Kicking off the New Year with Creativity

This is Jane and what better way to kick off the New Year than a few days away at the creative arts retreat ‘Craft Napa’  I am in Napa! This retreat was founded 5 years ago by Pokey Bolton. Pokey is founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and founding host of Quilting Arts TV on PBS. More recently she started Crafting a Life and the Craft Napa retreat.

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January 2019 Cruising by CIA at Copia in Napa with Lyric Kinard and Lynn Tubbe after a delicious lunch at the Oxbow Market.

Craft Napa celebrates the crafts of quilting, sewing, surface design, art journaling, and mixed media. It happens early January when we are all looking for a creative kickstart to the beginning of our year. The events location is at the Embassy Suites in Napa, CA and all the workshops, socializing and networking happens in the fountain courtyard around which the classrooms are arranged. Tentative dates for 2021 13-17th January

Jennifer Sampou.

Jennifer Sampou, fabric designer and quilter, and husband displaying her quilts during her lunchtime lecture.

Including the workshops Pokey organizes various events; a welcome dinner, wine blending, and a speakers luncheon. Last year we watched ‘Tim’s Vermeer’ with the inventor Tim Jenison who was present for Q & A afterwards. Then Friday night is always the Makers Market. This event, open to the public, includes tables from many of the teachers selling unique products and works of art, as well as the work and products of other local makers.

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Selling my handmade products at the Friday night Makers Market

I have attended Craft Napa for all five years since its inception in 2016 and highly recommend it. It can be pricy but I give myself an early Christmas present when I sign up in May or June. Sharing a room at the Embassy Suites with their breakfast included and their popular happy hour really helps to keep costs down.

This year I am taking two workshops by Joanne Sharpe and Pat Pauly as well as teaching two classes Pet Portraits and Beautiful Bovines. This year 2020 Craft Napa runs from January 15-19th and I will be there when this post goes out.

As part of my prep for my two classes I have been making samples to inspire my students to let them see the steps involved in fabric collage, hands-on . These samples are made using 8” x 10” photographs. The projects in this workshop are smaller and so hopefully students get finished or close to in the 6 hr class.

Ruby by Jane Haworth

Ruby, a sample of one of my cow patterns for the Beautiful Bovine workshop.

Once I’m home from Craft Napa I have two focuses; my upcoming workshop ‘Faces’ that I am teaching in Dubai at the end of February at the Dubai International quilt Show and then prep for the Artistic Alchemy 2020 Retreat announcement when registration opens  in early February

Over the Christmas break I got to play with surface design with my daughter Lucy. We painted, stamped, carved lino-blocks and generally had fun with fabric paints and fabrics.  Here are a few photos of what we made.

 

From this collection of fabrics I am going to use them in fabric collage. I really like the  layered look of collage on improv piecing. It a great way to use pieces and scraps of fabric you have already or have handmade yourself.

Succulents by Jane Haworth

Succulent Love Fabric Collage

I have started another project with my small sewing group, Sierra Sisters. We have decided to make a shared wearable piece of art. We all submitted a piece of clothing that will be cycled around the group giving us each a month to work on the piece by adding some appliqué, hand stitching or whatever takes your fancy. It will be fascinating to see how these pieces turn out near the end of the year. I hand-painted this apron dress that is pretty wacky to start off!

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Best wishes to all for a creative and inspiring 2020. I like to encourage people to drop fear and just create.  I will leave you with a photo from Serene Lakes taken around 9pm on News Years Eve. Its our tradition to head up the hill and as part of our New Year celebrations watch the fireworks on the Serene Lake.

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View from Serene Lakes, CA on New Years Eve 2019

Keep enjoying the blog and in just a few weeks Artistic Alchemy will be announcing our workshops for the 2020 retreat. How exciting!

A New Year, a New Decade

by Sandra Bruce

I wrote my first check today including the new year, 2020, and did it ever feel strange to write that number. Years ago I certainly did not accurately envision what this time would look like. Do you have the same feeling?

I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions. However, a new beginning in January of each year does give one a mental frame of mind to consider ways to be happy and fulfilled, and a better person in the coming year. I’m going to try to let the little things that bug me evaporate into thin air. It’s those little annoyances that add up, and I’m determined to let some go.

Before I get any further into my post….very soon in February we will be launching the announcements and registration form for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat for 2020, set for September 7-11. Many people have expressed interest in my Matrix workshop, so if you are interested get your deposit in the mail pronto after the reg form is available to secure your spot.

