Monday, June 1, 2015

June Shortcuts...

June Shortcuts.  Hmmm...  What's this about shortcuts?? 

I have a confession to make.  I've been on the road doing lectures and workshops so much that I have not had a moment to devote to my blog post this month.  So... I'm going to take a shortcut and post just a few photos... and save everything that I thought I'd be sharing this month for another time.  I'm sorry, but I'm sure you'll understand. 

This month you'll see photos from the 2013 International Quilt Association (IQA) Show Art Naturescapes division and the West Coast Wonders special exhibit.  The quilts in those exhibits are always exceptionally gorgeous and unique. 

Hopefully, I'll catch up in June and show you pictures of my finished Addie's Alphabet quilt and my finished new Baltimore Squared quilt; it's the straight-set version of Simply Baltimore.  I finished writing up the Baltimore Squared pattern set and will have it on my website ( soon.  The Addie's Alphabet pattern will be ready soon, too.  By the end of June, I also hope to have finished all of the design work for my new Baltimore Glory quilt (why did I decide to make four new Baltimore quilts at once?!); I won't have finished the quilt... but I'll be getting close!  For now, though, I'm going to catch my breath and show you this month's pictures.

* * * * *

This set of quilts hung in the IQA Art Naturescapes division in the 2013 IQA show in Houston.  These quilts are always unique creations.  They make me want to take up pictorial applique again.

Sunrise Serenade was made by Barbara Forrister of Austin, Texas.  While visiting Israel, she came across the unlikely pair, below; Barbara says "They were the best of friends, and their contrasting colors were quite exquisite next to one another.  Each morning I would hear them practicing their daily ritual of greeting the new day with their delightful 'sunrise serenade.'  Thinking of them brought a smile to my face, and I just knew that I had to create this piece."  Barbara's quilt is a combination of painted wholecloth, machine applique, and machine quilting.  She finished the edges with a facing.

Red Autumn was made by Barbara Oliver Hartman of Flower Mound, Texas.  For several years she developed ways to use the smallest pieces of fabric from various projects, making her quilts "green" quilts.  She scattered these small bits and pieces on a foundation and stitched them using a free-motion zigzag stitch.  This was a very striking quilt and reminded me of the old Pointillist paintings I studied years ago.

Beth Miller of Kambah, Act, Australia, made Night Bloomers.  She says, "The delicate highly perfumed flowers of the cactus contrast strongly with the columnar and prickly stems.  The large flowers bloom only at night, attracting months and insects, and last only from one sunset to the next."  She fused her applique, and then accented everything with hand and machine embroidery, machine quilting, and hand painting.

Here is a close-up of the center of one of the flowers.  Honestly, the flower was so realistic that you could almost smell the fragrant blooms.  Clearly, Beth must have studied these flowers very closely.

Below, note the cactus stickers on the stalk.  Oh my!

Xiahe was made by Chi Chen Wen of Pin Tong, Taiwan.  Her artist statement about her original work reads as follows:  The summer cicadas, Red Dutch fragrance, raindrops, fall leaves... your bright and jewel-like eye.  She made this quilt using a free-motion applique stitch.  What I liked in her quilt was the depth of color that she pulled into her flower and the surrounding leaves. 

This next quilt, by Dahlia Clark of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, is unique.  Kelly is a giraffe from an unusual perspective:  from above!  Dahlia says that this giraffe was her introduction to the stunning beauty of Kenya.  She fed her, saying that "feeding this graceful, gentle giant was a perfect antidote to my jet lag and culture shock.  In this quilt, I captured her sweet nature, approachability and the desire to reach out and touch her."  I love the perspective.  Dahlia made this quilt by painting it with thickened dyes. 

Elaine Quehl of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, caught the bright colors of a hosta plant just before it expired, in Curtain Call 2.  Elaine has taken up hosta leaves as her metaphor for the human life cycle.  This quilt used a variety of techniques and materials, with fusible reverse applique, free motion machine quilting, hand-dyed cottons, and art pencils.

In Zen Magpies, quilt designer Helen Godden of Latham Canberra, Australia, asked, "What is black and white and quilted all over?"  And she answered with, "Painted on silk sateen, the magpies sing their song with such joy and freedom.  They are surrounded by extreme quilted doodle-mania, an explosion of decorative free-motion fun.  With over 100 different designs, the quilter has found her Zen!"  I love seeing how quilters manage to incorporate art and design from other mediums into their quilts.

Here is a close-up of the doodle-mania... what fun it must have been to doodle away!

Janet Argyle of Washington, Utah, was haunted by a photo of the Canyonlands in southern Utah for several years.  Finally, with permission from the photographer Robert Lefkow, she created Autumn's Early Light, capturing the unusual rear lighting, early morning glow, and dancing tree caught in a confined, colorful canyon.  She says, "Beauty exists in unusual places, and this needed to be shared."  She sequentially applied fabric using a scrunching process to get a dimensional vertical and horizontal textured canvas to threadpaint on a longarm machine. 

