Monday, December 30, 2013

52 Quilts Completed in 2013

I didn't plan on completing an average of one quilt per week, it just turned out that way. Some were bed sized, some were small; some were traditional quilts, but most were art quilts. (If you click on the links you will be taken to the original blog posts about each quilt.)

This year started out like the last few years, with the Project Quilting challenges:

 (top row, left to right) "Lime Squares", "Mountain Mist", "Coneflower Confection"

And there were several custom quilts:

Two custom T-shirt quilts 
 Two custom bed quilts
Two quilts started by another quilter (left) "The Blue Collection" and (right) "Barbara's Pineapples" 

Then there were some quilts that were made for other groups:

(Left) My slice of "Industrial Dayton" for the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network’s Dayton Landmark Redux quilts and (right) a collaborative "String Quilt" for the Children's Museum of South Dakota.

Plus two more pieces:

(left) "Red Sky at Night" which was a special Project Quilting challenge and (right) "Home Tweet Home", a fabric mosaic made for the Miniature Show at Would You, Could You In a Frame

And a series of quilts based on design principles for the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network study group:

On June 16 I posted on my Facebook page: "We're 24 weeks into 2013 and I've made 23 quilts/fabrics mosaics so far this year."

The next few months was getting ready for the Textile Art Group show at the Wind’s Café in Yellow Springs:

The Yellow Springs Americana Series:

Two more custom quilts made using the client’s father’s bathrobes and made for twin sisters:


Three more art quilts:

(left) "The Fragment of a Song" made for the Bound 2B Round show at Village Artisans and (right) "My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-oh, No Pluto" for the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network study group
(bottom) "Four Patch Bridge at Sunset" made for the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network's Fiver Rivers MetroParks exhibit for 2014

Two more framed pieces:

(left to right) "Orange Tree at Sunset" and "Sunrise in the City" 

And something a little different:


This little 3D art quilt and "Sunrise in the City" were the only piece I made all year that wasn't for a specific challenge, show, or client.

Did you count them? Yes, there are only 48 photos as three not mentioned here because they aren't ready to be shown, plus a custom table caddy that I didn't take a photo of before it was picked up.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunrise in the City

"Sunrise in the City," 9" x 11", made by Pam Geisel, December 2013

I have been making quilted bookmarks using hand dyed fabric. I usually piece the strips of colors together then cut them to the size I need, which sometimes leaves me with left over smaller pieces. I used these pieces to make this framed art.

I used a purple variegated thread to quilt these then I framed it.

More about Sunrise in the City.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Four Patch Bridge at Sunset

“Four Patch Bridge at Sunset,” 45.5” x 17.5”, made by Pam Geisel, Nov. 2013

The last few years the members of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network created “slice” quilts of photos of Dayton Landmarks. For 2014 we are each making a quilt that represents a place in one of the Five RiversMetroParks in Dayton, Oh.

The quilts could be based on a photograph of a spot in one of the parks, the use of the location, or something regarding the history of the Metro Parks. The quilts can be more abstract than the previous sets but must convey the scene without needing a “story” to explain it.

I decided to use an image from the Eastwood MetroPark, which is located close to where I grew up. I didn’t go there a lot as a kid, but I did have a vague memory of some stone bridges. My husband remembers going with his family when he was a kid and canoeing in the lagoon and under the bridges. Last Spring we went to the park to take some photos that I could use for reference.

Reference photo of bridge at Eastwood MetroPark

I made this quilt similar to my quilt “Early Morning Nine Patch” only the sky in this quilt is at sunset so there are purples and pinks in it, but there is still a strip that has stars on it. The strips are 1" tall.

Four Patch Bridge at Sunset detail of bridge

There are two “four patch” squares in the sky and one in the ground, plus the colors of the stones on the bridge alternate in a four-patch fashion, especially noticeable in the posts. I really think the bridge's reflection in the water really adds to the piece.

The sky and ground are pieced, the bridge is raw-edge appliqué. I bound it using my favorite facing technique.

The Miami Valley Art Quilt Study Group was recently discussing the “Rule of Thirds” so I used this to determine the placement of the bridge. To use the “Rule of Thirds” you divide the quilt into thirds both horizontally and vertically then make a note where these lines cross. This is where you place an item of interest, in this case it's the bridge.

