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

Stretching….creatively

by Sandra Bruce

Have you been able to keep cool this summer? It’s been pretty brutal here in Grass Valley, between the smoke and the heat. This very cute squirrel has been hanging out (literally) on our deck railing to try to keep out of the heat. I can so relate!


We’re very close to our Zephyr retreat….only a few weeks away! I have a full class, with ladies working on a varied assortment of quilt subjects for their Matrix quilts. Children, pets, scenes. I look forward to this very much each year.

One of my past students made a wonderful Matrix quilt, which I had the pleasure of quilting yesterday. Here’s the before and after! I absolutely love what Colleen did. It is an homage to a memory she has, and this quilt will keep it alive.


I’ve not been working on a new Matrix project since I finished “Dame Lorraine”. (she and “Summertime” have already gone to Houston). I have had the urge to do something different than what I’ve done in a while. First, I’ve been working on a needle-turned applique Halloween quilt, from a pattern by Verna Mosquera. I absolutely love doing applique and this quilt has fit the bill. About 2 or 3 blocks into it I realized something, that I have some of my own ideas for Halloween quilt designs. I have changed a lot of details in this quilt, and now I have 3 concepts in my mind to create new quilts, and maybe patterns to sell. Here it is so far, on my design wall:

When I went to Cleveland to tape my episodes of QATV in April I met Susan Shie, who I have heard so much about over the years through our mutual friend, Therese May. I was so happy to meet her! When Susan did her taping, the day before me, I was so taken aback by the stack of drawing sketchbooks that she showed us. She draws every day. It lit a fire under me, and consequently I signed up to do an online drawing class with her, with a few others, for 5 weeks, via Facebook. It’s a very interesting concept. First I went to my local art supply store and bought a few new Prismacolor pencils to flesh out my stash of them. Just the sight of the Prismacolor display is enough to make my heart skip a beat!

A bit off subject, but I’d like to share a tip with you about pencils. This will save you a lot of headache if you use pencils often. The best way to buy pencils is individually, such as from this Prismacolor display, when possible. In other words, don’t buy sets. And here’s why: when pencils are made there is the top piece of wood, the “lead” in the middle, and then the bottom piece of wood. If the lead is not dead center, if it is off a bit (which is pretty common) then every time you sharpen it it will break. Then you’ll sharpen it again, and the break will happen again. Etc etc until your pencil is a nub. So, the moral of the story is: be sure the lead is right in the middle between the 2 sides of wood. Below is a photo showing the difference between a good one and one destined for trouble. These are not inexpensive pencils and this tip will save you money and frustration! Doesn’t this make you want to draw??!

My first assignment was to draw a selfie in my new sketchbook using both right and left hands. Interesting exercise! I found I could not hold pencils in both hands and draw simultaneously, but I could switch back and forth. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would….I may draw like this more often. My right-handed marks (non-dominant hand) were bolder and a bit goofy, but I liked them. The light initial sketch was done left-handed, and the inked lines right-handed, with the color back and forth. Here’s my drawing.

Before I go, a couple of news flashes. The Series 2200 on QATV which I appeared in, has begun on PBS, on the 2nd channel. I appear in Shows #2206, 2208, and 2211. Hope you can find them and watch! I talk about Material Matrix, how to match a binding to the image in the quilt, and how to stitch words with your home machine.

Also, I have a new page in my website, called “Publicity/News”, where I list the shows my quilts are currently in, books/magazines featuring my work, and other tidbits.

Now I’d better go work on Zephyr name tags, one of the pleasurable tasks I get to do for the retreat.

Stay cool and smoke-free everyone. Fall is coming.

Sandra

Bullseye’s Blue Ribbon

Jane Haworth at California State Fair

1st place ribbon at the CA State Fair 2018

July was state fair month at Cal Expo in Sacramento. My husband and I went to visit the fair and see my quilt on display. Look at the size of that ribbon! I won first place in the medium/large art quilt category.  Wahoo!

