Tag Archives: artist demo

Fibonacci Sequence Strip Quilt

This week I want to share with you a quilt made by my friend, Jeanne Lounsbury.  She made a strip quilt for her son using the Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,…).  When she shared it with our local quilt group, I got really excited and thought others would appreciate it, too.  She used my favorite hues of blue with a pop of red.  Here is the link to the Fibonacci Sequence Strip Quilt video.

I’m currently in the middle of my 2-week winter vacation from school and am thoroughly enjoying the extra time to work in my studio.  Next week, I should be ready to share with you my latest piece.  Stay tuned.


Golden Mean Calipers Part 2: Crop a Picture

This is my second video on how to use the Golden Mean Calipers.  This week I show you how use them to crop a photo around a focal point so that the outer dimensions are harmonious and the subjects in the composition are well placed. These calipers are available in my web store.  If you find these videos interesting or helpful, subscribe so that you get notified whenever I post a new one.  I’m trying to do this once a week until I run out of things to say—like that could ever happen.

Calipers video part 2

calipers 2


Value Finding Tools

I’m trying something new in my blog this week: a video.  This is my first attempt, and let’s just say, it was a learning process.  I’m thankful that I get to spend a large part of my day with teenagers who know all about this and are happy to advise their teacher.

Follow this link to learn about the tools I use to select fabrics.    Value Finding Tools Video

These tools are available in my web store if you want a set of your own.

Value Finding Tool Kit

Value Finding Tool Kit


See Me on The Quilt Show

I recently taped an episode of TheQuiltShow.com with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  Subscribers to that website got to see that episode last week.  Many thanks to those of you that sent kind words through email and Facebook.

sitting talking

Photo by Gregory Case

Now, I can share a link to that show with the rest of you. Click on the link here and you can watch too.

Watch The Show

This link will work until May 11, so make a cup of tea and sit back to enjoy.

Let me know what you think Also, for those of you that subscribe to The Quilt Show, I have a new series of lessons in the “Classroom” section of the website.  This course is on “Contemporary Batik”  If you’ve ever wanted to try batik, but were afraid of the mess, check out this class.  It will be FUN, and EASY!! http://thequiltshow.com/learn/classrooms FTI: you have to be a subscriber to the website to access this class.


I’m Making Water

Finally, it’s time put start fusing fabric.  For my next piece, The Four Horsemen”, I’m starting at the bottom and working my way up.  That means creating the river that the horsemen are crossing.  Hand-dyed fabrics in cool blue and a slightly warmer blue-green are chosen.

water1Looking at the pattern, I see that there is a lot of value change and small pieces needed to get the effect of flowing, swirling water.  After studying the pattern, the best course of action seems to be to establish some larger value areas with big pieces of fabric and then apply smaller lighter and darker pieces over the top.Water 2


The process involves lots of tedious cutting, with sharp curves.  However, it worth it when I step back and can see the pattern of the ripples change as the water flows around the horses legs.  I’m pleased with the contrast of light-dark, and warm-cool.  It’s a good start.water-full







Lights, Camera, Action

This is the week that the crew from TheQuiltShow.com comes to Denver to tape their next season of shows.  I was the guest artist on their first show in the new studio.  I’ve been to several tapings before, but there is nothing like being on the other side of the camera.  My husband , parents and sister were able to come and support me and help calm my nerves.  Here are a few shots from behind the scenes.

family on the set

Family on the set.

Alex holds my book

Alex holds my book.

computer prep

Ernie gets the computer to work

hanging quilts

Hanging quilts with Adele.

how does this work

Sewing lesson from Alex.


Jim, my muse, my mentor



my guys

My guys.

prep talk


sitting talking

Speaking of quilts.


Bike Boys not ready for Road Trip

I’ve spent the last week on the road visiting family and friends.  It was my hope to take the bike boys with me and continue to make some small progress.  I spent a good bit of time in my studio selecting a section of the composition to take with me.  When I started making a pile of the fabrics and tools that I would need to carry, I realized that it was just too much.  

My plan B was to take the pattern with me and work on it.  The full size of the piece is about 3 x 6 feet.  I’ve had to make the pattern in two 3-foot sections.  It was taking ages to draw and mark, so I started putting fabric together before it was completed.  Now, I’ve progressed to the point that I have to finish the rest of the pattern and attach it to the first section.  I carried  the pieces with me, and my family is pretty understanding, but there aren’t many places where one can walk into someone else’s house and spread out to work on a big project.  In the end, I decided that it was more important to put my project away and just be present with people.

I’ve been back home for 2 days and have been trying to finish up the pattern.  Parts of it are quite intricate and cause me to question the wisdom of this project.  However, with each section that comes together in fabric, the volume of the nay-saying voices is diminished.  I think I’m reaching the point of no return.

Here is a look at the pattern.  I draw the sections and assign numbers to designate value, and then use red pencil to mark the edges that will tuck under.  I also outline the different figures with highlighters to help me know what set of fabrics to use.  It is a tedious and time-consuming step in the process.  I’ll be happy to have it done.