More about Four Patch Bridge at Sunset

The exhibit of Five Rivers MetroPark quilts will be at:

Cox Arboretum in March and April 2014
Wegerzyn Gardens in May and June 2014
Carriage Hill in July and August 2014
Aullwood Garden in January and February 2015

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

I was flipping through an issue of Ohio Magazine when I saw an interview of the author of this book. Since there was a large photo of the book cover, that was what I noticed first. You know how sometimes your mind skims things and tries to fill in the pieces, often misinterpreting them? Since there was an image of a woman in period clothes, since the word “Runaway” was in the title, and since the author’s last name was long and had “C H V plus some Es and an A” I assumed it was about Jennifer Chiaverini, whose books I have reviewed on this blog.

I realized my mistake right away, read the article, and learned that the book was set in Ohio (where I’ve lived all my life!), was about a quilter (I like to quilt!), and was set in the 1850s and dealt with slavery and the Underground Railroad (OK, not a personal connection but I have recently enjoyed reading books set during the Civil War). I hadn’t read any other books by Tracy Chevalier but I sought this one out and I’m very glad I did as I really enjoyed it.

The story is about Honor Bright, a young Quaker woman who has just emigrated to Ohio from England. Aside from having to get used to living in a new country with people she’s never met, she also questions the local Quaker’s views on slavery and their actions and reactions to it.

Since Tracy attended a Quaker camp as a child, she was familiar with their practices. She also attended Oberlin College in Ohio, so she had a personal history with the area. Both of these connections made the story feel more authentic. Another aspect that I enjoyed about this book is how the story is told as a third-person narrative but every chapter is sandwiched with a with a first person letter, usually written from Honor’s point-of-view.

Honor not only notices how different the Ohio flora and fauna is from her native country, but also the quilting styles. She is used to doing English Paper Piecing and patchwork, while the Quakers in Ohio seem to do a lot of red and green appliqué quilts. Honor thinks that the appliqué work is simpler and easier than what she’s used to doing although I personally haven’t made an entire quilt using traditional appliqué as I think it’s pretty difficult.  

It was interesting to find on Tracy’s website under the section about “The Last Runaway” that there are links to Pintrest boards that Tracy has set up with photos of examples of English, American, Red and White, and African American quilts.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Art & Soul art show this Sat, Nov. 16 in Yellow Springs

Art & Soul, features 30 exceptional artists who “put their souls into making art.” The show is this Sat., Nov. 16 from 10 am-5 pm. It will be in the Mills Lawn School Gym, 200 S. Walnut St. in Yellow Springs, just one block from the Xenia Ave. There's plenty of free parking in town and also in the lot behind the school.

There is a $3 admission fee, a portion of which will go to the Yellow Springs Schools and the Yellow Springs Police Coat Fund.

You can find photos and bios of all the artists participating on the Art & Soul Facebook page (and you don't have to have a Facebook account to view the page...if it asks you to sign up just close that window).

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-Oh, No Pluto: an art quilt which focuses on the design principle of Unity

"My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-Oh, No Pluto," 15" x 15.5", made by Pam Geisel, Oct. 2013

This quilt came about because my art quilt group, the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network, is working through the book "Adventures in Design" by Joen Wolfrom. We were working on the design principles of Unity. We were focusing on Unity through Repetition, Rhythm, and Harmony; Unity with Variation and Contrast; Bridging Extremes through Gradation; Unity through Proximity; and Unity through Movement.

My idea was to have a 4-part piece with each part detailing one of the five focuses although the focuses can also be found in the piece as a whole.

Unity through Repetition, Rhythm, and Harmony :
Repetition is repeating one or more element. Repetition that flows fluidly allows rhythm to come forth. When repetition and rhythm work together, harmony is created.

Obviously the use of circles is repeated throughout the whole piece in the planets and also in their orbits. There is a rhythm to the placement of the orbits, and harmony with the placement of the planets. The beads that hold the piece together also provide unity through repetition and rhythm.

Unity with Variation and Contrast :
Variation is created by shifting the motif shapes and contrast by altering the value, color, or size.

Mars is small and a dark red while in contrast, Jupiter is larger and a lighter red. The tight micro-stippling quilting in between Mars and Jupiter, representing the asteroid belt, contrasts with the space between the other orbits where there isn't any quilting (other than the couching holding down the yarn). 

Bridging Extremes through Gradation :
Bridging is gently moving from one extreme to another, most often with color, value, and shape.

Yes, there are four parts to the quilt and five design focuses. I thought the most obvious place to use bridging was on the sun and the sun is on all four parts equally. Instead of having the orange sun directly on the navy blue background, I "bridged" it by going from orange to yellow to white to light blue to blue to navy blue.

