Saturday, December 19, 2009

Purple Pinwheels Pirouetting - Custom Art Quilt

"Purple Pinwheels Pirouetting," 21" x 32", made by Pam Geisel, March 2007

Did you know that I made custom art quilts? Do you have an idea that would make a good art quilt?

For this quilt the customer new the approximate size and that she wanted something with purple.

This was machine pieced and machine quilted stitch-in-the-ditch with hand quilting in the purple pinwheels and hand beading in the center of the pinwheels.

Monday, December 14, 2009

She Sews Seashells on the Seashore

"She Sews Seashells on the Seashore," 24" x 18", made by Pam Geisel, October 2010

For this art quilt I pieced blue fabrics on an angle from dark to light, then I pieced the blue fabrics to a tan fabric that had a small print on it that reminded me of sand.

I quilted the water part stitch-in-the-ditch then put some very small seashells on the sand part, covered it with a tan tulle, and stitched around the seashells to keep them in place. I attached a few tiny white beads along the quilting line.

I added some lace where the water meets the sand, which also covered the raw edge of the tulle then I added a binding to the quilt.

More about She Sews Seashells on the Seashore.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Xylo-Nebula-Phone and Crossings

"Xylo-Nebula-Phone," 24" x 15", made by Pam Geisel, March 2008

This background and sashing of this art quilt were pieced and the colored squares were turned under applique. It is quilted with black thread on the sashing with a wavy line and also on the appliqued squares.

I didn't have one large piece of the background fabric but I was able to arrange the smaller pieces so they looked like one big piece.

I made up the word XyloNebulaPhone because I thought this quilt looked like a xylophone but the background was kind of nebulous.

More about Xylo-Nebula-Phone.

= = =

"Crossings," 25" x 17", made by Pam Geisel, August 2008

I made the same quilt using different batik fabrics. On this one the smaller squares are all the same fabric.

More about Crossings

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fabric Mosaic Flowers: Yellow Flower and Cone Flower

"Yellow Flower," 10" x 8", made by Pam Geisel, March 2008

I made both of these flower mosaics back in March of last year.

"Yellow Flower" is a fabric mosaic my arranging small pieces of fabric on innerfacing, covering with tulle, then quilting it in place and framing it.

I was inspired by a photo that I took of a flower on the colors didn't come out correctly and instead of the background being green, it looked blue. I thought it was cool so I went with it.

This piece was awarded a People's Choice of Merit at the Fairborn Art Association's Spring Fine Arts Show in May 2008.

More about Yellow Flower.

= = =

"Cone Flower," 5" x 7", made by Pam Geisel, March 2008

"Cone Flower" is another fabric mosaic made from a photo that I took. Cone flowers are common in southwestern Ohio.

I love the way the different pinks add dimension to it.

More about Cone Flower.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Secret is Out!

"Tickled Pink," 7" x 5", made by Pam Geisel, October 2009

I made this by arranging small pieces of pink and brown fabric in a piece of innerfacing then I covered it with tulle and quilted the pieces in place using brown and pink thread.

More about Tickled Pink.

ArtWorks, a group in Cincinnati whose goal is employing student and emerging artists to create art that enlivens the Greater Cincinnati community, has an annual fund-raising event featuring the exhibition and sale of 5” x 7” works of art from local, national and international artists. This year they have 1747 pieces of art and all are for sale at $75 each. The secret behind each piece is the identity of the artist, which is revealed after the work is purchased. Tickets for the event are $100 per person and include a voucher for one of the pieces of art (they also have an option for couples for $125 and only 1 piece of art).

The event was held on Nov. 20, and although it sounded like a lot of fun, I was unable to attend.

