Archive for the ‘Exhibits’ Category

Back Corner of the GalleryI took a road trip yesterday. I packed my truck with the 104 quilts of the Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge and I drove them to the Arts Center in Orange, Virginia, where they will be on display from June 7 until July 20, 2012.

The quilts will be shown in three locations: the Morin Gallery at the Arts Center in Orange, VA, the Law Offices of Sean D. Gregg, and the Virginia National Bank. All three locations are just a few steps away from each other.

Quilts to Hang NextThe opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, 2012, from 5 to 7pm at the Arts Center in Orange at 129 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Normal exhibit hours at the Arts Center are 10am-5pm, Monday through Saturday. Most of the quilts will be at this location.

You can find some of the Power Suit Quilts at the Law Offices of Sean D. Gregg, 111 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Hours are 9am-5pm Monday through Friday.

Long Wall with QuiltsThe third exhibit location is the Virginia National Bank, 102 East Main Street, Orange, Virginia. Hours are 8:30am-5pm Monday through Thursday; 8:30am-6pm Friday; 9am-noon Saturday.

For more information about the Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge or to find out where the quilts are headed next, visit the Power Suits website.


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Power Suit Exhibit with Spectators

Power Suit Art Quilt Debut

Saturday, October 22, 2011 was a big day. We unveiled Power Suits: An Art Quilt Challenge at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, to a bustling space filled with artists, family members, friends, and newcomers to the art quilt world.

About the Exhibit

When Judy Gula and I issued this art quilt challenge in April, we could not have predicted the number, variety, or quality of quilts that were sent to us. Every day was Christmas as we opened boxes and registered the 18″ x 18″ treasures! 105 artists responded with 108 quilts, addressing topics as varied and unexpected as playing cards, super heroes, swim suits, ancestors, robots, politics, and animals. And there were, of course, quilts that focused on men’s suits and women’s equivalents to the power suit wardrobe. As our guests moved from quilt to quilt, reading artist’s statements and reacting the artwork, I repeatedly heard comments like, “How did they do that?” and “I would never have thought of that!” Surprisingly, while some topics were addressed by multiple artists, each quilt was unique.

Power in Any Suit by Marilyn Owendoff

Quilts will remain on exhibit at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, through November 23, 2011. They are available for viewing during shop hours or by special appointment.

Viewers’ Choice

Judy and I agreed to put out ballots for Viewers’ Choice Awards, not to judge the quality of the quilts but to celebrate the reactions the quilts evoked. Thanks to my hubby for that idea. We found that people (read: people who are not quilters but came anyway) seemed more engaged in really looking at the quilts. I loved watching the discussions!
The Viewer’s Choice Made Me Laugh Award went to Marilyn Owendoff for her quilt Power in Any Suit. I watched as people led their friends over to see Marilyn’s quilt. It certainly had lots of people smiling as the bikini-clad body on the quilt clutched her smart phone while enjoying the rays on the beach.
Ellen Flaherty's Quilt

The Real Power Suits by Ellen Flaherty

The Viewers’ Choice Made Me Think Award went to Ellie Flaherty for her quilt The Real Power Suits. The quilt featured three nuns made in the image of her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. I love the play on words: The Real Higher Power Suit.

The Viewers’ Choice Hands-Down Favorite Award went to, well, me! I created a quilt called Power Suited Him from a portrait of my father. This image of my father has been a favorite of mine and I loved using it for our Power Suit Challenge logo. I tried to develop a different idea for my challenge quilt, but I kept coming back to my father’s picture. I’ll try to blog a little about process later. In response to requests for a class in this technique, I will offer a Studio Tech class in photo-inspired art quilts at Artistic Artifacts in the coming year.  

Cyndi Souder's Quilt

Power Suited Him by Cyndi Zacheis Souder

Exhibit Travel and the Power Suit CD
I’m thrilled to say that our quilts are scheduled to travel! We currently have two quilt shows on our calendar and we are looking for more opportunities to share these treasures with more quilters. If you are interested in showing our quilts, please contact me. We’d love to hear from you!

Look for Power Suit Quilts at these shows:

We’ve created a Power Suit Quilts CD that includes the quilt images and artist’s statements. We’ve included two formats on the CD: a PowerPoint presentation that requires PowerPoint on your machine to view and a PDF that requires Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free download that comes loaded on most machines) to view. These will be available at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, at the Artistic Artifacts booth at the IQA Festival in Houston, TX November 3-6, 2011, and on the Artistic Artifacts website after the second week in November.

Next Challenge
While we had a captive audience, Judy and I announced our next challenge: Arts & Old Lace!

