Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Highlights of the 2016 AQS QuiltWeek / 3

The 2016 AQS QuiltWeek in Phoenix, Arizona was one of the best shows ever!  With hundreds of quilts and very special exhibits by renowned quilters, it was an incredible show. Here are some of our favorite quilts.
Please note: We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter ! Check us out @quiltinspire. 

Bristlecone Spirit, 33 x 32",  by Barbara C. McElroy (Grand Lake, Colorado)

Barbara McElroy wanted to create a quilt with an ancient tree, and she picked the Bristlecone Pine, which grows between 5,600 and 11,200 ft elevation in Colorado and other arid regions of the Western United States. Barbara loves to create illusion, which is how Bristlecone Spirit came to be. Can you see the Spirit within the gnarled branches of the tree, below?

Barbara used Gloria Loughman's mosaic tiling technique to create the sun and sky behind the tree. The tiled background is created by fusing small rectangles to a background, using a variety of colors, then quilting along the edges of the strips.   This mosaic technique is explained in the book Radiant Landscapes by Gloria Loughman.  You can see the tiled strips in the closeup photo below.

Pop Art Floral, 40 x 43",  by Deborah Lord Treiber (Granby, Colorado)

The show-goers really enjoyed this quilt, and Deborah says that it gave her a chance to have fun with scraps and techniques! She included part of a Dresden plate, Mariner's Compass, folded flying geese, and appliqued circles and strips. The multicolored border fabric and black-and-white checkerboard strips really pull it all together! The Dresden blades are embellished with black and white buttons.

Floral Flashback, 58 x 65", by Jan Frazer (Elwood, Victoria, Australia)

Floral Flashback is Jan Frazers's salute to the flower power of the 1970's.  She calls it "surreal, verging on psychedelic." We'd call it magical! Flowers and leaves pop out from every corner.  Jan's technique is beautiful... the edge of each piece is finished with narrow satin stitching, and each  leaf is quilted with a different design.

Golden Temple of the Good Girls, 50 x 58", by Susan Carlson (Harpswell, Maine)

Susan Carlson is renowned for her pictorial quilts of people, fish, and other creatures.  Golden Temple of The Good Girls is "a shrine to Susan's three animal companions:  Kiiora budgie, Djinni cat, and Kali dog, whom she adores, as others do their special pets."  Susan has inspired many quilters with her technique, which she explains in Serendipity Quilts: Cutting Loose Fabric Collage. The closeup photos below show her creative use of collage to depict her animal friends.

M100, A Subtle Sermon, 52 x 58, by Ann Harwell (Wendell, North Carolina)

And here is a masterpiece by quilt artist Ann Harwell, who was inspired by a photo taken by the Hubble Telescope.  Ann says, "M100 is a spiral galaxy of grand design, 56 million light years distant.  It is a large galaxy with over 100 billion stars in well-defined spiral arms of bright star clusters and intricate winding dust lanes."  She has captured the spiral motion and the inky blackness of the surrounding space with a fascinating variety of fabrics and quilting threads.

To achieve just the right colors and values, Ann selected from prints that even included birds (can you spot the owls and hawks below?)

You can see a photo of the Ann Harwell with M100, A Subtle Sermon, along with more galleries of her work at her website, Ann Harwell Art.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Highlights of the 2016 AQS QuiltWeek / 2

The 2016 AQS QuiltWeek in Phoenix, Arizona was one of the best shows ever!  With hundreds of quilts and some very special exhibits by renowned quilters, it was an incredible show. Each of these quilts has a fascinating story... here are some of our favorites!
Please note: We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter ! Check us out @quiltinspire. 

Captain Kimo, 49 x 53", by Nancy Sterett Martin (Owensboro, Kentucky)

This was a stunning piece that started with a whole-cloth quilt.  Silk painter Karen Sistek, who is a friend of Nancy Sterett Martin, found a photo of a heron by photographer Kim Seng, whose website is CaptainKimo. With permission from Mr. Seng, Karen hand painted the heron on silk. After steam-setting the dyes, she mailed the project to Nancy to quilt.