Jean Evans of Medina, Ohio, became fascinated by the colors and shapes the camera captured while looking up underneath a dual-color tree with hot pink winged seeds -- the blue leaves and white sunspots outlined in orange and yellow were observed for one week at about three o'clock in the afternoon.  Jean captured it in Up a Tree at Three.  I love the bright, happy colors in this quilt!

Laurie Weiner of Clinton, Washington, made Alder and Sparrow.  She is inspired by the glory and beauty she finds while living in the Pacific Northwest - with its trees and birds.  She created color texture, light, and shadow with fabric paints, cut-away trapunto, thread painting, and freehand background micro-quilting on white sateen fabric.

Here are a couple more birds, in Rick and Lucy, designed and made by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek of Owensboro, Kentucky.  The artists' statement says that "Parrots are beautiful and colorful birds.  Painting them on silk was challenging, but by quilting them, they came to life."  They look SO lifelike and full of dimension -- there is some real artistry in this design.

Pat Durbin of Eureka, California, was inspired by a photo she took while walking in a forest.  In Sunlight in the Forest, Pat captured the sun shining and contrasting with the heavily wooded areas.  She decided to make the quilt a triptych so that she could have more versatility in hanging the quilt. 

Patricia Gould of Albuquerque, New Mexico, loosely based her quilt, Green River Sunset, on a photo she took in Dinosaur National Monument in southwestern Colorado.  Her techniques included discharging, hand painting, using fabrics, and free-motion quilting. 

Lain Lou was designed and made by Rebecca Stewart-Bartell of Carramar, W. Australia.  She says that Australian wildflowers have a wonderful contrast in their colors, and she tried to show the bright reds and deep greens of the eucalyptus blossom against the blue of the sky.  I'm a bit surprised - I grew up surrounded by eucalyptus groves and never noticed that they had flowers!  Rebecca used raw-edge applique, ink painting to highlight the applique, and free-motion longarm quilting in creating her work.

Here's a close-up of the quilt -- ou can see the intricate quilting that adds an unusual dimension to the quilt.

Roxanne Fergus of Mayfield, Kentucky, machine quilted leaf images into the background of this quilt; they are in spring green as buds at the top left and change to full-sized leaves in green at the top right.  Toward the middle of the quilt, the leaves take on Fall colors and angle more downward.  Finally, the leaves are brown and drop vertically at the bottom of the quilt.  I think it is fascinating to understand the symbolism quilters incorporate into their quilts.  I'm such a literal person that I don't always "catch" symbolism, but I did in Traces of Seasons Past

In the Bleak Midwinter by Ruth Powers of Carbondale, Kansas, the artist says, "This piece was designed to use the hand-dyed sky fabric, and is inspired by our Kansas winters, where even in the bleakest of times, there is color to be found!"  I found this quilt to be an interesting piece and wonder how Ruth managed to keep her colors all lined up so neatly.  Her choice of snow fabrics was wonderful.

This next set of quilts hung in a special exhibit in the 2013 IQA Show:  West Coast Wonders.  I love these quilt because they are also so unique.  These quilts are part of a juried exhibit that showcases quilts dedicated to the beauty of the West Coast of North America.  Take a look.


Betty Busby of Albuquerque, New Mexico, took California's state fish, the Garibaldi, and included it in The Kelp Forest.  She says they could see them gleaming up through the kelp forests that surround the Catalina Islands.

Here is a close-up so that you can see the grand quilting in this quilt.

Emily Stevens of Portland, Oregon, made Into the Woods 1 simply because she is surrounded by the flora and fauna of that wonderful state.  She used applique, thread painting, painting, and quilting to create her work.

Jean Spring of Boulder, Colorado managed to combine the essence of a vacation photo and Grandmother's Flower Garden to create Three Gulls on a Sea Wall.  She says she just loved the subtle colors of the morning, as opposed to the roughness ad texture of the sea.

Jerilynn Bush of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, used paper-piecing and machine quilting in creating Bixby Bridge in May Interestingly enough, I recently returned from a trip to the Monterey Peninsula in California, where this bridge is located - and when I saw this quilt, I recognized the coastline.  Jerilynn says, "The drive south of Monterey, California, along Highway 1 is a jaw-dropping thrill.  Bixby Bridge was a stunning surprise.  We had to stop, get out of the car, and just stand there.  The aim of my quilt is to present a slice of colors that stand out on the cliffs, even on a foggy day, and the oddity of the brilliance of the surf below as against the foggy horizon." 

I am always interested in seeing how quilters represent water - especially ocean waves and waterfalls - in quilts.  It is fascinating that Jerilynn captured the sea with straight lines, except for the lace she successfully used to represent the ocean foam.

