Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catalog Cover for China Exhibit

As if having my quilt selected as part of The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America were not enough excitement and honor, I have just received copies of the exhibit catalog, with my "Rise and Shine, Inner City" pictured on the cover. The exhibit opened in September 2012 in Shanghai and will travel to four other museums or galleries in the next few months of 2013.
Catalog Cover
The exhibit is a program conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing. The exhibition and its tour throughout the People’s Republic of China has been jointly developed and managed by ArtsMidwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from the Great Lakes Quilting Center at Michigan State University.
The exhibition will tour to five venues throughout China, beginning September 7, 2012:
Links have been set up with more information and pictures of all the quilts:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Makes a Merry Christmas?

Does Christmas have to be filled with shopping, decorating, and rushing to qualify for a Merry Christmas? Definitely not, though we often have to remind ourselves of this. It is wonderful to get to be with family at Christmas, but we can choose to be happy and joyful and celebrate the real spirit of Christmas in a crowd or alone.
This is not a Christmas tree, but it's what I've been enjoying lately. Sasanquas are kin to camellias but bloom earlier. This one is covered in soft pink blooms that then begin to make a carpet of pink as the blossoms fall.

It's been a very joyful though untraditional Christmas.  I say "untraditional" meaning there were no excited children opening presents, no big gathering of family, no good cooking smells from the kitchen or stacks of dishes. There have been several parties or luncheons with friends, lots of beautiful Christmas music to sing, and I got to hear/see a live performance of "Amahl  and the Night Visitors"--something I wish for every year. 

I did not shop or get rushed over decorating. Advent at my church is always a time of thoughtful preparation for celebration of the Christ Child, the real meaning of Christmas. I like to display several nativity sets, and these add to the joy of the season.
As far as quilting activities go, my personal projects were put on hold in order to take part in gatherings of friends and making gifts for our guild to share. We make children's quilts all year long and then donate them in July and December to hospitals, shelters, and other agencies. We also make walker totes and catheter bag covers for hospitals. It is amazing what enjoyment can be gained from spending some time on projects like these that you know will bring joy. See Pine Belt Quilters blog.
It was a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ghost Quilting Article in AQS Magazine

When I first posted blog entries in July and August of 2011 about what I call "ghost quilting," Iris Frank, a freelance writer from California, contacted me about collaborating with her on an article for American Quilter, the magazine of American Quilter's Society. Of course I was excited and thrilled at the opportunity to appear in this prestigious publication and we began working on the article. I made a similar project to the one she had seen, taking step photos along the way and writing cutlines for each. We tweaked and edited over several months and I sent work to Paducah for photography. What a happy trip I made to my mailbox this week when the January 2013 issue arrived at the end of November! Imagine my surprise when I saw the top line on the magazine cover: "Ghost Quilting--A Scare-Free Technique."
American Quilter January 2013
     When I first began doing these, I referred to them as "expanded flowers" or "extended pictures" or a similar uninteresting-sounding name. In that earlier blog, I said: "I call it Ghost Quilting. I start with a square or rectangle of printed fabric as the focus, then I add borders all around and imagine what is out off the edge of the focus fabric and complete the motifs with only stitching or with Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels (by Caran d'Ache, available at art supply stores) plus stitching. The focus fabric can be fused onto the center of a larger piece or borders can be sewn onto the center."
     To purchase a copy of the magazine from AQS, call 800-626-5420 now, or watch for it in mid-December at quilt, book, craft, and fabric stores.
     It is really an easy and fascinating technique. I have shown this to friends and many of us now look at each piece of fabric in the light of "I wonder how this would work with ghost quilting."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

My maternal grandmother's wooden biscuit bowl holds squash and pumpkins
    Thanksgiving was always my dad's favorite holiday because he said he had so much for which to be thankful. For many years our family marked the day at my brother's home in Austin, Texas. Some years we would drive through East Texas to pick up my parents on our way from Mississippi to Austin. The family is smaller now and these gatherings are a distant but wonderful memory.
    In addition to the obvious blessings of family and friends and faith, as an art quilter I have to recognize what a wonderful time we live in with today's fabrics, thread, tools, machines, books, the Internet and contact with like-minded individuals who share so freely with each other. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Houston Quilt Festival 2012

George Brown Convention Center
I've just returned from the 2012 Quilt Festival in Houston. It's my first trip in several years, and the sights were just as amazing as I remember. The George Brown Convention Center is about the length of five football fields, with five entrance halls--A, B, C, etc., to help visitors get some sense of where they are. The first floor is filled with vendors and quilt displays. In addition to the judged show--Quilts: A World of Beauty--there are about 35 other exhibits. The second and third floor contain registration, information booths, classrooms, lecture halls, coffeeshops, cafes, outdoor patios, and the list goes on and on.

