A Blog Is Born

  • Greetings! Sewists, Quilters, Beaders, Wearable and Polymer Artists and Friends!

This blog marks the official beginning of a new group consisting of myself, Sharon Alves, Christine Barnes and Heidi Emmett, otherwise known as Artistic Alchemy. We are recently formed and very excited about teaching and sharing what we do with you. Look around on our blog for lots of info about us and some of our plans coming up. We’re most excited about the retreat we’ve planned for September 2014 at Zephyr Cove in Lake Tahoe. Sign ups are now available, so think about joining us!

For my first blog entry I’d like to talk a bit about my process, “Material Matrix”, which I will be teaching at Zephyr Cove. The beauty of a longer workshop such as this is that there is time to get in-depth and really sink your teeth into a new technique. Participants will be able to work on a photograph of their own choice, turning it into a beautiful quilt and learning a fun process that will be useful in other applications as well.

You’ll want to go to my website, Flickr or Facebook page for more in-depth info, but I’ll give you a quick overview here about my technique (info at the end of this blog as to addresses, etc.). I am inspired by the painter Chuck Close who does wonderful huge gridded portraits of people. The first time I actually saw one in person it reminded me immediately of a quilt. Here is one of his self-portraits:


As a member of MAQ (Mountain Art Quilters) I decided to try a quilt inspired by Close for a challenge entitled “Self Portraits”. Never one to start small, or even to make a sample first (I can’t imagine!), I dove in and made an 80″ square quilt from a photograph of my face, using 1,600 2″ squares. I started at the top not really knowing what I was doing but was immediately hooked. 4 months later, my quilt top was done and I finished it on my long arm by quilting words about myself into it, thereby making it truly a self-portrait. From that point on I made several more quilts using the same method, getting smaller and smaller until I made an 18″ square piece I call, “Sew Ready” which I use to teach my method to guilds and quilt shop classes. Now I’m stoked (a new term I picked up from my teenager) to make another really big one, stay tuned for news on it, I’m still designing the image and collecting fabric. Blues and oranges! Here is my Self-Portrait quilt:


Just a few more words about the process….it is a practice in “seeing”, as it is necessary to focus on one square at a time and interpret it in fabric. Hand-dyed, commercial prints, solids…they all work! It’s so fun and rewarding to do this, and let ourselves be “wonky”, so the lines don’t match up exactly and our eyes do the work of putting together the image. In my workshop we talk about what makes a good photo to use and how to grid it, color and value, curved piecing, ideas about quilting, and more.

Here’s Trish, who took my class one weekend and was so inspired she finished her top in 3 days! She went on to make 2 more fish quilts. She’s hooked too!

Trish and her fish quilt

One more class sample…..this is Pat, and the kangeroo she photographed on vacation, turned into a quilt! She presented it at MAQ for the challenge, “Animals”. Wonderful!


Before I forget, here are some links to places where you can see more of my work:

Website:  http://www.sandrabruce.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sandra-Bruce-Creative/230949376954447?ref=hl

An interview with a blogger on Facebook about my work:  http://www.13woodhouseroad.com/2012/10/inspiring-quilters-sandra-bruce.html

Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandrabruce/

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/misslefty/

So for now, I’ll say “Cin-cin” and toast my fellow Alchemists…I’m looking forward to a long and creative relationship with these 3 ladies for whom I have so much respect and admiration. Can’t wait!!!


2 thoughts on “A Blog Is Born

  1. Hi. I’m glad to see your new blog. I took Christine’s Urban Ombré class in June. Sandra, did you make the vest you are wearing in the group photo? I would like to know where to get a pattern for that vest. This blog reminds me that I need to order fabric from Christine to finish my quilt!


  2. Hi, Robin…yes, I did make my vest but I’m sorry I don’t have pattern info. I altered an existing pattern years ago and it has gone through several changes, and I no longer remember what the original one was!

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