Category Archives: Completed Projects

The Gift of Art

Today is Black Friday in the shopping world, and I am being inundated with sales pitches. I understand that many crave the latest tech gadget, but consider a piece of art as a different kind of gift this holiday season. There are in person craft and gift fairs in many places, and numerous artists have special online offers.

As it’s been a while since I featured my work that’s for sale, here’s a reminder that I am offering several of my pieces on my blog. They range in size from small to medium large, with corresponding prices. For a limited time I am offering free domestic ground shipping. Below are a few examples of what’s on offer.

“Looking At My Garden Without My Glasses” 37.5″ wide by 31″ high

“Crazy Bullseyes” 36″ wide by 26″ tall

“Winter’s Closing In” 14″ wide by 17″ high

“Sur La Table” 40″ square

“Still Standing” 14″ wide by 17.5″ high

Please email me at snarkyquilter@gmail.com if you have questions or would like further information.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

Beyond Four Corners

My latest finish, “The Eyes Have It,” has two square corners out of ten. If that sounds like a lot of corners, it’s because I joined several already quilted pieces into a larger composition and rounded almost all the corners. Since the pieces are zigzagged together, it was easy to develop a nontraditional shape. In fact, it was a lot like collaging.

“The Eyes Have It” 24″ wide by 47″ high
Shown hanging in morning light. It looks different in the afternoon.

A little background – I save quilted bits I trim, plus I cut up finished quilts I decide I don’t like. I also create free motion quilting practice pieces, most recently inspired by Paula Kovarik’s “At Play in the Garden of Stitch.” Enough white/ecru/black pieces had accumulated I decided to combine them. I filled in gaps with newly quilted pieces, mostly from Maria Derse fabrics.

Here are the stages.

Draft 1, auditioning the pieces to be used.

Draft 2, beginning to be irregular.

Draft 3, before rounding corners and placing large circle.

Looking back, I can see I am drawn to irregularly shaped quilts, despite the headaches of finishing the edges, and dealing with quilt show criteria.

“Wayside Weeds”

“Torii Traces”

“Roundabout” detail

All of the above have “false backs,” a pejorative term used by quilt show judges when they disqualify a work from judging because they can’t see the back of the quilting. I once had a lively discussion about this issue with quilt judges, but the show’s special definition of an art quilt prevailed. Wouldn’t the term “faced back” be more accurate?

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Summer Is Here!

Hot weather means it’s time for me to switch to smaller, what-the-heck projects and leave the larger, more thoughtful ones for autumn. That way I don’t have to quilt large pieces when I don’t need any extra warmth. To inaugurate the fun times I’ve finished “Along Portage Path” plus “Straightback.” Now I’m ready for true frankensteining work.

“Along Portage Path” uses a photo printed on fabric with various hand dyed and painted fabrics (including an old shirt) to convey the idea of driving by a row of crabapple trees in full autumn color. The trees are embroidered with seed stitches in a variety of colors and thread weights to intensify the oranges, reds, and yellows.

“Along Portage Path” 40 inches wide by 19 inches high

“Straightback” shows what happens when I’m determined to use a small top that didn’t turn into the wonderful tour de force I had imagined. My plan had been to create a gradation of dark to light and light to dark in two fabrics with the darkest values of one next to the lightest values of the other. The failure sulked in a box for a bit until I refound a strip of fabric stenciled with chairs and a very strange bit of Spoonflower fabric. A few cuts with my rotary blade and inserts of fabric strips made a piece more to my liking. The edges are finished with fused strips.

“Straightback” 18 inches wide by 24 inches high

A search in my scrap bins for bits of fabric to go with another in progress project unearthed cut off sections of already quilted black and white pieces. The bins are truly the gift that keeps on giving. So far I have pieced unquilted bits together and layered them with batting and backing. The plan is to join them to the already quilted bits to create a new piece. Let the adventure begin.

Commercial fabrics, quilting leftovers and samples, photos printed on fabric, hand printed fabric. Not a final layout.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

The Final 5%

I know I’m not the first creator to feel the finishing touches of a work are the hardest to do. After the heady rush of creation and then the sometimes frustrating sewing, ripping out, redoing, and quilting steps, the last bits of edge finishing and hanging sleeve making can get put off. Sometimes they can be postponed a long while. As for labels, I write the quilt’s title, my name, and the year of creation on the backs. I admire beautifully embroidered labels, but done is better than pretty.

I have been forcing myself to do those last bits within six months of finishing a piece. Some of my earlier work has never been displayed because I never made a hanging sleeve. Over the years I’ve forced myself to fix that defect, but there are still some pieces without sleeves. They may stay that way as they are large works, and I can rationalize that they are lap quilts and don’t need sleeves.

Over the past two weeks I have totally finished three quilts. Two had been quilted months ago with binding strips cut, but left hanging in the closet. The third I managed to get faced within a month of quilting it.

“Homage to Escher” 21.5″ wide by 41″ high

I chose the darker fabric for the upper left triangle as it better reflected my mood following current events. All the quilting was done with my walking foot.

