Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PJ Howard - Fun with Creativity

PJ Howard in Orange Ski Cap
My friend and fellow member of Fiber Art Options, has a great sense of humor, it comes out in every thing she does. Love this photo of her, it really captures that spirit. Recently I bought a couple pieces of her work, one for me and one for a friend. I am so delighted with them that I wanted to share them with my friends.


I fell in love with this piece and purchased it before PJ could put it in the Denver Art Crawl.
The vase is recycled paper and gel. She has done a superb piece of art in a small piece about 10" by 8". Notice how she has moved the green in the vase around both with fabric and stitches. She has obtained a great deal of depth with the fabric choices, overlapping, and changing fabric sizes. She has repetition with color and mass, but keeps the viewer interested with a change in size for every piece of fabric. The round beads and the swervey green machine embroidery stitched leaves are a nice contrast to all the straight edges. Good study in art. I love it every time my eyes light on it.

Three Hearts

My friend Andy fell in love with this at the Annual Denver Art Crawl. Made for easy shopping for me. PJ has used a multitude of red fabrics and notice how she has moved the black and red print around to keep the eye moving. The three hearts are made from recycled paper and beads. I love the additional heart on the red wire she used to hang the piece. She has used built in machine decorative stitches to quilt the piece and add additional texture and details. Even small work can be a nice piece of art.

Blue and Green Angel
This tiny piece is chuck full of recycles. Note the body of the angel and the button face. PJ loves to work with plaids and has used one for the background. This tiny piece won big prizes at the last CQG show.

Baby Quilt
Now this is a baby quilt to stimulate the little sucker. Somehow I see the dear little one playing and giving high fives more than sleeping.

Blue Kite
Can you see the flying kites on this one? Two of them are stitched on. Love the pieced background in the irregular shape.

White Pin

PJ also makes jewelry generally from recycled papers, and other found objects. Love this one, with the threads and what looks to be a mobe pearl.
Hope you enjoy these pieces by my friend PJ as much as I do.

Keep Quilting

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Elizabeth's Poem on Taupe

Elizabeth Miller and her new taupe fabrics - photo by Grace Howes

Elizabeth Miller was one of my friends who attended the fabric party on Monday. Elizabeth, who has a fabulous stash and creates wonderful bed quilts that span the line between fine craft and art, focused her collection of my fabrics on shades of taupe. I spotted this great photo of her on Grace Howes blog
and Grace generously shared it with me.

Today I received a poem from her inspired by her new fabrics and our weeks of rain, mist and fog.

And with Elizabeth's permission. Here is the poem.

Winter’s Rainbow

Elizabeth T. Miller

With those who see the World in Black and White
And those who only think in tones of Gray,

I tend to disagree.
I love a Rainbow World.

Now, in this Winter of my Artist’s life,
Some cataracts have moved across my eyes.

Yet, still I clearly see
A Rainbow through the Clouds.

For, nestled in this misty fog lives Hope
And Winter’s other name is surely Taupe.

All hues in Taupe I see.
It’s Winter’s gift to me.

Until the surgeon robs me of my haze,
I’ll love this Winter
World of

Enjoy, and Keep Quilting


Monday, December 7, 2009

How to Have a Great Time and Reduce Your Stash

Several of the 12 drawers of fabric we went through

Today 5 fabric loving friends came over to help me work on my stash. We measured it and folded it in preparations for selling. Lots of laughter and sharing as the day went on.

My DH fixed us lunch -- chicken, fresh asparagus, vegetable bird nests, and ice cream and biscotti for dessert. Yum.

He topped it off with a tin of his home made chocolates that are to die for.

Everyone got a 5 yard personally selected bundle of fabrics to take home for their efforts. And then they commenced to buying. When they left about 55 yards of fabric walked out the door. YEAAAA!

Another of the 12 drawers
And the best part was that I got to clear out 3 drawers of fabrics I will never use, and we all had a great time. Everyone has volunteered to come back for another Fun Fabric Follies day again.

Two of the beautiful EMPTY drawers

Several of the folks were worried that I was going to regret getting rid of so much beautiful fabric, until I took them for a tour of my studio. We had not touched any of the 6 bins and full closet of fabrics that are in my studio. And each of the bins holds 3 times the fabric of any of the drawers.

