Another Zany, Zowie, Zingy, Zesty Zephyr Retreat

Mary Boalt

…has zipped on by. And what an awesome, inspirational time we all had. Some participants dove into their fabric stashes and completed garments. Others went out of their comfort zones and tried a new medium to express their artistic voice, whether polymer or paint. And still others expanded their education in the ever fascinating world of color. In the end, we all came away with some new talents, knowledge, garments or way of expressing ourselves. Isn’t that what we love about the creative process?  And we meet the most interesting people too!

My students are especially brave. Many have not played with paint since grammar school. This is an opportunity to engage with new toys like stencils, stamps, screen prints and Gelli plates. These women continue to amaze me with their abundance of ideas. Let me introduce you to them and show you some of their work.

Here’s Kari, a returning student who’s extremely helpful and creative, and Beachy Pat discussing design ideas. Everyone is so generous in bouncing ideas around. Beachy Pat was one of our brave souls jumping right in and putting paint to canvas.

This is Pat number two!  She is an amazing seamstress with a great design eye. She’s the most pleasant person to meet and to have in class.

Terry really took advantage of all the tools in the toy box. She can screen print like a pro! And she went to work right away, not wasting any time.

Gracie and Victoria were both “noses to the grindstone” and turned out some beautiful pieces. Gracie had some home dec projects in mind. And you could see a quilters hand in Victoria’s designs.

This is Patty a few weeks later showing off some of the finishing touches on one of her three canvasses.

And this is my hard working sister, Patty, who helps me out by washing all the stamps, stencils and screens for the students.  She also helps me set up and tear down. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Last year she completed the steam-a-seam project. This year she was able to complete a canvas.

…in desert colors where she now lives.

After only a few days these very ambitious women made all these canvasses.

A few years ago I gave my sister a painted canvas. I just love the bag she made from it.

We all had such a good time getting to know each other, watch one another’s creative abilities blossom and applaud their successes. What a great group of supportive women! We hope this inspires you to join us next year at beautiful, peaceful Zephyr Point, the place where creative breakthroughs are achieved.

 

 

 

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What a Week!

by Christine Barnes

Retreat 2017 is now history, and what a great week it was. Let me begin with my intrepid, up-for-anything students—you were wonderful, one of the best classes I’ve ever had, and your blocks and projects prove it. You were fun and brave and always cheerful. Allow me to show off your work!

We began with four mock-block exercises that illustrate the adage that “Value does all of the work, and color gets all of the credit.” Contrasts in value create two important effects in quilt design: 1) they add a sense of depth (dark shapes seem closer, lighter shapes farther away) and 2) they establish the design (a dark star shows up on a light background).

When the values (lights, mediums, and darks) are somewhat similar, differences in pattern and color can differentiate the shapes, as in these Boy’s Nonsense mock-blocks. Paula combined two very different patterns to establish the design.Barb’s modern background fabric makes her block light and lively.Marti’s intense center square contrasts with the somewhat duller ombré rectangles.The Granny Square block is a great format for playing with light, medium, and dark values. In Lisa’s block, there’s even “accidental transparency.”The way in which Patti used the linear prints is smashing. (I want this block. 🙂Gale had an assist from her sister Mukhya in pasting up her Best Friends block. A bright print for the outer triangles makes the design even bolder. See how well the dark skinny triangles stand out against the red-orange half-square triangles.A busy Alice in Wonderland print separates nicely from the background and the dark skinny triangles in Susan’s block.An op-art, black-and-white print gives Gail’s block movement.I’m loving the vintage/modern vibe here, with contemporary fabrics and a Featherweight machine. Yes!Color therapy!Gail auditions fabrics for Laurie’s Spumoni blocks.That’s Susan behind her Urban Sunsets quilt top. It’s difficult to see in this shot, but the black-and-white swizzle sticks have an undulating design (check out the upper right block).Jane’s Urban Sunsets units are wonderfully different in value, color, and pattern.Variations in value, color, and pattern make for an elegant, minimal design. Lisa’s block, I believe.Cindy working on her Urban Sunsets blocks.Another one of Cindy’s blocks in progress. She’s bordering her center units with a green Gelato ombré instead of the gray. (I can’t wait to show you the finished quilt!)Gail went to town with Kaffe fabrics for Spumoni. See how the different values affect the look of each block.Isn’t our class wall colorful??? There was even more to see, on moveable design boards.These Farmer’s Wife blocks, done the morning of the last full day, really show the growth in everyone’s work. Well done, ladies!