There is a follow-up event, the Post Secret ArtWorks sale on Fri., Dec. 18 from 9 am-7 pm and Sat., Dec. 19 from 9 am-11 am at the ArtWorks Gallery located at 811 Race St. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Secret Art will be sold for $35 each or 2 for $60, and Secret Art from previous years well be sold for $10 each.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where the Really Big "E" is now

Back in August I blogged about the Really Big "E" that I appliqued for my part of the Quiltsy Team's banners that we made for the Etsy offices. Etsy has received all the banners and posted photos of them in their new home. If you want to see more photos, including close-ups, just go to to this Flickr page.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Glen Helen's Nature Arts & Crafts Show

(Photo by the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce)

Well I survived another year co-ordinating the Nature Arts & Crafts Show! Actually, I had a very good show and I think a lot of the other artists did also. And, as always, it was good to see the returning artists again and also to meet the new ones that I'd been e-mailing for the last several months.

I want to thank to the volunteers who collected the admission fee, baked and sold the bake sale items, and helped with clean up. And a special thanks to Niki Dakota, who invited me to talk about the show Friday morning on WYSO, the local Public Radio Station located right here in Yellow Springs. I was nervous about being on the radio, but she made it easy, and even fun.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yellow Ribbon fabric mosaic

"Yellow Ribbon," 10" x 8", made by Pam Geisel, November 2009

This fabric mosaic is made with green and yellow fabric fused to a white background, covered with tulle, then quilted in place and framed.

This close up shows the tulle and stitches.

More about Yellow Ribbon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Glen Helen's Nature Arts & Crafts Show, Nov. 21-22

The Nature Arts & Crafts Show is more than an art show for me. While I've sold my art there since 2006, I've been co-ordinating the show since 2001.

Every year we have several new artists, but many of the artists return year after year so there's also a wonderful sense of community among the artists, and it's fun to catch up with these friends, most of whom I only see once a year.

Photographers Ron Austing and Ken Becker, fiber artists Barbara Jones and Jack Southern, and stain glass maker Dave Roach have all been doing the show since before I started co-ordinating it. And although Charley Harper, a fixture at the show for many years, has passed on, his son Brett is still selling Charley's work and they will have some at the show.

For some returning artists, this is the only show that they do, or the only one that they do in the area, and others have mentioned to me that this is their favorite show.

Some of the artists new to the show this year are Ginny Baughman who makes art with found objects, Julie Gootee whose pendants and earrings use real butterfly and dragonfly wings, Christine Klinger who paints abstract landscapes and floral paintings, Rose Lawson who makes hand-woven beaded art, Geno Luketic whose pottery is functional and decorative, and Bootsie Robison who knits clothing and accessories from sheep and alpaca wool. Photographer Daniel Powers, who participated in the show before I was involved is returning this year.

The Glen Helen Nature Arts & Crafts Show is a fund-raising event for Glen Helen, a 1,000 acre nature preserve located in Yellow Springs and owned by Antioch College. This is the 28th year for the event which features nature-related art and fine crafts made by local and regional artisans. We have photography, watercolor and oil paintings, jewelry, stained glass, fiber arts, pottery, sculpture, and many other wonderful items.

The show is held at the Glen Helen Building, 405 Corry St. in Yellow Springs and is always the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year it is Sat. Nov. 21 from 9 am-5 pm and Sun. Nov. 22 from 11 am-5 pm. The $4 admission fee goes to Glen programs.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Quiltsy on Etsy

If you've never heard of Etsy before, it's an on-line site for buying handmade items where I have a "store." I'm also a member of the Quiltsy Team (the name started out as QuiltEtsy, we just dropped the "Et" at some point). Here's a link to my Etsy store.

Quiltsy team members are a talented bunch! Some of them make non-quilted sewing items like aprons and purses, some of them make knitted and crochetd items, and other make jewelry and art dolls, so you're likely to find something that would make a great gift for someone on your list, or maybe even something for yourself!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ART to BUY Holiday Gift Gallery at the Dayton Visual Arts Center

DVAC (Dayton Visual Arts Center) is having their annual "ART to BUY" Holiday Gift Gallery. It is open Nov. 6 2009 to Jan. 1, 2010. I've got some art for sale there.  