We made a great start and set a process for helping me clean house of way too much fabric that I will never use. Next I am going to put it in 1 gallon bags and sell it by the bag. Actually, I will probably invite others to fill the bags for themselves for a flat price per bag.
What a great time. Three empty drawers. Decluttering seems much less overwhelming now. Thanks, dear fabric friends.

Keep quilting,


Friday, December 4, 2009

Art To Go - 3 Gallery Openings Tonight

Rhododendron Seed Pods

Going to put on the track shoes tonight!! With three gallery receptions where my work will be on display, I will be moving around town.

The Charlotte Art League has an annual small art sale for its members to sell work no larger than 14 inches framed. I completed this piece and matted and framed it in an 16'' x 14'' frame.

This is my first time at this venture. Will be interesting to see how it goes. The entry prices were good: $10 for 4 pieces and $2 for each additional piece up to 8. If any are sold, the artist can replace them at no additional charge.

Pine Cone

Pine Cone was framed up to be 16'' wide, but the chair of the show indicated that she was not going to be measuring. This is a study for a larger piece that I will do later.

Burford Holly

This little piece has been used in photos by me for awhile, but I had not finished it. This was also matted and framed to sell. I also framed up several photos that I had photoshopped, printed on fabric, and hand embroidered. They will be a bit less.

This is a year for checking out the local art groups to see which one I want to have a long term relationship with. I entered two pieces from my Seed Play series in the Guild of Charlotte Artists December juried show with some trepidation. Both got in. The Guild is more of the fine art group, painters, sculpture, photography, so I had been hesitant to even try entering any work with them. But when the folks who took in the work saw my pieces, their reactions were very reassuring.

Get this, we delivered the actually work between 10 -11 am for the jurying and were notified before 3 if we needed to pick up any rejected pieces. The art world sure works differently than the quilt world.

My three winter pieces will also be at Ciel Gallery next door to the Charlotte Art League.

And before hitting the gallery crawl, I will enter 2 pieces in the Mint Hill Arts first juried show. Since they will have a fiber show in January, they may not be as interested in having any in December. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I am encouraged about the reception of my work in the traditional art world and think lots of other quilters and fiber artists should venture out.

Keep Quilting


Friday, November 27, 2009

My DH Has a Sense of Humor

We celebrated Thanksgiving by having friends bring their favorite Thanksgiving dish to share. We provided turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry relish and coffee. Sharing is my idea of a great way to celebrate.

Don wanted folks to be in a festive mood upon arrival, so he created some humor to welcome them. At our walk, he dressed up our concrete rabbit as the Eveready Bunny disguised as a turkey. Note the ultra suede wattles dropping from the gourd beak and the real turkey feathers attached to a gourd tail. Don raids my fabric stash as necessary for his artwork.

Eveready always has his drum, so check out the drum and drum stick as well.

And at the front door, he disguised our concrete toads as turkeys as well -- but are they cows disguised as toads in turkey costumes? When he brought the turkey toads in to show me, I laughed for at least 5 minutes before I had him take them away so I could get back to work.

A friend brought his 6 and a 1/2 year old granddaughter to see the display. She figured that the rabbit was really a chicken, disguised as a rabbit in a turkey costume.
You can see more of Don's work at
A little laughter is good for the soul.
Wishing you joy and laughter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Small Works Underway

Rhoddy Small

Having completed a series of work all about size 38'' x 28'', I figured it was time to do something smaller to put in a local art show for small works for gifts. I want to use essentially the same style of work, just more close up and smaller. These are all going to be small enough to fit into an 11'' x 14'' frame. This design is inspired by the seed pods of the rhododendron tree.

Pine Small

People unfamiliar with fiber art seem more comfortable with work that is framed. This will be an experiment to see if they sell for Christmas.
Creating the templates and inking the pine cone was a challenge. This is a trial piece for a larger work. What do you think?

Juniperus Small

These little works went really fast because I printed the designs directly onto Quilter's Freezer Paper Sheets by C & T Publishing. I will use this product alot more. They are cut to run through a standard printer and made creating my freezer paper templates for inking the design really easy.

