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

Screen Door (formerly Summer Garden)

Back in the early days of office computers — sometime after Windows became the standard operating system — I would find myself opening the accessory program, Paint, if I found myself with a little down time.

I loved Paint.  I would pick the fat little brush tool, any one of the colors, and make wild swirls across the stark white background.  Then I’d pick another color and do the same thing over the first color.  Then another color and another and another until the computer screen canvas was saturated with this great jumbled abstract “painting”.

Sort of like this, although the old ones I used to draw didn’t leave any room for the page to peek through:

A quick demonstration of Paint

When I returned to art quilting, an abstract work, reminiscent of playtime in Paint, was one of the first things on my design idea list.  When I received word that my SAQA region would be hosting an exhibit entitled “Stitched Together”, I knew the time had come to make an abstract piece to submit for the call for entry.

I grabbed all my strips and some of my scraps and some ribbon I had stored away.  I began laying them out in a random pattern on a piece of muslin.  When I was satisfied, I fused all I could, then turned to the machine to stitch the pieces down.  I also used a few different stitch types — satin stitch, T stitch, buttonhole — for variety to produce random chaos.

Once quilted and stitched, but not finished, I discovered this work disturbed me on a visceral level.  Looking at the wild splashes of color, my OCD self itched.  I was not sure I liked what I’d made so I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook, admitting defeat, which is big deal because I always finish my work (my OCD again).  The response was interesting.  One person suggested turning the piece 90 degrees, which did improve the piece but then didn’t fit the dimensional requirements for the call for entry.  Another (my Mom) suggested adding black and white.  A third said she loved the piece just as it was…it reminded her of a carnival or fair.

I took my Mom’s suggestion to include black and white.  The older I get, the more I listen to her.  Funny how that works.  🙂

Once I’d completed the additions, I realized the piece had been salvaged.  I posted another photo, received more comments, and came up with the name for this piece when one person wrote the black and white additions made her feel she was looking through a screen door at a summer garden.  Another viewer wrote the piece reminded her of Piet Mondrian’s work, which I really appreciated because I like his work and in fact, have a few photos of his work in my design idea folder for inspiration.

I’m going to enter this piece in the call for entry.  Accepted or not, it was always worth making.

As always, I’d appreciate any input or constructive criticism in the comments.

Summer Garden (link to poem)


Summer Garden
The completed piece. What do you see?
Summer Garden - Detail
A detailed shot
Summer Garden - Poetry Label
The poetry label

Next up: A piece about living a bright life

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.

Rustic (Hot Cross Four)

When I posted the first art piece in the Hot Cross series, Crossroads, I requested input and constructive criticism.  I’m grateful for what I received.  My brother, in addition to his comments, also presented me with a challenge:

He wrote: “I’m hoping one uses mixed media of some sort to look like a rustic cross made from the wood in an old barn… Consider that a challenge put forth.”

To my mind and my eye, Rustic doesn’t look like wood or an old barn, but the colors are indicative of those weathered structures one sees when traveling down a lonely rural road.

Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 01
Quilting away
Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 02
Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 03
Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 04
Closeup and texture
Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 05
Rustic: The completed piece
Rustic (Hot Cross Four) 06
Poetry label

This piece incorporates burlap, with burnt edges, and hand dyed cheesecloth (not mine…created by Frieda Anderson – http://www.friestyle.com/ ).  The burlap and cheesecloth were anchored with single cross stitches using hand dyed embroidery thread (also not mine…created by Laura Wasilowski – http://artfabrik.com/ ).  My Sweets suggested I extend the strip piecing beyond the edge of the quilt at the top and bottom of the cross to imply rough and rugged edges.

I’m not quite sure I like the final impact of those extensions, however, since this art piece began as a challenge from my brother, I incorporated Sweets’ suggestion as an additional out-of-the-box effort.

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

Rustic (link to poem)

Next up: A break from the Hot Cross series, but I’ll back to it soon.

Resurrection (Hot Cross Three)

It seems appropriate that I finished the third art quilt in my Hot Cross series during Easter week.  The timing is pure coincidence, but providential.

Resurrection depicts an abstract figure fused to the cross, which was fused to the background.  The piece called for free form quilting rather than the linear stitches in the previous pieces.

Once again, I’d appreciate any input or constructive criticism in the comments.

Resurrection (link to poem)

Resurrection (Hot Cross Three)
Resurrection (Hot Cross Three)
Resurrection (Hot Cross Three)
Poetry label

Next up: Rustic (Hot Cross Four)