Monthly Archives: October 2017

Around Here Week 43


One aspect of artistic endeavor is finding interest in the mundane, even in society’s outcasts. A case in point is Japanese knotweed, pictured above on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. It is considered among the world’s most invasive species. It’s certainly the bane of my local parks departments.

According to, Knotweed, in the Buckwheat family, is not liked in western nations because it grows around three feet a month, sends roots down some 10 feet, grows through concrete, damaging roads, dams, buildings and just about anything made by man.

And yet, I like the screen of its stems that allows me to see the river and the opposite bank. Its dark green leaves provide a refreshing contrast to the lighter, grayer green of the distant trees. Maybe it would work as a horizontal composition with lots of criss crossed narrow pieces as part of one row.

According to the website noted above, you can cook and eat its leaves. Perhaps a knotweed puree over ice cream or knotweed bread. Recipes are provided. I can tell you where to harvest lots of it.


Filed under Inspiration

The 2017 Mutton Hill Quilt Show

The third annual Mutton Hill Quilt Show, organized by the Summit County (Ohio) Historical Society, took place in mid-October. As in the past, I volunteered with quilt intake and judging, and worked the show itself. In between stints at the raffle ticket table I prowled the floor to look at the quilts.

Unlike some shows, Mutton Hill combines a judged show with special regional and national exhibits. This year I viewed the 2017 Hoffman Fabric Challenge, Ohio SAQA’s trunk show, and part of the national SAQA trunk show.  These exhibits give the show an intriguing mix of traditional and art quilting.

Following are some pieces that caught my eye. There’s no rhyme or reason to my selections. I just liked them. They all seem to have purple in them.

Staying Humble by Marilyn Edwards

Sherman Double Wedding Ring (heirloom)

Blue Pineapple by Marie Petric

Bewitched! by Elizabeth Bauman

Pantheon di Hoffman by Susan Garrity

Spring in San Luis Porte by Wendy Lewis

New York Fashion Week by Pamela Katz

The last group of photos are part of the national SAQA trunk show. They measure 7.5 by 10 inches.

Eucalyptus Metallicus

Super Moon

Rissagabba and the Moon


Winter Meadow

Hold Near and Dear

You can see all the SAQA trunk show pieces here.






Filed under Quilt Shows

Around Here Week 42

Ten more weeks to go before the end of the year. I decided it’s about time my husband had a say here, though he  doesn’t take many pictures. In September he spent three weeks in Puebla, Mexico, on an intensive language course. While he brought back many photos of intriguing churches and ruins, I want to show you the photo he took just for me.

He thought I’d like the drippy numbers. I do, but I wonder about the surrealistic elements here – the door below street level, the glass doors that open to brick walls, the black door that doesn’t seem to have a door knob. Then there’s the wet bits on the paving. What happened there?

I could ask him, but I’ll let the mystery be.


Filed under Inspiration

In The Weeds

Sometimes I quilt a piece I’m not so enamored of to avoid dealing with a piece I haven’t a clue about and don’t want to screw up. Yet again I’ve sidestepped a larger (around 45 by 50 inches) piece by tackling a smaller one that I’m not heavily invested in emotionally.

In keeping with my recent efforts to use fabrics I created, I combined tissue paper and stamped fabrics with orphan blocks to make “In The Weeds.”

I kept cutting off bits and then adding strips, and finished up with a thermofax print; so the piece is a hodgepodge of surface design techniques. I decided it looked like a patch of weeds so I called it “In The Weeds.” I recalled that term being used by restaurant workers so I looked it up and came across this post at The Word Detective.

I decided the following sums up my methodology:

. . . as Mark Liberman points out, the use of “into the weeds” to mean “delving deep into the details” doesn’t carry the same sense of painful confusion as the restaurant use, and such “weed wandering” is actually the sort of thing true policy wonks enjoy. As he says in his Language Log post, “The metaphor here seems to be that when you wander off the beaten path, you can explore arbitrary amounts of not-very-valuable intellectual foliage (“weeds”) without getting closer to your conceptual destination.”

