I began a new Wall tapestry this week. I have been playing with new quilting techniques inspired by Susan Carlson’s large glued wall quilts. I also recently saw some quilts by Velda Neuman that just blew me away.
We have had a long, tough year here. I have been dreaming of quilting. Last year I began the process of business planning to create a studio business for myself finishing quilting for other quilt top piecers. My original intention was to invest in a long arm machine and set up shop full time as a quilter. I live in an area with a lot of high-income-family quilters who, as one Quilt store owner told me when I was discussing my plans, “Quilt with their pocketbooks.” they love to make tops, they don’t mind paying to have them finished for them. I belong to one quilter’s quilt that has about 300 members. Many of them pay to have their quilts finished.
I rented time on a long arm machine and I love the process of quilting. I actually love quilting and finishing other peoples tops MORE than I liked piecing quilt tops. (Which is VERY different from how I feel about creating one of a kind art quilts!)
In the mean time, life took over. I spent three months driving my partner back and forth to Baltimore for cancer treatments. ( thank god he is doing fine now!) I came to grips with my own health issues — primarily a strange disease called D.I.S.H. that calcifies all my tendons and ligaments where they connect at my spine and turns them into bone, along with cervical and lumbar stenosis of the spine that makes standing and walking for long periods of time incredibly painful. All of which makes standing and working at a long-arm-machine for a job impractical.
BUT! I am ready to make some serious changes in both my life and in my living. I am in the process of relocating to Bedford, VA. where I was born. I intend to open a studio gallery there and to sell my own art quilt works, as well as do quilting for other piece-makers. I am looking at investing in a sit-down long arm machine instead. I seem to be able to work for long periods of time seated and not have the strain on my back for now. ( I am currently doing all my quilting on a little Heavy Duty Singer machine 4011 with a 6″ neck…!!!!) In that mode, I am focused these days on creating pieces for a body of work that is professional quality and unified in my own style of “painting” with fabric. I am focused on creating art pieces not that are based on my own sketches from nature and on my oil landscapes which are all paintings of my sense of place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia.
In that mode, I am focused these days on creating pieces for a body of work that is professional quality and unified in my own style of “painting” with fabric. I am focused on creating art pieces now that are based on my own sketches from nature and on my oil landscapes which are all paintings of my sense of place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia.
Bedford VA is a beautiful little town somewhat lost in time in the Blue RidgeMountains. It has become a bit of a tourist destination due to the National D-day Memorial there. (Bedford County lost the highest per capita number of young men in the nation at the D-day invasion of Normandy.) There is also the Smith Mountain Lake area of Bedford that is a resort/ retirement destination for many who love on the water.
Bedford is a Designated Main Street Town, it is part of the Virginia Artisan Trail, and it hosts numerous arts and community associations and events for all.
Because of this, and the incredible beauty of the area, I have always longed to return there in my soul. Almost all of my oil paintings were based on remembered visions and feelings of the time I grew up in that idyllic area. The colors, the emotional response to the landscape and to nature there have always held a fascination for me. And so art quilt work is beginning to reflect that desire and to prepare for a market here as well. Thus the new wall hanging Virginia WildFlowers.
Virginia Wildflowers is a piece composed of 5 different wildflower panels of plants native to Virginia: The Giant Red/Green Trillium, Ladyslipper Orchids, Purple Violets, the carnivorous Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and my favorite wild Virginia Bluebells. The finished piece will measure approximately 30″ x 60″ depending on how the separate panels are connected. I have designed the panels to have organic shapes and to have visual interest with cut outs and with texture from quilting and from 3-d flowers and bead ornaments. I am very excited about the project. I am going to walk you through the development of these. Here are the original sketches on muslin ready for the process to begin.