Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Our House Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House . . ."

" . . . with two cats in the yard.

Life used to be so hard;

Now everything is easy

'Cause of you."

At times it makes me giggle when I realize how often old songs make their way to the forefront of my thoughts as I work on a new piece. Music is one of my muses, and it may be responsible for many of the motifs that emerge in my designs without my being fully aware of its presence. Most of my wall quilts are named after favorite songs of mine.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found myself humming this endearing little tune from 1970 by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (if you remember this group when there were four of them, you’re a Baby Boomer) as this piece came together in Laura Wasilowski’s class at Quilting By The Lake. Our assignment was to create any form of “scape” we desired (landscape, cityscape, seascape), and Laura showed us numerous examples of whimsical houses, trees, and fields as inspiration. I had the wonderful feeling of a child in kindergarten, having been given total permission to play with colors, shapes, and scissors.

The border is a piece of hand-dyed fabric which had been resist-dyed with a spiral-shaped stamp; I decided to follow the lines of the spirals with free-motion quilting and then fill in the spaces with my own version of “McTavishing” (an alternative to stippling).

There are no cats in the yard, though – I don’t do cats very well . . .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"It's Sum-Sum-Summertime!"

"Summertime, Summertime"

First, a clarification: The beautiful wall quilts featured in my last post were the creations of Laura Wasilowski, not the work of my hands . . . wish I could say they were.

Here, however, is my version of the first assignment given to us by Laura on the opening day of class at QBL. We all started with identical pieces of Laura's stunning hand-dyed fabric, and we were given the following guidelines:
  • Cut 2 pieces out of the fabric: one for an area of sky and the other to represent grass or ground.
  • Add spiky leaves and stems (cut on the bias so they could be curled into shape as they were fused)
  • Scatter flowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes among the stems; Laura demonstrated myriad examples of fantasy blooms to inspire us.
I added French knots, using Perle Cotton #5 and Laura's hand-dyed #8 embroidery thread, and I machine-quilted the piece with Madeira 30-weight rayon thread.

And the finished design sang, "Summertime, Summertime!", so I borrowed the title of the song by the Jamies and gave the little wall quilt its name.

Check back again -- I'll be posting my homework assignment from Day #2 very soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


In case you’re not old enough to remember (sadly, I am), TW3 was the nickname of an NBC television show from the 1960s titled “That Was The Week That Was.” Looking back, the short-lived series was probably the pre-cursor to “Saturday Night Live” – in other words, it was an idea whose time had not yet arrived. But the title has stayed with me all these years, and it aptly describes my week at Quilting By The Lake.

QBL is an annual two-week convergence of some of the finest quilt artists in the world (visit the QBL web site and you’ll delight at the famous names you’ll see there). There are 2-day, 3-day, and 5-day classes offered, and I was fortunate to have secured a spot in Laura Wasilowski’s weeklong “Fusing Fun/Journal Quilts” workshop.

Her wall quilts are amazing, as you can see from these pictures (click on each one to see the stitching details), and she is an absolute treasure.

She is the self-proclaimed Dean of Corrections at the Chicago School of Fusing, and, after a week of cutting, fusing, embellishing, and learning the school’s fight song, we each received our diplomas (shown above). And we laughed a whole lot.

Be sure to check out Laura’s website; her hand dyed fabrics and threads are a visual treat. And I’ll be posting my finished “assignments” in the next few blogs, so you can decide if I truly earned my diploma.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer SUNsation!

Some wonderful fiber art awaits you at the Broadway Art Center as part of the Colonie Art League's Summer SUNsation Exhibition. Over twenty-five colorful and diverse wall quilts will be on display in the newly constructed BACk Room of the Center, located in the Arcade Building at 488 Broadway in downtown Albany. The show has already opened and extends through October 18th, but be sure to visit early and often, as the pieces in the exhibit may rotate in and out during the ten weeks of the show.

Pictured here are four of my small wall quilts which are included in the exhibit (clockwise from upper left: "Aspenglow," "Deux Danseuses," "Cycles: Harlequin," and "Kodachrome;" click on each image for a closer look). If you can't make it to the Art Center and would like to purchase any of these pieces, please contact me at Diane@DEsignedByDianeEvans.com and I'll send you the details on reserving the quilt of your choice.

I hope you'll be able to see the show in person; in addition to the fiber arts exhibit, dozens of art works in all mediums, including oil paintings, watercolors, and photography, will be on display, and all items may be purchased. And you'll definitely want to visit on August 7th, the evening of Albany's First Friday -- there will be a reception at the Art Center from 5 - 9 PM. Hope to see you there!


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