Yayoi, and Other News

 

by Sandra Bruce

Before I delve into my post, I want to send out a “Get Well” message to Heidi who is at home recuperating from a burst appendix. She is healing nicely and I’m sure she is storing up ideas in her head for projects to come! Sending you lots of love and well wishes, Heidi!

Our Zephyr Retreat is only about a month away we still have details to prepare, it’s sure to be a fantastic time. Heidi and Jane still have space left in their workshops, it’s not too late, if you hurry!

The main topic of my post today is my latest Matrix quilt, entitled “Yayoi”. But first a few words/pictures about my recent goings-on and travels.

I went to teach in Sammamish, WA recently and took the opportunity to visit my 3 (!) friends in that area, Kathy, Kathy and Cathy. I have tried to get all 3 together but have not been successful, yet. They are 3 of my favorite people. First I taught my Matrix class and did my lecture for the quilters in Sammamish, here is Trish in my Matrix class who was my hostess extraordinaire.

They were a great group and accomplished a good amount on their Matrix cup projects. Cathy #1 picked me up and off we went to Gig Harbor. From there a visit to Vashon Island and Island Quilters, woo hoo! Below, the “Kaffe corner”.

Moving on, to Kathy #2, my CODA buddy (Children of Deaf Adults), our outing to   remember was to “Quilt Barn” in Puyallup (which I can never pronounce), and the cupcake store a few doors down. Batiks and cupcakes, talk about heaven!
Kathy #3 lives in downtown Seattle on the 33rd floor of a building with a view! Wowie! One day we walked over 5 miles. We caught the first day of a fabulous exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum called “Victorian Radicals”, representing the Pre-Raphaelite period of 19th century British art. By far Rossetti is my favorite artist of that period, but in this exhibit my favorite painting was by William Holman Hunt, entitled “The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple”, from 1854. The artists from this period rejected traditional pictorial standards, making them true radicals. In this painting by Hunt, he chose not to follow established conventions but to depict Jesus’s life in a historical context, as a boy: Mary and Joseph have discovered the young Jesus missing but find him in deep conversation with rabbis in the temple. You can see relief in Mary’s face, and I love the beautiful depiction of the young Jesus, the colors! Look at the detail in the background. A really lovely painting. (I suddenly wonder if I’m sounding like Sister Wendy 🙂

It is something else to be on the 33rd floor of a building in Seattle. After our long excursion on foot we relaxed on the tip-top of her building with this view.Tired feet, yes.

In the evening we saw some of the sculpture that dots Seattle. This is my favorite, which consists of letterforms from 7 alphabets in painted steel, which, while not meant to be read, are constructed to create identity and hope that we “can all live together without a common language”. It is titled “Mirall”, by Jaume Plensa. “Mirall” is the Catalan word for mirror. Here is Kathy inside a part of the piece.

Back in California, I did my lecture and taught my “Stitching Words” workshop to the Santa Clara Guild. In my workshop was Mel Beach….she is a natural at writing with her sewing machine! Here’s her work, you can see her enthusiasm.   

I had  lunch and a brief tour of San Juan Bautista while in San Jose. Below a photo from the restaurant where I had lunch with my very kind host Andrea.

On to YAYOI!

So, if you don’t know who she is, here is an excerpt from a film about her that I’m sure you would enjoy:

She is, without a doubt,  a driving force of art culture in our time. She is at present, at age 90, the highest paid female artist living today. I won’t go into a lot of detail about her, watch the movie! You may have seen pictures of her and her art. Her thing is polka-dots. She began to see them in hallucianations as a child and they have greatly influenced her art. She has lived for 40 years in a mental institution, using her art to apply herself to her healing. Every day she walks to her studio to work.

I was invited by Susan Brubaker Knapp and Lyric Kinnard to participate in an exhibit called “A Better World”. We were asked to pick a hero and make an art quilt to reflect that person in our own interpretation. I chose Kusama. Her life story, the challenges she has had to overcome, her incredible talent and drive to make art… these all combined to make her my choice of hero.

I began by making a collage in Adobe Illustrator of pieces of Kusama’s face and inventing a background that resembles the art forms that she makes. She works in bright colors and forms. The quilt had to be 30″ by 50″. I decided to make a border on 2 sides pieced with the letters of her name and fun spiky points. And lots of circles inside. You know how I love circles!

In progress.

When I got the top done and all the circles appliquéd on (by hand) I needed to cut away the quilt parts behind the circles so that I would have a nice flat surface to quilt.

