Quilt Japan

Constellation Beyond Time and Space by Yoko Kageyama
Constellation Beyond Time and Space by Yoko Kageyama

Isn’t this gorgeous?

The colouring is magnificent and the repetitive design in both large and small is very effective.

If I had piles of money I would like to go to Quilt Japan – but until then I will have to enjoy looking at pix or going to the National Quilt Museum to see selected quilts.

Why I Avoid Art Competitions

I do my best to avoid art contests, competitions etc. Specially when you are asked to ‘pay to play’. It’s a real bad deal for artists. This article explains why. Thank you Maki Naro for writing this post on the Popular Science website.

It’s the same as a local restaurant offering to show work. Who wants their work in a food infested area? And are your clients really going to slurp their delicious meal, look up and go – ‘oooh look! I must find out who created that amazing piece of artwork and then actually follow up and buy it.’ I don’t think so.

Just another way to get free artwork.

PAY US FOR OUR WORK. Many of us have at least as much training as a plumber and would like to earn some of it back.

Knitting and Stitching Show 2015

Knitting and Stitching Show 2015
Knitting and Stitching Show 2015
Walkaway Dress from Butterick
Walkaway Dress from Butterick

I was sent a reminder about the 2015 Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London, England. One of the events is the Butterick Walkaway Tea Celebration. The ‘Walkaway Dress’ pattern was featured on the The Great British Sewing Bee and thousands of sewers created their own version of the Butterick classic.

The email reminded me of all the years I made my own clothes. My first serious sewing machine was an Elna which I left behind with a friend when I moved to the West Indies and started living abroad. I missed my Elna and bought another no-name machine while in Antigua. I say ‘no name’ because I can’t for the life of me remember what it was!

Everyone on the island was a skilled seamstress and pattern maker. We couldn’t afford to buy clothes as they were all imported at vast expense. And you could fit only so much into a suitcase when you traveled to the States.

I made all my clothes – even my own swimsuits.

When I married and moved to the States, we bought a Pfaff. My husband wondered if we couldn’t have bought a car with the money we spent on my machine!

I stopped making my own clothes. The machine didn’t languish – I began making quilts.

I bought a second sewing machine – a Juki with a big throat, which I could use on a large quilting frame.

My mother gave me 2 family Singer sewing machines. One of which I remember using when a child. It was kept on a table in the attic and I have no memory of what I stitched – but something! The oldest machine belonged to my great grandmother and the other to my paternal grandmother.

So I am part of a great tradition. No, not the ladies who sew. But the ladies who have far too many sewing machines in their home……!

If you are in England next month then take yourself to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. You’ll enjoy it.

Update on window display at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

Window display at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

We did a quick drive by last weekend to see the window display at the Justice Center in downtown Portland. Other than the billion police cars surrounding the Center, parked in every conceivable spot (quite glad really, the contents of our display were properly guarded!) – it was a terrific show. People were actually stopping and looking in the window. I took some fast shots which didn’t come out very well, I hadn’t taken into account the bad glare and reflections. Oh well, you get the idea……

Royal Crustacean Cellini spiral necklace displayed at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

In amongst all the other yummy work is my Royal Crustacean Cellini Spiral.

Summertime Donut necklace displayed at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

A better shot of the Summertime Donut necklace.

Summertime Donut necklace at the Justice Center, Portland, Oregon

And again, in with baskets, scarves etc.

There are 60 feet of display area – a lot of very nice items to see.

Latimer Quilt and Textiles Museum, Tillamook, Oregon

The East Room of the Latimer Quilt and Textiles Center, Tillamook, Oregon
The East Room of the Latimer Quilt and Textiles Center, Tillamook, Oregon

A couple of weekends ago we drove out to Tillamook, Oregon. The town of the fantastic cheese factory. And butter, and ice cream. What a cool place.

On the way I kept noticing signs for the Latimer Quilt and Textiles Center. How did I not know this was so close? My usual head in the clouds obliviousness I suppose. Well, now I know.

This year they exhibited 2 contemporary quilt artists – Barbara Shapel and Larkin Van Horn. I am impressed.

