Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category


Sunday, June 1st, 2014

This arrived in my mailbox:



A nice surprise. One of my pieces is in the current edition of American Quilter.



Whoever handles their layout/retouching does a nice job. This is one of the most accurate reproductions of this particular quilt that I’ve seen.



Last week I bought a planer. It was on sale due to Mother’s Day or to honor deceased veterans or some such. I put a yucky, rough board through it. The planer transformed it into a satin-smooth length of wood with beautiful figure. I am in love.


So in love, in fact, that I made a cozy for the planer. I briefly considered a touch of machine embroidery, too. “Planer”. You know, in case I confuse this tool with the lathe or the drill press or the table saw, none of which it resembles in the least.

I like to keep my tools nice and clean, wipe them off after use and cover them after they cool off. I have no idea whether that makes them last longer, but it makes me happy. I don’t suppose Quilting Arts Gifts wants projects like this, “Cozies For Every Tool in the Shop”? No. I didn’t think so. There probably aren’t too many folks who work with both fiber and wood. There are probably even fewer who want their tools covered with chintz or a bold botanical print.

Actually, the real reason I made the planer cozy is that I’m going nuts with impatience. I thought I’d imitate the cool kids, you see, and have some fabric printed up at Spoonflower. I duly made a digital painting and sent it off, but didn’t pay rush fees for production or shipping. Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I sent the file off. The order’s current status reads “We estimate that this order will be shipped in the next couple of days.” I found that encouraging last Thursday or Friday. Now I’m wondering if I will see the shipment by the end of the week.

This isn’t meant as criticism of Spoonflower, by the way. Their production isn’t taking much longer than any other commercial printing I’ve ever had done. It’s just that if I’d thought about it and added up the numbers, I might have either said “You know, I should really pay a rush fee” or “2 1/2 – 3 weeks is too much of a delay before starting on this project. I’ll be better off if I just slap paint on the cloth myself.” I may very well end up doing that anyhow if the print isn’t what I expected.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Please may the order get here before I’m forced to make another shopping bag or a cozy for the lathe. I only have five days before school is out and I’ll have to somehow shoehorn this new project in around child care.

But is it art?

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Before I forget, happy holidays to everyone:


This is from this year’s Christmas cards. I should have aligned the text differently for the screen. It looks rather uncomfortable sitting there, left aligned but relating to nothing else on the page. But, you know, lazy. Hand me some spiked eggnog and watch me get even lazier.

I never thought I’d view cold weather as a luxury, but my perspective has changed this year. I spent the fall clambering up and down ladders, repairing and repainting the house. I was out there so long that I became notorious among the neighbors, with the lady across the street repeatedly asking “aren’t you done yet?” and a few women making pointed comments about having “a man” do something. (Because, I don’t know, maybe the dangly bits act as ballast so men aren’t as likely to fall off ladders? Surely there’s some logical reason for specifically suggesting “a man” beyond sexism?)

For their part, men would stop by on their walks and chat companionably about ladders and air compressors. “Yep, that’s a GOOD ladder you have there,” one elderly man wheezed, “My son-in-law, his ladder wasn’t good. He fell off, got hurt really bad.” They would often bring dogs along, so I got sniffed and licked by many neighborhood hounds. That was nice.

In addition to painting, I sprayed foam insulation in every crack I could find. We had rats in the attic last year. I don’t hate rats, but I don’t want them up in my attic having turf wars and extramarital sex, growing fat on Cheetohs stolen from hapless schoolchildren. I don’t enjoy the whole live trap and peanut butter toast thing, loading bewildered rats in the car and deporting them to distant fields. (Where, no doubt, they’re simply killed by hawks instead of me.) The problem is, rats are smarter than me. Darned if I could tell where they were getting in and out of the house. Although spray foam won’t stop them from getting in – in fact, they’ll snicker at me while they chew through it – maybe the evidence of chewing will tell me where they’re getting in. That would be something. I really don’t want to call an exterminator and have them killed.

There’s more to do out there but – oh dear – cold weather is here! Gosh, I just don’t feel up to shoveling or shredding when it’s thirty or forty degrees out. Nope, I’ll just have to hole up inside until the afternoon, when it warms up a bit. I’ll just have to do inside things.


Things like this, for example. Get yourself some squashed toilet paper tubes, some spray paint, a few red beads from the junk jar in the laundry room, and you’ve got a low rent wreath. Is there anything toilet paper tubes can’t do?

