Painting on fabric, a new skill!

by Sandra Bruce

 

Greetings from Grass Valley, where Spring has sprung and we’re waiting for blue skies and sunshine. This photo of my dogwood tree is from last year, but I am patiently waiting. Dogwood is the state flower for Virginia where I am from, and it always makes me nostalgic when I see dogwoods blooming here. I favor the white ones.

First, a word about our Zephyr Retreat…in my workshop I only have a couple of spaces left, in case you’ve been contemplating a Matrix experience in beautiful Lake Tahoe 🙂  Jane and Heidi have spaces left as well, so think about it and check out the info on our “Retreat” page.

Today I’m going to show you the results from a workshop I took at Asilomar at Empty Spools in March. It was my first time going.  I met Susan Brubaker Knapp when I was a guest on QATV last year. It was great to meet her, and I became intrigued by her technique of painting on fabric. She taught at Empty Spools so that enticed me to go. I have not painted on fabric, except for making highlights on eyes of my Matrix portraits, and painting on fabric seems like a good skill to have. Before I left I assembled the items on the supply list, including the photo I selected to paint, a photo I took in the Japanese Gardens in Seattle last year of koi fish. I knew I wanted to finish it in the workshop, so I chose to work fairly small, about 13″ by 15″. Here’s the photo and some of the threads I selected.

I started out tracing my image onto PFD cotton. We all used the windows of our classroom for a light source.

I have some painting experience with watercolor, but not much with acrylics. It seemed a bit foreign at first, but I pretty quickly got into the swing of things.The fabric is taped onto foam core.  I started with the fish.  My palette was so colorful!

The water came afterwards. I tried to improve upon the water where I thought it needed it.

Here’s the finished painting…it took a bit less than 2 working days in class. It was fun!

Next was stitching. It’s a bit weird to stitch through paint. But you get used to it.

Trimming was SO satisfying.

Here’s the finish, next to the photo:

And the back….Susan has a finishing technique I have not tried before, so I did it on my piece.

Here’s a few of the other students’ work. As you can see, foliage was popular.

Susan is a great teacher, and we all really enjoyed her class. Below she’s helping my table-mate Roberta work on hers.

 

Asilomar is a very beautiful location. I loved being near the ocean, which I miss, living inland. I look forward to trying some painting on fabric in my work. Stay tuned!

Before I go, a quick note: I am the featured quilter at the Pine Tree Quilt Show here in Grass Valley, CA May 4-5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. I’ll have about 28 quilts on display! Hope if you are in the area that you’ll stop by and say hello.

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!

Year 5 at Zephyr with Material Matrix

by Sandra Bruce

Our retreat this September was our 5th, in which we welcomed Jane Haworth into our group. Every year seems to get better than the last, and for me this year was no exception. I have never had a more hard-working group of students. I’ll show you in this post some of their work and you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s a shot of the beautiful “Inspiration Point”, set up before anyone arrived. A gorgeous classroom….….but much better filled with enthusiastic ladies! We shared this room with the Open Studio ladies who were delightful.

Returning for another Matrix experience was Canadian Rejeanne, who brought her Matrix quilt top from her time with me at Zephyr 2 years ago, of her photographer husband Gene. She shared it at Show and Tell, and brought it for me to take to my longarm studio to quilt….a pleasure, I can assure you! Photo to come!

Rejeanne sat in class next to France, also a Canadian, and a friendship began. France worked on an image of her beloved dog, while Rejeanne worked on an image of her grandson.

Ellen, who had taken my Matrix workshop at her guild, brought her “Wake Up Cup” to show, completed.

At Zephyr they have added a coffee bar. A latte in the early morning with a lake view could not be beat.

Here’s a great overhead shot.

Trish Morris-Plise was our helper extraordinaire this year. She was a big help and found a few spare moments to work on her Hawaiian quilt project.

As mentioned, there was an incredible amount of work and concentration in the classroom which was so gratifying to witness. Below, Hazel, Marion and Ellen, intently working.

Some magical moments included finding the perfect fabric among scraps…yay Rejeanne !!

So much was accomplished! Below Beth, and Pam.

Sophia, with her piece so far, of her grandson. A terrific start!

Sue brought a beautiful photo of a landscape that meant a lot to her. It’s a great way to memorialize a favorite photo. I’ve seen Sue since the retreat and she tells me it’s coming along nicely!

