This post is to let you know that as of the middle of December, 2022, this site will disappear. All of us, Heidi, Sandra, and Jane, are still creating and teaching, and selling, each in her own way. Please save all of the following addresses so you can keep up with all that we are doing. We thank you all for your devotion to the ARTISTIC ALCHEMY experience and wish only the very best in all of your futures.
Greetings, Artistic Alchemy friends! Many of you know me as a former member of the group and teacher at the Zephyr retreat, but for recent followers, I—and my quilts—may be new. I’m posting today to invite you to the Pine Tree Quilt Guild show April 30 and May 1, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. The show will be open 10–4 each day.
I’ll be the featured quilter, with 30 quilts and 6 wearables. Heidi, Sandra, and Jane will be in their booth, with polymer, patterns, hand-dyes, kits, and more. I’m really looking forward to seeing old and new friends—AND the 250 quilts made by our guild! Traditional, art, and modern quilting styles will be well represented. There will be vendors, a Country Store, raffle baskets, a silent auction, and a café—everything we love about a quilt show!
To give you a taste of my display, here are a few of my quilts:
My newest quilt, “Jigsaw,” was inspired by a traditional block I had never seen. The plan was to use two colors per block, each color in a lighter and darker value. All centers are Kaffe Fassett prints. Below is one of the first blocks I made. The interlocking design is oh-so-modern to my eye. (Later, I changed the black-and-white “plaid” squares to dots; the original squares will show up in a future quilt.)
Sandra’s vertical quilting was the perfect choice; it adds texture without interfering with the straight-line piecing.
“City Grid” came out of a series of blocks I had set aside and, honestly, forgotten. They began with centers cut from Elin Noble’s hand-painted fabrics, surrounded mostly by solids, and accented with B&W swizzle sticks.
I absentmindedly put a few blocks on my white design wall one day and decided they looked best “aired out.” The stripes and dots visually connect the elements.
Check out Sandra’s amazing quilting.
My quilts often start with a had-to-have-it fabric, but “Glacé” was inspired by a tea towel from France. Woven into the design are French words for ice cream and other frozen desserts.
A few of the elements—appliquéd circles of Kaffe’s Promenade stripe, Kaffe and Tula Pink prints, a pastel ombré.
This quilt is a different take on my “Black Opals & Ribbon Candy” design, with some of the triangle blocks in the original replaced by the four-patch units.
“Cut flowers” is another example of blocks that got “lost,” then found.
When I unearthed them, I thought that changing the woven-stripe centers by Kaffe Fassett for some of his newer stripes might perk up the design. With the painted stripe in the center, the colors seemed more vibrant. (You may prefer the original; such things are subjective.)
Setting the blocks proved to be a real challenge. If you’d like to see the many settings I auditioned, check out my newsletter article. https://conta.cc/3EsxcYs
Though I’ve retired from traveling to teach (20+ years seemed like enough) I’m still working away on new quilts and patterns. You can follow me on social media and sign up for my newsletter, “Christine’s Color Connection.” All can be accessed from my website. www.christinebarnes.com
Thanks so much for reading and looking. The four of us hope to see many of you at the 2022 “Springtime in the Pines Quilt Show.” And if you can come, be sure to stop and say hello!
This is Jane and I know its been awhile since I added a post!
January was a very busy travel month for me and it seemed that many of those in-person quilting events that had been postponed for 2 years where all happening in January. And guess what else was big in January Omicron! I traveled, I taught (in a mask), I met loads of new quilters and I did not get sick!
I went from Craft Napa in Napa to Ontario, LA to Haines City to Punta Gorda, Florida. It was an exhausting month but such a treat to be out teaching again. I do love the enthusiasm and dedication of my students whether its approaching something that is totally new for them or working on a project that was started and never finished. Just recently I have received many photos of finished work by students and photos of quilts in shows getting ribbons.
With all the craziness going on in the world right now and me feeling kind of helpless I decided, as I have a few sunflower patterns, I would try to help Ukraine in any little way I can. I am offering my Shy Sunflower collage pattern for $5 and I will donate all the proceeds to the World Central Kitchen who are feeding refugees at the Polish border.
