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  • 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.



  • What’s New!

    I’ve been a busy girl; finishing up some UFOs and working on new classes, samples and patterns. Among other things, I’m working on a new ‘cat’ series. All you Garden Patch Cat fans need not panic – there are still quite a few more fruity and veggie cats to come (Hint: the next one will be ‘Purrsnip’), but it was time to start thinking of what will come next.

    About ten years ago, I designed a block of the month program quilt for Story Quilts named ‘Temple Guardians’, a series of elegant stylized Siamese cat blocks. The program did very well but from day one, I kept getting requests from quilters who were not interested in making the whole quilt but would I “please offer the blocks individually”. At that time, Story Quilts did not wish to do that as they felt it would undermine the shops choosing to run it as a Block of the Month. Now, finally, after activity on the full sized Block of the Month quilt has tapered off, Story Quilts has finally given me the go-ahead to rework the patterns into individual wall hangings.

    I am excited! This comes at a time when I was already becoming interested in the whole ‘Modern Quilt’ movement but I have no desire to jump into making a bed-sized modern quilt. This simplified design concept creates an excellent backdrop for these very Art Deco style cats. It is my plan to produce individual patterns from all the original Temple Guardian cats, each in a setting with that ‘modern’ twist and each bearing a name that exemplifies a trait that makes a cat – a CAT.

    This first in the series is ‘Dignity’ (what is a cat if not dignified) and it measures about 21″ x 35″ depending on quilting. The more intricate quilting you add, the more shrinkage you get in the finished quilt. Of the two samples pictured below, the cover sample belongs to Story Quilts and the second sample with the black and turquoise border blocks is mine. YES, I will be offering Posh Cats as a class for those who want help in assembling the quilt. The cats being simple and streamlined are a great subject for those wanting to learn hand applique – most of the pieces are fairly large and have very few tricky areas like points and valleys. The cats can also be fused of course, for those to whom hand applique is the ‘A’ word; or HA (more appropriately). I, for one, love to laugh – HA, HA, HA.

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    On another topic, one more ‘new’ addition to the website is a list of the lectures I offer for guild or event programs. You will find it under the ‘classes’ tab in a link directly after another link with class descriptions of all the classes I offer. Many of the lectures are old favorites like The Principles of Landscape Quilt Design, Color Theory and The Art & Craft of Quilting, but there are some new additions including a brand new trunk show and talk about ethnic influences in my work that I call ‘Global Dances’. The talk and trunk show include my ‘ethnic themed’ work such as Molas, Sashiko, my Animal Totem series and other quilts with ethnic motifs or symbolism.