Patterns at the International Quilt Festival

I thought I’d take a minute and share a few snapshots of my time in Houston, TX at the International Quilt Festival.img_9464

See that building on the right with red stacks? That is about half of the convention center. The exhibits and vendors seem to go on for miles. It’s truly a massive gathering space for my tribe!

I spent most of my time teaching but did spend some time taking in some of the beautiful artwork on display.

Here is the Dinner@8 special exhibit titled PATTERNS.

You can read more about all of the artists and the exhibit at the Dinner@8 website.

Creative Collaborative Collage

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
John Cotton Dana

I’m brave enough to call myself an artist, but I wonder sometimes. I don’t sell much of my art and most of what money I do make comes from teachingTeaching (and all of the development, preparation, marketing, contract negotiations, traveling, etc. etc. etc.) takes up a LOT of time I could be spending in the studio making art.

So why do I teach?

I’ve thought about that quite a bit. One of the main reasons I teach is because I love my students. I learn as much from my students as they teach me. I learn from my students every time I am in the room with them.

As an instructor, it’s imperative to stimulate people to think…
ask questions… the right questions…  
Bonnie Mandoe

When I read this quote it clarifies the way I love to teach. I want to empower my students with the ability to continue what they have learned in class without my presence. I want to make myself unnecessary. I want them to be able to think and play and to  analyze and explore.

Creative Collaborative Collage

…is one of my favorite classes that helps my students to think on their own. It is heavy on PLAY and EXPLORE, a perfect romp through a few of the elements and principles of art. It is a chance to goof off with friends you know and friends you haven’t met yet! It is a safe environment to make a mess and take chances. We will make a stack of small and unique collaborative art postcards following my whimsical and wild directions for you to take home and share with friends. It’s really more of a party with fabric than a class.

I’ll be teaching it on Friday afternoon November the 4th in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. It is the perfect time to take a break from walking the floor, sit down, and play with fabric. (The supply list is ridiculously easy – simply throw a bunch of your scraps and maybe a solid fat quarter into a quart sized zip-baggie and grab a pair of scissors!) You know you want to come don’t you!

sign up now for
(class #577)

There are still spots available but don’t wait too long – classes fill fast!

If you have a friend that will be attending IQF this year, I’d LOVE IT if you could forward this note to them. It really is a class where “the more the merrier” applies!

International Quilt Festival – pt 1

Whew! The week after that crazy week was spent in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. There is simply too much to take in much less share, but I’ll give you a few of the highlights. I taught four different classes and one of my growing favorites is Creative Collaborative Collage! 

photo 2(I’ll have to look harder and see if I have a non-blurry picture in my files!) 

In this class we let go of all inhibitions and simply play with fabric and color and design principles for a few hours. It gets a little wild and crazy. It’s truly collaborative as we pass cards or get up and switch to a different table every few minutes. You never know what you are going to get to work on, what fabric you’ll have to work with, or which card you will end up keeping. When that is the case it frees you from the fear of making a mistake or worrying about outcomes. We call it a “make BAD art” day where the most valuable thing you do is have a true learning experience. It’s FUN!!!

photo 3

If your guild is having me in next year or in 2015 (or you want to have me come in!) let your program chair know that THIS is a fabulous class! I’m thinking it would also be a truly, wildly, wonderful evening event at a retreat. Part dance party, part fun fest with fabric. To all my CCC students – I love you!!!


Getting ready for IQF!

It’s two weeks away but those of us who are teaching have to get our supplies shipped this week for the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I’ve been crazy busy (what else is new!?) ordering supplies and spent all day yesterday putting together kits for the Photos on Fabric class.lace2

I should have taken a picture of the floor before I cleaned it up. Hand dyed lace and linens in a glorious pile covering every square inch of the floor. Here is a picture of one of the boxes after I cleaned up. Maybe next time I put together kits it won’t end up as such an explosion since everything is now so organized. (I can dream can’t I?)


Photos on Fabric is filled, but two of my classes, The Elements of Art (#221 Tuesday 9-5) and Creative Collaborative Collage (#348 Wednesday morning) still have just a few slots. Tell your friends to sign up!

new work: IQA Silent Auction

Time Flies is my latest work and will be donated to the International Quilt Association’s silent auction, held during the International Quilt Festival at the end of this month in Houston. 

photo 1-10Time Flies
dyed, printed, painted, stitched

photo 2-11If you happen to be going to Houston this year, consider placing a bid.
Tell your friends to place a bid. Bid high. Bid often!!!