I took this photo last summer when I went out into my garden to check how the sunflowers were coming along. I was looking at some others turned around and saw this one 3/4 open! It just looked so perfect I had to get my camera and take a photo. My sunflower class and kits continue to be my most requested and popular offerings. When I have time I am excited to make my own collage using this pattern and am looking forward to seeing other peoples interpretation.
A few days after I returned form Florida there was a quilt call for entry due that I was keen to enter. It’s an exhibit called Prism Play and its what Sandra talked about last month. I have 2 color cards I agreed I would make quilts for. One I had started and the other I had an idea. Luckily I got them made and entered on time. Happily I heard they both were selected!
The first is called Bias Tape Beauty inspired by some giant succulents I saw outside of the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey. The other is called Meadow and is made of layers of unusual and vintage fabrics.
I have been developing some new classes to teach both online and in person. One theme is using various wildflower patterns interpreting them in different ways. I will be teaching three online classes for the Mancuso Virtual Schoolhouse 2 May 11-14th. Wildflowers, Three Chickens and Vases with Succulents, all fabric collage classes.
Finally I will just share a few photos from Florida. I was hosted by Becky at her beautiful home in Cape Coral near Punta Gorda. She introduced me to manatees and burrowing owls. And I will say I think I say a little gator at the Lake we stayed at during the Peace River quilters retreat!
Finally if you read the latest edition of Quilting Arts magazine you will have seen my Simple Layered Stitch article. In this Part 2 I talk about using your small hand stitched blocks to make a journal cover or small bag. Hand stitching is something that has kept me awake in the evenings and my hands busy over Covid!
February was my birthday month and a pretty special day as it fell on 2-22-2022. I seemed to spend the whole weekend celebrating with family and friends which was nice
Best wishes to you all and I’ll be back in a couple of months with my last projects and travels. Enjoy quilting and lets show all the support we can for the people in Ukraine.
Greetings from a sunny and warm Grass Valley, California! As this is my first post of 2022 I wish you all a Happy New Year. On New Year’s Day we were on day 6 of an 11 day power outage due to a snowstorm that began on Christmas night. I must say….when it’s falling it’s so pretty!
Because we are in a drought which taxes the health of trees, along with no storms to speak of in the last handful of years this storm really did a number on the trees in our area. There were scenes like the one below all over town.
Here’s a funny shot of my favorite spot during the power outage, near the propane stove in our living room. Really near! Note my favorite pjs….that I made, of a Moda flannel printed with bacon and eggs.
Even now, on February 14th, there are still some piles of snow around town. Amazing given that it’s been so warm and sunny, and not a drop of precipitation since this storm. Enough about weather! We got power back, internet back, and the leak in my downtown studio, where my longarm is, is being dealt with and things are almost back to normal. I’m so grateful my machine was not affected by all that melted snow that leaked down to the first floor. Phew!
A super fun event happened right at the beginning of the holidays, here at my house. My group Friends to Dye For (FTDF), which you have heard me speak of, had a sleep-over here. We’ve been meeting for 24 years now! Earlier in 2021 we did a quilt project. Each of us took a turn, giving instructions for what kind of quilt we wanted. When we were all assembled we sewed for that person’s quilt, and by the end of the day a top had been completed. (I wrote earlier in a post last summer when it was my turn). I had suggested this idea initially, and when I offered to quilt them everyone said “yes”! So, when we gathered in December we all brought out our finished quilts to photograph them. Here is the bunch of us in front of Marlene’s quilt. Woo-hoo!
I’ll show you each one. They turned out beautifully ;-). Here is Marlene with hers…yes, it’s BIG! She had me “write” into the quilting a list of some of the projects we have done over the last 24 years. She dyed all the fabric in hers too. The skinny strips of color are so effective, right?
Here’s a close-up of some of the “writing” I did:
Here is Michelle with hers. We had an indigo shibori dyeing day at her house one day, and these pieces became her quilt.
Robin’s is next. She also dyed her fabric. I love the gradation of the yellow into the blue strips. The back is as beautiful as the front!
Somehow I missed getting Chris in the picture of her quilt. She had seen a quilt on the internet that she liked, and we used it as a springboard to make hers. Lots of rotary free-hand curved cuts. The orange pops! Notice the edges and her irregular binding, nice.