I glued eyelet to the individual panes of the window, too. The yellowed, 1970s-era door curtain finally got to me. It spoke of stained shag carpet, dim rooms, and people chain smoking around a 13″ TV set. It turns out that the eyelet provides a pretty good degree of privacy and lets in a gentle glow as well. If we grow to despise the eyelet, it’ll scrape right off with a razor blade.



Perler beads. Why did I think that we needed TWO LARGE CONTAINERS of fusible beads? We have an energetic male child. I’ve engaged him in craft projects. He prefers to bash things with foam swords and swing from chandeliers. In fact, one of his fantasies is that I’ll build him a zip line with a chandelier hanging off it, so he can simultaneously go down a zip line and swing from a chandelier.

Anyhow, it turns out that if you smear vegetable oil on the inside of a glass bowl, put Perler beads inside, and put the whole mess in the oven awhile, you can make yourself a flimsy, ugly bowl. It’s a far less tedious process than making anything else with these beads. It also is reminiscent of Dominic Wilcox’s War Bowls, which I covet greatly.



Perler bead Minecraft gear. I have no idea why anyone would want this stuff, but my kid was delighted with it. He spent one entire dinner whacking at a roll with the little axe, which I guess says nothing good about the level of etiquette we adhere to in this household.



iPhone microscope. This conversion stand, which includes a lens filched from a laser pointer, allows one to use a smartphone as a digital microscope. I found the instructions over on the Instructables site, courtesy of Yoshinok.

Aside from the phone, the project is incredibly cheap. All it requires is some acrylic, a few nuts and bolts, the lens from a cheap laser pointer, and a chunk of wood. Here we can see the microscope lined up to magnify a dime.



Another view of the iPhone microscope, with FDR’s metal visage onscreen. I should really find a teensy LED flashlight in case we want backlighting. You know – for that theoretical day when I manage to tear my kid away from Minecraft and bashing things with foam swords and force him to inspect the world around us.



Here are a couple of recent print appearances of my work. This one is from the latest issue of International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene, which had a gallery of some of the work at IQF Houston. My portrait, Under the Ginkgo Tree, is on the left. Karen Eckmeier’s Random Rose Garden is on the facing page.

I appreciate being featured in the magazine. That has to be a job and a half, combing through several hundred works to decide which to show, not to mention the layout and design. It looks as though they tried to feature a wide variety of styles and techniques. I hope that’s inspiring for those who couldn’t make it to the show.



This is from Mary Kerr’s Cutting-Edge Art Quilts, which was published earlier this year. I was happy to see that she and the publisher did a wonderful job. Tasteful layout, interesting information, nice variety in terms of style and technique.

Yeah, that conservative-looking woman in the little postage stamp-sized photo is me. If I had known that photos of the artists would be required, I wouldn’t have submitted work. However, I would have missed out on being in a nice book. I won’t be offended if people who own a copy draw a mustache on my face.



Another spread, this time featuring Creepy Boy, Siesta, and Suspicion. One of my friends squinted at this photo and asked “What’s that pink hairy nipple thing in the lower righthand corner?” Well, thanks. From now on, when I see Suspicion, I’m going to think “pink hairy nipple thing” rather than “napping flamingo”.

It’s good to see Creepy Boy in print. I never submitted him to any shows because I didn’t think he’d be well received. People who see him in person usually shudder and go “ewwww!” However, it’s actually one of the pieces I’ve found most effective.



Whee! I can use a plugin to create a tree skeleton!

Meanwhile, I’m off studying Objective C and Blender 3D.  There are things I want to do.

I’ve missed doing 3D CGI. Aside from some product-related 3D work for advertising, I mostly had to put it aside during the goldrush era, when I was frolicking at one of those infamous Silicon Valley startups. Then there was the whole having-a-baby thing. That period doesn’t last forever, it’s an investment in the future, and I kind of feel one should be present to whatever degree one can. However, it sure can bring other pursuits to a screeching halt, particularly if there isn’t outside childcare.

Time marches on. Kids’ needs for intense, constant attention taper off as they continue down the long path toward independence and adulthood. There’s school, peers, outside interests. I’m now at the point of having to schedule regular outings with my kid, to ensure that the time doesn’t simply ooze by unmarked and that he has memories other than my badgering him about penmanship and multiplication tables. For the parent, it can be like a miniature version of a midlife crisis: “Wow. I have more time. Who am I? What was I doing when this all began? What do I want to do now?”

