Sandra’s 2018 Wrap-Up

by Sandra Bruce

Greetings, at the (almost) end of 2018! As we, Artistic Alchemy, enter our 6th year I am so grateful for the wonderful year I’ve had, and look forward to our 6th annual retreat next September. We’ll be meeting in January to finalize the details for next year’s workshops, and we will be announcing them as soon as we are able, around the first of February. Stay tuned 🙂

I enjoy doing a recap of my year here in our blog. When I go back into my photos I realize how very busy and inspiring all the activities are that surround my career as a teacher, quilter, and polymer artist.

First on my 2018 agenda was a return visit to the Pajaro Valley Guild in Aptos, CA. I taught my 2-day Material Matrix workshop with the cardinal project for the first time, with fabulous results, one student even had hers quilted by the night’s meeting.

Next up was a Demo Day with NCQC. A chance to show guild reps the possibilities of stitching words on fabric with domestic machines. I am excited about teaching this skill!

I began “Dame Lorraine” in January also. Here’s a shot of the back of my top with all those 1/4″ seams. Oh, those diagonals!

In March I had the pleasure of going to a sewing retreat in San Juan Batista. A few uninterrupted days of sewing, rare for me. I made a pair of pants and sewed many Perfect Circles onto my quilt “Dame Lorraine”, plus hand-embroidery. Below, a montage of photos from the week. Sewing experts, these ladies, I hoped to absorb some of their ju-ju!

Next it was time to prepare for my appearance on Quilting Arts TV. Wow, was that scary and fabulous at the same time. I flew to Cleveland for a few days, and the host, Susan Brubaker Knapp, made me feel at home right away. The Bernina specialist, Jeanne, helped me get used to the new and incredible machine I would use on the set. My 3 segments have aired on PBS, and the DVD’s are available on the QA website. Here’s the link if you’d like your own copy 🙂

Here’s Jeanne being her very helpful self on the set.

Also in April I returned to the Valley Heritage Guild in King City, CA to teach my Matrix technique. Holly Casey, my host and longarmer extraordinaire, had completed her “Color Dance” quilt from the year before when I taught the class. Look at her beautiful quilt! Wow!

In May, at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild’s annual show, Artistic Alchemy had a booth where we got to meet show viewers and introduce our newest member, Jane Haworth. We generated a lot of interest in our workshop and sold our wares.

I returned to Aptos in May to attend a workshop from the infamous Rosalie Dace. I have begun to feel the itch to do something different, to stretch my horizons, go outside my box, whatever you want to call it. To begin this process with Rosalie put me off to a fruitful beginning. We made paper collages and interpreted them in fabric. I so enjoyed soaking up Rosalie’s karma.

Also in May, a trip to Las Vegas. One of the treats of teaching is seeing smiles on the faces of students who are having fun and learning.

Traveling to teach allows me to visit places I’ve never been, places I know, and sometimes friends I want to see. A teaching gig in Colorado Springs allowed me a few days with a friend in Fairplay, CO. 10,000 feet up!

Another plus of traveling to teach is the opportunity to visit wonderful museums and galleries. A show at the LA County Museum of David Hockney’s work was not to be missed. “82 Portraits and One Still Life”. The colors!!!!

Summer proved to be hot and dry, and dragged on, as illustrated by this poor squirrel on our deck. A good time to sew and try to stay cool.

In August I signed up for an online drawing “class” with Susie Shie, whom I met on the QATV set. Her stack of sketchbooks was jaw-dropping and made me want to draw again.

Her website:

My career as an illustrator is never far fro my thoughts. I drew almost every day for 5 weeks. My Prismacolor pencils came to life again! A continuation of that desire to do something different. This assignment was “Frying Pan”.

September always means Zephyr Point and the Artistic Alchemy retreat. As always it was a spectacular time in a beautiful place, and we welcomed Jane who eased in like the pro she is. With my full class, including 2 international students, I was amazed at the work done. Our “Group Shot”.

A few shots from the retreat:

Moving into fall, with the arrival of the rain we had all been hoping for, meant for me a pleasure trip to Seattle, some polymer fun, and getting ready to go to Houston in November. Below, the very special Starbucks in Seattle.

A polymer class I taught…

…and the finish of a hand-appliqued Halloween quilt (the day before Halloween!) I had been working on for a year (pattern by The Quilted Spool, and interpreted by me).

My 2nd time to the Houston show was not a disappointment, it was just as exciting as the 1st. So much to see. My 2 quilts “Dad Lorraine” and “Summertime” were displayed in the “People/Portraits” section.

I spotted a lady there wearing a vest made from Heidi’s “Off the Grid” vest pattern. She was happy for me to take her picture!

We were graced here I Grass Valley with the appearance of Cathy Stone, teacher and friend, who taught a class for our guild on free-motion quilting. I learned so much in the first half-hour even! There is alway something new to learn, Cathy is very knowledgeable about thread, batting, tension, etc. I tried stitch-writing the longest word I know. 🙂

As 2018 comes to a close, I look forward to a fresh New Year, full of new starts, new techniques, and memorable times with sewing friends. Please consider joining us next September in Zephyr Point, I am teaching Material Matrix. For now, I’ll keep working on my RGB portrait, and preparing for what’s coming in the new year.

I would like to thank the following guilds/shops for having me this year:

Pajaro Valley Quilt Guild, Loomis Quilt & Fiber Guild, New Pieces Quilt Shop, Flying Geese Quilt Guild, Pinnacles Quilt Guild, Valley Heritage Quilt Guild, Sew Yeah! Quilt Shop, Las Vegas Quilters, Oroville Piecemakers, Palmer Divide Quilt Guild, Westside Quilt Guild, Napa Valley Quilt Guild, Gold Bug Quilt Guild, and the Tuleburg Quilters.


Best Wishes for 2019!

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