Friday, February 28, 2020

Quilts by Rosie Lee Tompkins

About five months ago, the art museum of the University of California, Berkeley learned that they had inherited three thousand quilts made by African-American quilters, many from the Bay Area. The museum immediately went to work to organize the first of several exhibitions of these vintage quilts. Please join us to see some highlights below !

String by Rosie Lee Tompkins, 1985, quilted by Willia Ette Graham

The quilts we are showing in this series were all made by Rosie Lee Tompkins, which was the pseudonym of Effie Mae Howard. Born into a family of Arkansas share croppers in 1936, she did not begin quiltmaking until the 1970's, when she was living in California. She favored bright, contrasting colors and large geometric shapes, which made brilliant, highly original designs.

According to the information the museum has about Tompkins, one of her favorite fabrics was velvet, due to its soft tactile qualities and the ability of the fabric to hold color saturation. This quilt appears to be all hand-pieced and hand-quilted, although it is not noted on the description card.

Untitled 1995, quilted by Irene Bankhead, 1997

Tompkins enjoyed collecting bits and pieces of heavily embellished fabric like satins and brocades that were sequined, beaded, or embroidered. The quilt above is composed of velvet with rhinestones, beaded silk satin, angora sweater scraps, beaded crepe, and knit mesh with metal links, among other materials. She collaged these materials on a background of black muslin, as shown above.

Here's a piece of a beaded handbag that Tompkins included on this quilt. Tomkins did not intend for her quilts to be used as bed coverings, as the fabrics were too fragile. She intended that her quilt should be displayed as large panels of abstract or non-objective art.

Untitled 1996, quilted by Irene Bankhead 1998

What an incredible array of fabrics went into this 1996 work ! It's done with velvet, velveteen, cotton embroidery, silk, cotton corduroy, rayon brocade, printed silk, silk crepe with rhinestones, decorative trim with rhinestones and sequins,  faux fur, beaded embroidery, and cotton muslin backing.

Comprised of many solid colors, with decorative blanket stitching around the edge of piece, this quilt is reminiscent of the style of Victorian "crazy quilts." Tomkins was an original, very innovative designer, and here she adds a special personal touch, with the addition of the word "love" and an elegant bow to highlight this focal point.

Untitled 1968, 1982-83, 1996

Rosie Lee Tompkins created more than 500 quilts in her lifetime. They were preserved and displayed by her colleague, Eli Leon, an Oakland, California art scholar and avid collector of African-American quilts. Through his friendship with Tompkins, Eli Leon formed relationships with the African-American quilting community in the Bay Area and went on to organize more than a dozen exhibitions across the country.

This beautiful and fascinating quilt is comprised of cotton, felt, wool, velvet, velveteen, re-purposed embroidered fragments, crocheted doilies, silk crepe, decorative trims of rhinestones, sequins, and pearls, and printed drapery backing. We love the amazing array of textiles on display here !

Untitled 1984, quilted by Irene Bankhead, 1997

Here's a wonderful work of half-square triangles, which reflects Tompkin's improvisational  approach to composition. In many cases, these quilts have no obvious orientation, so the museum curators have decided how they should be hung. By displaying this cheerful quilt horizontally, the brighter triangles appear prominent and really make Tompkins' work sparkle.

This quilt is comprised of cotton, polyester, and rayon fabrics, with a cotton backing. To us, they look like vibrant tropical prints, such as those used to construct Hawaiian themed-clothing. Tompkins has selected a fabulous display contrasting prints.


Image Credits: Photographed by Quilt Inspiration with permission of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Highlights of the Road to California Quilt Show! part 4

Here are some more highlights from the Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase! The Road to California, as it is called, takes place in Ontario (Southern California), and features over 1,000 quilts by artists from all over the world. Around 40,000 people gather to see the show, take classes, and shop. Join us in admiring some of the stunning quilts from this year's show.

Also check out our E-Bay shop for great bargains on quilt patterns, books, and collectible items !
For more free quilt patterns, please visit us on Twitter.

