Jan 15, 2019

Arc of a Diver and Tony Wright

Steve Winwood's LP "Arc of a Diver" was released in 1980, one year after I'd married and moved to Atlanta.  The music is mesmerizing and soul restoring.  I have two vinyl copies and notice the blues are different with each printing.  The CD is an even richer blue.

As much as I've been transported by the multi-instrumental genius of Mr. Winwood, I felt moved by this Matisse inspired cover design by Tony Wright.  Mr. Wright has created many LP covers, among other art,  and his Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" cover is known as one of the best designed LPs ever.   

I immediately wanted to interpret his Diver in fabric.

Arc of a Diver by Tony Wright, 1980

 I've done many interpretations of water in fabric but none have I enjoyed as much or contemplated as long as this one.  The color movement and dance of the swimmer finally worked.  I finished it in a few months, 38 years after the LP landed in my studio. 

Arc of a Diver quilt for Matt 23.5" x 27"

Being an Aquarian holds truth to me.  I have a spiritual need to see and be near water. I don't make a quilt without finding a place for watercolors.

I wrote Tony Wright to thank him for the inspiration and "come clean" about using a blown up copy of his diver.  He was most gracious in reply, even thrilling me with compliments and the thought that the water quilt doesn't even need the Diver!?!?!  

Mr. Wright gave me permission to use the design on another, larger format with the Diver below.  I gave this quilt to Coach Pedro Orendez, founder of of Water World Swim, whose SanFrancisco bay swim we've enjoyed for many years.  Matt swims from Alcatraz to shore with hundreds of "Centurions" and I get to watch.

Coach Pedro's Arc of a Diver, 60" X 72"

I don't often like a quilt as much finished as I do the process of creating it.  This Arc of a Diver was a part of nearly forty years of my quilting. I think he will show up again someday.

It's time to move to other waters and for now it's the Nantahala River below.  This one, for a friend, is the first thing I've finished in 2019. 
 I used Kaffe Fassett's "Malachite" green to create the flow of this river. Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning "Land of the Noonday Sun" since the steep river canyon and forest shades this NC river through most of the day.  The softer green, blue and yellow scrappy log cabins represent the river bank with sun shining through the trees.  This uses 6.5 X 8.5 rectangles to throw splashes of color across the quilt. I see it now and the River could use more dark green.  Always rethinking... 

Nantahala River 60" x 72"

It's been a joy to work with all this water.  
Thanks again to Tony Wright.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” 
Margaret Atwood

Oct 3, 2018

John Ross and stitching a story

Rossville, GA hometown hero John Ross (1790-1866) was leader of the Cherokee Nation 1828-1838 and fought against the Indian Removal from this area. The Andrew Jackson government-forced march of these native people from here to Oklahoma is known as The Trail of Tears. 

This home also served as a hospital during the Civil War, eventually for both Confederate and Union forces.  I learned much later that Dr. Hoover, with his office to the right of this photo, was the leader of the area KKK and John Birch Society.  Many stories remain untold.

In 1964, "The John Ross Story," written by Helen Cooper, was staged on this front lawn.  At eight years old, with elaborate lighting and a perfect prairie dress created by my mom,  I played his daughter Jane Ross.  I can feel the excitement again just by being here, dreaming through the decades.

There wasn't a fence around the Duck Pond when I lived here.

In 2013, I made my first family Memory Keeper Quilt. It's pictured here.  At that time I started stitching this John Ross House, mostly from memory.  I picked it up this summer as I collected my own miscellaneous memories in fiber.

This finished quilt includes two of Grandma Baker's doilies along with Elvis, my favorite turtle and fabric creations by daughters Callan and Mariel.  Grandma Eva Avans Baker (1909-1986) was 1/4 Cherokee and I've imagined our ancestors hiding in the hills during the removal years. Thankfully they remained.

The top border is Huckleberry batik from Whitefish, MT, purchased in July

Jul 23, 2018

Louella's Roses

Louella's Roses quilt was made for her 100th birthday, July 14, 2017.  I couldn't be at the party so sent her this quilt.  I chose several doilies for the backing to allow signing by all who were there.  This signing took on a greater purpose since several have sent wishes that her daughter Suzanne could later stitch on.

Louella in Tullahoma, TN admiring her Roses backing.

Callan and Mariel in the backyard fish pond, 1990.

NOW 2018, a year later, Louella is 101 and Luke has joined the family.  Mariel and I enjoyed taking him first to meet N GA Baker family and then to Tullahoma, TN to meet Louella. 
Mariel signed a doily for her and Luke's visit

All these years later, since Grandpa Paul Pyle's 1991 death, his dulcimer studio is frozen in time.  It's such a joy to see where they made 1665 dulcimers together.  Creative Clutter dream.

Lola Peacock and Two Quilts

Lola for Suze at Sixty

Few quilts have been as fun as making this Purple Lola for cousin Susan.  
I took her to  Intown Quilters  to choose a backing fabric.  She chose these large floral circles printed on black.  I stared at it for weeks, dreaming a design for the front, based on the back print.  The good thing about having her pick the backing was knowing what palette and vibe she wanted AND the deadline was "whenever" since she already knew about it. Perfect.

