Thursday, December 5, 2013

 So happy that "California Dreaming: Asilomar" has been chosen to be part of the SAQA Southern California Regional Showcase  "Fiber Reactions" now on view at The Poway Center for the performing Arts  in Poway (San Diego County), California. Curated by Mary Tabar one of our SAQA Socal reps, this is the second year for this exhibit which shows off beautifully with  the long curved walls and high cielings of the Center. Now through December 27th with an artist's reception on December 14th.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Antique Textiles in San Francisco

As many of you know in my other life as an antiques dealer I'm privileged to share one week a year each
October with some of the best and brightest antiques dealers in the world at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show presented by Enterprise for High School Students. This year the show ran October 24 through 27 and now home for a week or two I've had time to organize some photos and thoughts on the show and some of  superb antique textiles displayed .

This year's theme for the show was "Jazz Moderne, Art Deco and the Avant Garde"  and the huge stylish faux urns lining the entrance and centering a Pierre Chareau floor lamp circa 1928 exemplified it.

Textiles in the show carried forward the theme as well with this wonderful and whimsical 1920s-30s Belgian tapestry featuring fish swimming through sweeping waves  from 

As a quilter my eye was really taken by these small quilts made of scraps of indigo dyed cotton by the Miao ethnic group in southern China in the 19thc. I long to take all of those Asian indigo cottons I've been collecting and adapt this little quilt to an applique'd block.

This piece below reminded me of Brenda Papadakis' "Dear Jane" quilts with their small appliqued squares in many varied patterns. Again, from the Miao people of southern China.

Speaking of quilts Jeff Bridgman of  Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques and Flags of York County, Pennsylvania showed  this very large antique quilt sewn entirely from souvenir flags from the 1876 Centennial celebrations in Philadelphia. The center featured printed cotton images of George and Martha Washington. The date 1876 is hand embroidered over the portraits. It is in a remarkable state of preservation.

I've always loved early English embroideries from the 17th and 18th centuries. This wonderful example shown by Mallett of London included wool and silk embroidery, stumpwork, and amazing beadwork. It dates from the Charles II period, mid 17th century. 

Our stand's next door neighbor Xanadu on Maiden Lane in San Francisco featured some exquisite Asian pieces including this gold thread and silk woven robe  from a Japanese Noh theater costume for a phoenix bird.

And finally, Frank's Fisherman San Francisco's iconic Fisherman's Wharf showed a collection of English "Woolies". These are framed woolwork embroideries done by English sailors on those long 19th c. voyages. I especially loved the graphic quality of this one with its panoply of signal flags.

Oh, just have to brag a little - here is a photo of our own Richard Gould Antiques stand - no antique textiles for us this year, but lots of antique English and European ceramics, objets de virtu and Chinese export porcelains.  Our gorgeous flowers - orchids, peonys and roses were done by 
San Franscisco's Paul Robertson.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013


I have been truly touched by the many "likes" and positive comments on my Friday Facebook post of my latest art quilt "Bella Camellia". 
Many thanks to all of you.
Camellias are an inherent part of many, many Southern California gardens and bloom consistently and abundantly in our mild winter and spring seasons. Our 1935 house in Westwood boasts many venerable examples, now almost trees, which must have been planted 60-70 years ago. My quilt was based on my own photo of blooms on one of these old bushes last winter. The name of the variety is lost in time. 
I manipulated the photo on my Ipad and in Photoshop on the computer and printed in on cotton. I then added textile inks and paints for added color and dimension, thread painted the flowers and leaves and free motion embroidered the central bee. I then double batted the blossoms and the foreground leaves for a 3D effect and finally free motion quilted it in very fine silk thread,  

The popularity of camellias here may be due to a few factors. One is the establishment early in the 20th century of two world famous gardens that feature huge plantings of camellias - Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge and the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. The second is the presence of one of the world's foremost camellia Nurseries - Nuccios's - in the hills above Altadena.