Well, I miss working in 3D. I miss making my own strange little worlds. I have no idea how or whether my 3D work will tie in with my fiber work or portraits. I’m simply tired of telling myself no. Sometimes we have to embark on a hike into the wilderness and see if it leads anywhere.

On that note, here are some things I’ve been taking on that hike, things I really appreciate:

The Blender 3D Noob to Pro Wikibook
Blender is a marvelously full-featured 3D CGI package, a free one at that. Alas, it has a notoriously quirky interface and can have a steep learning curve.

The people who put together the Noob to Pro book have made the process less hideous, though, by stepping through each feature and obscure set of key commands and providing tutorials. They don’t get paid for their work and have done this out of the goodness of their hearts. Bless them.

Matthijs Hollemans’ iOS apprentice series.
I’ve coded in a wide variety of languages. However, there’s quite a bit of distance between fixing a problem in an emergency, hacking together an ill-conceived application which may break if one sneezes at the wrong time, and writing clean, elegantly conceived code.

Amateurish tutorials and books abound, their covers festooned with claims that they’ll teach you a language “In 24 Hours!” or have you publishing your own gee-whiz apps in no time at all. Many of them contain slapdash code, bizarre variable and function names, and lousy explanations.

Hollemans’ series is far superior to these in terms of clarity of writing, helpful screenshots, and decent coding practices. It’s also saving me the annoyance of having to shower, put on clean clothes, and sit in a classroom to learn a new language.

I’m not a fan of video-based classes. That’s particularly the case if the speaker is a novice in terms of teaching, is disorganized, or is a mumbler. Give me written material and I’m far, far happier. However, CartoonSmart consistently offers a wide variety of inexpensive tutorials and kits on hot or fun topics. Want to get up to speed making giant robots in Flash or get a quick introduction to Maya? They’re a good place to start. Whenever I’m in the mood to try something new or quirky, I scan the classes at CartoonSmart.

Here’s to adventure in 2014!

Quilting Arts Magazine

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Here’s the cover of the August/September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, featuring Monica Curry’s exquisite Mother Ship.

Inside, there was a nice surprise:

That’s my Siesta circled in red, accompanying an article on Martha Sielman’s book Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World. Given how much high quality material Sielman had available for both the book and the article, I was delighted and honored to be included.

Back to work. As the state of my workspace reveals, I’m at the tail end of a project. Criminy, there’s junk everywhere. Stacks of magazines, hole-filled jeans, Tsukineko inks, boxes of marbles. I can barely think.

Machine Quilting Unlimited appearance

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Hmmm. I never did get the rest of my Houston images posted, did I? I must have really worn myself out with that last rant. Karma. Anyhow, here’s a nice thing:

Machine Quilting Unlimited has very kindly featured Flooded in their January/February edition as the Jaw Dropper.

I’ve gotten to work with some good people and publications over the years, but this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. MQU’s Managing Editor, Kit Robinson, was very specific and helpful about the content they wanted. I didn’t have to tie my work up for months on end, and the whole business took place with a minimum of fuss. Their layout/design staff did a wonderful job of laying out the feature and highlighting the qualities of my quilt. Finally, the complimentary copy of the magazine arrived as promised, in a timely manner, without my having to inquire about it. I really appreciate all of the above.

Back to work – a piece of cotton is calling me, and it won’t brush ink on itself! I hope everyone is having a good, productive new year.

The week that was.

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Hey, look what came in the mail! The fall SAQA Journal!

This edition has an article by Kathleen McCabe about some of her experiences curating the No Place to Call Home exhibit. The story has photos of a couple of the pieces in the exhibit, Kathy Nida’s One Paycheck and my Leaving.

Yeah, Kathy Nida posted a photo of this over on her blog first. She also made the excellent point that the article may serve as a warning to other curators.

I won’t delve into that too much, other than to say that I’m a little hurt that nobody bothered to protest my artwork, since at least one person was evidently in the mood to complain about portions of the exhibit. I personally find depictions of violence or its aftermath quite a bit more offensive than simple nudity. I would have totally understood people calling TV stations to complain about my work. In fact, I probably would have sent out press releases about it to take advantage of the publicity. Oh, well. What can you do?

Here’s a larger view of Leaving, and here’s some of the back story about its inspiration, the death of Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax. Yes, that’s an EKG waveform stitched into the background, decaying and eventually going flat as the person dies.