Let me know what you think of these designs.

Keep Quilting

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Into Art Exhibit - Charlotte Art League

This composite e-vite features my piece, Winter Fruit, as the piece on the right in the series and the upper left side. Blew me away.

The opening was Friday night and was quite delightful with both the juried exhibition on view as well as lots of open studios of the resident artists. A number of the artists had free snacks and even wine to lure viewers to their studio areas. Much to be learned in this process.

Charlotte Art League, at 1517 Camden Road in Charlotte, NC
Hours are:
Tuesdays to Thursdays - 11 - 3
Fridays - 11-3, and 5-8
Saturdays - 11 - 3
Sundays - 1-5

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Winter Whites - A Seasonal Exhibition of Texture

Winter Whites, Ciel Gallery Nov 6 - Jan 9 Receptions: Nov 6 and Dec 4 - 6-9 PM

This exhition has many different media artists from six different countries: Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Monaco, as well as the United States.

The gallery owner, Pam Goode, is a mosaic artist and with her international contacts, has a number of tile mosaics in the show. The softness of my three winter pieces contrasts beautifully with the hard textures of the mosaics. All of the art work in this small gallery has an appropriate intimate feel.

The theme held the show together beautifully. There are paintings, photographs and numerous mosaic tile pieces including several from a Canadian mosaic artist used a number of white shells and hard shelled marine animals in her work .

Here are details of two of my pieces in the show. I forgot to take the camera, but will try to get some gallery shots to post later.

Winter Confection III detail

Reclamation - detail

If you are in the area, hope you can see the show. It is well worth the visit. It is right next door to the Charlotte Art League on Camden Road.

Contact for gallery hours.

Keep Quilting


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Love Affair - And My Husband Approves

American Beech Tree Seed Pod and Seeds

I have fallen in love with tree seeds.
Isn't this American Beech seed pod funny? I love the little curly spikes on the outside of the pod and the exquisite little three-sided seeds. A pair of seeds is in each pod, just waiting to fall to the ground. I used this seed pod for inspiration along with leaves and stems in two quilts that can be viewed on my website under Seed Play. One is Summer Split and the other is Parallels.


This interesting plant has a cone that does not look like a cone at all. The stems and needles are covered with triangular scales. This is a ground cover dwarf found in front of the local Barnes and Noble. Creating these scales with thread and stitch was a great deal of fun. My quilt, Juniperus, was inspired by these features.

A Branch of Crepe Myrtle Seed Pods

These seeds are just about my favorite. Their wonderful forms are so lovely, with great shadows and curves. And check out the cap on the top of the seed pod. They are a delight to work in fabric and threads. My quilt, Late Summer Dawn, was inspired by these curious little seed pods.

The many strategies that trees have developed for reproducing are fascinating. Spores, seeds dispersed by wind or animals, fruits, all depend on another force to help disperse the next generation. Many of the forms are intricate and as beautiful as flowers. In the case of trees, the seeds may be more interesting and at least more visible than the flowers.

These are three of my favorites that I have used in quilts.

I hope that you enjoy these lovelies.

Contest Results and Three Deciduous Holly Branches

Three Deciduous Holly Branches

Thanks to Sue Andrus and Karoda for entering the contest. Sue wins for getting the best entry in first. And Karoda wins a second place for adding to the explanation of how this piece conveys the economic driver that separates people in the city of Charlotte. Sue gets the hand dyed shibori fabric promised and Karoda will get a second prize of another piece of hand dyed fabric. All I need are addresses of where to send. You folks did such a good job that everyone else must have been scared off from entering. Thanks for taking part. And to others, check out their excellent blogs and websites. I guarantee that they are fascinating.

I finished the piece, Three Deciduous Holly Branches, and delivered it yesterday so it becomes the property of Crossroads Charlotte. Will be interesting to see what they are going to do with the art completed by the 12 artists.

Right now I am drooling over the Cheap Joe’s Art Supplies catalogue dreaming about what to do with the $150 gift certificate that each artist got from Cheap Joe’s. Inks, paints, easel, canvases, sketch pads? Yummy!