Nuccio's is, to me, a magical place. I remember going there as a child with my mother every winter. The Nuccios have been in the nursery business since 1935 and nestled on acreage in an Altadena canyon since 1946. founded by Giulio Nuccio and his sons Julius and Joseph and now run by their sons, Tom, Jim and Julius, they grow, hybridized and sell top quality camellias and azaleas to nurseries, collectors and gardeners all over the world. Some of the most famous varieties of camellias in the world were hybridized right there in Altadena. 
 My husband and I make the pilgrimage to Nuccio's at least once or twice a year. The beauty of the spot captivates us - high in a sycamore, eucalyptus and chaparral studded canyon above the LA basin, the air is soft and clear. Hawks circle above and occasionally screech - that's all that disturbs the quiet. The growing yards go on for acres and invite a meditative stroll. Near the rather ramshackle office ancient redwood benches are laden with the morning's cut blooms for appreciation and selection. Nothing has changed here since I was 10 years old. The modern world is at the door, however. There is now a website, but to order you have to either go there in person or write a letter.... there is no published email address. 
 We ask questions about growing culture, feeding and which variety might be best in a particular place in our garden and the Nuccio brothers/cousins are always so friendly, knowledgable and patient. They take us out in the yards and help us select the perfect plant. We always go home happy and refreshed and with much more in the back of the car than we had planned.
 Our hearts were heavy when we learned that the nursery was threatened in the Station Fire in the Fall of 2009 and so happy when it survived untouched. We fear the day when like so many others in Southern California this beautiful canyon becomes a victim of urban sprawl and subdivision. Until then, we continue to visit and enjoy.
"Bella Camellia" is dedicated to the Nuccio family and their wonderful nursery for all the lovely afternoons... It's truly one of Southern California's gems.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

SAQA Benefit Auction 2013 a From the Farmers' Market

The big news is that the 2013 SAQA Benefit Auction kicks of next Monday September 9 with an amazingly varied and beautiful group of 12"x12" art quilts available for purchase with prices that will range from $75 to $750. I hope you'll check out all of the wonderful pieces offered by these talented artists.

I spent a very happy hour lost in the quilts posted on the SAQA website at and was especially inspired by several that mirrored the bounty in our bountiful late summer Southern California farmers' markets. Saturday mornings I love to saunter down the aisles of our market enjoying the shapes, color, textures and smells..... Here are small works of art that embody all that... Well maybe not the smells.

The colors of Chiaroscuro by Carolyn McMillan seems to be the essence of approaching autumn. The bright red currants against the dark background with the sun tinged turning leaves....

I love the lacey-ness of the cabbage leaves and the detail in Marilyn Wall's A Study in Green

Suzan Engler  has totally captured the texture of the skin on this pear in Gilded Pear. She used paint and metal leaf to acheive the effect.

In Eat Your Peas by Sandy Gregg the message is in your face and in the text background. I love the abstraction.... (This quilt will be Auctioned at IQF Houston in November)

Onions Galore by Nancy Cook is a wonderful still life study - great color and dimension. 

And as for flowers which are always part of the market experience....
B.J. Adams' rose in Fractured Lyricism is so delicate against that hard edged background.  

Barbara Confer's Tulips  - so fresh and graceful....

And finally, my own contribution... Blue plate Special  A comnposition of juicy summer heirloom tomatoes pm a blue delft dish from my own high summer photo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A lot of Green......

Remember last time I wrote about a shibori silk dying class with Diane Ricks at IQF Long Beach? One piece I made seemed to call out to be made into a quilt.  Here it is again below - a little more vivid in the classroom than when I got home and rinsed it thoroughly.

Since it was sheer silk chiffon I decided to back it with a piece of white cotton for an opaque and more substantial top for free motion quilting - sticking it down temporarily with 505 spray. I layered it with wool batting and an ecological themed printed cotton on the back and then decided to let myself go with all the shades of silk thread I had in tones of green and light to medium blue....
This was a very freeing experience - and loads of sheer fun - just doodling around with very fine thread at a good rate of speed. I divided the top according to lines of color in the dying and then filled them with all the fill patterns I could think of ...
Strata of color started to emerge with a lot of texture and I rather like the result. The area towards the bottom right seemed to lend itself to a large pattern, so I threw in a fantasy feather as well.
Below is the final result - not yet cropped or faced. That's now done, but not photographed yet. I'll wait for a day when I can concentrate on getting a really great image and maybe enter this is in show or exhibit, but under what title? I've got a few ideas, but would love suggestions. Maybe I'll add some beads - what do you think?