Some special dates:
Fri., Nov. 6, First Friday Opening Reception and Artist Demos, 5-8 pm
Fri., Dec. 4: First Friday, open until 8 pm
Wed., Dec. 23: Beer & Peanuts Last Minute Shopping Party, 5-8 pm
Fri., Jan. 1: First Friday Closing Reception, open until 8 pm

The gallery is open Tues.-Sat. 11 am-6 pm with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas (and will close at 2 pm on Thanksgiving eve, Christmas eve, and New Year's Eve). DVAC is located at 118 N. Jefferson St., in Dayton, Ohio.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or Treat!

My sister's husband really enjoys Halloween. He makes amazing themed costumes for the whole family. My sister asked if I could make her a quilted wall hanging with Halloween fabric and photo corners so she could display photos of the costumes.

There are 4 rows of 4 photos spots, with yellow, orange or purple backgrounds. Each has 4 photo corners which I made with the same background fabrics by cutting small squares with fusible web on the wrong side, folding them diagonally then did a zigzag stitch on the horizontal and vertical sides.

I found some adorable Halloween fabric, which I used as vertical sashing including Halloween images spelling out "Trick or Treat" and ghosts on a purple background for the borders. The whole thing measures 26" by 41".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Conversations in Fabric" Quilt Exhibit at the Ohio Craft Museum

"If your quilt could speak, what would it say?" That was the question posed by the Ohio Craft Museum when the put together this wonderful exhibition. My friend Lori and I went to see it today and it was a real treat.

My background is in graphic design and I have a particular interest in typography, so this show was especially interesting to me. Several of the quilts did have words on them or incorporated into them, which is something that I have just recently had some experience with (The Big E and the personalized quilt I did earlier this month) and I really want to do more of.

Two of my favorites were made by Lisa Binkley and Marlene Ferrell Parillo. Lisa's "Floating and Grounded" has an embroidered haiku while Marlene's "Dream City" uses images to describe what her dreams are saying to her. She also incorporates a lot of ceramic fixtures which she also makes and you can see at her website. Both had a significant amount of beadwork, which is another reason that I liked them.

If you do get a chance to go see it in person, the Ohio Craft Museum is located at 1665 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus, Ohio, and is open Mon.-Fri. 10 am-5 pm and Sat. and Sun. 1-4 pm. The exhibition is free but donations are accepted.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aminah Robinson Exhibit at the Springfield Museum of Art

"Along Water Street" is a collection of work by Columbus (Ohio) artist Aminah Robinson. Most of the works are paintings with facials and hand details drawn in. As a quilter what I find fascinating is the way Aminah uses fabric glued to the painting for the clothing the people wear. Because her works are fairly large, she's pieced several pieces of paper together by sewing them with buttons. They have a function but are also artistic.

There is one quilt in the exhibit, although it is really more than one quilt, it's a piece that is a "RagGanNon" (because it keeps ragging on and on). The title of this piece is "Water Street (The Legend of Chipo Village)" and it's 60 feet wide. It is impressive to see it all at once. There are thousands of buttons of all colors and shapes.

The exhibit is currently at the Springfield Museum of Art, a real treasure located in Springfield, Ohio. It runs until Nov. 28, 2009. The museum, located at 107 Cliff Park Road is open Tues.-Sat. from 9 am until 5 pm and Sun. 12:30-4:30 pm. Admission is free on Sundays and $5 for non-members on the other days. Aminah will be at the museum on Sat. Nov. 8 from 2-4 pm.

Also on exhibit at the museum is Gretchen Cochran's "Bounty or Burden" whose colorful, giant basket-type figures represent women in Africa who have to carry items on their heads and Gretchen is exploring the concept of whether what they carry is a bounty or a burden. The pieces are so animated I almost expect them to start moving around the museum. This exhibit will be up until March 7, 2010.

