had! I’ve been using 60- and 100-weight threads recently and the settings on my machine didn’t work for the 50-weight thread at all. Whew. Bullet dodged.

I stitched 2 leaves, tied them off and began on the third leaf. Almost immediately I felt a drag on the machine and was having difficulty moving the fabric sandwich. Naturally, I stopped to check the bobbin. Here’s what I found:

Stitched to the SliderAs my sister says, there are those who have and those who will. Clearly it was time that I stitched my Supreme Slider into a project. And now that the experience is behind me I view it as a simple reminder to pay attention. It is so easy to become focused on moving ahead and forget that what’s going on under the needle right now is worth your full attention.

With the Slider removed and the tiny leaf stitched, it’s time to get back into the rhythm of thread painting.

Slider removed, small leaf stitched

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Blog Hop

I was invited to participate in a World Blog Hop by my friend and fellow quilt artist, Carol Larson. The agreement was to answer four questions and invite other bloggers I know to join in on the fun.  See Carol’s work and her responses to the questions at http://www.live2dye.com.

On Monday, October 20 check out the fine work of Gurli Gregersen at http://www.gurligregersen.com

and Suzanne Kistler at http://www.faithquilter.blogspot.com.

And the questions are:

What am I working on?

A series focusing on native California plants is demanding my attention for the foreseeable future. I have a number of art quilts completed which fall into this category: Sunflower Scrap I – V, Woodwardia Wonder, Nature’s Fractal, Woodwardia Fern, and Black Oak II. These pieces can be seen on my Art Quilt Gallery page. I have the top of Black Oak completed but not quilted — yet. I’m still working on completing Sunflower Scrap VI and I’ll turn my focus back to Black Oak when it is finished.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am best known for my work with nature prints — many think of me working with ginkgo leaves — which I did for quite some time — but I think my new series will steer thinking in new directions.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I create the work I do because I simply love working with fabric, stitch and embellishments to capture the beauty and grace of nature. I enjoy the process of creating, including all the challenges I meet along the way. It’s really wonderful to have an idea, begin the work and, in the ‘doing’ process, see the work change and become something better than originally envisioned. I fought the changes when I first came to this art form, then I realized that it was inevitable and relaxed into it.

I started writing about what I do to record what I’m doing. If I don’t, details can slip away so easily. I share my work in the hope of inspiring others to try something new.

How does my writing/creating process work?

An idea for a piece or a series is the germ for beginning the creating. Once I’m creating new work, the writing flows.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Shari's bird

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Wordless Wednesday

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Mendelssohn, 8 weeks old

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