Sunday, November 22, 2020

Custom "50 Years" Art Quilt

"50 Years," 17" x 35", made by Pam Geisel, October 2020

I enjoy making custom quilts for people, especially ones made to celebrate milestones. I was recently contacted by someone who had purchased the quilt "Summer Storm" (at left) from me several years ago and they wanted me to make something similar to give to his wife for their 50th Anniversary.

Fortunately, I still had some of the fabric that I used in the original quilt although I did have to add a few additional fabrics. 

Since this was to celebrate their 50th Anniversary, he suggested having 50 squares, each with an "L" shape, since "L" in the Roman Numeral for 50. To make it visually interesting, the "L"s are randomly rotated and also don't have an perfect 90 degree angles.

Like on the original, I machine quilted it with wavy lines and did some hand stitching with embroider thread.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Why the Cow Jumped Over the Moon Baby Quilt (an experiment with fabric printing with Spoonflower)


"Why the Cow Jumped Over the Moon" baby quilt, 24" x 37.5", made by Pam Geisel, October 2020

If this piece looks familiar, it's because it's based on the art quilt I made called "Quilt Encounters of the Thread Kind." When I made the first quilt my husband said there should be a cow being pulled up by the UFO's tractor beam.

Recently one of our friends, who knew about my husband's suggestion of the cow, had a need for a baby quilt and he wanted the UFO quilt with a cow added. The original, which had already been sold, was a fused raw-edge applique, which is great for art quilt but not so much for a baby quilt which will likely get frequent washings.

Knowing that I have my art quilts on Pixels, which prints images onto t-shirts and other items, he suggested I have the image printed onto fabric and make the baby quilt with that.

So I digitally added the cow and had the whole thing printed at Since I hadn't had any fabric printed before, I was curious as to how it would come out.

Overall I'm happy with the results. I basted the printed fabric, batting, and backing fabric then quilted on top of the printed quilting lines. 

The printed fabric wasn't quite as soft as regular fabric but it did soften some when I prewashed the fabric. 

Because the original used hand dyed fabrics and details lost when the image was enlarged aren't that noticeable. Also if commercial fabrics had been used there might be some copyright issues.

Since I added the cow and it's a baby quilt, I changed the title to "Why the Cow Jumped Over the Moon." And I uploaded an image with the cow added to Pixels so I can have it printed on a t-shirt for my husband.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Be a Spark

"Be a Spark," 30" x 40", handmade by Pam Geisel, Sept. 2020

The Initial Spark

There are some ideas floating around in my head that have been there a long time. About a dozen years ago I was gifted some of those little, colored organza drawstring bags, the kind you sometimes get when you buy jewelry, and at that time I envisioned putting little treasures inside them and sewing them to a quilt. Not only did I still have the organza bags, I'd acquired more.

A few months back while I was doing yoga (I find some of my best ideas come to me while I'm doing yoga) I realized that words can be treasures and maybe I'd make a quilt that had little treasures and also letters. But what would I want to say with these letters?

There have been many notable phrases over that past few months and years, and one of them was "Do Something." But what could I do? I make art quilts.

There is a history of artists creating socio-political art to help the public understand particular social or political issues, and quilters have also participated in creating Protest Art. 

Long before I was a quilter I remember being moved by the creation of the AIDS quilts that were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC. One flame by itself can only be so bright. But if that flame sparks someone else, who sparks yet more people, the cumulative effect can be brilliant.

How It Was Constructed

I decided pretty quickly that I wanted "Black Lives Matter" inside the flame. And with 16 letters that was easy to arrange in 4 rows and 4 columns. I spent a lot of time deciding what other phrases (or in this case, hashtags) I wanted to use for the background of the quilt. And in what order. I knew some would end up splitting from one row to another so I spent time rearranging so the ones that were split were done in a way that wasn't too awkward. Like "Act-ivism" and "Human-ity."

Then I spent a lot of time tracing the 168 letters and hashtags onto fusible, and then cutting them all out. Then putting fray check on the edges. 

Sheer fabric, most from organza bags. The lavender with the silver sparkles was from a Halloween costume I made before I started quilting.

I also cut out 192 squares that were 2.25", 192 squares that were 1.625", and 192 squares of sheer fabric (from those organza bags) that were 1.5".