The International Quilt Festival: The Aftermath

Yes – it has been three weeks since I got home from Houston. One of those weeks was Thanksgiving. One was spent teaching in Seattle (amazing pics to come!) and well, I have a LOT of other stuff going on in my life. So yes, half of my studio still looks like this.

The other half of the studio looks like a disaster as well with new artwork underway. But this isn’t bad. I’ve got the paperwork done, mostly.  And considering eight – count them EIGHT! boxes were shipped full of student supplies and merchandise, I think I did pretty good getting home with just the four pieces of luggage I flew with.

I am hoping that December is the month for putting things back together.


The International Quilt Festival: The Vendors

If you have never been to the International Quilt Festival in Houston there is really only one thing you need to understand: it is BIG!

Bigger than any quilt show you’ve seen before. That big, long, white building on the right with the funky wonderful vents – it’s five football fields long. That’s how they do things in Texas. Nothing small about it.

 This is just a partial view of three of the twenty aisles of vendors. TWENTY!

So with as much teaching as I did – I only had one day of the week to see the show then a few hours here and there to see the vendors. I wandered through the quilts multiple times. Then I made it through about four (out of the 20) vendors aisles. It was enough to get into the usual trouble.

Meg Hannan’s Fabric Jewels
were the first to catch my eye. I already own two pair of her earrings.

Now I own FIVE pair!!!

I tried as hard as I could to pass up Leisa McCord’s spectacularly beautiful booth.
McCord Works
and another set of exquisite earrings. The tiny crochet is so delicate and beautiful. I’ve worn these every other day for the past several weeks.

These are the kinds of booths that lure me in – like a magpie in a diamond store.
But I came out with old things.

And things from nature.

And very, very colorful things.

 Sonoran Beads
drew me in for another year and again I’ve come home with some gorgeous components for jewelry.

Now, don’t you find it a little strange that I go to the world’s largest quilt festival and don’t buy fabric or thread or anything seemingly quilt related? Well, not only did I not have time to browse but – well – have you ever seen the train of ridiculously oversized and heavy luggage that teachers travel with? There honestly wasn’t room.

And I met the fabulous Rice Freeman-Zachary and her delightful husband next to
Treasures of the Gypsy (can’t find a website – anyone know of it?) and stopped to chat for a while.  I would have been fine but I happened to look up and became ensorceled by the delicious dragons perched everywhere above the fabrics. I ended up with two patterns. When on earth I will ever have time to actually make one I have no idea. One can dream.

So. I’m almost unpacked. I’ve travelled and taught again, had Thanksgiving here with family from out of town – wouldn’t miss it for the world! And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have time to breathe. I’m finally sitting down to soak in some of the fabulousness of what I saw.

If you ever get the chance to go to Houston’s International Quilt Festival – don’t miss it!!!

The International Quilt Festival: The Classes

I taught 5 classes in four days, gave one lecture and participated in the Mixed Media Sampler at the International Quilt Festival. It’s exhausting and exhilarating all at once.

Abstract-A-Licious at IQF 2012

Abstract-a-licious was a fabulous class! A whole room full of amazingly creative women who created their own original designs by the end of the day.

Houston 2012

Abstract-A-Licious in Houston 2012

Maggie Farmer in Houston

The packing and getting ready is almost impossible although I had enough time this go-round to ship my seven boxes of student supplies early. I took a week to get my two 50lb bags, and carry-on, and briefcase full of AV equipment well packed.

Surface Design Sampler Platter
Houston 2012

Surface Design Sampler Platter
Houston 2012

“Just Foiling Around” is a fun and funky class where we play with things most quilters haven’t had a chance to before. Lots of glitter and shine!

Just Foiling Around at IQF in Houston

Grace Tice in “Just Foiling Around”
IQF 2012

Just Foiling Around

Just Foiling Around

Tanya Boeke in Just Foiling Around

But once I get there with the students it is all worthwhile.

Creative Collaborative Collage

The International Quilt Festival: The Quilts

More of my favorites, in no particular order, from the 2012 International Quilt Festival.