If you're in the area, I highly recommend checking out both exhibits.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Personalized Quilt

This is a custom quilt that I made which is going to be a Christmas gift for a special little girl. The checkerboard background is made of white, red, yellow, green and blue with blue borders and her name in white letters across the middle. There are five blocks that use all four of the colors in a 4-patch arrangement and three with a diamond combination.

Because the letters are made with white fabric, I used two layers of fabric to keep the colors from showing through. Very similar to the "Big E" that I made, the letters with straight edges are actually folded under (like with needle-turn applique) although the "C" and "O" have raw edges. All the letters have a tight, white zigzag stitch all the way around them to keep them attached for years.

This quilt is 48" x 58".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eclectic Art Quilts on display

"Virginia Reel," 8" x 8", by Pam Geisel

The opening reception of "Eclectic Art Quilts" will be held in the Yellow Springs Arts Council Art Space at 108 Dayton St. on October 16 from 6-9 pm. The show highlights 10 Yellow Springs artists. Refreshments will be served and this event is free and open to the public.

That same night is also the monthly 3rd Friday Fling. Many of the businesses in Yellow Springs stay open late, so there's a lot to see and do.

This piece of art is my "Virginia Reel" fabric mosaic, which is a traditional quilt square but presented in a non-traditional way.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour this weekend

I'm am honored to be included on the annual Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour this weekend, Oct. 17 & 18 from 11 am to 6 pm. I'll be joining 13 other exceptional artists as we open our studios so you can explore the inner workplaces of some of the finest artists in the region. Along with my fiber art, there are potters, sculptors, painters, a clock maker and more.

Print a map from the website. Or pick up a map the day of the event at Young's Jersey Dairy or The Winds Cafe.Make an event out of it and eat at one of the local restaurants or go for a hike in Glen Helen or John Bryan State Park.

Monday, October 5, 2009

October Street Fair in Yellow Springs this Saturday

It's time again for another Yellow Springs Street Fair. This time we'll have yummy berry pie (made from a mix of many yummy berries) and my Springerles, German anise cookies made from my husband's family recipe, which requires one day to roll out the cookies, the next day to bake them, and three weeks for them to ripen and get nice and strong.

This time we'll be in booth #127 (across from US Bank). Along with the pies and cookies, we'll have my quilts and quilted art, and copies of Gravity Fiction, an anthology of short stories by college writers, with commentary on the craft of writing fiction.

There are many other interesting things to check out at the Yellow Springs Street Fair. Be sure to stop by and say "Hi!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hunter's Star Quilt

I recently finished this queen-sized, purple and white bed quilt for a friend. It's called "Hunter's Star" and the stars are formed in the corners when you piece the blocks and arrange them next to each other.

The blocks are arranged with 4 blocks going across and 6 blocks going down and there are 3 borders: an inner cream border, a middle border of 2 different purples and the outer purple border. So that the pieced part will fit on the bed without hanging over the bottom edge, I eliminated the middle border at the top and also made the cream border a little narrower. This part will be under the pillows.

Most of the quilting is stitch-in-the-ditch with a purple varigated thread, but I did some free motion hearts in the center of the cream squares, and in the cream border I echoed the stars that would have been there if the pattern had continued. Both of those were with cream-colored thread.

The middle purple border was quilted with a meandering wave and the outer border was quilted with a scalloped-shape, which was a little tricky to figure out since I left off the middle border at the top of the thread so the quilt isn't exactly symmetrical.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rust Dying

My friend Lori (Laughing Girl Quilts) has been doing a little bit of rust dying lately, and she also led a workshop on rust dying for our art quilt group.

I made this piece by spraying an piece of an old linen table cloth with vinegar, added some cuttings of steel wool, wrapped it diagonally around a rusty piece of metal, put it in a ziplock bag and sprayed more vinegar into the bag. When I got home I opened the bag and put it outside in the sun. I checked to make sure it was still moist and 24 hours later took it out, rinsed it many times and then washed it.

