Monthly Archives: November 2020

A Bit of Self Promotion

First, I hope your Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that holiday, was as good as can be expected in this miserable year. It certainly helped me double down on my carbohydrate intake. Second, though I try to keep this blog bragging free, I’m making an exception for two items.

As I told you earlier this year, one of my quilts was selected as the cover for an issue of a local arts and culture magazine called “The Devil Strip.” That name means something to Akron residents. A few months ago the magazine’s staff contacted me to see if I was willing to have my quilt featured in a postcard set they planned to sell. Well, of course. It’s one of five covers available until the end of this month at

The photo seems to be protected in a way I have no idea how to get around, so here’s a bad shot off Instagram.

While I haven’t entered my work in many shows this year, I decided to enter this year’s virtual International Quilt Festival. So, two of my pieces were accepted as part of the In My Mind exhibit.

“Let The Mystery Be”
“Dark and Deep”

I have no idea how many quilts were entered in this supposedly juried category. I guess I’ll have to attend (virtually) to find out. I understand awards will be determined by attendees’ votes.

For ten bucks you can get a pass for the show. Most lectures and classes are extra. From December 3 to 5 you can get interactive content – classes, vendors, special exhibits, live connect to exhibitors and fellow festival attendees, games, and more during show hours, and a special live lecture by Jenny Lyon, a wonderful free motion quilting teacher. You then have 3 months to continue to view the quilts, experience Open Studios™ (product demos), and shop the vendor mall.

I decided it was probably the only and the cheapest way I’d ever attend the Houston show. Plus, I will have no quilt shipping nightmares. I realize it’s like a virtual museum tour, but it beats nothing at all.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Completed Projects, Quilt Shows

A Round Up of Wrap Ups

As 2020 crawls to an end I can report that some of my ongoing projects are finished. My Mini Collage online class is done, and I have made progress in quilting pieced tops. The list I made in January has almost every item crossed off, though I have veered off course with some of those items and added others.

First, my latest batch of mini collages with marks added reflects my learning curve on the decorative – purposeful spectrum. A big lesson of this class is that nothing is too precious to save “for good.”

Some are still a bit OTT, but that’s the way I roll.

Next, I finished quilting “Dreaming of Spring,” one of my spur of the moment leftovers and scraps quilts.

“Dreaming of Spring” 31″ wide by 36″ high

“Vertigo” reached completion after much dithering on my part as to which way to orient it.

“Vertigo” 34″ wide by 30″ high

Finally, I had a surprise finish with “Off The Coast of Maine,” which is technically a quilt – 3 layers with batting. However, I made it by sewing together cut offs from finished quilts, painting the result with gesso and acrylic paint, and fusing photos and organza over it all. I had photos taken by my brother printed by Spoonflower.

“Off The Coast of Maine” 19.5″ wide by 25.5″ high

A photo of the back reveals how Frankenstein-ed together it is.

There are pieces from six different quilts in it. The green edge finish is fused on organza.

Next on my wrap up list is a top I made in 2011, which I’ve cut into two pieces. We’ll see if another project manages to elbow into the queue ahead of it.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects


In every creative endeavor some form of paperwork lurks in the back recesses. If you sell your art there’s inventory, listings, sales receipts and and tax data to keep track of. Even if you never offer your work for sale you may keep an inventory of it, whether it be bare bones information like title, date made, and size; or more elaborate details of type and quantity of materials used or photographic records. You may inventory your stash.

This blog began as an inventory system in a way. I wanted a record of my quilting, both the process and the products. I certainly haven’t written about everything I’ve made. Some stuff doesn’t deserve that amount of attention, though I try to talk about failures as well as successes. You can see my attempt at a public photographic record on the “My Quilts” pages.

However, I think some inventory components are too boring for blog fodder. I keep a document that lists my quilts by size, date made, and any exhibit history. Another document contains artist statements for quilts I’ve submitted to shows. My photo folder of finished quilts is by far the biggest piece of my inventory. I also have photo folders of quilts sold/gifted and for individual pieces that took me a long time to make.

Like most people, I don’t update my paperwork as often as I should, but reorganizing and improving my quilt photos gave me something concrete to do as I awaited election results. I combed through my photos to see if I had pictures of all my work, and then pawed through my quilt storage containers to unearth my unphotographed or badly photographed work. We had a few days of warm, sunny weather, so I photographed outdoors after much trial and error (and cursing.)

I now have decent photos of almost all my work that I still own, thanks to Photoshop Elements. “Correct camera distortion” and auto color correction are my best tech friends. If I think a piece is really good I have it photographed professionally, but my amateur efforts suffice for most.

I rediscovered work that has been buried for many years. Some is just awful (see below.) Some I decided to revise or sew in hanging sleeves so I can display it at last. One is now visible from my front door. It only took me nine years to get to that last detail.

I was enamored with improv wonky angle piecing, and believed you couldn’t have enough color. I think a different background fabric would have been so much better. Just because a work is original doesn’t mean it’s good.

Throughout the whole process I stopped to pet and refold old friends and reflect on my development as an art quilter. There was the crazy angle improv phase, the modern phase, the scrappy phase (I still seem to be in that,) the transparency phase, the planned out phase, among others. My earlier quilts are much larger than ones I make now. Much of my recent work is either what I call sketches, small pieces to try out an idea or color palette, or the result of unplanned play with fabric. I guess I make two to four serious pieces each year, ones I consider worthy of entering in juried shows. And of course I now dabble in mixed media and collage.

I’d love to know what kinds of paperwork, if any, are attached to your body of work. I’d also love to know if you have a good quilt storage system, besides under the bed. That’s my next “paperwork” project.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Commentary

Progress on Mini Collages

As my fellow classmates keep noting, my Jane Davies Mini Collage class is indeed fun and agony. The class’s purpose is to push us to explore, to notice, to consider relationships among shapes. As Jane put it, “…we are not trying to ‘finish’ the pieces, or make them ‘better’; we are not trying to retain the compositional integrity of the original collage… we are simply adding line and pattern as contrasting kinds of elements. Adding a few more elements to each piece to SEE WHAT HAPPENS.”

Here’s Jane’s comments on one of my first batch of marked up collages.

REALLY nice work, Joanna, but in your next batch do try to do LESS. Middle left, for example: you could have just ONE group of blue dots, not two. JUST the pink line (and you have to go over it a couple of times to make it really opaque), not the green one. Bottom left is totally overstated. You have some really fun and clever marks, but too many for them to have real impact. For example, the teeny dots in the two rectangular shapes: let the dots define the left edge of the shape rather than adding a line to do that work. Do you see what I mean? Do more with less.

You can see that Jane’s comments were spot on.

My next two batches were much more restrained, and Jane’s comments were sparser – mostly consisting of “good work.”

The top two are halves of the same collage.
I call the bottom row the mummy and the election sign.

The tricky part of adding marks is to enhance, deepen, change the collage shapes; but not decorate them. It’s all too easy to add dashes or scallops around a shape’s edge, and Posca markers are addictive. After my first batch I realized that my mark making was based on quilting designs. I felt I had to cover the entire surface with a line or some sort of mark. In subsequent batches I fought that tendency. Now I’m making more minis and will mark them up once I get the matte medium off my fingers.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under In Process, Techniques