With a magnifying glass, Karen studied the detail of the feathers in the original photograph and decided to "quilt it like she saw it." She then cut white silk bias strips and sewed them onto the belly of the Heron to make it look like feathers blowing in the wind.  We love the effect.

Captain Kimo has won numerous awards including Best Wall Quilt - Home Machine Quilting at the 2015 American Quilters Society show in Paducah, KY and Third Place at the show in Phoenix.  For more information and a gallery of work by Nancy Sterett Martin, please visit her website at Quilt Patches.

Reborn, 51 x 65", by Molly Hamilton-McNally (Tehachapi, California)

Reborn won a blue ribbon for Best Original Design.  Molly Hamilton-McNally was born in Beijing, worked as a financial consultant, and moved to the U.S. in 1989.  After her late husband passed away in 2000, and looking for a hobby to occupy her time and to help in the healing process, she began to study the art of quilting. About Reborn, Molly says, "At times we all face periods of darkness and depression, and must find our way back to the light.  Molly found her path to happiness through an unexpected passion, the art of quilting.  Just as the Phoenix rose again - this quilt represents her rebirth."  

Molly specializes in the hand-turned, reverse stained-glass appliqué, and her mastery of the technique shows up in this flower.  Some of the applique motifs were echoed in the quilting, as shown below.  For more information and photos of her work see her website, Quilt with Molly.

Carpathian Mountain Sunset, 46 x 41", by Cathy Geier (Waukesha, Wisconsin)

Winner of Honorable Mention - Wall Quilts - Landscape at this show, Carpathian Mountain Sunset was inspired by the beautiful colors in a photograph called Pink Azaleas in the Carpathian Mountains, by Ukrainian photographer Leonid Tit.  You can read the story and see the original photograph at Cathy Geier's blog.  She made this quilt with strips of fabric. The sun's rays were made with yellow and white tulle and stitched with yellow and light threads.

On her blog, Cathy Geier explains,"I like straight lines and straight rows in this kind of pieced landscape. The straight lines lend a formality and a linear quality to them making my landscapes look crisp and sharp. Because of this, I use a tear-away foundation to piece." Her process is described in her 2014 book, Lovely Landscape Quilts: Using Strings and Scraps to Piece and Applique Scenic Quilts.

High Country Colors, 60 x 43", by Kathy McNeil (Tulalip, Washington)

Hand appliqueing thousands of little scraps of fabric together, Kathy McNeil creates stunning quilts that look like paintings.  She says, "High Country Colors was inspired while hiking through the North Cascade Mountains to Lake Ann.  The colors in the high meadows during the fall are truly spectacular!" 

The close-up photos reveal some of the fabrics Kathy used to create the trees and mountains in this landscape.

You can see more of her original art quilts along with quilting supplies and patterns at Kathy's website: Kathy McNeil Quilts.

Summer Lake Sandhills, 60 x 40", by Joanne Baeth (Bonanza, Oregon)

Summer Lake Sandhills received the award for Best Wall Quilt.  Joanne says, "This quilt features a refuge scene in Summer Lake, Oregon... Huge flocks of sandhill cranes migrate through the area in the spring and fall." Joanne's award-winning quilts incorporate a variety of techniques including thread painting, fabric painting, and machine quilting, which creates incredible texture.  Here are some of the beautiful details....

The bushes along the waterway are depicted with loose embroidery-type stitches.  You can even see that the bushes are reflected in the water (below):

To show that this intricate detail was applied to a very small bird, here is a closeup with my friend's finger next to one of the cranes (not touching).

For more information about Joanne's work please visit Joanne Baeth Fiber Arts.

Fern Rising, 79 x 84", by Claudia Pfeil (Krefeld, Germany)

We've seen Claudia Pfeil's work on the web, but it is even more stunning in person. Fern Rising was awarded 1st place - Large Quilts - Longarm Machine Quilted.  It is resplendent with color, swirls, circles, quilting and thousands of Swarovski crystals.  By appliqueing black fabric alongside the "ferns", she created shadows and a three-dimensional appearance.   In addition to quilting, the edges of many of the shapes are couched with metallic yarn and/or thread.

Other shapes were created with translucent fabrics that reveal the patchwork background of the quilt.