The dots on her sunglasses were drawn on with a pencil, then painted in with “Fabrico” pens (using circle templates saved from my illustration days), and her eye, that is barely showing through the sunglasses was painted on using “ProFab” textile paint. I had just taken a workshop at Empty Spools from Susan Brubaker Knapp on how to use these paints, so it was perfect timing. Painting on top of a quilt that I had spent a couple of months working on was a bit scary but all went well. Relief!

Next came the longarm quilting. I used Superior’s Monopoly on her sunglasses but Omni thread everywhere else. Lots of thread changes.

Since her hair is so straight and vertical I decided to baste the hair and do that final quilting at home on my Bernina.

Here’s the final piece, along with a closeup of the eye I painted.

The schedule of where the “Better World” exhibit will be is on my website, http://www.sandrabruce.com, under “Publicity/News”. It will begin in Houston this Fall. Look out for “Yayoi” to be in Quilting Arts Magazine in the October/November issue.

What’s next in my lineup of creativity? I’m taking advantage of summertime to work on learning my new iPad and how to use the application “Procreate”, along with a bit of lazy time reading (don’t get that very often!) and working on a few projects that always end up on a back burner. Of course I’m prepping for the Zephyr workshop and I’ll be flying to St. Louis towards the end of August to teach Matrix and Stitching Words to the “Bits and Pieces” Guild there.

Happy Summer to you all, here’s wishing you a safe season weather-wise, and lots of sewing time.

The SAQA Conference and Pine Tree Show!

by Sandra Bruce

I’m still coming down from the last few weeks…from Empty Spools, to a sewing retreat in San Juan Bautista, to the SAQA conference, to being Featured Quilter at the Pine Tree Quilt Show earlier this month. Throw in a little teaching….ALSO… there’s a quilt I’ve been working on but I can’t show it to you yet. I was invited to participate in a show and the rules prohibit me from showing the work until the quilts that are traveling are selected. But…..plenty else too chat about!

First…my Material Matrix workshop in Zephyr Point at our retreat is full, with one on the waiting list. Those of you who are in my class will be hearing from me in the next few days. Jane and Heidi still have space….hurry! There’s time to sign up!  🙂

The SAQA conference was in San Jose, CA this year so I had to go. If you don’t know, SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilts Associates. It is an international organization of art quilters and the annual conference is always in a different city in the world. I am a JAM member, which means Juried Artist Member. We are juried in with a portfolio and strive to be professionals in the art quilt world.

I drove down with my friend Trish Morris-Plise and we were both newbies, although there were lots of people there we knew or at least had met before. There were 200 in attendance, from as far away as Australia!

As soon as we walked in we spotted Heidi Emmett and Terry McFeeley…there was an area where artists were selling their wares, and Terry came to promote her product “Terial Magic”, along with Heidi’s help. There were lots of beautiful things to be sold in the afternoon that the art market was set up.

The main wonderful part about the conference was meeting and sharing with quilt artists from all over. To see old friends and make new ones. And take silly pictures! Here is Trish, myself and Jane Haworth. Jane and I both were presenters in the “Lightning Talk” segment of the conference, where we gave a 6-minute talk on a subject accompanied by 20 images that changed on the screen every 20 seconds. Jane was first (of 8) and I was last…my topic was “fear”, as it relates to being a quilt artist. I may turn it into a regular lecture on my circuit.

Here’s Pat Porter and Jan Soules…so many smiles and good karma spread around the room!

 

Mel Beach was in charge of the opening night’s entertainment, we played ice-breaking kind of games so we could get to know each other.

There was a fantastic lineup of speakers over the 4 days. They are all so diverse and had much to say. I think my favorite was the Social Justice Sewing Academy.

Their mission statement: ” Piecing together youth voices, textile art and community in a 21st century sewing circle”. There were 3 young people on the panel who spoke about their lives, and what the Academy meant to them. They had made quilts, and most of them had never held a sewing needle, much less made a quilt before! They go into high schools with their program, all over the country. They need volunteers to embroider, quilt, and donate fabric. I handed my card to them after their talk and as a result I have already quilted 6 pieces that they sent to me to finish. I wholeheartedly support this venture, it is a wonderful and constructive way for young people to be active in the art quilt community and speak out about causes they believe in. KUDOS! http://www.sjsacademy.com

