Here’s Sandra, Trish and Kathy, ready to hit the road for our Zephyr Retreat. See our photos and hear our news starting next week! Yee-ha!
by Sandra Bruce
Above is the Row by Row for Sugar Pine Quilt Shop which I stitched and quilted for the shop. This morning I am truly “on the go”! I am leaving literally in minutes to go to Templeton, CA and King City to teach both a Matrix workshop and also my Color Dance quilt.
What makes this trip different is that my son Matteo is joining me, so there should be some fun photos and stories when I get back. He is fairly “free” lately, having recently had surgery on his knee (ACL and meniscus). He’s visiting a friend in Templeton while I’m there. “Mom”, he said to me, “I’ve never seen exactly what it is you do, I’d like to attend your lecture”. So! That’s what we’ll do. Since he’s tall I’ll volunteer him to hold up my quilts :-).
So, stay tuned, and in the meantime, here’s a shout out to anyone who has contemplated coming to Zephyr, as the time will be here before we know it and 3 of us have limited spaces left in our workshops. I am so excited to be doing polymer this year, and we will be trying lots of techniques and having a blast! Here’s Carolyn from a past workshop, with her beautiful buttons, after just one class!
Gotta run, have a great weekend!
by Sandra Bruce
I am a sucker for polka-dots. When I saw this tunic on the website http://www.gudrunsjoden.com I knew I must have it. I also knew I had to make a polymer necklace to go with it!
I was happy with my big beads, and I made a few smaller ones to go in-between. I used SoftFlex as the base wire and composed the necklace to see how it all looked together.
Here’s the finished necklace. I used a magnetic clasp and blue spacer beads to fill up the length.
And see how cute it is with the tunic! Wouldn’t Wilma approve!
This is one of the things we’ll be doing at the Zephyr workshop in September. Ladies can bring garments to match colors in polymer to make jewelry or buttons! The deadline is coming up and I have 2 spaces left, if anyone is wondering 🙂
by Sandra Bruce
I’ve just returned today from Visalia, CA where I taught my Material Matrix workshop and had a great group of enthusiastic quilters. All 16 worked hard and had fun too. Thank you, Valley Oak Quilters! I’m doing a segue today for my post………..wearable art.
I love Heidi’s patterns! This one is my favorite, so far, the Terrific Tabbard. It is flattering and so comfy. She will be teaching her patterns at our retreat at Zephyr in September, come and you can make one of her fabulous designs, this is only one of them! See her “Workshops” page for information.
I have made one already, but I came upon a vintage tablecloth and decided it would make a great Tabbard. It wasn’t wide enough to get the 3 pieces out of, so I added a grey and white polka dot on each side. I also used the polka dot for the inside. (I never met a polka dot I didn’t like 🙂
It has a wonderful graphic in the center that I planted right in the middle of the back.
Once I got the grey panels on each side in just the right positions (so that the seams wouldn’t show later) I put it on my long arm, with a layer of plain white cotton in the middle, to make it lightweight. I just had fun with it, and stitched lots of loops.
I decided to add some applique in the center of that big circle, so I just improvised with the quilting knowing I’d be adding something later.
I brought it home and cut out the pieces. I was happy with the way it was looking. Kind of wild, in a kitchy, retro kind of way.
I fussy-cut a pocket for the front, just the right size for my cell phone.
My fussy cut was close…..close enough! I had planned to use the grey polka-dot for the binding so I finished the pocket and sewed it on.
On the back, I cut out one of the groups of strawberries and hand-appliqued it on. Perfect to fill that space.
I was just about to cut out the binding from the grey polka-dot when I got an idea…………..I found this Christmas red fabric and decided it was perfect for the binding, and thought it really pepped up the vest!
It took a very long strip to go around, as I had lengthened the vest quite a bit and widened the sides so they would overlap instead of just meeting.
I took it with me to Visalia and did some hand work on it, adding loops and sewing on polymer buttons I made. The buttons are not perfect, but they will do until I have a chance to make more custom ones.
Here it is, yay! I think I will add something to the pocket later, since it is not bound in the red, to make it blend in better.
And the back….it’ll be a very fun piece to wear in the summer, and I wonder if it will be identifiable as a vintage tablecloth! The fabric was such a pleasure to work with.
