Thursday, April 30, 2015

May Day Celebration

May Day goes back to  an ancient springtime fertility festival in the Northern Hemisphere. In Roman times, it was a  tribute to Flora, the goddess of flowers. Later, it was connected to  Walpurgis Night  in Germany and the Gaelic Beltane observance of the midway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Come celebrate May Day with this pretty quilt!

May Day Celebration, 26 x 28",  by Janet M. Bergman, Florida, U.S.A.

Janet explains, "My elementary school held a May Day Celebration that was...memorable!  The girls practiced weaving the ribbons round the pole for weeks, and one May Day we dressed in fancy white dresses and danced for the whole community......This original design used piecing and raw edge applique. This is the first piece I have quilted and thread painted on my brand new Baby Lock Tiara II machine."

Janet continues, "The children represented my grandchildren; Isabella with the cray spirit and fiery red hair, and Eloise, with the free loving soul and blonde hair. Their dresses and bows are scraps for a memory quilt made from a wedding dress." Janet's delightful, flower-filled  depiction of May Day was one of the Quilters Treasure Challenge quilts, exhibited at the 2015 World Quilt Show in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Exemplary Quilting in Arizona

At the 2015 Arizona Quilt Show we enjoyed some beautiful hand quilting and machine quilting.  Here are the blue ribbon and exemplary quilting award winners.

My Mother's Flowers by Katherine Witzge

Katherine Witzge won the Exemplary Hand Quilting award for this beauty, made with pieces left to her by her mother.  The hand quilting "took me just over 3 months, 7 hours a day.”  This quilt drew a crowd of admirers, and we had to wait until the end of the day to snap this photo.

The hand applique work was done in 1990 and the quilt was pieced in 2014 and hand quilted with 15 flower motifs in a grid.   Katherine's perfectly straight and even quilting is shown below.  What a loving tribute to her mother.

My Stars!  by Pat Roche

My Stars! won 1st place - Modern Quilt. Pat says, "[This quilt was] made with half-square triangles – a bright star just part of the vast universe. Inspired by traditional design." We loved her innovative quilting designs, done with a seamless pattern of stars, suns, swirls, circles, and Dresdens.

Pat is an awarding-winning machine quilter and Creative Studio trainer (Gammill/Statler Stitcher).  Her experience and artistry really shows here.

Triple Irish Chain scrap quilt, entered by Wendy Gilbert

This Triple Irish Chain was awarded a blue ribbon, First place – Group Quilt. Rosemary Kurtz sewed the blocks in 1996 and donated the unfinished top in 2014.  Wendy Gilbert added the borders, and Barb Mauer did the longarm quilting.  This quilt is the 2015 opportunity quilt for the Pebble Creek Quilters (drawing to be held December, 2015).

The quilt was inspired by a class taught by Wendy Gilbert, who is the author of the 1997 book, Triple Irish Chain Quilts. Barb Mauer used three different designs to quilt the open spaces, and every square was quilted with a cathedral window design. 

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Earth Day !

Since 1970,  Earth Day has been observed on April 22 to raise awareness of sustaining our planet's natural resources. It is now celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. We chose the map quilt below, because it reminds us of the iconic photo of Earth from outer space, as shown on the Earth Day Flag.

The Island, 41 x 38", by Alicia Merrett, U.K.

Alicia writes, "Maps have fascinated humankind from the birth of civilization; now we have progressed to contemporary aerial photography and GPS.  Maps describe features of the earth, tell us where places area, and lead us to destinations. Maps can also be products of the artistic imagination."

Alicia has done a fabulous job of creating an island with apparent mountains, roads, rivers, and even little buildings in settlements shown in the close-up below.  

Close up, The Island by Alicia Merrett

Alicia continues, "This island is completely imaginary - it just exists conceptually on a blue ocean. But, I have borrowed the cartographic symbols of a typical aerial view and used them to describe it."  We love the vivid, clear fabric colors used in this highly innovative and fascinating original design.   Alicia's work is  machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted. It was displayed at the 2015 World Quilt Show in Florida, U.S.A.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beating the Heat at the 2015 Arizona Quilt Show #4

It was 95°F for this year's Arizona Quilt show... but, as they say, it's a dry heat! It was the perfect occasion to enjoy an air-conditioned quilt show. Many of the quilts reflected the hot colors of the desert and exotic locales. Here is part 4 (and the finale) of our photos.

