Archive for December, 2015

I loved the title of this show: My Corner of the World (International Exhibition). I related to the title, so I entered.

It is a SAQA show (Studio Art Quilts Associates) that will debut at the Stratford Perth Museum, Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

What I entered was a piece called Evening in Steel Valley. It was inspired by the view from my spacious sunny studio in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. The houses in the alley were ordinary — one was even boarded up. The view also included an old steel factory, which has been repurposed. And we see the rolling hills in the background, which are the northern banks of the Allegheny River.

I remember I crawled out of the studio window onto a flat roof to get the sketch and photo that I needed to capture this view. I had left work at my day job for the day, and was starting my evening work in the studio. The setting sun hit the buildings in a way to create additional angles and shapes.

I felt this truly was “My Corner of the World” at that moment.

The exhibit will travel, and run from May 2016 to June 2018.

Here is some real fun.

At the opening of Quilt National, the pre-eminent art quilt show at the Dairy Barn, Athens, Ohio, each artist who had a piece in the show and was in attendance got to give a 2 minute presentation about her piece. I was there, and noticed the videographers,  setting up and making a video of each presentation. The date was May 23, 2015, at the Dairy Barn Art Center, Athens, Ohio.

I found the finished product more or less by accident the other day, a film by Gary J Kirksley.

Watching them is a wonderful entry into that artist’s mind, and a good way to remember her work.

I’ll give you links to some of them. There are many more which struck me for various reasons.  And you can continue with any of the links to see more of the 2 minute videos.


Deidre Adams has the stamp of intelligence all over her work. Knowledge, and who gets it and how it is withheld from others is the theme of Disruption, 55 x 98”

Deidre Adams Disruption


Betty Busby I include for the sheer innovation of her shaped piece, inspired by her years as a potter. Plus she is an exuberant soul! Tribute, 65 x 20 x 18”.

Betty Busby Tribute


Daren Pitts Redman really blows me away with her piecing. Her work is so very different from mine, and sometimes that is what attracts me. Her piece is called Glorious Summer, 42 x 70”.


Diane Nunez had the most unusual quilt in the show called Cross Section, 34 x 34 x 1″. And yes, she does explain why this is a quilt.


Kathleen Loomis simply astounds me with her huge, beautiful, carefully planned out “Entropy,” 71 x 85.”

Kathleen Loomis Entropy

And finally I include Kristin La Flamme because I love her political explanation for why she chose the quilt medium, and the thought behind the piece itself, ‘Murica, 52 x 97”

Kristin La Flamme 'Murica
Enjoy! I hope you learn from these too.

I sat myself down yesterday and watched Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob.  Subtitled “Eliminate your Frustrations with Thread, Needles, Tension,” it went a long way to do just that during its less than two hour running time.

I have long appreciated Superior Threads and their accurate but humorous advice. I’ve poked around their website, read their blogs, and received their emails. But I learned so much more from this little video.

Here is one teaser from just the first few minutes.

I, like many other quilters, have been seduced by the sparkly metallic threads on a narrow cone at the fabric store.  But then when sewing with them, they break.

Bob demonstrated a simple test for metallic thread.

Pull a foot or two off the spool.  If the thread is curly and twisted as it hangs, it will twist along the thread path and break when it goes through the tension disks.

If it hangs straight, it will sew without twisting.

Some of the problem lies in the manufacturing — the way the metallic foil is wrapped around the center thread. Some of the problem lies with the diameter of the core. Some are just a half inch or so, the thread takes on “memory” of that tight wind.

Superior’s metallic threads are wound on a larger diameter spool, and don’t twist.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years about thread, tension and needles.  But so many of the gaps in my knowledge were filled in by sitting down and watching this video.

The DVD is still available and free of charge.  Here is the link:

There is much to be gained from this wonderful company. In the future I’ll let you know what you CAN do with those pesky metallic threads in your stash.

When I joined SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associated in 2009, I began to hear about a special level of membership, now called Juried Artist Members.

At first I thought: I’ll never be able to achieve that!

Then over time the idea began to intrigue me.

What is a Juried Artist Member?

SAQA created the designation:

“ . . . as a tool to help the collector choose new artists to purchase or to assess the importance of your collections.  SAQA offers members the opportunity to have their work juried in order to achieve Juried Artist Member status.  This status means that in the view of the jurors, the artist is producing and documenting his or her work at a high professional standard.  What could be more useful to the collector, than the assurance that an artist has created and will continue to create top-quality work and is recognized, by his or her peers, as a professional?  SAQA offers collectors an enormous advantage because we have access to the online directory of Juried Artist Members.”

In fact the jurying process was indeed very rigorous. The first time I applied, I was not accepted.

But I applied a second time, and was just notified that I was accepted!

Notice the stipulation that the work is being documented at a high professional standard.

Writing artist statements, and keep accurate records is part of being a professional artist. I have heard that it is now being taught as such in art schools.  True?

Anyway, here is my new JAM profile.


I am attracted to the reuse of old factory spaces.

Recently I was introduced to a new one, The Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. It was the Walkin Shoe Company, founded in 1887, and renovations have smartly kept reminders of the old factory. A line of industrial sewing machines caught my eye in particular. I worked in sewing factories for more than a dozen years, and used probably 2 dozen or more types.  But these were ones I was completely unfamiliar with, as they were for sewing shoes.

I will include pictures of their holiday decor utilizing shoe lasts, thread stands, and other factory items.

There are many models for art centers.  Walk In was founded by Albert R Evans, Jr, of Evans Delivery Company. It also takes advantage of partnerships with Schuylkill County Education Council and Penn State University for art classrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. There are artist’s studios, exhibition space, offices, and a future museum on the first floor dedicated to local industry. The rest of the facility was completed in 2013.

I am most familiar with GoggleWorks, in Reading, PA, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. This is a very large art center in an abandoned Willson Safety Goggles factory. It includes artist’s studios, a gift shop, cafe, movie theater, 3 large exhibition galleries, offices, and classrooms — from hot glass, to carpentry to ceramics.


And I have visited the granddaddy of them all: Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.
I’d appreciate your comments on other centers of this type.