Dixie Dingo Dreaming (detail) by Susan Carleson

 Tree by Kathy York 

Tumbling Blocks by Philippa Naylor

Tumbling Blocks detail by Philippa Naylor

Tutti Frutti Village by Sue Bleiweiss

The International Quilt Festival: The Quilts

Inside the Tipi by Terry Aske

These are just a very few of my favorite pieces from the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas that were on display from October 28 – November 2, 2012. Enjoy!

Odin’s Trilogy by Linzi Upton

The Peaceful Ones by Denise Havlan

Silk by Hollis Chatelain

Make You Happy by Brigit Aubeso Bell-Lloch

Patterns in Nature Triptych – Stripes by Mary Williams

A Luthier’s Dream by Betty New

Mini Magic by Mariya Waters

Raven Blanket by Lynn Czaban

The International Quilt Festival: Seasonal Palette

There were many beautiful quilts in Houston a few weeks ago and many special exhibits. I’d like to highlight my personal favorite: Seasonal Palette sponsored by the Studio Art Quilts Associates.

all photos courtesy of SAQA and gregory case photography

A Seasonal Palette sponsored by SAQA
photography by Gregory Case

This was the most beautiful exhibit at International Quilt Festival for sure! Of course ALL of the quilts in the center are amazingly beautiful examples of their craft and high examples of fine art but there is something to be said for a cohesive exhibit and stunning presentation. Let me explain why.

Winter Robin’s Feast by Nancy Cook

Setting: Each quilt in and of itself was beautifully done and lovely to see but this is a case of the sum being greater than the parts.

It was the only exhibit in the show (that I saw) that was isolated from other exhibits. When you were in the “room” created by the free standing walls the rest of the show quilts were blocked out from your view. All you could see was the seasonal palette artworks. Each was hung with plenty of space around it.

The signage was subtle but clear and did not interfere with the visual flow of the exhibit. I love seeing all the extras that go into making each work and the idea of having binders available that documented the process of each quilt is delightful. Having these on tables in the center of the large gallery space allowed them to be separate from the artworks and not interfere with seeing the actual artwork.

Works by Martha Wolfe, Ruth Powers, Nancy G. Cook, Marianne Williamson, Hsin-Chen Lin, Benedicte Caneil, Daren Redman, Susan K. Willen, Diane Melms

Having benches to sit and view the work was inviting – I always love being able to sit still and take in an exhibit, especially at an enormous show like the International Quilt Festival. Your feet simply get tired. Taking a moment to sit and rest among such beautiful artworks is a welcome and peaceful respite.

Big Ice by Kathleen Loomis

Visual Cohesion: The theme of seasons worked very well in creating a flow of color and subject that moved the eye beautifully from one work to the next.  Not a single piece appeared out of place.

So many times when hanging exhibits there are artworks that are very strong on their own but do not “play well with others.” It is always a struggle to hang a cohesive show and give each artwork and each artist a space that will show the work to best advantage. Each work here was on equal footing.

Because each artwork was the same size and format the entire exhibit presented as one stunning whole. There were plenty of other spectacular quilts on display at IQF but this exhibit had, by far, the greatest impact on me. The larger scale of each quilt and the way the entire exhibit read as a whole created something beautiful and much more impressive than the impact each piece would have made individually.

Seasonal Palette
Catalog available through the SAQA store

You can see all of the quilts by clicking on any of the pictures above and going to the show’s website. The catalog is beautifully produced, hard cover, and worth owning. Each quilt is beautifully shown and there are some lovely extras (process shots etc.) in the back.

The International Quilt Festival: The People

I spent a week at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.

For anyone in the quilt world – a trip to IQF – we just call it “Houston” is something akin to a pilgrimage to the holy land of quilting. Yes. It IS that big of a deal. I’ll show you the main reason why – the quilts of course – in my next post, but for me – it’s all about the people.

The lovely, talented, energizing people! These are the students in my Creative Collage & Collaboration Class. I think this class is definitely my new favorite. (More on that later.)

There are always international student at IQF, but this is the first year I’ve had students from Turkey, Brazil, and Argentina. Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more are always well represented.

One of the new owners (from France) of Artwork from the Art Box CSA found us!
How cool is that!?!?!?!?

Most attendees aren’t lucky enough to meet the cadre of dedicated and hardworking people that make the show happen. Judy Murrah and Kim DeCoste hire teachers and keep things running behind the scenes for the classes. They are truly miracle workers!

