Archive for the ‘donations’ Category

scraps as a metaphor…

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

piles of scraps sorted by color way

When I first became a quilter in 1999, after 25 years as a weaver, I joked that I chose the former as I discovered I could buy cloth already woven. What I really discovered was how taking a whole cloth and cutting it into pieces and then sewing it back together is really such a great metaphor for life.

A life well lived is chock full of bits, pieces, whole cloth and scraps tied together to create reality. So it only seems fitting as I was tooling along making lots of narrative art, never at a loss for ideas, that I would take a detour! As soon as I began the detour I fretted about losing my place with the muse; as apparently the muse can only be inspired by one direction? Instead I found a month or more of scraps, pieces, diversions, and other distractions.

It all started with a full to overflowing scrap drawer. Now I do not save every scrap, and in fact anything under 3″ I generally discard. But this particular drawer was chock full of leftover bits of batiks, screen-printed, hand-dyed treasure with some commercial cottons, silks, linen, thrown in as well. First I sorted the stacks by color ways and then I set out with some Netflix, to sew strips of scraps. Usually I do this when I am stuck and need to just start something. But I was not stuck, Instead I was motivated by the anti-clutter gene, and this project took me most of three weeks. This is the result.

scrap strips

How will I use these, one asks? Often I have used them as starting points in my work. In the early Defining Moments series I used scrap strips to delineate sections of the story, to represent my predecessors’ Christianity faith or more recently I have used them in the Wisdom Gatherers project pieces. Maybe they will just get rolled up and put into the stash cubbies, sorted by color ways. They will be used, no doubt.

Defining Moments: The Harried Years, Maternal Grandparents, Paternal Grandparents, on exhibit at Visions Art Museum, 2019

I had a LOT of brown scraps, so I grabbed a strip of those and made this 40″ x 40″ quilt for the Welcome Blanket project, which is welcoming migrant women to the US with a handcrafted blanket. They are supposed to be easy to care for and this quilt of all scraps may not be exacty that, but as Mom used to say, it is the thought that counts! So I am about to press that and ship it off; but first I need to write my own migrant tale, of which I have three. I come from a long line of migrants on both sides, and married the son of a migrant. They are us, all of us.

welcome blanket, of scraps

I also finished up this hemp linen bag. I bought the yarn in 2018 at a shop in Cambria while there on a road trip. They had a mesh shopping bag in the store as inspiration and I totally fell for it! I also bought the .pdf of the pattern. Well the pattern and I parted ways early into the project. How hard can this be? I pondered. It was not hard, I just did not work on it continuously, until recently. This knit-by the-seat-of-your-pants project worked plus I finished with just over a yard of leftover yarn!

hand-knit hemp net bag

Also in the past month I got a new hybrid car, for which I have been actually reading the manual and learning to use all the electronic bells and whistles. I am loving it so much, and was extremely overdue to replace my much loved but breaking down 17 year old SUV. I upgraded the wifi so hubs can watch his sports without interference from other networks, reprogrammed the solar communications because of new network, duked it out with the HMO endlessly for a tech error on their website, which continues, and learned first hand that customer service no longer exists ANYWHERE. Nearly everyday I have put out some conflagration or another. It seems people like me can never run out of problems to be solved. Perhaps instead of allocating studio time, I should allocate problem solving time and then make art the rest of the day.

Yet all this distraction is getting me fired up about new work again. Unfortunately there is just so much wrong in the world that I may never run out of inspiration. I just need to stay focused (squirrel), and remember it is my art that keeps me sane. It is not hours spent on hold with customer service or technical support that makes my heart sing.

Quite the contrary.

North to Alaska and back…

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

AK mountains through clouds

Eleven days ago I flew to Anchorage, Alaska for the weekend! It really was a crazy idea but I have been known to fly over 2000 miles for a weekend before.

In fact this was my fourth such weekend trip in the past 4 years. Two were for art receptions both in OH, one to see a dying friend in ND and most recently this artist weekend in AK. What I have learned from these trips is while they are exhausting they are always so worth it. Although as soon as I got home this time, I was committed to jury a fiber exhibit, then caught a bad cold, so I am finally getting back to reality and to this post.

