Headlines from the BeadLust Weblog

Last updated on Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Beading for Change ~ BJP August's Page
San Juan blog beadlust, Tue, 9 Oct 2007
Does anyone else out there have a bothersome mindset about money? Does it ring any bells when you read the following list? Always look for the cheapest thing on the menu; while husband thinks nothing of having a steak. Worry about not having enough money, or about running out of money. Buyer's remorse after a bead or fabric shopping trip. Get in a twit when the Dow drops 10 points. Get in a huge twit when the Dow drops two days in a row. Put off getting new glasses because they're so expensive. Stay in the cheapest motels when traveling. Not give money to those in need. False self-talk about money. Money issues. Yup, I got em... Years ago, writing poetry and doing improvisational bead embroidery, I lessened the grip of money issues quite a lot. But in recent years, as I've approached seniorhood, the worry has started to creep back into my life. My wonderful husband doesn't seem to be afflicted in this way. He's always telling me, "Go ahead... it's only money!" When I worked on this issue 10 years ago, I backed my bead embroidery with a $5 bill. I made a book with it, and used it to list my "money commandments" (such as "Thou shalt worry about having enough money" and the two shown below). Here are a couple of pictures of this project. Ever since then, I've thought that I should have used a $100 bill! So this time I did. Below is my August BJP page. I was so nervous when I tore the bill at the start, but as the piece progressed, I started to feel pretty smug about it. Yes, it IS only money, after all. Reactions have been very interesting: Do you realize how many beads you could buy for $100? I couldn't do that! That's not really real... You made a copy of a $100 bill! If you ever need it, you can take it off, tape it back together, and use it. My response is: How much do you think it would cost to go to a therapist and deal with my money issues? How much do you think my inner sense of well-being is worth? Time will tell how well this bead therapy has worked for me, but already I've made some changes that make me feel much better. The tiger is one of my two totem animals. He is here because I need his power and strength to put money worry behind me.
Ripping Out...
San Juan blog beadlust, Sat, 15 Sep 2007
Years ago, when I first started doing bead embroidery, a good beading friend suggested, "Why not make a rule that we'll never rip anything out!" And so we did... for years, neither of us ripped. I learned something from those years. At one or more times during the process of making each piece, I've hated it and wanted to rip. But when I just keep working, adding beads I love, eventually, I come to peace with it. In the end I've been happy with all of my work, even the pieces that have parts I hated during the process. Here are two types of beaders at opposite ends of a continuum.. Beader #1 draws and carefully plans each piece, taking time to really think about it before she begins. She shops as needed to make sure she has just the right beads. She has high standards, and will rip out anything that doesn’t meet her vision. She wants to get it right, and sometimes completely abandons a piece, starting over with a fresh idea, when her work doesn’t meet her expectations. Beader #1 makes some amazingly beautiful pieces, some OK pieces, and some that are not so good. Her work gives her and others pleasure. Beader #2 picks up some materials she had on hand, and with a hint of an idea, she gets right to work. She forges ahead no matter what, rarely ripping anything out, even though sometimes she’s not sure where her piece is going or if she likes it. She works rather quickly, and her friends admire how much she accomplishes. Beader #2 makes some amazingly beautiful pieces, some OK pieces, and some that are not so good. Her work gives her and others pleasure. What do you think?