Leave me a comment and give me a good idea for a "green title" - something that will tie in with the predominant shades of green and the theme print on the back. 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

International Quilt Festival Long Beach - Come and Gone

The 2013 and the last International Quilt Festival Long Beach has come and gone in a flash and I am just now getting down to getting photos out of my camera.

I spent two days - one day on Thursday in two half day classes and one day on the floor of the show doing the vendors seeing the quilts,  meeting friends and fellow artists while manning the Quilts on the Wall Fiber Artists exhibit. . I actually bought very little in the show - one yard of great striped watercolorish fabric, a new Super Slider and some Superior thread. I thought the vendors were fewer and less interesting than in previous years, though I did ooh and ah over an Handiquilter Sweet 16 (again).

However, the quilts were great - some fabulous shows including the Dinner at Eight Artists "An Exquisite Moment" and SAQA's Seasonal Palette .  I was honored to be included int Quilts on The Wall Fiber Artist's show "Maps" with my quilt "A La Carte". There are some photos of that show below .


I also enjoyed seeing Tactile Architecture 2013 which included my quilt "Rainy Day San Francisco". It debuted in Houston last October and has been traveling around the country. I was glad to be able to say goodby to my quilt which has been sold and will now be going home with its new owner. An unexpectedly emotional leave taking...

 My two classes were with Diane Ricks from the San Diego area. In the morning she gave us 3 yards of silk chiffon, a whole table of acid dyes and shibori folding, tying and manipulating instructions. I split mine into three pieces and was pleasantly surprised at what I came up with. I've taken two pieces and rolled the hems for scarves, the other piece I've layered and am currently free motion quilting. Stay tuned if it comes out.... Some of the other participants' large pieces were extraordinary! 

Some of Diane's own work as examples for class.  

The dye table. The Acid dyes are brilliantly colored and don't need soda ash. 
You use white vinegar to set them

Above piece may turn into a quilt... 
Another piece I've edged as a scarf.


One of the wonderful large pieces done by a classmate.

We are all so sorry that IQF Long Beach will not be returning. It's been a great five years giving local quilters opportunities to show their work, take fabulous classes from big name instructors and meet and share with other artists. I'll miss it.....

Friday, July 19, 2013

California Dreaming: Down in the Grove

When my Pennsylvanian Dad came out of the Navy after serving in the Pacific in World War II his dream was to settle in Southern California with his Californian bride (who, legend says, he met at the Officers Club at the Coconut Grove, buy some property, raise and show 5 Gaited Saddlebred horses and watch things grow. In the early 50s my parents bought Mulberry Farm, an orange ranch in Chatsworth at the north end of the San Fernando Valley. My earliest memories are from that grove - the smell of the orange blossoms wafting in the evening, the dappled sunshine filtered through the leaves and the contrast of the bright yellow and orange fruit against dark green. A real California dream.....

Sadly, a few years later Mulberry Farm was sold for subdivision and the horses were gone - not a very practical economic plan to raise a young family. after all, but I've always loved the orange groves of my native southern California though sadly the majority of them have disappeared in favor of tract homes and shopping malls.

This latest quilt "California Dreaming: Down in the Grove" is from a photo I took in our own little urban garden of a dwarf limequat laden with fruit this past spring. Though it's not exactly from a grove it brought back all those memories of California's citrus heritage.

As for the technical stuff - I manipulated the photo on my Ipad in Sketch Guru to obatin a watercolor effect and again on my desk top computer in Photoshop  to tinker with color and saturation.  The photo was printed on a large scale by  I added fabric paint to highlight some of the effects, thread painted the resulting image with silk and polyester threads to obtain texture and trapunto'd the fruit and a few leaves in the foreground to give depth and dimension. The background was free motion quilted very tightly to flatten and thus pop the other design elements. This is the third piece I've finished using these techniques, tweaking each along the way. I'm liking the results.