Painted Beauty by Barbara Janson

Barbara Janson created this portrait of a painted Surma (Ethiopia) woman by using fusible applique and acrylic paint.  The leafy headdress was made with 3-D applique, and various fibers were used to depict twigs. In the closeup photo, below, you can see the facial decoration, as well as the necklace and earrings made of real beads.

Painted Beauty was inspired by the photography of Hans Sylvester, whose recent work features the Surma and Mursi people of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. A collection of Hans Sylvester's photographs, presenting the beauty of the tribes' ancient tradition of temporary body decoration, can be seen in the 2009 book, Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa.

Cosmati Revisited by Linda Schoenfeld

This vibrant blue-and-orange quilt was based on 13th century stone floors created by the Cosmati family in Italy. Linda Schoenfeld's design was based on her own photos of the decorative mosaic floors. 

An impressive amount of planning must have gone into designing the pieced elements, including the stone-colored background blocks.

Not a City by Betty Hahn

We are fascinated by this digital quilt, which won First Place, Art/Painted or Digital Images.   It reminds us of a cityscape with lights reflected in water.  But wait... the image is Not a City!  Betty Hahn explains that image is "a photograph of [the] demise of my computer screen because of a grandson magnet event that “killed” it." 

Betty accented the fried computer screen with quilting - in orange thread - that reminds us of a computer chip.

Focus If You Can by Alicia Sterna

We really liked the composition and colors of this floral art quilt, which won Honorable Mention.  Three sunflowers in bright batik colors are set against block and white striped fabric, which creates illusions of movement.  The machine quilting was beautifully done.

Stateline Road by Nancy Hawkes

There's a sense of serenity to this row quilt, with a setting sun that tops pieced designs made with blue, green and violet batiks.  Nancy Hawkes says that most of this quilt was made from pieced sections that never made it into other quilts. It was beautifully hand quilted as shown below.

Nancy Hawkes is a member of the Mavericks Art Quilters and Cactus Patchers quilt groups.

Off the Wall by Carol Caplan

Carol Caplan says, "This guy lives on a wall in our backyard, although not this size!"  The background was the perfect setting for the dark lizard.  It was based on the Run for Color pattern by Karla Alexander.

Colore e Forma by Christy Schliesmann

Thirty-four different batiks, and many different colored threads, make an eye-popping design in this 12-point star quilt by Christy Schliesmann.  Christy says that the pattern was "a piecing challenge I couldn’t resist and fabrics I loved using."

Winner of Honorable Mention, the paper-pieced quilt was based on the Florigia quilt pattern by Cat Nix for Anthology Fabrics. The star points are constructed from French Braid wedges.  As of this writing, you can still download the free 23-page (!) pdf pattern from Anthology Fabrics.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Beating the Heat at the 2015 Arizona Quilt Show #3

This is our 5th year of attendance, and we always enjoy seeing the variety and creativity displayed by members of the Arizona Quilters' Guild at their annual show. Here is part 3 of our virtual show including some top award winners.

Silk and Satin by Sheila Groman

Winner of a blue ribbon (1st Place - Other), This rainbow-shaded crazy quilt has a very contemporary look.  Each block is shaded in a different hue of the rainbow. There is even a bright sun rising in the upper right corner of the quilt. Flowers (of course), baskets, fans, butterflies and hearts were used in the blocks, along with some very creative stitches.   Sheila says, "Hand embroidered surface embellishment is satisfying and rewarding for me."

Ghost Walk by Karin Scanlon

This improvisational piece was beautifully composed, and the fabrics added a softness and depth not seen with commercial dyed fabrics. The original piece won 2nd place, Art/Abstract.  Karin Scanlon says, "I used some of my hand painted and stamped fabrics as well as linen in this abstract piece."   We loved the serene colors in this piece. 

Spiky by Vicki Bohnhoff

This Spiky quilt is a finished UFO from a class Vicki took at Quilt Camp in the Pines in 2008 (Inner Light with Deb Karasik).   The stitching with heavy-weight rayon thread was like nothing we've seen before... it really makes this quilt sparkle. 

Vicki says, "My couching design with Razzle 12-weight thread added detail and excitement."  We can't imagine how many thousands of knots were used to finish the lines of stitching.  The quilt was awarded Honorable Mention at the show.

Winter Chickadee by Diane Hansen

Diane Hansen won First Place, Applique-Small for her depiction of a little bird, inspired by a copyright-free photo.  Diane says that Winter Chickadee was started in a class with David Taylor. There are 100 different fabrics and thread choices in this quilt.  The textured quilting was so well done, it makes the applique work blend into the scene.

