New Workshop Pet Portraits

This is Jane. I have decided to bring back, by popular demand, my workshop for 2019 Pet Portrait Fabric Collage. I get requests from students and people I meet at quilt guilds, “Where I can take your pet portrait class?” So having had little interest in the Travel Journal workshop I have decided at this early stage to change my workshop for the retreat this year. I hope this causes no confusion.

Cover of April/May 2019 Quilting Arts Jane Haworth

Purple version of Tilly by Jane Haworth

I am also especially excited to share the news that I will have a pet portrait article in the upcoming April/May 2019 edition of Quilting Arts magazine and they decided to use one of my quilts as the cover. I am a cover girl! This is beyond what I could have imagined. So if you are interested in making your own pet portrait or learning my technique for fabric collage check out the workshop page. Sign-ups are live and I know at least one class has a waiting list. Don’t forget we also have open studio where you get the experience of Artistic Alchemy but without being signed up for a specific workshop.

Love of Pets Jane Haworth

Nifty, a special Golden Labrador

In this workshop students learn to make their own patterns from photographs. Learn to use the value and patterns in fabric to your advantage, my fabric collage technique, free-motion quilting and how to finish the quilt. We will also spend time using mixed media to create our own fabrics using lino-cuts, gel prints and fabric painting. The retreat is spread over 5 days with evening entertainment and access to the classrooms at night. Nothing could be better than the Zephyr Point Lake Tahoe location, a beautiful tranquil setting and good food as a bonus.

Student work Craft Napa 2019

Life in 2019 continues to be busy for me, traveling and teaching and keeping on top of my memory quilt orders for my Etsy shop. The new year started with 4 nights at CraftNapa  where I took a class from Maria Shell and taught two classes. I have attended this event, organized by Pokey Bolton, for four years and this was my first year to be part of the faculty. I was very happy to join this creative and inspiring event with its wonderful array of talented teachers.


The 2300 series of Quilting Arts TV is airing on some regional TV stations and the DVD set is now available for purchase at The Quilting Company I received this DVD set in the mail and it took me over two weeks to pluck up the courage to watch myself! I had a local group of art quilters visiting, so we had a bit of a watch party.

The weather here in Northern California has been crazy this winter. As skiers we like to head to the Sierra Nevada mountains but most weekends its been snowing so much the freeway has been closed. Well that just leaves me more time to work on my sewing! We spent a weekend at Donner Summit and spent most of the time trapped inside clearing decks but we did have fun on a snowshoe hike in waist deep snow!

Snowshoeing Donner Summit

February 2019 Snow-shoeing adventures Donner Summit

My quilting took me to Yuma, Arizona to speak to and teach the Desert Lily Quilters. I stayed with a friend who moved there a year ago and so we had a great catch-up. I learned about “snow-birds” and adored all the adobe houses. During winter guild attendance is high. They meet every week and also everyone seems to belong to “small groups” for sewing, knitting and stitching get-togethers. This friendly guild embraced fabric collage and are well on their way to making some very successful pet portrait quilts.


Coming up on May 18th Artistic Alchemy has been invited to an event in Roseville hosted by the American Sewing Guild. We will be doing demonstrations, presentations, and a fashion show. So when we have more details we will be sure to post them here on the blog. So if you are looking for a creative, inspiring get-a-way in September be sure to check out the workshop page and sign-up for one of the available classes. We are thinking this year attendance will be high and judging by the current registration trend it certainly looks like it.





Autumn has Begun…

This is Jane Haworth and although it is now Autumn or Fall, the weather is just beginning to cooperate and it feels like its been some time since I was enjoying late summer at the retreat at Zephyr Point. It was my first year to visit and to be one of the teachers at this wonderful place. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t ever attended. The surroundings are beautiful, the weather perfect, the food wonderful as you don’t have to think about it, and being surrounded by all those creatives is very inspiring. I loved it and will be back next year, September 2-6 2019 with my fellow teachers; Heidi Emmett, Sandra Bruce and Mary Boalt.