The reason I went to Alaska for the weekend was primarily to see Amy Meissner and her spectacular solo Inheritance Project at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.

Amy Meissner at her Inheritance Project, Anchorage Museum

With a private artist’s walk & talk through the exhibit, I got to really look at the intricate details in each work, and it was fascinating! Amy’s Inheritance Project examines the “literal, physical and emotional work of women….using traditional skills and time.” She crowdsourced inherited textiles to create this profoundly moving and ongoing body of work. It was remarkable to witness how unexpected art supplies might transform grandma’s sofa arm doilies into 3-d objects suspended from the ceiling; as shown on the opening wall of her exhibit. The work dealt with formerly taboo subjects as post-partum depression, child-rearing, women’s inner battles, menopause, etc.

The War Room, detail, contains 2000 tapestry needles

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this work to me is one would never know the deeper meaning, unless one knew. I loved that. My work on similar subjects is so out there, in your face, or so I am told, whereas this work appeared to be “fun pieces with just beautiful stitching” as I overheard a museum docent say to a group she led through the space. The exhibit will be at the Anchorage Museum until late August, then travel to Juneau this winter and potentially beyond AK, in the future. I encourage all to see this stunning exhibit, given the opportunity!

detail, Breakup, Albedo Carpets by Marek Ranis, Anchorage Museum

In addition, we visited several other fantastic exhibits in the museum. I especially enjoyed carpets depicting the spring ‘breakup’ (of ice) in AK.

We indulged in incredible food, including the best king salmon I have ever eaten; met Beth Blankenship whose stitch-work I have long admired, met the fam, visited Amy’s studio and saw WIP; did some sightseeing along the exquisite Turnigan Arm region, including a potter’s studio, where I was dazzled by patterns including how he cut and stacked his wood for the kilns.

stacked wood in potter’s shed

I shared a hotel and the weekend with Judith Quinn-Garnett of Portland, who brought gifts for all, including the most fabulous Oregon-made chocolate ever! We all met at Quilt National 17 last year, where we had work on exhibit, and missed those others in our ‘quiet’ group who could not join us, in Anchorage.

Mt.Rainier, WA

When I fly, I try to reserve the window seat so I can photograph shapes, patterns, textures of the Earth below. Oftentimes, especially on an early morning flight, my seat mates are displeased at the wide open window screen. To me that is the price of admission! Although this was my third trip to AK, it was my maiden voyage flying into Anchorage.

descent into ANC, 8:30 pm

And wow, what a spectacular sight that was! From the snow-capped peaks poking through the clouds, to the snow-streaked like shibori mountainsides, to the clouds, and the midnight sun poking through, to the wetlands creating pattern on the ground, the view was absolutely stunning.

Coming home I did my usual hop the Cascades from Seattle, although I was certain, after 3 hours of sleep that Mt. Rainier was indeed Mt. St. Helens. That is until the pilot announced we were then right over Mt. St. Helens, some 20 mins after that sure sighting.

Mt. St. Helens

Blessed, I tell ya!

70 for 70…

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The Naked Truth, detail

After a year of musing about being almost 70, this week it actually happens!

To celebrate I’ve priced several pieces of my work for just $70 apiece for December 11, 12, 13.

Go have a gander at the 70 for 70 page on my website so and see if there is something that speaks to you. If so, shoot me an email, either through my website contact form or by private message. Tell me the title(s) you want with your name, address and phone number and I will invoice you via Paypal. If you don’t have a Paypal account tell me that as well and I will call you for your credit card info.

The small print on the sale is this:  sale applies only to the work on the 70 for 70 page. I will charge $5.95 sales tax on each piece sold, but will waive the (US) shipping . On December 14, 2017 all prices revert to their original (from $200-$2700) . All sales are final. 

I have designed well over 200 quilts since the turn of the century (I love that expression!). I have been blessed to sell a lot of work to both private patrons and corporate clients. I have given some as gifts, including baby quilts. I have donated work to charitable fundraisers.

