Broken Tulips Done

In May I shared my inspiration and beginning of a new art quilt. Much has happened to distract me from completing the project, not the least of which was a persistent fear of doing the wrong thing. Thank you Kay for shooting that monkey on my back! And here is the quilt. (Click on image for a larger view.)

07-27-16 Broken Tulips

The last step in completing this piece was using white paint to highlight the areas where the sun turned the yellow-tipped petals white. It’s one thing to make mistakes using thread, it’s entirely another to make them using acrylic paint on a finished piece! Before painting the completed piece I experimented with the paint on fabric scraps from the stash that I used to create the piece. Why I didn’t think of that much earlier is a mystery. I can only say that I was listening to that monkey on my back and wasn’t stepping away to allow more clear thinking. Once I experimented with the paint and could see its effect on the fabric I felt a surge of confidence and dove right into painting.

This piece is 12″ x 12″, a size I like working in. Once again, I must acknowledge my gratitude to my friend Denise Oyama Miller who introduced this style of art-quilt making to me in February 2012. I have enjoyed the process of using it many times — search “Broken Ginkgo’ in the Art Quilt category to view more examples of this technique.

Concrete & Grassland Exhibit

I attended the opening artists’ reception for Concrete & Grassland June 3rd. This juried exhibit is a collaboration between Studio Art Quilt Associates and the Grants Pass Museum of Art and features 57 art quilts by 57 artists.  SAQA artists were asked to submit works that explored either the soft lines of nature or the hard lines of urban structures, or a combination of both. Almost 400 entries were submitted from around the world, including the United States, Israel, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Lithuania.

Several of my friends from the Bay Area have work in this exhibit and attended the opening reception so I was eager to see their work and them. The exhibit had a nice splash of notice in the Grants Pass Daily Courier on June 3. Click on an image for a larger view.

06-03 C&G 1

The date was also the First Friday Art Walk day for Grants Pass so attendance at the opening was very high. I heard one of the museum docents comment that well over 200 people had come in during the first hour.

Photography was limited — prior permission from the artist was required — so I have only a few images to share here.

Dolores Miller wrote this about Monument for Humanity in the catalog: “La Grande Arche de la Fraternite, the westernmost element of the Triumphal Way in Paris, was inaugurated in 1989. Rather than glorifying military victories (as does the Arc de Triomphe de l”Etoile), the hollow cubic structure with its grand staircase was designed to express humanitarian ideals and inspirations.”

06-03-16 Dolores-Miller-1

Jennifer Landau says this of her entry Root & Branch:  “Natural and human-made systems are positioned side-by-side, one grounded in the concrete grid and the other in topographic meandering.  Peel away the outer layer of urban structures and peek beneath the streets.  There is a branching infrastructure of pipe and wire that maintains human life, just as roots and branches sustain trees in the natural landscape.  Roots may curve as they delve into the soil and pipes may stretch straight beneath the pavement, but both allow water and energy to flow where needed.  Streams wind through the landscape, small branches joining into rivers, while neighborhood streets connect to cross-town arteries.  The relationship of the two worlds is not always benign, yet on good days we experience them seamlessly, two halves of our existence neatly zipped together.”

06-03-16 C&G-Jennifer-Landau

Denise Oyama-Miller shared her joy in creating Grass Lake for this exhibit:  One of my favorite spots is a lovely rest area along Highway 97 at about 5000’ elevation, just outside of Weed, California.  At one point, it actually was a lake created by a lava flows that blocked a drainage path on the east side of the valley.  There was a hotel on the same site as the rest area.  In the early 20th century, a development project inadvertently broke through the seal of the porous lava rock, and the water drained out through what is called “The Glory Hole,” which is still visible today.  What is now left is a large, beautiful “wet” meadow just east of the southern Cascade Range.  It is a quiet, peaceful spot to watch the herds of cattle in the distance, nesting sand hill cranes, and the rare tiger salamander.”

06-03-16 C&G-Denise-Oyama-Miller

Geri Patterson-Kutra created Room With A View 2.  She says, “We create urban environments not only to provide shelter, but also to satisfy economic mandates, neglecting our natural world and limited resources.  Power lines march across the landscape delivering the electricity to light the cities and power industries.  Our homes are built shoulder to shoulder on concrete slabs, ignoring the fragility of the earth below.  My work explores the juxtaposition between grassland and urban demands.  Will the lines between the two continue to be blurred until our only memory of grassland becomes a screensaver on our computers?”

06-03-16 Geri-Patterson-Kutra

The artists enjoyed lively conversations about their inspiration for the work.