I ran into Vivika Denegre at the conference, she is the editor of Quilting Arts Magazine and I met her last year when I was a guest on Quilting Arts TV. We hugged and she handed me a little paper bag. She explained that instead of distributing media at the conference, she made up miniature sewing “kits” to hand out, that consisted of small bits of fabric, a needle, and a couple lengths of thread. On the bag was this quote: “I believe that hand stitching is good for the soul. #makesomethingawesome.” This task was so much fun and helped me deal with the withdrawals I was having of not having sewing to do! Here’s what I made (it’s about 3″ across):
Thank goodness I ran into Marylee Drake who had a pair of little scissors, as I was using nail clippers to cut thread 🙂

A highlight of the conference was a tour in downtown San Jose, the first being the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

https://www.sjquiltmuseum.org

There was an exhibit of SAQA work, called “H2OH!”, about water, of course. There were several quilts that I liked very much, and in writing this post I noticed they all had circles in them…yes I do love circles. Here’s “Fishing” by Barbara Watler:

And another, by Linda Colsh, “Past is Present”…do you see the little figures in it?  

One more, by Liz Kuny, “Boiling Point”. So clever…212 degrees is the point where water boils, she she put 212 “O”s into the quilt.

We got a special tour of the back of the Quilt Museum, where I was fascinated by the storage methods of all the quilts they own.

Another stop at Works, a downtown gallery that had another SAQA exhibit. This was my favorite piece, by Carla Stehr, titled “Diatom 8”. (I really must be in love with circles!)

The afternoon did catch up with us…do we look a little tired? (well, I do!)

Towards the end of the conference there was an auction of small pieces made by SAQA members…it raised over $17,000 for SAQA! I’ll be sure to enter a piece next year.

At the very end was a Studio Tour of several local artists, one being Therese May, a longtime friend whom I credit for introducing me to the world of quilting, as she was my next door neighbor 35 years ago (lucky me!). Trish and I went to see Therese before the throngs began. I took this picture of Therese in front of her house where she hung one of her fabulous quilts.

Therese is a founding member of SAQA, and has greatly helped promote the art quilt world, to which we say, “thank you”!!!

Before I stop, a couple of quick words about the Pine Tree Quilt Show. Artistic Alchemy had our usual booth, where we got to talk to attendees and sell our wares, not to mention promote our Zephyr Retreat in September!

Being Featured Quilter I didn’t have any time to spend in our booth, but the other 3 carried on and it was a success :-). I enjoyed seeing most of my quilts up all together for the first time. My favorite part was talking to people, especially about my Matrix quilts.

Speaking of Matrix quilts, I just yesterday mailed a letter to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, telling her about the quilt I made of her, and I enclosed a photo of it. Fingers crossed that I hear back from her!

And if you are thinking about coming to Zephyr, remember…..

Bye for now!  I’ll be posting my new Matrix quilt after June 30th. 🙂

RBG and Matrix News

by Sandra Bruce

The registration form and information about our 2019 retreat (our 6th) is out and we are rolling! The forms are arriving in the mail and we are excited to receive them. Congrats to Donna from Canada for being my first sign up!

You all know how beautiful it is at Zephyr Point, don’t you?You only have to look out any window there for an outrageous view. I love being there and teaching in this special place.
Friendships form there. Last year I had 2 Canadians in my workshop who did not know each other, Rejeanne and France, but they sat side by side and enjoyed getting acquainted (and chatting in French, naturally).And speaking of Rejeanne, she finished her Matrix quilt from an earlier retreat and sent it to me to quilt for her. It’s of her husband, Gene, who has come to our retreat too, and been an asset to our group. Rejeanne sent me this very charming photo of her, with her completed quilt, “Focus”, on the wall of her home. Love it! Great work, Rejeanne.I have enjoyed every workshop I have taught at Zephyr. I learn from my students as much as they learn from me. From last year, here’s Ellen, sharing her project.Learning a totally new technique….it can make you smile.

I hope you will consider coming to take my workshop if this intrigues you at all.

So….what have I been working on? Any of you who follow me on FaceBook or Instagram will have seen some of these images. I enjoy posting them in progress. (Sandra Bruce Creative on Facebook, sbruce1955 on Instagram).

I am in the process of finishing up a quilt of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from one of her official photographs from the Supreme Court, with permission from Associated Press, who owns the photo. I am so fond of her, she has been very instrumental in the advancement of women’s rights, dating back to the 60’s. The films out now about her, “RBG” and “On the Basis of Sex” both tell the stories of this amazing woman. The other day in the gym I was in the middle of doing a plank and while thinking of how hard it was, I decided, “if Ruth can do this at 85, surely I can do it too”.