Quilting ~ Love, Friends and Zen
San Juan blog beadlust, Sun, 26 Aug 2007
Quilting ~ for Love My first two quilts, made in 1985 were baby quilts ~ one for each of my nieces, born 4 months apart, children of two of my brothers. Here they are. Layne, the eldest, carried hers around until it wore out, except for the appliqué teddy bear in the center. Her Mom framed the bear, and she still has it. Here’s a picture of Layne as a child. They grow up so quickly! This spring, Layne graduated from college. Here’s a picture of her taken a couple of years ago. What better gift of love and congratulations than an adult-sized quilt? When I asked her what colors she liked, she replied, “all colors, bright colors, especially turquoise!” Works for me too! I love Bali batiks , so decided to go with a patchwork quilt with squares of bright colors bordered by turquoise and navy. Here it is displayed at our County Fair ! Obviously, I’m pretty pleased about the ribbons. Didn’t expect to win anything, as the design of the quilt isn’t very complex. Quilting ~ with Friends My first half-dozen quilts were wing it quilts , which means I made them without really knowing anything about how to do it, and with no experienced quilters to help me ~ following the old just do it philosophy. It worked ~ the quilts were lovely and kept us warm. Yet, it is so much nicer to make quilts in the good company of others, especially friends more experienced than I, who can explain the easy way to cut a binding, how to make the corners square, how to iron seams without stretching the fabric, etc. That’s how it is for me now that I’ve found and joined our local quilting group. Here we are pinning the back, batting and top together for Layne’s quilt. Quilting ~ from Zone to Zen The exciting, fun part of quilting (for me) is designing the top and buying the fabrics! After that, it’s all about getting the job done. Cutting the pieces is hard on my back. Sewing them together into blocks is fun for the first few blocks, then becomes tedious ~ at least until the final seam reveals a finished top. Then comes the quilting ~ in the case of Layne’s quilt, marking and machine quilting stars and diamonds over the entire generously-sized, double-bed surface. Finally, there is the job of hand sewing the binding around the outside edge of the quilt. What goes around in my mind during all these hours of sewing? At first, during each stage of making Layne’s quilt, I found myself in a counting zone ~ making mental note of relevant numbers. For example, while sewing the blocks, I multiplied (in my head) the number of pieces in each block by the number of blocks, and added the number of pieces in the borders to arrive at a total number of pieces in the quilt top (754). While machine quilting, I passed the time by figuring out how many total quilting seams I had to sew across the width and length of the quilt (38), then how many times I had to stop and change directions (678). And, while hand sewing the binding, I timed myself to figure out how many inches I could sew in ½ hour, then multiplied that times the number of stitches in an inch, which gave me a stitches/hour figure (500+). Whoa ~ anyone else do anything this goofy? For a while I stayed with the numbers, mentally ticking off how many units were finished and how many I still had to go. After a while, my mental state shifted. I forgot to keep track. The process slowly became more meditative, and I went from one step to the next seamlessly, without conscious comment. My hands kept working; my mind was calm, and long chunks of time passed in peace and contentment. Until eventually I realized, with surprise, that I was doing the final unit in the process. Is that Zen? I’ve read about Zen Buddhism , and once attended a 4-day silent meditation retreat. Of course that’s hardly even a start to understanding the nature of Zen. Yet, I feel it is so ~ that while quilting, I sometimes come into a Zen state. It’s a beautiful place to be! Teaching ~ in WI In case any of you midwesterners have a bit of free time, in two weeks I'll be teaching at the Valley Ridge Art Studio in SW Wisconsin. I show pictures of this fabulous place taken when I taught there last year here . September 7 & 8th, it's Acrylic Painting ~ Delux Decorative Papers , where you will learn all about painting in layers to create painted papers for collage, book arts, cards, etc. You can see a few examples on my website, here . September 9th and 10th, it's Improvisational Bead Embroidery , where you will learn all of the basic bead embroidery techniques, many variations, edging, fringing and finishing methods, plus create your own unique piece working improvisationally. As far as I know, both workshops still have a couple of openings. Visiting Mom ~ in MN For a few days before and a few days after teaching in Wisconsin, I'll be in Minnesota (St. Paul), visiting my wonderful 90-year old Mom. For a couple of decades, she was THE banner maker for her church. After moving to assisted living, with limited space, she quit making them, until last spring she got the bug again. So while I'm there, she'll be working on two Thanksgiving banners while I finish my August BJP and start the one for Septmeber. After all the quilting I've been doing, it will be great to get back to beads!!!