Friends from the Sketchbook Challenge blog found time to be together.
Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Tucker Jenison
Sue Bleiweiss, Lyric Montgomery Kinard, Lesley Riley 

The oh-so-talented Bonnie McCaffery working on taped interviews with a few of the Dinner@8 Rituals artists and organizers: Susan Brubaker Knapp, Leslie and Jamie.

More Dinner@8 artists

Can I just say – last week was much more than a quilt show. It is really just the world’s largest slumber party. We didn’t sleep much but we truly enjoyed each other’s company.

I’m Teaching in Houston!

I would love to see you at the International Quilt Festival!
I’ll be posting details about my classes soon.

You can find the full class catalog
in the meantime.

Artist Spotlight part 1: Melanie Testa

I would like to introduce you to an artist whose work I greatly admire. 

Still Life

I have had the pleasure of spending time with Melanie Testa on two separate occasions; as we taught at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last year, and when we filmed our Quilting Arts DVD Workshops. She is simply delightful as a person and I find her artwork to be beautiful, layered with meaning and texture, and intriguing. She is one who thinks and cares deeply both about her art, about other people, and about the world around her. Her laughter lights up a room and lifts your spirit. Her artwork draws you in and takes you on a journey. 

I hope you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.

Lyric: What is your story, how did you become an artist?

Melanie: I have wanted to be an artist since I was a child. I remember watching TV and being riveted when I saw imagery of Andy Warhol walking the streets of New York. My mom used to sew her own clothing and I remember watching her pin a wool plaid skirt pattern out and knew the side seams would not match if she were to proceed, so I stopped her. Then a friend of hers asked if I would like to make a vest, it was a cute little vest and it had hand sewn ribbons bordering the inside front edge. It won a blue ribbon at the fair. I also won a blue ribbon for my Sugar Collection, but that is another story.

So when I was 19, I took a traditional quilt making course at the local Handcraft Center. I fell head over heels for fabric, really I fell in love with conversational prints and vowed to go to art school to become a Textile Designer. It took about 8 years for me to settle down and focus enough to make that a reality. I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology as a 27 year old adult student. I was married and lived two hours outside the city, but we worked together and made it work. My husband has always been quite supportive of me and my creative efforts.
Once I was out of college and had some creative tools under my belt, I took some workshops by well known surface design artists like Jane Dunnewold and Ann Johnston. Making what I had learned into an expression all my own is, of course the adventure of a lifetime.

L:  Was it something you wanted to do from a young age or did you take a more circuitous path? Do you have any training in basic design?

M: I was able to afford two years of schooling at F.I.T and do have an associates degree in Textile/Surface Design. The education I got from F.I.T was more of a technical schooling. I was taught to put things in repeat, to paint flower and to weave. My real education came as a result of being a Vintage Poster Restoration Artist. I restore posters by Talouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, and interestingly enough, Andy Warhol. I took this as an opportunity to evaluate drawing and painting styles and I learned to mix paint to exact specification. 

Still Life In Time

L:  Do you consciously think about the elements of art as you create?

M:  No, I do not. I work intuitively. I think the basic tenets of art making are well and deeply ingrained at this point that I am not really aware of what I am doing at all. I can slow myself down to describe it when asked.

L:  What are your fears as an artist and how do you face/overcome/talk yourself out of them?

M:  My fears. 
That my art isn’t good enough. Isn’t this everyone’s fear? And I don’t think this is a bad thing. If my art isn’t good enough, if I didn’t hit the ‘right’ note, then I still have room to grow, to dig deeply into what I am trying to get at. It is sort of zen, when you think of it this way, as though the very thing you strive to do sits, as if a seed, within what you are doing right now. Being an artist is really about fostering that seed, prompting new growth.

Next week I’ll introduce you to the lovely book that Melanie has written. It has been an inspiration to me over the past several months. And here is something special. During the month of March Melanie and I will collaborate on a small work of art – a textile postcard. At the end of the moth it will be given away to a lucky reader, chosen from the comments on each of the four posts that feature Melanie and her work. You may post each week  and have an even better chance of winning this postcard. Perhaps next week I’ll give you a little peek at what we are starting.