I usually make one large quilt a year and for 2018 it was Bullseye x Nine. Here, I will tell you a little about the process behind making this quilt and its story up to this point. In summer 2017, I met up with Julie, one of my local t-shirt quilt customers so she could drop off shirts for her quilt. She had her 2 dogs with her so I took a few photos and this one was my favorite.

Bullseye for quilt by Jane Haworth

Perfect picture

I had been thinking about making a colorful quilt in Andy Warhol’s style and Bullseye’s face was the perfect subject. I cropped the dog’s face, posterized it in my photo software, and then used the image as my pattern. The face had three values; black, grey, and white which I translated into light, medium and dark fabrics. When it came time to choose my fabrics, I only needed three for each face and one for each background.

Bullseye in black and white

First block made

This was the first block I made. I had recently hand dyed many fat-quarter sized pieces of fabric and these turned out to be the ideal size for all the backgrounds. Next I had to decide upon the three colors for each face, and which background best suited them. I remember going around in circles trying to figure out color combinations and where to position them on the quilt!

Nine patch Andy Warhol style Jane Haworth

Figuring out the layout and the colors!

This is how it looked initially, but I decided I didn’t like the black and white image and so then had to make one more dog face. I usually don’t make pattern pieces in my quilting but for this one I made a pattern using freezer paper. When making each block I was able to reuse the same pattern pieces.

Close-up of free-motion quilting

Here you can see the stitching I did on the face.  I used three different colored threads; some to blend in and some as a contrast. The background I decided to stitch straight,  diagonal lines that formed a zig-zag between the blocks.

Best of Show ribbons

Best of Show 2018 Foothill Quilt Show

I won my first Best of Show at the Foothill Quilt Guild annual show in April. I was amazed! It was a fun show and I invited Julie, her husband, and their dogs. I think Bullseye was the star of the show especially when he posed next to the quilt.

Bullseye x Nine Jane Haworth

After this quilts recent appearance at the State Fair, I will be sending ‘Bullseye x Nine’ on to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November. Looking forward to next year, despite mounting pressure, I have to come with an idea for my big quilt in 2019!

If you want to learn my raw edge fabric collage technique or want to make a quilt using a photo of your own pet check out my website for classes I am teaching. I have a couple of spots left in my workshop at the Artistic Alchemy retreat at Zephyr Point in Tahoe this September. Fabric Collage Addiction is your opportunity to learn how to use a photo in fabric and even make that perfect pets eye. In fact, my fellow teachers, Mary and Heidi, have a couple of spaces also so check out the blog for more details. Come join us ladies for a fun and creative time!

Pet eyes by Jane Haworth

Pet Eyes made using fabric collage.

 

But It’s A Dry Heat

….and so is an oven! Despite the clever quip, I decided to visit my sister in Arizona during a record breaking heat wave. The thermometer shot up to 116* and, like a bad smell you can’t find the source of, it stayed around way too long. Dipping down to a less sweltering 94* at night was the real test for a Californian who loves to sleep with the windows open. By the end of the week, there were haboobs and windstorms with 60-70 mph gusts overturning patio furniture, uprooting trees and blowing down street lights. When I ask why on earth people move there, the reply is “You don’t have to shovel heat”.  But I admit to loving the rainstorms with lightning and thunder. And that’s how the week ended. Monsoon season had arrived. I can sleep to that!

I mentioned in an earlier blog that my sister takes me to a fantastic discount fabric warehouse. One without air conditioning. Sometimes they even pass out bottles of water to customers. We refer to it as the “topless bar” fabric store because that is exactly what is around the corner!
It was hard to choose from these pieced batiks but one of them made it into my basket along with four other cuts for my stash. Being limited by luggage restrictions prevented me from buying fabric by the pound.

Because Patty’s next door neighbor also sews, she made arrangements to take her with us. Brenda was a delight and is an excellent seamstress.Before we left, Brenda had us in to show us her beautiful quilts and wall hangings. Since most of you are quilters, you will appreciate the work that goes into her quilts. Brenda manipulates pictures on photo shop and then prints them onto fabric. The details she adds are so amazing that  I took a picture of each from a distance and then “up close and personal for your viewing pleasure”.And now my personal favorite because I love the way it glows.

