A local gallery made a video of the artists (all artist couples) who participated in their show “Til Death Do Us Art.” My husband, Jay Ressler, and I were two of the couples included in the show.

Here is our video, fresh off the editing table!  It’s very short — don’t worry — we won’t go on and on!

The videos were made by Zachary Reinert.  Thank you Zach, and Jane Stahl of Studio B who organized this.

URL:

See Video here

I bought this hand painted fabric, from Indonesia, at Ladyfingers Sewing Studio in Oley, PA.  I was enamored with the colors and design. So far I’ve made one piece from it, plus a couple of fancy Hot Spots (pot holders that I make to sell.)

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Indonesian hand painted art cloth

Indonesian hand painted art cloth

I was attending a lecture by Quilter Lisa H. Calle at Ladyfingers, which mostly dealt with using rulers for machine quilting. I did buy a couple of them, and ordered a machine foot that is used with rulers, but I’m not sure this method will work for me very well.  Something in me prefers a quirky, asymmetrical look for machine quilting.  But still – I have to give it a try.

While there I met Laura A Cunningham, a fellow art quilter from Mifflintown. She told me to check out Cynthia England, who won best in show in Houston (International Quilt Festival) this year for her quilt “Capetown Reflections.”. I’ve never been attracted to constructing an art quilt using piecing. I find raw edge applique much more immediate.

But I checked out Cynthia England’s method — watched her video on her website, and decided to give it a try.

And – guess what –I liked it! Granted I didn’t make the best use of her complicated piecing method, as I was using entirely the art cloth, except for the white area with the tree drawing. But it did give me some practice with the method, and a bit more texture in the piece.

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Plus, her use of freezer paper for the shape elements of a design could work better for construction raw edge applique.  I currently use tracing paper to trace the shape of each element in my cartoon (full scale drawing of my design). But the freezer paper sticks, slightly, to the surface of the fabric, allowing a more accurate cut out of the desired shape.

Is this going to be a change in direction for me? It’s too early to tell. Having tried only one art quilt using it, I’m not sure yet.

In my relatively isolated rural setting, I am grateful to artists’ websites and You Tube postings, and other ways of learning what other are doing. It helps to keep me in touch.

Hot Spot (hot pad) quilted on whole cloth.

Hot Spot (hot pad) quilted on whole cloth.

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I’ve been asked to teach a class on hand embroidery.  Although I started embroidery at my grandmother’s knee at about age 8, I am no expert. So, I must learn. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

First I needed to straighten out my own collection of embroidery floss. I didn’t take a “before” picture, but, just think: “spaghetti.” I have a collection of 6 strand “regular” embroidery floss and #5 Pearl cotton (the non-divisible kind). I recently added a #8 Pearl Cotton to my collection, which is finer, and useful sometimes.

With the 6 strand floss, it’s OK to keep it wound in the two paper bands it comes in, as long as you carefully find the correct end to pull out. If you have the wrong end, it will tangle right away. So – let that go, and find the other end.  If you do have the right end, a length will pull out easily.

With the #5 Pearl, I can find no other solution that re-winding it right away onto cardboard bobbins. (unless it is the kind that comes in sort of a ball.  You can leave it wound on that ball.)

You can buy the bobbins (they’re cheap), or you can make your own out of pressed cardboard (the kind cereal boxes are made of.)

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The cardboard bobbins are also useful to organize and keep neat your 2-strands or 3-strands of the 6 strand floss that you have separated, but not used yet.

OK, so now my thread is organized.

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I’ve been using embroidery as a surface decoration in my art quilts for some time.

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But here is a piece I’m working on now that is all about embroidery.

hummingbirds

I also will make a sampler piece with about 6 basic stitches.  And borrow heavily from Pinterest to give my students ideas: feminist or subversive sayings, “Zenbroidery” using a pen and ink abstract drawing as basis, botanicals – there are a lot of ways to go with this.

I’ll post more in the future as this develops.

Any ideas you may have are welcome!

Our first SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) Pennsylvania group show opened October 22. Honestly it was a real high point.  My hubby and I brought our visiting cousin and her husband.  I just got a note from her, “We found the day of Connected by Stitch extra special.  The work was so incredibly varied and intricate.  I loved listening to your colleagues talk about their inspiration and techniques.  Very fun people too!”

I was so proud of us! We were led every step of the way by our state coordinator Meredith Armstrong. The Gallery at Penn College, directed by Penny Lutz hosted the show, and did a very professional job.

Here are a few pictures, and my one-minute presentation of my piece, The Secrets It has Kept.

Art Plus Gallery has been cooperating with Saylor House, an interior design company in Wyomissing for a year now, to display works of the artist-members of Art Plus Gallery (of which I am one.)

I went to pick up my piece, Stone House in the Valley, to take it to it’s next show location, Studio B in Boyertown. The show there opens this Friday, Oct 21, entitled Til Death Do Us Art 2016.

stone-house-in-the-valley-in-placeI really liked they way they had it displayed, with monochrome furnishing that went beautifully with the tones of the art quilt.

Had to share, and give thanks!

We enjoy watching our Goldfinches all summer long. They grab onto a long flower stem in our wildflower meadow and swing back and forth, like in their own private amusement park. As autumn approaches, they lose their bright yellow coloring. It takes energy to maintain that color for breeding season.

It’s like when you come home and put on your comfortable clothes!

A while ago my husband, Jay Ressler, who is also an artist, made a beautiful photographic composition called The Sunflower King. The finch sits grandly atop a bent and gnarly sunflower, well past its prime. In the background are layered love letters from Henry VII to Anne Boleyn, and another texture layer.

I decided to make an art quilt inspired by The Sunflower King. Actually I made two.

The largest one is called Summer’s End, 25.25 x 19.5”

The smaller is called My Little Finch, and is 12.5 x 10”

Here they all are.

I was pleased and honored to see my piece included in a “Selections from Turmoil” article in the current issue of SAQA Journal (Volume 26, No. 3). Juror Kate Lydon says, “Turmoil features art quilts that depict personal interpretations of confusion and uncertainty, bitterness, anger, or the chaos of an over-scheduled life.  Representing themes of aging, displacement, and the power of nature, selected artists share expressive works that speak to memories robbed by disease, dysfunction, and grief, witness displaced people, borders crossed, obstacles faced, and disempowerment through war and unrest.”

My piece, Mother Serves the Turkey, is more lighthearted. There is a war going on, but the artist is blithely unaware of it. Normally when Mother “serves turkey” it is to hungry guests who look forward to a delicious meal.  In this case, she serves Mrs Hen Turkey her favorite food: watermelon (true fact.)

Turmoil, along with a sister show Tranquility, open at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, this October, and travels until 2019.

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Mother Serves the Turkey II 31 x 26.5

M Ressler Mother Serves the Turkey