If you want to see samples of Lori's rust dyed fabric, what she did with them, or if you want to give it a try, check out Lori's blog.

As for this piece, I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for, but I have some ideas. Whatever it becomes, I'll post it here when it's done.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quilts at the Springfield Museum of Art

I was at the Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, Ohio) recently and was pleasantly surprised to see a quilt exhibit. The quilts were made by Alyson Annette Eshelman and there were several nice wall hangings and even some three dimensional work. They will be on display until Sept. 30, 2009.

Of course while I was there I visited the museum's permanent collection. If you've never been to the Springfield Museum of Art, it's small but very wonderful. As I entered the main room there were several of the museum's folk art paintings but at first glance I thought they were quilts. I guess some quilts can have a folk art style to them.

The special exhibit was paintings by Jack Osbun. His paintings were wonderful and I because I'm always looking for new display ideas, I was also interested in how they were framed. Jack's paintings will be at the muesum through Oct. 3, 2009.

The next show at the museum is fiber artist Aminah Robinson. I'm going to be a docent during this show, so I'll let you know more in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mason Art Show

The 4th Annual Mason Arts Festival takes place this Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 from 11 am-5 pm at the Mason Municipal Center, located at 6000 Mason-Montgomery Rd. in Mason, Ohio. I'm in booth #28 so stop in and say "Hi." Want more info? Click here.

I love the image used on the postcard this year. It was designed by Bonnie Collins.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wine Glass Coasters Custom Order

I was recently contacted by a woman who owns a bistro in Naples, Florida. They use wine glasses for their water glasses and wanted a few wine glass coasters to use. By a few I mean 18 sets (although since they were all the same fabric, it was just 72 wine glass coasters.)

She wanted a black and white print, and liked one of the ones on my website with black vines on a white background, but I only had 2 of that kind left. Since I'd bought that fabric a few years ago, I thought there was a chance it might not be available. So I went to my local fabric store and sure enough, they didn't have that fabric. But they did have the reverse of it...white vines on a black background.

So the 72 wine glass coasters are now on their way to Naples, although I wish I was delivering them personally!

The wine glass coasters are designed to fit over the bottom of the wine glass, so it moves with the wine glass so you don't have to remember to take your coaster with you. They also help to protect your furniture and also your wine glasses. They usually come in a set of 4 with different fabrics so guests can remember whose glass is whose.

If you live near Naples or go there to visit, stop in at KC American Bistro, at 885 Vanderbilt Beach Road, and be sure to let them know that you like their wine glass coasters!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bowling Journal / Sketchbook with fabric cover

It's not just the bowling shoes I like, it's also the cheesy graphics related to bowling. I found this fabric at an antique store that also has a quilt shop in it, and I bought the rest of the bolt. I made this journal cover, and a couple of post cards. I still have some fabric left, so maybe I need a "bowling" shirt to go with my shoes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Shoes I Wear

Janyce, a fellow Estian (someone who sells on Etsy) who's shop name was "Sojourn Quilts" but is now "Madder Root" posted an interview about me on her blog, titled "What Shoes I Wear" (from the poem "Sorrow" by Edna St. Vincent Millay). The photo of the bowling shoes that I own. You can read the interview here.

Some FAQ about my bowling shoes:

No, I didn't steal them, I bought them new, on-line from the company who makes them.
Yes, I wear them outside.
No, I don't wear them to bowl in (since I've worn them outside).
Yes, I wear a size 7.
No, I'm not a good bowler.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Me and the Really Big "E"

The Etsy admin contacted Quiltsy, the quilting team I belong to, to have us make some large banners that spelled out "Etsy" for them to use as room dividers in their new offices. Several team members pieced the cream-colored panels and my job was to piece the cream panels together, applique the large orange "E" and then piece the orange borders on.