This part was the most fun to make and I did it in a style similar to how I made my fabric mosaics. I worked on the piece as a whole and cut it into four parts later. First I drew center lines and my inner and outer circles. I fused the blue and light blue pieces first, then added the white and yellow pieces. The orange sun had folded edges and was fused to the top.

Unity through Proximity :
Proximity is arranging the visual elements close enough to have a visual bond.

In this section Mercury, Venus, and Earth and close together, giving them a visual relationship. Neptune is farther out, making it more it's own design element. The proximity of the stars also bind them together. 

Unity through Movement :
Movement is created when there is a visual pathway for the eye to follow.

All of the pieces have movement with the couched yarn that are the planets orbits. I believe this section best represents movement with the comet. It is made with silver fun yarn that was couched to the background and a clear bead. It stands out because it is one of the few elements that isn't round.

A note about the title :
When I was working on this I had to decide whether or not to include Pluto. When I was growing up Pluto was a planet. In 2006 Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. I decided to include Pluto because nine makes a more interesting design layout than eight. (There are also nine stars in the four outer corners).

I was wondering what effect demoting Pluto had on the mnemonic device used to remember the names of the planets and I found many wonderful mnemonics to remember the names including the title I used, which does draw attention to Pluto's demotion.

As always, you can see a larger view of any of the photos by clicking on them.

More about My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-oh, No Pluto

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How Does Your Rainbow Grow - a 3D art quilt

"How Does Your Rainbow Grow," 19"W x 8"H x 3.5"D, made by Pam Geisel, Oct. 2013

This art quilt/mini-screen took awhile to grow into the piece that it finally became. It started back in 2009 with just the purple piece which I made as a 4" x 6" quilted postcard. I usually make one or two dozen postcards at a time so this was just one of many postcards that was made that June. But there was something about this one that spoke to me, so I set it aside.

The fabric on the lower part was something that I had hand painted, and I had more of that hand-painted fabric although it wasn't all purple, it was also blue, pink, orange and yellow. So sometime in 2010 or 2011 I made the other five postcards using blue, pink, orange and yellow fabrics.

Sometime in 2012 I thought stitching them together to make a "screen" that stood up would be cool, but it didn't seem like enough. So I temporarily pinned them at the corners so they would stand and I set it on my bookshelf, waiting for it to tell me what to do next.

One day while working at Village Artisans, the local artist co-op that I belong to, I realized that one of our wood workers, Rob Liptak, uses large, thin spools to create some of his work. I decided that was just what I needed to support my piece so I asked if I could buy some uncarved spools from him.

The idea was ready, now how to actually make it work.

I butted the postcards together and sewed a large, loose zigzag sttich (using a pastel rainbow variegated thread) where they met.

Then I made sleeves for the five spools and made sure there was a half an inch of fabric on either side of the seam. I folded the raw edge under then fused to the postcard backs on either side of the zigzag stitch.

I removed the spools and machine sewed down the flaps on both sides of the sleeves. Because the stitches would show on the front I used a thread color that matched the front (you can see it in the third photo on both sides of the zigzag).

As always, you can click on any of the photos for a larger view.

More about How Does Your Rainbow Grow

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour: meet my guest artists

The Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour is this coming weekend, Sat., Oct. 19 and Sun. Oct. 20, from 10 am-6 pm both days. This is my sixth year participating as a host, and this year I have four guest artists. We have 26 artists at eight locations with two new host artists and 13 new guest artists.

Courtney Yoakum incorporates drawing, painting and sculpture in her jewelry design. She enjoys using clay to create a surface and design that works well for delicate detail. The images are often inspired by flowers and creatures. After firing, a color pallet is selected and she paints a design using a a thin layering technique to create a vibrant finish.

Steve Smith and Rebecca Graves from 4 Corners Studio work in a partnership creating functional stoneware pieces that are thrown on the potter’s wheel by Steve, with sgraffito surface decoration by Rebecca. Sgraffito is a decorating technique produced by applying layers of color or colors to the unfired clay and than scratching away a design to create contrasting images, patterns and textures. They will also have reduction-fired stoneware.

Libby Rudolf paints watercolors, large and small, inspired by the beauty of The Glen Helen Nature Preserve as well as other natural spaces around the country. She has studied with various nationally known artists and is a signature member of the Western Ohio Watercolor Society. She paints plein-air (out in the middle of nature) whenever possible.

The tour is a driving tour. Visit the Yellow Springs Artist Studio Tour website for more information about the other hosts and guest artists and to download a tour map. Maps can also be picked up at the Winds Cafe, Young's Dairy, the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce, and at the artists studios the days of the tour. All studios will have red balloons and signs.