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  • Oregon Coastal Quilters May 2015

    Home from the coast and I miss it already. I was born with salt water in my veins and a trip to the seashore replenishes my soul.

    Siltcoos Lake
    Siltcoos Lake

    When that trip can be combined with a teaching opportunity – so much the better. Last week I spent several days at the Oregon coast, staying with a friend in a lakeside cabin in Florence and then commuting up to Newport on a couple of days for a lecture and workshop.

    To the right is the lovely view from my friend’s living room window, imagine waking up to this every morning.

    Seascape quilt by student Jean A.
    Seascape quilt by student Jean A.

    The turnout at the Oregon Coastal Quilters’ meeting for my lecture on Asian fabrics was excellent, several members commented to me that the meeting was more crowded than usual. This is the second time I’ve lectured and taught for this lovely group of ladies (and gentlemen too!). It’s been several years since I was last there teaching a Landscape Quilting class and that program and class went well too. To the right is a picture of a gorgeous seascape quilt one of those students made back then and graciously shared with me on this trip. I’m guessing that as they invited me back, I must have made them happy the first time.

    This time around, the workshop was on my Animal Totems and the workshop filled to capacity. The students were enthusiastic and the projects they created quite impressive. Most of the time, students in this class start with a simple Seminole band pattern I recommend as it is one of the easier ones to piece, but a couple of students in this workshop forged ahead and tried other patterns or modified the one I suggested. This did not surprise me as the last time I taught for them, I was impressed by their quick creativity. Below are posted a few pictures of the workshop and one of me lecturing and showing my Asian fabric samples.

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    A successful, satisfying class and trip in my opinion, hopefully in the students’ as well. During my trunk show, several students commented favorably about a Garden Windows quilt sample I brought to show and expressed a desire to take that class. I do hope this means I may again visit the Oregon Coastal Quilters at a future date to teach and lecture again.



  • Sacred Threads 2015 Exhibit

    My quilt – Sekhet-a-ra – was accepted into the 2015 Sacred Threads Exhibit to be held July 10-July 26, 2015 at the Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA (outside Washington, D.C.). I met the exhibit founder – Vikki Pignatelli – last year when I was teaching at Empty Spools in California and she encouraged me to enter my work. She told me she had created this special venue to show works of spiritual significance. When I described my quilt, she said she thought is would be a perfect subject for the exhibit’s mission. I am so delighted that the quilt was accepted and will be shown.

    This quilt is a memorial tribute to my father who instilled a deep love for ancient cultures in me when I was young. He was a Rosicrucian and his passion was ancient Egypt but he encouraged me to read books about the mythology and art of many different ancient civilizations. Among the books I read were one about Egyptian art and architecture and a novel ‘The Winged Pharaoh’ by Joan Grant. This was not an ordinary ‘novel’ but rather what the author called a ‘far memory’ book as she claimed she was able to recall past incarnations and her books are based on those recollections of past lives. The book, which left a deep impression on me, told the story of a princess – Sekhet-ar-a (which meant ‘beloved of Ra’ – Sekeeta for short) who undergoes training as a temple priestess to fulfill her destiny as wife of the pharaoh and spiritual leader.

    The art book contained an enigmatic picture of a roughly carved wooden funerary mask. No gold or finery like King Tutankhamen’s jeweled coffins – just a simple mask with an adorned wig attached. The picture is credited as simply the head of a woman; no record of who she was and only a vague reference to what dynasty it may have dated from. Despite its crudeness, the mask is one of the most expressive faces I’d ever seen in Egyptian art with a sad sweet smile to her lips reminiscent of Leonardo DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’. The picture fascinated me and I would return to is time and again (in fact, the book falls open to that page when balanced on its spine and allowed to fall open).

    In my early adulthood, while I was still actively drawing and painting quite a bit, I decided to make a pencil drawing of the mask. This was followed many years later with a quilt version of the mysterious woman’s mask. I will admit, it was a lot harder to capture that gentle smile in fabric and the drawing does that more justice than the quilt does. While I never intended this to be a tribute to my father, I could not help thinking of him as I worked on the quilt and how I wished he had lived long enough for us to know one another as real adults. He died when I was 19 years old after a tragic accident that claimed the life of my 14 year-old brother; I believe he died from a broken heart. After completing the quilt, I wrote a prayer from the Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’ on a cartouche I added at the finish of the quilt. The prayer reads: “Stars fade like memory the instant before dawn. Low in the East, the sun appears golden as an opening eye. That which can be named, must exist. That which is named, can be written. That which is written shall be remembered. That which is remembered – lives”.

    The ancient Egyptians believed that as long as someone was remembered, they lived (which is why successors sometimes eradicated the previous ruler’s names wherever written upon a drastic political change in ancient times). The sentiment expressed by the prayer seemed a fitting epitaph to my father.

    Below are pictures of the book picture, the pencil drawing and the quilt. I apologize for the poor quality of the picture and the drawing. The drawing is framed under glass and I did not want to remove it from the frame to snap a picture, hence the reflections which I tried to minimize.

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  • Heading Out To Newport

    I haven’t kept up with this like I promised myself, but better late than never. I’m headed off next week to Newport Oregon where I will present a program and teach a workshop for the Oregon Coastal Quilters Guild.

    My program, which is scheduled for Thursday May 14, starts at 1 PM. The topic is on Japanese and Asian textiles, of which I am a passionate collector (at least as much as my budget will allow). The talk will cover methods of dyeing and printing fabrics such as Shibori, Kasuri, Katazome… as well as some of the decorative practical applications like Sashiko and Sakiori. The presentation will include lots of samples to fondle, books to peruse and a trunk show of my own work influenced by Japanese ethos.

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    The class, offered on Friday May 15, is Animal Totems. These iconic wall hangings combine Seminole or Strip Piecing with reverse applique in the style of a simplified Mola. Many cultures embrace the concept of totems, symbols of a clan or tribe and sometimes an individual will seek out their own personal spirit guide based on the qualities and character aspects that they wish to receive from the animal. The mythology of animals varies from culture to culture but can often follow startling parallels. Dragons are perceived as evil in many Western cultures but are revered as protectors in Eastern lore while foxes, dingos and coyotes are often deemed clever and wily the world over.

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    By The way, check out the ‘Schedule’ tab; I am FINALLY getting my class schedule posted there. I have only just started but it will be an ongoing process that I will do my best to keep up with.