Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Mentoring, or encourageing creativeness as well as sharing knowledge and skills, is an important element in my creative life. I'm fortunate to have a number of people who welcome my imput, although there are occasions when maybe it's perceived as intrusion. Even then, I like to think that it's a possitive experience on both ends.

I'd like to share the most recent accomplishments of two young women artists who are close to my heart. I feel privileged to share experiences, resources, and supplies as well as the name "Durand".

Jeanette Jancius Durand is my daughter-in-law. Her piece, "Untamable Fire," was juried into "A Fine Art Quilt" show currently running at the Jay Etkin Galllery in Memphis, Tenn. Her piece was selected by the Memphis Commercial Appeal as the photograph to feature the article about the show in its newspaper. YEAH! Here she is at the opening:

Untamable Fire
$800.00 (See Jay Etkin Gallery website press release listed below for purchasing information)

Machine appliqu├ęd, hand quilted; cotton fabric & batting, cotton & rayon threads
34 x 28 inches © 2005

Untamable Fire is a psychological landscape. The elegant beauty of our conscience is thrown into a tidal wave of flames. We strive to build an ordered and calm world, but nature has other plans for us. Chaos consumes our structures and replaces them with native landscapes once again.

Go to Jay Etkin Gallery site, to see a close-up and the rest of the show
VISIT Jeanette's site and blog. She'll be writing about her experience soon.
Her website is Embellished Visions (link is listed in the column to the right).

Diane Cross Durand is my neice-in-law. She and her family (husband, Peter, and 18 mo. old daughter, Lilli) left the cottage here at Macatawa this morning after a 10 day visit. During this time she "discovered" a technique that translates her style of drawing into fiber art. Diane designed and completed two pieces. Each looks like they are drawings straight from one of her journals.

Untitled - 13"x14"

Untitled - 16"x21"

Lilli is helping

Diane sewing the binding on the last evening.

Diane plans to write about her experience on her blog, This Little Fish (listed in columm on the right)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Guild Challenge

I was so pleased to get the news today that our guild, The Smoky Mountain Quilters, won the Grand Champion award in the Ultimate Challenge contest at the American Quilter's Society Show in Nashville, Tn. The prize is $5000 which goes into our guild's treasury. The Ultimate Challenge entry from the SMQ comprised eight quilts selected from many quilts made by our members that featured a challenge presented by our guild. This year's theme was a commemoration of our guild's 25th anniversary. The quilts were made to a specific size, featured 25 of "something" and was to incorporate a silver cotton lame fabric. Here are photos of the quilts that won this top award in that prestigious show.

Jan Borkowsky - The names of all 25 chairwomen of the Dogwood Arts Festival Quilt shows are written on the saucers. There are 25 napkins, candles, and plates.

Pat Blankenship - "Twenty-five Something" - Features events and happenings among guild members.

Gayle Loundes - "Reaching For the Sky - Twenty-five Years and Still Growing Strong" - there are 25 trees.

Barbara Lopes - "25 Scarlet Beads" Made from kimono silk fabrics.

Bridget Wilson Matlock - Anniversary Bouquet.

Pat Davis - "Ode to a Midsummer's Night Dream"

Gloria Felter - "Stars of the Smoky Mountains"

Nellie Durand - "Celebration" - There are 25 pieces making up the design. I incorporated all the different ways I could think of to celebrate ... fireworks, a big silver outlined star, a balloon release, confetti, and a ticker tape parade.

The Smoky Mountain Quilters Guild has entered this contest twice before. In 2003 our challenge theme was "T" and we won second place (my contribution was "May Day Teaparty"). In 2004 the theme was "Yard" and we placed third ("Junkyard Dawg" was the one from me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

About Me

My medium consist of the techniques and materials tradionally used by women to provide clothing for their families and items for their homes. I utilize many types of stitchery and sewing skills to contruct my pieces from new as well as recycled fabric, threads, and yarns of all kinds. I also use findings, sewing notions, fabric paints and dyes, as well as oil pastels.

Craftsmanship is an important element of my work. However, exploring the interplay of colors, values, textures, materials, and techniques is my passion.

Professionally, I have taught stitchery techniques, as well as color and design, through classes for organizations and needlework shops across the United States and Canada. My work has won recognition in juried, judged, and invitational exhibits.

Finished Big Red

It's finally finished except for a bit of handsewing on the binding ... and a hanging sleeve. It feels so good to create the first piece of art this summer. It's been a series of settling in here at the cottage. First time when we arrived in late May, then neutralizing the cottage for the renters, finally getting it all back to how I like it ... again ... when we returned from Colorado. Plus, there's the time it took to reorganize and paint the furniture here in Studio North. Alas, now I feel in the "groove" and comfortable in my space.

"Big Red at Sunset" 30"x24"
Mixed media-fabric, threads, roving, netting, paint, oil pastels
Machine quilted

"Big Red at Sunset" detail

"Big Red at Sunset" lighthouse detail

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Well, finally I'm here on the web with a site of my own. YEAH! I've been yearning for an easier way to get my "stuff" out into the world both verbally and visually. Thanks to the boost and encouragement from my nephew and fellow artist, Peter Durand, I've got it.

Here's a photo of the piece I'm presently working on. It's a 39th birthday present for my son, Kemper:

It's titled "Big Red at Sunset". Mainly it's collaged fabrics with threads and wool roving thrown in. All is held in place with tulle netting placed over the surface. I then machine quilt through the surface design collage plus batting and backing to hold it all together. In the photo I'm adding paint to highlight the crests on the waves. Previously, I used oil pastels to shade the lighthouse and clouds as well as to emphasis elements in the compostion. Stay tuned for the finished piece in a day or so.