Before I sign off, here’s a picture of me with my mom Charlotte, summer of 1956. In honor of all moms, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day!
by Sandra Bruce
The inspiration for subjects of my Matrix quilts come from many sources. I always have my eye open for possibilities everywhere. I read online daily, and ran across a photo essay by a photographer, Muhammed Muheisen, of Syrian refugee children. below is a link to it:
I was captivated by these little faces. How much beyond their years they all look. As a mother they are difficult to look at. I knew right away that I wanted to do the face of Zahra Mahmoud, a 5-year-old refugee from Deir El-Zour, Syria. Her eyes! I knew they would be very challenging to do. Here is the original photo:
My first task was to get permission to use the photo, and it took a bit of detective work. I went to Facebook first, as I had seen that Muheisen had a page there. I located his page and wrote him a message asking for permission to use his photo. His reply was that he worked freelance for Associated Press, who owned the photo. After several phone calls and emails, I finally got the right department at AP and received permission, which came with a fee of course, to use the photo to make one quilt (not to be sold) and also use on my social media. Once I got the contract and paid the fee I got busy working. Here is the crop I decided on.
My deadline of May 1st came about coincidentally with finding Zahra. I planned to enter her into a competition assembled by Susan Brubaker Knapp, Jane Dunnewald, Judy Coates Perez, and several other quilt artists of The Artist’s Circle, called “Threads of Resistance”. Here is their site:
With only 2 months to complete a 34″ by 58″ quilt I knew it would be close, but I finished it in a record 5 weeks. Here are some progress shots. The first 1/3rd went easily and quickly. I fudged the background color as I knew the color in the photo would be tough to match and there was no time to go look for it or even to dye my own.
I knew there was the Sonoma Quilt show coming up, and I was fortunate to be the Featured Quilter there. I planned to work on Zahra while there, no time to lose! I also knew that I should get the eyes done first, as I needed every bit of concentration I could muster to do them. No distractions, no music, no radio, total quiet. I got busy and got them done. So, the really amazing things about her eyes: when I first got the high res photo from AP and I enlarged it on my computer to get a closer look at them, I could see the reflection of Muhammed taking the photo, of people in the background, of the blue sky, sand……it gave me goosebumps. I had to simplify those things but still give the impression of what was there. Lots of piecing, despite simplifying!
I also taught my Matrix class to a great bunch of ladies, including Arlette, who flew up from Houston to take it, and 2 ladies who were back for a second class to make a different sample piece. By the way, I am returning to Sonoma the weekend of June 9-11 to teach Material Matrix again, and my quilt Color Dance as well. For info call Broadway Quilts at 707-938-7312.
Back to Zahra….once I was back home the rest of her went pretty fast as I was in high gear.
Top done. Onto the long-arm. I think I used every shade of pink thread I had.
The finished quilt. The title: “Zahra, Age 5, Syrian Refugee”. She is done, and entered into the competition. I have also entered it into the Pine Tree Quilt show coming up on May. I am happy with the outcome, and at the same time, sad for all the children like Zahra, who have had to endure what no child should have to. In my quilt my love goes out to her.
by Sandra Bruce
Happy Saint Paddy’s Day! I am not Irish, I’m half Scottish, half British….I think. My Ancestry DNA test results are due back any time so I’ll let you know if it changes after I see them! In any case, today’s post is brought to you by the color green. It was my favorite color for a long time, and I realized today how many things I have made for myself or acquired because they are green. Here are a few….but first! Heidi had her book signing last Saturday at Sugar Pine Quilt Shop. Her new book is called “Fashion Quilted Accessories” and we are excited about her latest achievement. I went by to pick up one of her books and she was wearing her quilted vest that is adorned by my polymer buttons. Congrats Heidi!
On to my collection of green things! This is one of my favorite pairs of earrings, I made them different from each other which sometimes makes people stop and take notice. It’s fun to wear them. They are polymer mixed with regular beads.