Keep Quilting

Friday, October 2, 2009

500 Art Quilts - Doing the Happy Jig

500 Art Quilts is coming out in March 2010. The cover features this wonderful piece by Nancy Murty called Love, Honor and Cherish.

Doing the happy jig tonight. Just got word that 2 of my entries to the book, 500 Art Quilts, were selected to be published. Here is a peek at details of the pieces. You can see the full size pieces on my website.

Summer Split (detail)

Spring Rhapsody (detail)

Wow. With all the great art quilts out there, I feel really honored and humble to be included.
Keep Quilting


Monday, September 28, 2009

Hot Rainy and Beautiful – Festival in the Park Update

This week I am restoring my studio to order and drying out. The weekend had it all in the way of weather. Hot and muggy on Thursday and Friday, Saturday drizzled with a down pour that closed the Festival early. Sunday was gorgeous and loads of people came out. But loads of fun overall. Met some really great people and had a chance to catch up on some artists I have met before.

Economics - Crossroads Charlotte

I worked on a new piece for Crossroads Charlotte and finished the inking process. It is a piece on Economics. It is worked on a Heidi Stoll Weber hand dyed cotton sateen with Tsukineko inks.

Contest: A prize is offered to the person who leaves a comment with the best explanation of how this piece conveys economics and how economics divides people in our communities – by October 10, 2009. In case of tied entries, the first date and time stamp will win.

Win what you ask? A yummy piece of hand dyed shibori by yours truly in blues, maroon and red. It is a cotton fat quarter.

One of my personal goals is to help educate the public about quilts as art and work that is displayed on walls. Most of the viewers at my FIP studio were totally unfamiliar with quilts as art. It was a good opportunity in furthering this goal.

Several folks left cards and I will have lots of follow-up to do this week.

Keep quilting

Friday, September 18, 2009

Festival in the Park Charlotte NC

Since 1964, Festival in the Park has been bringing good music, good art and good times to Charlotteans and visitors from around the world. The sounds of "big band music" drift across Freedom Park's lake whose still surface reflects the lights strung from Camelot exhibit tents.

A new element to FIP will be a tent with twelve emerging artists creating work and talking with Festival goers. I will be one of the 12 artists setting up a studio and gallery of our work. We cannot sell our work and compete with 154 paying artists from all over the country. I am really excited about the opportunity for this exposure.

This is the design I will be creating in my FIP studio. It will be on Heidi Stoll-Weber cotton sateen and inked. It is 3 branches of deciduous holly. Our finished work will be auctioned off by Crossroads Charlotte to help future emerging artists.
Festival runs from Thursday 6pm Sept 24 through Sunday afternoon Sept 27.
My hours at FIP are:
Thursday 6-10 pm
Friday 10 - 2
Saturday 10 - 2, 6-10
Sunday 2- 6
If you are in the area, come take a peek at my booth and see my work in progress.

My head is spinning with making lists of what to take, updating marketing materials, etc. The piece we make is inspired by one of six elements that separate people in our community. The Emerging Artists' Colony is sponsored by Crossroads Charlotte, a program designed to create bridges between different groups, races, ethnicities in our community. My driving force is: Economics.

Anyone with similar experience, what are you glad you did, and what do you wish you had done? Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated.

SAQA Visioning Project

Wow. I signed up for the SAQA Visioning Project and really have great expectations for this project.

Around 100 SAQA quilt artists have signed up and made a commitment to publicly commit to one stretch goal for the next 12 months. We will be grouped by types of goals to share, give feedback, and see what action steps others are taking to reach the same goal. Planning includes specific action steps to take and how to measure what we have done.

I made the goal to develop and execute a marketing plan to earn at least $XXXX through sales, commissions, or grants in the next 12 months. I am a little shy about revealing the dollar figure to the whole world. But I will let my followers know if I am reaching the goal or not and why.

Lisa Chipetine, SAQA's new president, is heading this project up and has brought in others to help mentor people around their specific goals.

So far, I find that it is really helping me stay focused on the long range goals and to keep nibbling away at them. It also has helped focus my short term goals so they are steps on the way to the bigger vision.

How do you stay focused on your goals?

