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!

Announcing our 6th Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat, Sept. 2nd-6th, 2019!

Welcome! Please peruse all the drop down boxes on the Menu bar. Any questions you may have, fill out the form in the Contact link on the menu bar.

We hope to see YOU this year at Lake Tahoe for our  6TH ANNUAL ARTISTIC ALCHEMY RETREAT!

From the team, Heidi, Sandra, Mary, & Jane.

 

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.

Dame Lorraine

by Sandra Bruce

Greetings and Happy Spring! As I write this post it is blissfully raining….we’re supposed to get April’s worth of precipitation in the next 2 days. I’ll take it!

Before I go any further, I’ll mention here that in about 2 weeks I’m flying to Cleveland to be a guest on the Quilting Arts TV show with Susan Brubaker Knapp. I’m going to tape 3 segments, so I’ve had a lot of prep to do. I’ll let you know when the show will be aired on PBS, it’ll be sometime this summer.

Also…..there are spots left in my Material Matrix workshop at Zephyr this fall. If you are thinking about it, read my workshop description and join us 🙂

My latest Matrix quilt is done! Today’s post will take you through my process, which people are always curious about. I hope you enjoy it.

First, I saw this photo, taken by my friend Howard Koons. He was in Trinidad, with his wife on a vacation, during Carnival. I was taken by this woman’s image, and her eyes behind the mask. I knew it would be a challenge, with so many subtle variations in values. First I had to address the background, which was so distracting, as you can see. Below the photo are Howard’s comments.

This is the fifth day of Carnival festivities. There were the more traditional parades having historical themes, then competitions in costume and pan orchestras, the Children’s’ Parade, an adult parade/competition and now this parade on the fifth and last day of Carnival. Some participants have a float-like apparatus they carry, all operated by a single person. And, there is the parade of bands.
A band is an organized group of folks. People join certain bands of their liking. Bands provide the music, support personnel and vehicles as the wee-wee wagon, a truck for drink, and sometimes a truck for rest. It can cost upward to $700 for membership. They usually have a particular theme in dress and the uniforms, or costumes, are sometimes provided. The accompanied “music” is a large truck and trailer stacked high with speakers the size of a VW bug and capable of shattering the most hardy eardrum. I wore earplugs. Enjoy the photographs of the last day of Carnival 2015.

I decided a nice simple beach background was needed, so I hobbled together some water and sky using Photoshop (with hubby help) and here’s what I came up with.This is the photo with the grid applied. I wanted big……so planned on 50″ by 80″. BIG!

The beginning is always exciting to me and I look forward to the first progress shot.

I tried to keep my fabric organized.

A block in progress. I used shiny silver fabric that I attached to a knit stabilizer.

Her eyes……always tricky but so satisfying to accomplish.

The tucks in her bodice about drove me crazy..all those diagonals.

I have so much fabric that looks like this……fussy cutting at its finest 🙂

Getting the top ready for quilting meant cutting away the quilt behind all the circles I hand appliquéd on so it would lie nice and flat. It was a bit scary doing that.

As always, it was a pleasure to quilt. I worked with the enlarged photo visible at all times and changed thread a lot.

I made binding to match the image (this will be one of my segments on QATV, how to do this kind of binding). Then, it was sewing on the 85 circles that make up her necklace. On to her bracelet, ring, and hand-embroidery on her arm for the netting she wears. Her pupils and highlights are dots of acrylic paint.

The last part was applying 5 sizes of Swarovski hot fix crystals. I had to go back on some of them with the applicator, I want to be sure none of them fall off. Here’s her mask after applying them. Good bling, eh?

3 months from the beginning to end…here she is, now 49″ by 79″. I’m very happy with the way she turned out. What to do next……….have to go hunting for a photo!