Arts & Old Lace LogoUnlike the Power Suit Challenge, we’ve limited the number of packets we’re distributing. After the feeding frenzy at the debut, we continued to receive calls for the packets. We’re taking whatever we have left to the IQA Festival in Houston, where I believe they will disappear in a flash. More about the next challenge in a future blog. For now, thanks for following our Power Suits Art Quilt Challenge. We’ve had an unbelievable amount of fun and we hope you have, too!

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Woo hoo! The sixth and final quilt for Mary Kerr’s Vintage Revisited quilt challenge is finally done. (Drum roll, please…)

Vintage Revisited #6

Vintage Revisited #6

Ding, dong!
The quilt is done!
Which old quilt?
The final quilt!
Ding, dong,
The final quilt is done!

I think the spokes made all the difference. After a lot of thinking about how to represent the spokes, I took a trip to G Street Fabrics and bought skinny grey ribbon. I zigzagged it into place and that was that.

Did this quilt present challenges? Oh, you bet!

Quilting density was a tiny little demon sitting on my shoulder. First it would whisper, “Leave the shirt unquilted. Quilt in wrinkles or folds and leave the rest.” Then, the shirt looked too puffy and the demon would laugh at me. “If you want the shirt to recede into the background, you have to quilt it down.” Then the hat. The Quilting Density Demon said, “Leave it unquilted; allow it to share the focal point limelight.” Then the hat looked too puffy and unfinished. You can guess the rest.

And then there were the hands. Oh, man, did they give me heartburn! First, I quilted around the hands and added lines to delineate the fingers and nails. I didn’t want to quilt them because I was afraid I’d wind up adding bizarre texture. And so I added only knuckles and creases to the right hand, the one in front. It looked like a glove. Then, I experimented by meandering on the left hand, the one behind the wheel. First, I used monofilament. Yuck. The thread was shiny and the needle left really visible holes. After ripping all of that out, I tried a bigger, less detailed meander with thread that matched the hand fabric. Still yucky. It made the hand look like it had a skin disorder. After ripping out the quilting AGAIN, I added knuckles and creases and steamed out the remaining holes. I don’t love the hands. In fact, I’m going to try to avoid looking at them.

Oh, and I had to add the vintage fabric. I kept the basic hexogonal shape of the original grandma’s flower garden, but I cut them down into irregular sizes, used only green, and fused the pieces down into a tire track. They were still pretty green, and so I stamped them with both original rubber stamps and some commercial leaf stamps using black ink. I did a freeform zigzag around each piece and then pronounced it finished.

The final challenge is the naming of the quilt. I want to incorporate Mary’s name into the title, but I’m not sure how. Puns are fine (Mary-ly we roll along), but I’d like to keep it simple. Since I need to print a label today, I guess I’m on my own to be creative.

Thanks for reading along with this process description. In the next blog entry, I’m going to tackle a new subject: What Quilters Want. Hmm.

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Deadlines are amazing things. They force productivity — sometimes with great results and sometimes not.

I needed to finish this quilt by yesterday morning so that it could be part of the Mason Dixon Quilt Professionals’ Network (MDQPN) special exhibit “What We Do” for this year’s Road2CA. The exhibit is designed to showcase what each of the quilters in this group offers professionally. I offer a Trees workshop and pattern, and so I thought this would be a good place to show that.

It’s done. I’m not exceptionally proud of this quilt, but it’s done and off my list. Such is the power of deadlines.

I think if I had a chance to continue searching, I might have found a better, less distracting border fabric. I might also have found a better quilting thread color for the grey border. I might have added some surface design, augmented the snow, given more dimension to the trees. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I’ll never know, though, because it’s done and out of my hands.
Vintage Revisited #6 in Process

Vintage Revisited #6 in Process

Now, I’m back to the Vintage Revisited #6. (Check the archives for more on the process for this one.) I’ve quilted leaves into the black borders and I’ve added the green vintage pieces to form a tire track. The green vintage fabric was still pretty icky, and so I stamped it with commercial and original stamps. I think it’s kind of ironic that the track interrupts the portrait the same way the vintage materials interrupt my normal process. It’s a fitting way to complete this series of six quilts.

Our MDQPN meeting yesterday was held at G Street Fabrics, where I was able to find the perfect spokes for the bike wheel. I can’t wait to add them and see how it turns out. I’m eager to finish this and turn it over to Mary to add to her collection. To see more Vintage Revisited quilts online or to see what shows will exhibit them, check out www.MaryWKerr.com.

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I say this to my students all the time, as I encourage them to enter competitions and shows.  It’s the truth! And so, here’s a competition I’m encouraging everyone to consider — because it looks fun and is small enough to be manageable.  It’s time to express your inner Rock and Roll diva by entering the Quilting Arts Magazine “Rock On!” Art Quilt Challenge. The format is 8½” x 11″ (portrait orientation) and the deadline isn’t until February 2, 2009.  C’mon! You’ve got plenty of time…

For all the details, go directly to the source: http://quiltingarts.com/qamag/online_extra/RockOnChallenge.html

Rock on!