Bead Journal Project ~ My July Page
San Juan blog beadlust, Fri, 3 Aug 2007
July's "page" is so different than June (see here ), and yet they seem closely related, and I think deal with the same subject. Before I delve more deeply into the meaning, here is July. When I went to Minnesota mid-June to visit my Mom (and teach in Chicago), I didn't really think I'd have time to work on my bead embroidery much. I took with me a small box of beads and prepared fabrics for my June page. To my surprise, I actually finished June and still had a couple of days with time to bead. My sister-in-law (also a BJP member, but not yet active in the blog world) and I went fabric shopping to a great fabric/textile shop in St. Paul ( Colorful Quilts ) where I bought several fat quarters and quarter-yard cuts. For July, I selected three of the fabrics that appealed to me at the moment and layered them on interleaving paper. The top layer is organza (from JoAnn Fabrics ). It's quite reflective at some angles, but held at a different angle, you can easily see the pattern of the fabric under it. Since the only beads I had with me were the ones for my June page, I had to go ahead and use them for July as well. Maybe that's part of the connection between the two pieces, although the fabric colors are opposites on the color wheel. Here's a picture of how it looked when I got back home. Something about it seemed incomplete... One morning I woke up with a strong awareness that I wanted the layers to be less flat. So that day I sewed a bunch of branch (or kinky) fringe at the edges between the layers. Below is a closer look at a bit of it. One of my goals for the BJP is to use different materials, such as the organza fabric. For this piece, I also included some Angelina fibers , fused together as per this tutorial . Fun!!!! I used a small piece of it behind the rabbit charm, as you can see below. By the way, I believe the rabbit is one of my totem animals . Both the organza and Angelina were a stretch for me, because I'm the Matte Bead Queen ... as in, puleeeezze spare me from any bling or glitz. And since this time I was going for the glitz anyway, why not add more? So the last thing was to use some of my vintage aluminum seed beads to make shooting stars. Looking at the piece now, I see earth, water and air. This was not conscious... I only see it now that I'm finished with the piece. The whole piece is improvisational, and so the meaning stems from some unconscious source within me. As I've mentioned previously, sometimes I can find an understanding of my improvisational work by writing poems. Below is the poem I wrote while looking at both June and July at the same time. I am layers. I am looking through the wall to the other side. My big heart glows with simplicity and tries to catch a glimmer across the deep chasm of the flowers on the other side. I don't know where my pathway will flow. The clock is ticking. A river of time ~ misty, unpredictable. I am seeking something intangible. My beads and my rabbit will guide me.
Vintage Seed Beads ~ French & Czech
San Juan blog beadlust, Wed, 25 Jul 2007
What do you think came in this vintage box??? Well, yes, originally it contained a neck scarf. But what do you think was in the box when I acquired it 15 years ago? This envelope was in the box. OK, I'm being mean... you can easily guess what was in the envelope... I was just making you wait for the picture... Here it is! And, yes, it is clickable to enlarge! Can you believe these precious little hanks of seed beads? I'm not actually certain about their origin. Most of the little hanks made in France are so labeled, which leads me to think these are Czech. These beads are very, very small ~ size 15, I think, or perhaps size 18. Each bundle has 10 hanks. According to the labels, they were originally sold for $.05 per bundle of 10 hanks. Awesome! Some of the colors are faceted (or cut), and as such would be called Charlotte cut seed beads (see below). I don't know exactly how old these beads are, but I'd guess they were made prior to 1900, and possibly in the early to mid 1800s. Don't you just love this tangible connection to our past? I do! Here are some other precious little hanks of beads that have fallen into my hands during my 22 years of beading. These were all made in France, and they are metal or have a fired (baked on) metal surface over glass. The ones below are not glass ~ they're made of aluminum. The sweet thing about these is that they retain their silver color forever, because aluminum doesn't tarnish. The hank shown below is quite heavy. I believe these are referred to as steel cut seed beads, and are made from steel and faceted. The hank below is also quite heavy. My guess about this one is that the beads are made from steel, faceted, and then plated or fired with gold. According to this article about Charlotte cut seed beads, there is only one remaining manufacturer of seed beads in Europe ~ located in the Czech Republic. Apparently the French factory closed in 2004. That's a sad thing, because it produced some very wonderful, unique colors such as mustard yellow, Cheyenne pink, pumpkin, French porcelain, Arapahoe green, Periwinkle blue, buckskin, greasy yellow, and several colors of white hearts. In 1985, when I started beading, one could still find these colors, especially at stores specializing in beads for Native Americans. Sadly, I never see them any more. Even more sadly, when I sold my bead shop, Beads Indeed , I didn't think to keep a stash of them for myself. Duh! Important Question about Using Vintage Seed Beads To use or not to use , that is the question. I've hoarded these sweet and beautiful little hanks of beads for many years. For what? I don't know. Perhaps I should donate them to a museum?? Or, maybe should I use some of them for my Bead Journal Project pages? I haven't decided yet about the bundles. But Monday I bit the bullet and took two strings of beads off the hank of aluminum seed beads to use on my July BJP page. You will see the piece and the aluminum seed beads in my next post. In the mean time, what do you think about these treasures? Would you use them? Do you have any in your own stash?
