Coptic (Hot Cross Seven)

When I was out visiting my parents last February, I took some of my art with me so they could see the pieces in real life, including several of the crosses from my Hot Cross series.  My Dad suggested I include a Coptic cross, based on a small collection of Coptic crosses they have had hanging on the wall of their home for 50 years.

Coptic Crosses
These were a gift sent from Ethiopia and the inspiration for this piece.

So I took the photo above and added it to my design file.

While planning my art piece, I knew I wanted to incorporate all of the crosses mounted to that piece of green velvet but I also knew I wanted to include them as part of a larger piece.  I did a quick image search for Coptic Crosses on the internet to find the traditional shape – as soon as I saw it, I knew how this piece would come together.  There was a lot of fine cutting to create the smaller crosses and their design elements before fusing them all to the larger cross background.  One color component from each of the small crosses was also used in a second smaller cross, integrating the colors throughout.  To pull in the brass from the original metal pieces and the gold from the frame, I used gold and copper metallic threads in the quilting.

In hindsight, I do wish I had finished this piece with zig zag stitches to bind the top, batting, and back.  Instead, I used my usual pillowcase facing.  It took some effort to turn the piece right side out through the narrow leg of the cross; however, that effort does not outweigh my satisfaction with the overall piece.

Constructive criticism and comments are always welcome.  Please share your thoughts!

Coptic (link to poem)

Coptic Cross

Coptic No. 1

Coptic No. 2

Coptic No. 3

Coptic No. 4

Coptic - Poem

Next up: Hot Cross 8 – Iron

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Lead with Love

In February, Yvonne Porcella, a pioneer in the art quilt world, passed away after a long battle against cancer.  Throughout that fight, she maintained a zest and energy and positive attitude that was inspiring to all who knew her.  I’m sure she had bad days and down days and days when she just wanted to give up, but from all accounts, she got up each morning, put a smile on her face, and conquered the day.

Yvonne had lots of friends in the art world and beyond.  One of those friends, Pokey Bolton, is hosting an art quilt tribute show in September and put out a call for entry this past Spring.  The call for entry to “Living Your Brightest Life: A Tribute to Yvonne Porcella” encouraged those who wanted to participate to share what it means to live a bright life, conveyed in fabric and thread.

This art quilt represents what living a bright life means to me.  The piece may not be accepted to the tribute show, but I certainly enjoyed making it.

As always, constructive critiques are welcome.

Lead with Love (link to poem)

Lead with Love - Detail
Simple quilting as rays of sunlight and around the hearts
Lead with Love - Full
If one leads with love, it bursts from the heart with the brightness of the sun and spills out into the universe
Lead with Love - Poetry Label
Every quilt needs a poem

Next up: An experiment in layering

Jeep on the Grill

My oldest stepson, formerly Lacrosse Boy, newly nicknamed Off-Road Man, just graduated from college.  His father and I, his mother and stepfather, all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brother are ridiculously proud of him.  He studied mechanical engineering, nailed his senior project, interned for the same company for three years (an offer of employment is expected soon), maintained a GPA above 3.0 all four years, and had a blast through it all.

We watched Off-Road Man grow from a teenager who loved to sleep to a man who is happiest when he is busy.  Throughout it all, his extracurricular interests did not change much.  In fact, he had the opportunity, through new friends at school and the internship, to explore interests while in college that he had dreamed of for his future.

Off-Road Man drives a 1995 Jeep Wrangler.  His love for this vehicle inspired his desire to get a degree in mechanical engineering.  In fact, one of the ways Off-Road Man keeps busy is working on that Jeep – he is always updating, replacing, or repairing something, and then he loads it up to go hunting, fishing, to lacrosse games, and off-roading.

To commemorate the occasion – it is momentous, after all – I knew I wanted to make an art piece for him.  Something Jeep-related seemed the obvious choice and so Jeep on the Grill was created.

I traced the outline of a Jeep and the grill from photos, then cut the fabric to the pattern.  Fusible web was used to build the piece.  The pistols, fishing poles, and lacrosse stick in the back of the Jeep are scrapbook stickers, sticky stuff removed.  The gears symbolize Off-Road Man’s college degree and future work path.  The whole art piece is gifted to him with love, pride, and joy.

We know his future will be bright and are excited to watch that future unfold.

Please let me know what you think.  All input and constructive criticism is appreciated.

Jeep on the Grill (no poem – not his style)

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Jeep on the Grill

Next up: An attempt at abstract art, created for submission to a Call for Entry put together by my SAQA region.

Light for Yvonne

In late January, SAQA sent out a request for 4″ x 6″ postcard quilts depicting candles for light in support of and encouragement for Yvonne Porcella. She is the founder of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  She is also family.

I made this one on a Friday night and shipped it off for inclusion in the collection to be forwarded on to her. This wasn’t on my list of “planned” art. I’m such a planner type person that means something. However, the request — a physical prayer for Yvonne’s health — provided appropriate inspiration. The experience of designing on the fly in my head one afternoon, then making a quick stop at the fabric store for the black and white check (her signature fabric), then getting home and spending the next three hours putting this together was exhilarating. I didn’t know I had it in me to make art that way.