The other two quilts were made in Florida last winter. After I did basic walking foot quilting and bound them, I washed them to get a lovely crinkly texture.

“August” 26″ square

“March” 32″ wide by 33″ high

Both continue the month theme for what is now a quartet of quilts. Most likely I have enough scraps to make eight more, but I may fill in the remaining months with other already made quilts like “January Blues.” Now I have only seven more months to go.

“January Blues” 33″ wide by 24″ high

Speaking of finishes at long last, I want to share a photo of a years-in-the-making Dear Jane quilt. Jackie Vogel, its 92 year old maker, is proudly showing it off.

Jackie with her Dear Jane quilt

Sadly, Jackie has had a stroke and most likely will sew no more. Her family shared her fabrics and sewing supplies with local quilters, and I hope to put some of the fabric to good use. My visit to her overflowing sewing rooms convinced me to either finish projects or give away what I know I won’t get to.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Completed Projects

My Marketplace Is Now Open

I have built up a large inventory of original quilts in a variety of styles and sizes, and would like to find new homes for them. Many languish in storage as I have a finite amount of wall display areas. To that end I have set up a For Sale page on my blog, which lists some of the pieces I am offering for sale. Sizes, styles, and prices vary; but the quilts represent a good cross section of my work. Many have been exhibited, and some have won ribbons. All have been made over the last 10 years in a smoke and pet free home.

Here is a sample of what’s for sale:

“Hazy Shade of Winter”

“Crazy Bullseyes”

“Color Slide”

You can see more quilts on the For Sale page, a well as particulars of each offering. Contact me at snarkyquilter@gmail.com for more information and to request an item. I will invoice through PayPal for payment, and compute shipping based on your location. If you have a yen for one of my quilts not shown, email me at snarkyquilter@gmail.com, and I’ll see if it’s available.

This is a new adventure for me, so I appreciate your support in whatever form it’s given – from good wishes to purchases.

I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.

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The Original Selfies

It seems you can’t escape people posing for selfies wherever you go. Most selfies show a fish eye lens view of their subjects, often in carefully rehearsed poses. I have run into this celebration-of-self behavior at restaurants, museums, hiking trails, and tourist attractions. I even saw one mother trying to take one of herself and her child on top of a wild buffalo in South Dakota. The buffalo didn’t cooperate.

But my snobbishness was brought up short when I realized that artists have been producing selfies for centuries. They’re called self portraits. One of my favorites is by Elizabeth Louise Vigee LeBrun, an 18th century French portrait painter. I love it because it is by a successful female artist from a time when such creatures were as rare as unicorns. Then there’s such panache in her hat, though her hair looks a bit unkempt. Finally, she proclaims her calling by showing her palette and brushes.

Painted in 1782

I am not someone who takes selfies, in part because I hate to have my picture taken even by myself, but I needed one for a Wanderlust class exercise. We were to paint self portraits using the three primary colors plus white. To give us a start, we were to take a selfie, posterize it to get the main blocks of values in our face, and trace the outline of our face onto paper or canvas.

At first I thought I’d skip this exercise, but then I changed my mind. It didn’t require butterflies, birds, or inspirational sayings, so it stood out from many other assignments. I duly took a selfie, posterized it in PhotoShop Elements, and transferred an outline to watercolor paper.

I used the high tech window method to transfer the outlines.

Then I began to mix skin tones from my four paint colors. My initial doubt turned to amazement when I saw how to do that thanks to teacher Christa Forrest. In fact, after a while my paint palette looked like I had been smearing it with makeup samples.

A coffee filter I used to clean my brushes.

The first passes were crude, with uneven skin tones.

The eyes are so wrong

Looks like I was rubbing bronzer on my chin and neck.

Once I was satisfied with my skin, I added collage paper to the page bottom and coated everything with clear gesso. After that dried I used colored pencils to fine tune details. The gesso gives enough tooth to grab the pencil lead and add texture.

Finished portrait. My eyes aren’t really that green. My hair is that gray.

I spent more time on this exercise than on any other ones to date, but the teacher broke down the process and made it doable. To judge from the work posted in the course forum, I don’t think as many students did this exercise compared with others. As was noted in last week’s discussion about classes, sometimes you learn more when you reach beyond just having fun.

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Filed under Commentary, Completed Projects, Techniques

This Quilt Needs A Name

I have a name in mind early on for most of the fabric work I create. But not always. I am sewing down facing on the latest piece I quilted and still haven’t come up with a good name.

Unnamed quilt
Just waiting for the right name.

It is the love child of two earlier quilts, “Vertigo” and “Staircase.” The latter isn’t quilted yet, but is next in my queue.

“Vertigo”
“Staircase” (the upper left corner is still unresolved)

I’ve thought of Split pea leftovers, Which way, and Thataway; but none really grabs me. So, I ask for your suggestions in hopes that fresh eyes will discern better possibilities. I can’t promise to choose one of your ideas, but I can promise new ideas will lead to a fitting title.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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A Finger In Every Pot

The past week I’ve dabbled in quite a mix of projects and techniques, probably revealing I’m a Jill of all work but mistress of none. (I don’t get the they/them thing, so I went the old fashioned route. Though I could say I contain multitudes and use they/them.) Since I often work on more than one project at a time, sometimes they all mature at once.

