Nellie"s Needles

Friday, March 31, 2006

Moonlight Madness

I had begun this piece in a Jane Sassaman workshop, which my younger son and daughter-in-law had given me as a present .... including airfare to Chicago. To see the piece that resulted from this class for my daughter-in-law, Jeanette, go to her website.

"Moonlight Madness" - 37"x43" - 2005

Description: Only in the moonlight do you see bold shapes and colors. The flower petals and leaves are the same paisley shape. The circles in the border represent a bit of magic ... or are they fairies?

Technique: Machine applique and machine quilting.

Materials: cotton fabric; cotton, metallic and polyester threads; oil pastels (on vine and leaves in the outside border).

Exhibitions: 2005 Dogwood Arts Quilt Show - Knoxville, Tennessee
awarded Second Place
"2006 Festival of Quilts" Folklife Museum - Farragut, Tennessee

Jane Sassaman's applique technique is uniquely her own. I was happy to add it to my "bag of tricks". The background of this piece is not "wholeclothe". I was able to control the value placement in the background because each section is appliqued in place. As a matter of fact, I ran short and substituted a different fabric for one section.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

MORE Elvis

This is the second shoe I had designed for "Imelda's Dream" wall quilt. Lee tried to lay claim to it for the shrine room, but I wouldn't let him have it.

"Rock 'n Roll" shoe - 8" long - one of 16 shoes in "Imelda's Dream"

Instead, I designed a 12" long one as a birthday present for him. It's mounted on the door leading to the shrine room.

You can see Lee's tongue-in-cheek attitude toward Elvis by the objects mounted on the door entering the shrine room. As I said, "He has fun playing with Elvis." Following are photos of other Elvis things I've made that have become part of the irreverent shrine to the King.

"Love Me Tender Souvenier Fork"
14"x14" - 2004
This piece is the result of a piece of cake themed round-robin exchange with SMQ's Thursday Bee group (Sheila Rauen machine embroidered the fork made by Patty Ashworth). Yarns are couched to make the frosting and raspberry filling.

Valentines from three years made for Lee. The crazy quilt one became the backdrop for Elvis and Priscilla. Lee had bought a wedding cake topper and made the appropriate hairdos for the couple with clay.

A piece of artwork we had purchased in New Zealand was converted to the "Presley Puppet Palace" by Lee. The valentine I had presented to him on the day of purchase is part of the piece.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Elvis Has (not) Left the Building

I've made several small quilts that feature Elvis for my husband. Lee claims he's a "tongue in cheek" fan. However, he's serious enough to have devoted to the King a whole room ... plus a Honda motor scooter and its trailer in which it gets hauled to Michigan and back. I must say he does have fun with Elvis. A year ago he had a three month long Elvis exhibition at the Folklife Museum where the "Festival of Quilts" was just held. I'm afraid to speculate how I'd have to fight for my studio time if Elvis ever left our building.
"Elvis Has (not) Left the Building" - 20"x24" - 1998
The picture in the center is cut from a child's T-shirt that I over-painted. It took well over a year to collect the "doo-dads". It's hand-sewn and hand-quilted.

1998 - Dogwood Arts Quilt Show - Knoxville, TN
awarded 2nd place
- "Scattered Pieces and Gathered Treasures"
Holland Arts Council - Holland, MI
2005 - "70 Candles for Elvis"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut, TN
2006 - "Festival of Quilts"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut, TN

"The King" - 17"x17" - 2004
A friend had given me a woven tapestry piece of Elvis that she had purchased in Nashville. I collaged over it with silk threads, roving, and sequins. Tulle and machine quilting holds it all in place. There's also a touch of pastel work on his face.

Exhibits: 2005 - "70 Candles for Elvis"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut, TN

"His Music Lives" - 23"x26" - 2005
Fabric and sequins are collaged under tulle and machine quilted. Yarns are couched to the surface and edges. Paint and glitter glue are used. The center is a 3-dimensional figurine.

Exhibits: - 2005 - "70 Candles for Elvis"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut, TN
- 2005 - Emporium Gallery - Knoxville, TN
donated to Art & Cultural Alliance
auctioned to raise $ for Knox County School's art programs

"Where's Elvis?" - 55"x50" - 2003
Carrying on the tradition of using old clothes to make quilts, I used T-shirts that Lee discarded to make this throw. He had designed and made several of the shirts which accounts for some images that don't look like the King. It's constructed with the seams exposed on the front to frame each picture and it's machine quilted.