There is little that brings me more joy than seeing my work go live with someone who absolutely loves it! That and the idea that ‘she who dies with the most quilts does not win’ are the motivation for this sale. It gives me a chance to whittle down inventory of work that I no longer show, while allowing those who love it to afford it. It is my birthday gift to you!

As far as turning 70, I feel so incredibly blessed to be doing so! You will never hear me whine about getting old, as it is a privilege not granted to all. I have felt heartache through the loss of dear friends and kin; so many who never saw 70, or even 60 for that matter. Mom died at 67, David at 56, Rose at 59, Chris at 67, with Ahlzeimer’s claiming both my dear Aunt Judy and my little ‘sis Debbie in their early 60’s. I owe it to all of these folks to live life to the fullest and appreciate each new day!

So bring it on…the best is yet to be.

studio purge…

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Like several of my friends I got bitten by the TIDY bug and have done my clothes, most of my office and now taking a quick break from the collaboration to do the studio. The most important thing to mention off the top is I do not like clutter so I’ve continually sorted the studio for years. That said, wow have I found a lot of clutter!  I annually sort through all my fabric and donate anything that does not ring my bell. Fortunately the last several years I have not bought much commercial fabric but have designed a lot of fabric which has filled in the space.

What I cannot part with are mostly journals. I have at least a dozen half-filled notebooks of various sizes where I took notes in a class, made notes on a trip, wrote daily gratitude for years, made sketches of garments I wanted to sew or knit, sketches of random scenery, quotes I wanted to remember, and just thoughts about life. They do not exactly spark joy and yet my adult life is contained within the pages. So they are simply going to a new shelf to be reunited.

"Louis Feraud's Fall '96 collection was "leaves" ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour…" -THREADS April/May 1997

“Louis Feraud’s Fall ’96 collection was “leaves” ad 200 sewing hours later this gown may represent the collections finest hour…” -THREADS April/May 1997

One of the things I found so entertaining though was the progression of the saved articles. Step 1: (30 years ago) for a decade I saved every issue of every sewing & knitting related magazine I received (monthly), with the idea that ‘someday’ I might want to refer back to them. Only after my husband complained about the weight on the shelf did I consider tossing them.

Step 2: (20 years ago) I diligently browsed through a decade of old magazines, pulled the articles that most appealed to me (at that time) and put them on a shelf. I bundled leftover magazines and put out on recycling day. The total amount was 7′ wide!

Step 3: (19 years ago) about a year later I decided to actually file said articles in a binder, so I invested in several boxes of plastic sleeves, sorted the articles into categories: sewing, knitting, design, quilting, etc and filed into a 4″ binder and put it on said shelf. Occasionally in the last decade I have leafed through the huge and heavy binder looking for just that perfect whatever I wanted to make. Most often I was looking for knitting ideas.

Step 4: today. I went through the binder and tossed everything I would never make nor read. When I finished I had a 3″ stack of empty plastic sleeves and just enough articles to put into a 1″ binder…likely to be tossed in another future purge!

unemployed plastic sleeves

unemployed plastic sleeves

What amused me most is how much space, energy and time these old magazines took up in my life. How I never went back to read anything  except a few knitting patterns and even then did not knit them.  One good thing that came from the great magazine purge of 20 years ago, is every magazine I’ve read since I tore out what I wanted to keep while I was reading and then tossed it into the recycling bin. I found I tore out far less when I actually had to do something with it in the moment.

Fast forward to present time and nearly all articles we once clung to can now be found online, anyway.


FiberArts for a Cause

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Fiberart for a Cause fundraiser

Fiberart for a Cause fundraiser

As referenced in my post of  December 15th, tomorrow, February 4th at 10 am central time is the day to acquire fantastic fiber art while donating $100 to the American Cancer Society.  Read all about it here!

I am honored to be one of the 100 artists participating in FFAC. Much of the artwork donated can be seen here.