I do have another photo of Chris, though…with another quilt she made that I quilted for her.
Last but not least, my quilt. This is a pattern by Villa Rosa Designs, called “Beaded”. I had a lot of black and white fabric at hand and love that yellow green as an accent. If you’re wondering about the top I’m wearing, (I get asked often about it) it’s printed with a quilt by Timna Tarr, by Zappy Dots, on a plush fabric. Available online.
In the middle of the meantime I made this quilt IN A WEEK. Long story as to why… I will spare you. Suffice it to say now I know I can crank one out that fast if I have to.
I’m just working part-time now on my longarm for a list of clients that have been faithful to me over the last couple of years. I’m still doing some custom work, some overall quilting, a little bit of everything. Here’s a customer quilt I recently did. Her appliqué is beyond perfect and such a pleasure to work on. It’s almost 80″ square. Inspiring appliqué!
You may recall my talking about the SAQA challenge “Prism Play” that I struggled with over the last few months. Prism Play will be a traveling show, where 60 or so 15″ by 45″ quilts will be hung side by side in a rainbow effect. Each participant picked a color and had to work exclusively in that color, only varying values. I picked blue-violet, not an easy color! There’s not a lot of commercial fabric in that color to begin with, so with the help of a friend I dyed my own, which proved to have it’s own challenges. The photo I picked to execute, which I took in Pisa, Italy years ago of a statue, proved to be too difficult to do in my Matrix technique. This is part of the photo I wanted to do:
As you can see, the edges are very soft….too soft! I’m not going to show you what I did, it just has too much angst attached to it. Lesson learned! So….on to a different image.
My left hand…I had to print it out in 2 sections since it’s so long. It was enjoyable to make, especially after my former failure, which, did teach me a lot so I guess I shouldn’t call it a failure. OK, I take it back. Here’s the finished piece:
The thread is hand-embroidered, and the dots on the thimble are French knots. I call it “Blue-Violet Hand”. If you look closely you’ll see I wrote “Blue Violet Hand” into the quilting. I hope it gets in the show!
Before I leave you, apropos to nothing in particular, I’ll share a couple more pictures. The first is a shot of me playing pickleball. It has become a passion and I am playing almost every day. It has helped me retain my sanity as of late, and it great exercise. I’ve made so many new friends too! If you’re not familiar with it I suggest you check it out. Good for the over 60 set! I play with people in their 80’s even. It is so addicting. (see what I mean about the weather, so warm!)
Since today is Valentine’s Day, here’s a valentine for you, a photo of the cookies I made (another fun day with FTDF!)
Sending you all a big smooch and Valentine’s Day wishes for a great day! See you soon with another post.
Well, 2022 has arrived. We are long overdo in telling you what is going on with Artistic Alchemy.
Oh, the beauty of Lake Tahoe, Nevada side (this is near Sand Harbor looking toward Tahoe City on the North shore).
We had such high hopes for another successful retreat this past September, 2021. Here we are in the middle of August 2021, from the left, Sandra, Jane, and Heidi getting things ready for the retreat. Sandra’s gorgeous quilt makes for a fabulous backdrop.
We are in Sandra’s quilting studio, worker bees, sorting, planning for the big week we had planned.
Of course, we had swag to get ready. The piles filled every nook and cranny of Sandra’s studio.
And then there were the fires. Four of them near us. I’m not going into details here but you can look them up: 1. Dixie, Lake Almanor, CA 2. River, Colfax, CA 3. Grass Valley, CA 4. Caldor, CA & Nevada.
The 4th fire, Caldor, was the one that sunk our retreat for 2021.
Beautiful, tranquil waters, of Lake Tahoe (from Cabin 8 of Zephyr Point Conference Center) of which we were so hoping to have for our retreat.
It also appears that we are s-l-o-w-l-y moving toward the sunset for our Artistic Alchemy Blog (it will end this December 2022). We all hope to post here on this site, now and then to keep you updated on what each of us are doing. So here we go, first up it’s Heidi Emmett here to tell you what’s going on with me.