Exhibit: - 2004 "Threads of Time"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut. TN
- 2005 - "70 Candles for Elvis"
Folk Life Museum - Farragut, TN

... and that isn't all. Stay tuned for more ...

2006 Festival of Quilts

A wonderful quilt show here in Farragut closed yesterday. It was put on by the Farragut Folk Life Museum and the Arts Council. This was the 9th biennial show coordinated by Linda Ford and it featured 110 quilts. It was a nice mix of vintage, traditional, and contemporary quilts. I was the featured artist/quilter with 21 of my quilts in a special exhibit, "Nellie's Needles".

I was there for about 2 hours each of the 4 days and got questions and attention from visitors that I wouldn't have thought would take an interest in the direction I've taken quilting.

My latest postings have been about quilts in this display. Stay tuned for those I haven't yet covered.

Also exhibited were seven of the eight quilts that comprised the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild grand prize winning entry in the Ultimate Challenge contest at the AQS show in Nashville this last August. All eight quilts will soon be a special exhibit at the up coming AQS show in Paducah.

Following are photos featuring some of the other quilts in the "2006 Festival of Quilts". Enjoy!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Vincent's Flowers

Vincent's Flowers - 33"x23" - 2002

Description: After viewing Van Gogh's sunflowers in an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute, I felt compelled to interpret his exuberant style of painting into fiber. I was most intrigued with his skies. They seemed alive with color and light ... of hope, possibilities, and optimism.

Technique: A collage of fabric, wool roving, and cut apart "silk flowers" arranged on a hand-painted background fabric. Machine quilting holds all the layers together.

Materials: cotton and synthetic fabrics, polyester thread, fabric and acrylic paint, "silk" flowers (old & new that get pulled apart and cut into new shapes), wool roving, netting. cotton batting

2003 Dogwood Arts Quilt Show - Knoxville, Tennessee
awarded an Honorable Mention
2006 Festival of Quilts - "Nellie's Needles" special exhibit

I couldn't resist backing it with Monet's garden fabric. I went on to make a piece titled "Painted Flowers" that has a strong Monet influence ... but that's another story.

I had made a number of smaller studies before making the large one. This one doesn't have the spashes of paint to make it even more "painterly", but this 10"x13" one does.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Passing Storm

"Passing Storm" - 25"x30" - 2004
The horizontal strips of hand dyed fabric and "dry" colors evoke a feeling of the southwest. The storm has passed and the sun in shining on the horizon. Storms are a welcome event in this part of our country. That there will be another sunny day is inevitable. This relfects my optimistic feelings about life ... rough times will be followed by good ones. Or, as my family has heard me say many times, "...and this too shall pass."Technique: Crinkle quilting.
Materials: hand dyed cotton fabric, cotton thread, acrylic paint, oil pastels, acrylic medium

This piece is available at MB Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Turning Point

I had taken a week long workshop with Susan Shie at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tennessee back in 1997. Susan had brought for sale small acrylic paintings on fabric that she had made. I bought the cat that is the center of this piece because it looked just like "Snatch", the cat belonging to my son and his wife. Also, she had painted in stripes that looked just like the striped fabric I was working with in my main project for that workshop. There was no way to resist buying it.

I had fun using Susan's "relaxed" construction techniques (no cutting templates, and exposed raw edges) as well as embellishing it with big stitch embroidery and doodads. The spontaneity of making this piece around Susan's whimsical painting as well as being exposed to her work and influence for a week was a turning point for my developing style. Up until then I was most comfortable designing within a grid. I designated this piece as a collaboration between Susan and me.

"Snatch 'n Fish" - 12"x14" -1997
acrylic painting, hand-dyed & commercial fabrics, cotton floss, beads & stuff
In the collection of Kemper & Terra Durand - Evanston, Illinois

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In the Spirit of Gee's Bend Quilts

There are three pieces in my Gee's Bend series that was inspired by the utilitarian quilts made by the ladies in that area of Alabama. I emphasized the irregular shapes and assymmetry that gave drama and energy to those quilts with curved piecing as well as through the distortion caused by my quilting technique.

"In the Spirit of Gee's Bend" - 26"x30" - 2005
Exhibited at 2005 Dogwood Arts Art Show (juried) - Knoxville, Tenn

The colors symbolize the aspects of these women's lives that I perceived by studying their quilts at the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibit as well as hearing and reading their stories. Blue denotes the freedom of their creativity. Orange stands for the joy in their singing and quilting together. Red signifies the intensity of their lives. Purple and black alludes to the harshness and sorrows they suffered.

"Magic Carpet" is the second of this series. Mystery, levitation, soaring ... be ready to take a flight of your imagination.