Life Lessons: Playing With Blocks Can Be Perilous by Linda Engstrom

This quilt won First Place, Art/Abstract (blue ribbon) along with the special City of Mesa award (teal ribbon).   Linda Engstrom says, "As grief therapy during my mother’s final illness, leftover fabric was improvisationally pieced, assembled into 'balancing' blocks inspired by Ann Johnston. The shadowy echoes of the design in the off-white background can be seen in this close-up photo. 

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Beating the Heat at the 2015 Arizona Quilt Show #2

It was 95°F for this year's Arizona Quilt show... but, as they say, it's a dry heat! Moreover, it was the perfect occasion to enjoy an air-conditioned quilt show. This is our 5th year of attendance, and we always look forward to seeing the variety and creativity displayed by members of the Arizona Quilters' Guild. Let's beat the heat with a look at this year's fantastic quilts... here is part 2 of our virtual show!

Arizona Grand by Wanda Seale 

We really enjoyed this stunning landscape quilt by Wanda Seale.  Although the scene has a photo-realistic appearance, it is not a digital quilt.  Wanda says, "Capturing the iconic splendor of our favorite landmark, I appliqued specific fabrics to showcase the depth and colors of the Canyon."

Georgetown Wedding, 74 x 75", by Ann L. Petersen

Award-winning quilter Ann Petersen has created another stunning quilt in colors that remind us of chocolate and cotton candy.  Ann's original design was based on the traditional Double Wedding Ring pattern, combined with Georgetown Circles.  At the 2015 show the quilt won First Place - Mixed Technique Large.

This is a close-up photo of the Georgetown Circles with appliqued centers. (For more information on the traditional Georgetown Circle block, see the post by Martha Dellasega Gray.) It's no surprise that Georgetown Wedding also won the award for Exemplary Machine Quilting – Stationary. At the 2014 Houston International Quilt Festival it won a blue ribbon in the Innovative Pieced category.

 Midnight Dahlia by Elaine Putnam, quilted by Gina Perkes

There was a spotlight shining on the corner of this quilt, but we tried our best with this photo.  This Midnight Dahlia (a pieced Dahlia on a black background)  won First Place, Pieced – Medium.  The quilting, by Gina Perkes, was awarded a special ribbon for  Exemplary Machine Quilting (Track Mounted).   Here is a photo of the pastel center of the Dahlia:

Midnight Dahlia was inspired by Marti Michell’s Giant Dahlia templates and Sharon Schamber’s Piece-lique method. You might be interested to know that Sharon's daughter, Cristy, has a tutorial on the Piece-lique technique at her website, Sew Much Like Mom.  We'll be posting more close-up photos on our Exemplary Quilting Board on Pinterest.

Brimill - Icelandic Horse by Georgia Thorne

Georgia Thorne won a Judge's Recognition award for her artistic depiction of an Icelandic horse.  She says, "Inspired by a Threadplayers (fiber art group) challenge to design a fiber art piece using Zentangle details, I chose an Icelandic horse with his flowing mane and tail."  The background fabric is a silver-and-white diamond print; Georgia echoed the pattern with diamond-shaped shadows.

Each section of the horse had a different Zentangle design rendered in machine embroidery and applique.

Out of Egypt by Florence A. Evans

Out of Egypt won 2nd place in the Pieced – Large quilt category. It was made of Egyptian-themed fabrics and strip-pieced panels, inspired by a class on Strips and Curves taught by Louisa Smith.   This is such a successful design; we loved the way in which Florence used the bright blue to provide a focal point.

close up, Out of Egypt by Florence A. Evans

In the close-up photo you can see some of the fun Egyptian-themed fabrics in this quilt, including silhouetted camels at sunset (upper right).

In Memoriam by Maggie Hagen, quilted by Pamela Dransfeldt

We enjoyed this intricate applique quilt, which features patterns from the 1858 Bird of Paradise quilt top in the American Folk Art Museum.  Some of the blocks and borders are Maggie's own design. The Bird of Paradise block patterns can be found in A Bountiful Life: An Adaptation of the Bird of Paradise Quilt by the late Karen Mowery.

There is a lot of detail in this quilt: the edges of some flowers and leaves were embellished with French knots.  Pamela Dransfeldt used echo quilting around the flowers, and created veins in the leaves.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.  We appreciate the assistance of Cathy Tognoni !
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