 One of the most unusual exhibits this year was one of photographs of recognizable famous sites with quilts superimposed onto the buildings!

I love pictures of people looking at quilts, and when someone offered to move out of the way for my photograph, I encouraged them to continue to look!

Quilts, Inc. will have picture galleries of winners; also, many bloggers have posted pictures online, such as Trish Casey-Green's excellent ones:
SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) had two beautiful exhibits--A Seasonal Palette and A Sense of Scale. These were accompanied by printed catalogs of all the pieces, and the Seasonal Palette included a journal/workbook by each artist describing the process used. These workbooks were on a table in the middle of the exhibit and available for handling and reading at leisure. The curators conducted tours of both exhibits, with many of the artists available to describe their works further.  Very inspiring!

It was much easier to see the quilt show when we were younger and healthier, but we continue to do what it takes to be there!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AIDS Services Coalition Ribbons of Change Gala

"Butterfly" 20" x 20"--My donation to the Gala auction 

 The AIDS Services Coalition will hold its annual "Ribbons of Change" Gala November 4 at the  Hattiesburg Historic Train Depot. The event will feature food, music, art, live and silent auctions, with proceeds going to support of 1-2-1 Haven House. ASC has served the Hattiesburg area for 10 years, working working to meet the gaps in services--case management to help keep people housed and in care, HIV testing to make sure those at risk are being tested, food to help keep people healthy, additional housing to help people work toward independence... changing attitudes and lives.

Monday, October 29, 2012

DeSoto Arts Council Exhibit

Desoto Arts Council sponsored an art quilt exhibit at the Historic Banks House in Hernando, MS, from September 8-November 1, 2012.  Two of my art quilts were in the exhibit--Galaxy and Leaf Study. The DeSoto Arts Council serves as the countywide home for the arts with space for exhibitions, classes, meetings, gift shop, and special events.
Galaxy (above)

Leaf Study
Established in 1999, the non-profit organization serves 144,706 residents, including the 29,800 children attending DeSoto County Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state of Mississippi
in one of the 40 fastest growing counties of the United States.
DeSoto County, in northwest Mississippi, includes the cities of Hernando, Horn Lake, Olive Branch, Southaven, and Walls. The Mississippi River is the western boundary and Memphis, Tennessee is the northern border. Here the delta meets the hills. The formerly rural region’s rich culture includes rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, celebrated blues musicians Memphis Minnie, Big Walter Horton, Gus Cannon, and Kenny Brown, best selling writer John Grisham, and actor James Earl Jones.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I love when pumpkins begin appearing in all the stores. This year our church, University Baptist in Hattiesburg, created a pumpkin patch on our front lawn for the two weeks before Halloween. We had about 800 pumpkins of all sizes; all proceeds from sales of pumpkins went to our partnership with Thames Elementary School. People stopped by to buy pumpkins for carving, decorating, and pie baking. The Saturday Fall Festival featured games, races, prizes, and food. I will be sorry to see the pumpkin patch ended in November. But I will enjoy them in my front yard for a couple of months.
Pumpkins and crotons in my front yard

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MQA Fall Gathering in Cleveland

The Cotton Row Quilters in Cleveland, Mississippi, hosted the Fall Gathering of Mississippi Quilt Association this past weekend. We have three Gatherings a year, with the Spring and Fall meetings moving about the state, and the June meeting located more centrally in the Jackson area. I had never visited this beautiful Delta region of our state, and we were treated to a warm welcome with lots of music and local culture to make our trip memorable. It is always rewarding to hear people brag about their particular area, and we enjoyed observing the deep pride these residents had in the Delta. Cotton bolls decorated the tables, and we saw fields of cotton ready to be harvested as well as huge bundles--(I don't know the new terminology for cotton bales!) ready to be taken to the gins.
      The bed-turning portion of the program featured a collection of quilts made by the late master quilter Martha Skelton, a collection that will not be seen again. These quilts had been borrowed from their current owners solely for creating one last exhibit of her work. MQA produced a book in 2008 about Martha's life and her quilts, and University Press recently turned over a large number of these books to MQA. They make great gifts, and guilds are buying copies to place in libraries across the state.
     Ethel Wright Mohamed's daughter, Carol Ivy, Curator of the Ethel Wright Mohamed Stitchery Museum, called Mama's Dream World, was at the Gathering to show us pictures and books about her mother's unique stitched pictures.  Mohamed's work is housed in the old home place in Belzoni, Mississippi. Mohamed is often called Mississippi's Grandma Moses of stitchery, and has pieces in the Smithsonian Institution.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