Leaving is in a more graphic style than most of my work of late, but somehow that seemed a better choice for this particular message. It’s more of a design than an illustration. I don’t think much would have been gained by showing the dying person’s facial expression or other details. (If you’ll send me a dollar, I won’t post additional photos showing how I put the dying man’s head at the center of a golden spiral.)

Anyhow, Kathleen’s article is intelligent and insightful, well worth a read if you’ve ever been curious about how some of these exhibits come together. If you’re a member of SAQA, you should either receive your copy in the mail soon or it can be downloaded from SAQA’s website.

As for me, I’ve been in a funk lately. It happens. I’ve been working on a new series of 5-6 pieces for a year, stuff harking back to my Domestic Goddess character. I wanted to see whether I’m happier working on fairly realistic illustrations or more abstracted pieces, so of course I put myself through an extremely artificial exercise designed to drive myself insane. When I realized that I couldn’t see the series clearly anymore, couldn’t tell whether it was good or purely awful, I had to put it aside.

Off to the closet with you!

Then, when I was looking back at a bunch of my portraiture, it dawned on me that some of the stuff would look great on china plates. You know the plates I’m talking about – they have doggies, kitties, or frolicking angelic children on them, and they aren’t used for eating. In fact, you aren’t even supposed to breathe hard in the same room lest they fall off the wall and break. (Gotta protect that investment, doncha know! They cost $19.95 apiece from the Franklin Mint and are BOUND to appreciate!)

I really don’t mean to be critical of the people who enjoy them – to each her own – but for me, they have indelible associations with cheap panelling, shag carpets encrusted with cigarette smoke, and cut glass dishes full of dusty orange candy slices. That realization plunged me even deeper into the funk.

Well, what can I or anyone else do about a funk? Live with it awhile, then shake things up. Think about someone else’s problems, volunteer at a soup kitchen, travel to Bolivia and help the locals build solar ovens, try some new techniques.

I really didn’t want to spring for a plane ticket to Bolivia and I already volunteer at a local school (much to the annoyance of the teachers and the children), so I delved into a new book. Specifically, James Gurney’s book on visualizing things which don’t exist. It’s full of great tips about building different types of reference models and maquettes, modeling characters on animals, and even drawing the occasional voluptuous mermaid.

Gurney’s book has been great. Sometimes we can tie ourselves into knots worrying about whether something is bad or good, when the important thing is to just work. Find something you care about, work, enjoy the sensation of being alive and working. Do something, and if you don’t like it, do something else. The good and bad thing will keep. Besides, somebody has to make paintings for those darned china plates.

I started thinking about things I’d like to visualize and draw. How about a city? I haven’t done any work with buildings in ages. What a great opportunity to get away from my portraiture rut! And what’s my favorite type of city? The domed ones from science fiction paperbacks! Boy, I used to eat that stuff up when I was a girl. Out came the Pyrex mixing bowls and my kid’s Legos:

Welcome to Luna City!

Okay; the model city is going to need some work, but it’s a fun proof of concept. We can build a rough model, light it, and have a little better idea of how to draw the things in our brains. Food for thought.

From there, I realized that I couldn’t just have the domed city in isolation. Why did we see the city? Who lived there? What was the person’s story? I started doodling. Pretty soon I ended up with a person in the picture:

More portraiture after all. Ah, well. Sometimes you just have to go with it.

Here’s more refined sketch. Based on this, I took some reference photos of a child posing. (“Hey, kid! Would you like a dollar? Sit here and put your foot up on this chair.”) In the next sketches, I’ll probably lose the Star Trek emblem but keep the Starfleet haircut.

I’d probably have a bunch more sketches done if the week hadn’t gone straight to hell. On the other hand, there’s a limit to how much I can complain: I am still alive and in one piece, able to sit at my computer and whine. Some other people are not. And no, that isn’t some kind of sick jest. I mean it quite literally.

(For a quick rundown, google “Shareef Allman” or read the stories at the Mercury News or the Daily Mail. Or not.)

Last Wednesday, around four a.m., some workers were going to the morning meeting at the local quarry. I can imagine it very easily, having attended many, many shift change meetings at midnight or other wee hours: people sitting around a conference table, trying to prop themselves up with coffee. A few congenial hellos exchanged, some thinly concealed yawns. Perhaps a few people thinking longingly of the nice warm beds they’d had to vacate, hating the necessity of working gawdawful hours yet grateful for the job.