In other words, I’m on a side spur just detouring around that larger, more serious piece. Because I didn’t really care whether or not the piece was ruined I ran roughshod over it with free motion quilting. That was fun but resulted in quilting that would elicit “strive to maintain consistency in stitch length” from a show judge. I also learned that tissue paper fabric needs a longer length stitch than I used.


October 20, 2017 · 5:11 am

Around Here Week 41

Look no further than aircraft for aerodynamic designs. I found this one at the MAPS air museum close by the Akron Canton airport.  I never thought I’d spend time looking at old airplanes, but there I was with my brother, peering into cockpits that seemed too small for any adult.

This view looking back from an observation platform has possibilities for a modern style quilt. I like all the rivets and would try to print them on fabric. I’d also try to echo the curvature of the plane’s body.


Filed under Inspiration

Itty Bitty Quilts

In fact, these are so small I shouldn’t call them quilts. They came about because a group I belong to wanted to do an artist trading card (ATC) type swap. The size was set at 3 by 5 inches and a deadline was announced. I went home and created seven ATCs from my tortured fabric scraps. Then I wrote down the deadline wrong and missed the swap by a month.

Oh well. Maybe I can turn them into mini gifts.

I pieced the two cards on the upper left and added felt trimmings and embroidery. The card on the bottom left is a mop up rag with a plastic freebie attached. The remaining four are based on fabric painting, printing and stenciling experiments, with embroidery and some beads added. All the edges are finished with fabric paint. They were a fun way to waste an afternoon or two, and I could feel justified for saving those scraps.

If you have have any ideas for how I could use these, please let me know.


Filed under Completed Projects

Around Here Week 40

The humble backs of buildings are often a source of inspiration for me. I found this painted over window with peeling paint and rust streaks at the rear of the Summit Art Space building. I like how the blue touches contrast with the terracotta and ocher colors. Then, there’s the texture of the brick.It’s a possible color palette or a texture for a fabric.


Filed under Inspiration

My Local Art Museum

Despite the loss of a third of its population over the past 20-30 years, Akron proudly lays claim to its own art museum, complete with a controversial modern addition.

The collection is a bit thin and most of the art is late 19th/20th century, but it contains some beauties. Here are some works that caught my eye on my last visit. (I should say they caught my eye AND photographed OK.)

You can review parts of the collection here.

Alvin Loving’s Untitled seems made for fabric, or maybe it was inspired by a quilt. The colors of the thin border lines make the diamonds vibrate, as the detail shows.

Sequinar by Marko Spalatin is half square triangle ready.

Some other works that caught my eye and camera.

Carl Gaertner’s Riverside Plant reminds me of the factories you see as you cross the Ohio River from Ashland, Kentucky, into West Virginia.

I love how the blue oval contrasts with the tan and red curved lines, and how the tan line colors are lighter inside the oval, in John Pearson’s SLG3.

On the Balcony by Frederick Frieseke reminds me of the work by Mary Cassatt and other Impressionist painters. I’m drawn to the variety of textures portrayed.

This photograph of an African woman is filled with strong textures. I like how they get smaller and more toned as you move up from the bottom. Unfortunately, I can’t read my photo of the artist’s name and I can’t find the work on the museum’s website.

(Update: thanks to Ann Scott, the photographer has been identified as Seydou Keita

You can see sculptures outside the museum from the large windows. Again, I can’t find the artist for this piece, but I like the sky reflections through the glass.

A real plus for my town’s museum is it’s free every Thursday. I guess they hope I’ll succumb and become a member.




Filed under Commentary

Around Here Week 39

My brother and I bushwhacked past the “trail ends” sign to reach Buttermilk Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park a few weeks ago. Our hike wasn’t as daring as it sounds as many others have done the same thing. We benefited from the low water levels as we crossed the stream several times until we reached the falls themselves.  The falls are to the left in the photo below.

The rock ledges created by the falls over the centuries look like elephant skin to me. It could make a fun mixed media project with thick paper.


Filed under Inspiration