I have always considered Yvonne and her sister, Marilou, to be “aunts” more than the cousins they are.  I believe this is because they are “double cousins” to my mother — their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters.  My mom is an only child, so if I was going to have aunts on her side, those two seemed the most logical choice.  A child’s brain often creates connections that click and never break, regardless of the vast number of years that pass.

My mom taught me to sew and to embrace color, to revel in color.  I owe her for my interest in quilting and I am grateful for that.

From Yvonne, I learned that quilts could be art, that they didn’t need to be traditional, that rules are made to be broken, that the only rules necessary are those that allow the imagination to soar free.  I am grateful for that as well.

****************

On Friday, February 12, 2016, Yvonne passed away after a 6-year battle with cancer. Her fight was valiant and seemingly fearless.  Her zest and her spirit were never diminished.  She was, and is, loved.  As long as her family, her friends, remember her, as long as the art quilt survives, her light will not go out.

Light for Yvonne
Light for Yvonne

She was laid to rest today, Friday, February 19, 2016.  As her youngest son, Don, an artist in his own right, so beautifully stated, she has gone to her “studio in the sky”.

Rest in peace, Yvonne.  ❤

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Blue (for Gene), Part 2 (Finished!)

The last of the Any Color series for my grandparents is complete.

Red for Basil. Green for Lucille. Purple for Neska. And Blue for Gene.

Spending the last few months creating these has been both pleasant and poignant, a time of joy-filled memories of visits with beloved grandparents but also a time tinged with the sadness that never, ever quite leaves after loss.

The process to create Blue went more smoothly than those before it. Not all that surprising, I suppose. Practice makes perfect (or close to it), after all. However, the knowledge that Blue, the last in this series, was in memory of the first grandparent I lost made me a little weepy. There are tears stitched to, and soaked into, the fabric.

A piece of my heart went with each grandparent when he or she died. But in return, a piece of each of them lives on in me.

Blue is for Grandpa Gene, who lives large and bold in my heart.

**

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Blue (for Gene) ~ link to poem

Any Color - Gene - Finished
The finished product
Any Color - Gene - 13
His favorite number was 13
Any Color - Gene - Green Giant
He gave me a Jolly Green Giant doll. I remember it with vivid clarity. There are days I wish I still had it.
Any Color - Gene - Photo
Wasn’t he handsome?
This seemed like the perfect place to save his fireman’s retirement badge.
Any Color - Gene - Poem
The poem

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How do you honor those who live on in your heart?

 

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska), Part 2 (Finished!)

June was a crazy month.  I had to travel for work three out of the four weeks, two days each week, which should have thrown off my whole schedule.  And, to a degree, it did.  But it also motivated me to work harder and longer in the available time I did have at home in my studio.  As a result, I not only started Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska) in June, I FINISHED it in the same month!  It’s the small things, people.  Those little accomplishments that make all the difference between continuing and giving up.  Celebrate all the tiny victories.

I love the colors in this art quilt.  Of course, my love of purple comes naturally.  I dug through my jewelry box for the embellishments.  Grandma Neska loved brooches; I was surprised to find I had a few that would have suited her.  Please let me know what you think.

**

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska) ~ link to poem

Any Color - Neska - Finished
Look at all that purple!! A royal art quilt. 🙂
Any Color - Neska - Detail 01
Lots of hearts for lots of love
Any Color - Neska - Detail 02
And lots of kisses
Any Color - Neska - Detail 03
Found this sparkly heart in the bottom draw of my jewelry box. Art deserves to glitter.
Any Color - Neska - Photo
My paternal grandma, Neska.  Note the brooch on her dress.
Any Color - Neska - Poem
Poetry label
The next in the series: Blue (for Gene) is in the early stages.  This one may be tough — he was my favorite.  Stay tuned.
How do you motivate yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

 

Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Purple (for Neska), Part 1

I’ve mentioned in previous posts for this series that, while working on Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red, in honor of my Grandpa Clark, I realized Red (for Basil) was the first in a series for my grandparents.

I’ve finished two in the series. The second, for my maternal grandmother, Lucille, was Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Green.

This third honors my paternal grandmother, Neska, who loved purple. She wore it in dresses and hats, brooches and shoes. I believe she would have had purple carpets, drapes, and even walls if my Grandpa had been willing.

Neska passed away when I was 10 or 11, during a time when our family lost several loved ones. I wish my memories were stronger, but those I do have are of a woman who loved her children and grandchildren. She called each of us Pet and gave the best Grandma kisses. My grandfather adored her, this woman who worked as a nurse before they married in the ‘20s. She was strong and sweet and loving.

While working on this piece of art for her, I realized the memory, of how much she loved us all, is the only one I really need.

Any Color - Neska - Fabric
The palette
Any Color - Neska - Canvas
The canvas
Any Color - Neska - Top
The top…the hearts, kisses, and other items have been fused and the quilt sandwich made

Quilting is underway. Check back in a week or two to see how Purple turns out.

Do you agree love is the best memory?