Spring is here! This orchid just bloomed and I love the touch of green inside the blossom. I have been puzzled by those root-looking things that poke out of orchids. A woman told me recently when I asked her about it that it’s the same as when we’re in bed and we like to have our arms out of the covers! That made me laugh and it’s a nice way to think about it. Any orchid pros out there? Let me know if you have an explanation 🙂
Also in the same vein, this plant in a mosaic pot that lives in our kitchen made with celadon-colored pieces of plates. Mosaics are a creative way to cover plain pots and make them special. I especially enjoyed putting the plates into a paper bag and banging on them with a hammer to create the shards. Good therapy!
This pincushion was made from a teacup and saucer I found in a fabulous thrift store last summer. I made a bunch and saved this one for myself while giving the rest away as gifts. I’m going to make more to sell at the Pine Tree Quilt show boutique in May. Very easy to do and who can’t use another pin cushion?
Oh my, my bin of green fabric is overflowing!
A Vogue pattern, made into a blouse using rayon I dyed, screen printed, and sewed beads along the neckline.
A wonky log cabin quilt, in many shades of green.
I kept a few leaves on my design board from one of my recent quits, “Lemon Tree in Tuscany”.
I think I make more green polymer buttons, pins and earrings than any other color, and I don’t know why, it just happens.
Since I’m teaching polymer clay at the Zephyr Retreat in September I’ll show you a bag of mostly black and white polymer I made recently. Woo-hoo! I am so excited to have that time coming up this Fall to be surrounded by polymer for a few days. I have only 3 spaces left in my class if you are thinking about taking it, c’mon and join us!
I have been feverishly working on a couple of deadlines aside from my long arm business and teaching. I am making a new Matrix portrait quilt for a competition whose deadline is May 1 and I only started it a couple of weeks ago. Also I am preparing for Meet the Teachers with NCQC (Northern California Quilt Council) on April 8th and I am going to be announcing a brand new class I’ll be teaching, called “The ABC’s of Stitching Words” and I’ll be talking more about it in weeks to come. Stay tuned!
Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget to wear green. 🙂
by Sandra Bruce
Imagine this: you wake up to a view of Lake Tahoe in the crisp Fall air, head to the Dining Hall to have coffee and breakfast with some great folks who share your love of creativity, then stroll over to your classroom where you’ll spend the day with a few other like-minded souls, making wonderful things with polymer clay: buttons for wearables, beads and other jewelry pieces, art books, or any other thing your heart desires. After lunch, take a break in the afternoon to walk down to the lake, or take a nap, or chat with your friends. In the evening….more polymer perhaps? One of our programs, shopping in our store, or watching a sunset. Sound good?? Read on!
This year I am teaching a polymer clay workshop, where a beginner or even a more experienced polymer fan can spend the week learning many techniques and go home with some goooood stuff! I can hardly wait myself for a solid chunk of polymer time!
Let me show you just a few examples of what is possible. Here is a necklace made by a student after a 1-day polymer class. She made the beads and then took them home and made the necklace. Stunning!! These polymer beads are made with the “Mokume Gane” technique which I will be demonstrating.
Here is a purse I made and then I made the button to go on it. Buttons can be made in almost any shape, size and color(s) to match a purse, sweater, jacket, blouse, or any garment. Knitters and crocheters, you too!
Necklaces are so easily made to go with an outfit, since you can make the colors match and get it just the way you want it. I’ll bring my jewelry-making supplies and we will make some one-of-a-kind pieces.
So that you can see the “magic” of polymer clay, I’ll show you one of the easy techniques, step-by-step: There’s no waste with polymer clay. Look below, here is a little pile of scrap pieces. The colors don’t even look like they go together, do they?
…..and VOILA! Striped buttons! I love this technique.
Canework is the “backbone” of polymer clay work, I like to say. We’ll be making them in many styles.
You can see how easy it is to get carried away making things with polymer. Really and truly!
I could go on and on, as there are endless possibilities. If you want to see more, I encourage you to go to my Pinterest account, and on my Polymer board I have over 3,500 pins of polymer clay. Techniques, videos on “how-to”, and many beautiful pieces created by all the polymer fanatics out there (I’m one too!) Check it out! You can find me under my name, then the polymer clay board.
So, if this sounds fun to you, if you want to try polymer or continue your love of the craft please consider signing up on our “workshops” page under my name. I am happy to gear the workshop to what you want to make. I guarantee you will have a ball and enjoy yourself in this beautiful, inspiring place. Class size is limited and I already have sign-ups so make your plans soon!