Ann worked on a photo of an egret in a very ballet-like position, and was pleased with her progress.

The lake is always calming, and it’s such a pleasure to have this view all week.

We always do a group shot before departing, thanks to Gene for the photo!

Thanks to Heidi, Mary, and Jane, for being the best group-mates. We mesh in a wonderful way, and it’s an honor to spend a week with these talented ladies at Zephyr.

Before I stop, I’ll mention that I have been working on other projects since Zephyr, but will be starting a new Matrix quilt in the next few days. My subject? Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

There’s plenty of time before we start thinking about next year, but I hope you will consider taking my Matrix workshop if you have not taken it before. I already have a few interested people. As we roll into Fall, stay well and happy creating!

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

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!

 

 

The Story of Zahra

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:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160318-syria-refugee-children-portraits/

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:
http://threadsofresistance.blogspot.com

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 certainly have a lot of fabric that looks like this!

With the eyes being the critical part, I did cheat a bit and went down the side of the quilt for a while. (I usually work consistently left to right, top to bottom).

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!

Here’s the back of one of her eyes.

The Sonoma Show was great! I had a wonderful time, and people were very interested in what I was doing. I accomplished 2 blocks during the weekend. Here is the set up.

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.

Almost done!

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.

Close-ups:

 

 

 

The End of 2016

by Sandra Bruce

The year is almost up! Did it ever go by fast, in many ways. I have been reflecting on all the ways I am thankful for my year, in all its ups, downs, triumphs, and lessons!

First, thanks to the 22 guilds who invited me to come teach and lecture this year. I enjoyed the traveling and experiencing the shops, scenery, the quilters, and their quilts. I taught Material Matrix, Color Dance, with a little polymer clay thrown in the mix. Here’s Genelle, Radean, and the group from Pacific Grove. Big smiles!

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img_1061Each location has quilt shops, history, and museums to be proud of, and of course restaurants. I think my favorite museum was the Getty in Southern California.img_0433

I would be at a loss to count all the quilt shops I went into this year!img_0377

I had the privilege of working on some really interesting and creative quilts this year from my long-arm customers. Traditional, art quilts, and many in-between.img_1698img_1289

I took a couple of workshops myself. There’s always room to grow and learn something new. Judy Coates-Perez was especially fun with Heidi, Christine and Mary at my table! I really liked the end product of my class, a collage to be stitched.

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And speaking of my co-horts, there was the day in July (also my birthday!) when we drove down to Meet the Teachers in Fairfield  and got stuck in a horrible traffic jam, making us very late. Well, we managed to go with the flow and were still able to present to the group.

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I did manage to squeeze in some polymer time to make buttons, they’ve been very popular when I go teach. I acquired a pasta machine with a motor….wowie! Is it a pleasure to use!

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Our retreat at Lake Tahoe, was of course a highlight of my year. We’ll be announcing next year’s plans very soon, yay!

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I marvelled at the power of social media all year. I posted a photo of my quilt, “Winston”, completed in the Spring on my Sandra Bruce Creative page on Facebook and was amazed to see so may shares, comments, and people reached.

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6 months of this year was devoted to making “Lemon Tree in Tuscany”. Of course the work time was sporatic, but slowly and surely it was finished. I put the grid on the diagonal, just to try it. That, plus the amount of detail proved to be really challenging but rewarding. Next……………….

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……I have begun “Sushmita”, from a photograph of a young girl by Howard Koons, taken in India. I keep going back to faces, they intrigue me the most.

Of course, the Houston show was very much a highlight! Heidi’s “Terrific Tabard” vest pattern also did a lot of traveling this year 🙂img_1800

I was really happy to have the opportunity to see a show of Chuck Close’s work, in northern Washington. I took a road trip with my son, Matteo, and it was wonderful to see Chuck’s work with his young eyes and comments.

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We did make it to the top of the Space Needle, with my CODA friend Kathy. Space Needle selfie!

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I am thankful that the fire we had this summer in Grass Valley was put out pretty quickly. It was the closest that a fire has come to our house in 26 years and I don’t care to repeat that experience. We have brave and smart firefighters who risk their lives when fires occur. Heartfelt thanks to them.

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I’ll sign off with wishes for all our readers a safe and joyous holiday season and New Year. I  have sincere hope for our planet and the people we share it with, for peace and understanding. See you in 2017!

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