These are some of the projects my students worked on whilst attending my Fabric Collage Addiction workshop. I love the variety of images they chose to work on and didn’t they do a great job.

My busy autumn began shortly after the retreat as I was heading to Ohio to tape my three segments for QATV, then off to visit family in England, I was teaching in Auburn and visited the PIQF quilt show in Santa Clara. I have now been preparing for my upcoming classes at IQF in Houston in just a few days time.  Not to mention keeping up with my Christmas orders for T-shirt and memory quilts for my Etsy shop. It is so hard to say no to customers who want a quilt made for a Christmas gift!

Quilting Arts TV recording series 2300

Susan Brusker Knapp host of QATV, Zeke and I

My time spent in Ohio was an amazing experience and taping went pretty smoothly and I’m happy to report I didn’t feel that nervous. I traveled out from Sacramento with Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt, the Pixeladies, what a laugh we had! From the variety of Uber drivers we met, the ribbing I got for scoring an upgrade on our flight and then exploring  and eating in Little Italy, Cleveland.

QATV series 2300

Before the taping at Quilting Arts TV

As I said I recorded three segments. This one is for my upcycled tote bags I make using left over food wrappers/bags and denim from old jeans for handles. Its funny I took 2 dresses I made over 10 years ago from plastic carrier bags that fitted the theme perfectly and so we put them on these 2 manikins as props for the background.


I also got to work with Jeanine the Bernina rep who was lovely and helped me familiarize myself with the Bernini sewing machine. I don’t use one at home and here I used it in all three of my projects. I think this next series 2300 is out in the new year. QATV can be watched on PBS2 or if not you’ll have to buy or borrow the DVD set.


I did get back to England for a week and was lucky to take my eldest daughter, Lucy who was between jobs! We traveled to Tiverton, Devon which is in the Westcountry, almost Poldark country, to stay with my family. It was also a girls weekend as I booked an Airbnb on a small deer farm, just a few miles from my mums house, where my daughter, sister-in-law, best friend and my niece all stayed together. We couldn’t avoid the rain so in this photo we are standing outside Exeter Cathedral on our shopping trip. Heres a few more shots of Devon and London.


I also got to do a presentation and teach my workshop, Love of Pets, to my own local guild, Foothill Quilters Guild here in Auburn. The first lecture I ever did was in 2014 and that was to the aforementioned guild and I must say this time I was far less nervous. It was a lot of fun sharing the progress of my work with friends. And here are some of the portraits they made in class.

Love of Pets workshop Jane Haworth

A sampler of some of the “works in progress” from Foothill Quilt Guild

This next photo is a quilt I recently made and is to be a special gift to someone.

Love of Pets Jane Haworth

A special Golden Labrador

In preparation for Houston my bags are not packed but my quilts are! I’m still working on some samples to take that I can demo on and then a bit more prep for my ‘Meet the Teachers’ presentation and Demo and then I will say I’m ready. I am very excited to meet all the new quilters and teachers but I know my schedule is going to be grueling especially with class start times of 8am ET!


Finally I still having openings in my Succulent class at Craft Napa in January 2019 so click on the link to read more details. This is a retreat I have attended for the last three years and again highly recommend. If you are interested in seeing where I am teaching before next years retreat look at my website and even read my blog to see what I’ve been up to.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy our wonderful Autumnal weather.

My Process of Making Fabric Collage

Hi    This is JANE HAWORTH  writing this weeks post 

Sometimes coming up with the idea for my next collage quilt is hard but other times I am awash with ideas. Then having enough time is my next problem! A couple of years ago I saw a documentary about giraffes and I was shocked to hear that their numbers are really low and giraffes are on the endangered species list. The BBC documentary was Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants and follows the work of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation

Giraffe image from

Giraffe Image

I was inspired and needed to make a giraffe quilt. I found this image on Pixabay which is a copyright free resource for images. I printed it out as a full page and then had to decide how large to make the quilt. This time I wanted it big, and I mean really big. I always get that feeling when I see one of my quilts out in the wild, at a quilt show, that the quilt looked so much bigger at home. So instead of increasing the size by 3 times or 6 times I decided 10 times. I was now making my giraffe image about 90″ x 70″.

