Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Gee's Bend, and Playing Tourist!

A handful of Gee's Bend quilts were hung as part of a gallery event on Thursday night during quilt week in Sisters.

The Olympic 2012 Housetop, by Mary Ann Pettway

Gee's Bend quilts are extremely sought after by collectors for a number of reasons. If you are unfamiliar with the Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, please click over and see what they are about.

I am not in any way qualified to explain, but I will say that in the 1970's quilts from that community impacted the art world in a way that was never expected. The historical context of the quiltmakers' lives enriches the story of these quilts, as well.

Their quilts are made using any available material. I repeat...ANY available material. In fact, one had a severely worn and pilled polyester blanket on the back. In its new form, it will keep someone warm for a few more years.

The quilt in the next picture is made from discarded Post Office uniform shirts, and further down you will see some recycled denim.

Post Office Uniform Shirts, by Mary Ann Pettway

If you think I'm kidding about their significance to collectors, take a look at the price tag on the post office quilt.

Price tag

Prices ranged from $11,000 to $38,000 American dollars on the quilts that were for sale. Needless to say, none came home with me!

I just enjoyed viewing them, imagining their humble beginnings, and marveling at their current status. I read somewhere that the early quilts were sold for a dollar or two, just to put food on the table. How far they've come!

Denim Quilt With Pink, by Stella Mae Pettway (Left)
Naptime, by Nancy Pettway (Right)

Gee's Bend quilt
(Sorry, I missed the tag on this one.)

Denim Blocks, by Flora Moore

As the Gee's Bend quiltmakers sang at the Picnic in the Park on Friday night, guests were treated to a parade of quilts they'd brought for show and tell.

The arrow quilt was my favourite. It caught my eye, and I just wanted to keep looking!

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

On Saturday during the Outdoor Quilt Show, the group from Gee's Bend made themselves available for photos and conversation. These gracious ladies were still smiling after an extremely busy week!

Gee's Bend Quiltmakers in Sisters, Oregon, July 2015

Even MORE of their quilts were displayed on the lawn! I couldn't help noticing how casually the quilts were hung over wooden sawhorses. There is no artifice or arrogance affiliated with this group, despite their fame and the historical significance of their work.

Railroad Crossing, by China Pettway
Have I mentioned that all of their work is done by hand? Including the piecing? Yep. It's a true story.

Detail, Railroad Crossing, by China Pettway
Now I'd like to share some


When I wasn't in class or at an event, I was snooping around exploring the town. Imagine taking in this scene over breakfast every morning.

View from the edge of town.

I spotted these heads tucked in a niche upstairs in the clock shop. The CLOCK shop. Why would they need these??? (And, am I the only one to notice they are past their best before date??? Ha!)

The mystery of it will keep me amused off and on for months as I imagine possible reasons for their existence. In actual fact, my imagination takes a somewhat macabre turn when I start to think about where they might have come from, and how they came to be in a clock shop. Glad I didn't spy these after dark!

Box full of heads. Hmmm.

The natural beauty of Sisters never ceases to amaze me. This is the local realtors' office, right in the middle of town.

Realtor's Office

The deer are pretty comfortable with munching their way through town.

One of the locals

And, it would be easy to run to the store and back on one of these!

Bevvy of bikes at the Lodge

Quirky metal art calls out for attention in front of a shop.

Cactus art for sale

As does this display.

Outdoor display in front of a local shop.

Near the end of the day Mom was glad to rest her feet for a few minutes, and the bears seemed friendly enough.

I'm sure these three are laughing at me for getting my finger in the shot!

Time for me to rest, too. Goodnight!

Share my photos if you like, but please play fair and leave my blog link and the quiltmakers' information intact. I go to great lengths to give credit where credit is due, and hope you will, too!

As always, my photos were taken point and shoot style, with my trusty Android phone. (Thus the expertise of the "finger in the frame" photo! Ha!)

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. One more big, quilty post to go...still some exciting quilts to share from show day! Then, I can't wait to show you what went on in class with Katie Pasquini Masopust and Angela Walters!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Special Exhibits: Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show


The quilts of FREDDY MORAN have a special energy about them. She was an art major in college, but set aside creative pursuits to raise her family.

Dream Garden, by Freddy Moran

She didn't start quilting until after her 60th birthday - and now warrants a special exhibit in Sisters!
I love that! It gives me hope that maybe I can be a late bloomer, too! Ha!

Quilts by Freddy Moran

Freddy's quilts are made collage-style. Shapes are tacked into position, and the stitching during quilting holds the layers in place.

