Last month I had a vase filled with gorgeous tulips.

04-04-16 Tulips

I took many photographs of the flowers as they opened. This photo inspired the piece I am working on now. I chose to use a method that I learned from Denise Oyama Miller several years ago — she calls it broken color. I like the method and the results I’ve gotten using it before.

First, create a pattern. Transfer the pattern (reversed) onto fusible web, then cut the pieces out. Select fabrics and fuse the pattern pieces to the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the pieces slightly inside the pattern line. Place the pieces under the pattern on a piece of background fabric. Here is the pattern with my fabric selections already underneath. Click on an image for a larger view.

05-11-16 Tulips, pattern with fabric under

When all the pieces are in their proper place, fuse the pieces to the background fabric.

05-11-16 Tulips, fabric fused

Notice the lines of background fabric which peek between the pattern pieces — hence the technique name broken color. Now for the stitching.

05-17-16 progress

My progress is slow but steady. This is the first work of this kind I’ve done since moving to Portland last summer, so I’m a bit rusty with my execution. I’m doing more warm up exercises to get back into my rhythm with free-motion work. I also like to tie off my threads as I go — say, every 2 – 3 pattern pieces. I find that I get into less trouble this way. The back stays uncluttered so I don’t have to spend time getting those loose threads untangled in the stitches I’ve done for another section of the work.

05-17-16 progress back

Of course, one has to have the right tools at hand but when I stopped to do the finishing work on the first few pieces, I realized that mine were not in their usual spot on my work surface. Now then, where did I pack those things last year? Happily, it didn’t take too long to find them. And here they are:

05-17-16 tools I use

I found this needle threader on line years ago — don’t ask me where, I can’t remember. But this is the only needle threader that I have on my work table while I do thread work. I’ll be back with progress on this work soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed the final notebook cover, the one I’ve made for myself. 05-17-16 notebook done


05-17-16 open


I enjoyed doing the hand stitching on this piece. This one sits in my desk, waiting for the day when I need it.

Broken Color Exhibit

I have the good fortune to have my work hung with two other artists, a ceramicist and a painter, for a group show entitled Broken Color.

Black Oak II, 12" x 12", 2014, Private Collection

Black Oak II, 12″ x 12″, 2014, Private Collection

You’ll be treated to ceramics by Bobbie Altman and paintings by Heather Robinson.


Broken Color Group Show will be on view

September 1st – October 31st, 2015

Creative Framing & Gallery
2700 Park Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94606

Opening Art Reception, First Friday:
September 4th, 2015 from 6-9pm

First Friday, Artist Reception:
October 2nd, 2015 from 6-9pm

Franki Kohler, Broken Ginkgos IV, 12"x12", 2012, For sale

 I hope you’ll be able to stop by during this extended exhibit period. If you do, please let me know what you thought about it.

More Broken Colors

I’m going to be the Artist in Residence for Empty Spools Seminars later this month. Empty Spools has been putting teachers and students together to fine-tune quilt-making skills since 1985. The setting is Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California, right on the ocean. It just doesn’t get any better.

Being AIR is quite an honor so I’m thrilled to be invited. The first evening of the conference I will be the first speaker up — a position I’m very pleased with because once I finish my talk I can sit back and enjoy all the speakers who follow. The remainder of my time there will be spent working on my own projects in Merrill Hall. The hall is the central gathering place for evening programs, visits to the pop-up fabric shop that Cotton Patch creates every year and where the owners of Empty Spools Seminars and the Artist in Residence work. I’m looking forward to chatting with as many attendees as I can!

In preparation for this time I’ve completed another small art quilt top using the broken color technique I learned in February from Denise Miller. I’ve used the same pattern I created in February for this quilt.

Using different color combinations has been a good exercise for me and leaves me a small series.  I will take tread to quilt and finish this one as well as a top I completed earlier. Each will finish 12″ x 12″.

I’ve also decided to take my felting machine to work on a few postcard-size projects. This will be a fun opportunity for those who haven’t seen a felting machine in action — and those who haven’t seen dryer lint used this way!

SAQA Donation Quilt

I learned a technique that Denise Miller calls broken color (after a water-color technique) earlier this month and I shared progress on a small art quilt. I’ve completed the quilt now and have decided to call it Broken Ginkgos. This quilt will be donated to Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA) for their 2012 fund-raiser.

SAQA’s Benefit Auction is their largest fundraiser and SAQA’s biggest income source after membership dues. For the 2011 auction, 309 artworks were donated and they raised $52,925. To see all the quilts donated in 2011, click on the NEWS & EVENTS tab on the site, then click on SAQA BENEFIT AUCTION. The 2012 donations will be on the site starting in July 2012. I’ll give you plenty of notice!

Broken Color

I spent all day Wednesday hanging out with three friends — Denise Oyama Miller, Aileyn Ecob and Jean Jurgenson — learning a design technique new to three of us. Last year Aileyn and Jean said they wanted to learn about the technique Denise uses in some of her art quilts. She calls it broken color — you’ll see why. Denise is an extraordinary artist in many mediums — water-color, collage, mixed media, acrylics and textiles — with each informing the other. We were in for a treat.

I purposely chose a small format and a very familiar subject. My finished piece will measure 12″ x 12″. Here is my pattern.

This pattern was traced onto WonderUnder, each piece was cut out on the marking line and fused to the wrong side of my fabric selection.  Then each pattern piece was carefully trimmed by about 1/16″, placed on the “fracture color” — that wonderful lime green is a silk fabric Denise gave me! — and fused in place.

I can’t wait to finish this little piece.

And here we are at the end of the day. . .

What a fun day it was! Thank you Denise for sharing with us.