I changed the background of the photo to make it dark red. Dark reds are hard to find in fabric these days.

The eyes…..yes, challenging, but in a very satisfying way.

Eyes on the ironing board.

On my display wall, coming together.

Orderly 1/4″ seams on the back of the quilt.

A funny thing happened. 2 friends were holding up the finished top in front of my kitchen window and it created almost a stained-glass effect, so I took a picture of it. All the “outlines” are my very small piecing seams!

On to the long arm. It is 50″ by 73″.

So…….I’ve been ruminating for some days now about the finishing of this quilt, which I have named “The Notorious RBG”. My original intention was to attach one of her famous collars to the quilt with either beads or hand-applique. I’ve been around and around, with starts and stops, pencil sketches balled up in the trash, and lots of thinking about it. My decision is not in stone yet but I am leaning towards leaving it just the way it is, without any collar. Every time I started one it took away from her face and was distracting. I feel sometimes the best artistic decision is……..to leave it be.

I’ll post a photo in my next blog post of the final image.

Now, just for fun, I’ll share these 2 photos. The first, a picture from 1999, of me in my studio with my baby son clinging to my leg under my sewing table. I have this image in my slide lecture and it always gets a laugh. We mothers can all commiserate! I’ve had the urge for a while to recreate the picture, with my grown son now 6’3″. Second photo: same sewing room, different Bernina, older me, older son. It is funny! Thanks to my son Matteo for being a good sport and helping me make it happen.

That’s all for now, hope you’re staying warm and dry in this blustery winter, and have lots of creative time. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about my Zephyr workshop. All the details are in the “Workshops” page of this blog. Bye for now!

Time to Breathe

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Heidi, Mary, Sandra and Jane want to say a huge “Thank You” to all the students who attended our 5th annual retreat at Zephyr Point. We all had an amazing, creative and inspiring time and we will be back with our usual blog posts come October. Now we are taking a well deserved break.

Looks like all our attendees had wonderful fun time too!

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Sign up or keep looking up the blog for details of when to sign up for the retreat 2019

A Long Weekend at High Altitudes

by Sandra Bruce

A quick hello and a few pics from my latest jaunt coming up!

This is the time of year that the 4 of us in Artistic Alchemy start getting into gear for our Zephyr workshop in September. My class is full now, and I’m starting to grid the photos for my students who will be making wonderful Matrix creations. I have 2 international students, and 2 from the East Coast this year. I’m getting excited to meet the newbies and greet people from past years too! I believe there are a few spaces left, in Jane and Heidi’s classes, they are wonderful teachers with so much to share, so don’t hesitate to sign up with one of them.

I taught a couple of weeks ago in Monument, Colorado, south of Denver near Colorado Springs with the Palmer Divide Guild. I have not meet a more enthusiastic bunch in this small but talented group of ladies. Thanks to them for a wonderful time!

Afterwards I stayed the weekend to visit with a friend of over 40 years that I have not seen in a long time. Over the long weekend we went to a street fair, met with friends, and had a great trip to both the Denver Art Museum (fabulous) and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden. What a wonderful collection of quilts. They had a special exhibit of Hollis Chatelain’s work, which unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph. It was named “Stories of West Africa”, and contained amazing images from Africa with very intense quilting. In the main hall is a collection of quilts from artists all over the country, including 2 made by good friends of mine who have been influences and inspirations to me: Therese May and Wendy Hill. I photographed theirs and a couple other of my favorites in the exhibit.

First, Therese May’s “Basket”, 1981. As the information on the wall stated, (on the off-chance that you do not know,) Therese is recognized as a guiding light in the art quilting world and began making art quilts in 1965. I love how Therese focuses on transformational healing, exploration, and creativity in the art making process. Her work is magical. I consider myself to be very lucky to have been her neighbor many years ago and would probably not be a quilter today if not for her. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world. Her website: http://www.theresemay.com
Next, a quilt by Wendy Hill, “Falling Into Liquid”, 2003. I became friends with Wendy many years ago when we lived in the same town and she belonged to my quilt guild. She has written many books for C&T Publishing, one of them about thread texturing. She asked me to make a quilt to go in her book and I was just getting out of the traditional quilt mode….permission to play with my sewing machine… what a concept it was to me! We stay in touch even though we’re in different states now, and I’m always intrigued by what she is up to quilt-wise. I was taken by something she said in the verbiage next to her quilt: “With art quilts, form takes precedence over function, but quilts as blankets are also a kind of canvas. If there is a line between art and craft, it is a difference built out of debate, not something tangible. The important thing is to do the work, just keep doing the work, and let the perspective that comes with reflection and the passage of time make sense of it all.”