Detail of Freddy Moran's collage-style of quilting

Freddy also has a fierce personal style - statement glasses, sleek gray hair, black garb, red lipstick, and bangles stacked up her arm! Tres chic!!!


I enjoyed seeing some of the QUILT CON quilts in person. Not only are they striking from a distance, but the detailed quilting on some of them was a pleasant surprise!

Quilt Con Special Exhibit

Jacquie Gering's Building Bridges quilt is one example. It is heavily quilted with vertical lines of stitch, but she cleverly left space for words that fit the quilt's story: connect, Kansas City, passage, span, Chicago.

Jacquie Gering's Building Bridges, quilting detail

Another great example is the quilt entitled, Quilt For Our Bed, made by Laura Hartich and Nikki Maroon. From a distance it reads, goodnight *heart* love you, and offers an intriguing negative space that draws you in for a closer look.

Quilt Con Special Exhibit

The payoff was delightful!

Quilting detail of Quilt For Our Bed, by Laura Hartich and Nikki Maroon

Wasn't this quilt by Melissa Averinos hung in the perfect spot? The leaves look like hair!

Face #1, by Melissa Averinos


This exhibit is always visually appealing, and the workmanship top notch.

Ab-strakt-ed Special Exhibit

One member of ab-strakt-ed is dear to my heart. We met in a class three years ago, and I liked her instantly! She is personable and humble, and dropped not a hint that she had anything on display. And then I stumbled across her work. Wow!

The piecing in Maren's quilt, Peaks and Valleys 2, is so complex - absolutely amazing.

Peaks and Valleys 2, by Maren Johnston

Has anyone else noticed more hand stitching in people's work, lately? Here is an abstract piece by Debra Blake that has been completely quilted by hand.

Across Time and Place, by Debra Blake

Detail, Across Time and Place, by Debra Blake

Tired of quilts yet? I don't want to bore you! Maybe it's time for a new heading? How about...


While I didn't get too carried away in this department, I couldn't resist bringing home some shiny buttons from the antique shops!


I also brought home a tin that reminds me of Freddy Moran's quilts. When I look at it I will remember her fearless style.

Beauty waiting to be uncovered.

(After a scrub, the white bits are now WHITE again - Yuck, was it filthy!)


Much as I hate to admit it, a bit of crazy overtakes the sensible part of my brain at times. This time it was triggered by my new buttons. Well, by the storage of my new buttons, to be precise!

I had a box that would make great button storage, but once they were in, I thought the buttons looked a bit...well...lonely. *cue the crazy*

Lonely buttons

The sensible part of my brain stepped quietly aside and allowed me to do what had been unthinkable a short time before. Sort the dreaded button tin!


To my surprise, what had been a mishmash of regular, boring buttons turned into a treasure trove right before my eyes!

There were more shiny, tiny, and unique buttons in that tin than I'd realized. Now I can see everything at a glance, and my new buttons are lonely no more!

That's better!

There were even enough buttons to fill my second empty container! (Not really a surprise, but it makes me happy!)

Still sorting

Sometimes a bit of crazy pays off.

Sorted and stored

 Some fabric followed me home, too, but I'll save that for another day!


Once in a while I do things other than quilt. Sometimes under protest.

After my Sisters trip my husband dragged me out camping and quadding. The next day, in fact. Ugh.
"Ugh" soon changed to "Mmmmm" as I appreciated the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.
Evening by the Muskeg River
The Muskeg River winds for miles. A long drive, and then a short hike down a steep embankment, led to a bend in the river where a huge rock creates a natural viewing platform (below).

View from The Rock

My husband's buddy, Mike, took the lead through his old stompin' grounds. He knew all the good spots to stop.

Mike, spotting fish from The Rock.
We made it home safe and sound despite my husband rolling the quad down a hill. I had stated a few times that I was not happy about that hill. But, of course, I was overruled. I'd hopped off to walk down (more like skid on my butt), and off he went to attempt it.

Long story short: pure luck and a helmet saved my husband, a tree saved the quad, and the other guys in the group jumped into action, helping to right things so we could carry on. At that point, it would have been a looonnnngggg walk back to camp. I can't even think about any other ending.

NOW I'm home. Only to be attacked by wasps as I weeded around our deck! I felt a bit traumatized by the stings and the adrenaline rush, but all their stings together were less painful than a single bee sting in the underarm. Yep. Ask me how I know! (When that happens, you never forget the burn!)

I think that's enough excitement for now, don't you? Ha!

Try, Learn, & Grow!