ArTEAst Festival 2012

Dean Meador Smith of Simply TeaVine hosted ArTEAst Festival 2012 at the Meador Homestead Cabin today. There were about 30 writers, artists, and crafters set up in the 125-year-old cabin and all about the yard. Gadsby's Good Grub was there with delicious hot dogs, and the weather was a perfect fall day with temperatures measuring from 65 to 85 degrees.
This is the third year Dean has hosted the ArTEAst Festival, and artists and the public enjoyed the charming historical location and learning some of the history of Dean's family. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pine Belt Quilters 14th Biennial Show

My international friends enjoyed the show, and they were eager to understand the  differences between machine and hand quilting, machine and hand applique, and the meaning of the different colored ribbons (blue=1st, red=2nd, yellow=3rd, white=honorable mention).
My Red Hibiscus won a blue ribbon in the Theme-Small category (Life on Our Planet).
Red Hibiscus, 29" x 24", adapted from Lenore Crawford's Pink Hibiscus pattern
Find Your True South won a red ribbon and the purchase award in the Challenge category sponsored by the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourist Bureau.
Find Your True South, 24" x 24"
Migration and The Atrium at Ochsner's won honorable mentions. I had four other pieces in the show (not ribbon winners). The show received high praise from attendees. The show judge, Lorraine Covington, from North Carolina, said she was impressed with the talent and skill demonstrated by the quilters as she judged the 390+ quilts in 22 categories. In addition to the three days of the exhibition, we had a large boutique of handmade items, 19 vendors, and hourly demonstrations. Mary Ann Scruggs was the lucky winner of the raffle quilt.
The Atrium at Ocshner's, 19" x 29"

Migration, 36" x 35"
It will be time for our 15th biennial show before we know it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Quilt Talk with Internationals

On left, Chinese student Helen Jiang; Sirui, graduate teaching assistant; Lisa Fang, master's in communication and wife of student. On the right are Korean visiting professors from Korea, Gab-sun and Eunyre Kim.
I had the privilege of speaking to a group of international students recently about my art quilting. They were interested in traditional quilts as well as fiber art and were eager to learn new words that came up in our meeting. Women from my church, University Baptist, meet with a group each Wednesday for the purpose of helping them with conversation, pronunciation, understanding our culture, and language peculiarities.
Linda Donnell, Martha Ginn, Virginia Butler

Thursday, September 20, 2012

From Bumblebees to Flying Squirrels

After my bumblebee encounter a couple of months ago, I have not disturbed the occupants of the bluebird nest box. But when the support rotted and the box was hanging upside down, I was curious to see if the bees were still there. There was no sound, so I carefully opened the door; the fluffy nest material fell out and something darted around the tree. My cat Bigboy and I discovered three baby flying squirrels on the ground, which told me the mom was the darting figure I had seen leaving. The babies had soft, velvety fur and were about 3" long plus 3" tails, with loose folds of skin on their sides.
 The babies squirmed and crawled into the fluffy nest and Bigboy got bored and left. This makes me realize that the bees were not the nest builders, but squatters in the squirrel's home! I'm hopeful the mom carried the babies to a safe place, because they were gone the next morning. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting Ready for Quilt Show--our 14th

On October 5, 2012, Pine Belt Quilters will open our 14th Biennial Fiber Art & Quilt Show, a  three-day event at Hattiesburg's Lake Terrace Convention Center. We have 405 pieces entered, plus one of the Hoffman Challenge Traveling Exhibits. In addition to the judged show, we will have 15 vendors, a boutique of handmade items, our raffle quilt--"Life on Our Planet," silent auction of small quilts, plus three days of lectures and demonstrations.
"Life on Our Planet"
We will have lectures and demos ongoing the three days. I will talk about Care and Repair of Quilts (Friday at 3:00) and demonstrate Ghost Quilting (Saturday at 1:00). Check Pine Belt Quilters blog for the full schedule.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Quilt Is in China!

Rise and Shine, Inner City, 75" x 95"

My quilt is in China!  It is an honor to have my quilt "Rise and Shine, Inner City" selected as a part of The Sum of Many Parts: 25 Quiltmakers in 21st-Century America, a program conceived and sponsored by the United States Embassy-Beijing. The exhibition and its tour throughout the People’s Republic of China has been jointly developed and managed by ArtsMidwest and South Arts, with additional assistance from the Great Lakes Quilting Center at Michigan State University.
The exhibition will tour to five venues throughout China, beginning September 7, 2012:
Links have been set up with more information and pictures of all the quilts: