Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"It's A Wonderful Life" and What it all Means!

"It's a Wonderful Life"

This quilt is a very personal piece for me, so before I post about the making of it, I thought I would show some of its details and give a little explanation of their meaning. This seems very self-indulgent, and I hope I don’t get carried away, but here we go:

1) That’s me there, holding a trophy steelhead fish – and yes I do fish. Fly fishing in particular. On a trip to BC one year I caught the trophy steelhead depicted here. It was 26 pounds and it took me a half hour to land it. It is the largest fish I've ever caught and it’s larger than most other steelhead caught. I’m not the best angler on the river, but sometimes if you just try something you have success beyond your wildest dreams. The image is a metaphor of sorts. Disclaimer – the steelhead I caught was released, and no steelhead were harmed in the making of this art quilt.

2) The two people wading the river behind me – that is a silhouette of me and my hubby. A friend took a photo of us crossing a river and it is a favorite of ours. I've done a painting of it and it hangs over my bed. So this part of the piece is symbolic of my happy marriage.


3) Paint brushes, needle with thread, and scissors – did you notice them? Well they are there. Where would I be artistically without them? These are my favorite tools. My hand is happy when they are in it.

scissors, needle and thread

paint brush

4) Periodic Table of the Elements – It’s really hard to see this, but some of the tree trunks and bushes are made from fabric of the Periodic Table of the Elements. I purchased it on Spoonflower.  That fabric was used because there is still a scientist/engineer inside me, gradually getting obliterated by fabric and paint.

5) The Heron – In another life I could be a full on bird watcher, binoculars, Bermuda shorts and all. I love birds and must have one in all art quilts somewhere. It’s a thing with me.

heron and signature

And I think that covers it.  Thanks for letting me blather on about myself. My next posts on this quilt will talk about how I went about making it.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, January 19, 2015


"It's a Wonderful Life" by Eileen Wintemute

I’m proud to have this art quilt that I call “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the “My Inner Self Portrait” exhibit at Road to California this year. Beyond the Edge Fiber Artists is presenting this exhibit at Road. This year is Road to California’s 25th anniversary, so it should be a great show. I’m sure there are many special things planned.

This is the description that Beyond the Edge prepared for the “My Inner Self Portrait” exhibit:

A fine arts fiber exhibit exploring aspects of self-portraiture that look beyond the mere physical to review that which is unique to us as individuals and/or that which is universal to all.

We were asked to prepare something to show how we see ourselves. As a child I was very shy and my shyness prevented me from trying experiences that I know I would have enjoyed. In high school I realized I was missing out on a lot, and started to push myself more. Much to my delight I found friends, happy memories and accomplishments once I took some chances. Today I am a happy person with many blessings and accomplishments, partly because I have been blessed, and partly because I overcame my shyness.  My quilt is intended reflect all of that.

I will be showing how I made this in my upcoming posts. In the meantime, I hope I see you at Road. As always, thanks for visiting my blog!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


I am sometimes asked where I get my inspiration for art quilts. I find inspiration in many places, including art museums. It helps to go to see an art exhibit a few times each year and just take in how others are depicting their view of the world and beauty. I recently went to see the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Arts Center quilt exhibit in Anaheim. They have several traditional and art quilts on display. I enjoyed looking at this and found inspiration in several pieces on display. Here are some examples:

These are photos from a coxcomb traditional quilt. I have always loved this pattern. Seeing this inspires me to make my own coxcomb design and then make a fiber art piece from it.

This is an art quilt by Linda Anderson. I love many things about this piece, but for the first time I noticed the echoing of the figure she has done. I love finding additional surprises on closer examination. This inspires me to go work on the current art quilt in my studio and add some surprises of my own.

This is a traditional quilt made from a cotton sateen, I think. It had the appearance of silk, but was called cotton. This quilt has given me the idea of using sateen in place of silks when I want a sheen. It had a very striking appearance, and is probably easier to work with.

These are just a few examples of where inspiration can come from by looking at other's work. I hope you are inspired now too!

 Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Finishing Up An Old Project

I started as a traditional quilter and then found my way to art quilting. But, I still have some UFOs from my traditional days. Some of these are not worth finishing, but there are a few that are close to done and I still have hopes for completion. This project is one of those that I forced myself to finish this last fall.

It is a Lynn Mann design that I learned in a class with her. I believe it is called Plaid Madness. I love the design, but my piecing left a lot to be desired. I did the piecing a long time ago, before I learned how to match seams. I'm still not a great piecer, but I have improved.

