White on White III

Inspiration comes from the darndest places. My friend Jenny Lyon pays attention to paper products and that’s where I found the design used here. Who knew that a box of tissues could fire the imagination?

Franki Kohler, White on White 3Even simplified, this design has plenty of detail. I tried new lighting to take this photograph and had some success, but not complete. After many attempts, I put this piece on the floor and had better results. The small white floral design on the fabric shows best at the right edge where the fabric extends beyond the fast2fuse. Metallic-wrapped white thread was used to stitch the floral design. The seed beads in the center of the flowers are #8 pearl finish; outer seed beads are #11 in pearl, clear, white and amber. It measures 5″ x 7″ now and will be trimmed to 4″ x 6″ when I’m ready to attach the address on the opposite side. As with the other postcards in this series, the edge finish will be determined when they are trimmed to size.

This series has been great fun! A 4th design is well on its way. See the first two here and here.

Opening Artist Reception: Put Your Best Foot Forward

The opening artist reception for Put Your Best Foot Forward, Foot-Square Works from the Northern CA-Northern NV Region of SAQA was last night at Creative Framing & Gallery in Oakland, CA. The gallery was filled with quite a lovely and lively buzz the whole evening.

Franki Kohler, Gallery entry

The gallery is small, making cooperation among viewers necessary. This proved to be a good ice breaker for everyone to chat and move about.

The main wall of the gallery was hung with 44 quilts created by 26 artists. Viewed individually, each is a stunning piece of art — collectively they are a powerful statement.

Franki Kohler, Main gallery wall

Several artists had come and gone before I arrived. Eight of the artists were there during my visit. They are (L to R) Jean Jurgenson, Eva Cooper, Kris Sazaki, Deb Cashatt, Denise Miller, Franki Kohler, Aileyn Ecob and Jenny Lyon.

Franki Kohler, Artists

Two smaller exhibits of art coordinate beautifully with our regional exhibit. Three acid paintings on copper, each 12″ x 12″, by Stephen Bruce were mounted far left on the main wall.

Franki Kohler, acid paintings on copper by Stephen Bruce

And Useless Emotions by Win Dell’Ario was mounted on the wall behind the counter.

Franki Kohler, Useless Emotions by Win Dell'Ario

Useless Emotions premiered at the Art Stroll in Half Moon Bay in 2012. Dell’Ario interprets frustration, envy, regret, guilt, rage, shame, worry and fear in fabric. Which quilt do you think reveals which emotion? When you have settled on your answer, check here to see if your list matches Win’s intent.

All of this art will be on exhibit through May 31, 2013. The closing reception for this exhibit will be Saturday, May 25, 6 – 9 p.m. Check gallery hours on the column to the right then make a date with a fellow art lover to appreciate the work of these California artists.


I went to opening day of the Pacific International Quilt Festival at the Santa Clara Convention Center yesterday. So much eye candy! So much fun!

Here are a few of the art quilts that stopped me in my tracks. I’m sorry I cut off the top edge of this charming quilt by Jenny Lyon. Love the stripes. Love the setting. And lest you think this is just a little trifle,

look closer for the ‘wow factor.’

This second quilt by Jenny received a ribbon as runner-up to Best of Show.

And a detail.

From the SAQA exhibit I’m Not Crazy, two quilts in particular had me lingering. The horizontal design using yellow and blue is wonderful.

And the strips of pieced fabric include silk from men’s ties.

Her simple statement about this quilt was perfect.

Karen Musgrave’s entry was in a corner which was dark, a bit of irony for this lovely piece.

I have long admired Linda Cline’s work. Her fabric, thread and paint layering create a unique, sophisticated look that I never tire of.

Here is another artist who approaches her work in layers. A simple design element, repeated in dye and fabric with a riveting result.

Oh boy! I wanna know Linda.

The color choices for this quilt were spot on and the workmanship is impeccable.  I love the way the umbrella nudges the boundary of the quilt reminding the viewer of the tight boundary that these three children have under its protection.

I’m not usually tempted by ‘cute’ quilts, however, this one charmed me. I like the balance and whimsy of the design and the words drew me in. Using words can be a very tricky thing. I think that Joyce used them well here.