Bead Journal Project ~ Thom's June Page
San Juan blog beadlust, Sun, 22 Jul 2007
If you've been following the Bead Journal Project , you know the official participants include 241 women and 1 man. That lone BJP dude is my brother, Thom Atkins . An artist he is; a computer dude he is not. So, for now I'm going to post his BJP projects on my blog. Maybe someday he'll start his own. Shown above is his June page. It's called Laurel's Mermaid . It's a beaded and quilted wall hanging, about 10 inches wide x 16 inches high (including the fringe). I believe both pictures are clickable to enlarge. Here is just the center panel. I love the waves and the way he's beaded them... also the colors, the two fish, and her embellished tail! Way to go, Thom! Thom's been an artist since he was born... well, practically. I always thought of him as "the artist in the family," because his talent and interest in art developed very early. Even as a young man, he was very secure in his calling. The two of us used to envy each other quite a bit... me, especially, knowing he was majoring in art and thinking there was no potential for two artists in the family. For many years,Thom's primary art form was bronze sculpture, which you can see on his website here , here and here . In recent years, he has returned to an early passion for sewing and embellishment. You can see some of his quilts here . I love his quilts... they're so unique and rich. Although it's difficult to choose, my current favorite is this one . Thom says he's started to work on his July BJP page and is excited about it. Can't wait to see it, Bro!
Bead Journal Project ~ My June Page
San Juan blog beadlust, Sun, 8 Jul 2007
I deliberated for a long time about showing this, and finally decided to go ahead. The subject of my June journal page is quite personal... I'm turning 65 in September and find that I'm in denial about it. A few of my goals for the BJP are: to play with layers, to not cover the entire surface with beads, to experiment with using text, and to use a visual journaling approach (whatever that means). So June began with sewing a scrap of fabric left over from making a spirit doll to another piece of fabric. Next I wrote in permanent black ink on the red fabric. Here's was it says: I am facing a wall of denial. I don't want to accept my age. I don't want to be a senior citizen. Youth and youthfulness ~ I can't go back. The clock keeps ticking. It's a wall. I guess that's journaling, eh? Here's a detail that shows the writing. I thought it was quite brave to write on my piece and allow it to show! After writing and before beading it, I expected the piece to be either full of rage or dark and gloomy. No such thing happened, as you can see. Almost all of my work on it was done in my Mom's assisted living place in MN. She commented that just past the "wall," there seems to be a great profusion of fun and beauty (the flowers). I don't really trust it will be like that yet, but working on the piece seems to have set me at ease a bit. It seems to be "saying" that it is all just a journey, and that 65 is simply a marker along the way. Here's a picture of the back. I'm showing this because of the "finishing" discussion on the BJP blog . As you can see, I use paper (acid-free interleaving paper) as a stabilizer for my work, to keep it from puckering. When I finish the beading, I tear away the edges of the paper and fold the fabric edges to the back, tacking them in place with small stitches. Then, for this piece, I beaded a picot edge stitch around the outer edge. Eventually, I may paint, embellish, and write on a water color paper postcard (4"x6") to glue on the back of the piece using PVA bookbinder's glue. Before I do that, I need to decide what I'm going to do with my 12 journal pages, and if I want to attach them to each other or some other thing. If that's the case, I might want to sandwich some attachment device between the beaded piece and the postcard. Right now, I should be preparing to teach at the Puget Sound Bead Festival next week, but all I really want to do is to work on my July piece. It's nearly finished already! By the way, short notice... but I still have openings in all four of my classes. Also, becuase a couple of you have asked... yes, I will have autographed copies of my books for sale at the "Meet the Teachers" event and in my classroom.