06-03-16 C&G-2

And there was catalog signing.

06-03-16 C&G-catalogue-signing

And then just a bit of happy-moment posing. Here I am with Denise and Dolores — each of us is a former regional representative for the Northern CA SAQA Region.

06-03-16 C&G-9

The exhibit continues through July 29, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Grants Pass Museum of Art which is located at 229 SW G Street. If you are near the area at all, stop by to take it in — it’s worth the effort.


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.

Reorganizing the Stash

Last week I did some printing and painting with my friend Denise. When I saw her fabric stash it was like a slap on the side of the head. Today I’ve begun the reorganization of my stash . . . top shelf done!

Franki Kohler, What a difference!

As I’m going through the stacks I’m weeding out the fabrics I won’t be using anymore and I’ve begun selecting fabrics for the next project. Based on the results with shelf one and the condition of shelf two, it’s clear how much easier the selection process will be in the future. Thank you Denise!

How do you organize your supplies?

Put Your Best Foot Forward – A must-see exhibit!

Put Your Best Foot Forward will open April 1 featuring foot-square works from 26 artists of the Northern CA-Northern NV Region of SAQA. This is not just ‘another exhibit’ my friends. This is the first exhibit for the SAQA region I have been a member of since 2005!  And it will feature some of the best art this region has to offer in an 12″-square format. I’m quite excited to see the 44 works that will be on display from April 1 – May 30 at Creative Framing & Gallery in Oakland.

Here are a few of the art quilts that you will have to see in person to fully appreciate:


Escence by Leslie Carabas


Global Warming by Lin Schiffner

Miller_Denise_Study in BlueSmStudy in Blue by Denise Oyama Miller

Opening Reception:  April 13, 6 – 9 p.m.

Closing Reception:    May 25, 6 – 9 p.m.

Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss seeing this wonderful exhibit.

SAQA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications.

Surface Design on Textiles with Lonni

I’ve just returned from Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove where I took a class with Lonni Rossi through Empty Spools Seminars. Lonni has been designing fabric collections (5 or more a year) for Andover Fabrics for 12 years and she shared her techniques for creating designs on textiles using Setacolor paints, silk screens, stencils and a variety of hand-made and found objects.

I have been using Setacolor transparent paints by pēbēo for many years to create my sun prints. Lonni introduced me to the opaque and metallic paints as well as thickener and discharge paste. Setacolor paints are water based, non-toxic and clean up easily with water. They are permanently set with a hot iron.

Lonni and the 22 students there brought a variety of tools which we shared with each other freely. I couldn’t resist using Anne’s rope stamp. She made this by securing the rope to a piece of wood with double-stick tape and painting the entire surface with house paint.


Here is the discharge paste stamped onto some hand-dyed fabric.


When the fabric is dry, the paste completely disappears. Then it is ironed with a hot iron. At home I soaked the fabric in a vinegar-water solution for 15 minutes, then washed it in the washing machine. And here is the final fabric.


I didn’t get a picture of this piece during the ironing step but here is one of Anne ironing her fabric — the design appears as if by magic!


This piece became the first in what is now called my radiator series. I screened the background dots and stamped with Anne’s rope stamp, then I placed it on a working radiator. Not only did the fabric dry quickly but I got a stunning striped fabric in both directions! The deep blue vertical lines are a result of direct contact with the hot radiator tops; the three softer horizontal lines of color are a result of the color in the middle of the fabric moving to create the darker vertical lines.


I liked the effect so much that I created several half-yard pieces of fabric using the same drying method.


My friend Suzanna was creating a staggering amount of fabric for a project she’ll be working on very soon.


She brought some wonderful stamps and other tools. I borrowed her rubber band-wrapped rolling-pin to transform a lovely green linen:


I used copper-colored transparent paint to stamp the entire surface. To achieve a lighter shade of the transparent paint, simply thin with water. To use the thinned paint for stamping, add thickener. After drying I used opaque green, then blue paint to create larger striped areas.

One of our learning exercises involved painting a half-yard of fabric, tearing it in half and painting a ‘wash’ over one piece. The wash is made by diluting transparent paint 50/50 with water. Here is Nancy’s stunning tree fabric:


And here are Denise and Nancy sharing a laugh.


A trip to Pacific Grove always includes a visit to see what new things Pat Riley has. Here I am with Pat and my sister, Christy. I’m wearing a jean jacket I bought several years ago — it still looks brand new.


Next up:  News about exciting improvements being made at Asilomar Conference Center!

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.