First, I’m working on a new “Art to Wear” pattern. All my patterns can be found at my Etsy shop: DesignsbyHeidiEmmett
I love to explore new and different techniques, first in small quilts, to see if my ideas are viable then it’s on to a garment or a tote bag.
I’m also working on “Short and Sweet” Art to Wear classes. Techniques and actual garments will be explored. I have so MANY ideas going round and round…My classes will be available on my Etsy site.
Whisper Blouse, one of my Art to Wear sewing patterns. And PLEASE visit my PERSONAL BLOG, DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com I post weekly (every Friday afternoon). Each post is filled with creative, inspirational, “stuff.” It ranges from clothing (of course) to upcycling, quilting garments, piecing quilts, and everything in between.
This is my FAVORITE picture of the happy trio, from the left, Heidi, Jane, and Sandra. We had a GREAT run with our Artistic Alchemy Retreat. For almost a decade, each September we had a wonderful retreat on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Point. So many of you were able to join us over the years. We thank you so much for being a part of Artistic Alchemy, the retreat. Heidi, Jane, and Sandra plan to keep the creativity alive and well, but each in our own way.
My motto is: “Make it Up, Make it Fun, and GET IT DONE.” Hugs, Heidi
P.S. If you want to see us one more time, we will have a booth at the Pine Tree Quilt Guilds, annual, “SPRINGTIME IN THE PINES” quilt show. It will be Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st at the Nevada County Fairgrounds (the prettiest in the state of CA) in Grass Valley, CA. We will be selling our patterns, samples, kits, polymer jewelry, etc. See you there!
Sadly our retreat was cancelled due to the Caldor Fire that threatened South Lake Tahoe. The whole area was evacuated and Zephyr Point Conference Center was used for evacuees housing. Happily things now are back to normal and even Hwy. 50 is open.
Before the retreat I wrote to various companies in the textile industry asking if they could donate any giveaways to our retreat. We had a very generous response and I just wanted to give a BIG SHOUTOUT to thank these companies. Also encourage you our supporters to give them some support by checking out their websites.
One morning a couple of weeks ago, when we should her been at the retreat, we gathered at Sandra’s studio to sort, divide up the giveaways and hold the raffle for prizes. It was bitter sweet. We were just happy that our attendees would receive a surprise package. Later everything was boxed up and shipped on to the attendees.
It has made us happy to receive some nice replies from attendees after receiving their packages.
“I almost cried to see all the goodies you sent. What a dear thing to do. You are all so generous and gracious. Thank you for this thought, it made me miss AA even more! Again, thank you, I have been having so much fun looking and testing everything.”
“I received your package yesterday. That was very sweet of you to send that off to everyone. So many goodies in the package. It’s so sad you had to cancel, but everyone did the right thing.”
“Last night when I returned home from a long day of volunteer work, the unexpected goody box was waiting for me. What joy! My husband said he liked watching my face as I took out each surprise.”
“Your box just arrived. I am so overwhelmed with joy. It was just like Christmas.”
Mistyfuse donated some of their wonderful fusible web for us to use and Goddess Pressing Sheets for all.
As the retreat was so close to going ahead Sandra made all the name tags, and donated some personalized items. Heidi made everyone little hand sewing kits and I brown-bagged a surprise sewing project for all.
As of now we are in no rush to figure out the future of Artistic Alchemy. This was supposed to be our final retreat but you never know something might happen at Zephyr Point in the future. We will be blogging occasionally and keeping all our supporters up to date with our goings on. For me I have a lot of prep work as I get ready for IQF Houston at the end of October. I will be teaching five different classes over five days.
Instead of packing and prepping for our 2021 retreat, I am unpacking things, and listening to the news about the Caldor Fire which has been approaching Lake Tahoe for a while now. We had to cancel our retreat in Zephyr Cove for next week. Zephyr Point is just over the California/Nevada border on Lake Tahoe, and only a handful of miles away from the fire. There’s been a bit of good news today with the weather cooperating a little more than it has for the firefighters who are working tirelessly to save one of the jewels of Northern California.
