Sunday, July 6, 2014

September 10-October 24, 2014 - Catich Gallery, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA

Thanks to the Catich Gallery former and present staff (Leslie, Kristin, Joseph and Kat) and student (Catherine) for making the installation of "A Piece of Me" such a success.  I really appreciate their sensitivity to the work, professionalism and aesthetic instincts!  The exhibit is in good hands and a beautiful space! 

Catich Gallery 
518 West Locust Street 
Davenport, IA 52803

Artist Talk/Lecture: Thursday, September 18, 4-4:45PM
Opening reception: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 5-7PM
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM

My quilts will be exhibited along with the work of bookmaker, Brian Borchardt.  Please join me for the reception and lecture on September 18, 2014.  I plan to hang 5 pieces, 3 of which have never been exhibited prior to this show.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Sum of Many Parts: Quiltmakers in Contemporary America (US tour 2014-2016)

Swim, 2013 (currently on tour with The Sum of Many Parts)
"The Sum of Many Parts: Quiltmakers in Contemporary America presents15 quilts in varying styles, created by artists who are actively producing work today. Hailing from 14 different states, the artists featured in the exhibition boast diverse backgrounds and paths that led them to textile art. Some began quilting and sewing in their youth, while others did not pursue the art form until adulthood. Many learned the craft at home, creating practical blankets for their families. Others are academically trained artists who chose textiles as their primary medium." - Exhibits USA

May 15-June 20, 2014
Washington County Museum
Portand, OR

July 5-August 16, 2014
Argenta Branch Library
North Little Rock, Arkansas

February 3-March 10, 2015
Jones-Carter Gallery
Lake City, South Carolina

March 25-August 16, 2015
The Foundry Art Centre
St. Charles, Missouri

September 1, 2015-January 19, 2016
Crealde' School of Art
Winter Park, Florida

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

February 23, 2015 - Eastern Iowa Heirloom Quilt Guild, Marion, IA

American Legion Building
625 31st Street
Marion, IA

Morning meeting: 9:00AM; presentation at 10:00AM
Evening meeting: 7:00PM; presentation at 8:00PM

Friday, March 21, 2014

Map of the World

Several years ago, a friend and I visited the Heath Ceramics studio in Sausalito, California.  I have been a fan of their beautiful tile and ceramics ever since.  Last summer in preparing to renovate my bathroom, I stumbled upon some neat little square-images of tile samples on the Heath website.  I quickly realized I couldn't afford Heath tile for my project, but I could cut and paste the sample images into a quilt design idea that I would save for a later date.

I was finally able to start the piece and my goal is to have it finished by the end of April, so there's time to get it hand-quilted and ready for a show this September at the Catich Gallery at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.  Here is the work in progress:


 Each strip takes about an hour to construct,
not including the time it took to pre-cut the pieces
 A finished 24 x 24 inch blue square
This image (four - 24 x 24 inch squares) represents only a quarter of the finished piece
Finally finished the top on Saturday, April 12th, 2014.  Shipping off to hand-quilters early this week in hopes of having it finished for the Catich Gallery show at St. Ambrose University (Davenport, IA) this fall.  Fingers crossed!!  My house isn't big enough to photograph the whole quilt, so thanks to Inspirations in Hills, IA for letting me borrow their design board to drape most of it for a pic.

I was recently thumbing through a book about weaving when I came across a design that really excited me as a potential quilt idea.  I wouln't make the quilt in black and red, but this is just a simple way of remembering that basic concept so that I can later have the fun of choosing colors.  One thing I love about this design is that it holds together no matter how it is oriented.


I always put a label on my quilts.  I hand-stitch it to the lower right hand corner of the back.  The labels are inspired by old-fashioned hang tags and include:
  • Quilt-maker's signature
  • Title
  • Quilt size
  • Year of completion
  • Number of pieces
  • Place where it was made
  • Quilting information (*)
  • Website
Prior to constructing the label, I adhere freezer paper to the back of the fabric, which makes it much easier to do the writing (with Sharpies - one thick, one thin). 
Someday, the label may be the most important part of a quilt.  Imagine pulling a quilt out of a trunk in your late uncle's attic and finding a label which would give you at least some of the quilt's provenance.  No matter what the quilt looks like or it's condition, the label would be the most intriguing and exciting find!
*I am unable to directly credit my Amish hand-quilters in accordance with their cultural tradition.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Class @ Home Ec Workshop MAR 8 & 15, 2014

SATs MAR 8 & 15, 10A-1P, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City

Join me to make the Modern Quilt Relish quilt pattern, "Taffy Twists."  The class is limited to four people with the following quilt-making skills (or willing to learn them very quickly): read and follow pattern; confident, safe, accurate rotary-cutting; "fussy" open-seam ironing; consistent, accurate "scant" 1/4-inch seam sewing.  With these skills well in-hand, the pattern is easy to follow and fun to put together.

I made the Throw size (60" x 78"), but you can make whatever size you like 
(pattern has four size options: Table Runner, Baby, Throw, Queen).