Keep Quilting


Machine Quilting Unlimited

I am very excited to be in the September issue of this magazine and being noted on the cover is a bit mind blowing. The story of how this came about is strickly a 21st century phenomenom.

Kit Robinson, the managing editor, saw some of my posts on the FiberartsOptions blog and asked me to write up my quilting process. It is a 3 page article with lots of photographs. Hope you will take a look.

I am really impressed with the magazine's content throughout. I had stopped taking most quilt magazines because the content was not providing me with more than a bit of eye candy. And right now, I am trying to be careful of my resources.

But Machine Quilting Unlimited has good solid articles that are given enough space to be meaningful in the details.

Keep Quilting


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hanging Quilts Like Paintings

Recently my work has hung in two art galleries that could not use the slat and sleeve system for hanging quilts. I have used the system in the photo at left that simply runs a wire through the slat. Then the wire is stapled to the slat through the sleeve. This keeps the wire from showing above the quilt.

In this case, one of my pieces was on loan from its owner, so I did not want to put staples into the quilt sleeve.

I had heard of quilters using a velcro system and wanted to experiment with that. My newest pieces did not have sleeves, older work did. Being a bit lazy, I wanted a system that would work for both.

I purchased 3/4" velco and 1 1/4" twill tape in several colors to blend with the backs. I machine sewed the soft side of the velcro down the middle of the twill tape in long strips. Once sewn, I cut it into 4" strips.

Since the Walker System for my solo show had a 5" wide metal bar that was about 3" high, I hand sewed velcro strips to the bottom of the sleeves or about 4 inches below the top of the quilt. This ensured that the Walker System would not show above the quilts. It also allowed the slats to go through the 4" sleeves for other uses.

My DH lined up short strips of the hook side of the velcro on the slats to match the placement on the quilts. He glued the velcro to the slats; once dry he stapled the velcro to the slats for extra security. See photo 2.

The dear man is very precise. He wanted a really slick presentation.

At the center of the slats, he drilled large holes 6.5" apart through the slat face. He then drilled a small hole from the top of the slat through to the large hole.

This photo shows the details of the slat with its drilled holes, cord and knots. Once the holes were drilled, he threaded a strong, non-stretching cord through the holes and tied knots inside each large hole. He then hit each knot with glue. Once dry, he cut the cords short to be inside the slat.

The system worked beautifully. See the former post about my solo show to see some of work hung in this manner. Let me know if you have questions or need more information about this system.

Keep Quilting -

Friday, September 11, 2009

Regeneration: Solo Show Opens in Chapel Hill NC

Susan E Brown and friend examining Southern Hospitality

Marni Goldshlag of the CCUU in Chapel Hill curated my solo show that will be in her church sanctuary from September 6 to October 25. It was a real thrill to see so many of my recent pieces hanging in the same space. Several friends from the Triangle came over for the reception. Great to see people I knew.

Marni selected the large floral Pelton’s Rose-Gentian to hang in the front of the sanctuary with Late Summer Dawn to the left of it. It was great to have an artist's eyes in someone more objective to give the starting point and final arrangement suggestions. Thanks, Marni!!
Here’s Marni posing for the photographer in front of Parallels and After the Frost.
Great colors, Marni!!

Another viewer is studying my Fall Series in photo 4.

Congregational members were very kind in coming early to church to see the work and stayed to talk afterwards. What a terrific experience all around in a great venue for my work.
Hope this peek of my solo show will be interesting to you. Please let me know.
If you are in the area, I hope you will check it out.
Community Church, 106 Purefoy Rd, Chapel Hill, NC
Sanctuary is open 11-2 Monday through Friday
Sunday before and after services. Services are at 9:30 and 11:15

Keep quilting


Southern Hospitality (26"x38")

Welcome to my blog! This blog will post my current activities and observations. Hope you will enjoy it, come back to visit again, and give me your feedback.

Susan Brubaker Knapp gave a blog school for 4 of us on Friday. She is a great teacher and helped set up my blog as part of her demonstration.

What a great help. I feel like I am edging into the 21st century. All I need now is to learn how to work with all the resources available with SAQA University.

Thanks for looking.