Here are two of the truths that Joyce shares with us.

After the work of walking, navigating the crowd and doing my best to get good photographs, I needed a little retail therapy reward. Mama Shaman had a booth and these shoes had my name all over them.

Naturally, a photograph will not give you all the information there is to an art quilt. If you’re able, get on over to the show. It is open through this Sunday and it is well worth the effort.

Broken Ginkgos III

This is one of the small works I took with me to Asilomar last month. While there I did get some work done on it, but the many distractions did not allow for the kind of decision-making necessary to complete it. Yesterday, thanks to a day I spent with Jenny Lyon focused on quilting, I was inspired to think about the quilting designs in a new way. Jenny asks things such as: What do you want the end result to be? What is the mission for the quilting? Is it a secondary story or is it the focus of the work? It’s no secret that the ginkgo is the feature of this 12″ x 12″ quilt. But even with something this small and such a dominant design there is room for a bit of a statement by the quilting. Emboldened by her teaching, I tried something new (for me) — a bit of pebble quilting — and I’m quite pleased with the result.

I have two more variations on this ginkgo design — inspiration from Denise Miller — and I’m excited to try more new quilt designs.

Happy 4th to all!

One Lovely Blog Award

I’m proud to share that I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Meta Heemskerk of the Netherlands. Meta is a no-holds-barred fiber artist who is constantly learning and growing. I envy her focus and volume of accomplishment. Find out what Meta is up to at Green In The Middle. I’m very pleased that Meta likes my blog. And I am grateful to all who read, comment, like and follow me.

In keeping with the spirit of the award, nominees are expected to

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link.

  2. Name 7 random things about yourself.

  3. Pass the recognition to blogs you enjoy and let them know.

Seven very random things about me:

  1. I attended 2 high schools in Germany before graduating in New Mexico.

  2. I’m a Jeopardy! addict.

  3. I have watched Julie & Julia more times than I care to confess.

  4. Ditto for You’ve Got Mail.

  5. I learned to swim in 1999. Okay, yes, I could tread water before, but that’s not swimming. Now that I can actually swim, I’m in the pool 3 times a week and I’m comfortably swimming 3/4 mile each time.

  6. Lemon is my favorite flavor. Hands down.

  7. After tasting a croissant from Poilâne Bakery in Paris (2010) I cannot bring myself to buy one locally. Another trip to Paris is a must.

Now to pass it on:

  1. Jenny Lyon

  2. Karen Davis

3. Jane Davila

  1. Karen Musgrave

5. Tina Dang

  1. Debra Svedberg

7. Pat Dicker

  1. Simon Sinek  His focus is business but his thoughts apply to life in general.

9. Jeanne Williamson

  1. Deidre Adams

  2. Original Art Studio

  3. Karen Stiehl Osborn

That’s enough reading material. Make it a great day!

Skill Building with Jenny Lyon

I’m always interested in learning new quilting designs and generally building my free-motion quilting skills. Jenny Lyon — quilter extraordinaire, teacher and friend — teaches at several quilt shops in the Sacramento area. I asked her to come to my home to share her skills with a small group. My friends Aileyn, Jean, Dolores and Pam joined us for the fun!

Jenny took us through what she calls a ‘decision tree.’ The answer to the question “What do you want the end result to be?” informs your decisions for not only the quilting design and its density, but which batting and thread you’ll use. She covered the reasons for using wool, cotton, orient and even double batting. She talked about the kinds of threads and marking tools she uses and why. Other tools we talked about included:  the Supreme Slider™ (not available in stores), a Teflon sheet which grips the bed of your machine and allows your quilts to glide easily; a single-needle throat plate; gloves, finger cots and Lickity Grip®. Since the class I have purchased and used the  single-needle throat plate for my Janome 6500 and the Supreme Slider™. I will try Lickity Grip® with my next large quilt.