Magic Carpet - 16"x19" - 2005

The last one of this series is the "Spirit of Africa." The energy and essence of Africa radiates from within this piece.

The Spirit of Africa - 16"x19" - 2005

Technique: Made in the "crinkle quilting" technique I developed. It involves setting wrinkles into the surface fabric. This wrinkled fabric is layered with batting and flat backing fabric. Hand-quilting between the wrinkles with two-ply strands of cotton floss creates the "crinkled" texture. The threads that frame the piece are the beginning and ends of my stitching lines. Paint and oil pastels are applied to emphasize, mask, or accent elements within the compostion. An acrylic matt medium is appied as a finish to protect the quilted surface.

Material: Cotton fabric, marbled fabric, cotton thread, paint, oil pastels, acrylic medium

All three framed pieces will be exhibited next week at the "Festival of Quilts 2006" - Folklife Museum here in Farragut, Tennessee as part of a special exhibit, "Nellie's Needles" (comprised of 21 quilts).

Into the Light

"Into the Light" - 38"x44" - 2001

Description: A visual interpretation of gaining wisdom through the various stages of life ... from unenlightened childhood to enriched maturity. (Although, my son Brian upon hearing my title asked, "Why don't you just call it Bug Zapper?")

Technique: Hand embroidery, hand and machine applique, trapunto, machine quilting, marbling

Materials: Cotton and silk fabric; cotton, polyester, metallic and mono-filament threads; fabric paint, army blanket for batting

2001 - Dogwood Arts Quilt Show & Competition - Knoxville, Tenn
awarded 1st Place
awarded Excellence in Machine Workmanship
2002 - "Patchwork Pleasures", Folklife Museum - Farragut, Tenn
2003 - "Sew Near to My Heart Quilt Show" - Cincinnati, Ohio
2006 - "Festival of Quilts 2006" - Folklife Museum - Farragut, Tenn
Special exhibit, "Nellie's Needles" comprised of 21 quilts

Purchased for Private Collection in Evanston, Illinois

Monday, March 13, 2006

Beyond the Rainbow

After my mother and several friends lived through the experience of breast cancer, this piece evolved to reflect how their diseased breast(s) affected their lives. A cancerous breast becomes detached, or isolated, from "normal" life. It is the main focus in the center of an out of kilter personal universe. All that is happening to the treated breast is reflected not only in the life of a woman but in those who love her.

"Beyond the Rainbow" - 31"x25"- 1998

Technique: Hand-quilted, hand applique, hand embroidery and needle lace, machine pieced.

Materials: silk fabric; hand-dyed, upholstery & commercial cotton fabrics; acrylic paint; beads; mono-filiment, metallic, and cotton thread; polyester batting

1998 - Dogwood Arts Quilt Show - Knoxville, Tenn. - awarded 1st Place
- "Scattered Pieces and Gathered Treasures" - Holland Arts Council Museum- Holland Michigan.
2000 - "The Millenium Art Show" - Knoxville, Tenn.
2003 - "Sew Near To My Heart Quilt Show" - Cincinnati, Ohio - Amercian Cancer Society Special Exhibit
2006 - "Festival of Quilts 2006" - Folklife Museum - Farragut, Tenn
Special exhibit, "Nellie's Needles" comprised of 21 quilts

This piece is for sale - $1600

Post Script 2015:
I, too, got breast cancer in 2012. Consequently this piece became even more personal. I ended up donating it to a cancer organization to raise money to help women in treatment.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Quilt of the Day

Beginning with today, I've decided to do a daily posting of a photo of one of my quilts rather than post nothing at all. I'll try to find the time to include a comment.

Since last fall, it's seemed like I live my life meeting deadlines. Right now it's finishing up this quilt for the Smoky Mountain Quilt Guild challenge for 2006.

"Warm and Fuzzy" 36"x48" (click on photo to enlarge - click again to see details)
Fuzzy chenille yarns are couched around each heart as well as the borders. Lots of machine quilting adds texture, too. Plus the images within the center hearts are things that can make a child feel warm and fuzzy inside.

It's due at this month's meeting which is tomorrow night. The theme for this year is "hearts". All submitted quilts will be donated to the Saving Little Hearts organization at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Some will be given to children undergoing heart transplants and major heart surgery. Others will be auctioned at one of their fund-raisers. Eight quilts will be selected by an "outside" judge to comprise our guild's entry to the American Quilt Society (AQS) show in Nashville next August. Last year our guild was awarded the grand prize (link to photos and blog) at that show.