Zephyr Point Conference Center is one of the most beautiful facilities there is to hold a retreat. For 7 years we have conducted our retreats there, and marveled at the scenes outside our windows as we sewed: the pristine lake, mountains, and pine trees that smelled like heaven. Right now I shudder to think what the view is outside those windows. We hope and pray that the lake and all its surroundings are spared and the fire is extinguished in time. The Center is housing employees who live in South Lake Tahoe and have been evacuated. (I’m not sure if the Center itself has received the notice to evacuate.) If you would like to make a donation to the Center to help them during this difficult time, you may do so here:
We’ll be in touch, all of you who have faithfully followed our blog over the years. For now, we’re thankful to be safe here at home, as well as all our students who were so patient with us as this story unfolded. For now, I’d like to post a couple of my favorite Zephyr shots from past retreats.
As you make up your lists of what to bring to Zephyr Point for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat, one of the MAIN things will be your “CHILL” factor. We ALL have endured and dealt with many, many things over the past year or so. When I get on the road and leave my home for a trip of any kind I do these two things: I pray for travel “mercies” and then I open two windows all the way. I pull my issues, whatever they are, off of one shoulder and then the other and throw them OUT the window! Yell whatever you like to them as they fly past you and are OUT of your life!
So that out of the way, LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN!
Awww… this is a chillin’ picture. I know it’s older by a few years (there’s snow on the mountain tops) but a good focus picture none the less.
Whether you are in a Workshop or Open Studio, don’t forget to bring a little project that needs finishing.
I brought this small one (small equals faster finishing and feeling GOOD ’cause you finished something!). a few seasons back. I had drawn a blank as to where to go in this project next. I threw some random stuff into my sewing bag that might work.
I like what I came up with in some quiet moments. Just the feel of fabric, needle and thread in my hand, and “stuff” to work with awww…I”m in my Happy Place. Please notice my paper clip flower petals (yes, from Staples that I reshaped.).
No words needed.
Maybe you will see a fabulous sunset view just like this when you are here at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat coming Sept. 6th-10th.
Time to start thinking about what you are bringing. Don’t forget to bring some Show and Tell! See you soon. Hugs, Heidi
This is Jane. Can you believe its August already! I felt last week that it was just the end of June but oh no it was the end of July. We have just one week left of summer vacation before James goes back to high school! It will be different this school year as he will be going back to in-person school. My husband still does his job via Zoom so not quite the house to myself yet!
I must mention the horrible situation that dry California is in right now. Yesterday afternoon the River Fire began around 2:15 at a campground about 15 miles from where I live. I was outside taking photographs of fabric (another story) and noticed many low flying large planes overhead. A short time later I heard about this very explosive fire that had started. Heidi and Sandra would have been receiving alerts about possible evacuations. It is a horrible situation, scary and makes you think, this could easily have started in my neighborhood. Being packed and ready to go is the new normal for summer in California.
A few weeks ago I took part in an artists market at a local mall in Roseville. As a Placer County Artist I signed up for a booth, that was free of charge. I spent the day doing collage and talking to people about quilting and art quilting! I didn’t sell much but felt I did a good job promoting and educating people about textile arts.
In the evenings I like to hand stitch. Recently I’ve been working on these small bags and samples for a class I’ve called Simple Layered Stitch. This will be my evening program at the retreat and I will have kits available with all the materials needed to make the outside of the bag. It is a pattern by KZ Stevens called a Japanese Rice Pouch. I have decided I am in love with linen and similar fabrics. Now all those inserts from neckties come in very handy!
In preparation for the retreat, that starts in a months time, I am beginning to play, gather supplies and create some samples for my students. Using black markers, textile paints and block printing ink I created a variety of patterns and shapes. Next is to play with paint, color and finally a variety of printing techniques. This will be fun for me and my students, creating our own fabrics. I do still have room in my workshop so if you are ready for a last minute, creative getaway look on the workshop page for more details and contact me.
I thought I should include this as in a previous blog post I talked about starting a temperature quilt. Here is my progress from April 1st, top left block, snaking down and up to the end of June. I do make one black a day and include the lowest temp at night and highest temperature of the day. The blocks rotate depending if the temps rose or fell from the previous day. So far I have included one gray block to indicate rain and that block was made back in mid April!