The piecing went quickly but appliqueing the "E" took longer than I thought it would. I cut out the "E" with a 1/4" seam allowance, put fusible webbing on the back of and folded the edges under, like you do when you blind-stitch by hand. Then I put another strip of 1/4" fusible tape on the part that was folded over and used the iron to press the "E" to the backing fabric.

Instead of stitching it by hand, I used the sewing machine and used a zigzag stitch wider than what I use when doing raw-edge applique.

It's over 9 feet tall, and I don't have any place in the house to take a photo of something that tall, so some if it is on the floor. I'm 5'3", so you can tell how big that "E" really is.

UPDATE: This post shows the banner hanging with the others.

Monday, August 24, 2009

4-Patch Cards

No, it's not a 4-patch quilt, it's 30 4-patch cards, made to be used as invitations for a company's staff retreat. The theme of the retreat is quilts, with an emphasis that "like quilt squares, we are all unique, but together we achieve a beautiful quilt."

Each card has an actual quilt square made from different fabrics, and each square can be removed from the invitation to be used is the recipient's own quilt project, if they choose.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quilted Postcards for a Frosty Challenge

The Miami Valley Art Quilt Network has a bi-monthly themed challenge. The August challenge word was "Frosty." And while I admit the Snowman is a little cliche, I still think he's cute. And the Cupcake is because when the word was first announced, I heard "Frosting." OK, maybe I should get my hearing checked, but I think the cupcake is cute, also.

I've been a member of the group for over a year, and this is the first challenge I've participated in. Both are 4" x 6" fabric postcards with blue variegated thread satin stitched around the edges.

The October challenge is "Triangles" and the January one is "Chocolate". I think I'll need to do some research on that one first...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Visit to Quilt National

Yesterday Macy, Lori and I went to the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio to see the Quilt National 2009 exhibit. The Dairy Barn was originally a functioning dairy barn and was scheduled to be razed in the 1970s. With 9 days to spare, the barn was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and has become a respected arts center and gallery space.

Lori is also an art quilter and Macy does embroidery and sewing and has a nice art collection of her own. It was a real treat to view the show with other fiber artist so we could discuss what techniques were used and how the quilts were constructed. And while there were a few that weren't to my taste, most of the quilts were innovative and inspiring.

As a visitors, we each got to vote on our favorite quilt for the "People's Choice" award. It was very hard to pick just one, but the one I picked was "City" by Paula Kovarik. The colors are much more vibrant in real life and the quilting is very whimsical with fish and people and city motifs. This quilt won the McCarthy Memorial Award and was the cover for the 2009 Quilt National book.

Two of my other top choices were "Miscellany" by Erin Wilson and "Little Fish in a Big City" by Kathy York. The colors in Miscellany are more vibrant in real life and the tiny piecing is exquisite. "Little Fish" needs to be viewed from the side and not above as shown in the photo as the buildings, the red and orange squares shown, are actually 3-D and rise up from the quilt and the yellow pieces that divide the quilt into 4 quadrants are acutally 3-D fish acting as taxis with little people on top. 

If you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. Several of the quilts looked very different when viewed from far away, and it's hard to get that same effect with photos. The exhibit goes through Sept. 7 and then will travel to St. Charles, MO; then parts of the exhibit will go to Columbus, OH; Lancaster, PA; and Paducah, KY.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Painting on Fabric workshop with Annette Kennedy

I have painted fabric before, and while I really enjoy that process, you don't have a lot of control over what it looks like. You can choose what colors to use but sometimes they mix in surprising ways. You can decide to salt the fabric and sometimes it's really noticeable and other times it's more subtle.

Being the control-freak that I am, I wanted to paint on fabric in a more deliberate way, so I was excited when I found out that Annette Kennedy was coming to the area to speak to the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild and also be giving a workshop on painting on fabric, and she didn't disappoint.