My Big Face by Kathy Stohn, Arizona


Kathy explains, "As a study in color, I created this self-portrait inspired by the painting style of Chuck Close. I first created the image using paint chips on a 1/2 grid, then I transferred the concept onto fabric."


Cindy continues, "Free motion quilting using multiple layers of thread rings adhere the circles to the pieced square top. Over 120 colors of fabric and 56 colors of thread were used to create this illusion. No software, paint, or fusible products were used." We really admire the unique technique used to create this pixelated image.

Spring Harmony by Kathy McNeil, Washington


Kathy states,"[This quilt reflects] my love for Japanese gardens. The unusual border represents a Tori gate through which you enter the garden."


The artist's comments on the description card were very brief, but we think this fabulous project with beautiful colors and extensive quilting turned out to be gorgeous! Kathy is well known for her detailed and exquisite applique work, and her realistic fabric landscapes.

Plitvice by Elizabeth Eastmond, California. Quilted by Darby Myers


Elizabeth notes, " I was inspired by the array of color in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia; the leafy greens and yellows of the meadows and trees, the jades, teals, and deep blues in the sixteen lakes and many waterfalls. This quilt is hand-pieced, using the English paper-piecing method."


Elizabeth continues, "While many rosettes are similar to the New Hexagon Millefoire Quilt by Katja Marek, I eventually took off on my own, creating and combining where I wanted." We admire Elizabeth's hand-piecing talent !

Urban Wheels by Inger Blood, California


Inger says, "On a fall walk in the forest, I liked the sun filtering through the trees onto the forest floor. Not wanting the composition to be literal, I applied filters to my photo to emphasize color and design."


Inger adds about her original design, "The composition was built from commercial batiks. [It was] free motion quilted on a sit-down machine. " We really like the fabric hues and the stained-glass effect of Inger's work.

Flower Power by Marilyn Badger  and the QUTI's , Utah. Quilted by Marilyn Badger and Linda Brown


Marilyn writes, "Our friendship group consisting of Linda Brown, Linda Finney, Teryl McKnight, Vickie Wardrop, Susan Recknagel, Sharon Freidman, Shirley Baptist, and Marilyn Badger are called QUTI, which stands for 'Quilting Under the Influence.' We decided to make a group quilt to enter in our local show, and Flower Power is the result."


Marilyn adds, " We spent many enjoyable hours together piecing, appliqueing, embellishing, and enjoying wine at the same time."  The original design for this fabulous work is by Claudia Clark Myers, who has often collaborated with Marilyn in the past.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2020 Road to California show.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Washington

Even though we celebrate President's Day this year on February 17, President Washington's actual birthday is February 22. Here's a tribute to the first American President.

p.s. check out our E-Bay shop for great bargains on quilt patterns, books, and collectible items !
For many free quilt patterns, please visit us on Twitter.

Washington by Cathie I. Hoover, California


Cathie explains, "To honor our founding father, (George Washington 1732-1799), Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and our First President, I created this quilt using apps on my iPad." The strong horizontal lines of quilting on the background contrast nicely with the rounded shape of the clouds and the depiction of General Washington astride his horse, providing a three-dimensional effect to Cathie's work.


Cathie continues, "[The] sky was painted with Septacolor paint. The words were created with stencils and Versatex ink."
Henry Lee, a major general in the Continental Army, was chosen by the Sixth Congress to write the eulogy after President Washington's death in 1799. He composed the famous words, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2019 Pacific International Quilt Festival.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Quilt for Valentine's Day: X's and O's

Happy Valentine's Day! Every year on February 14th people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to family and friends. We're sending best wishes to fellow quilters for a fun and relaxing day!  We've always admired red and white quilts, and thought you would enjoy this one too, which we photographed last summer.

Also check out our E-Bay shop for great bargains on quilt patterns, books, and collectible items !
For more free quilt patterns, please visit us on Twitter.

