Like many of you, I belong to a community of fun loving quilters. A member of my quilt community was my friend Roberta Horton (left) who passed away in February of 2021. In Roberta’s honor, her twin sister, Mary Mashuta (right), requested that several artisans make quilts using fabric designed by Roberta for a special exhibit debuting at the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA, this fall.
Roberta designed these fabrics for Clothworks of Seattle several years ago. They are yarn-dyed handwoven fabrics featuring a variety of plaid and stripe patterns. Mary sent me a stack of Roberta’s beautiful fabrics to use with my own fabrics to create the quilt. I was instantly smitten by the feel of the cloth and the colors!
I have fond memories of visiting Roberta and Mary at their home in Berkley, CA. Their warm Craftsman-style home not only housed their colorful studios but a lush garden in the backyard. Mary called it Roberta’s garden. Roberta populated the garden with repurposed chairs and potted plants along stone paths. It was a peaceful respite, a haven in a big city.
As I created Roberta’s Garden, I thought of all the quiltmakers she taught and encouraged over the years, including me. It was always a delight to see her and Mary at quilt shows and chat with them about quilting and our quilt community. I am honored to be part of this exhibit and this vast quilt community that embraces us all. Thank you, Roberta. Thank you, Mary.
During the cold, gray days of winter in Illinois, my favorite companion is an old blue velvet chair that sits across form me as I read. It is like an elderly member of the family, treasured and admired for its antique poise. One day I pictured my blue chair reading along with me. It was reading the Blue Book on Blue Chairs.
If you would like to see Blue Book on Blue Chairs, it is currently exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, CA. The exhibit, Layered and Stitched: 50 Years of Innovative Art, features 50 contemporary quilt artists and shows “the evolution of the art quilt from the earliest pioneers to contemporary artists experimenting with new forms, materials, and digital technologies.” I am fortunate to be one of those artists.
Painting the Town is made from a drop cloth used on my print table. Each time I dye or print a fabric for my art work, I use a cotton drop cloth. These utilitarian fabrics collect the dribbles, stains, and shadows of the colorful inks and dyes. Like a journal, I can “read” the drop cloth fabric and reminisce about the art I’ve made and events in my life during the painting process. My collection of drop cloths are now being recycled into art and carry these memories with them.
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