Monday, 20 July 2015


The Teachers' Tent

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is a huge event that draws several thousand visitors every single year. There were about 1,400 quilts on display this year - a bumper crop!

Along with quilts hung wherever there is space, there are several special exhibits where quilts are grouped and displayed together. These exhibits are listed in a program so a person can read about them and plan a route through town on show day.

My first stop is always the teachers' tent.  The week of classes prior to the outdoor quilt show brings in teachers from around the world, and this is a wonderful opportunity to see their work.

Teachers' Tent

When I look at quilts, my brain wonders, "What did they do?" and, "How did they do it?"
Getting up close and personal helps answer those questions!

Sometimes I look to see how things are quilted . . . what motifs are used in each space? Do I like it? Could I somehow tweak an idea for use in my own work?

For example, in this quilt by Julie Herman (quilted by Angela Walters), the triangles are all filled with the same motif, and the colourful hexagons are also consistent with each other; BUT the white hexi centers are done row-by-row, and each row features a different fill. Adds interest, don't you think? (Mental note made!)

Snack Time, by Julie Herman; quilted by Angela Walters

Sometimes I revisit pieces I've seen briefly in a class. It's a pleasure to view them without feeling rushed. Plus, sometimes questions have occurred to me after class, and it's great to be able to look for the answers!

Quilts from Katie Pasquini Masopust's Graffiti series
Even when I know I'd never probably not make a particular style of quilt, there is always something to be learned by paying attention to the details! Skills from one style will often transfer nicely to another, giving your work a unique twist.

Plus, just 'cause I'd (probably) never make one doesn't mean I can't appreciate its beauty, uniqueness, or workmanship - or all of the above! Look at the cuteness of this detail in a quilt by Tonye Phillips and Sue Spargo!

(In my brain, I made note of the successful use of repetition with variation in this piece, and also noted how the quilter maneuvered around the hand-stitched elements on the left. That idea might come in handy some day!)

Some of the quilts in the teachers' tent are jaw dropping. Barbara Shapel never fails on that front!

Her quilts are double-sided. The front is created in the usual way, but then she adds lots of thread work - which may not even be noticeable on the front - to create a whole other story on the back!

In my opinion, Mother Wolf is her cleverest use of that duality! On the FRONT of the quilt (the "daytime" side) you see only the mother wolf. The cubs are hidden away, safe and sound, just as they would be in real life.

(See the clothespins clipped to the bottom corners of the quilt, above? They are the "handles" with which you may lift the quilt for a look at the back.)

HOWEVER, the BACK of the quilt (night time) shows the pups right beside her!
(The quilt is flipped up for the photo - this is what I saw at the show.)

I've rotated the same photo so we can see things right side up. See the mother's ear on the right hand edge?

If you look closely at the front of the quilt you are able to find partial shapes of the baby wolves. BUT, they are well camouflaged with leaves - and so skillfully stitched - you don't even know they are there UNLESS you are looking for them!

Quilt FRONT (the mamma) - do YOU see a cub? (I sure don't!)

Quilt BACK (the mamma AND cubs!) - photo has been rotated so the critters are right side up.

Pure genius.

Here is Motherlove, also by Barbara Shapel.

Detail - quilt FRONT:

Same detail - quilt BACK. (Quilt corner is flipped up for the photo.)

Quite Magical!

Speaking of magical . . . thanks to the morning sun, the quilts hung around the perimeter of the tent absolutely glowed!

Seven Feet (of rain), by Renee Newstrum, caught my eye for exactly that reason . . .
(and, spots on its back added to the rainy feel!)

Quilting detail, Seven Feet (of rain)

 Sarah Felke's A Wing and a Prayer was another eye-catcher.

What's that?   More pictures, less talk?

Well, okay.

Get ready for even more SERIOUS name dropping...!!!

Violet Craft's Forest Abstractions.

Alex Anderson's Flower Pops.

Jacquie Gering's Unparalleled.

Rosalie Dace's Grounded 2.

Sarah Felke's Definition of Stitch.

Elizabeth Hartman's Downtown.

Karla Alexander's Background Check.

Detail, Background Check.

Scott Hansen's American Made. (It is worth noting that the quilting represents a map.)

Jean Wells Keenan's Steppin' Out.

Tonye Phillips' Eccentric Circles

Rob Appel's Three Dudes Variation.

The rest of the show will have to wait until another day, 'cause I've gotta run!  

Running Man, by Jacquie Gering
(Okay, so that was a lame joke - ha! - but it was an excellent excuse to show one more quilt, was it not?)

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, & Grow!