Then we got down to the question for quilting: What is the mission for the quilting? Is it a secondary story for your quilt — meant to enhance the fabric design? Or is it the feature of a quilt with lots of open space? There is a lot to think through before you even begin quilting.  Jenny took us through drawing quilting designs on paper. At one time or another we’ve all been told about the benefit of drawing a design with our finger before starting but Jenny’s method for putting pencil to paper is even better. Finally, we were turned loose on our machines to try our hand at the designs we were most interested in learning. I managed to try a couple designs in class and I branched out with a few more later.

And here’s the group (L to R) Aileyn, Jean, Jenny, Pam and Dolores.

Jenny is a wonderful teacher with an easy, positive style that makes everything seem possible. And even though none of us was new to quilting, we learned a lot. Next step is practicing.

Slow Down

I’m hearing this from several sources — Simon Sinek recently posted an article entitled “Go Slow” and Jenny Lyon talked about slowing down in a class I hosted recently. Simon addressed the subject as a life-style issue. Jenny was referring to the peddle-to-the-metal approach for quilting. Her experience has taught her that if she wants precision, beautiful work when she quilts, she has to slow down. Why do so many of us believe that life needs to be lived at the speed of sound?

I thoroughly enjoy what I do. In fact, I enjoy each step in the process of creating something new — enough that I want to savor the doing. My recent distraction with the lint trap of my dryer tells me just how much I want to slow down, be aware of the moment and act on what comes up. Acting against my normal focused practice, I did just that and it was so satisfying!

Now I am back to work on the sun print I started last week. I thread painted the first batch of leaves with a Rainbow thread by Superior.

It’s back on my design wall while I decide on the thread for the remaining leaves. Patience. This is good for me.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty to do… creating some fun boxes for my dinner table Christmas day. I learned how to make these little gems from my friend Aileyn several years ago. I used greeting cards from last year. The boxes measure 1 3/4″ square by 3/4″ deep and they hold one piece of candy. They are utterly charming on the table.

Here’s to being in the moment.

Gallery Visit and Quilt Critiques with Sandra Sider

I’m a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and I share the role of Representative for the Northern California/Nevada region with Sandy Wagner. I had the pleasure of hosting Sandra Sider, President of SAQA, at my home earlier this month. She was in town for other business and graciously offered to conduct a session of critiques for members in our region during her visit.  Sandra is also Consulting Curator for the Texas Quilt Museum, currently teaches undergraduate courses online in art history for the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, has been published extensively and is a working quilt artist. I was thrilled to coordinate this opportunity!

The day of the critique session Sandra and I met five more SAQA members at a nearby restaurant for lunch, then we went to Creative Framing & Gallery to see my solo show. Pictured are (from left to right):  Kris Sazaki (SAQA VP), Deb Cashatt (SAQA Exhibits Coordinator), Paula Chung , Jenny Lyon, me, Sandra Sider and Sandy Wagner.

I was pleasantly surprised when Sandra began speaking about the pricing of my work and her assessment of the saleability of individual pieces. She felt that Fall Ginkgos would be the most saleable quilt because of its size (the viewer could easily see it hanging their home), use of color and perceived complexity.

Leaves II, which entailed much more work and variety of techniques, she felt would be perceived as less complex.

The few minutes we spent at the gallery were fun and educational! We all thanked Heather Piazza, herself an artist and strong supporter of the arts, who opened her gallery especially for our visit.

The critique session was next. In addition to those who had quilts to be critiqued, 15 observers were there. Sandra led each critique touching on history,  principles of art and how saleable each piece was. Viewers were encouraged to share their thoughts as well. She did a thorough job with 11 quilts in just 2 hours. We were in awe of her knowledge and the depth that she shared with us. I was in awe of her stamina!

Here is Sandy Wagner sharing details of the work in progress she brought. Sandy creates a lot of her own fabric with dye and applique work. She creates wearable art regularly so she is completely fearless. The section she is pointing to was created by hand appliqueing the red-orange fabric strips over the mottled yellow. There was much discussion about the central orange feature. Whatever she does, this will be gorgeous when it’s done.

This is the second time that Robin Cowley has hosted the same event at her home. She and her husband are uber gracious hosts and their home and garden are simply incredible works of art. Here are just two of the fabulous art installations in their back yard:

This is what I wanted to do when I got home from such an exciting day!