Along the way, I'd started a Family Tree Canopy quilt leading up to Callan and Johnny's Oct 8, 2016 wedding.  I mailed precut blocks to friends and family, asking that they bring them to the wedding. My starting the collection at the wedding was another Loose Deadline.  The wedding was wonderful and magical at Stan Mullins' Art Studio in Athens, GA.   There was so much to see during the festivities, Cal and Johnny never saw my collection basket.  I decided to slow down again and extended the block deadline.

Susan sent this AMAZING appliqué and embroidery peacock named Lola.

Lola by Susan

It took less than a week to see the floral circles as Feathers on a larger Lola.
I traced her bird and then enlarged to roughly 24" x 36".  
When Suze and I were young, Grandma Baker made each of us an appliquéd Cat Quilt in our favorite color.  She chose Purple and I chose Green.

 I made the purple background and then appliquéd Lola in a perfect spot.  Once inspired, I had this ready for her Surprise Birthday party,  November,  2017. 
Susan had the rare honor of designing her own surprise quilt!

Six months later, Callan and Johnny received their wedding quilt on her birthday, May 26, 2018.  There is so much love in these blocks and stitches.  I'm so grateful!

Lola is near Callan's left hand, three blocks over, near Matt's diamond shirt pattern.
Lola with Stevie and Cleo below.

Mar 17, 2018

Untangled Threads: March 2018

First Existential Congregation of Atlanta
470 Candler Park DR
Atlanta, GA. 30307

The Art Committee took my pile of quilts and canvases and created an impressive gallery.   I am more than pleased with what Patton, Nancy and Edi arranged here, as they balanced the colors and textures of my accumulation of work.  They made magic happen.

Here Edi Kelman is fulfilling her vision of hanging the Lakeside High School banners.  These were made with the help of Laurie Walton and daughter Mariel's Class of 2006.  These filled the atrium of Fernbank Museum of Natural History for Prom 2005.  Flipping them horizontally filled the church with color to conjure spring. 

Edi headed up the platform ladder (again)

This Heart Labyrinth quilt I created according to guidelines provided by the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild.  This quilt will be donated to honor and remember the victims and first responders of the 10/1/17 massacre of 58 people.  The guns used, essentially weapons of mass destruction, shoot nine bullets per second.

The resistance to any gun control is surreal until you follow the money.  You find who is bought and sold to protect the gun manufacturers.  Their lobby group, the National Rifle Association, provides millions in donations to purchase our leaders.  Follow the Money to see why meaningful legislation hasn't seen the light of day. Post massacre conversations from those owned by the NRA are maddening and chillingly pro gun, full of thoughts and prayers.

The Heart on this quilt is left over from a donation I made to the survivors of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre.  With the recent Parkland, FL massacre, I haven't kept up with these comfort quilts.  The carnage continues with NRA backed propaganda.  The tale that 2nd Amendment rights are under attack is pure BS. These aren't protective guns, they are weapons of war. #FEARLIES #ENOUGH

These three below include Grandma Baker's framed doily.  She taught me to quilt and I'm thrilled to include her handwork in this show.  The quilt 'Lucky You' celebrates community involvement. It was made with help from my friend Michelle Hiskey.  I'm lucky to have good friends and family both in and outside my quilter world.

The Red and White mandala quilt was made using Grandma's doilies.  This donation is part of a worldwide project to remember 70,273 disabled people murdered by the Nazis in 1940-41.  Each condemned person was marked with two red XXs on their white medical file and then killed.  www.the70273project.org. Thanks to Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, project originator, for attending Untangled Threads opening night reception.

Two small quilts, 'Arrow West' and 'Decatur Arts Festival Roses'  fill the gallery corner with colors.  I like using this smaller format to try new ideas.   A T-Shirt from An Marshall says "To Quilt is human, to finish Divine."

'Here Comes the Sun' (Ten suns) is Color Play using joyous warm suns on a green garden.  This quilt, along with many shown, are hung using Ten Thousand Villages's www.tenthousandvillages.com  bamboo hanger, imported from Vietnam.

The three 12" Embroidery hoops allow a circle in which to create quilts.  The Turtle, Poppy and Liberty Moon return to themes I enjoy in my quilts. I carved the turtle stamp decades ago.

These four quilts include Two Full Moons, a Poppy and the original dude Bill Murray.  The Kennedy Space Center and Bill Murray quilts are created using iconic T-shirt logos.
The Tree of Life with full moon I made with brightly colored flower leaves.

The past year has been maddening for us who scream at injustice.  I'm fearful that the Lies being told incite more violence than we've seen.  Fear is being used to separate us and make us afraid of those not the same as us. We are less powerful when we are divided. 

The ultimate lie is that we should be afraid of those different from us.  There are good and bad people in all races, beliefs and socioeconomic levels.  To declare someone as "other" makes them easier to hate. We are all the same race, Human.