Green Grunge triangles flank the nine-patch unit in Ellen’s block. Dark-value corner squares advance and give the design a strong sense of dimension.Though there is some blending in the nine-patch unit, I’m loving the colors and prints in Gale’s version.

Lisa’s clicked when she positioned the leafy squares in the nine-patch unit so the values contrast with the greeny-brown triangles.The color in Laurie’s block is a bit off in this photo, but wow, it sure works! The nine-patch unit advances because the values are darker than the gold triangles.OK, not our best look, but hey, it’s the last morning and we were weary. We had 12 students in all (Gale, Patti, Susan, Ellen, and Jane are missing from this pic). This photo, taken by our phenomenal assistant Kathy, says it all. There is no other place on the planet like Lake Tahoe.But wait, there’s more! Gail and Laurie, my students from the Dakotas, rode around the lake, all 72 miles of it, in the “Tour de Tahoe” on Sunday. Congrats, ladies, on ending your week with a bang. I told my young hair stylist about your ambitious ride, and she paused and said, “Well, that sure changes my idea of what quilters are like.” Too funny!With that I’ll sign off. Thank you for looking at my students’ amazing work. And thanks to my students for making my week so memorable. As I’ve said many, many times, “You make this job so rewarding and so much fun!”

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For The Love of Artists

by Mary Boalt

The four of us are down to the wire getting ready for the retreat at Zephyr Point. Paint purchased. Check. Polymer clay. Check. Patterns packed. Check. Fabric folded. Check. Printouts printed. Check. Sewing machines oiled. Check. August has proven to be a month of list making and crossing items off, online ordering and packing up, getting kits ready and buying supplies. We certainly want our students to have the very best experience in the most beautiful location.

Despite being busy with that, my sweet husband drove us to San Francisco so I could attend the American Craft Counsil show at Fort Mason. I’ve wanted to go for years and I wasn’t disappointed. Neither was he since there was an “educational whiskey tasting opportunity” for bored husbands. The building was full of high quality vendors that I’ve only seen advertised in upscale craft magazines. To meet the artists and see their work up close was inspiring to say the least. Beautiful, amazing, head scratching techniques punctuated by comical and thought provoking works of art. I highly recommend it and would love to attend again next August. And if the whiskey “educators” are still there, I think Tom would be on board too.

Photos from every booth would have been nice but that is frowned upon and I didn’t want to ruin a beautiful day with that restraining order stuff. So the best I can do is to share business postcards and websites. These were some of my favorites.

As you can tell, I loved the raincoats made by Mau. I’m a sucker for anything with text on it. Painted, printed, stenciled or silk screened. I love it. And this was all done on Tyvek!

It was my good fortune to run into some extremely creative friends, Shams and Margy. But not so lucky to have a social media person from ACC ask me to pose with them.  I was so underdressed in comparison…I cropped out my cropped pants and black and white converse tennis shoes! Oy! It’s been a while since I’ve “been down off the hill”.

If you aren’t familiar with these artists, you can follow them on their blogs. Shams writes Communing with Fabric and Margy writes A Fool 4 Fabric. Taking a class from Shams and seeing her trunk show was jaw droppingly good. She is a technical wizard. And Margy has exquisite taste in packing a travel wardrobe. I have learned a lot from her and used her ideas for a couple trips to Europe. Another favorite blogger of mine is Gayle Ortiz of Gayleygirl.blogspot.com. Gayle has the willingness to learn any textile technique and then turn it into beautiful creative garments we would all want to wear.  We would love to know who your favorite bloggers are.

Please excuse the lightweight blog this month. Must get back to checking things off the list, crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s!  We look forward to seeing about 40 of you in just a few days. And don’t forget to bring your scissors for sharpening! Tuesday is scissor sharpening day. Also, one student, Patty Blesso, who hails from Orangevale is looking for a ride buddy. Leave all the driving to Patty B. Email her at pattyblesso@gmail.com if you are interested.

We will be posting pictures of our classes over the next month so that none of you will feel left out. In the meantime………

Carry on creatively!

Mary

 

“Hip To Be Tied” A New Type of Belt using Terial Magic

by Heidi Emmett

Craftsy-Logo InstagramAA Logo1Pinterest-Pinnedetsy

I recently saw a belt in a catalog that was very wide, embroidered, tied once on the hips, and looked fabulous! It was also $148.00! So, I decided to see what I could put together that looked just as good and at 1/10th of the price!