Laffy Taffy, my dog

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Class @ Home Ec Workshop, FEB 8 & 15, 2014

SATs FEB 8 & 15, 10A-1P, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa City
"Wonky" Double Cross
Learn to make this wonderful quilt pattern by Pam Rocco. Work toward a finished 50" x 50" quilt in this 6-hr class, or take the top home and make three more to construct a quilt fit for a QUEEN! Perfect gift for a bun in the oven or for someone you love bunches! Whimsical and loose: recovering perfectionists welcome

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Abiquiu, New Mexico (December 29, 2013-January 4, 2014)

 On-board the Southwest Chief (Amtrak)
 El Santuario de Chimayo, Chimayo, New Mexico
 Chimayo with faralitos
 Hwy 84 north of Abiquiu, New Mexico
 13-mile Forest Service road to monastery
 Rio Chama
 Christ in the Desert monastery
 bush at monastery
 stations of the cross at monastery
 Los Ojos, New Mexico
 Hwy 84 north of Abiquiu, New Mexico
 Hwy 84 north of Abiquiu, New Mexico
 Just north of Bode's, Abiquiu, New Mexico
 courtyard outside our room at the Abiquiu Inn
 Georgia O'Keefe home and studio, Abiquiu, New Mexico
 Shiprock Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
 Holy Trinity Parish, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
 Holy Trinity Parish, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
 Bridge over the Rio Grande, near Taos, New Mexico
Abiquiu, New Mexico

Tubu - one quilt begets another

My September 2012 trip to Shanghai, began in this bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa...  

...where I bought an exhibit catalog containing this image:

"Sea of Japan in Winter" (1983)

It is a quilt by Shizuko Kuroha, which appears to made largely of indigo fabrics from Japan.  This quilt inspired me to to make my own version of this pattern (Arabic Lattice block), which I would title "Portmanteau."

"Portmanteau" (2011)

"Portmanteau" would travel to China in the early part of 2012 as part of an exhibit "The Sum of Many Parts," and I followed thereafter in September.  I attended the opening of the exhibit at Shanghai Museum of Textile and Costume, and was fortunate to meet Naomi McCallus (see photo below).  She commented on my fabric choices for "Portmanteau" and suggested that I would probably like a somewhat hard-to-find fabric that is unique to China and no longer made, simply called "lao bu" (old fabric).  It is hand-dyed (indigo), hand-woven fabric which was made on small in-home looms primarily for utilitarian purposes.  Naomi is a friend of Laurel Menser, who'd come to Shanghai from the US Embassy in Beijing to serve as tour-guide extraordinaire for Louisiana Bendolph and me during the first few days of our stay.  

Naomi McCallus, Louisiana Bendolph, Erika Kuenne, Laurel Menser
at the opening of "The Sum of Many Parts," Shanghai, China 2012

Erick Wolfmeyer, Hui Feng, Laurel Menser

So the next day, Laurel, my undaunted Chinese-speaking guide, and I, the wary tourist in a city the scale of which is beyond comparison, set out on our shared mission to locate the shop.  With the address scribbled on a scrap of paper in-hand, several cell phone calls to Naomi for clarification of the directions, two taxi rides across the river and back from two lost taxi drivers, and a short walk later, we finally found the obscure shop that sold lao bu. The shop owner was very soft-spoken and kind.  I had no concept of how much RMB to USD the fabric was going to cost, even with Laurel's uber-patient, exacting exchange rate calculations.  She finally advised: if you want it, buy it.  It was great advice, and I did.  I have no idea how much the fabric finally cost or exactly how much yardage I brought home.  As I walked away with a large IKEA bag full of my lao bu, the shop keeper in the adjacent shop (pictured below on the right) would hardly let us advance without getting us to buy more at his shop.  Thankfully, fearless, savvy Laurel fended him off and we were on our way back to the Portman Ritz-Carlton.  We made a quick replenishment stop at the ATM, only to find my card didn't work, and if I remember correctly, I ended up exchanging my last bit of US dollars into RMB at the "Bank of Laurel." We then made our way to the European style grocery, which was fortunately only an escalator ride below the main floor of the hotel lobby.

Hui Feng, owner
Hui Feng Cloth Art Shop
34 Liuhekou Lu, Shanghai, China

The fabric smelled of mildew and so I decided to buy some detergent in the hotel store and wash the fabric in the tub of my room.  I panicked when I saw how much indigo was bleeding from the fabric and fearing I would stain the tub, I quickly drained the water and started frantically wringing out the fabric.  Only later did I learn that the indigo would not have stuck to or stained the porcelain tub, but nevertheless!

I was then left with the task of drying all this fabric in the midst of a very humid, rainy climate.  The hotel room was air-conditioned, but not like we are used to in the US.  It was more like someone breathing a modestly cool sigh through a puny vent in the ceiling.  As I hung the fabric around the room, I was very careful not to let the fabric drip onto anything that might stain.

Cover: Courier, Shanghai Expatriate Association, September 2013, Vol 26, No 1

Article below: "Tubu: Revival of an Old Shanghai Fabric" by Naomi McCallus
used with permission from author - click on image to see larger version 

Fast-forward to the winter of 2013.  I finally figured out the quilt I wanted to make with my lao bu.  I combined three blocks (#'s 16, 17 and 44) detailed in Susan Briscoe's book "Japanese Quilt Blocks."

The result is a quilt I am calling "Blue Horizon."  It is made with a combination of the lao bu fabric as well as new tea-dyed muslin and other woven neutrals.  At present, I don't have a photo of the entire completed top as it is slightly too large to fit on my 8'x8' design board.  The final photo (see below) is the quilt top folded on my ironing board, awaiting shipment to my hand-quilter.


And then, it all comes full circle...

So, the excuse for not getting back to the the Laobu/Tubu man, Hui Feng, is that I have not been in Shanghai!  I finally had the opportunity to go today - I printed off your blog which featured the tubu and all of the beautiful pictures of your quilt.  Hui Feng was there, and he was delighted to see what you had done with the fabric.  He is somewhat of a quilter himself and marveled at all the little pieces that you put together in the design.  I think he was truly pleased to see that you had made a quilt out of the fabric. 
The picture attached is of me with Hui Feng holding your has all come full circle! What an incredible journey this has been!  It has been such a delight to be in the midst of it all.  I continue to get new arrivals to Shanghai eager to find his shop and have found that my article has wound its way to many people who did not know about the fabric and are now devotees.
-Naomi McCallus, May 24, 2014, Shanghai, China