Cross Stitched Heart by Elizabeth Teerlink, quilted by Kim Peterson


This colorful heart quilt says “I Love You” in 52 different fabrics It looks like giant red and pink cross stitches, but it’s actually pieced blocks!  Elizabeth Teerlink, from Cedar Hills, Utah, did an excellent job selecting the fabrics and arrangement and piecing the blocks.

Elizabeth explains, "Arkansas Traveler blocks placed in groups of 4 form X's. 34 of these blocks form a giant cross stitch heart against a white background. Four extra blocks below the heart create balance. The artful arrangement and shading of red and pink fabrics radiate light from the heart center to darker edges. X and O blocks signifying hugs and kisses border the top and bottom of the heart."


Check out the fun messages on thered and white cute fabric above: "You're the bee's knees.. Faithfully Yours... Yours forever..." and more!  The lovely pink hearts, below, remind us of candy hearts with the simple message of "Love."


The quilt was beautifully quilted by Kim Peterson, and exhibited at the 2019 Springville (Utah) Museum of Art show.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Highlights of the Road to California Quilt Show! part 3

Welcome to the Road to California Quilter's Conference and Showcase! The Road to California, as it is called, takes place in Ontario (Southern California), and features over 1,000 quilts by artists from all over the world. Around 40,000 people gather to see the show, take classes, and shop. Join us in admiring some of the stunning quilts from this year's show.

Also check out our E-Bay shop for great bargains on quilt patterns, books, and collectible items !
For more free quilt patterns, please visit us on Twitter.

The Elephant in the Room by Sandra Mollon, California

Third place winner in the category of Animal Quilts, Sandra remarks, " With its commanding gaze, the photo of a young bull elephant was one I wanted to work from. I wanted to add color, in the ears, and concentrating on value to convey the depth and texture."

Sandra's intriguing work is raw edge fused and  machine quilted, with some mixed media.We really admire Sandra's wonderful quilting work which accentuates the many features and textures of the elephant's face.

Spring Thing by Claudia Scheja, Germany

Third place winner in the Applique Wall Quilts category, Claudia notes, "Every year in early spring, I look forward to the first green leaves and flower buds. This quilt with a combination of traditional shapes and modern fabrics brings color and light and this feeling of the spring the whole year."

Claudia did all the sewing and applique by hand, then quilted her work on a longarm machine. We really like her elegant, flawless workmanship; and her award is well deserved.

Pensive Pause by Linda Anderson, California


Second place winner in the category of Human Image Quilts, Linda writes, "Traveling in India, our senses were alive with color, tastes, sounds and smells. Women were wrapped in stunning colors everywhere we looked, whether doing hard work or relaxing. This woman seemed to take a break in her efforts to sweep the area, quietly drawing into herself amidst the busy congestion all around her."


Linda's original design contains cotton fabrics, raw edge applique,  and all hand painted pieces,  It is machine stitched with bamboo batting. Linda has done a very expressive job of showing the contrasts of light and shadow in her fascinating work.

Gilded Star by Amy Allen, Hawaii


Amy explains, "This quilt was made by enlarging the templates from the [free] Star Gazer pattern, adding applique, a pieced border, and finishing if off with prairie points."

Amy continues, " I really enjoyed working with the mirrored fabrics through the quilt and tying it all together with original mirrored quilting designs." We really like the red ribbon inner border and the prairie points outer border which causes the quilt to "pop" against the neutral background.

Train to Nowhere by Cheryl See, Virginia


First place winner in the category of Applique Wall Quilts, Cheryl says, "My goal was to make a Hawaiian style quilt that was less traditional and innovative in design. The town center is surrounded by buildings and then a circular train track and train stations."


Cheryl adds, "As I progressed, the North, South, East, and West of the quilt became my personal NSEW and I included signs of every city I have lived in and every house number as well as my workplace. The four larger houses represent houses I have lived in." This is a wonderful design idea for a Hawaiian quilt, and we especially like the tiny embroidered flowers around the train stations, which add a charming touch to Cheryl's quilt.

Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2020 Road to California show.
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