Fabrics ~ hand painted with dye
San Juan blog beadlust, Sun, 1 Jul 2007
While in Chicago last week, I dyed and went to heaven!!! While I was teaching my usual beady subjects, Ann Johnston was teaching eager students how to paint fabrics with dye. One evening, two of her students invited me to join them and use some of their dyes ~ to give it a try. WELL! Heaven it was! I now want to take a workshop from Ann, want to buy dyes, want to paint and paint! If I could do these in about 3 hours, OMG, what could I do in 5 days? I'm looking forward to using these fabrics ~ parts of them for Bead Journal Project pages, and parts for quilting. I wish there was enough to make a jacket ~ maybe if I piece the dyed fabrics with solids in the same colors? No time right now though... I think if you click on these images, they will enlarge so you can better see the detail (especially the one below). * * * * * * * * Please forgive my long absense. June came and went before I could say boo... I was sick with a cold that would NOT go away for the entire month for one thing. Plus I had to prepare to teach 3 workshops and spend half of the month in the midwest. I know... excuses, excuses. * * * * * * * * Next week is the Puget Sound Bead Festival , my favorite bead event of the year. I'll be preparing kits, handouts, etc. for teaching there during the 4th of July week. I don't know if there is still space in any of my classes, but I'll post an update if I find out soon.
Finger Weaving - New Work & Tips
San Juan blog beadlust, Sun, 3 Jun 2007
Recent Finger Weaving Projects I feel like I've been on another planet for about a month. Almost all my attention was devoted to the Bead Journal Project . But for one weekend, I took a happy break and went to a bead retreat with some beading buddies! There I worked on (and finished!) some new finger weaving projects. The reason why the tassel on the right looks a little like a jelly fish, is because the top lampwork bead reminded me of a jelly fish from the moment I saw it. I think the maker, Jenny Friske-Baer (of Portland, OR), intended these beads to be flowers. They'd be lovely that way too. Here's a closer look at the top of the tassel. I had quite a lot of beads left over from the tassel, so next I used the finger weaving technique to make a multiple strand bracelet. The weaving is used at the ends to make the loop and clasp. After that, I went to work on a necklace using some beads made by Alicia Kawano Oh , a lovely creator of raku -fired ceramic beads. I met Alicia while teaching in Honolulu years ago. Here's a picture showing the results! You Can Learn Finger Weaving Finger weaving is actually easy to learn, yet it has endless possibilities for design, depending on the cord and beads used. I've been doing it for about 15 years, and a year ago published a book with step-by-step instructions and design variations. I also teach this technique, because I know it's always great fun to work directly with a teacher. Although I'm winding down my teaching career, you still have 2 opportunities to learn this fabulous method for making bracelets, necklaces, tassels and straps in a workshop environment. Both are comming right up: Chicago, IL ~ June 26 and 27 Woven Treasure Necklace ~ two day workshop North Suburban Needle Arts Guild contact: Rhonda Newman ~ 847-564-4357 Tacoma, WA ~ July 15 Woven Treasure Bracelet ~ one day workshop Puget Sound Bead Festival My Chicago class is very small, so if you can do it, you're guaranteed lots of individual attention. Because it's a 2-day workshop, you'll learn many advanced techniques. The Puget Sound Bead Festival in Tacoma is a fabulous event with great classes and great vendors. Smaller and more personal that the Bead & Button Show, it offers many perks for students. My finger weaving class there is filling, but still had openings the last I heard. About Beading Cord for Finger Weaving For almost all of my finger woven pieces, I use #18 bonded nylon cord, although linen and other materials are OK too. A person who has my book, Beaded Treasures , wrote to me recently to ask about C-Lon. Here's what I've learned so far. There seem to be a good many put-ups for #18 nylon cord! (See picture above.) Sold in bead shops for macrame , this cord is also good for stringing and for finger weaving. The spool on the