Materials

1/3 yard large scaled print and 1/3 yard of a smaller print fabric for the lining.  Both fabrics should be quilting cotton weight.

1 bottle Terial Magic spray.

Thread, same thread top and bobbin.

Optional, beads and fabric glue

Sewing machine and supplies.

Finished belt size is 5″ wide x 84″-90″ long (Depending on the width of the fabric).

Directions: Prepare the fashion fabric and the lining fabric with Terial Magic according to their directions.  In case you didn’t know it, I love, love, LOVE, Terial Magic for its many creative uses. 

1.From both fabrics, cut 2 strips, each strip being 5″ x width of the fabric. Seam each piece together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam open.

2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together. Pin in a few places to hold together. Thread the machine with the same colored thread both top and bobbin. I put an open-toed embroidery foot on (so I could see where I was sewing), but did not lower the feed dogs. Use a straight stitch and sew all over. I sewed from the center portion out in long meandering lines. Some of my stitches (as seen below) are larger, but with all the other stitching, they aren’t noticeable.

 

Trim off the excess fabric along the edges. Cut along one of the stitching lines for an interesting shape for the belt.

The Terial Magic makes the two fabrics stiff enough for easy sewing.

The Terial Magic gives the belt “body” so that when it is tied, it will stay in place. But you can easily rinse the Terial Magic out for a softer look and feel. 

Tie the belt right on the hips. What a fun way to use some of your favorite fabrics. 

Of course, I couldn’t stop with just one belt! Check out this “house” fabric. I like to use another colorful fabric for the lining, just in case is shows.  Craftsy-Logo InstagramAA Logo1Pinterest-Pinnedetsy

No worries where the stitching lands. It’s easy and relaxing stitching. 

This belt calls for some subtle bling. Look closely at the bottom end of the belt. 

Here’s a close up. I didn’t have time to hand sew my large seed beads down. I wanted the holes of the bead to show. Using  fabric glue and using a pair of tweezers, drag the back of the bead across some glue. Set in place.  

Wear this belt all year round with dresses, skirts, or pants. Make a bunch for gift giving too.

Visit Heidi Emmett at her blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com for more fun ideas.;Orrrr….if you are already here at my blog, you might want to visit Artistic Alchemy at: Artisticalchemyblog.wordpress.com and read some of the past posts. There are four of us teaching at our retreat this September 4th-8th.

One more time,  I love Terial Magic and use it for so many of my creative sewing projects. See my latest projects using Terial Magic in my new book, “Fashion Quilted Accessories” by Leisure Arts. Thanks so much for stopping by. Hugs, Heidi

A Day at the Fair

by Christine Barnes

I’m a small-town girl from Loomis, CA, who grew up in the 1950s in an idyllic setting that included a barn, a pond, an orchard, a garden, a few cattle, and one very naughty pony. My father was a high school history and anthropology teacher who also saw himself as a gentleman farmer, and in the summer I would complain at dinner, “Not potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, and corn from the garden again.” Then there would be our own peaches on vanilla ice cream. If only I had realized how lucky I was. I do now.

So when I migrated from the Bay Area to Grass Valley in 1983, I felt right at home. I even have roots here—my great-grandfather worked in the Empire Mine before the turn of the century, when Grass Valley was a prominent mining town in the California Gold Country.

Things have changed, to put it mildly, and it feels as though this charming town has grown exponentially. The Nevada County fair has changed too, becoming more crowded as the years go by, though it retains its small-town flavor with events like a pygmy goat obstacle course (darn, I missed that one), gold panning, a ukulele orchestra, and, of course, adorable bunnies, squeaky-clean pigs, and majestic horses. It’s often hot and usually dusty, but the fair is a much-loved part of our county’s culture. At night, from the air, it’s magical.There are plenty of other events, too. The Draft Horse Classic happens every September and is considered the premier show of its kind in the western U.S. I love these “gentle giants,” probably because my other great-grandfather used a draft horse in his apple orchard in central Washington.I worked the fair yesterday in the Methodist Church bratwurst booth (if you like brat with kraut, it’s the best), then made my way to the quilts and other needlework. I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of my favorites.