Here are a few others of my favorite from the exhibit:

“Abstraction/Diffraction”, 1994, by Judith Tomlinson Trager

“Reflections #3”, 1998, by Patty Hawkins

“Tallahassee Lassie II and lll”, 1991, by Marilyn Dillard

“Desert Storm”, 1993, by Terrie Hancock Mangat

For now, I hope you are staying cool, today is the first day of summer. Keep creating!

Cleveland to Capitola

by Sandra Bruce

My suitcase has not been put away much in the last 2 months….it’s been a super busy time but filled with wonderful experiences and people. Before I get into my story, I will mention that I have ONE space left in my Material Matrix workshop for our Artistic Alchemy retreat this September. So….if you’ve been thinking about it now’s the time!

Cleveland was my destination in late April to be a guest on the Quilting Arts TV show, or QATV. Susan Brubaker Knapp, the host, invited me early in the year and I have been planning and practicing diligently my 3 segments. My 3 segments were: 1. Material Matrix, 2. How to Match A Binding to the Inside of a Quilt, and 3. How to Stitch Words with Your Home Machine. I have never been on TV before so I wanted to do a good job and leave my trepidations at home. My taping was on Thursday and I arrived late on Tuesday, so that I could practice Wednesday on the fancy new Bernina that I would be using in the taping. Also it was an opportunity to watch some of the other guests being taped which made me more relaxed when it was my turn. Here is the Bernina 570. Jeannine the Bernina rep helped me become comfortable with it. Talk about bells and whistles!!

    There is a TV screen in the lobby where we could watch what’s going on in the taping studio. Here is the screen, with Susan and guest Lesley Riley, smiling for the camera.

Susan’s website: http://www.bluemoonriver.com

I also got the chance to meet artist Susie Shie, with whom I share a dear mutual friend (Therese May)……it was wonderful meeting everyone. Here’s Susie with Lesley.

Susie’s site:  http://www.turtlemoon.com

Lesley’s site:   https://lesleyriley.com/?doing_wp_cron=1527819441.1061520576477050781250

When it’s time for your segment, all your “stuff” is carried onto the set, and a quick verbal run-through lets the crew know what you’re going to do/say. I had 12-1/2 minutes exactly to fill in each segment.

Jeannine came onto the set to make sure I was confident in my Bernina skills.

Then………bingo, show time!

I had to change clothes so that in each segment I was wearing something different, Susan too. My 3 segments may end up in 3 different episodes.

One last shot from the taping, of me with “Dame Lorraine” which was in the background. Thanks to Susan Brubaker Knapp, Vivika Negre, Kristine Lundblad  and the crew at KS Productions for everything! The episodes will be on TV in August, on PBS,  it is QATV Series 2200 to look for. I’ll post more when I have more information.

The following week was the Pine Tree Quilt Show and our Artistic Alchemy booth. It was great for the 4 of us to talk to attendees about Zephyr and sell wares.

Jane even brought her finished Material Matrix piece for me to see that she made in my workshop with her guild last year. Good job Jane!

A few days later, I left for Capitola, to take a workshop from the renown quilter, Rosalie Dace. She comes from South Africa to the US part of the year to teach. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a workshop from this wonderful artist. She did not disappoint. Going pretty far outside my box, at least considering what I have been doing for the last 6 years, we worked on abstract designs using paper concepts at the start, and incorporating contrast, color, line, mood, and value into our pieces. My favorite was this one.

The paper version made of torn paper: 

I brought some silk pieces that fit the bill, and adapting the paper shapes was not difficult.

Here’s my finished piece. Although working in paper first was not my “thing”, I can see the value of doing it, and was glad to be able to work outside my box as I had wished. Doing something different is always a valuable learning tool. Looks like I was in a “stripy” mood!

I learned from Rosalie, absorbing all I could, and enjoyed her and the Capitola ladies very much. Below: me, Lorie, Rosalie and Pat.

I’m headed next week to the Denver, CO area to teach, then to Southern California…… in July my pace slows down. I look forward to trying new techniques, working on my “Stitching Words” workshop and lecture, and enjoying summer.