'Fruitful Justice is Color Blind' is also a collaboration with Michelle Hiskey.

Poppies II  is made to remember those who have gone before us.  It's important to acknowledge and express gratitude for the sacrifices of ancestral Patriots.

The Haitian Fisherman batik below was gifted by Martha Cook and Anne O'Sullivan.  I added several fabrics to frame him.  The batik is one of the best I've seen.

The gold framed color study is a loose interpretation of the Deschutes River in Oregon.  I spent enough time here to absorb the colors.  I used a scale sized map and included the Columbia River into which it flows. The quilt is stretched around acid free foam board before mounting in the frame.

The Indigo Tree is my most recent Tree of Life.  I've made many of these through the years and enjoy this theme, always to include a bird.  The Red Framed House started as a color study, then the house appeared.

My most recent of these "quilts" is a color study I did for husband Matt's PA Factory floor plan. I first saw his drawing in 2015 and immediately saw a quilt design.   I applied dress patterns using ModPodge to the canvas, then transferred the scaled down architectural drawing.  Playing with colors, I applied fabrics and paints for the individual enclosed blasting or painting rooms.

Indigo Tree of Life, Red framed House and Matt's Factory Floor plan

Picasso's Quilted Musicians is one of three completed quilts we called The Picasso Project.  Each quilter made the three musicians on individual panels and then traded two.  These three guys were made by Mary Williams, Debra Steinmann and Melinda Rushing.  

The Atlanta Arts Festival kite flyer continues my obsession with T-Shirt logos as art.

The Yellow Poppies were made both in remembrance and the urge to say THINK.  Fear Lies.

IN UNITY THERE IS STRENGTH by Missionary Mary Proctor joins these quilts in the corner.

And a reminder from the Queen

Feb 11, 2018

Subversive Poppies

THINK... Post Truth = Bull Shit (Subversive Poppies)

I was the little kid enraptured by my Grandma Eva Avans Baker's circle of women around the quilt frame. The frame was put away as her circle got smaller and she learned "quilt as you go" techniques.  She always had a basket of hand stitching, as do I.

I made my first quilt as a teenager, sitting on the floor of Grandma's house and I've quilted my way though most life events since.  The stitches and colors create a language and flow as fast as my fingers can travel across the fibers. Technique and precision become secondary to the creation.  I leave lots of loose threads. The loose threads allow the prayers to pass through.

Why is THIS the time we have landed in this arc of history? 
Where do I fit in?  Quilts are my chosen canvas... 

Delores and I with RR, Washington, D.C., 1984

I know it's self indulgent that I'm drawn to make this blog. Some would say I waste time here.  I say it helps save me. The ideas come faster than I can execute and I have a need for solitude as a balance. The time always leads to my studio and the stories there. The exploration of what I want to say continues.
I am saddened when I see FEAR being used to divide us against each other.  We've seen entire groups of people labeled as "other" to demean and therefore make them easy to fear, then hate. The constant fueling of fear and encouragement of violence is terrifying.   

Grandma made the crochet lace under this cage.  "Fear Cages" you into a smaller world.  

"Fear is the path to the dark side...fear leads to anger...
anger leads to hate...hate leads to suffering."  Yoda

Grandma Baker's Great Great Grandfather Westley Avans made it home after the Civil War.

With Michelle at Women's March, January 2017

Jul 10, 2017

Tree of Life

 Bare Tree

Already I have shed the leaves of youth,
stripped by the wind of time down to the truth
of winter branches. Linear and alone
I stand, a lens for lives beyond my own,
a frame through which another’s fire may glow,
a harp on which another’s passion, blow.

The pattern of my boughs, an open chart
spread on the sky, to others may impart
its leafless mysteries that I once prized,
before bare roots and branches equalized,
tendrils that tap the rain or twigs the sun
are all the same, shadow and substance one.
Now that my vulnerable leaves are cast aside,
there’s nothing left to shield, nothing to hide.

Blow through me, Life, pared down at last to bone,
so fragile and so fearless have I grown!

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
from The Unicorn and Other Poems 

To remember this Tree, the Phoenix finally complete
Olympic Peachtree II:   Donated to Trees Atlanta 2016

 I look to these days, and what is true.  
The love of those I cherish, the grateful stitching of my story

The whole world in a peach tree.

This is a favorite bird I love to include.

Cate's Roses at Intown Quilters. www.intownquilters.com

Cate is a dear friend and Callan's godmother.  She waited decades for me to finish this wedding quilt. I try not to overthink, but I'm not always successful. 


These baby quilts come together fast.

Sea and Sky was sold at Kudzu

 Story Quilt for Luna Mae Wright, 2016

  I put as many story prints as possible in the mix.  
I love that babies will discover new things as they grow. And the stories are told.  
The next colors and stories are always waiting in the back of my head.


A wedding quilt for Elissa and Erick Olney, married 2016
Mariel collaborated on this one, with her love and wishes for a lifetime of happiness.