Some random letters on a variety of black, gray, purple, blue, and green backgrounds.

Then I fused the letters to the smaller of the fabric squares and paired them with a larger square. I made my quilt sandwich with a black background, batting, and backing fabric and quilted a 5" grid to help with placement. At this time, because I'd already done some quilting, I went ahead and did the binding. I did a knife-edge facing so the binding isn't visible. Now the fun part.

The first quilting pass.

I arranged all of the letters on the background then picked them up in reverse order of how they would go down. Instead of quilting them by row or column I decided to quilt an "X" through each of the squares. I also wrote little letters with a white colored pencil to make sure the correct letter ended up in each spot. You can see the hand written letters in you look closely at the photo.

The second quilting pass.

I randomly added the sheers as I quilted the squares down. Halfway done with quilting the pieces down!

Side view so you can see that part of the fabrics are left loose.

When I was researching what match flames looked like there were several that showed blue and even purple smoke going up the side of the flame. I'd made the letters that would be where the smoke was a blue gray color and added some gray satin as more smoke.

Very close detail

#BlackLivesMatter #KnowJusticeKnowPeace #SayTheirNames #ICantBreathe #Revolution #Equality #Activism #Humanity #Hope #EndRacism #Freedom #Protest #Resist #Art #Peace #Love #BLM #BeASpark

More about Be a Spark

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Letting Go (brown colorway)


"Letting Go," (brown) 20" x 28", handmade by Pam Geisel, October 2020

Last year I made a piece very similar to this one only the fabric has less brown in it. They are both from the same fabric: Robert Kaufman's Effervescence in the Gradation Gray colorway.

The piece last year was made from the left side of the fabric and this one was made from the right side which has more brown in it.

The fabric on both pieces feature lots of circles and are both on a black background that has tiny circles that are a tan/gray color.

Both have oval petal shapes that are arrange so the petals get darker as they move away from the center.

Both have nine full or partial petal outlines in the negative space on the left side.

Both have nine plastic brown buttons hand sewn in various parts of the quilt.

And both have a larger wood button in the center of the petals. The button on this piece is made using black locust wood (and the bark is still on the outside of the button.

More about Letting Go

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Dancing Geese and Nine Ball in Momentum exhibit at Front Street

My pieces "Dancing Geese" and "Nine Ball" are included in the "Momentum" exhibit at The Orphanage Gallery, 73 N. Dutoit St in Dayton (part of Front Street on the first floor of Building 200, enter at Door 4E). The event will take place this Friday, Sept. 4 from 5-9 pm, on Sat, Sept 5 from 11 am-4 pm and again on Sun, Sept 20 from 11 am-4 pm. Please wear a mask and observe social distancing.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Witch One


Witch One, 6" x 6" x .5", handmade by Pam Geisel, August 2020

One of the members at Village Artisans challenged us to make art with or using a witch's hat to celebrate Halloween this year. I'd recently been working on a piece that uses sheer fabrics so I found these three fabrics to use to make this piece.

The background is a shiny plum purple fabric that changes color depending on how the light hits it. The hat is made with a sheer fabric with silver stars printed on it. And the band is made with a shiny melon colored fabric. I also added a metal button on the band.

It is wrapped around a canvas frame and is ready to hang or prop on a shelf.

More about Witch One

Friday, August 28, 2020

Effervescent Zebra and Rainbow Zebra


"Effervescent Zebra" and "Rainbow Zebra," both 6" x 6" x.5", handmade by Pam Geisel, August 2020

I am still in love with the Robert Kaufman Effervescence fabric. For Effervescent Zebra I used the "Mardi Gras" colorway which I also used this for Cat Love, Cat Love Profile, Tweet, Sing, and Rainbow Heart. For Rainbow Zebra I used the "Graduation - Rainbow" colorway which I also used for the two Breathe art quilts.

For the mane on Effervescent Zebra I used some black yarn. I also used a bead for the eye.

For Rainbow Zebra I used loops of embroidery floss in purple and two different blues to match the stripes.

Both pieces are wrapped around a small canvas and can hang on a nail or be propped on a shelf.

More about Effervescent Zebra
More about Rainbow Zebra