Spring: Fact or Fiction?

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Young Corn (1931) by Grant Wood at the Art Institute of Chicago

Here is Illinois the weather has been unusually sunny, warm, and very Spring-like. Now as a hardy mid-westerner I know this can not last. But as an optimist, I can image it lasting forever. And that is why I love this painting by Grant Wood called Young Corn. It is a lovely ode to the promise of the greening of Spring.

greenfabricWhich leads me to collecting this set of green fabrics. It’s time to construct something fresh with lots of green fields and the promise of Spring. Wonder what it will be.

Learning from the Old Guys

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Strawberry Thief, a design by William Morris

One of my favorite textile designers is William Morris. He was a mover and shaker during the Arts and Crafts Movement and designed some of the most pleasing fabrics you can imagine. So you can imagine my delight when I found these cups and tray at a shop in Heathrow Airport. Can’t wait to have a cup of tea in his honor.

Think Big: Making Large Scale Embroideries

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Wie das Gras (Like the Grass) by Lizzy Funk

This large piece of art work by Swiss artist, Lissy Funk, is stunning! You can see it at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Textile department through September 18. What makes its stunning is the size (I estimate it measures around 50″ x 50″). And here is the really amazing part: it is made with hand embroidery.

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Wie das Gras (Like the Grass), detail by Lizzy Funk

Created in 1977, Lizzy Funk used your standard embroidery stitches like the stem, satin, long/short, and buttonhole stitch. Then she threw in some French knots and couching for effect. Imagine the time and planning and just plain sitting around stitching for long lengths of time to create this huge embroidery. She invested so much into the making of this art work, I wish you could see it in person. It truly belongs in the Art Institute.

Guest Artist: Hot Stuff, Cool Art

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Jane Michalski hard at work in her studio.

It’s so enlightening to see how others make their art. Recently I visited Jane Michalski’s studio in Chicago. Jane makes beautiful encaustic art. Like us fabric fusers, Jane is fusing too, only with hot bees wax, resin, and pigment. Imagine working with a heat gun and electric skillet to create your art work. She is amazing and so is her art!

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Hot wax and pigment ready to paint in Jane’s studio.

After a studio tour, Jane gave use an informative demonstration on how she makes her encaustic art. It was fascinating and a great learning experience. Thanks Jane for sharing your work with us! Check out Jane’s website here. Hint: if you click on the artwork you’ll see the next piece of art.

Like Bees to Honey

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Kathy McNeil, Paula Nedelstern, Lucy Carroll, and Laura Wasilowski

Like bees to honey, my fellow quilt cruise instructors and I found our way to the Australasian Quilt Convention while in port at Melbourne, Australia. Here you see Kathy McNeil, Paula Nedelstern, and me surrounding our fellow BERNINA Ambassador, Lucy Carroll. (I think we may have startled her with our enthusiasm.) Lucy was a guest artist at the show and her work is amazing!

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This annual event is held in the spacious Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne every year. And I’m happy to announce that I’ll be one of the instructors at the show in 2016. Can’t wait to return (via airplane) to see what’s on display next year.

And so ends my travelog of my quilt cruise around parts of New Zealand and Australia. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

My New Digs

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Someday I’ll live here, at The Giant’s House in Akaroa, NZ and learn to play the piano. But for now it is occupied by Josie Martin, a New Zealand artist who has created mosaic sculpture gardens full of charm and wonder. Everywhere you turn, there are colorful walkways, benches, statues, and manicured gardens. Wow!

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Here I am hanging out with the band. Visiting Josie’s beautifully kept gardens was such a joy and inspiration. And I have Robbi Joy Eklow (fellow member of the Chicago School of Fusing) to thank for suggesting a visit to The Giant’s House. Thanks Robbi!