There were about 20 people in the workshop (I say people because one was a man). Above is the Calla Lily project that everyone made in the workshop (and the design is copyrighted by Annette Kennedy). I don't have a before photo of the project before we started painting, but you can see one on her website. Each of the yellow flowers is one piece of fabric, so all the shading you see is from the Setacolor textile paints, as is the shading on the left side of each stem and the veins in the leaf.

I've got several other projects that need my attention right now, so this goes on the TBFL pile (to be finished later). But I'll post photos when I do finish it. And I'll post projects of my own that I've painted on, as I definitely plan on doing more of this.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to Make a Watercolor Quilt

What is a Watercolor Quilt? Traditional quilts use different colors and shapes to make patterns. Watercolor quilts use the intensity of the colors and the values (light to dark) to create their patterns. The fabric is usually small squares or strips with brightly colored floral patterns. This post offers a brief description of how to design a watercolor quilt, it assumes that you already know how to make a quilt.

Step 1 - Designing

Start by drafting a design on paper. Since it's values that are important and not colors, you can use a pencil on graph paper. Make some areas dark, light, and medium in value. Figure out how many squares you'll need of each. Traditionally watercolor quilts are made of 2" x 2" squares. When sewn together with a 1/4" seam allowance, the final size of each square will be 1.5" x 1.5".  

Step 2 - Sorting
Organize your 2" x 2" squares into three piles: dark, medium and light. Darks usually have a background that is black or a very dark color with foreground colors that are very vivid and bold. Lights usually have a white or very light colored background with foreground colors that are pastel or muted. Sometimes it helps to have a "medium-dark" and "medium-light" pile.

Step 3 - Arranging
Arrange your dark, medium and light squares based on your design. Step back and look at it, then rearrange squares until they fit your design better. You can rotate the squares or even use the back sides if you like that better. This is sometimes the hardest part because I'll want to keep arranging and I have to make myself stop. 

Step 4 - Finishing

Piece together, quilt and bind.

Resources If you don't have lots of brightly colored floral fabrics, you can buy a set of 200 pre-cut 2" x 2" squares. You can also buy them in strips and fat quarters. A handy tool for making watercolor quilts using 2" squares is "Quilt Fuse," a fusbible webbing that has a 2" x 2" grid marked on it. Arrange your fabric on the Quilt Fuse using the grid, fuse them in place with an iron, then fold the rows over and sew a whole row at one time.

Here are some watercolor quilts that I designed and made: Watercolor Sunset, and Watercolor Swirl.

If you've made a watercolor quilt, please post a link to a photo of it in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to Avoid Art Scams

I've gotten the strange e-mails: someone wants to know how to make a purchase, even though my website has "Add to Cart" buttons; they say their interested in my "art" or "quilts" but don't mention which specific one; and they tell me to be sure to include my website address, which they would have if they looked at any of my quilts. I was pleased to find a website with lots of good info on how to keep from becoming a victim:

Be skeptical.
Artists are increasingly being targeted in Internet scams. After all, what artist hasn't dreamed of being "discovered" and selling several works of art to an admiring collector or a wealthy buyer? A few tell-tale signs to look for in any email you receive from a prospective buyer: misspelled words, poor grammar, and an urgent overseas buyer. They also typically want to make the shipping arrangements themselves or have someone pick the work up for them, rather than have you ship it to them - probably because they don't want the authorities to track them to a particular address. Or worse, they are looking for an excuse to enter your home.

Never ship your artwork to someone without making sure the payment has cleared.
Be aware that even though your bank may give you cash for cashier's checks and postal money orders, they can still be counterfeit. Cashier's checks and postal money orders can take up to a month to fully clear. If the payment turns out to be fraudulent, you could be held responsible for the entire amount withdrawn from your bank.

Beware if you have been overpaid for an item you are selling by cashier's check or postal money order and have been instructed to return the overpayment amount to the buyer or other party.
Never agree to return an overpayment. See explanation above.