Giraffe by Jane Haworth

Giraffe Tongue

My usual method of making my pattern is to draw a grid on newsprint. I drew 10″ squares and then transposed the lines from the 1″ grid that covered my photograph.

I began work on the tongue and that was 12″ long. The fabrics I decided to use for the giraffe included many upholstery and furnishing fabrics, as well as linen, burlap and regular quilting fabrics I had in my stash. I was not thinking about the background at this stage.



Working on a large scale was hard. On my usual worktable the collage would be falling off any chance it had and keeping all my fabrics close had its challenges too. I first completed the head as a single unit and then I tackled the neck, that would lay behind the head and then be glued in place.

Completed giraffe head by Jane Haworth

Completed head laid out onto batting.

Once the giraffe was made I was very happy and had now to figure out the background. I cut a piece of batting to the approximate size of the completed quilt and using my family room floor laid it out with the giraffe in it place. I decided to go with green patterned fabrics that I been setting aside and these included hand-dyed and over-dyed, batiks, African fabrics and other pieces I again found in my stash.

Work in Progress by Jane Haworth

Using the floor space in my family room.

To complete this quilt I made up my backing and taped it down to the floor. Lay the batting over the top, positioned the giraffe it its spot and then lay out my background fabrics. These I cut to size and pieced together as I went making sure they tucked behind the giraffe. Eventually all the batting was covered and I could glue the giraffe in place. I took my iron and pressed it all while it still lay on the floor, finishing with safety pins to hold the three layers together.

IMG_7072Quilting by Jane Haworth

Quilting using my Janome 6500

To quilt all my quilts I use my regular sewing machine and this quilt was hard work I will admit. I think using the heavier upholstery fabrics and burlap made the quilt stiffer, harder to handle, fit under the machine and generally hard on my body. So I do remember working for only a hour or so at a time especially on those tricky parts in the center of the quilt.

Finished by Jane Haworth

Finished quilt at the FQG Show April 2017

My husband decided the giraffe needed to be called Melman after the giraffe in the movie ‘Madagascar’. So the quilt is named ‘Melman, The vulnerable Giraffe’. I decided if I sold the quilt I would donate half the money to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. It was juried into IQF Houston in 2017 but didn’t sell and this summer it will be at Sisters, Oregon for their outdoor quilt show on July 14 2018. So he’s still for sale!

Having explained my process of making a fabric collage art quilt I must say making a smaller quilt is easier, fun, less daunting, and easier on the body. So join me at my workshop Fabric Collage Addiction, if you can, September 3-7 2018 at Zephyr Point for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat.

Artistic Alchemy will be “out in the wild” this coming weekend, May 5 & 6 at the Pine Tree Quilt Show at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. So come down and meet us, chat about the retreat, hear about our show special and see what ‘goodies’ we have for sale. Here are a few of the things I have been working on for that sale.



Lake Tahoe is beautiful in September so combine a trip to the mountains with sewing and play time. Check out the 4 workshops on offer from Mary, Heidi, Sandra and myself, or just work on your own projects. What could be better than taking a break from the heat and surrounding yourself with creativity.

Unraveling the Enigma of Chuck Close

by Sandra Bruce

All my students signed up thus far for the Zephyr workshop have sent me their photos to grid and I’m sure they are happily selecting fabrics to use. I do have a couple of spaces left, anyone who is a procrastinator and contemplating coming to Zephyr in September! We 4 welcome latecomers.