Then one of their colleagues came in with guns and began spraying bullets and fear.

After the shooter had killed three of his colleagues and wounded seven others, he headed to the H.P. campus a few miles away. “Time to ditch my car and get another,” he must have thought. “I’ll go here. A campus which isn’t too visible from the road, with commuters trickling in. One of them will have a car for me. Oh, look. There’s a middle-aged woman. She won’t put up a fight.”

Only, she did. She did, and got shot for her efforts, so the shooter gathered up his guns and headed across the road to a residential neighborhood.

My neighborhood. Right down my cross street.

I got up that morning thinking happy thoughts about my new project, and let the dog out to pee. My goodness, there were sure a lot of helicopters around. I do hear helicopters now and then when there’s a traffic accident, but this was different. They were hovering over our neighborhood. Were they searching for someone?

Shot out my back door. Insert many hours of “thup thup thup” noise.

Uneasy, I went to the web to check the news. Hmm. A shooting at the Permanente Cement Plant in Cupertino. “Hoooooneeey???” I screeched to my husband, “There are an awful lot of helicopters. Do you think they have anything to do with the shooting at the cement plant?” He replied that they were probably responding to a traffic accident, and pulled up a website showing various road closures. Oh. Okay.

No more news came in, so we headed out the door to walk the boy to school. Huh. How strange! The street was empty! Normally there’d be all kinds of people out, driving or walking kids to school. We peered down the street and noticed that it was blocked off by a bunch of police cars. Huh. Also strange.

“I wonder what happened?” I muttered out loud. “Something at one of the neighbors’,” theorized my husband, “Something requiring more than one carload of officers.” “Oh, dear,” I replied vacuously, “I do hope no one is hurt. Well, the crossing guard will tell us what happened. She knows everything.” (It’s true. She does.)

Now, at this point, if this blog was the script for a movie, the viewer would be screaming “Turn back! Turn back!” and then an eleven foot tall monster would pop out of the bushes. Happily, one of my son’s friends came down the street instead. “School is closed!” he squealed, “They’re trying to find the bad man!” After tamping down his son’s excitement a bit, the boy’s father informed us that school was indeed closed because there’d been an attempted carjacking. And yes, it was related to the shooting in Cupertino and yes, that’s why we were being graced with helicopters and an impressive police presence.

“School’s closed!” I chirped to my family, “Say, why don’t we all go inside! Let’s do inside things!” We hurried home, only to stay locked inside for the next 24 hours. Our dull, wholesome street no longer seemed quite so dull or wholesome.

The daylight hours which followed were a parade of news reports, keeping my son occupied indoors, and chatter on the neighborhood mailing list.

Here I will pause to recommend that if your neighborhood has a mailing list, you join it. If there isn’t one, start one. Yes, there’s normally a lot of chatter on our list which I could care less about, and I do a lot of deleting. However, it was really nice having that near-instant conduit for information on Wednesday and Thursday, especially given that the neighborhood was on lockdown and the news media either wouldn’t or weren’t able to give us the information we needed.

This photo is the AP’s, not mine.

The thrum of helicopters was constant. There were reports of house-to-house searches, police tanks, SWAT teams. I watched the search from a live helicopter feed, giggling a trifle hysterically when a SWAT team armed to the teeth had to negotiate the underpants hanging from someone’s clothesline. I told my son what to do if he heard gunfire, a task I’d hoped to avoid indefinitely. We hid inside all day. Then, at nightfall, the helicopters went away, although I still heard them in the dishwasher and in the dog’s footsteps. They’d lodged themselves in my brain, the way a catchy song will do.

After all of that work, with LEOs from ten different agencies swarming the neighborhood with tanks, with house-to-house searches with dogs, with bloodhounds brought in and no doubt baying and slobbering down the streets, the shooter hadn’t been found. “Ah, he must have moved on,” we all theorized, “Probably he never was here. He must have made tracks out of the neighborhood right after the carjacking. All the same, let’s leave our yard lights on and lock up tight.”

The next morning, I didn’t feel terribly eager to leave the house, despite having been locked up with a dog and a small child the previous day and not being particularly mentally sound. “Let’s not hurry,” I told my husband. I checked the neighborhood newsgroup over and over again. No news, no news, and then – shots fired! The shooter had revealed himself, and once again the neighbors were faster to report it than the news media.