Safety Harbor City Galleries – library exhibition

Safety Harbor City Galleries

There is no doubt jewelry needs to be seen in person. And tried on, and examined minutely. Though photographs can be very descriptive, there is no substitute for the real thing. My beadwork is on exhibition at the Safety Harbor library until the end of June 2014. You can see it, and touch it, and try it on. And if you like it, you can buy it. Well, some of it. A couple of pieces have already sold – but I take commissions! Just email me – Contact.

Silver Red Dagger Beaded Bead Necklace on exhibition at the Safety Harbor City Galleries
Silver Red Dagger Beaded Bead Necklace on exhibition at the Safety Harbor City Galleries

SAQA Trunk Show 2014

Finally the SAQA 2014 Trunk Show has been put together, ready to tour the world for the next 3 years. I don’t even want to think how much work it takes to put together such a thing. 407 pieces of artwork, all needing mounting, sealing, and notating. Then they are packed and shipped in 8 different trunks. Unbelievable.

Subterranean Spiral - hybrid quiltMy piece Subterranean Spiral is part of Trunk G.

I like the idea these little quilts are ambassadors for the astonishing amount of technique, talent, and sheer passion of the SAQA members.

And you can request to have a trunk show sent to your guild, library, exhibition space or just to have as part of a group critique. Just email TrunkShow@saqa.com and ask for details.

Cheapside Hoard exhibition, Museum of London, England

Cheapside Hoard, salamander
Cheapside Hoard, salamander








This exhibition is spectacular! The Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London. I read about it the last time I was in England but didn’t manage to get there. This time around my cousins wanted to go into town so we all went together and exhausted ourselves running around London. Actually, no exhaustion – it was lovely. The weather was good to us, and sitting in the top section of one of the new double decker buses meant we could see all the city architecture.

This salamander ornament is probably the highlight for me. Tiny and exquisite. I’m sure my cousin won’t mind me telling a story on him… he called me over to see this really cool green “caterpillar” not realising at first glance, it had feet!

Set in gold this hat ornament is made with cabochon emeralds and table-cut diamonds. Interesting bits of information – “Tudor and Jacobean hat jewels often expressed the sentiments or the sporting, spiritual and cultural interests of the wearer. The salamander had an emblematic significance since it was thought it could pass through fire without harm by exuding a milky substance which moistened its skin. Fashions in Renaissance jewellery were international and the salamander appears elsewhere, particularly in Spain and as here, in England.”

Cheapside Hoard, emerald clock
Cheapside Hoard, emerald clock

This emerald clock got me too. And my cousin, as he is an avid clock collector. A whole chunk of Columbian emerald crystal….Gosh, is all I can say. Here’s the nitty gritty – “The movement and dial plate are corroded and cannot be raised out of the setting. The dial plate is enamelled in translucent green and the circular gold suspension loop and button securing the movement at the base are set with small emeralds. The suspension loop is set in a white enamelled flower, c.1610. The main body of the case is cut from a single piece of emerald with a lid of facetted emerald. The catch for the lid consists of a gold pin set in the base which passes through a hole in a gold tube set in the lid. The watch has a gold dial overlaid with dark green enamel through which can be seen the engraved design of radiating lines.”




Cheapside Hoard, scent bottle
Cheapside Hoard, scent bottle

And how about this stunning scent bottle? From the Museum of London’s info – “Gold scent bottle enamelled white and set with opaline chalcedony plaques, rubies, spinels and diamonds, with a gold suspension chain. This richly decorated bottle was designed to contain perfume made from flower distillations and spices which were widely used to disguise unpleasant odours. One of Shakespeare’s sonnets refers to a bottle of this type and filled with ‘sumer’s distillation left/A liquid prisioner pent in walls of glass/Beauty’s effect with beauty were bereft.'”

At the exhibition you could open a little door in the wall and smell the scent they used to cover up all the pongs of the day. Don’t want to think about it!

I was very taken with the designs, especially the exceptionally long necklaces which could be translated into beadwork.

We were denuded of our handbags which had to be locked away before entering the dungeon-like exhibition space. All to get you in the mood I presume because the jewelry was displayed under lids of glass and wasn’t going anywhere.

The Museum provided a magnifying glass so you could examine the pieces close up. Sometimes I found myself peering at a dangling pendant, only to realise I was gazing straight into the enormous eyes of the exhibition goer on the other side of the display……