I’m stuck in the advanced-beginner category of knitters, and I’m in awe of what’s possible with yarn, knowing that I’ll never be able to knit this well. I watched Lindsey Cleveland start this project at a knitting retreat last winter. The dark values and intense colors make for a stunning chevron shawl.I love crescent shawls for their graceful shapes, and this one is exquisite!Another beauty, with lovely lacework.My friend Jo Ward’s quilt-like shawl made in mohair. Kaffe would love seeing this, . . . and I would love wearing it.On to the quilts. Trish Morris-Plise will be at the retreat this year. (And haven’t you come every year, Trish?) Her work is amazing and eclectic, from art quilts to this Hawaiian-style appliqué wall hanging.What wonderful hand quilting!In Lorna Straka’s blue-ribbon bargello quilt (machine quilted by Susie Hardy) the center of the quilt advances because the batiks are more intense than the Kaffe Fassett border. Great fabric choices, Lorna!I never get tired of batiks. Their variations and nuanced colors make them special.This charming quilt by Janet Hannameyer is the kind of quilt I love to see at the fair every year.Another teapot quilt, by Deirdre Campbell, only it’s made of paper. Yes, paper! There’s batting in between, although she said her paper quilt last year had paper for batting, too. “A quilt has three layers. . . .” Notice the ruler that serves as the hanging rod. What fun. Lynda Lasich’s poppy quilt is a gem. You had to be there to appreciate the intricate shapes and thread painting.

A delightful use of light, medium, and dark values in this tumbling blocks quilt. My sincere apologies to the maker of this quilt—I forgot to make a note of your name.The fair runs through Sunday, so if you live within driving distance, you might like to come. If not this year, there will certainly be another fair next year, at the fairgrounds voted “the prettiest in all of California”

p.s. You saw it in various stages, but here’s the finished top for one of the retreat projects, “Best Friends.” I hope you agree that I deserve extra credit for using three different dots and one very low-volume stripe. See you soon . . . .

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Odds And Ends

 

Bulging at the seams, I decided to have one of those ” I’m-never-going-to-have-another-garage-sale” garage sale. This time I focused on my sewing room, fabric stash and racks of wearable art that wasn’t being worn. It was time to move on.

As most sewists would agree, we can become emotionally tied to our stashes. When thinking that a fellow artist will appreciate the potential in your pieces, it’s easier to part with it. But when “Mr. Helmet” arrives, it’s another story. A garage sale story.

Mr. Helmet showed up shortly before closing. He made his appearance by parking his old beat up van up on the street above our house and running through the bushes down to our driveway, setting the dog off barking. He was wearing a bicycle helmet, although driving a van with no bicycle attached, a midriff baring fishing vest with no shirt underneath, and some shorts. With his eyes rapidly darting from one item to another, he became fixed on a stack of fabrics. Not knowing their content he asked what they were. “Silk”, I coldly replied. And the next, “Silk”, again. These were 3-4 yards pieces each already reasonably priced. Off he went over to the barely used trampoline. Wanting to set the trampoline free from my possession, I agreed to let him use my phone to ask another party for further instructions. Suddenly my husband and fellow garage salers were on red alert. Receiving the “What were you thinking?” look from all of them, we stood there anxiously waiting for him to finish and return my phone, now needing to be disinfected. And as any good garage sale shopper does, he asked me for a lower price. I mulled it over and gave him a price. Asking that I call him sometime that night or next day, I decided the negotiations with Mr. Helmet had to come to an end. “No, we’ll be done at 2:00 and then our sale will be over.” At this point he said he might be back. Not wanting the unappreciative silk fondler to have possession of my stash, I scooped it up and put it back in the house. It was mine once again! And we never heard from Mr. Helmet after that. Only at a garage sale does one have these experiences. I’ll spare you the long version of the gentleman who provided about twenty minutes of comic relief when he told us that his wife made him wear baggy clothes because of his “man boobs”. His words, not mine. I loved him! It was a fun and successful sale and I’m never having another garage sale……until the next one.

Here’s one item I said goodbye to. It was a man’s large pullover cashmere sweater that I cut up, cut down, and added vintage kimono silk pieces to the front, back and neckline. A very appreciative woman purchased it. I’m so happy she has it.IMG_4004

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Now for some more pictures from last year’s Zephyr students. They all did magnificent work turning their paintings into bags and wallhangings.IMG_3136IMG_3142

Here is a before and after story.IMG_2509

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IMG_0673This spring a former student purchased one of my canvasses when Artistic Alchemy had a booth at the quilt show. I loved what she did with it.

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A huge thanks to all who sent pictures to share their work with you. I am always so impressed and pleased to see what others make.

And another big thanks to all my fellow creators for supporting my garage sale. Oh by the way, I have some silk left!