Sheriffs deputies, keeping an eye on the neighborhood, had spotted him squatting behind a car. He made a “threatening” gesture with his gun and words were exchanged, the sort of thing which is often referred to as “suicide by cop.” Then he lay dead in someone’s driveway, a sad end to a tragic situation. Not five minutes before the shooting, a mother and child had walked by the driveway on their way to school. He could have killed them, but he chose not to.

In many ways, my life was barely affected. I wasn’t shot and I didn’t lose a loved one. I wasn’t a 24-year-old deputy, barely past drinking age, having to gun down a murderer in someone’s driveway. I wasn’t a sheriff or police officer concerned about the possibility of a rampage through a residential area, with more people killed or wounded. I wasn’t even a teacher or the principal at a local school, trying to get facts and keep staff and students safe. My loved ones and I were probably never in danger. All I had to do was stay indoors with my family for a day.

Nevertheless, my nerves have been jangling ever since.

Maybe next week will be better. PIQF is at the end of the week. I’ll try to get some photos posted after it’s over. If you’re interested, please stop by.

Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Periodically, a lifestyle reporter from a newspaper will stumble upon an exhibit of art quilts, a textile-based form which often shares construction methods with the traditional bed coverings. Like clockwork, an article will then appear with some variation of the phrase “not your grandmother’s quilt.” There may also be some reference to blankets and white-haired ladies plying needles, and feigned astonishment that one can create artwork by stitching fabric. (Don’t believe me? Go Google it right now, “not your grandmother’s quilt” and “not your grandma’s quilt.” I’ll wait for you.)

With the recent publication of Lark’s Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2, we may be in for another round of comments about grandma’s stitching efforts and how they didn’t look nothin’ like the stuff in this book. It’s true: in the main, they probably didn’t. My grandmothers’ bed quilts, although attractive, were primarily made for utility in an era before insulation and central heating. Self-expression and creating artwork either weren’t on the radar for them or were a far distant goal compared to the need to stay warm for a minimum amount of money.

Today, people still make traditional bed quilts for various reasons. It’s certainly an important part of our cultural tradition, and well worth reading about. One of my favorite books on the topic is A People and Their Quilts, which features a series of interviews with old-school quilters in Tennessee and the Appalachians.

However, traditional bed quilts aren’t the focus of the Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2 any more than a book on oil portraits would showcase house painting techniques. No, one should read Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2 for a notion of how people are adapting fabric and thread to communicate their personal visions in the form of portraits, abstracts, landscapes, and illustrations. One should settle back in a cozy chair with a cup of tea and thumb through the book for the sheer joy of it.

Now, if you’ve seen any of the other books in Lark’s “500 …” or “Masters of …” series, you already know that this will be a big book with a thoughtful introduction and tons of high quality photos of stunning works. Indeed, this volume weighs in at 414 pages, with profiles of forty artists from around the world and insights into their techniques and inspiration. Although most of the artists are from Western countries, the global focus is particularly compelling; too many books and magazines concentrate solely on artists in the United States.

The introduction by Martha Sielman gives a little overview of the diversity of the artists and their work: “… men and women of different generations and backgrounds with a wide range of ideas, inspirations, and stories.” There are people whose work is informed by classic folk stories, experiences in internment camps, working as circus performers or lawyers. These are artists with distinct styles and voices and well-developed visions, whose works will astonish those with preconceived notions of the medium.

Sielman is particularly well qualified to have curated this volume, given her own background as an art quilter and her leadership role in Studio Art Quilt Associates, a non-profit devoted to the form. For those already familiar with art quilting, the book is a welcome antidote to the tiresome assembly line, paint-by-numbers notions of creating fiber art which one sometimes encounters. Those unfamiliar with the form will find the book a fine introduction to the state of this art, with insightful writing and stimulating visuals. Regardless of one’s tastes, there’s something here to please and intrigue.

Among my personal favorites:

… and many more. Thirty-six more, to be precise. What a pleasure it is to thumb through the volume, learn about an unfamiliar artist (or perhaps be reminded of one I’ve forgotten), then refer to the person’s website for even more details.

It’s a wonderful book. That said, I have one minor complaint, the use of Eplica for the artists’ names and body text:

Eplica is an attractive roman serif typeface whose letter E is rendered as the Greek letter Epsilon. A little individuality can add sparkle to a display face, but it can also grow jarring when used in body copy. So jarring, in some cases, that it begins to interfere with readability. Time after time, I found myself reading happily away, only to bump into that dadgummed Epsilon. What was this character doing in the midst of what was otherwise a very readable serif typeface? Had there been a software malfunction, causing a backwards number 3 to invade the paragraph? The font thus began to draw too much attention to itself, fighting with the photos for attention.