Thank you Brenda for being so generous in showing us your beautiful and creative quilts. Each one is a masterpiece and reflects the time and thought invested in them.

Now that I’m home, the mad scramble to prepare for Zephyr has started. I’m busy ordering the long list of supplies needed for my students, cutting out patterns, filling paint bottles, serging stacks of canvas and checking my list twice! Do you know of someone who would like to fill my last opening to design their own canvas? How about repurposing thrift finds with Heidi? Or making a portrait quilt of their beloved pet with Jane? It’s just six weeks away. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, stay cool and hydrate.  I’m heading to the coast where it will be a refreshing 70* and there’ll be no chance of spontaneously bursting into flames.

And now I’ll leave you with this:

Vacation Time is Inspiration Time

By Jane Haworth

Last week my daughter Becky graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  So with friends and family we just had to spend a week down there to celebrate! In preparation last fall I booked a vacation rental in Cayucos about 18 miles north of San Luis Obispo. Our house had views over this small, charming beach town and was just a few blocks walk into town and onto the pier. Vacation for me is an enforced but much needed break from sewing. My brain doesn’t forget about art and quilting so my camera and my sketch book become my friend. As I said ‘Vacation time is Inspiration time’.

View of Cayucos Pier

Our daily walks took us to the beach and the pier.

At any opportunity I took photographs of the views, the misty coastal mornings and things quintessential to this Central Coast area. We viewed elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Elephant seal Rockery, walked around Morro Rock talking pictures of sea otters, sea birds and crabs!

The crab I found washed up on the beach early one morning as we took a walk. I flipped it over for a photo and was amazed at the colors  and textures I saw. Guess what I was reminded of; fabric especially Kaffe Fassett print ‘Roman Glass’. Now here is inspiration for a quilt.

Another of my loves whilst staying in this region are all the succulents and cacti you see at every turn. For me here are more opportunities to use my camera and for even more quilt ideas.

Prickly Pear cactus at Morro Rock

In this photo I love the contrast between the plant life and the rocky background. Also the contrast between the natural plant life and the inscribed initials on the leaves and finally the pops of color in the cacti flowers. All these elements would combine for an intriguing subject for a quilt design.

Moonstone Beachwalk, Cambria, CA

Moonstone Beach

Now how am I going to use all these photos? Some of my favorites I will set aside to develop further into ideas for individual quilts but first I’m going to look at making a journal quilt. Two years ago after our family vacation to Maine and Acadia National Park I put together a journal quilt called ‘Our Maine Event’ as a way to preserve many of the memories of our time together.

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‘Our Maine Event’ 36″ x 37″

In this quilt I took many of the items I brought home like maps, postcards, photographs, visitor guides etc and combined them with collaged elements from the memories of that trip like eating lobster, picking blueberries, spotting a cardinal and seeing the Loon. I also wrote on the postcards and journaled about some of events and memories I didn’t want to forget.

 

The lobster design came from a picture on one of the lobster bibs we were given. Other elements that I chose to make using fabric collage came from looking up blueberry plant pictures on the internet and a guide book of birds to find the Loon and the Cardinal. So when looking for inspiration for fabric collage its good to do some research and gather your ideas to combine. A photo is great starting point especially if its taken by yourself but looking other photos may make you look at colors in a different way or give you ideas for the setting/background for the subject.

White Egret

This photo of this egret was taken by my son in Morro Bay after we had been watching the sea otters at play. With further research of birds in this area I figured out this is a snowy egret. What I love about this photo is the reflection on the water, making it a great image to feature in my design.

So when looking for inspiration for your next quilt or art project you may not have to go on vacation like me but might find great subjects in your own backyard or local park, vegetable garden or shell collection.  Fabric Collage Addiction is what I will be teaching at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat in September so if you are interested let me know as I still have a couple of spots open. I know Heidi does also and with registration closing soon don’t hesitate to contact us to see what is still available. And to see more examples of my work have a look on my website