I wrote a blog post months ago about Chuck Close: his influence upon my Matrix technique and the 2 quilts I made of his image taken from a photograph by the photographer Gianfranco Gorgoni. The story of these quilts, “Chuck Close One” and “Chuck Close Two” (both 60″ by 70″) is a fragmented and ultimately puzzling one which I have not written much about, in part to protect the information I received about Chuck and his health. Suffice it to say, “Chuck Close One” is in the hands of Chuck Close himself, and “Chuck Close Two” I recently sent to Houston for the show in November. I entered it in the “Hands All Around” exhibit, which will travel internationally for a year and be seen by many people. The tops of these 2 quilts were made at the same time and look very much alike. I am thankful to Gorgoni for being the go-between to help me get the quilt to Chuck. I am glad he has it. Here they are side by side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 7.48.46 PMDuring the first week of July I took a road trip with my son Matteo. His bike went in the back seat of my car. His emphasis was riding skate parks on his BMX, and I enjoyed being with him and occasionally hitting a fabric store or two, and visiting friends along the way. I knew there was an exhibit in Everett, WA of Chuck’s work and I wanted to be sure to catch it. Chuck grew up in Everett, and attended the junior college there before going onto University of Washington and eventually Yale. My friend Kathy, Matteo and I drove up to Everett to see the show at the Schack Art Center. The emphasis on the show was about his collaborations with other artists, and there were examples of the many techniques Chuck has used. I will say here that I apologize for the quality of these photos, taken with my aging cell phone. But you get the idea. I like this first picture, badly taken as it is, as you can see my reflection taking the photo and also Matteo’s silhouette on the other side of the room. It’s a piece of a lithograph, one process that Close has done repeatedly.


Here’s another lithograph, an older one as you can see by how young Chuck looks. Each square has little hatch lines drawn in diagonally to create the “values”.IMG_0889

This one I had not seen before. It’s a portrait of his daughter done in many values of paper pulp “blobs”, that were made from a form that he had someone make for him. The form looked like a giant cookie cutter, and took the artist over 2 months to make. Here is the portrait and the form for the pulp.IMG_0903IMG_0905

So, check this out….his image of “Lucas”, which was a painting, made into a silk rug that was on the floor of the gallery. The sign next to it begged the question, “Is this fine art, and should it be on the floor or on the wall?”IMG_0890

There were a few pieces like this. The squares are filled with color, and the corners are left so you can see the paper beneath.IMG_0892IMG_0900

I wish I had taken more care to read the information on this one so I could share it with you. I had seen this before in another gallery. He painted his face, which you see at the base…..viewing it in the silver cylinder allows you to view it as he intended. I seem to recall from Art history classes years ago that there were artists during the Renaissance doing this technique. Amazing, isn’t it?IMG_0898

And yet another way of applying the paint in a grid. These round shapes were created by applying a felt circle to a stick and applying the paint with the felt. You can really see the texture and it’s easy to imagine him plopping those little circles on.IMG_0896

Phillip Glass, the musician, has been Chuck’s most repeated subject. Chuck really likes his features. It was interesting to see the same image both in tapestry form, and as a painting that Chuck created using his thumbprint to fill each square with a value of grey. Wonderful!IMG_0907IMG_0909




One more tapestry, reproduced from one of his self-portrait photographs.IMG_0899

Wednesday, while stuck in a horrible traffic situation on my way to Meet the Teachers in Pleasant Hill (Heidi, Christine and I were presenters and we made it, finally), I was checking emails on my phone and noticed that several friends had sent me a link to an article about Chuck Close written by Will S Hylton in the NYTimes. Having literally hours to wait going nowhere, to pass the time I read the article out loud to Heidi and Christine. This article (link below), is a beautifully written and tender while at the same time probing piece about Chuck and his work in the latter part of his life. In reading it things came to light about where Chuck has been, literally and figuratively, during the last year or so while I was working on the quilts and trying to get the one to him. I hope you will read the article, which, while quite long, is so worth the time.

Chuck, such an enigma, is fascinated by faces, which he paints and calls “heads”. I am fascinated by them too. And I am fascinated by Chuck Close.