That said, bless the book’s designer(s) for showing restraint by using only two typefaces on a given page, a serif and a sans-serif. This is a refreshing change from a popular art quilting magazine whose pages frequently resemble ransom notes; in one case I recall, a single page featured seven variations of at least four different typefaces. One begins to wonder why the magazine bothers to print artwork; the pages are quite busy enough without it.

Masters: Art Quilts, Volume 2 can be purchased via SAQA, Amazon, and other booksellers.

Artists profiled in the book:

Alice Beasley
Anna Torma
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Beatrice Lanter
Bente Vold Klausen
Carolyn Crump
Chunghie Lee
Daniela Dancelli
Dianne Firth
Dirkje van der Horst-Beetsma
Dorothy Caldwell
Eleanor McCain
Elizabeth Busch
Emily Richardson
Fenella Davies
Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade
Geneviève Attinger
Izabella Baykova
Jan Myers-Newbury
Jane Dunnewold
Jim Smoote
Karin Franzen
Laura Wasilowski
Leslie Gabriëlse
Linda MacDonald
Margery Goodall
Maryline Collioud-Robert
Mirjam Pet-Jacobs
Misik Kim
Nelda Warkentin
Pamela Fitzsimons
Patricia Malarcher
Paula Nadelstern
Rachel Brumer
Reiko Nganuma
Risë Nagin
Rosalie Dace
Shulamit Liss
Tafi Brown
Tim Harding

Art Quilting Studio

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Happy news: Art Quilting Studio, a Stampington publication, has been relaunched. It was a great magazine in the past, thick and chock full of galleries and artists’ profiles. I look forward to seeing it on the newsstands and purchasing future editions. These are challenging economic times for individuals and businesses alike – witness the sad demise of Fiberarts – so it’s especially important to support publications we care about.

Of course, I’m biased. Some of my own work is on page 124.

I do get a charge out of having my work published or exhibited. When you get to have work in a group environment, whether it’s in an exhibit, a book, or a magazine, it’s a lovely thing. Your work, and by extension you, get to be a part of something larger. Take the example of the No Place to Call Home exhibit, a slideshow of which is here. There are works by different people with different styles and takes on the phenomenon of homelessness. I like to think that I contributed something of interest to the discussion, but there are a good many ideas I never would have thought of, and the exhibit is much richer as a result.

Bless the curators, authors, and editors whose visions make these exhibits possible!

Work in progress

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

See if you can guess the title of my current work-in-progress! (Or, rather, one of the current works-in-progress. I have a number under way, including a series, but I do tend to jump around a bit. Unless I have a deadline for a particular work, I have no qualms about putting it aside for awhile so I can return to it with fresh eyes.)

Here’s the cartoon for the current work being reviewed by the studio dog. As the saying goes, “Everyone’s a critic!”

Oh, would you like another gratuitous picture of the dog? Here you go.

As you can probably tell, I like to do a fairly detailed cartoon before setting brush to fabric … at least, it seems detailed until I enlarge it 600% and find areas that aren’t very well thought out. Like, um, shouldn’t there be some screws or rivets holding that sign on to its support? And exactly how am I going to paint that water, short of waving a magic wand? C’est la vie. I guess a little thought in advance is better than no thought. Anyhow, I don’t know of any law that says that I can’t do the easiest stuff first and figure out the rest on watercolor paper.

I’m in the somewhat odd position of having several finished works which aren’t posted yet. One is for Quilt National, which requires that people keep their work under wraps until the exhibit occurs. Ah, well – that’s an awful sort of problem to have, isn’t it? That, and having to get on a plane and go to Ohio so I can see the exhibit in person and meet people whose work I admire. There’ll probably be some eating out, too. Dreadful, simply dreadful.

A couple of other new pieces have been sent to Art Quilting Studio, which may or may not find them suitable for its needs. Regardless, I’m delighted that the magazine is cranking up production again after its brief hiatus, and I look forward to the next issue. I also heard the happy news that some of my work will be in Lark’s upcoming Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World. (Probably. I hate to be too sanguine about things until they actually come to pass.)

Regardless of whether all of this comes to pass or just a little, 2011 is already shaping up to be an interesting year.

Back to work.