In addition to creating her own works of art, Claudia owns a quiltshop in Krefeld, Germany, runs an APQS Showroom, and teaches longarm quilting worldwide.  You can find more information about her projects and teaching schedule at her page on Facebook.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Highlights of the 2016 AQS QuiltWeek in Phoenix, Arizona / 1

The 2016 AQS QuiltWeek in Phoenix, Arizona was one of the best shows ever!  With hundreds of beautiful quilts and some very special exhibits, there was plenty of eye candy to fill our memory sticks.  Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing photos of our favorite quilts from the show.
Please note: We're continually posting free patterns on Twitter ! Check us out @quiltinspire.

Yellow Sky, 58 x 42", by Shirley Gisi (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Since the show was in Arizona, it seems perfect to lead off with this Southwestern abstract landscape with its angular cliffs and art deco clouds.  Visually and technically stunning, Yellow Sky was awarded the blue ribbon in the Wall Quilts-Landscape category.  The description says, "The Southwest theme offers an opportunity to use vivid colors which Shirley loves." The angular cliffs reminds us very much of the style of the renowned Arizona painter, Ed Mell.

A Passion for Purple, 37 x 32", by Andrea Brokenshire (Round Rock, Texas)

A Passion for Purple was the second-place winner in the Wall Quilts - Landscape category. Andrea Brokenshire specializes in appliquéd botanical quilts, and her work is photorealistic, larger-than-life, and simply luminous.  It is nearly impossible to tell that this flower is made with pieces of fabric.  We took several close-up photos to show the way in which Andrea creates texture through quilting. 

Look to the West, 41 x 51", by Leah Gravells (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

The colors of the sunset inspired Look to the West, which  drew a crowd of admirers, all debating how the quilt was made.  It turns out that Leah blended two hundred 3/4" strips to create this original design.  She used the quilt-as-you-go technique to piece the strips, which were absolutely, perfectly, straight.

Leah says, "The prairie earth is reflecting the colors in dot batik fabrics... look closely to see all the dots." The dots make the quilt almost shimmer from a distance.

My Brunette Whig, 87 x 87", by Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison (New Lenox, Illinois)

My Brunette Whig, which was entered in the Large Quilts - Longarm Machine Quilted category, won BEST OF SHOW.  This quilt is made of Whig Rose blocks on a brown background, so Gail named it, 'My Brunette Whig'.  As you might expect, this quilt is perfectly executed in every way - design, applique, and quilting. Thanks to some excellent lighting at the show, Jan Hutchison's award-winning quilting really stands out on the dark background.

On her blog, Jan Hutchison explains that My Brunette Whig was quilted with several colors of Wonderfil metallic thread; dark brown, copper and red. She also used Superior So Fine and Aurifil threads.

Kiku, 53 x 67",  by Sandy Clark (Fresno, California)

Kiku was awarded Third Place in the Wall Quilts - Longarm Machine Quilted category. Sandy Clark found this technique in the book Tile Quilt Revival: Reinventing a Forgotton Form by Carol Gilham Jones and Bobbi Finley.  The scalloped border echoes the rounded shapes of the applique pieces.

Sandy quilted this beauty with overlapping circles reminiscent of a double wedding ring, then filled the circles with feathers, bubbles and arcs. Even the small spaces between the applique pieces were quilted, and crystals were added for sparkle.

September, 34 x 44", by Cindy Seitz-Krug

Cindy Seitz-Krug was the featured artist at the show, and the extent of her mastery was evident in the many quilts shown in the special exhibit.  This quilt really drew our eye with its realistic depiction of an elk.  Cindy says, "Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about elk. I used Melinda Bula's fusible applique technique to create this magnificent bull. There are approximately 100 different fabrics in this quilt."

On her website, Quintessential Quilting, Cindy explains that making the quilt even more beautiful through quilting is the part she enjoys most. "I quilt all of my quilts on a Bernina 440 QE."

Come a little closer, and you can see that the thread painting on the elk was done in various shades of brown and beige that both matched and blended the underlying applique shapes with each other...

Quilted spirals in the sky remind us of the September winds that herald the coming autumn...

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.  Stay tuned for more quilts from the 2016 AQS Quilt Week!
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