My Spoonflower printed trees and wall fabric has been sewn together and I’m now experimenting with different embroidery stitches and threads to enhance the tree area. The printed fabric is less intensely colored than the hand painted and dyed fabrics, so I want to bring it out more. Right now it’s called “Along Portage Path.”

I went with five panels, a left to right gradient, and no top or bottom strips. It’s spray basted on batting. I will embroider it at this stage and then add a backing before machine quilting it.

I pulled out an unquilted top and finished it through the hanging sleeve stage. Put on your sunglasses at it’s bright.

“Teetering” is 21.5″ wide by 27″ high. I combined straight stitch and zigzag in the acid green lines.

I returned to “The Memory Jar,” an old project I was never satisfied with and added paint and oil pastels. Now it better expresses my intention to show the breakdown of memories with age, but I’m still not wild about it.

Revised version
Original version

Not to ignore my paper projects, I sewed several small collages onto a large printed piece of sewing stabilizer, and tried to mesh them into a coherent whole. I ended up changing the look of most of the original collages. This was a great way to reinforce the lesson that nothing should be viewed as too precious to change.

Untitled, 16.5″ wide by 19.5″ high. Backed with felt.

Finally, I finished up a magazine image collage that emphasizes a subdued color palette. I will most likely make a few more changes in a week or so, as a distraction from any other project I’m stuck on.

Untitled. 12″ high by 14″ high

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, mixed media

Tenth Anniversary Giveaway

Update: All of the quilts, except for”Z Is For Zoom,” have new homes.

Can you believe I’ve been writing this blog for ten years? It began as a way to record my quilting adventures – work in progress, my finished work, shows I saw, artists I admired, and a few editorial opinions. If others were interested that was great. I think I’ve remained true to my original purpose with a few digressions.

To celebrate my anniversary and National Quilting Day (tomorrow), I will be giving away several of my quilts for you to enjoy in your personal spaces. Most are small, some are older, some I’ve used but am now ready to find new homes for them. I need to downsize. Many but not all these quilts have hanging sleeves. They are listed below by title and size. You can ask for as many you want. It will be first come, first served.

ONE BIG CAVEAT: I will not be paying any shipping costs. Either you can pick up your quilts at my house or a mutually agreed on location in/near Akron, Ohio; or you can pay for shipping. If the latter, we can work out a payment method.

If you’re interested in any of these quilts, email me at snarkyquilter@gmail.com. Please do not simply comment on this post. Note title(s) you’d like and whether you’re local or would need shipping arrangements.

Autumn Whispers 16″ wide by 24″ high

Bloodshot Bullseyes 15.5″ wide by 27.5″ high

Broken Glass 31″ wide by 34″ high

Curved Star 12″ wide by 13″ high

Feathering My Nest 14″ wide by 17.5″ high

Grasses 14.5″ wide by 19.5″ high

Heading Home 22.5″ wide by 23.5″ high

Pointing To Lavender 20.5″ wide by 21.5″ high

In The Weeds 22″ wide by 29″ high

Lattices 14.5″ wide by 17.5″ high

Little Red 15″ wide by 17″ high

Neutrality 24″ wide by 24″ high

Purple Snowflakes 15″ wide by 40″ high

Reverse of Snowflake

Rays 19″ wide by 21″ high

Should Trees Have Standing 22.5″ wide by 18″ high

Note: Can’t be shipped due to fragile paper

Turning The Corner 23″ wide by 33″ high

Turning The Corner

Turquoise 15.5″ wide by 17″ high

Western Canyon 11″ wide by 15″ high

Xmas Runner 15″ wide by 55″ high

Z Is For Zoom 31″ wide by 19″ high

I’m linking to Off the Wall Fridays.

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Excellence in Quilts Exhibit

Trigger warning, I’m going to brag on myself. Recently I was gobsmacked to have a work juried into the Fiber Art Network’s Excellence in Quilts show, now at the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, Virginia. “Shattered” is one of 22 works in the show, and it shares wall space with work by many premier art quilters.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Here are seven of the other quilts in the show. You can see all the quilts in FAN’s fall/winter magazine issue or at the museum. I took the pictures below from FAN’s Instagram feed.

Joan Schulze “Fata Morgana #4”
“Winter Shadows” Sara Sharp
Linda Colsh “A Thousand Cuts”
Fuzzy Mall “Aleef Mehdi”
Jean Howard “Monuments”
Mary Pal “A World of Difference”
Hyunjoo Cho “Winter”

My impression is the jurors (Judith Content and Alice Beasley) were aiming for a broad representation of styles and subject matter. If that is so, they succeeded.

Finally, in case you wondered what my work looks like,

“Shattered” 22 inches wide by 38.5 inches high

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

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Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Quilt Shows