In case you are unaware, you can find me on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/sbruce/1955/

…and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/sandra-bruce-creative/

It’s January 2nd as I write.  In my last post in November I was about to go to my last teaching gig of the year in Toronto. Since returning, and after finishing the end of my customer quilt queue, I have enjoyed a lot of quiet time at home. Having arrived to the middle of my 6th decade I have come to really appreciate and savor my quiet alone time. As a matter of fact, the last few months have been for me creatively quiet. At least where my Matrix pieces are concerned. I believe it is positive to have a once-in-a-while period of just absorbing everything visual, along with mental contemplation, which always leads to ideas. This works for me and always something new comes spilling out.

Toronto was a wonderful experience. The guild was appreciative, eager to learn, and having 2 gentlemen in my workshop was a treat!

I spent a whole day in AGO, the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

Although it was only the middle of November Toronto was in full-blown Christmas mode. When I left Grass Valley it was warm and dry, with threats of power cut-offs…and in Toronto it was 14 degrees when I arrived, and Christmas was everywhere. Segue!

My friends Rejeanne and her husband Gene, who came down from Sault St. Marie, spent a day showing me around Toronto. They have come to the Artistic Alchemy Zephyr Retreat 3 times which is how I met them, and it was so fun to be on their turf for a change. Rejeanne joined the guild in Toronto so that she could take both workshops I taught, and she brought her Matrix quilt “Gene” for show and tell. That way the new Matrix students could see what is possible from taking my workshop. Here is a charming photo Rejeanne sent me of herself with her quilt “Gene”.

For walking all day in Toronto we needed comfortable shoes, overcoats, and umbrellas.

Back home I jumped into winter and the holidays. As part of my creative “break” I pulled out a UFO from several years ago and finished it, a one block wonder quilt made from a kooky vintage-looking Alexander Henry Christmas fabric. It went right onto the back of the couch and I snuggled in it all of December.
One of the things I love about my longarm work is being able to help people make quilts with very special significance. Here is one example: my customer (and friend) has 3 sons-in-law who lost their dad years ago. This dad was known for his Hawaiian shirt collection. 3 quilt tops were made, each one different, out of the shirts. The theme of each quilt corresponded to the son and his interests. The 3rd one I completed in December just in time for it to be mailed back to Nebraska to be bound and finished. It was a pattern of shelves of books, and I had such enjoyment quilting it.The boys received their quilts on Christmas Day.  Here it is on the longarm:

A special message was “written” into the quilting on the spine of 2 of the books. The back was almost as fun to look at as the front:

It’s projects like this that make my longarm work so rewarding.

In addition to the above I have been working on a customer’s hand-appliqued quilt. I haven’t hand-appliqued in many years but when she brought this quilt to me to longarm I knew hand-quilting would be the best solution and she agreed to let me go for it. I’ve had many happy hours working that rocking motion of the needle and trying to make the smallest stitches I can. Many episodes of “Father Brown” got me through those hours.

So…………..What’s next?  I am headed in one week to Israel. I’ll be blogging about it my next turn, and posting in the meantime on IG and FB. I’m so excited to visit this foreign land so full of history, art and culture. I’m beginning a commission Matrix piece, a reproduction of “Yayoi” for a client in Houston. Speaking of Houston, I’ve applied to teach there this fall, hopefully they will accept me, I’ll know mid-February.  I look forward to a year filled with quilts, quilting, travel and joy in daily rituals.

Till then Happy 2020!

Take a Look Back on 2019 with Designs by Heidi Emmett

by HEIDI EMMETT  I have not stood still this year! Well, there was this one month, but more about that later. I am always pressing forward with new ideas and creations. It’s what I LOVE to do! I can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what I can be working on that is fiber related.

Throughout the year Christine Barnes and I did our famous “Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza Trunk Show.” It’s a fun, fast paced look at the amazing  color King himself; his fabric, knitting, needlepoint and more.
I first created this pillow using Kaffe Fassett stripes for a magazine project (Stitch magazine).
Part of the Kaffe Fassett trunk show includes his knitted garments. Here is my “batwing” sleeved sweater that Kaffe designed for Peruvian Connection.  Check out my earrings made from Kaffe fabric. They are a project from my book, Fashion Quilted Accessories.

There are Kaffe F. fabrics in the two vests above. This is one of my most popular vest “art to wear” patterns. Contact me at hmemmett@gmail.com for info. on purchasing this pattern directly from me.

The back of TERRIFIC TABARD using Kaffe Fabrics, including his stripes to bind the edges. One of the workshops I do is on this pattern. I also have done my own Trunk Show at Wearable Art Groups and Quilt guilds, all about creating your own Art To Wear pieces.

Whisper Blouse- In fall colored stripes, and a Kaffe Fassett sweater, it is just what I want to wear while collecting leaves for a fall display.