left (A) is manufactured by Mastex and distributed to bead shops under the trade name of BeadSmith. This is what I've been using for finger weaving for 15 years. It's also what I sell on my website ( here ). Mastex used to put-up their cord on large spools (D), and a few suppliers still have stock of Mastex cord in this form. I don't know who manufactures the larger of the two purple spools (B). It's slightly heavier than Mastex cord. It works OK and comes in this beautiful, rich purple color, which Mastex doesn't make. So I use (and sell) it too. The other two spools (C and E) are now being offered by many bead shops. I've seen them referred to as either S-Lon and C-Lon, which is confusing. I don't know who is the actual manufacturer of this cord. Whoever it is also manufactures a much lighter weight cord, used for beadweaving and bead embroidery (similar to Nymo D). If you decide to try this cord for finger weaving, be sure you are getting the heavier weight! One advantage of these smaller spools (C-Lon or S-Lon) is that they come in many luscious colors, and are sometimes packaged as sets with 3 to 12 colors/set. Because the put-up is smaller than Mastex cord (A and D), it's less expensive and you're not buying more than you need. It is very similar in all other respects to Mastex. The disadvantage of these smaller spools is that the cord is stiff and holds the curls from being wound on a relatively small diameter spool. This makes it tangle when you're working with it. Tip for Getting Rid of Tangles Iron the cord! Measure off what you need. Heat up your iron to medium heat. Lay the cord over the ironing board and put the iron down on top of it. Leaving the iron in place, pull the cord slowly, ironing the entire length. It just straightens it right out... no more tangles!
Thoughts on Visual Journaling and The Bead Journal Project
San Juan blog beadlust, Tue, 8 May 2007
Please note: Registration for the Bead Journal Project closed on May 30, 2007. There 239 participants in this year's BJP. * * * * * * * * * * As of this morning, we have 32 participants who have pledged to make one "bead journal page" per month, starting in June of 2007! Already we span the globe... 10 states and 4 countries! If this is new to you, here are the guidelines . I wish all of you could see the emails I've been getting. Everyone is so enthusiastic and excited about doing this. Some see it as a challenge to develop personal style, some as a means to practice and learn bead embroidery, some as a way to explore current issues and events in their lives. I see it as a way to journal out-of-the-box. Give me a note book full of lined paper, and my journal will be dominated by intellect. Even following Julia Cameron's guidelines from "The Artists' Way" and writing off the lines, I still find my words full of thought process, rationalization and linear boundaries. Some years ago, I became aware of "visual journaling," which involves more of the play instinct - paint, paste, heart-to-hands. The freedom and apparent spontaneity of it appeal to me. If you've read my book, One Bead at a Time , you know that most of my bead embroidery is improvisational - without a plan or pattern. Over and over again, I notice that this work comes from somewhere deep in my heart. It seems to bypass my brain, bringing forward something fresh and dynamic every time. Rather than revealing what I think is real, it is real. So now, full circle, back The Bead Journal Project, for me it's an opportunity to combine the idea of visual journaling with my favorite medium (beads) and my favorite method of working (improvisation). I intend to put the possibility of exhibition as far away from consciousness as possible. Right now, this is just for me. This is my place and my time to let it all hang out, to let myself be carried away in the moment, to let go of judgments and interpretation and planning, to go deeper than words. Wheeee! In case you'd like to read more about visual journaling, Sharon B (one of my favorite bloggers) has written and provided numerous links on this subject. Here is a somewhat historical look at visual journaling. Here are 13 steps, ideas that could help you get started and lots of links. What are some of your thoughts about visual journaling? Do you have a favorite book or website to recommend?