Front Man

This week I’ve been able to add the front rider on the bicycle built for 6.  When I stepped back to view my progress, I was not as thrilled as I had hoped to be.  It doesn’t pop according to plan.  As I evaluate it, I realize that the colors are warmer than the background, but the chroma, or intensity, is not as rich as it should be, and I don’t have the value contrast that I need.  I may try to infuse and add, or over-fuse with bits of very dark and light fabrics to make some changes, but that is risky.  I run the chance of pulling the piece out of shape or fraying the raw edges.  I’ll have to give it some thoughtful consideration before I make that kind of move. 

I think a better plan, for now, is to move forward with the next 2 riders and create a bigger context for this front man.  Maybe I can compensate with those characters.  I also have the option of waiting until I’m in the thread-painting stage to try to make the needed adjustments.  That, however, is a long way off.  If I wait till that stage and it doesn’t work, I may be hard pressed to  find another option.

Another minor setback: I’ve lost a pattern piece for the toe of his shoe, and have spent a good amount of time sifting through all the little bits of paper in my trash to no avail.

On the up side: I do like the red bike.

You might have guessed that this is the time when the nay-saying voices are singing in my head. Stumbling and struggling in front of others is very humbling.


New Project: The Bike Boys

After months of delays and distractions, I’m finally putting fusible to fabric to begin my next pictorial piece.  My original goal was to create this piece over the summer, but I still haven’t completed the pattern.  In my defense, it is a pretty complicated composition with several characters and lots of small pieces.  It is, by far, my most ambitious project to date.  The intimidation factor is high. There are lots of voices in my head asking if I can really do this, or suggesting that it will not be as grand as I hope and that I should give up now before wasting a lot of time and resources. 

 To counter those voices, I’m going public.  I’m putting it out there for all to see with weekly updates on my progress.  I’m hoping my readers will cheer me on and encourage me when times get tough.  I’m also going to use this as a forum to write about the design decisions that I will make along the way.  I’ll share my thought processes and tell how I do what I do.  I hope it is interesting and brings you back.

The ultimate goal is to have this piece finished in time to submit it for consideration in the pictorial quilt competition at Houston next year.  I’ve been in special exhibits in Houston, but have never entered one of the competitions before.  (Scary stuff that prompts more nay-saying voices in my head.) That deadline comes in June.  Given that I first conceived of this project over a year ago, I’m going to have to pick up the pace.

Here is a picture of my first character.  He stands in the background looking on, so he is a minor character.  This piece will be done in neutrals with some pops of red.  To that end, I’ve given this guy a red vest. Because he is in the background, I’ve used the coolest, or pinkish reds, that I could find in my stash.  When warmer, or orangey reds appear in other parts of the composition, that contrast will help to push this guy to the background.


Show Me the Money

This first attempt didn’t work so well.


2nd attempt with smaller images and 2 coats

I needed money wallpaper for my latest piece, “Material Girl” and had to find a way to make it myself.  It turns out that all of those unrelated workshops where I learn seemingly useless trivia has come in handy.  I had a vague memory of being told that images on paper could be captured by painting over them with gel medium.  Once dry, the paper can be wetted and washed away, leaving the image on the plastic layer.   I asked about this at the art supply store, but no one there had a clue.  It didn’t stop me from trying.

Since “Material Girl” is about materialism and greed I bought some fashion magazines and found pictures of expensive clothes and accessories.  My first attempts didn’t work out well.  The images that I chose were so large that they were lost when I cut them into smaller shapes.  I put a thick layer of gel medium over the images, but the brush strokes left grooves in the surface that tore easily when I rubbed away the paper.  Also, I used a high gloss gel and the end results were just too shiny.

using a cloth is faster

Rub away paper with fingers

Back to the drawing board, I acquired a jar of matte gel and applied 2 coats to the magazine pages.  With the first coat, I brushed top to bottom, and in the second coat I brushed side to side.  The thicker layer held up better when removing the paper, but it also made the images less clear.  

Once the gel medium dries, it’s time to plunge it into water.  Let it soak for a short period of time, maybe 30 seconds.  Then lay it out on a flat surface with the gel side down, smooth it out as best you can and begin rubbing until the paper starts to roll up and off of the surface. I used my fingers at first as it allows you to feel the process and adjust pressure.  This was really important in my first attempts as the gel layer was thin and tore easily.  However, with a second layer of gel, the surface is more stable and can hold up to more pressure.  I found that I could use a wash cloth to rub off the paper.  This was much quicker.  I do caution that it is through trial and error that one finds the best pressure for working quickly without being destructive.

Dry, smooth and ready to cut

With the paper removed, lay the pages on a smooth surface one more time to dry.  It is important to smooth

money stripes

out each page and gently shape it.  Once dry, it is also important to gently lift the pages as they will have a tendancy to stick to the surface, especially around the edges.

I cut my shapes into dollar signs strung together.  I’m hoping they will look like wallpaper stripes.  In my second attempt, I chose several pages that had smaller images and looked similar overall.  Even though I cut my shapes from several pages, they all have a similar look.  In this way, I achieve some continuity of design.    My next challenge it to figure out how to attach these plastic stripes to the fabric surface.  Check back for more on that

Does it look like wallpaper?