Send me an email – to see about purchasing my Whisper Blouse pattern, hmemmett@gmail.com

In June I was working on projects for my Artistic Alchemy retreat. I teach Upcycling projects (techniques to make a favorite top or shirt(that no longer fits well) into something you will want to wear once again and now it will FIT).  A linen top here was too short, sooo……

I am a great believer in taking classes or attending retreats myself whenever I can. The beginning of July I took an amazing Shibori class. Learning new techniques and gathering ideas for future projects, it can’t get any better than that!

I wasn’t 100% when I took the Shibori class. 6 days before the class I was nursing what I thought was a bruised muscle (sphincter muscle on the right near the small intestine. YES, there is a sphincter muscle there as well as in our eyes, and an anal one too). 3 days after the class I had an emergency appendectomy. Somewhere in those 9 days before, I ruptured my appendix. I NEVER had the pain that is usually associated with this.
I was one sick cookie. I was on 2 very high powered antibiotics while in the hospital and 2 more after the hospital. When I finally went home the parting words from the nurse were to take probiotics. Lot’s of them to replenish the flora in my gut because of the antibiotics. I started doing some research and for me, I came up with this product. The more I read, the more I discover that so MANY of health issues originate in the gut.There are many, many, pre,pro, biotics on the market. This is the one I use. Find what works for you. A good  preventative.  Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand with this. I have never felt better.

I was given a clean bill of health, on August 30th, 3 days before our Artistic Alchemy Retreat. Thank you to all my friends and family for prayers of healing. God is good! I give Him all the Glory for my complete recovery.
I was very bad at picture taking of my workshop. Too busy with my students and doing creative and fun stuff. Fiber jewelry was on the list for one session. I had amazing students this past September. The ideas, suggestions, and camaraderie that flowed, was so inspiring for all of us!  They all became my “Focus Group.” We had a serious discussion on five garments that I felt were possibilities for new “Art to Wear” patterns. Their input was so valuable to me. I have begun on pattern # 1. I can’t wait to introduce it to you. Sigh…They take months, so sometime after the new year.

We miss you already, our friends of this past Artistic Alchemy retreat. Until next year, September 7-11th, 2020.  Within days of coming home I received an invitation to go to Ottawa Canada to speak and teach workshops. I was BEYOND Honored to be asked. Two more Kaffe Trunk shows followed the retreat and in October, I had some big orders (for my patterns) to get ready for my distributors. Dozens upon dozens of patterns (all packaged by me, and printed by my husband) get sent everywhere, United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. So exciting!
On Tuesday, November 26th at 1:07p.m. (I take snowfalls VERY seriously) it started to snow. This is my back deck one hour and 45 minutes later. We ended up with 10″ of snow + in about 12 hours. This is a FIRST for us. In the many, many, years I have lived in Cedar Ridge, CA we have NEVER had snow 2 days BEFORE Thanksgiving. The morning of the big Turkey feast, I lamented to my husband, “we forgot to get ice for the drinks.” My husband slowly turned and pointed to the outdoors. Ha, ha, ha. I was even able to put my leftovers in their original pots and pans out in the snow too. I had 26 this year for Thanksgiving. It was cozy, but a great time was had by one and all. We all had so much to be Thankful for this year. If you haven’t, please visit my personal site for new ideas DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com And if you haven’t, please visit Artisticalchemyblog.wordpress.com  to see what we four teachers are up to.  Until next time, get your creative going full steam!  Hugs, Heidi

 

Dogs, Cats and Plenty of Students

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Bernese Mountain dog – custom order

Hello this is Jane. I am currently staying in Warwick, Rhode Island getting ready to teach to the Narraganset Bay Quilt Guild but here is my post. Since the Artistic Alchemy retreat in September I have been busy traveling and teaching to quilt shops and guilds. Many of my classes have been my Love of Pets workshop. This really is the most popular class. You will see in my photos some works in progress and completed quilts that have been shared with me.

Dazzling Dogs workshop by Jane Haworth

Dazzling Dogs projects started at IQF Houston 2019

Just a few days after my return from the retreat I was packing for a visit to the Napa Valley Quilt Guild. The guild chose Succulent Love for their workshop. My weekend stay was wonderfully hosted by Kelly and Theresa the vice-presidents for that guild. I stayed in Theresa’s beautiful studio surrounded by her succulent collection, how appropriate. I presented to the guild at their Saturday morning meeting and then had the afternoon to explore. Kelly arranged for a wine tasting tour at the Whitehall Lane Winery. Rather than go alone I took Sharon Coker, who Is an Artistic Alchemy attendee. It was perfect.