2007 Bead Journal Project begins in June!
San Juan blog beadlust, Mon, 7 May 2007
Please note: Registration for the Bead Journal Project closed on May 30, 2007. There are 239 participants in this year's BJP. * * * * * * * * * * The Bead Journal Project just became "official!" In my last post , I casually tossed out the idea of committing to a beaded journal page, one per month for a year. Quite a number of you commented, saying "count me in." All right!!!! Let's do it! After email correspondence with a few of you, I've come up with some guidelines here . As you can see, it's rather loose. The only real rules are that you do one per month and keep your size consistent. Now let's see how many people we can get on board. I need your help with this. Please tell anyone you think might be interested. The more participants we have, the more support there will be. Also, we'll have more possibilities for exhibition of our work (completely optional for each participant, of course). I'm asking each participant to email me . Please confirm when you will start (June, if possible!), and give me your contact information. Also please let me know if you're willing for me to add your name and contact information to a public list of the participants. If you have any suggestions about this, feel free to email or comment on this post. Like Mary , I can hardly wait to get started and totally look forward to whatever will unfold!
Journal Quilts at the Chicago Quilt Festival
San Juan blog beadlust, Tue, 24 Apr 2007
This year at the Chicago Quilt Festival, I spent most of my free time absorbing two stimulating exhibitions. You already saw examples of the first ( fabric postcards ) posted last week. The second was a large exhibit of Journal Quilts . Personal, unique, moving and technically out-of-the-box, these quilts deserved far more time than I had. You may want to click to enlarge some of these images... I promise they'll load quickly. The idea of the project was for each participating artist to make one quilt per month, each the size of standard computer paper (8.5 by 11 inches). The exhibition featured five quilts from each of about 400 artists. That's a lot of quilts, a lot to absorb, a giant stew of inspiration! Some reflect the artist's feelings about troubling international events, such as the ones above. In this case, the artist, Frances Caple , says she is not very political, but was so distressed by the killing of many children at Qana (left) and the distruction caused by landmines (right) that she had to deal with these subjects in her quilts. Some artists use their montly quilts as a means to practice traditional piecing and quilting techniques on a small scale, and to experiment with various color combinations. The quit above, by Alyson M. Olander, is a compelling example. Some obviously let their play instinct be in charge, making quilts full of whimsey and joy, such as the set above by Ruthie Powers. Ahhhhh, here's a set that speaks to my passion... Beaded embellishments added sparkle, texture and interest to many of the quilts. Some, like the set above, are amazingly realistic, obviously revealing the artist's ability to draw and/or paint. I am in awe of the "painterly quality" in the set above, by Elizabeth Poole . Some, like the set above, just make me happy. To me, this group has the same feeling as my painted decorative papers . It's all about layers, shapes, colors and textures! Yummmmm! I think it was the colors which attracted me to the above set by Jane Davila . There's an article in the Feb/March 2007 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine about how she prints these fish, taking impressions from a painted rubber fish. What do YOU think? Does looking at these make you want to see more? Or, even more exciting, does it make you want to start your own monthy journal in whatever medium you prefer? What about a monthly knit or collage or bead embroidery journal? You see, we're back to working in series again, a topic I wrote about here . Below is a small selection of the journal exhibition, showing a few quilts from three artists. If you mixed up the "pages," anybody would be able to sort them out again, because each has a "style" unique to the artist. If you polled all 400+ artists who have participated in this project, don't you think each would reply that one of the benefits was the inevitible development of personal style? I bet that every one of them now has a greater sense of security about who they are as an artist. If you'd like to see more of this work, you can check through the pages of this website , which loads amazingly fast and offers click-to-enlarge on all of the pictures. Or, you can purchase the book , and be able to savor more than 400 images and read the artists' comments about their inspirations and techniques at your leisure. The Journal Quilt Project has been active for 5 years (since 2002). I was told at the exhibition in Chicago that this was the last year for the formal organization of it. However, in the same way it was begun, any one of us could make a personal committment to do a monthy journal, starting right now! It could be very private, or shared on our blogs. What about a monthy Journal Bead Project ? Is there anybody out there who would like to join me in challenging yourself to creating one beaded journal page per month starting in May? As busy as I am, the idea just tickles my fancy! * * * * * * * * * Sorry about not being able to provide the artist's name for a few of the above quilts. I thought I had them all written on a couple of scraps of paper, but I must have dropped or lost one of the papers somehow. Help me out, if you can, and I'll update the post as soon as I get the information. * * * * * * * * * We'll be returning to finger weaving in my next post! If you have something (pictures, questions, related topic suggestions, links or comments) you'd like me to include, please email me or leave a comment below.
