Tuesday, December 31, 2013

influences: Josef Albers

We're traveling around a bit and I'm in the middle of a lengthy embroidery project, so new fresh tiny quilts are in short supply.

Instead, I'll talk about influences. Color is a pretty big deal for me. I love the saturation of color in fabric. I've tried paints and, while fun, they just doesn't work for me. Colored paper is lots of fun, but I'm not fond of glue and mess. Fabric just feels so good in my hands. 

In college, we had to shell out for the Pantone swatch set. It was a cool toy, but a tease. I wanted yards of colors, not a little piece. I wanted to be surrounded and enveloped by color. (Hey, I should make quilts, right?)

We also studied the seminal tome by Josef Albers, The Interaction of Color. Since 2013 is the 50th anniversary of its publishing, Yale has republished the work as both a paperback book and an iPad app. OMG! The app is amazing! For a mere $10, you can actually do the exercises that used to be performed with colored papers now with just your fingertips and eyeballs (well, and an expensive electronic toy). It's a hoot!!

Get the app here: Interaction of Color

Friday, December 27, 2013


A friend recently sent me a picture of the doll quilt I made for her daughter ages ago, back when our lives were full of toddlers and their dollies. I must have made a dozen little doll quilts with appliquéd hearts in rows for all the little girls in my life then. I indulged my imagination for a visit back to those days.

This one is a little less regular and less boring than the doll quilts of yore. Back then all the hearts were aligned the same direction, there were no dots and the fabrics were more randomly chosen to make it look like a scrap quilt. It's much more fun to make up the patterns as I go along now, instead of defaulting to a traditional arrangement.

I really can't get enough of dots.

"Dolly Hearton"
2013, 12" x 8.5", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

Check out this tiny art quilt on Etsy!

the joy of tiny things

Tiny things fascinate me. Who knows why. Tiny living spaces, especially. I love to look at trailers, boats and tiny houses. I always have a box or jar of tiny treasures. I once built a fantastic dollhouse.

I envision these quilts livening up a tiny niche or small wall space in a tiny living environment.

Now, also, I have a tiny sewing machine. It weighs only 5 pounds and lives behind the couch, ready at a moment's notice.

"Spotted sunshine in my eyes"
2013, 16" x 16", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

Check out this tiny art quilt on Etsy!


There's something way too enticing about repetition. I almost can't help myself, but hey, Andy Warhol did it.

Variations on a theme, over and over. Blocks. The essence of traditional quilts. I'm just giving in this time.

"TV eyes"
2013, 20.25" x 10.25", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

Check out this tiny art quilt on Etsy!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Our last read-aloud book (The Mistborn Trilogy) features metals as a source of power. The characters get to read from tablets made from metal to understand their history and their gods. Here is another imagined piece of their text. The background fabric has little fake metallic flakes imprinted on it.

"Unknown script copper"
2013, 8.5" x 8.5", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

Friday, December 20, 2013

letters and stories

My wonderful husband reads stories out loud to me while I prep dinner and wash up. I love being able to listen and fill my head with imagined visuals for the story (why I like books better than movies). The last book used quotes from fictional historical texts at the beginning of each chapter to give context to the unfolding story. As I was thinking about what these old texts looked like and what I've seen of illuminated manuscripts in museums, I built this quilt.

"Unknown script green"
2013, 8.5" x 8.5", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

Monday, December 9, 2013

waste not

 A few weeks ago, I posted a failed experiment with four block that wound up looking like eggs. I removed the block that wasn't quite the right color, made a replacement and embraced the eggs that were struggling to be seen. I wasn't about to throw the blocks in the waste bin, that wouldn't be any fun.

"Dreams on night watch"
2013, 12.5" x 12.5", hand appliquéd and hand quilted

The title is a nod to the night the captain noted on his way to bed after his midnight to 4 watch that all he could think about was a full diner style breakfast with eggs, grits and the works. Great. Now it's 4 AM and I have four hours to contemplate the same thing. He could have stayed quiet, but no.

Check out this tiny art quilt on Etsy!