Whitehall Lane Winery

Wine tasting at Whitehall Lane

Sunday, the class that was held in a large light filled room in a local mobile home park. It was well attended and I believe everyone had fun collaging succulents, drawing them and playing with paints. The results were great colorful and all very individual.

 

End of September I spent a long weekend teaching at quilt stores in the South Bay; The Granary in Sunnyvale and In-between Stitches in Livermore. I was lucky to stay with fellow quilter and teacher Mel Beach. It was wonderful to get to know Mel, her partner and puppies better and it made my quilt tour more personal.

 

Here are some of the dog and cat quilts that students have been working on and completed. I encourage students  to email photos of their quilts and love it when they do.

Winning quilt IQF Houston 2019

Blau de Colors – El Tubo by Montserrat Forcadell Blasco of Spain

End of October brings the International Quilt Festival in Houston and for quilters who have not been its a wonderful experience that I recommend you put on your bucket list. With acres of beautiful inspiring quilts, more vendors that you can enjoy in one session and international teachers offering a variety of workshops, it shouldn’t be missed! This prizewinning quilt, above, was so impressive, and as you look at it its just a log-cabin design!

Damss Arnoldi Sarzi-Sartori

By Damss Arnoldi Sarzi-Sartori I didn’t get the name of the quilt

This quilt was huge and equally impressive. The scale of it and use of unusual materials so cleverly done to create the different textures. It is made by a couple from Milano, Italy.

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A fun event I attend on the Tuesday night is the announcements and unveiling (literally) of the prizewinning quilts. It was extra special to be there and to hear judge Ricky Tims announce his Judges Choice quilt. It was Jan Reed’s quilt ‘Paradise’. The story in this quilt resonated with Ricky and his recent experience of wildfire. Jan Reed is from Grass Valley and a member of Mountain Art Quilters and this quilt was made for the MAQ challenge.

 

I love meeting people at Houston. It can be quilting personalities that you follow and are familiar with on social media, other quilt teachers, or famous quilting teachers. Then there are those who are excited to meet me! I had a short on camera interview with Ricky Tims that I am sure will be out on social media  on The Quilt Show.  In one of my classes I had a real life astronaut! Those of us around her were star struck!

Better World exhibit.

Viewers enjoying Sandra Bruce’s quilt Yayoi

It is great to run into quilters and their quilts you know from home. I knew Sandra Bruce didn’t visit the show this year but I did share this photo with her. It’s in the Better World exhibit curated by Susan Brubaker Knapp and Lyric Kinard.

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FYI. The same organization that puts on the Houston show is returning to their Long Beach venue in Southern California. I will be teaching two of my fabric collage classes, so an excuse for a short So Cal vacation I see in my future. You’ll be able to sign up for a half day Sunflower workshop or a full day of Dazzling Dogs class.

 

Now onto cats! I’m sure you’ve been wondering. My family has our first pet! Introducing KitKat who turned up on our porch one weekend, while i was away. My husband Martin feed her some freshly smoked salmon and she has stayed since!

Enjoy the upcoming holidays, be creative, enjoy family and get ready for the Artistic Alchemy retreat sign-ups that will open in early February

 

Wrap Up 2019

by Sandra Bruce

Although it’s only the beginning of November, this will be my last post until January…the remaining posts of 2019 will be from my Artistic Alchemy cohorts. For the last couple of years my last post of the year has been a look back, and I like doing that as a reminder to myself of all the things I have experienced and enjoyed during the year. I feel  lucky to have such a varied and full life, and I acknowledge my Artistic Alchemy “sisters” for helping make it so. I went back into my photo library and challenged myself to pick one photo from each month to showcase. Here goes!

Traveling always affords the opportunity to go to museums and galleries. I had occasion in January to go to San Francisco’s MOMA, which I had not been to since its expansion. Definitely I would never miss a chance to see works by Chuck Close. They are always much more impactful in person, no matter how many times I have seen them. Here is his portrait of artist Roy Lichtenstein.

 

 

In February I made up a new lecture for my quilt guild, the Pine Tree Quilt Guild, about what it is like being a longarm quilter, what we do, and why we ask our customers for certain requirements when you bring us a quilt. In my presentation I included photos of myself doing a quilt…start to finish. This photo shows how we even have to get down on the floor with a flashlight sometimes to see what’s happening on the back. Because of a snowstorm, the meeting I was supposed to show this presentation in was cancelled, but I was able to do it in October.

 

In March I attended Empty Spools for the first time and took a workshop from Susan Brubaker Knapp on painting on fabric. My palette is below…it had been such a long time since I had used one, and it brought me joy.