It’s All About the Attitude

Whistling while you work. Making lemonade from lemons. I’ll bet there are a ton of similar metaphors. (I’d love to hear your favorite!)
After a late night of dancing – and what a wonderful night it was – I had to arise in the wee hours of the morning to catch a shuttle to the airport. I had packed the day before so all I really needed to do was to was hop out of bed, brush my teeth and go. It could have been a rotten day.
A little aside on packing. Us traveling quilt teachers do an awful lot of schlepping stuff. I had two maxed out checked bags, a carry-on, and my “small personal item” which is a rolling briefcase that just barely fits under most airline seats. I wear black and wear my black little back-pack purse – hoping they won’t count it as a third carry-on. We also end up shipping boxes to venues as well. The baggage fees have raised the costs for guilds to bring us in but the real struggle is being able to get all the lovely quilts and supplies there for you the students. I teach a lot of surface design classes – paint and foil and screen printing and such – to quilters. I like to spare them the time and cost of running around trying to find supplies that aren’t readily available or already in their stash. That means I bring a LOT of stuff for my students. In fact – I even prepare kits so that in many of my classes all you have to show up with is a pair of scissors and a notebook! I use this kit for both “Bead It Like You Mean It” and “Surface Design Sampler Platter.”

OK – back to the story. So I’m at the gate of the airport by 5am – people trickle in and plunk down and immediately fall asleep. I’m a morning person and a light sleeper so I didn’t even try. I had Melanie Testa’s book, “Inspired to Quilt” to read and it is an amazingly lovely book! And hey – with as many kids at home as I have, any quiet “alone” time I have is savored – even in an airport at 5am.

It gets better. Two young men and their mother walk in with instrument cases and one of them, instead of falling asleep, pulls out his guitar, and with a lovely soft voice begins to sing and play. I love acoustic music. I can’t really read while it’s playing because I get caught up in listening. So I pulled out my sketchbook, shifted to a better seat, and began to doodle, and sketch.
This is my rough sketch. I actually pulled out a pencil and worked harder to make a really nice sketch while he played. When I do this I often tear out the sketch and give it to the subject if it turns out decently. It did so I did. (The other sketch is a copy of an amazing drawing from “Inspired To Quilt”.)
So check out the Malpass Brothers. Christopher, the young man on the right is the one that sang to all the morning sleepers. The music on their site has much more of an old-time vintage country sound than the airport that morning. It was lovely.

Party Time!

When you hear the word “quilter” you probably think of your grandmother. White hair – sitting at a frame with her glasses on her nose and a needle in her hand. It’s a lovely image. Just go ahead and keep thinking that way because if you all really knew what we “quilters” did when we go off to a conference – it would get even more impossibly crowded than it already is.
Saturday night at the International Quilt Festival the governor of Texas sponsored a Gala on the Green. Amazingly talented live band, food, and lots of us “quilters” dancing the night away.
Here’s Helen Gregory (one of the many indispensable women at Quilting Arts) and I just a-hoofin’ it. I have to tell you – I haven’t danced like that in 20 years. Actually. I don’t think I’ve ever danced like that. When it’s just us ladies there is no pressure – no weirdness – no teenage angst from the last dances I remember attending. Just plain fun and celebrating another wonderful year with needles and cloth!

Big Fish, Little Pond

It feels very strange to have someone come up to you with a wide eyed grin and say, “Oh! You’re Lyric!” As though I were somebody famous. Big fish. Little pond.
I had a book signing. Want to see my head swell to about 20 times it’s normal size? The most amazing part was finally meeting my project editor face to face. Linda Griepentrog is one talented, patient, and hard working lady who really helped bring my book together.
Luckily for me – my family is great at bringing me back down to earth. I’ve done loads and loads and loads of dishes since I’ve been home. Laundry. Cleaning bathrooms. Fighting with kids to get their rooms clean. Back to reality! Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Make-It University

For the past several years the Queen of Quilting Arts has sponsored Make-It University at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Right in the middle of the show floor you find a large space with several artists demonstrating their techniques (Open Studios) and a classroom space open to the view of all the passersby. Patricia “Pokey” Bolton is one solid bundle of energy (I think she shoots caffeine directly into her veins) and things get pretty lively as she hosts her own classes and draws names from the jar of hopefuls who might want to take a class.

I had a ton of fun both presenting in Open Studios and teaching on MIU class last year and have the great pleasure of doing so again this October. If you happen to be down on the show floor and need a spot to rest your feet – throw your name in the jar to see if you win the lottery and get into my “Hopes, Wishes, and Dreams Booklet” class. We’ll be doing a number of quick and easy little surface design techniques on both fabric and paper and having a ton of fun to boot!

See you there!
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