Nevertheless, this top was pieced and partly quilted. I put myself on restriction in order to finish it. I was not allowed to do any thing else until I got this done. And now that it is done, I am happy to have it draping over my chair. I plan to use it as a blanket and not worry about ever showing it.

It was made completely by machine, including stitching down the binding. It's a nice feeling to have that out of the way. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

It's a new year, full of promise and opportunity. I wish all of you happiness, health and lots of what you love.  I'm working on my creative goals for the year today. These include another commission project, another whole cloth art quilt made primarily with oil paint sticks, and a fiber art piece with a pelican as the subject matter. I'll show you all of these on this blog during the year. I am also going to show some other, non-fiber art related parts of my life too once in a while. In the meantime, cheers!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New and Improved Design Wall!

My studio is a small bedroom in my home. I am not complaining, because I realize that many people have less space than I do. I’m very thankful for what I have. But nevertheless, I store a lot in that room and use it for a wide variety of creative purposes. Given that, I need to maximize the utility of every square inch! Here you can see that it's a bit crowded in there...

A design wall is essential to art quilting, I think. For years I have been using a design wall that I would construct from stretcher bars and batting. I didn't have the space to leave it up all the time, so it would be up when I’m working on a project and then taken down. When it was up, I was frequently moving it around the room in order to access the closet, or this table, or that bookcase. It was inconvenient to say the least.

stretcher bars when being stored

So recently I decided to make a design wall on one of my sliding closet doors. The closet in my room has three sliding doors. The center door does not slide behind the other doors, allowing things to be placed on it without being knocked off when I slide the door. I have taped drawings to this center door for a long time without any problem.

door before design wall

I made the design wall out of insulation foam that I purchased at Home Depot. Home Depot has various thicknesses of insulation foam to choose from. I used a foam that is about 1.5 inches thick. I could have purchased a large sheet of it for less money than I spent, but the large sheet would not fit in my car.  Instead I purchased several two foot by two foot squares of the insulation foam. My door is three feet wide, so I cut some of the insulation foam sheets down the middle to make one foot by two foot sections. I placed a two foot by two foot piece next to a one foot by two foot piece to cover the width of the door. I covered most of the door this way, ending up with a three foot by six foot design wall.
insulation foam

The foam sheets were taped to the door using mounting tape. This tape is double sided and rated to support a heavier weight than the foam and anything I will ever pin to it.
mounting tape

After the foam was mounted on the door I covered it with white flannel. I simply pinned the flannel to the foam so that I could remove it for laundering when needed. Here is the design wall on the door with some photos pinned to it:

design wall on door

I liked the wall on the closet door so much I decided to add a smaller version to the back of another door in the room. It is incredibly convenient now to pin fabric, photos, drawings and other things up in an instant. I got this all done in one day too. It is a great improvement over what I was using.

I hope this gives you some ideas of how to better use your space. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bonsai - Borders, Quilting and Finishing

This post is going to describe the finishing steps for this Bonsai piece. After adding the foliage, I squared up the inner orange part of the quilt and then added a flange made from cream silk fabric to the bottom and left borders. After the flange was on,  I made a border from the brown table top fabric and added it to all four sides. I like uneven borders so if it looks like one side of the border is larger than the other, it is!

Once the borders were attached I did another round of squaring up, and then sandwiched the top, batting and back.  I machine quilted this piece with my HQ Sweet Sixteen. I tried to follow the pattern on the background fabric that was left by the tin tile impression. Where I couldn't see the impression I just made up a pattern to fill in the space. I used pretty tight stitching on the background. Here is a close up of part of the background.

background quilting

For the pot quilting I stitched a curving pattern reminiscent of ammonites. It is a pattern I use quite often. In this case it gave the pot the appearance of a ceramic vase, which is what I was going for. Here is a close up.

pot quilting
I also did machine quilting around the appliqué pieces, in the foliage and on the border. The border design was just a fan shape variation and straight lines.

border quilting

After the machine quilting was done I finished the edges with a facing, 

I named this quilt “Furui Bonsai No Ki”, which means “Old Bonsai” in Japanese. The Haiku I wrote for the label reads:

"Furui Bonsai No Ki

Old Man of Nature
Silent Garden Observer
Shaped to Perfection"

And with that I will call it a day. After all, it is always a good day when you finish a quilt!

Thanks for visiting my blog!