Don't deal with persons who insist it is "urgent" or those who claim that they need the item in a hurry (perhaps for a gift).
Con artists will try to pressure you so you don't have time to ensure the funds have cleared. Honest buyers should understand that you need to wait until their check has had time to clear.

Perform due diligence if a gallery wants to exhibit your work, or a company wants to license your art.
Check with the local better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce as well as your Attorney General's office to find out if they are a legitimate business and to learn if there have been any complaints lodged against them. Insist on a contract with all of the terms in writing, signed and dated by both parties. Carefully scrutinize the document and read all terms of the agreement before signing. Don't sign anything you are uncomfortable with or anything you do not fully understand. Remember too that contract terms are often negotiable.

Beware of vanity galleries and publishers who charge artists to have their work included in a publication.
Vanity galleries charge exhibition fees for artists to exhibit their work, rather than commissions on sales. The fees can be very high and the galleries do not have an incentive to effectively promote your work since they make their money from exhibition fees, rather than sales of your art. The same is true for vanity publications - publishers who charge artists to have their work published.

Beware of emails from a foreign government official requesting assistance in the transfer of excess funds from a foreign country into your bank account.
Again, these scam artists attempt to steal your money. The persons perpetrating these scams are considered extremely dangerous.

Safeguard your online transactions to help prevent identity theft or unauthorized credit card charges.
Purchase only from a trusted retailer or use an online payment service, such as PayPal, which allows you to shop without sharing financial information. Website pages which request financial information, such as credit card numbers, should always have a website address that begins with "https". The "s" lets you know that your personal information is encrypted when it is sent, preventing unauthorized people from seeing the information that is sent across the Internet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things to Pack for an Art Show

This last weekend I was at the Westerville Art and Music Festival in Westerville, Ohio (just north east of Columbus). The show is held in Heritage Park, which is a fairly large park with 12’ x 12’ booths with no one behind you. I was up on the grassy area across from the pond.

It was warm when we left. We arrived at 9 am and around 9:30 am I dropped a panel on my foot, it took off a little bit of the nail on my big toe and part of the skin. It didn’t hurt much, but it did bleed. A lot. I didn’t know the toe had that much blood in it. I managed to grab a paper towel and compress it while I looked for the bandages.
Things to pack: bandages.

The photo is not my stash of bandages. This is my emergency sewing kit. I like it because it’s made of a strong plastic. I did have some bandages packed, it just took me a minute to remember where, as it wasn’t in the obvious place.
Things to pack: sandals.Wear the closed-toe shoes while setting up and then change to the sandals.

The show started at 11 am. I was set up at 11 am. It started to rain at 11 am. It rained for three hours straight. I considered bringing a raincoat but thought that when it rains, I’ll be in the tent. What I didn’t think of was what I’d do when I went on a bathroom break.
Things to pack: raincoat.

I did have some large trash bags that I’ve carried around for the last 3 years and never used, so I got one out, cut a head and arm holes then went off.
Things to pack: trash bag.

With the steady rain was a drop in temperature, and even though it was warm when we left, I did take along a long-sleeve shirt, which I put on when it got cool.
Things to pack: sweatshirt for if it gets cool. The raincoat might be able to double for this one.

But I still wasn’t warm enough. Luckily, I had some baby quilts for sale, so I put one over my legs to keep me warm. Three years and it’s the first time it’s been cool enough to make use of some of my wares. In the middle of July.
Things to pack: quilts!

It could’ve been worse. At least it didn’t rain during set-up. It hadn’t rain the night before so the grass wasn’t wet. It was dry in the tent (mostly). And people still came to the show, even in the rain.
Things to pack: umbrella.

On Sunday, the weather was much better, sunny and cool, and the sales were better, also.
Things to pack: sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat or visor to block the glare from the canopy top.