Fiberart Postcards ~ Best of Chicago Quilt Festival
San Juan blog beadlust, Thu, 19 Apr 2007
Someone please knock a little sense into me if EVER I agree to teach at three back-to-back events again. Just ONE turns me into a zombie; just ONE leaves me a bit crabby, short of memory, emotional. THREE, without a good break between them, is just plain crazy-making. All I want to do, even now – a couple of days after returning home, is to take nap after nap and pet the cat. If my words don’t come out right today, you know the reason… That said, let me share some photos from the Chicago Quilt Festival with you. First, here are my dear bead/quilt friends, Susan and Phyllis, who helped me trudge the 300 mile-long walkways between our hotel and the convention center classrooms, carrying supplies and setting up after we arrived, and assisted as needed during each of my 4 classes and sampler lecture. They met years ago while working at the same quilt shop in TX. Now that Susan moved to CA, they get together once or twice a year to take classes and shop at conferences. I met them three years ago when they took a bead embroidery class from me. Since then, they’ve both been beading and sewing beads on quilts like crazy! This was the first time they changed roles from student to assistant, but underneath both roles, is a wonderful friendship that has developed since first we met. Without their help, I’d probably be in a hospital right now! We had two brief periods of time to visit the vendors and exhibition area. For once, I mostly avoided the vendors and concentrated on the many fabulous exhibits of quilts. All were fascinating and amazing, but the most compelling to me was a small exhibit of fiber art postcards. They were framed in groups of 9 and behind glass, and thus very difficult to photograph. Here are a few of them: This one, untitled by Ann Marie Cowley of Oregon, made my knees weak. The photo totally doesn’t do it justice… soft colors, silky texture… gentle, peaceful, joyous. This one, “White Bridge” by Inge Reinholdt of Denmark, brought tears to my eyes, the spirituality of it. I tried to take the photo without a flash, but there wasn’t enough light, so you’ll have to ignore the big white splash. Check here to see other of Inge’s fabric postcards. Click to enlarge the ones you like best (well worth it!) This one, “Tomatoes and Tithonia” by Virginia A. Spiegel , has such a lovely close-up and personal feel to it… a design sense to envy. This one, “Prairie Evening” by Anne Dovel, pleases me because of the texture, lines and colors… it feels like a prairie under the spell of sunset. In the past few years, “ Fiberart for a Cause ” has donated over $130,000 to the American Cancer Society. The sale of postcards this year contributed over $18,000 to that total. On the back side of the postcard exhibit was an ATC wall, which constantly changed as people brought their cards to trade for ones already on the wall. Here is a picture showing just a small portion of the wall. I’d say there were 200 or more ATCs on the wall at any given time. I've been thinking of making some ATCs, but after seeing the exhibits of postcards, I'm favoring the larger format (about double the size of ATCs). In my next post, I’ll show pictures of and talk about the Journal Quilts Project exhibit, which was awesome again this year! Now it’s time for another nap… z z z Z Z Z Z!