Since my last post we took a week long road trip up to Oregon and came home via the Oregon and Northern California coast. We got to visit the Lava Tubes National Monument, Crater Lake, staying at the lodge, we zip-lined near Klamath Falls, saw the majestic Redwoods on the coast and were blown away by Fern Canyon! Next week before the end of school vacation we are off to Cayucos on the Central Coast and my plan is to do as little as possible. I will pack some books, my sketch book and paints and some hand-stitching.
At the end of 2020 I did a summary of my favorite books of the year. This one I just finished and would highly recommend. The description is funny as its about some horse riding librarians located in Kentucky!
This Fall I will be teaching at the International Quilt Festival. Houston. The classes I was scheduled to teach in 2020 were all pushed forward to this year and despite fewer teachers and workshops I will be teaching five. The sample above will be part of a Colorful Dogs and Cats workshop that comes with a variety of kits for students to choose from. I make the kits and ship them to Houston prior to the class so after my vacation that is what I’ll be doing for sometime.
What a lot of fun stuff I’ve been up to! My days are never dull with the challenges of custom quilts and new samples to make. I have also started to make items that will be available at my shop at the retreat. For anyone attending the upcoming retreat I have been sourcing giveaways from some very generous companies in our textile industry. I know people are just going to love our evening programs this year.
If you want to join us at this final Artistic Alchemy retreat there are just a few days left to sign up. Please contact us now. We will soon be putting together room assignments and sending out the itinerary, We will let you know all the up-to-date, required Covid protocols at that time. Email Heidi, Sandra or myself if you have questions and see you soon at Lake Tahoe.
by HEIDI EMMETT Welcome everyone! Before I get started on my stencil segment, a little housekeeping. If you haven’t made your final payment for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2021, we need it ASAP. Thank you. Contact your teacher if you have any questions.
I was just at Lake Tahoe. It’s down about 3 1/2 ft. and affords amazing view of rocks.
LISTEN UP! Patty Park will be at Our Artistic Alchemy Retreat in September (Open Studio), and something new–bringing stencils with her. Patty has been lamenting about the restrictive nature of commercial stencils for years. After some research, she purchased a Scan and Cut CM350 by Brother in 2018, and hasn’t looked back. With the ScanNCut, stencils can be created, modified, re-sized and cut from any size up to 12″ X 24”. Patty searched out Vendors from far and wide. India, Japan, New York, and Uzbekistan to name a few. With commercial-use permission, Patty is able to re-work, re-size almost any design for the perfect stencil for clothing and home decor. There will be samples on display and a hands-on demo. These designs are ALL LIMITED STOCK right now. Patty has binders filled with great stencils in various sizes for you to choose. Everything from Contemporary to Art Deco, Asian, Word Fonts, Abstract Shapes, and beyond. Let’s take a look at some of them.
These are the “masks” from the stencil below. Isn’t that cool! AND they are both included in the stencil package. I don’t know of any stencils available today that include masks.
Patty said “home decor.” Oh my gosh, How about pillows, edges on drapes, orrr…. a border on a linen tablecloth. In the corner of a linen dinner napkin. Acckkk…so MANY ideas…!
I’ve started some projects using Patty’s stencils. Calling this “Bubbles.” It is a prototype made with orange card stock.
Bring some of your favorite “paints and supplies” to the retreat and fabric too, so you can try out your newly purchased stencils.
After a little embroidery/hand quilting, I’m turning my “Bubbles” into a Sparky Top (one of my “Art to Wear patterns”).
Sparky Top “Art to Wear” sewing pattern will be available in my “store” at the Artistic Alchemy retreat.
Getting started using one of Patty’s custom made stencils. I’m layering the color on with Paintsticks. I am really enjoying using Paintsticks as the designs created with them remain soft and pliable (they almost look printed).
Enjoying some “slow stitching” out on the deck of our cabin at Zephyr Point. Turning this piece into a tote bag. I will bring it to the retreat.
Enjoy one of my latest sunset shots. Taken from the deck of Cabin 8, Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. June 20, 2021, 8:25p.m.
Can’t wait to see you all September 6-10th, for our Artistic Alchemy Retreat, 2021. Hugs, Heidi