Fiberarts for a Cause

Monday, December 15th, 2014
Fiberart for a Cause fundraiser

Fiberart for a Cause fundraiser

I am both honored and excited to be an invited artist for FiberArts for a Cause, a one-day online fundraiser benefitting the American Cancer Society on February 4, 2015. You can read all the details here.

Virginia Spiegel has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for the ACS through various FiberArts for a Cause over the years. How impressive is that?!

I’ve designed matted 8″ x 10″ collages for galleries for a few years. I will give the winner of my work a choice of color-way to choose from.  Here are some examples:

Mini collage B-45

Mini collage B-45

mini collage G-43

mini collage G-43

mini collage T-37

mini collage T-37

So go ahead and jot February 4, 2015 on your paper or digital calendar as a great day to help an honorable cause while acquiring some spectacular fiber art.


eating the elephant…one bite at a time

Monday, March 17th, 2014

scrapsI am on the precipice of starting a new body of work which is a three year collaboration with another artist.  I have been doing my R & D work on this for months and now am ready to get to work. Just as when I decided to do the Tall Girl Series, the idea of designing over two dozen large pieces of work in 2-3 years is a bit overwhelming; and yet at the same time I love those kinds of challenges.  In that case I made a business plan and have done much the same here. It helps with the planning and execution of so many ideas. I’ve heard it said as if eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

The last week has been a bit frenzied with giving my retrospective lecture to a group of 150 on Saturday and finalizing choices for the kitchen renovation, meeting with various contractors etc. And yet in there I found a bit of time for elephant appetizers.  I began sorting through my bags of scraps and cutting them to sew into strips. It is the mere beginnings of what I visualize will be a running theme throughout my 24-25 pieces for this collaboration.

scrap-pileI don’t save every scrap to cross my blade. I save only to-die-for scraps, batiks and fabrics I have designed. That said I have amassed three large plastic bags full since the last time I gave scraps away, which I do from time to time.

There is something incredibly soothing and relaxing about piecing little tiny bits of fabrics together. It is as meditative as it is productive.  I have friends who sew nothing but scrap quilts and they are always beautiful. There really is something to this process.scrap-strips

By the time I finish the pile of scraps and subsequent strip building I will be ready to jump in on piece #1.  I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than make art to distract me from the kitchen renovation!


REPO rerun…

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

This month is the annual REPO exhibit fundraiser at Arts Guild of Sonoma. All artist members and invited artists contribute work that is comprised of at least 75% recycled materials. REPO consists of opening/closing receptions with a month long exhibit.  The opening exhibit was well attended and the current price of each work is listed on the AGS website.  It’s surprising there is no online bidding!

The funds generated from this event underwrite community art programs. Right now my work #50 is available for a mere $75 and my friend Jonna’s beautiful IO sculpture #73 also for a paltry $75 .


So my word to the wise is this. If you are interested in bidding on this spectacular art call the guild 707.996.3115 any day except Tuesday between 11 am-4:30 pm PDT, and give them your name, your bid ($25 minimum increment) and phone number. Bidding ends at the closing reception on March 29th from 7-9 pm. The guild is located at 140 East Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476 if you want to stop by in person.

This may be your one great chance to own spectacular, fun and intriguing art for a song.  Bid high and bid often!


Tuesday, March 4th, 2014


Last week I finished my contribution for the annual REPO fundraiser at Arts Guild of Sonoma. This is Keeping Up Appearances #6 and is designed from a vintage cotton-metallic tablecloth and damask napkins. It is 14″ x 14″.


Every piece of art in REPO is made of 75% recycled materials. Members of AGS and invited artists donate their work for this event to underwrite community art programs.

The silent auction starts at the opening reception on March 7th from 7-9 pm and ends at the closing reception on March 29th 7-9 pm. There is a $10 entry at the opening reception. Opening bids are $50. The guild is located at 140 East Napa Street in Sonoma.


What is particularly awesome about this exhibit is one can bid online so they need not have direct access to the wonderful burg of Sonoma. Click on the REPO link and bid away!

When I dropped off this piece last night there were already oohs and aaahs.  I can’t wait to see what ingenious work the other artists have produced!