 

In April I went to the SAQA conference in San Jose, CA, an enriching experience and a highlight of my year. While there I saw Vivika Negre, the editor of Quilting Arts Magazine, who was giving out little packets of fabric pieces with a needle and thread. Her instructions were to make something from the ingredients in the bag. Having withdrawals anticipating several days without a sewing project this was just the antidote for me! I keep the piece I made on my nightstand (approx. 3″ by 3″), it’s a reminder of my time there which I enjoyed so much.

May was the month I finished up my quilt “Yayoi”. It’s always interesting to look at the back of a quilt top.  You can see where I cut out the circles.

Traveling has been a feature of the last half of my year. Combined with a teaching trip to Sammammish, WA in June I visited friends in Seattle, Gig Harbor and Auburn, WA. In Seattle I experienced staying in an apartment on the 42nd floor of a high-rise downtown, gulp! Seattle is such a lively town to discover.

I continue to enjoy my longarm quilting business. Especially when I have a customer with a great quilt who says “do whatever you’d like to do”. Here’s a Tula Pink quilt made by one of my favorite customers, where I quilted a design in the center to complement the overall design.

August found me in St. Louis teaching to a very enthusiastic guild there. I taught Matrix as well as Stitching Words, my newest, which is becoming a popular workshop. I have students try different word groupings, including the blast-from-the-past line, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”. The applications for “writing” with a sewing machine are endless. Good job, Deb!

September is always Zephyr month with Artistic Alchemy. It was our 7th year there and it gets better every year. We always do a group shot at the end where we try to round up everybody, and always we do a silly shot, as you can see.

Hitting the road again in October, or rather, cruising the skies, I went to Philadelphia and Fairfax, VA to teach for about a week. There were so many museums and sites I went to, I could do a whole post on them. But I picked out my favorite photo from that trip, a shot taken at the Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia. These lily pads were mesmerizing…I am thinking of a quilt design using my photos….

Which brings me to November…which we are just into.  After 29 years spent in my studio, where I have lived most of that time (aside from sleeping), I had new carpet put in. Which meant cleaning it out, moving very large pieces of furniture (flat files, desks, wall units for fabric, etc) and then back in. It was such a task but now that it’s done I am so happy to have a fresh look and a tidy workspace. Ta-da!!

Next week I head to Toronto for my first international teaching gig. I’m so looking forward to it and am excited to discover a new city that I’ve not been to before. I’ve made a list of several museums to check out, with 2 free days I’ll be doing a lot of walking!

My next post will be early January right before I travel to Israel to teach in 4 cities there. Until then, enjoy the rest of 2019 and I hope you have loads of creative time, being with those you love, and fun too. Artistic Alchemy will be prepping for our announcement for the  September 2020 retreat, be looking for it in February.

2019 Zephyr Retreat Report

A few years ago a student requested that I teach a week long class about painting on fusibles. She wanted the full amount of time to design, embellish and complete a project. I hemmed and hawed and didn’t think it was a good idea at the time. But times change and, at the urging of others, I decided to go for it. To my surprise it was a hit and I was thrilled to have a full class with many ambitious, creative and hard working students.

It was wonderful to occupy Inspiration Point, one of the largest rooms we rent. It allowed us plenty of space for painting, designing, cutting out, sewing and ironing. All with a fantastic view of Lake Tahoe and perfect weather.

The ladies quickly settled in to paint. The first things they painted, just to get the feel of the products, were turned in to me to be used on the last day as a surprise project. Stay tuned.

Then they started to design their projects. I was so  impressed with such a wide variety of ideas. I learn so much from my students whether its color combinations or design style. Everyone brings something valuable and I love helping them accomplish their vision.

And then they embellished with machine stitching.

Followed by more embellishing with beads. Here are some finished and almost finished projects.

Friday morning was the surprise project taught by my sister, Patty. In a former life she taught paper arts classes with a focus on card making. We found a way to incorporate painted fusibles with window cards. Each student was handed their previously painted fusibles and here are the finished products. I love the way they turned out and everyone could take these home with them.

On Thursday afternoon we welcomed the students from the other classes to come and see what we had been creating all week. The room was full of curious ladies wondering how this unique embellishment is done.

With such a successful class accomplished, I’m offering it again next year. Stay tuned for our class list. It will be announced around the first of February. And don’t forget we have Open Studio, an opportunity to work on and catch up on your own personal  projects. Please join us at the most beautiful place on earth during Labor Day week 2020.

After our week at Zephyr is complete, we gear up for the next year with a photo shoot for new postcards. Here’s an out take to make you smile!