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I keep saying that I don’t do vintage, but I just finished my (very late) fifth entry in Mary Kerr’s Vintage Revisited challenge. Mary is a talented quilt appraiser and artist who specializes in vintage materials. For this challenge, she gathered a group of 19 quilters who were willing to work with vintage blocks on and off for two years. I didn’t do this for the vintage; I agreed to participate because I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

Vintage Revisited Block 5

Vintage Revisited Block 5

Did I mention fun? Well, here’s the fifth block in this six block challenge. Okay, get ready to play along. Here are the rules:

  • You must use at least some of the fabric. (There’s some disagreement in the ranks on this as some of the quilters believe you must use ALL of the fabric!)
  • You can do anything you want to the fabric: paint, dye, stamp (I love to stamp!), whatever.
  • The finished piece must be 24 inches square.
  • The subject matter of your piece is up to you; it doesn’t need to relate to anything vintage.

And so what do you do with this? Okay, I know that some of you might actually like this poor, faded, malpieced block, but once you get past feeling sorry for it, what do you do?

Circling the Drain
Circling the Drain

The first thing I always do is free the fabric from the block.  That’s right, I rip the pieces apart and assess the fabric I have to work with. In this case, the fabric was weak and faded. Okay, I guess I would be too, if I were this old!

Once I have just fabric, I can begin to look for a vision. I fill my head with as many ideas as I can about fabrics that coordinate, bits and pieces I can add for embellishment, and techniques that might work well. The fabric was weak, and so I knew I needed to fuse it to give it added strength. The fabric was unevenly faded, and so I stamped it to make it appear more consistent.
And now for a vision. Well, this vision didn’t come as quickly as I had hoped.  When the time came to give Mary a title, I had nothing. I felt like my ideas were all dead ends — going nowhere — and so I named the formless quilt: Circling the Drain. Now I was locked into using that image somehow. Then Mary called for artist’s statements.  Still no quilt. And so I wrote a statement that I hoped would be general enough to work with whatever I wound up making but specific enough to be worth reading. You be the judge when you see these quilts in person.


Some of the other quilts I made for this challenge dealt with letters and writing, and so I pulled out some commercial cotton with postage stamps on it and some pen nibs that Judy Gula of ArtisticArtifacts.com found for me. The rest is just what happens when you block out enough time in your studio and put some great music on your iPod.


So where’s the fabric from the original block? I took the brown, the blue, and the pink polka dot, added fusible to the back, stamped it all with travel-related images in black ink, and fused it all down. I added the pen nibs to the center.

I have a killer idea for the final block. My concern now is whether my skills can make what my brain can imagine. Stay tuned. I’ll blog this block in progress.

Read more about Vintage Revisited, including the exhibit’s travel schedule, on Mary’s website: www.MaryWKerr.com.

See the other treasures Judy Gula stocks on: www.ArtisticArtifacts.com. If you are local to northern Virginia, check out her bricks-and-mortar store in Alexandria.


Thanks to Kathy Lincoln (www.KathyLincoln.com) for providing the picture of the block intact. I ripped mine apart too quickly for a photo.

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It’s been a while since the Annex has opened, and I’ve finally figured out how to get images into my posts.  Now, if I could just figure out the formatting.  Anyway, on to the pictures!

Design Wall at the AnnexThis first image captures the design wall at the Annex with four remarkable art quilts.  The top left and bottom right quilts are by Stacey Northrup. The quilt on the top right is by Kate Kane and the bottom left is by Catherine Armstrong.  

Pat Hildebrand and Karla VernonTwo more quilts!  The one on the left is by Pat Hildebrand and the one on the right is by Karla Vernon.  Did you notice that the design wall is covered with black felt instead of the typical white felt?  If you are planning to enter your quilts into shows, use black on your design wall.  Then, you’ll be able to design your quilt on the same color background as most shows use.

Quilts by Mary Ellen Simmons and Mary Ann ShepardThese quilts are by Mary Ellen Simmons and Mary Ann Shepard.  Mary Ellen’s quilt (on the left) was done in response to a challenge I issued.  My husband took the original photo during a trip to London.  These steps actually exist in South Kensington.  Yes, the milk bottles were right there in front of the door. The cat was Mary Ellen’s idea.

Stacey Northrup's TreesThis one’s by Stacey Northrup.  She began this quilt during a workshop I did for her guild.  What I love about this is that she took the “Trees” pattern from the workshop and made it her own.  I can’t wait to see the rest of her series!

Jane Brown's Color WheelThis color wheel is by Jane Brown.  She combined two different assignments to create this piece: a color wheel and an achromatic quilt.  Great combination.

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