The next two quilts were both made by Linda Stone of Van Nuys, California.  The first one, Hollywood and Highland, is one from a series of pictures taken from a mall at Hollywood and Highland, where so much of the history of the film industry is in view.  The quilt was machine appliqued and quilted, and Linda points out that no fusibles were involved.

This second quilt, Storm Over Golden Gate, was based on a photo taken as Linda went under the bridge on a cruise ship that ended up in the San Francisco Bay.

Madeleine Bajracharya of Glendale, California, made both of the next two quilts.  In the first one, Power of Water, Madeline was inspired by the Northern California shore where the pounding surf and high winds erode large holes and create unique shapes.

In the second quilt, Madeleine captured the unique, large and loose stones in the rocky intertidal zone on the Point Loma coast near San Diego.  What a grand use of fabric and color!

Okay, I have a confession to make here.  Melinda Bula of El Dorado Hills in California, is one of my most favorite realistic pictorial applique quilters.  Her work takes my breath away.  I have tried to get into her class for several years at the Houston quilt show, but so has everyone else, I guess, because the class always fills before my name is selected.  Sigh...  but then I think that maybe I'd be overwhelmed, tackling an all-new (to me) method with all new fabric choices to make.  Would I?  I don't know... but I'll keep trying to take her class!  Below, Monet in Pasadena  was created using fused applique (yes, there IS a place for it!), Melinda was inspired by the sun hitting the beautiful lily pond at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena.  She says, "The water shimmered with reflections that made me think of what Monet must have seen.  I always take my camera with me just for moments like this.  I created this quilt by using my fusible technique which approaches quilting as if I am painting.  Only I do not use any paint, it is all fabric.  I have hand-dyed most of the fabrics to get the colors that Monet might have used."

But wait!  Wait!  There's more!  Yes, there was a second Melinda Bula quilt in Monterey at Dusk. Melinda's inspiration was someone telling her that she couldn't take this view home with her.  She walked along the beach at Monterey Bay at sunset.  She started taking photos as the sunset reflected off the water and the fog.  The sailboats were bobbing in the water.  Seals were barking on the rocks below.  A local couple walked by her and joked that she was taking too many pictures trying to capture this moment.  They commented, "Honey, you can't take it with you."  And she responded with, "Oh yes I can."  And obviously, she did.  Wow - what a wonderful use of gorgeous colors!

Paulette Landers of Camp Nelson, California, based her creation on a personal photograph.  She loves cross-country skiing near her hoe in Sequoia National Monument and took a picture of one of the many trips in this area - a place dear to her heart with its silence and serenity. 

Here is a close-up of the landscape...


Paulette's photo was mostly brown trees, white show, and blue sky, she added some color for interest.  What a great choice!

Phylllis Cullen of Ninole, Hawaii, created Tributary using the stained glass technique, raw-edge applique, and free-motion quilting.  She notes that the beautiful and rugged California coast features rivers that flow from mountain to see.  You can almost feel the river flowing in her quilt.

Sharon Hightower and Mary Pavlovich of Claremont and Upland, California, each worked on half of the dyptich of St. Johns Bridge: A Diptych.  They each did a section showing this lovely bridge in its entirety and in its architectural details.  The bridge was opened in 1931 and was designed by David Steinman who also designed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  And yes, the bridge IS really green!

Prepare yourself... this is the last picture!  Vel Saddington of Albuquerque, New Mexico, made The Essence of California.  In light of the new movie about the San Andreas fault, I immediately thought the quilt represented the stratified earth and fault lines that snake down the backbone of the state.  But no, Vel has captured a unique view of the geography and environment of California:  the ocean, the redwoods, the Central Valley, and the deserts with the ever-threatening wildfires.  I like Vel's vision better than mine - and I love her quilt, too.

*  *  *  *  *
Well, gang... I apologize once again for not posting with my usual flare.  I am very hopeful that next month's post will contain a lot more pictures of MY projects!  For that to happen, I have got to get a lot more focused and work around all the lectures and workshops and preparations for travel and teaching that are occupying every spare moment.  Don't misunderstand me - I love what I am doing!  But at the same time, I know I need to strike a better balance so I can both create and teach.  And that reminds me:  I have added a couple of new workshops to my schedule that may be closer to where some of you live. 
I am going to be teaching at Applique Away on Galveston Bay next February 21-25 on Galveston Island.  The seminar is held in the historic old Tremont Hotel.  You can check it all out at
Also, I will be teaching at the Empty Spools Seminars in Asilomar, California -- which is just south of San Francisco, closer to Monterey.  Could there be a more beautiful setting?  Check it out at  The dates for my session are April 10-15 (Sunday to Friday), 2016.  If you wish to go to either of these workshops, sign up soon as my classes generally sell out early. 
Until next month...  happy quilting!  I'll be back on the first of the month with LOTS of things to show you!
(c)2015 Susan H. Garman