Artistic Alchemy Retreat, and on to Snohomish

by Sandra Bruce


Christine and Heidi have written posts about our wonderful 2015 Artistic Alchemy Retreat from last month, my turn to share photos! I had a 2-day break after the retreat, and after unpacking and packing again I headed up to Snohomish, WA to visit the Busy Bees Quilt Guild to do my presentation and workshop. I have friends along the way so decided to make a road trip out of it, visiting friends and hitting quilt shops, of course.

Here are some of my favorite pictures….first from the Zephyr Retreat, then from my trip north. At the very end is a surprise photo!

I hope these pictures will inspire you to join us next year! We already have several signups and can’t wait to start planning the 2016 retreat.

Waking up with coffee and this view of Lake Tahoe is a great way to start any day!


Our assistant, Debbie, helped make things run smoothly.



IMG_9612Here’s Mary Boalt, our Artist-In-Residence, in Heidi’s class project, the “Off the Grid Vest”. So cute!!!


IMG_9606Heidi, in her Whisper Blouse, giving her trunk show!


IMG_9635Christine’s trunk show, including quilts and vests!



Jennifer, all the way from Ontario, Canada, working on her Matrix piece in my class, from a picture of her dog, Soda. I had 10 students and I enjoyed them all! Such a diversity of quilt subjects!


IMG_9576Joey working on her Matrix quilt, an industrious undertaking of the “world”, from a map.



Ellen, with a beautiful image of a succulent plant, working across the width of her piece.



Jan tackled the hardest parts of her image first, the eyes, in black and white.



Debi worked on an image from her past, a Volkswagen Bug.



Liz returned from last year to work on Jimmy, her dog. It was a pleasure to have her and Cheri back this year! Liz’s koi, coming along:





Gina also did a face for her Matrix project, her daughter.



Caryn’s kitty cat has 2 different colored eyes! Fun to piece!



Rosemary’s bear…he came to life before our eyes!


IMG_9725During my evening presentation Trish showed her Matrix Self-portrait, inspired by mine. This is a fun picture of her, and the quilt.


IMG_9714A big thanks to everyone who came and helped make the 2015 retreat such a success! THANK YOU!

Moving north….


A very quick stop at the Portland Art Museum…my favorite from all the exhibits was a collection of woodblock prints by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi from 1887. I loved them.



Breakfast in Portland, at the Milk Glass Market. Look at this array of bread….



Snohomish is a very sweet little town, northeast of Seattle. This quilt shop was a must see!



Darlene, my very gracious hostess there, took my workshop and made sure everything went smoothly. She took very good care of me, and I very much enjoyed being with her book group one evening!



Darlene and I took the ferry over to this charming town, Poulsbo, which boasted 2 quilt shops.



At the end of my visit in Washington I visited another friend near Seattle, and we dined one special night in this restaurant in downtown Seattle, “Purple”. Check out the tower of wine being displayed!



Nearby is Puyallup, WA, (which I can never pronounce correctly!) where this amazing quilt shop is. Thousands of bolts of batiks! Unbelievable!

Thanks to Kathy (both Kathys!), Darlene, and the ladies of Snohmish, WA for giving me a wonderful experience. Once home, I returned to the project that has consumed me all summer. Below is a photo of “Chuck Close One” which I have just completed. I will be showing more photos of it on this blog in the future, in addition to my Sandra Bruce Creative Facebook page, and my Flickr and Instagram accounts. But I wanted to show him here first, here he is! (60″ by 70″)

Chuck Close 1 full crop

I have many customer quilts in the queue to do, better get busy! Happy Fall!

🙂 Sandra


Road Trip

by Sandra Bruce

Greetings, and Happy November!

I had a fabulous 12-day trek in Oregon and Washington, sparked by teaching dates in Bend and Sunriver, Oregon. I decided to make it a road trip on either end, visiting friends I haven’t seen in a long time and combining the visits with my dates with the quilt guilds. Here’s a few pictures and memories of my 1,600 miles driven in 12 days!

