Archive for the ‘Walking’ Category

purple sky red roof lo res

I noticed the shapes of this barn down the road from us, while out walking one day. I think it makes a great composition on its own.  But I did decide to add the purple sky as an added touch.

Martha Ressler

Red Roof, Purple Sky

Art Quilt

16 x 20″

Here is a little video of me working on a piece that I eventually call “Reading Blues.”  It was a photo I took of some interesting graffiti on a wall in Reading, PA. After printing the photo on fabric I embellished it with stitching, found objects and some fabric pieces.

And the finished piece.

Reading Blues version 2

At this time of year I am so grateful to live in a Northern clime.  The “change of seasons” we all claim we love can work against us in February.  But in April and May watching the leaves burst forth in their yellow-green bounty is pure joy.  My studio looks out onto our garden, filled with flowers and birds, and from there to the wildflower meadow and treeline beyond. Yes, it calls to me to come out and weed and plant.  But it also demands its story be told in art quilts.

All of these are from talking walks near my house.  In the case of “North Mountain,” I only have to walk out of my front door.

I’ve been working on smaller scale pieces, getting ready for the many art fairs coming up this year.

My husband Jay has been making the frames to float these pieces.  Inside each is a 5 x 7 fully finished little art quilt. They are poplar, routed, sanded, cut and oil stained, then hand rubbed wax finish.

Here are some of them.

I just learned from my friend and fellow art quilter Sara Mika that there is a project called 1 Year of Stitches.  It is a thing! Gather your hoop, your needles, some cloth and all of that beautiful embroidery thread and join in.

1 Year of Stitches is the brainchild of Hannah Claire Somerville, who has invited anyone interested to join in this impressive endeavor.

Here is what I’ve been working on for a week or so.  Mine is an art quilt in becoming.  This is the part with most of the embroidery.  A photo of a rusty old car. (see it?  turn it clockwise: that’s a front headlight.)

This piece was inspired by a rusty old car at the end of our road, and a trip to a railroad museum yard.


You can stitch on plain cloth, print cloth, linen — whatever makes you happy. Make abstract designs with stitches, or make a little picture — just be yourself.

Look at this densely embroidered beauty by Michelle Anais Beaulieu-Morgan.

Brown paper bag

Join the fun! Get your hoops on.

I just got home from the 27th Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference in Philadelphia, and am walking on air. SAQA has gone from 1 exhibition per year in 2005 to 11 or 12 per year now. And an increasing number at in museums, like the ground breaking joint exhibition Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora opening April 16 at the Textile Museum in Washington DC.

I gave a Pecha Kucha talk (by definition short: 20 slides for 20 seconds each.) Kept me or anyone else from going on too long.  They were exciting and informative. Mine was called “27 Quilts in 30 Days,” my adventure in speed quilting last January. There were 24 talks in all.

We traveled to nearby Wayne, PA to see Art Quilt Elements 2016, at Wayne Art Center.  I’ll include some pictures from that too.

A few highlights were: Kathleen Loomis’ talk, “Why Working in a Series Works,” Carolyn Mazloomi, “When Being a Good Artist is Not Enough,” Maria Shell, “Walk, Talk, and Write Like an Artist,” David Kohane, “Can I Use That? Copyright from a Legal Perspective.”

We bid farewell to our talented, personable outgoing President, Kris Sazaki, and welcomed Lisa Ellis for the start of her term.

Mostly I was having too much fun, or thinking too much to take many photos. Sorry folks, you’ll have to join SAQA to understand the camaraderie, joy and inspiration I get from this great group.


I’m following a different idea today.  Later I do want to get back to the humor/fantasy landscapes.

We have quite a log pile, as my hubby works to clear brush and dead trees from our land. Each piece is different, with a unique pattern of tree rings, cut marks, rot, and other markings.

I am making an enlarged image of a tree section from our log pile. It will be made of nine 12 x 12″ quilts, each one mounted on stretcher bars. There will be color shifting involved as we move through the piece.

This is the first one, bottom left. We’ll see if this works!

Mother is walking the squirrel, Mrs. Turkey Hen looks for her baby, who is next door trying to learn to read. Meanwhile Banana man checks on the weather, while the children play.

Another one in the series of life in the country, as it isn’t! The title is Curious Happenings, and the size is 15.75 x 33.5 This was a one day piece, albeit all-day! I’m using the same technique of pieces of plastic bags overlaid with tulle, or sheer fabrics. The original photos are printed onto cloth, and the commercial cotton pictures are backed with Mistyfuse and “fussy cut.”

Only five days left!  I might change direction today.

We live at the base of a mountain, and especially during mulberry season, often speak of “evidence of bear.” Meaning, well, let me just say that the “evidence” is full of mulberry seeds and of a specific shape and consistency.

In today’s fantasy, entitled “Evidence of Bear,” the bear (another neighbor’s lawn ornament), is hard to miss. I think he has his eye on the delicious looking fish atop the house.

The size of this piece is 15 x 18.75, and again I’ve started with a background of plastic bags, and tulle pieces which gives a feel of watercolor washes.

Let’s see what happens today. Be sure to check out what other artists are doing at



This is a “two day” piece, and a continuation of the theme of unknown neighbors. For the background,  I continued the use of plastic bags (I have quite a collection of wonderful colors) along with tulle (sheer fabric) and of course Mistyfuse, a heat activated fusing material for fabric.

My sister-in-law’s pet turkey makes another large scale entrance, as well as a new item found in someone’s yard — the funny little man in the top hat. And of course I’m continuing to have fun with quirky commercial prints. Oh, and for some reason there has been a baby picture of my uncle in my studio for some time. He gets center stage.

The title is “Strange Neighbors?” and the size is 14.25 x 30.25.

This was was inspired by the title of an art show I intend to enter called “Boundaries, Borders and Thresholds.” After I had a flood of thoughts about the serious events and associations that came to mind (US/Mexican border; fear of immigrants; historical Berlin wall etc etc,) I started to think about the close to home boundary of neighbor to neighbor.

I checked my growing repository of photos from my neighborhood, and sure enough there was a nice house in town, and a contrasting tiny (ex-outhouse??) behind a neighbor’s house. And it made me giggle to put that big woman from a commercial cotton print inside the nice house.

My sister and brother-in-law’s pet turkey glares menacing from the “ex-outhouse??” and various other and sundry creatures abound. I used some bits of plastic bags under the tulle in the sky, and I like the effect.  That idea will get me started on my next piece.

Makes me think these neighbors should have met a long time ago!