My first peek at a snow-covered mountain, which I had to pull over and take a picture of….Mount Lassen. After many months of heat and dry weather here in Grass Valley it was such a pleasure to see this. A sure sign of Fall!


My first stop was Portland, a long drive from Grass Valley (I was so glad to have books on CD to listen to on those long stretches). Portland is such a fun town, so much to look at, and so may cute shops and stores. And…the best salted caramel-ribbon ice cream I ever tasted!IMG_7835

Wouldn’t this make an interesting modern quilt design? Love the colors.


On to northern Washington, where I visited a friend in Auburn, outside Seattle. We had wild weather (had to almost stop on the freeway for the rain) and went to as many quilt shops as we could!IMG_7864

IMG_7848IMG_7851IMG_7849Onward (and south again) to Bend, Oregon where I did my lecture and class for the Mount Bachelor Quilt Guild. The terrain definitely changed!IMG_7884

What a great group of ladies I had in my class, they could not have been more of a pleasure! Bend has beautiful facilities, and the workshop was held in one of the nicest I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in. Here’s a couple of shots from the Bend workshop and guild meeting that night.IMG_7888IMG_7897_2

My stay in Bend was over too soon…..the next morning I drove to Sunriver to do my lecture for the Mountain Meadow Quilters’ 9:30am meeting. Again, a beautiful setting. I so enjoy being in guild meetings, to see the workings of other guilds and especially Show and Tell! One day I want to make a “Dear Jane” quilt like this one, wow!!


My afternoon was free, which of course means going to quilt shops in the area, and there are many! It is amazing how many quilters and quilt shops there are in the Sisters/Bend/Sunriver area.

Next day, the Sunriver workshop. Again, a nicer or more enthusiastic group of ladies could not be found.IMG_7916IMG_7911IMG_7304

I left Sunriver to head back to Portland to visit more friends before coming home. I stopped to take a picture of Mount Bachelor and the “Three Sisters”, which had had it’s first dusting of snow days before. Beautiful!IMG_7925

Back in Portland, I visited the Chinese Gardens for tea, and had a few fabulous meals, including one made with freshly picked chanterelles (picked by my hostess that morning). The best part was reconnecting with friends (and kitties).IMG_7946IMG_7947IMG_7954


All in all, a wonderful trip, in which I became rejuvenated by students, quilts, quilt stores, friends, scenery, and the delicious opportunity to be alone in my car for all those miles. Thanks to all the Bend and Sunriver ladies who welcomed and pampered me, and my friends whom I care about and was so happy to see, and took such good care of me.

Back in Grass Valley, we had a rainy Halloween yesterday, cold and windy too, but we cannot complain about one drop of that precipitation! I am back to my long arm work, and am also working on a greeting card design in my lettering business. Fremont, CA this week, and Modesto, CA next week for Matrix lecture/workshops. Christine, Heidi and I are still working on the Zephyr dates for 2015, stay tuned. The holidays are around the corner!

Bye for now……..


Snapshots of the Retreat

It’s official: The first ever Artistic Alchemy retreat is history! The three of us had a great time, and judging from our students’ comments, so did all of you who came. The creativity quotient was high, the laughter was contagious, and the projects—wow! Below are some class images, lunchtime show-and-tell pics, and shots of Lake Tahoe and the Zephyr grounds.

Watch for details about next year’s retreat. Heidi is working with Zephyr on the dates, and we are hopeful we can add an extra day, for a total of three full days in class.

Take a look at who was there and what we did. (We were missing a few when we took this group pic.)IMG_7690IMG_7642IMG_7718IMG_7648IMG_7611IMG_7644IMG_7584IMG_7699IMG_7628

show & tell 3show and tell 4IMG_7660IMG_7716IMG_7738IMG_7710This could be YOU, next year! Stay tuned. . . .